Transformed by Light

A change in the light can transform the world.

Simple windows wouldn’t be so interesting without the glow of the sunset reflected in them.

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A distant Red Kite wouldn’t make much of a photo but silhouetted against a golden sky, maybe the photo is worth saving.

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The glow of sunshine in the forest highlights every detail of a fern.

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Or an ordinary insect becomes something magical.

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience.

I like to give things names …

I like to find the names of things. I’m not usually satisfied to title a photo ‘blue flower’ or ‘some kind of insect’. I like names. Sometimes it takes me ages to figure out what something is called, scouring various websites trying to match my plant or creature to one described.

Here are some of the things I’ve had to find names for over the last year. Most of them are things that were new to me this year, or if I’d seem them before I hadn’t found out what they were called. It’s always surprising that even though I generally stick to visiting the same areas again and again, I can still find something new!

By the way if you think any of my IDs are incorrect, please let me know – I’m always learning 🙂

Turkeytail Fungus (Trametes versicolor)
Turkeytail Fungus (Trametes versicolor)
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Honey Fungus (Armillaria mellea)
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Candlesnuff Fungus (Xylaria hypoxylon)
Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar
Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar
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Black Darter dragonfly (female)
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Black Darter dragonfly (male)
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Emerald Damselfly (male)
Sand Wasp
Sand Wasp
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Pale Toadflax (Linaria repens)
Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Golden-ringed Dragonfly
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Silver Y Moth (brown colour form) – Autographa gamma
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Buff Footman Moth

 

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Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata)
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Bumblebee-mimicking Hoverfly (Volucella bombylans)
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Lacewing
Six-Spot Burnet Moth caterpillar
Six-Spot Burnet Moth caterpillar

 

4-spotted Chaser
4-spotted Chaser dragonfly
Green Hairstreak butterfly - Callophrys rubi
Green Hairstreak butterfly – Callophrys rubi
Green Tiger Beetle
Green Tiger Beetle
Bogbean
Bogbean
Thistle Tortoise Beetle - Cassida rubiginosa
Thistle Tortoise Beetle – Cassida rubiginosa
Yellow Ophion
Yellow Ophion

If you find yourself trying to identify a plant or creature, here are some really useful websites to help you. These are only relevant if you’re in the UK. I’m sure there are equivalent websites elsewhere though.

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Names. I went a little off topic as it said:

This week, share a photo that includes a name… Whatever you choose, make sure we can read the name!

No actual names visible in my photos I’m afraid, but they do have names 🙂

2016 Top 10

I thought I’d see what the usual WordPress Year in Review said about what went on here in 2016 … but there isn’t one this year for some reason. So instead I looked up my stats myself and here are my top 10 posts from the year. Hope you like seeing the featured photos from the posts again.

All of the photos are of wonderful natural areas, creatures and flowers, which can be seen year after year as the seasons continue to roll. They have such resilience, and I look forward to spotting the damsels, dragons, spring flowers, butterflies and ferns as 2017 unfurls.

If you want to read a post, just click the title (clicking the photo will let you see a larger version of the photo).

I think my personal favourite is number 5 when I witnessed brand new damselflies emerging by my garden pond 🙂 Feel free to let me know your favourite if you like.

  1. The Simpler the Better
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  2. Seeing the Future in a Flowering Currant
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  3. Spring will come
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  4. Weekly Photo Challenge: Time
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  5. Privilege
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  6. Light and Gentle
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  7. Tasty Treats?
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  8. Fluctuating State of Mind
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  9. Pure Joy
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  10. Unfurling
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Thank you for reading during 2016 🙂 Happy New Year! May 2017 be a peaceful, happy and hopeful year for you and yours.

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Inspired by the turning of the year and by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Resilient.

Frosty Morning

It was a frosty morning at my parents’ house this morning so I went out in the garden to see what I could see. My favourite thing was the combination of frozen and melting droplets on the grass as the sun warmed everything up. So pretty 🙂

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Season’s Blessings

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields.

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And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;

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May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue.
And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.

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May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

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May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.

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May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.

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May brooks and trees and singing hills
Join in the chorus, too.
And every gentle wind that blows
Send happiness to you.

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Words from various Irish blessings found around the internet. Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

Then and now

I held you in my arms
exhausted but triumphant
a tiny baby
grown in me
each feature
perfectly formed
the overwhelming wonder
the rush of protective love
the fearful anticipation
what now?

Now looking up
as you tower over me
how did those years pass so fast?
I can no longer rock you in my arms
I cannot sing you lullabies
(so embarrassing)
but my love is as fierce as ever
and you are just as precious
and my only wish
is for your happiness
for your life to be full and content
as you step out
control your destiny
choose your direction
and I will be there
in the background
cheering you on
and lifting you up
with every breath

Happy 18th Birthday to my son x

18 years

18 years ago
I was right here
A different person
But the same me

I was breathing
I was terrified
Realising my life was about to change
The fear
The thrill
The pain

I didn’t know it would be hours yet
But I knew it was time
It was all beginning
And everything would change

Anticipating Spring

I know, we haven’t even got Christmas out of the way yet, and I’m already thinking about next year! The Weekly Photo Challenge this week is about anticipation and this made me think of spring time and how I eagerly look for signs of what’s coming in the hedgerows. One of the things that gets me excited is when I see the Bluebells beginning to emerge. First of all the flower are in tight green buds, all packed together, but you know what is coming so the anticipation builds.

