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.

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Heron Stalking

On Tuesday I went for a walk at Cors Caron. This is a lovely nature reserve which is “an untamed mix of raised bog, reedbed, wet grassland, ponds, streams and patches of woodland”. In the summer it will be teeming with Dragonflies and Damselflies, as well as Common Lizards and the occasional Adder (if you’re lucky). You can see more of my posts about Cors Caron here: more posts. At this time of year it’s a bit quieter. It was a sunny day but with a cold wind, and it was a lovely peaceful walk. The boardwalk at Cors Caron is excellent if you have back pain as it’s so flat there are no issues with lumps and bumps jarring your back, and it’s suitable for wheelchairs so is accessible to all.

So as there wasn’t much chance of Dragonflies I was looking out for birds and spotted some Mallard Ducks, a Canada Goose, a Reed Bunting, Red Kites and a Heron. More about the Heron in a moment …

Mallard Duck taking flight
Canada Goose
Reed Bunting
Red Kite

There were many other birds around – I could hear them! But they were not easy to spot so I didn’t get any more photos of different species.

Back to the Heron. I was strolling back towards the car park when a Heron suddenly took off in front of me! I tried to get a shot and managed one half-decent photo where you can actually see it’s a Heron:

Heron escaping

It then decided to taunt me, so I attempted to stalk it. It flew back down the other end of a large pond so I tried to creep up on it. I got this shot from quite a distance – can you spot it?!

Spot the Heron

Sadly as I got closer it spooked and flew further away over the boardwalk (you can just see it – the horizontal line half way up the image) into the pond beyond. So I kept on creeping towards it even though I was going away from the car park again (and the toilets!). As you can probably guess, as I got nearly close enough, off it went again, and this time far away from the boardwalk where I couldn’t even attempt to get close. So I gave up and retraced my steps again towards the car park.

The Heron then seemed to take pity on me a little and did an impressive goodbye fly-by right over my head!

Heron’s goodbye fly-by

Finally, just to prove I do occasionally take my macro lens off my camera, here are some ‘establishing shots’ of Cors Caron. Hopefully you can sense the peace and tranquility from them.

Mainly inspired by an elusive Heron, but also by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape.

home

a migrating bird
drawn inexplicably
home
invisible cords
tug at my sternum
my bones
yearn
to rest
with you

Birds of Bournemouth

Today I have been mostly taking photos of squirrels …

However, before I subject you to an onslaught of more squirrel photos, I thought I’d give you a break with some assorted bird-life of Bournemouth.

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Overhead Robin
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Overhead Robin having a good old sing-song
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A passing Herring Gull looking at us with a thoughtful gaze, considering if we were worth mugging for food
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Mr Interfering Pigeon, one of several who was determined to get in the way of squirrel feeding and photography
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Mr Puffed-Up Pigeon, who wasn’t interested in interfering, feeling rather too cold to be bothered
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Mr Black-Headed Gull, trying to look tough while stepping away from the approaching camera.
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What about this? The cutest little duckling you ever did see! I just wanted to snatch it out of the water and give it a cuddle. You’ll be glad to know I resisted the temptation.
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Mother duck, keeping her eye keenly trained on us humans fawning over her babies

Weekly Photo Challenge – Express Yourself

Sometimes the creatures I take photos of express themselves quite clearly and it’s possible to capture that in a photograph. Here’s a few that make me smile 🙂

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What are you looking at? Yeah, so I’m laying down all undignified and such … what of it?!
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What is that mad woman with the camera doing?! Is she looking a me? Gah I wish I was taller, I can’t see!
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Oh I give up wondering about the mad woman with the camera, I’m too tired … I’m dreaming of fairies bringing me food …

And because this song is now stuck in my head …

Or if you prefer the original:

 In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Express Yourself.”

