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.

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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.

Rain and Shine

During my last couple of walks round the village, the sun was shining after rain so there were a few things catching my eye with the shine of sun on water droplets.

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And the few remaining insects were catching the light in their eyes and their wings.

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shine

All sorts of creatures

What else is lurking in my garden, aside from damselflies, frogs and newts?

Well, all sorts of things actually! Here are a few of them:

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Sun Fly
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14-spot Ladybird
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Little Spider
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Large (and slightly alarming) spider
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Yellow Dung Fly
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Furry Dronefly
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Furry Dronefly
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Battling spiders!
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Fly on a dandelion

That Loving Feeling

Soon it will be the ‘season of love’ in the insect world. These photos are from May/June last year. It’s clear that all of us, no matter how small, get caught up in that loving feeling from time to time.

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Dock Bugs
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14-spot Ladybirds
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24-spot Ladybirds (slightly confused)
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Green Shieldbugs
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Large Red Damselflies
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Common Blue Damselflies
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Azure Damselflies

And here are a couple of Beautiful Demoiselles from August which I have to include as they are working hard to produce a lovely heart shape for you:

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Looking forward to sunny days filled with life…

Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

The joy of our own pond

I’m so glad we made a pond. Bruce’s back didn’t enjoy it but even he agrees that the pond is worth it. We can sit and watch frogs and newts, and all manner of insects who enjoy being near the water, without even leaving our garden. At the weekend I spent some time watching Damselflies sunbathing and mating in various places across the pond.

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First Insects

I saw some of my first insects on my walk at the weekend. It made me rather happy 🙂

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Hoverfly on a Celandine
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Ladybird (or Ladybug if you prefer)
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Rather tattered Red Admiral butterfly (not the best photo every but it was my first butterfly!)
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The only shot I managed of a very busy Bumblebee who just wouldn’t stay still!

Sweet Bee

I met this bee the other day in the garden, quietly bumbling about in an Evening Primrose flower. It was a cute little thing. It was about to head off to another flower and turned to look at me before it left.

Flight

At the weekend I was having a walk round the village with my daughter and when we reached the village pond there were dragons all around! Lots of Common Darter dragonflies buzzing around, some mating, and also (I think) a Southern Hawker. It was very exciting to be in amongst them and I was lucky enough to get a couple of shots of the Darters in flight! I would have loved to get a shot of the Hawker, but he was much too fast for me!

Here’s one settled on the ground for a better look:

No photos of the Hawker this time sadly, but this is a photo of a Southern Hawker that I managed to capture last year. They’re so pretty!

Droneflies

Droneflies, a kind of hoverfly, are all around at the moment, so of course photos have been taken. They’re not bees, even though they can be mistaken for them, but they do pollinate flowers so are just as useful. They’re also kind of cute in their own way. Here are a few from around the garden.

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Female Dronefly visiting Buddleia
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Male Dronefly sipping nectar from Ragwort flowers
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Female Dronefly taking a rest on a leaf

Damselfly Love

On a recent walk at Cors Caron I spotted these two damselflies in love. I watched (and took photos, of course) while they gradually positioned themselves into a lovely heart shape. I know it’s silly, but it seems kind of romantic 🙂

Summer Sunday Stroll

Yesterday was warm and quite sunny so we headed out for a short walk around the village. Before leaving I noticed that our Buddleia flowers are just starting to come out:

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Buddleia

There were quite a few Birds Foot Trefoils growing in the grassy areas

Birds Foot Trefoil

There are also other similar but taller flowers which I’ve identified as Meadow Vetchling:

Meadow Vetchling
Meadow Vetchling

This Small Skipper seemed to rather like the Meadow Vetchling and sat obligingly for a while so I could get a good shot 🙂

Small Skipper on Meadow Vetchling
Small Skipper on Meadow Vetchling

Nearby I spotted two more wildflowers that I don’t think I have blogged before – Self-Heal and Hedge Woundwort. Both pretty pinky-purple flowers.

Self-Heal
Self-Heal
Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica)
Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica)

Heading off down the road I spied my first Bindweed flower. I’ve been seeing the stems twisting round other things, but this is the first flower.

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Bindweed

The Dog Roses are still going, though there are less of them now I think. They still look very pretty:

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Dog Rose
Dog Rose
Dog Rose
Dog Rose
Dog Rose

Fruits and nuts are swelling fast now – there were several nice clumps of Hazelnuts, as well as the Hawthorn Haws in the hedgerow. And round by the pond the Apples have got quite fat since the last time I was there.

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Hawthorn haws
Hawthorn haws
Apples
Apples

The poor old Redcurrant/Gooseberry bush (not a Hawthorn!) is looking a bit sorry for itself as someone decided that the hedge/verge needed to be cut back. Sadly the Redcurrant/Gooseberry bush has ended up hacked to bits. There are still a couple of fruits left but it’s not a pretty sight. We have rebelled against this early cutting and the edge of our grass bank outside is all tall grass where we’ve left the edge to grow. I wish I had some native hedgerow in the garden instead of the horrible Leylandii hedge that I’m stuck with. Anyway, moving on …

Near the pond some new flowers have emerged – Scabious and Mallow:

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Scabious
Mallow
Mallow

The Mallow is hard to photograph because its so delicate and its difficult to capture that. I’m intrigued by their stigmas and stamens … it brings out the dormant biologist in me 🙂

We spotted a Meadow Brown Butterfly but it was being exceedingly awkward and refused to let me take a decent photo. I had to make do with this one where you can barely distinguish it from the wood chip!

Meadow Brown Butterfly
Meadow Brown Butterfly

Time is definitely moving fast as it doesn’t seem long since all was bare and we were waiting for leaves to appear. Now it’s already time for Goatsbeard seed heads and the ferns are growing their spores. Must be something to do with getting old – years move faster when you age I think.

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Goatsbeard
Fern spores
Fern spores

And finally, I was looking at the Honeysuckle on the way back and wondering why it seems so late flowering. This was one of the very few which is even attempting to open. The rest of the buds are either still closed or some seem to have shrivelled and died before even opening. Strange.

Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle

And now I must stop rambling on and go to bed. I’m tired out. Is it only Monday!?!