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Best Christmas Outfit

17/12/16 – Edited to add:

The vote is now closed! Thank you for voting. The winner is number 10! Congratulations 🙂

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Photo number 10

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At the weekend I was at the Christmas Show Jumping competition at Rheidol Riding Centre. While rosettes were awarded for the various rounds, there wasn’t an award for the best dressed rider on the day. So I thought, for a bit of fun, since I photographed everyone, maybe we could have a vote to see who we think was the best dressed rider.

Here are all the riders who dressed up (click on a photo to see it larger, and you can then scroll through them to see them all):

Each photo has a number so you can vote for your favourite in the poll here:

To thank the riders for their efforts which added lots of fun to my photography, I’ll give the winner a prize of some sort … maybe a free digital download of themselves in action? Or maybe chocolates? Anyway, let’s just see who the winner is … get voting! 🙂

Confidence

If I could give myself a Christmas gift this year, I think it would the gift of confidence. Not over-confidence and arrogance, but just enough confidence in myself to not feel stupid, embarrassed and not good enough. I find it very hard to believe in myself and my abilities. Even though there are many of you following my blog, I still feel like I’m not good enough. I don’t want to be ‘fishing for compliments’ as they say, just explaining myself. This pondering was brought on by the Weekly Photo Challenge this week – New Horizon:

This week, we’re challenging you to think ahead and show your work in a representative photo. If you set New Year’s resolutions, give them some thought a few weeks early. If resolutions aren’t your style, show us something that you want to achieve — it could be setting a new goal, making plans, or even tackling that pile of laundry waiting by the washer. The goal is to get out of the busy “now,” and imagine your new horizon. Go!

It coincides with a conversation I had recently about the need to be more assertive and stand up for myself, and believe I am good enough at things to deserve recognition for that. I want to be that person, but it’s so hard for me. I want to achieve this confidence and assertiveness, without bringing anyone else down, or being arrogant, or ‘blowing my own trumpet’. I think that balance must be hard, but I would like to move more towards the centre rather than being down at my end where there isn’t much confidence at all.

I was picking some photos to add to my ponderings and for no particular reason I chose this photo of a sheep. She appears to be making faces at me. Perhaps she’s trying to be encouraging!

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I also chose this robin, who finally sat still long enough for me to get a photo of him a while back. I may not be a ‘robin whisper’ but I do have persistence and patience and get that shot in the end.

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A big aspect of needing confidence in photography is when you take photos of people. Insects, birds and flowers don’t really threaten your confidence directly – only in your self-critical analysis of the photos you take. But when you take pictures of people there is a risk that they think your photos are rubbish. So it takes confidence for me to be brave enough to take photos of people riding, other than my daughter, and to dare to suggest the they might buy a copy if they’d like a larger version. I find myself trying not to say ‘oh they’re not very good, I’m sure they’re not worth paying for’. But there are some lovely people who have a bought one or two so my confidence is gradually creeping up in that area.

Here are a few recent photos from a show jumping competition:

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I can already feel myself being self-critical. Oh the lighting wasn’t great, and maybe the balance isn’t right. The pony is too low down in the frame… etc. But I am trying to have confidence in myself.

I often find myself like this ladybird. Out on my own and not quite fitting in. But I am unique and interesting in my own way. So why worry that I’m different? Easy to say but less easy to achieve. Good luck to all in their endeavours to achieve whatever it is you are wishing for.

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In the spirit of confidence, if you are interested in my photography equipment, I’ve created a page about what I use so please take a look if you would like to now more about that.

Soothing Light

I was looking for photos on the Weekly Photo Challenge theme of ‘relax’. Initially I tried to capture my cat relaxing with my daughter, but being a black cat, he’s not terribly photogenic I find, and this was the best I could do:

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So I started thinking about a different approach. Rather than something or someone looking relaxed, what photos just make me feel relaxed? Looking through my images, it seems that the ones I find relaxing are images with light and warmth. Others make me excited, happy, nostalgic, etc. etc. but these are the ones that make me feel relaxed. So here are some images full of light and warmth that I hope you will find relaxing too:

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I started writing this post earlier and then decided to see if I could capture some of the sunset to add to the photos of warmth and light. I realised that winter sunsets are not quite in the right place to see from our village as the sun goes down behind a hill instead of a gap between hills like in the summer. But I got some nice shots of the lovely sky.

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Frosty Leaves

Yesterday morning, there was a frost and all the fallen leaves were looking pretty with a frosty coating. Sums up this time of year of autumn moving into winter, with the autumn leaves and the cold frost.

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: It’s Not This Time of Year Without…