Garden Singer

As I pottered in the garden yesterday looking at the ice and snow I kept hearing a bird singing beautifully. After a bit of stalking I got close enough to get a shot of this cute little Dunnock singing his heart out 🙂

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Singing his heart out
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Pause for breath and a quick check that the mad woman with the camera is no immediate threat

Watchful Blackbird

I spotted this blackbird on my Christmas Eve walk the other day. He was keeping a close eye on my from his vantage point in the hedge, and I managed to get a shot before he flitted away 🙂

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Pied Wagtail

At the weekend I spotted this little Pied Wagtail on our roof and managed to get a couple of shots of him. The sky was lovely and blue. In the 2nd photo I was happy to catch him in action walking along the roof. He seemed to be patrolling the area.IMG_8985-Edit IMG_8988-Edit

Less Elusive Pheasants

We often hear Pheasants when we’re out walking – they have a pretty distinctive sound. But the only times I usually see them are when they are on the roadside and I’m driving somewhere. However, at RSPB Ynyshir the other day there were about 6 or 7 young Pheasants hanging around the bird feeders! At first I wasn’t sure what they were as they don’t have the long tails I’d expect for a Pheasant, but that’s because they’re young. A quick check on the RSPB website and a bit of googling confirmed the identification. They were quite brave – not too fussed about people coming and going, so I was able to get a few nice shots of them.

Breathe

Time flows like syrup in the heat of the day. Resting my back on the rough wood of the garden chair, I watch a blackbird pecking at the ground. In the trees, the sparrows are squabbling over peanuts and seeds as a great tit calmly pecks and pecks. The sun is too hot but I  haven’t the energy to raise myself. My limbs are heavy and I don’t want to break this spell. If I move, time will rush back to it usual heady pace. Here in this moment, I can breathe.

Freshly Fledged

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There was some kerfuffle going on in the garden this evening … there were baby Great Tits in various trees and bushes being visited by their parents. There was a lot of squeaking and squawking from the babies and this helped me to spot them! I found a good view point to watch this one without scaring it too much – I was tucked in by the fence – that’s why there’s a brown corner! I thought at first it was definitely “our” Great Tits that have been nesting in the wall of our house, but I’m not so sure now. We’ve seen the parents still visiting the nest, so either these are fledglings from another nest or there are still some left in the nest. Either way, very exciting 🙂

Full-on Springtime!

Well, if you live in the UK, you’ll know we’re having a few days of lovely weather – warm and sunny. It’s really nice. I’m one of those people who likes to be warm, but not too hot. Spring is one of the nicest times of the year especially when it’s like this.

It’s not just the weather – everywhere you look it’s full-on springtime! The trees are all fresh green leaves, the verges are all fresh green grass, shooting up, the hedgerows bursting with green leaves … just a verdant, lushness of green everywhere. Then there’s the birds – Swallows swooping, Housemartins busy making nests, Great Tits feeding babies, young Jackdaws squawking in the chimney … and the rest! And not forgetting the insects of course – loads of variety now in the insects I am finding, and lots more Butterflies fluttering about.

So let’s have some photos, shall we? 🙂

First of all some of the flowers that can be seen around the hedgerow at the moment. If you’d like to see the full size versions of these, click on one, then in the gallery viewer scroll down to “View full size”. Oh and put your mouse over them in the gallery to see the captions.

I managed to get a couple of shots of the Great Tits which are (definitely) nesting in a gap in the back wall of our house – they have babies to feed now. The Jackdaws also have babies (I’m almost sure now) so they are busily flitting back and forth to feed them.

I also spotted some sparrows while at my daughter’s riding school. I guess they are nesting in the roof

Now for some insects. I’ve seen a few more insects mating, and there were some new ones that I’d not seen before which was very interesting:

Lastly, to finish off, I’ll mention a couple of trees. The Rowan flowers are now moving on to the next stage and have gone a little yellow, the Ash is finally beginning to get a few leaves, and the Elms are starting to grow leaves now after spending a long time with just their flowers.