In Search of Ducks and Small Things

On such a lovely afternoon it seemed a shame to not get out for a walk. I decided to take my camera, and go in pursuit of two things: ducks and macro-photography opportunities! I’ve had some nice feedback about my ‘Derwent Water Duck’ photo which I shared recently on facebook, so wondered if I might find another feathered friend to photograph. My husband and I parked up for a walk beside Coniston water. We picked a spot that we thought might have fewer people. In fact we saw plenty of people, but it was 2 and a half kilometers before we came in sight of a duck! I was beginning to give up hope of seeing any at all when we heard her quacking!

This little lady was quite shy, so I couldn’t get as close as I wanted without her swimming on to a new spot, but she certainly has some glorious scenery to swim about in. I must say I hadn’t noticed the cloud of flies following her around until I looked back at the photographs later, how delightful for her!

We decided not to go any further as there was evidence of further ducks anywhere near us, so I decided to use the return journey to try out my macro lens in the wild!

I do enjoy looking for interesting things out and about in nature, and I’ve already been surprised by some of the details I have been able to capture with my new lens. Everything looks different when you can zoom right in! I love these tiny little tendrils growing out of the moss on a tree trunk, there must be thousands of them across the lake district but I can’t say I’ve paid them much attention until today. I’m looking forward to exploring this area of photography more and seeing what other tiny surprises I can find.

A Seaside Surprise

Here is a collection of pictures from a photoshoot of this splendid Duxbury Designs creation. The dress was inspired by colours of the seaside (though is somewhat brighter!), hence the coastal location for the photographs. It’s a great dress for capturing movement as each colourful scale flutters independently when the dress is twirled around. We didn’t see many people that day, just one or two who indeed had a seaside surprise!

We came across an old wooden structure that formed an interesting background, with many years of seaside debris clinging on to it.

The Tree with the Windy Hair

This week led me on an unexpected mission to seek out trees in windy places. It all began last weekend on a walk on Birkrigg Common, a popular walking spot near my house. My husband remarked that a tree in front of us had ‘windy hair’. As Brikrigg Common is an area of high ground with nothing between itself and Morecambe Bay, it’s rather at the mercy of the elements. Many of the trees there have grown in a leaning fashion, as though sculpted by the wind. The tree which my husband was remarking on is the large one pictured below. Inspired by the tree with the windy hair, I decided, as a lockdown mission, that I’d take opportunities this week to search for other such trees, in order to photograph them for my blog.

The next set of photographs is from a footpath that I only discovered a few weeks ago. It lies between Ulverston and Urswick, and skirts past a section of high ground that is labelled rather curiously on the map ‘hillfort’. There’s little evidence of a hillfort visible form the footpath, just a natural outcrop of limestone, and a small collapsed section of what could have been a wall or building, but this from a more recent era. Sadly the field doesn’t have the right of access, and far too many curious sheep, to go exploring further! There were however, some windswept trees perfectly positioned for my project.

It wouldn’t be Ulverston if my quest did not take me up Hoad Hill. While the top of the hill with the monument is rather bare of trees, this fine bunch lies in a field just beyond. These had caught my eye before, and I was really pleased I went back for another look as I arrived just as the sun as beginning to make it’s descent behind them. I love the shapes of light and shade that have formed on the grass.

I delved back into my photo collections to find this one, a blustery cluster of trees near the summit of Scout Scar which is close to Kendal. It was so windy that day that when the lady sitting a couple of meters away from me at the top decided to empty the remains of her coffee onto the floor, the wind took the entire lot sideways and splattered me instead. She was terribly embarrassed and I was sorry to get coffee on my best waterproof coat, but it does make for a good story! You can certainly see how the trees living there might end up leaning.

My final pictures today are from a walk up Gummer’s How in South Cumbria. Since I was passing anyway to collect some things from work, and it’s a route I know well, I decided I’d stop on my way for a quick walk. I knew it was forecast to be a stunning day, but I had not expected the cloud inversion which made for even more dramatic scenery. Well worth the (relatively) early start.

As well as taking the photographs I’ve been embarking on a spot of video editing of my tree hunting project too. This is something that’s very new to me but I am enjoying the challenge. Not sure my skills in that department are quite ready to share with the world yet though.

Have a good week everybody and I’ll be back with another blog post soon.

Creatures Collective

Today I’m looking back at some of my photographs of the of the wonderful Creatures Collective. My sister Katie is a creative costume maker who has always followed her instincts to invent some unique and exciting creations. When thinking about how to describe the costumes to somebody, one can find that the only way to summarise them is to describe them as ‘creatures’. The creatures have a bit of a life of their own and are often to be found in the most unexpected places. First up here is the Snoctopus, whose sleeping bag like tendrils enable it to enjoy the coldest of environments.

This next curious group, known as the Purfles, were spotted here making a guest appearance at Make My Day festival in Morecambe, with a brief excursion onto the prom to the surprise of many!

