… 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.
Mud. I can’t be doing with it. Viscous, squelchy, squishy, sticky, over-the-top-of-your-boots kind of mud. We’ve had ground slick with treacly mud here for weeks and weeks. But then there’s also Cabin Fever, and the need to plan a walk for our walking group in a fortnight’s time, when spring might have sprung. Walking won out over yet another day indoors.
My friend Chris and I set forth for the Yorkshire Dales, parked up in Lofthouse, and set off. Really, it could have been worse. It was a full twenty minutes before we came upon our first serious mudbath: prior to that we’d only had water-on-the-path to deal with.
But climbing now, we saw what the fields were like: yes, those are fields you’re looking at. Gouthwaite Reservoir’s not here: it’s over there in the distance.
We had our rewards though. The views: the remnants of a snowscape: sheep – and oh look! Our very first lambs of the season – a little huddle of black ones, and just one snowy specimen with its mum.
The last remnants of the snow.
Nidderdale, between Lofthouse and Ramsgill.
White mums, black lambs.
A single lamb resting near its mother.
Middlesmoor in the distance.
Surveying the scene.
This sheep inspected us as we sat on a log for a snack.
And then, a pleasant surprise. The café at How Stean Gorge was open – on a weekday in February! Coffee and home-made cake while enjoying the view of the stream jostling and hurrying through its narrow ravine. I forgot to take a photo for Jo, but the website shows the Yorkshire Slice Chris and I shared.
We were on the home straights now. All we had to do was struggle up a steepish hill to the now barely-populated village of Middlesmoor. Just outside its church, on the path that plunges down to our starting point are thoughtfully-provided seats. This is one of the best views in England, and despite the wind, we wanted to appreciate it.
And then, half way down the hill- a traffic jam. This herd of cattle blocked our path. The farmer asked us if we’d mind waiting five minutes. He turned out to have a countryman’s clock, but no matter: we weren’t going to argue with all those cows.
More mud …
… and more mud …
Finally, the cows moved on, and so did we. We got back to the car just as the rain, and then the sleet, started once more.
This week’s Lens Artist Challenge has us going on a Treasure Hunt. I didn’t think I’d participate at first. I am, after all, a snapshot-ist rather than a photographer, and I know that the photos I value are weighted with memories rather than with a photographer’s skill.
But it’s been a grotty weekend (again) and a trip through the archives has been fun, and wakened many memories. So let’s go…
Challenge Items: Sunrise and/or sunset, Something cold and/or hot, a bird, a dog, a funny sign, a bicycle, a seascape and/or mountain landscape, a rainbow, a church, a musical instrument, a boat, a plane, a waterfall.
Extra Credit Items: An expressive portrait of one or more people, a very unusual place, knitting or sewing, a fish, an animal you don’t normally see, a bucket, a hammer, a street performer, a double rainbow, multiple challenge items in a single image.
This is Cádiz, where we were in January. It’s the place for sunsets, and in this case, the place for boats too. Two items ticked off.
One day in Seville, we went to the market in Triana, on the other side of the River Guadalquivir. This was lunch. Something hot.
A godwit at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. A happy day with our daughter-in-law’s mum, who knows about birds.
This is Brian, who’s moved on from living with my daughter’s family. As a puppy, he was keen on sticks.
There’s an electricity substation near the cemetery in Esperaza, France. This sign always pleased us.
I chose this bicycle from Seoul, South Korea, loaded up with lunch time meals, cooked in tiny kitchens, and delivered to workers on site.
My photos of rainbows were all a little samey-samey, so instead I’ve chosen reflections on the floor of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Hull Minster, reflected in a nearby office building.
Mark’s tuba is centre stage in one of North Yorkshire for Europe’s demonstrations outside the Houses of Parliament in the days when we still hoped to remain in the EU.
Well, this isn’t a waterfall. But I couldn’t resist this pond near the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, with its atmospheric clouds of vapour.
And now it’s time for bonus points:
A woman filleting fish at Jagalchi Market, Busan, South Korea – perhaps the largest fish market in the world.
There’s always a yarn- bombing display in the Market Place in Thirsk. This one celebrated the NHS.
William, while he was still a toddler, plays with his bucket and spade.
Traditional drumming for Chuseok, the big family festival in Korea.
If you click on any image that appeals to you, you’ll find a bit of a story about it. Then more easily ‘visit’ all the photos in that series. Thanks Tina: I’ve had fun hunting through the archives.