This month, Jude has asked us to find photos featuring brown. Well, I know about brown. Here is brown:
That’s right. Mud. We have mud everywhere.
I could cheer things up a bit however. Look at these. My featured photo was taken near Fountains Abbey only a few weeks ago, and here are more uplifting shots of the world in brown. We’ll start off with some that have been squared up – and can anybody help me identify that butterfly please?:
… and move on to a couple more autumnal scenes from Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal; a fish – part of a wall decoration at the Natural History Museum, London; tree bark: and our logs all stacked up for winter. Click on any photo for a close-up.
It’s been a strange Not-Quite-Christmas – in our case quite an enjoyable one, and today I’m going to offer a Not-Quite-Monday-Window. Why not? Eyes, it’s said, are the windows to your soul, and we saw plenty of eyes when we visited Knole Park the other Christmas with Team London. Those eyes belonged to some rather over-friendly sika deer. I’m not clear about whether deer have souls, but they they certainly provided a different sort of window through which we could remember our visit. Here’s a picture of me with my son and his son, as seen through the eyes of a passing deer.
Suddenly, autumn is almost over. Those rich burnished leaf tones of copper, gold, brass, bronze and rust are all but gone, released onto the woodland paths beneath the trees. It’s that final burst of colour that we love to celebrate: so how odd of me to choose trees as my subject for Jude’s Photo Challenge this week, where she invites us to look at shadow and texture in black and white. I thought it might be fun to allow craggy, nubbled trunks and bark centre stage, and to contrast them with the leaves, glossy this autumn from the rain that’s so often beaten them to the ground beneath the trees where they’ve been since spring time. And at the end, just a couple of trees reflected in different ways, at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The High Ride at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal
Two from the High Ride at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. The last image was taken a Kiplin Hall
Neptune is probably used to playing host to coastal residents. He seemed kindly disposed towards this gull alighting on his head, as he strode purposefully through the Moon Ponds at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal earlier this week.
Walking in Studley Royal the other day, my interest was kindled by an odd yelping call coming from one of the trees along my path. It wasn’t from any bird I recognised. That’s because it turned out not to be a bird, but a grey squirrel. An alarmed and agitated grey squirrel. This one.
I don’t know what the problem was – nothing that I could see. But he was at it as I arrived. I watched him for more than five minutes, and he was still at it as I went on my way. This is what he sounded like.
I’m back volunteering at Fountains Abbey, and every time I’m there, I’ll spend time in the ruined Abbey itself. I’ll gaze up at the voids which were once windows. Any stone tracery has long disappeared, revealing views of the sky and trees beyond. And I wonder what the monks saw, during their long hours of worship – eight sessions a day, the first at 2.00 a.m., when the night was charcoal-black and only smoky tallow candles lit the space? The ascetic Cistercians had no statuary in their churches, little stained glass, so the monks probably glimpsed a barely-to-be-discerned landscape beyond, through water-greenish, slightly uneven glass.
In her challenge this week, Jude has invited us to compare the same scene in colour, and in black and white. I thought it would be interesting to do this in a building in which colour plays little part. Surely there would be little difference? Well, apparently there is. I find the black and white version a little too austere for my tastes. What do you think?
And here’s a view of the Abbey with Huby’s Tower, which was completed a mere 13 years before Henry VIII brought the Fountains Abbey community to an end in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. I’ve tried to show it more as it might have looked then, set in a wilder landscape than the manicured parkland we see today. And when it came to the monochrome version – well, there’s black and white, and black and white. Again, there are choices here ….