Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one,
And her name is Ann,
And she hid under the baking pan
Go on, admit it. I bet you didn’t know the full rhyme. I didn’t until I looked it up on t’internet 5 minutes ago. I certainly didn’t know about Anne hiding under the baking pan. I also didn’t know that ladybirds are commonly viewed as lucky. I could do with a bit of luck at the moment as routine bites hard and ambitions are low… Again, I have no idea what this plant is, which I suppose makes me a pretty rubbish flower photographer; maybe I should stick to buttercups and daisies? In the meantime, luck be a ladybird tonight. I going now before I run out of clichés to spout and Joy Division lyrics to purloin
Do flowers work in black and white? Probably not most of the time but in this case I think it does. The colour version is pretty much all one colour anyhow – green – and the monochrome helps add texture to the globe thistle, for that is what it is, apparently (although I stand to be corrected). I can’t work out whether this is in flower or pre/post flower but I think this is before the thistle has flowered, which is even more reason to go black and white. This is a last minute replacement for the picture that I was going to blog but which I am told is ‘too nice to waste on the blog’, which means my better half wants it on her wall. I may well post that particular picture a bit later… but I am considering entering it in a competition and rules mean I can’t post it just yet. I’m such a tease; however, in the meantime I don’t think this is a lesser image. Yet again it highlights the advantages of the 50mm prime lens – every photographer should have one, especially given the cheap price (approx £80) when compared to other lenses. Ultra fast and great depth of field
I promised flower pictures this week and here is the first. Not taken in my friend’s garden but in my own. I have no idea what it is but I am sure that someone will tell me – I’d ask the gardener in the family but she is out gallivanting. Here I was trying to focus on the small buds of pollen (?) on the ends of the stamens using the 50mm lens and the extension ring, which is why the flower itself is blurred in the background. Not sure if it works but I like it; could maybe benefit from being cropped but at least here you can tell its a flower…
It’s been one of those great weekends. Good company, good food, food wine. Lots of families enjoying themselves together and most importantly very relaxing. Spent most of Saturday at a good friend’s garden party/BBQ; she always maintains that it’s always sunny on her birthday and the law holds true for another year. My friends garden is her project and hobby, much like photography is for me, so there may well a few flower pictures this week for which I make no apologies – at least you will be getting something new.
Highlight of the day though was the flashmob. Word went out the day before that guests were to learn the dance moves to accompany a Lady GaGa song and surprise the birthday girl en masse. Needless to say it was the youth that led the way and I managed to get out of it by offering to film it.
As I said on Saturday, and given the dearth of Glastonbury, pictures I have been revisiting some old pictures of late to try and wring some aesthetic value out of them. This is a picture from our recent trip to Bala and again shows the lake (Lyn Tegid) and mountain in the background that feature in the ‘Twaflete’ post from last month. It is also from the same set of pictures that I took of buttercups on the lakeside, which quite a lot of people seem to like. The colour version of the photo is nothing to write home about but I did like the contrast between the dark blades of grass and the bright yellow of the buttercups so I thought I would process a black and white version to see how things turn out. I’m pretty pleased with it and consider it an image rescued . It was taken using the trusty 50-mm prime lens with a wide-open aperture of f1.8, hence all that lovely blur – or bokeh – if you have been paying attention. And yes it was deliberate. File under ‘arty’.
Everybody likes a flower picture right? Well I know at least one regular reader of the blog that does. So here are some more buttercups from the banks of Bala Lake. Despite the darkening sky there are traces of sunshine so I am remaining optimistic, despite the continuing rain. I am now signing off now until next week; what follows will be a selection of photos that may illustrate what i am up to but then again may not. People wonder why we English obsess so much about the weather. You are about to find out…
Another picture from last weekend and an example of the contrary nature of the photographer’s lot. You would think that with the landscape of Wales’ largest lake and surrounding mountains to photograph then this would be the focus of the window of opportunity I had to take pictures. I did indeed take loads of pictures of the lake and surrounding countryside but as I go through them there are not that many that I actually like. Of course it may be that I need to leave them for a while and come back (I have found this to work in the past) but the fact is that I committed the cardinal sin of getting the camera’s image sensor dirty (too much lens changing I’m afraid) and some of the later pictures are going to need a lot of post processing work to clean them up – and I have not got the heart for it at the moment.
I think that this is my biggest failure as a photographer – I am always changing lenses in the the field as I am never quite sure which to use. In other words I try to hedge my bets. On the plus side this over cautious approach means that of all the rubbish I take at least some are worthy of taking forward. The downside is that when you take the lens off a camera, especially if you forget to turn it off (which I frequently do) then dust can get inside attracted to the static generated. As a glasses wearer I am also always taking my glasses on and off, putting them down, losing them, standing on them etc… Basically, I am not particularly well organised and this is definitely something I need to work on.
Anyway, of all the pictures that I did take, the best are a series of pictures capturing buttercups growing on the lakeside. Some of these have turned out really well i.e. I might be able to do something commercial with them such as producing some artwork or entering more competitions (not that I have had much success of late). Again, I experimented with different lenses and this one was with the camera’s standard 18-55mm kit lens. I like the sharp focus of the flowers against the background blur of the lake, mountains and bruised purple sky. You can tell the daylight is fading but there is just enough sunshine breaking through the clouds to illuminate the flowers.
A tall plant, growing up to two feet. The leaves at the base are oval and have long stalks, but those on the stem are short-stalked, more pointed and hairy. The deep rose-coloured flowers are about n1 inch across, and appear from April to October. This is a very common plant of shay hedgerows. The Ladybird Book of British Wild Flowers 1957
So there you go. I managed to actually identify one of the flowers in one of my pictures. A first. I must in fact credit my wife as the Ladybird book is hers. She would like to point out that she was not born in 1957, the book was; it was old before she was given it. OK! Another picture that illustrates that investing in the extension tube was a good move.
I have been on holiday today. The plan was that as we were going camping last weekend we would come back today and avoid the bank holiday traffic; however, since we never left the house this plan was never put into action. I could have cancelled today’s holiday but as its half term I thought I might as well still take it and I’m glad I did. The weather has still been ‘mixed’. We have had wind, heavy rain, hailstones and sunshine today so we spent all morning playing cards and giving the house a bit of a spring clean – including moving my son’s drum kit from the study into his bedroom, which may prove to be a terrible mistake. And, in the afternoon sunshine we went for a walk.
Sometimes you can find beauty in the most mundane of settings and this flower, growing in the cracks in the wood of a wooden canal lock gate, struck me as having something to it. It’s not the most beautiful of flowers and is probably considered a weed; however, as you may know I am not a gardener so I can consider it beautiful. Again taking a photograph like this reminds me of why I took up photography in the first place. I’m not sure anybody else will have taken this picture and therefore I have captured a unique moment. The fleeting nature of flowers is I think what draws photographers to them; we are like bees only less able to make honey.
Anyway, after the black and white of late it is nice to get back into colour…
"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
Hans Christian Anderson