Monday Portraits: Herons

Wildlife

The river down the track from us is a favourite fishing ground for herons. I love to watch them as they patiently watch too, for fish. And I love it too that wherever we travel, we’re likely to see local herons about their business. The one in the featured photo lives on the Guadalquivir in Córdoba, but his routines seem just the same as those of our Yorkshire birds.

This one lives in Kew Gardens, and the heavy rain makes him look a little out of focus:

Here are a few more:

 Elke of Pictures Imperfect demonstrates that the black-and-greyness of these birds makes them ideal for Jude’s Life in Colour challenge, as she’s seeking shots that are black and grey this month.

A walk in the grey dawn

North Yorkshire, Walking, Weather

Since clock change, I’ve been unable to wake up later than 5 o’clock. So inspired by Becky’s walk at sunrise, and by the clear sky last night, I was out by 6.00 to catch the sun’s first rays. But it was cloudy – thick cross-patch grey. And my phone doesn’t do low light levels. But here’s my early morning photo-diary. With not a sunrise in sight.

These images may be grey and black enough for Jude’s Life in Colour. And can multi-task for Jo’s Monday Walk too. AND Six Word Saturday as well

Black Monday? Or Grey Monday? Or Out-and-About Monday?

England, London, Spain

It is a grey Monday outside. And Jude has invited us to celebrate grey and black in this month’s Life in Colour challenge. Let’s go on one of our mini-breaks and see what we can find. We’ll start in London:

We’re walking down the South Bank here. That’s the Oxo Tower in the distance.

Oh, but maybe London’s too obvious as a starting place. Let’s start from Gateshead instead, and join a group gazing out of the window from the Baltic Centre.

We’re off to Spain now. We’ll stop off in Seville. You may need a comfort break by now, so we’ll stop off at the public toilets in Plaza de España, and enjoy the reflections we can see in its glass walls.

Plaza de España, Seville

Shadows from street lights as evening falls, but we get away in time to see the Alhambra in Granada illuminated at night – it’s the featured photo.

Shadows in Seville

We’ll pop across the next day to see my daughter in Premià de Mar. It’s silhouettes and sunny shadows there.

This is only a mini-break. We’ll go home via Whitby and just have a stroll to the end of the pier. There are always cormorants there. And seagulls on the rooftops.

Time for home now. Goodnight!

Orange you glad…?

Blogging challenges, France, Gardens, Ripon, Spain

This month’s Life in Colour invites us to look at orange. Happy to help. I’ll grab your attention in the feature photo, with a rather orange sky.

When I got my new phone, my not-at-all top-of-the range, bargain-basement smartphone, I discovered that it had a feature called ‘spot colour’. I tried it out in the garden, and in the woods, making orange my spot colour of choice. Here are some results:

Now let’s abandon the gimmicks, and simply go for a walk along Ripon Canal on this early autumn day:

And let’s remember past moments in Valencia, and in Le Jardin Extraordinaire for Becky’s Past Squares:

Shall we end with a single perfect rose ….

… or with a bit of fun – the play food I made for William and Zoë’s kitchen?

Golden moments at break of day … and sunset

Blogging challenges, Spain, Yorkshire

My last couple of posts have not been light-hearted. I took you for a walk across a stark and austere landscape. I invited you to read a number of stark and austere books. Since Jude’s Life in Colour is all about gold this month, I thought I’d hunt out – not very original of me, I know – a few sunrises and sunsets. These can get their golden vibe by being yellowish rather than reddish, but they’re gleaming, resplendent, hopeful, bright.

My featured photo, and the one below come from  L’Albufera de València, a natural freshwater lagoon that is home to thousands of birds – and fish too of course. Its sunsets are a wonder on any day of the year. But I particularly like the understated dirty-golden glow in these two shots.

 L’Albufera de València

Travelling’s tough these days. Better to stay local and get up early, and enjoy the sunrise just near the house. These two shots show our river, the Ure, at daybreak in spring.

