This week, Jude’s Photo Challenge invites us to look at texture again – but as the subject for our photographs, the focus of our interest.
I took my camera out for a walk (while I still can …). Several ideas presented themselves, but nothing quite worked. Back to the archive.
I’ve chosen some shots taken on common-or-garden asphalt roads. Those roads are not themselves the subject, but they provide a grainy, characterful canvas. Imagine those same shadows projected onto a large sheet of smooth white paper. I think they’d be less interesting.
Three are taken on a small road near here, edged with a dry stone wall. One was frosty road in January. One was taken at Masham Sheep Fair, with not a sheep in sight. One is not a road, but a wall. It’s the walkers who are on the path.
I’m continuing my monthly habit of re-blogging a post from our days in France. Now that daily life is on hold to a large extent, new material may be in short supply quite soon.
This time I’m more or less amalgamating two posts from February and March 2013, my early experiences of snow-shoeing. I had a love-hate relationship with this sport. I loved the peace, and the opportunity to explore pristine snowscapes. But my goodness, it’s taxing.
It’s 7 o’clock. I can’t see me having a late night. We’ve had a day of ‘raquettes’ – snow shoes. Gosh it’s exhausting. You strap great oval saucers of plastic, webbing, and toothed metal to your feet and spend some minutes feeling like an ungainly baby taking its first uncertain footsteps across the endless wastes of the living room carpet.
But equilibrium returns, and without these cumbersome contraptions, how else would you walk across the undulating white snowfields of the Plateau de Sault, with views of snow-sculpted hillsides nearby, jagged snow-crusted peaks beyond? How else could you enjoy the sound of the satisfying crunch and crack as feet break through the crisp crust of the surface snow. Thank goodness for that icy layer. We found our 5’ long batons, plunged deep below the surface, wouldn’t touch the frozen ground beneath.
And with a bright blue sky, a hot sun enabling us to walk wearing T shirts and summer hats, what better way to spend a February Sunday?
That’s the road we arrived on – signs half buried.
We set forth.
The high peaks of the Pyrenees in the distance.
The mountains glimpsed through the trees.
More pristine snow.
Our lunch spot. Time for home-cured sausage, cakes ‘maison’ and wine.
Here we all are!
The final stretch.
But by March 4th, I had a surprisingly different story to report….
Snow Shoes II, The Sequel
We walkers of Laroque got our snowshoes out again today (well, in my case, I borrowed some), and went for a much more local sortie, just above Montferrier and en route for the local skiers’ playground, Mont d’Olmes.
How different from our last walk. Instead of wide open snowfields with distant views, we had woodland walking and bright sunlight casting blue shadows across our path.
Instead of gentle slopes rising and falling before us, we had an upward slog; unremitting, tough. Micheline and I, discouraged and tired, failed to reach the top, and missed the prize: a frozen lake with snow-clad views in every direction. Most of the party stayed with us and kept us company. Though our views were less exciting than those of the intrepid climbers, our picnic was the better one. We low-achievers had wine, home-made cakes and hot coffee with us to supplement our bread and cheese.
And the journey down was completed in record time. We arrived home as our gardens were gently baking in the last of the hot afternoon sun. More of the same is forecast for several days: there won’t be much snow left this time next week.
Sunlight through the trees.
Walking through the forest.
The walk continues.
Wide open spaces once more.
Whose prints are these?
White snow, blue sky.
More tree shadow.
Buried information board. The snow really is that deep.
We should be looking up at this signboard, not down.
Because almost the entire world is in the grip of one single event that is beginning to dominate every day life, I am using Reflections, this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge for a spot of escapism.
These photos encapsulate memories of moments in Spain: in Alicante; on the river Guadalquivir in Córdoba and Seville, and l’Albufera near Valencia.
Even if you can’t share these particular memories, I hope they may help you reflect on similar joyous moments in your own life.
… except the same walk is never the same walk. Last week, Chris and I walked from Lofthouse to Ramsgill to Middlesmoor and back to Lofthouse. On Sunday, we did the route again, joined by eight friends from our walking group.
It was less sunny. It was more muddy. The intervening week had been largely dry and breezy: but before the walk, it had rained all night. It was a day to pick our way carefully through mud, artfully stamped with the outlines of sheep hooves, tractor tyres and farmers’ boots.
