Sunday 29 December 2013

A Walk With Jet In Irby Dale.

Another beautiful day today.  It began at silly o'clock when we were up and away by 3.00 am to take daughter Beth to East Midlands Airport for her flight to Malaga, the first leg of her journey back to her current home in Seville.  As we neared the airport still on the, unusually quiet, M1, we saw the crescent moon rise on the eastern horizon; a magnificent site.  On the way home Thomas and I were rewarded with a magnificent sunrise.  The sky exploded with colour before the sun appeared and then it fizzled out, but amazing while it lasted and it enlivened the journey home.  Later in the day I dropped Heather off at her cousin's for a cup of tea, picking Jet up ate the same time to take him for the long walk at Irby Dale.  Another beautiful day and, although an uninteresting blue sky, always opportunities for photography.  As we walked through the eastern end of the valley it was a delight to watch a large flock of jackdaws performing aerobatics above the wood, while shortly afterwards the wild mewing of a buzzard made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  What a wonderful sound as it echoed across the still, quiet countryside.  Towards the end of the walk a mixed flock of tits flitted through the hedgerow in front of me with a wren flowing them lower down in the undergrowth.  Yet another wonderful day.

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Saturday 28 December 2013

A Walk in Walesby Woodlands.

Another beautiful day today.  It was our daughter's last day at home for her Christmas break before heading off back to Seville (it's a tough life!), so we decided to take the dog, Jet, for a walk in local Walesby Woodlands.  Things were somewhat quiet on the wildlife front, although it was good to find some candle snuff fungus and some excellent oyster mushrooms growing on a beech tree.  A walk out in the wolds is always good.

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Candle snuff Fungus.

Oyster Mushroom.
Silver Birch detail.

Friday 27 December 2013

Trying Out The New Compact

As my old Canon G10 compact has sadly acquired a bad scratch on the front element of the lens, Father Christmas very kindly treated me to a Panosonic Lumix LX7 for Christmas.  A good friend and superb landscape photographer Pete Hyde has used an LX5 for years and has been delighted with it and my brother, no mean photographer himself, is delighted with his LX7.  Crucially it captures in RAW.  For me this is important as it leaves the processing to me rather than the camera and gives much more leeway for adjusting images.  Despite being an incredibly wild and windy day I opted to take Jet for a walk to Irby Dale in order to play with the new toy.  As I walked from Irby Church over the fields, I was amazed to see blackthorn already in blossom.  The weather has certainly been very mild and I notice that daffodils are already poking an inch above the ground in our garden.

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Thursday 19 December 2013

First Visit to My Winter Feeding Station.

I was late setting up the feeding station at the woodyard this year but a week later it was time for a first session in the hide to see what was happening.  There was already plenty of activity and amazingly the first bird down was a superb male great spotted woodpecker.  Other birds included blue and great tits, robins
(3), a male greenfinch, at least 12 goldfinches and the usual dunnock.  I have set up the perches the optimum distance from the hide for my canon 500mm lens which was used for all pictures.

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Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

Sunday 8 December 2013

An Amazing Sunset.

An amazing sunset tonight.  Unfortunately I was not able to be out and about but I did manage some images from my study window in the loft.  I chose to expose for the sky to make the most of the dramatic clouds.

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Friday 6 December 2013

Storm Surge and High Tide Hits Cleethorpes.

Last night a huge storm surge swept down the North Sea and when combined with high tide caused untold damage all down the east coast.  Property was damaged and destroyed, havoc created on coastal nature reserves and salt water inundated farmland.  The high tide this morning coincided with sunrise so I decided to pay a visit to Cleethorpes in the hope of photographing both the sunrise and some big waves.

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Wednesday 4 December 2013

Star Trails

As it was a fine clear evening I decided to have a go at taking a star trail picture tonight.  After some trial exposures I settled on 800 ISO with 30 secs @ f4 which gave a good result for a single image.  I then set the camera to continuous and recorded 99 images over an hour.  These were  stacked  together using Star Trails software.  As I live in a town I set the white balance to the lowest colour temperature possible to remove the orange glow from the street lights. I was quite pleased with the result for a first attempt.

Monday 2 December 2013

Beautiful Autumn Light in Broughton Woods.

As Heather needed to go to Brigg to pick up a piece of rope sculpture that she had had on display in The Steel Rooms gallery, we decided to take Jet for a walk in Broughton Woods, a spot we had been keen to visit for some time.  We chose to follow  one of the Ancholme Valley walks that took in both the woods and the river.  After a cloudy morning the weather improved during the day to give superb light and, later, a fabulous sunset.  We set off around 12.30 conscious of the fact that we had 7.5 (turned out to be 8!) miles to cover before it got dark, so we tried to keep moving.  Despite this photography opportunities were everywhere and I was also experimenting with my polarising filter, not so much to achieve deeper blue skies, but to see what effect it had on the colour saturation of vegetation.
The woods were wonderful, with still a great deal of late Autumn colour, and, all too soon, we were out in open fields and heading for the river valley.  The route took us past a derelict barn which looked to be ancient and was, in fact, the site of Thornholme Priory, an Augustinian House founded around 1150 by King Steven.  This track across the fields was once Thornholme Moor, a very wild and lonely part of Lincolnshire.  From a nearby wood we could hear the calling of rooks and the screech of at least one jay.
Just before reaching the river we passed a wet scrub area that was once clay pits, but is now rich in wild life.  Here we spotted the first fieldfares I have seen this winter.  There was also an apple tree, heavy  with fruit.  We sampled a couple and, despite being an unknown variety, they were delicious; crisp, juicy and quite tart.  We slipped a few in the rucksack to take home.
We soon emerged  on the bank of the 'New' River Ancholme, which we followed for a mile or so.  New because it has been canalised; the old river can still be followed in parts, particularly through Brigg.  The new river is used for both boating and angling.  I had hoped that we might see some large raptors along here, as we were opposite the carr lands of Worlaby and Bonby, but things were very quiet.  We did spot a cormorant sitting on a pipe crossing the river, though, and a heron glided into the fields on the opposite side of the canal.  The route left the river at Broughton Bridge which is a rare example of an 'inverted' suspension bridge.  It is thought to have been designed by Alfred Atkinson and the wooden deck is suspended on wrought iron rods from the pair of arched iron ribs spanning the river.
The route finishes by walking along the road for a mile or so back to Broughton.  As we neared the finish, the sun was rapidly setting in our faces and we were rewarded by the most wonderful sunset.
We completed our day with tea and scones in the Steel Rooms when we went to pick up Heather's walk, although one more project awaited when I got home: a trip to Cleethorpes to photograph the lights for my degree work.