Or just a little later, in the parkland of Sleningford Hall …

Sleningford Hall

You’d still sooner be abroad? Best take a ferry then …

Rotterdam- Hull ferry: a view from the deck.

And we’ll head straight for Granada. We might get there just in time for the sunset.

Granada

A Very Old Post Box

Blogging challenges, England, North Yorkshire

See this little window? It’s not very spectacular, being at one side of the old cottage shown in the featured photo, in the nearby village of Studley Roger. But I think it’s quite privileged. It’s just above one of the oldest post boxes in the area, one of the diminishing number of post boxes still to exist from the reign of Queen Victoria. Its design means it can’t have existed before 1857, and it’s certainly 19th century in origin. So the window earns its fifteen minutes of fame as a Monday Window, and the box itself as a bonus for Jude’s Life in Colour, which this month celebrates the colour red.

Monday Window

A Red Letter Day?

Blogging challenges, England, Germany, Spain

This month, Jude is inviting us to hunt for red in her Life in Colour challenge. So let’s go on a Virtual Day Trip and hunt for red. I think we’ll travel in the bus that was conveniently parked in the next village when the Tour de France came to Yorkshire. West Tanfield is also where we see the poppies in the featured photo.

We’ll whip over to Bradford first, call in at the Bombay Stores, and get some headgear for you chaps.

Still in Yorkshire, we’ll pop in to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see Damian Hirst’s Virgin Mother.

Berlin next. We’ve only time to wander down a handsome street …

… before arriving for a quick visit to the Berlin Wall.

Right. That’s Germany done. Straight off to Spain. Are you peckish yet? Seeing all these peppers, tomatoes and pots of Moorish-style tea has made me think of food.

Where next? We could catch a wedding in Seville …

… and please don’t tell me we’ve come to Córdoba just to see this garage door.

We’ll forget that by visiting La Concepción Historical Botanical Gardens, Málaga.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve nearly had enough for one day. Time for a glass of wine, I think …

Then there’s just time to write a few postcards, and post them in that perky pillar box I know in Buxton.

I’ve realised that Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge is also about the colour red. Let’s make this post multi-task!

A History of a Holiday in Fifteen Trees and Twenty Blues

Blogging challenges, Spain

Typical of me to miscount. This isn’t the last day of the month. But these are my last squares. Alongside my one and only square today are other shots, mainly in blue, for Jude’s monthly Life in Colour challenge. They’re all included as a final salute to our memorable month in Spain – until Monday, that is, when I’ll showcase the clothes lines that we spotted for Andrew’s Monday Washing Lines.

A palm tree in Premià: with a backdrop of the blue skies we saw day after day after day.

TreeSquare And thanks, as ever, for your Squares challenge Becky. A lovely month of choosing, squaring and sharing images of trees, ‘our most intimate connection with nature’ ( George Nakashima)

A Whiter Shade of White?

Blogging challenges

Casting around for suitable ideas for Jude’s Life in Colour – White – challenge, I remembered a post I’d written two years ago. Not only does it work for Jude (up to a point) but it fits the bill for Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Here it is:

IDENTICAL?

I’ve never been much good at twiddling with the controls on my camera.  I even joined a photography course recently, in an effort to get to grips with apertures, shutter speeds and ISO controls.  But it just made my head hurt, and I reverted to ‘Automatic’ as my default modus operandi.  I decided I’m a snaphot-ist, not a photographer.

Yesterday however, just for a bit of fun, and having an hour to spare, I turned to the ‘palette’ settings and took an identical shot using every single one. Though I forgot to take one on ‘Automatic’, so the tale isn’t quite complete. Can’t do it now. This little twig of blossom (cherry?), a chance discovery found in the road, wilted in the night.

Which do you like best?  As ever, click on any image to see it full size.  They’re in strict alphabetical order – no favouritism here.

Bleach by-pass

Three posts in three days. That’s a bit much. But I’ve pushed out all my last thoughts before taking a blogging break. I just might post the odd thing – such as Six Degrees of Separation at the start of next month – but so total will be my break that – sorry – I may not even read your offerings, fellow bloggers.