A Flower (x 5): a Challenge (x 2)

Here’s a challenge for stay-at-home lockdown days.  In fact here are two challenges in one:

Right.  Well, I should take this seriously – I’m new to macro photography.

The garden’s ready and waiting.  That’s one thing sorted.  Tripod?  Well, I have a three-legged stool, and a pile of books so I can adjust the camera height – same thing really .

But the ground proves to be disappointingly uneven, and the slight breeze moves those cranesbill petals around.  The bees to whom I’d be happy to offer either a leading role or at least a bit-part are disappointingly uncooperative.  Maybe pick a few flowers and move indoors?

Card to display flowers on – check.  Tripod-substitute: one packet of tea and another book – check.  Nice even light streaming in through the window – check.  What could possibly go wrong?

So here we are.  Macro photos in the time of Covid 19.  Make do and mend rules.

Oh, and I thought I’d put the flowers in a bit of context and show them in our landlords’ garden.  We spend as much time there as they do.  Aren’t we lucky?

 

 

Lilac through the Window

Today, I’m going no further than my kitchen window.  The lilac has been glorious this year.  Is it because it has been – well – especially spectacular, or have we simply had more time to enjoy its big blowsy blooms and seductive smell?  It’s June now, and lilac has no place in the summer garden, so here is the view that has greeted us every breakfast time for about three weeks.  Can’t complain about that.

 

 

 

Monday Window

Playing with Light

Playing with light.  That’s what we’re doing this week for Jude’s photo assignment. I took each of my shots three times: as a simple automatic shot, in high key and in low key mode.

It’s probably me and the shots I chose, but in each case, working in high key did these subjects no favours, and simply made them look bleached and lifeless.  Low key however did add some drama.

I looked at my neighbour’s roses in the morning, took a walk at noon, and enjoyed the first of the petunias to show its face in the evening.

Here’s a little quiz.  Each of these shots is taken in high key, low key, automatic, or in toy – pinhole – mode.  But which one? Have a look at the gallery, before bringing up the shot full size to reveal the answer.

2020 Photo Challenge #20

Life on the Top Floor

Yesterday you had a peek at our sitting room window, from the outside.  Come on in.  We’ll go upstairs, into the kitchen.  This is our view from the breakfast table.  And it’s lilac time – almost.  White, mauve and purple, all in bud, all on the cusp of bursting into flower for one glorious week.   Our Top Time of year for breakfast beauty. Aren’t we lucky?

 

# Squaretops 30

Becky: thank you.  This month has been fun.  I’m not a natural daily blogger, but it’s been a challenge I’ve enjoyed to find a daily response, almost entirely from photos taken specially for ‘Top Squares’, and  I’ve ‘met’ bloggers I wouldn’t otherwise have come across.  I can’t resist ending as I began: with a Top Sheep-and a lamb or two.

The Secret Diary of a Garden

As promised earlier, I’ve kept a photo diary of a month in the life of the walled garden.  Too bad that my recently-repaired camera turned out not to have been repaired satisfactorily, and I’ve had to rely on my not-very-smart-smartphone.

So here we are, Sue: the walled garden, as it puts itself to bed for winter.  The Changing Seasons.

1st November. Here we are. Come in and explore.

 

5th November. You want me to go out in THIS?
12th November.
16th November.
23rd November. Oops. I forgot.  Until dead of night.
30th November. And just in time for the end of the month, a good hard frost. Winter’s on its way.

An entry for both Six Word Saturday, and The Changing Seasons.

November: Depressing? Or with Hidden Gems?

I really don’t like November.  It’s dank, dismal, dreary and depressing, despite being my elder daughter’s birthday month (my Bonfire Night baby).  I need a project to cheer me up.

I’ve found one.  I’ll take at least one photo in the walled garden, every single day throughout the month, come rain, come shine.

Then on Thursday I read Amy’s blog post in which she celebrates the changing season in Yosemite with a glorious gallery of photos.  She’s joined Sue’s blogging challenge called, of course, Changing Seasons.  That seems to be a perfect peg to hang my photos on.

