The beauty in rot

 

So I was cutting up some potatoes to cook, and as you can see this one was quite rotten in the centre.

I was quite taken with the image though – the black line that almost looks as though it has been drawn in ink: the contrast with the soft grey mould. Maybe it’s my long ago education as a biologist or maybe I’m a bit odd but I reached for my camera before I consigned the potato to history and the bin.

When a little means a lot in a photograph

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Today I’d like to share the photograph I took early on a sunny April morning of St Andrew’s Church in Clevedon.

This beautiful Romanesque church is a popular subject for local photographers, nestled as it is between Church Hill and Wains Hill, with the Bristol channel and the headlands of the North Somerset coast as a backdrop. I’ve taken many other photos of the church myself in the past, but this one struck me as being very satisfying.

I can’t really take much credit for being in the right place at the right time on a beautiful spring morning, but I am very happy with the natural light that you find in the Golden Hour photographers always talk about. I especially like the way the early morning light catches the single cross against the dark background, and I think this makes all the difference to the effectiveness of the photograph.

A further admission I need to make is that I didn’t notice the cross when I took the photograph, as I was more concerned with getting the right balance in the composition between the wall in the foreground and the sea and sky behind. So a second lesson to those starting in photography is to look at all your shots carefully when you are back home and editing. Sometimes you have created a better photograph than you realise!

The original photograph is available in my RedBubble shop in many formats. Please take a look!

New Zealand Mud – it has attitude!

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Travel broadens the mind they say. It also amazes and educates…

Disagree if you will, but I think that for those of us born in geologically stable places, rather than being properly terrifying or exciting, the idea of events such as earth-quakes and volcanoes is mostly simply unimaginable. We see film or read about natural events like these and although we are captivated we can’t really imagine what it is like to be in the presence of such power. So a trip to New Zealand is illuminating.

Around Rotarua there are geothermal wonders aplenty: sulphorus pools, clouds of steam, geysers and bubbling hot mud pools. You are left with no doubt that the Earth’s crust is thin right there, and you are protected from all that heat and energy by just a few metres of rock.

The mud pools are great to watch too, although there always seems to be something extraordinary happening out of the corner of your eye – just where you weren’t looking. I focused on one circle of activity and took a stream of photos with a fast shutter speed. Most just look like muddy ripples, but I came up lucky with the one I’ve included up above. By no means technically perfect, but it captures the moment.

(The photo is available to buy in a range of formats through my RedBubble shop)

 

High tides and roe deer

When you live near the sea and there is a high tide, it’s only natural to head to the coast and take a look. Where we live in Clevedon we are less than five minutes stroll from the sea-front, and although (or should that be ‘because’?) the coast is the Bristol Channel rather than the open ocean it feels very special.

1-img_0306There are so many strong currents in the channel that when you add a stiff breeze and the bouncing of waves off the sea-wall and rocks, you get very intricate movement. Waves travel from different directions to crash into each other, creating ridges, depressions and foams that are overall are quite mesmerising. I know the water is always brown, because of the amount of silt it contains, but I think this adds a textural quality to the water.

The sky was beautiful too: but then it usually is here!

1-img_0304This photo show just how high the water was, and the pier almost looks as though it is floating. This would have been a good time to get into the porthole room underneath the pier, but sadly we were out and about before opening time.

Walking home past Clevedon Hall, something in the trees caught my eye.

1-img_0327-001It’s not the best photo, but who would expect such a view of a roe deer near a busy road at 8:45 am. I snapped fast! Maybe I could have taken my time, as he watched me all the way down the road without moving from the spot.

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When you like nature, photography and writing, days like to day are gifts!

Things I love # 6 – Clouds

Ah yes! I love a good cloud.

Just look at the patterns and colours in the photos I’ve recently taken in my beloved Clevedon. Even when they are grey they are multi-coloured and textured. See the backdrop they provide to the pier – nothing short of theatrical. Blooming marvellous.

I am a proud member of the Cloud Appreciation Society. Ever since seeing a BBC documentary by founder Gavin Pretor-Pinney I have realised that my un-acknowledged appreciation of clouds was nothing to be ashamed of. Clouds add character to the sky and are objects of immense mystery and wonder. Not to say beauty.

My favourite story from that documentary was that of a hang-glider (or maybe a microlight pilot) who got caught up in a huge cumulonimbus in Australia. It wasn’t their fault – two large clouds unexpectedly combined to form a monster. The pilot was sucked up into a thermal, frosted over by the drop in temperature and shot out of the top where they were seen from an airliner as a living but unconcious snowman. They then were dropped back down through cloud and emerged at the bottom lucky enough to be sufficiently defrosted to gain control of their craft and land with just mild frostbite. Much luckier than their fellow pilot who was struck by lightning in the cloud and died.

Really, nature is beyond our comprehension. Appreciate clouds, people!

 

People like these…

I’ve been selling my photographs and  other art work on RedBubble for a while now.

My main reason for posting work is to share the things I’ve done that I like – I never expected high volume sales – but of course I’m interested to hear what other people think of my pictures and I’m happy when others say they like them too. Anyone who takes the time to post a comment, send a tweet let alone buy a copy is a frind of mine!

It isn’t always the work I like the best that gets the most comments however, and that is something that will always interest me. I thought I’d share just four of the images that people have liked most…

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I’ve just created a new calendar based on some of my favourite water-inspired photos – some abstract and some scenic.

Here’s the cover photo… Hopefully you can see the bear!

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All these and plenty more are available in my RedBubble shop. Please do have a look – and if you see something you like,  please leave me a comment!

Thank you!

Autumn in Clevedon

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It’s a strange season, Autumn. For those who particularly love the sun it is of course the beginning of the bad times – darker evenings, cold and damp weather. For those who relish a British Christmas, it’s the sign that frosty walks, welcoming pubs with roaring log fires, fairy lights and Christmas trees are all on the way.

But I like walking, wildlife and photography, and I just love the autumn! The light and colours in the landscape are beautiful, even early in the season before the trees properly turn to full gold and orange. An added bonus is that you don’t have to get up at 3 in the morning to catch an atmospheric morning shot. Here’s one of my photographs from Poet’s Walk in Clevedon on a morning when the mist was lying beneath the hills, and layers of cloud were adding colour to the sky. The sun was just getting some strength, so the grasses on the edge of the hill got some golden highlights too. Just lovely!

In towns you can take advantage of some dramatic scenes too. I liked the church and tree photographed without filters: I emphasised the bleached colours with a posterising effect.

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Some of my favourite photos, drawings and paintings are on sale in my RedBubble shop. There are some nice gift ideas!!

This year I’m planning on gettting out and about in all weathers to capture how the scenery changes through the year. There is talk of a cold winter coming for the UK. While I’m not a great fan of ice and snow, I will be on the look out for some great snowy shots: could be material for my next calendar.

And I suppose that’s the key thing about the changing seasons… to make the most of them where ever you live.