It was a day to notice dry stone walks, scabbed with moss and lichen.
Discarded bits of farmyard furniture and buildings.
Swollen streams, tumbling and scurrying.
All of these were subjects for Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge, requiring us this week to look for texture – rough texture.
But it was a day too for moody landscape. Look! I didn’t take this view over Gouthwaite Reservoir in black and white. But where’s the colour?
And here – this rainbow appeared more than once on our walk that day, always elusive, always vanishing as we approached.
Join us. It’s a virtual walk. You won’t need to clean your boots at the end.
The walk starts as it means to go on. Plenty of water.
Sheep prefer eating dry hay to wet grass.
A well-dressed dry stone wall.
There’s a prevailing wind on these hills. As you can see.
Jude’s Photo Challenge this week invites us to consider texture: Smooth.
It immediately made me think of that English folk song, Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron – I’ve included a YouTube clip at the end just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about. But I’m so un-keen on ironing there’s no chance at all I could submit a photo of a pile of neatly ironed, beautifully smooth clean and dry washing.
Back to the archives then.
I’ve ended up choosing these: click on the images to see them full size and to read the captions.
These stones at Alnmouth aren’t yet particularly smooth, though they are weathered. But their reflection, and that of the blue sky emphasise what smoothness they do have.
My goodness, that was a gnarled tree that we spotted in Vic, Catalunya. But look what the shadow has done to it- flattened and smoothed it completely.
This is at the Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Centre. I like those strong smooth steel claws contrasting with the decomposing and disintegrating grot that it spends its life seizing and masticating.
A smoothly polished metal spherical sculpture near St. Paul’s Cathedral London provides perfect reflections, even on a rainy day.
Smooth flowing architectural lines, smoothly polished concrete, smooth mirrored reflections on smooth water: La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia.
The obvious one: a rose, but using a pinhole lens to direct attention to the only subject here: the smooth petals.
Grotty old tyres in a rather grotty farmyard. But years of use has made their surfaces smooth, as moving close in demonstrates.
This is my second response to a photo challenge this week: that’s what happens when you get a bee in your bonnet. I’ll settle down soon, don’t worry.
This time, Patti invites us to change our perspective when taking a photo. Don’t just stand, point, shoot, she suggests. Crouch, squat, get above the action, take a tour round it.
The weather being what it is, I can’t get out much with my camera, so these are all from the archives.
This first one is perhaps my favourite, taken in Gloucestershire. I had to lie at the edge of a flower bed to get this shot of a house barely glimpsed through the ox-eye daisies. Photography as exercise class.
Here are some more shots, taken in much the same way, in gardens and fields.
I wish those alien leaves poking above the dead sunflower in Leran, France weren’t in the shot. This is a photo that’s not quite successful, technically, but It’s a shot I’d like to try again, because for me it’s very evocative of the place where it was taken.
Drystone wall, North Yorkshire.
Nosterfield Nature Reserve, North Yorkshire.
A meadow in Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire.
Gasholder development at King’s Cross, London.
And here are two more. The back end of a festive lunch, and flags at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg.
This really wasn’t a drunken orgy…
The EU Parliament, Strasbourg.
Click on any image to view the caption, and to see it full size.
Jude over at Travel Words has an ongoing photo challenge this year. Every week she asks us to consider a different aspect of photography, and look at ways of addressing it. I’m a bit late in my response, but … here goes.
How to photograph a subject using a background which is a pattern without distracting from the subject.
I chose three photos in the end, and in the case of the two taken at the Albert Dock Liverpool, I think the pattern becomes part of the story.
Here’s a double decker bus. A double decker bus which has been re-purposed as a diner. I could have gone in close and taken a ‘portrait’, but decided I wanted to show the bus as part of this community, serving among others perhaps, those unseen office workers in the geometrically-windowed building behind. Or even the deck hands in that ship.
Here, I was just inside a building near Tate Liverpool. All the action is outside. So this picture is back-to-front. The background is in the foreground, and behind it, the couple, waiting for … who knows? But they, more than the pattern, are the subject.
Finally, some street art in Hither Green, London. But which is the subject of this picture? The reflected light cast from an adjacent shop? Or the pattern-costumed whooping crane?
This has been fun and has made me start to think a bit more about my photos and how I might improve them. So thank you, Jude.