My shots today show the garden on a thoroughly Novemberish sort of Friday: raining, of course.  Later on this month, I’ll post again.  Whatever the weather, I hope it’ll show that even in November, beginning with the final vestiges of summer, and winter setting in towards the end of the month, that the walled garden is a fine place to be.

 

This is also an entry for Six Word Saturday.

Autumn lines

I’m looking for lines.  Most obviously, they call to mind buildings, railways, pavements, washing lines, power lines: man-made kinds of things.  But Mother Nature does lines too, as we observed yesterday at Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate.  Lines of still-summery oak leaves edged against the sky.  Veins, dark against the now-glowing colours of the leaves.  A  tree trunk  reflected into the water as one long sinuous line.

So Becky, here are some more lines for your October Challenge: Lines and Squares.

An Apple a Day….

It was Apple Day at Ripon’s Walled Garden on Saturday.  We went along.

For me, it was a chance to revisit my childhood. Every Saturday, I’d go shopping with my mother to the Tachbrook Street Market.  My favourite stall was the greengrocer’s.  I’d try to add to my collection of prettily-decorated tissues used by the citrus fruit growers to wrap their produce.  I’d wonder at expensive exotica such as lychees or passion fruit.  But really, we’d come to buy.

And my mother taught me that apples aren’t simply apples.  There was something new to look forward to every month in autumn.  The eagerly anticipated first apple of all – the bright red Discovery, quickly followed by Beauty of Bath.  The Cox’s Orange Pippin of course, which we had to shake: it wasn’t ripe unless the pips rattled.  Blenheim Orange Laxton’s SupremeLaxton’s Superb. Worcester PearmainCharles RossJames Grieve. Egremont Russet, which I always associated with Bonfire Night, but which nowadays is already in the shops. Ribston PippinEllison’s Orange.  I learnt to love them all: some sharp and juicy; others more mellow, slightly less crisp; white-fleshed; creamy-fleshed; small; large; knobbly; oval; round – such variety.

Many of these have all but disappeared from the shops.  It’s all about large, white-fleshed, crisp apples.  Jazz, Pink Lady, Granny Smith – even Cox all seem much of a muchness. And half the time, when apple season is at its peak in England, they aren’t even from the UK.  Cookers these days are Bramley Seedlings.  Excellent of course, but where are the Lord Derbys, the Newton Wonders, the Grenadiers?

In places like Ripon’s Walled Garden, that’s where.  Look at my Rogue’s Gallery of all the varieties they still grow.

This display below piqued my interest.  I recently read Tracey Chevalier’s At the Edge of the Orchard, a partly-true story which begins in Ohio in Pioneering days.  A bit-part in the tale is played by an apple variety, Pitmaston Pineapple, that had been carefully brought over from Herefordshire. I’d never preciously heard of them, but … they’re still grown in Ripon.  I tasted one.  The so-called pineapple taste eluded me … but I was still glad to have eaten a little bit of history.

 

Ripon Walled Garden is Ripon’s best kept secret.  It’s a  a charity supporting young people and adults with learning difficulties to learn horticultural and catering skills in a sheltered environment.  Come here for a delectable tea-and-cake moment or a light meal, made using their fresh garden produce: sit at a table in the shade of the old apple trees in the well-tended and colourful garden. You’ll go home refreshed and happy.

Magical Meditative Moments

Come with me.  Come with me into the walled garden.  It doesn’t belong to us – it’s our landlord’s.  But it’s his joy, and his joy to share it with us.  We can see it – look – from our kitchen window.

So whenever the weather’s on our side, as it is today, that’s where we’ll be.

Where shall we sit?  Here? Right in the centre, where there’s space for friends as well?

Maybe here at the side.

Or tucked away at the very back.

Here there is utter peace: the flowers and shrubs, the main events changing now from high summer to autumn: the bees, fuzzing and humming in the background: the background birds – perhaps a skein of geese will fly squawking overhead on their way to our local nature reserve, then onward, onward to their winter residence.

It’s our magical place.  It’s where all thoughts of the dire state that our country is in are banished, and we live in the moment.

 

My entry for Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #63: Magical