Whenever I have difficult things in life to contemplate, I always like to go for a walk, preferably in nature. Wandering and pondering is how I like to think of it, my little calming ritual I carry with me everywhere.
The rhythmic beat of walking soothes me, the solidity of the earth beneath my feet grounds me, the fresh air revives me and the seasonal continuity of trees and flowers and water and sky and the way everything blends together to create the vastness of our beautiful landscape helps keep me sane in an increasingly mad world.
And I like to take my camera with me when I walk, so usually when I see something particularly beautiful-to-me that captures my attention I like to stop and photograph it. Maybe a different perspective, or the movement of water, or the way the light catches something is all it takes…
And so I usually return from my walk refreshed in body and mind, ready to face whatever difficulties lie ahead, until the next time… 🙂
Putting up a proper Christmas tree this year has been a real treat for me. I know it’s just artificial, but it’s still more of a tree than we’ve ever had before! Our fake tree is about 4ft high and is comfortably adorned with the few choice decorations we brought with us from our tiny flat in London, plus a few extra baubles donated by my eldest daughter.
As we used to put out only a few small bits and pieces every year, just to mark the season, our motley crew of Christmas tree people have only ever sat on the sideboard before, so it’s hopefully a real treat for them to be on a tree too! The miniature (empty) Tabasco bottles are a nod to my husband’s Cajun heritage, and actually came from the Tabasco factory at Avery Island, Louisiana, and make a fun home-made addition to our little collection.
So this week’s smile comes courtesy of our wooden jiggly reindeer, our felt gingerbread man, our knitted robin, our eclectic collection of various jingle bells, our Merry Christmas sign, our Tabasco bottles, and our smiley little fairy, taking her place on top of a tree at long last! 🙂
So Fandango’s One Word Challenge today is ‘Movement’, and I decided to go out for a walk with my camera to see if I could capture any movement – it still feels odd having spent years teaching myself how not to have camera shake or fuzzy movement, to then deliberately create it in a shot. I was initially thinking people, or cars, or buses zooming along the road. But it’s hot and sunny and bright and not really long exposure weather, and anyway as I’ve never really got the hang of sucessfully using my ND filter I gave up on that idea.
Instead I went for a walk in the local woods, where there’s always a bit of shade to be had, lots of dark and light, and played about for a bit experimenting in taking oddly moving pictures of trees – obviously the trees don’t move, but with the right settings a bit of camera trickery can provide the motion! Aperture priority, aperture closed down ( experimenting with different levels), ISO fixed at 160 (lowest my camera can do), and plenty of deliberate camera movement on my part.
To start with I tried my usual zoom bursts, holding the camera steady and zooming the lens from wide to tele, but they looked quite boring; then I tried holding the lens steady and moving the camera instead; then moving the entire camera and lens in a circle; then up and down; then back and forth; and finally in any odd shape I fancied. Overall I tried minimal abstraction (so the grass and trees are still reasonably recognisable), maximum abstraction (where it’s all just random green fuzz) and an in between, neither-one-nor-the-other kind of melting-forest dream-state effect.
I took loads, so here are some of my favourites in all three categories:
So altogether I’ve ended up with some very different views of my usual walk through the woods, and perhaps cheekily have also created a rather different take on Nancy’s Photo A Week Challenge prompt of ‘View’ – what fun I’ve had with this today! 🙂
Last summer we had a (thankfully well-contained) wildfire on our local green space here, Wanstead Flats in East London. A while afterwards I went for a walk there and took some experimental shots (in colour) of some of the blackened and burned tree trunks lying around – several large old trees had previously been cut down and the charcoal-edged logs still sat exactly where they had been sitting before the fire. The resulting photographs seemed quite disappointing, just dull and dark and boring, so sadly I’d done nothing with them.
But for this particular challenge I had the idea of resurrecting and inverting some of these shots (changing them from positive to negative) and then greyscaling the resulting abstract images – and here they are! Definitely (for me) an unusual perspective of boring old blackened and burned logs 🙂
Much as I love walking in the woods and the parks here in London, there’s something magical to me about tramping through the Highland woodlands of Scotland in winter that makes me feel I’m home again… ❤