Messages in the Street

Walk along any street, anywhere, and it won’t be long before you come across a message. Maybe light-hearted, like this one spotted in Liverpool …

… maybe political. You can’t go far in Catalonia, Spain without coming across messages and slogans demanding independence. These shots were all taken in Berga, where the mood of virtually the entire population there was not in doubt.

The next shots were all taken when thousands of us took to the streets, again and again, in 2018 and 2019 voicing our misgivings about the prospect of Brexit. It gives us no satisfaction whatever to see that our fears were entirely justified.

In India, I saw messages that were more like public service announcements ..

And in Edinburgh, in the National Museum of Scotland, this …

Inuksuk, by Peter Irniq, 1998, uses a traditional technique used by the Inuit to convey messages about good fishing grounds etc.

Let’s end though, as we began, with a message, this time in Thessaloniki, simply intended to bring good cheer …

For Donna’s Lens-Artists Challenge #234: Messages

Flashback Friday Looks Skywards

Eight years ago, none of us knew that five years later, our local tracks – the only ones permitted to us during our Lockdown Daily Exercise – would become almost as familiar to us as our own garden path. This is a post I wrote about a nearby walk on January 27th 2015, when I thought that I’d seen all there was to be seen locally. I was wrong as it happened, and later realised how very much more there was to discover when Lockdown provided the incentive. For Fandango’s Flashback Friday.

Only Sky

The days are short
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.


John Updike, 'January', A Child’s Calendar

A bright winter’s afternoon.  Just time, before the evening cold sets in, to get out for a couple of hours of brisk walking: 5 miles or so along familiar paths.  So familiar that this time, I focus on the sky: changeable, unpredictable.

Sometimes it’s moody, sometimes cheerful, sometimes simply rather grey and colourless: at other times dramatic, particularly towards sunset.  Come and walk with me to watch the clouds.

Perfect patterns

It’s been a busy week, and I’ve a feeling I shan’t be blogging again before Christmas, but I just had to have a go at posting a few photos for Ann-Christine’s Lens-Artists Challenge this week : Perfect Patterns. I’m going to let the images speak for themselves this time. We’ll have two galleries: man-made patterns, every one of them from Spain …

And now the natural world, not one of them from Spain, or indeed from outside the UK:

Click on any image to get its label: and only a label this time: no stories, no history, no nothing. Sorry!

The featured image is a ceiling in the Palau de la Musica, Barcelona.

What have diagonal lines ever done for me?

That is the question posed by Patti, for this week’s Lens Artists’ Challenge #228. Well, not done for me exactly, but done for my photos. Have a photos diagonal lines invited us in, encouraged us to explore the picture, or to focus on some detail?

Let’s have a look, and have a bit of a trip out too.

We’ll start off close to home, one cold wintry morning as I went to get the paper. Those rays of sunshine enlivened the scene, and my mood.

Here are two more, from just down the road. A tree which instead of reaching skywards, leans across the woods to demand a place centre-stage for the whole shot. And ox-eye daisies splicing the image in half, showing us there’s countryside, not a garden beyond.

A trip to the seaside? Alnmouth in Northumbria?

This quiet beach looks dramatic when the tide’s out.

Brussels now. A bank of plate glass windows reflects the opposite side of the road to dramatic effect. Monochrome too, for Bren’s Mid-Week Monochrome.

Off to Spain now. All those dizzy hairpin bends in Cantabria invite us to explore.

Then two more scenes – one from Cádiz, the other from Valencia. Those diagonals pull us in to explore the cathedral in one, the reflections in the other.

This shot, from Alicante, uses the ropes on a yacht as a frame for the scene beyond.

Alicante

I’ve hesitated over whether to include this last shot in what is essentially a light-hearted post. But this photo – not a particularly original one as so many others have taken similar shots – has stayed with me. It’s Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. These are the railway lines that brought so many thousands of Jews on their very last journey. I wrote about it here.

I decided on balance to include it, as the relative optimism I felt when I wrote that post five years ago has disappeared in the light of world events over the last couple of years: and we shouldn’t forget.

We’re going on a Deer Walk …

I went on a bit of a safari yesterday. Only down the road to Studley Royal’s deer park. Here are some snippets from the afternoon.

Autumn is the time of the rut, when stags compete to get the biggest and best harem of does, to secure their own blood like survives to the next generation. They wallow in the mud to leave their sexy scent behind, score trees and trash vegetation- they may even aim to toss leaves and grasses to their antlers to make them look even more imposing. We saw none of these behaviours. But we did hear them roaring and making that strange loud roaring belching noise that can be heard from quite a distance, and which warns other males that They Mean Business.

It doesn’t pay to get too near to deer at this – or indeed at any other – time of year, so all of my photos use zoom at its highest setting, which doesn’t make for the crispest of images. But you’ll know you’re in the deer park when you see trees looking like this. That horizontal finish you can see is the browse line – the highest that a red deer on its hind legs can reach to get a mouthful of leaves.

We saw these fellahs next. They’re young stags. They know they haven’t got a hope this year of attracting the females, so they just sit it out. Maybe a bit of play-fighting to get a bit of practice in, but really … it’s just not their party. That first one posed for Monday Portrait.

On we walked. Over the old bridge where females often give birth and shelter their young, to the crest of a hill where we have far-reaching views over to Ripon and the North York Moors beyond, And below, deer: fallow deer and sika deer, browsing and grazing together, with their stags keeping a proprietorial eye on them. We kept our distance and just enjoyed watching them.

Younger, older, does and stags …

Then onward, past the sweet chestnut trees they love so much at this time of year, for their tasty chestnuts, past a popular wallowing place (oops, forgot to take a photo).

So let’s finish our walk with a few shots of those views I mentioned.

In the shot above, that’s Ripon down below. The eagle-eyed will just be able to spot the cathedral in the centre of the shot, in the distance.

For Monday Portrait and Jo’s Monday Walk.

The Power of Yellow

Goodness, we all need some brightness in our lives just now. The unremitting bad news every time we turn on a news bulletin. The fiasco calling itself the British government. And if all that’s not bad enough, the clocks turn back at the end of the month, leaving us plunged into the darkness of winter.

Leya’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #221 this week gives us an opportunity. Ann-Christine asks us to showcase our favourite flowers. Well, that’s a bit of a task. But what I do know is that a yellow flowers always brings me cheer. The earliest aconites. The first bright-faced daffodils poking through the ground at the beginning of spring. Primroses. Celandines. Even dandelions and fields of rape. Vivid gorse bushes pointing our way on a country or seaside walk. Or – and this is where we’ll begin, summer sunflowers. They always bring a smile to my face as they gradually turn their faces throughout the day to face the rays of the sun. Bees constantly scramble over the heads crammed with seed that will feed the birds – and us – over winter.

Even their hangdog look as they droop and die is characterful.

For the rest, I’ll just give you a small gallery of some of the yellow flowers that bring me cheer year after year, in public places, in gardens, in farmers’ fields and in city streets.

A Landscape at Harewood House

After visiting Harewood House, a visit to the grounds seems a good idea. Maybe the formal garden just beyond the house. Maybe the Bird Garden. Or maybe just a stroll in the managed landscape of Capability Brown, overlooking Wharfedale beyond. Come.

Let’s approach those trees. I wonder what we could see beyond?

Keep walking ….

… closer …

Ah! There’s a view …

… or there was.