There are many other curious creatures including these two mysteries. I can take a small amount of credit for helping to crochet some of the pom poms, though the rest of the artistic work was all of Katie’s doing.

To finish off with today here are some photographs of the much loved Jellyfish, who have been spotted at various events including Make My Day, Blackburn Festival of Light and Light up Lancaster. They are another quirky trio who love to dance and shimmer along, entertaining audiences as they go.

Have a good week everybody!

VE Day

To mark the 75th Anniversary of VE day yesterday I decided to head out on a nice walk to Ulverston’s most prominent viewpoint Hoad Hill. Usually I head in the opposite direction, but I thought this would make a nice change and would make the day more memorable. I decided to head out in the morning while the weather was overcast, expecting it to get busier later on in the sunshine. My choice paid off, while there were a few dog walkers out I had far more sheep for company than people!

It was really nice to have a different view of Ulverston than I’ve seen for the last couple of months. Everything seemed remarkably green and summery, since the last time I’d been out this way would have been before the leaves were on the trees.

On my way to the Hoad I enjoyed spotting bunting and rainbows in people’s windows. There were some excellent efforts to be seen! Back at home I put a bit of my own bunting up and baked some celebratory cakes. While we might have been denied certain freedoms that we’re used to in the last few weeks, I found that today was an excellent opportunity to reflect on all the things I have to be thankful for.

Incarnage

Something a bit different on the blog this week! Today’s photographs are from a photoshoot I did last year with local metal band Incarnage (formerly Memento Mori). My husband T-J plays lead guitar in the band, and he recruited me to take some photographs as they were looking to improve their promotional material to use on social media etc.

Rather than just taking photographs in a studio we decided to head out into the Lake District to capture some more unique and dramatic photographs. We found some interesting spots amongst some old quarry workings and tried a spot of colourful back lighting in some of the images to make them more eye catching.

It was quite a blustery day which made for some exciting hair moments!

You can find Incarnage on facebook here https://www.facebook.com/IncarnageUK/ to hear some of their music and to find out what they’ve been up to recently.

Have a good week everybody and I’ll be back with some more photographs soon!

Spring Wedding

Today I’m looking back at some photographs from a wedding I was asked to take photographs for last spring. It was a lovely day filled with much happiness and laughter.

The unpredictable British weather stayed fine for the outdoor photographs following the ceremony, I do love a good confetti moment!

The day began with a fairly small ceremony for close friends and family, followed by a larger reception party in the evening , so I was I was delighted to be there to photograph the whole day. Some of my favourite finishing touches included the bride’s amazing bright pink shoes, the Colin and Connie Caterpillar cakes, and the fabulous vintage car that whisked the happy couple away to the reception.

Fairfield Horseshoe

These photographs were from a day out in December 2017, but this day still stands out as one of the most spectacular mountain walks I’ve ever been on. The day began in a rather gloomy Ambleside. It seemed like a typical wet miserable overcast Lake District day, but I’d picked to head to the hills that day because my favourite weather phenomenon was forecast: valley fog caused by a temperature inversion. Fog forms in the valleys overnight when the cold air sinks, but if you climb high enough you can get above the fog to where it can actually be quite pleasant and sunny.

The first indication that the forecast was correct was when I could see beams of sunlight streaming through the fog. I love how the shadows of the trees are accentuated by the fog.

Further up the hill I soon reached the point where I was climbing above the thick blanket of cloud. It was fascinating to watch because it didn’t just sit there, but it flowed like giant waves in slow motion. Every so often a big bank of cloud would roll it’s way along until it crashed into a hillside. The fog went as far as I could see in the distance, all the way down Windermere and out to sea, almost like the sea itself had turned into a big white foam and flowed over the land!

Here I’m looking over towards Loughrigg Fell. A hill I’m quite familiar with but it looked completely different today. I wondered what it might look like to be on each of the little islands that came into view, and I also wondered how many people had changed their minds and decided not to venture out upon seeing the overcast skies. What a shame to have missed out for anybody who made that choice!

I’m on my way back down by this point. It was hard not to stop every 5 minutes to take another photograph because it was so beautiful in every direction. Usually by the afternoon and even late morning all signs of valley fog have burned off by the heat of the sun, but not today. The fog stuck around all day until I plunged back into it late in the afternoon. The Fairfield Horseshoe is not the shortest of walks in the Lake District, but I felt as though I’d bounced around every step. What an amazing day!

New Website

Hi everybody and welcome to my new website. It’s strange times we’re living in at the moment, so I hope that some of my photographs can bring a bit of cheer. In this blog over the coming weeks I’m going to be looking back at my projects and adventures from the last couple of years and I’ll be sharing some of my favourite snaps. For now here’s a few photographs from a recent trip to the wonderful Glenshee Ski Centre in Scotland. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to go there while the slopes were in such great condition, before the ski season was sadly cut short. A distant dream of freedom!