Tag Archives: Gardens

Ladybird, ladybird


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

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Globe thistle

Globe thistle bw

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

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yellow flower

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…

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Snail’s pace


Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@Zardoz67 should you feel the need) will know that I went a bit mental this afternoon, expounding at length about snails and my theory that they were actually visitors from another world. And, while I don’t genuinely believe this (yes I was attempting humour) I do find them to be quite alien. I spent most of the day in the garden clearing out the borders and hacking up a dead tree with an axe (manly pursuits I’m sure you’ll agree). As I was chopping (ooh er) I came across this snail (ooh er again) in the middle of a pile of twigs I was keeping for kindling.

Snails are great for macro photography as they don’t go anywhere. I was able to nip upstairs, grab the camera, locate the macro extension tube, have a cup of tea, cuff a child about the ear (joke) and get back outside to see the snail had moved about 2 inches. Took lots of pictures but I liked this one because it does actually have a sense of movement,  which (being a snail) is quite different to catch. As you can see, the snail is heading away from me and the focus is on the shell. Given that macro photography needs a wide open aperture you therefore have a lovely depth of field and I actually find the iridescence of the shell quite beautiful. I also like all the debris clinging to the shell. I should probably do this more i.e. take an off the cuff picture for daily blogging purposes but such spontaneity requires careful planning.

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In the garden


We have spent this afternoon in the garden and whilst I have not been gardening I have been busy. Lawn has been mowed, camping equipment has been disinterred from the bowels of the shed, shed has been tidied. Thankfully, our garden is a good enough size to attract quite a lot of wildlife – such as the fox that killed our chickens – despite being quite near to the city centre. There is a pair of robins nesting in the ivy on the side of the shed and I took this picture of one of them this afternoon. In my head I think I though that Robins migrated to colder climes in the Spring as they are so associated with winter and Christmas and I don’t recall, until now, seeing one at other times of the year but I assume that they are indeed always around. Maybe we just notice them more when there is snow on the ground.

I have also spent some time testing out my new extension tube. As I have resigned myself to the fact that I am not going to be able to afford a dedicated macro lens anytime soon, an extension tube is the cheap option. It basically attaches to the front of the camera, thereby moving the lens further away and enabling you to take extreme close ups. I’ve been having a play this afternoon and given the low cost I’m pretty pleased with the results; only downside is that you have to focus manually rather than use the camera’s autofocus – and when you wear glasses like me this can be a problem. So, a lazy Sunday with a few photographs in the garden. Lovely.


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Boat in the rain

Boat in the rain

Today has been scorchio! But this picture was taken last weekend when sunshine and showers were the order of the day; hence the rain on the surface of the pond. Photography in the rain  is usually  a bad idea but in this case I think it works, helping to beak up the reflections on the water. Busy day today. Shopping for birthday presents, Roald Dah’s Twisted Tales at the Liverpool Playhouse (excellent, even though we initially went to the Everyman by mistake), pub tea and home! Hope your weekend is going well and that you won some money on the Grand National. I didn’t. Hence the sad picture.

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I’m a sucker for a reflection (you may have noticed) and this week’s shorter snappier blog posts have yet to feature a black and white image so this image kills two birds with one stone as it were. Again, taken at Ness Botanical gardens on the Wirral. The full image has the rest of the tree in it but as it was one of those dull cloudy days I felt it looked better cropped down to just the reflection on the pond.

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Snowdrops More springtime loveliness from Ness gardens [no pun intended]. I’m not sure these are snowdrops as they are a bit too tall but I’m sure the more horticultural among you will be able to correct me as to their true identity…

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Spring break


I have taken advice on board after yesterday’s post so I am going to be having a little break this week. I still intend to post a picture every day but the posts will be brief. All the photos this will be from a family outing to Ness Botanical gardens last weekend so there will be flowers (!) for those that like them and textures (such) as this one and maybe even some wildlife. All the pictures will at least be new. Hopefully, by the end of the week all will be back on track and my mojo will be working again. Cheers

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OK perhaps not the greatest picture but for me this image is all about the texture. It was taken in the gardens of Erdigg in North Wales and I think it captures the moment before everything springs back into life. You can see the green shoots of Spring in the foreground and can appreciate the preparation and dedication of the gardener in ensuring that perfect symmetry in the branches of the trees, forced as they are to grow in the direction that the gardener intended. It’s the brickwork that I am drawn too though; all those different shades of red. For me its a picture of the wall rather than the tree; the tree will come into its own when Spring moves into Summer but that wall has stood for more than 200 years and deserves its moment in the sun.

As for the tree itself I am not sure about the regimentation and the way it is forced to follow pre-determined lines. I would much prefer something more natural, more free-form. The gardens of our great stately homes often look stunning. But these were gardens that were designed  and as such I feel that they lose a little bit of their soul. Much as I can admire the clean lines and the planning and the immaculate lawn, I would take a meadow of wild flowers or a wood full of bluebells over enforced beauty any day of the week.

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