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.

Walking in fog

Yesterday was foggy. All day. Yesterday, when I took a photo – the header photo – at Fountains Abbey, it was so murky I thought it could pass for a sepia image. I’m going to chance calling it monochrome anyway. And since we could barely see ahead of us, we focussed on the ground below. And were rewarded. This is rather a fine tree trunk, I think.

And these Giant Funnel Fungi are rather fine too. Regular readers know that I am keen on foraged food, but I’m glad I didn’t bring these home. Here’s what the website Wild Food says: ‘A large chunky mushroom which can be found in fairly large numbers and is edible to most but can cause gastric upsets in some. This doesn’t really matter as the mushrooms are usually infested with maggots, even when young, making them more maggot than flesh. Not so appetising then … but look how huge they are! That’s a bit of my boot at the bottom of the frame.

This is the last day of November, a month in which Becky has been encouraging us to get out walking, whatever the weather. I’m glad I’ve joined her, and everyone who’s participated in Walking Squares. Thank you!

And I’m going to see if my header photo squeezes in as a Mid-Week Monochrome.

I nearly forgot. It’s destined for Jo’s Monday Walk as well.

Colour? Or Black & White?

I would like to try an experiment today: and I’d like your help. This week, Jude, of Cornwall in Colours, has set the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #226, and has asked us to focus on illustrating texture. I started browsing through my archives, and then I read Sarah of Travel with Me‘s contribution. She had decided to showcase her choices in monochrome, which she felt highlighted texture better than colour. I immediately agreed with her.

And then. I wasn’t so sure. Here are my choices, shown both ways. I’m not using WordPress’ Image Compare feature, which irritates me, as I can never see either image properly. Click on any image you would like to see full-size.

Let’s try a typical North Yorkshire landscape. It’s the drystone wall that interests me.

Near Grimwith, North Yorkshire

Or some grasses…

A field somewhere near home.

What about a slightly dilapidated farmyard shed?

Near Hovingham, North Yorkshire.

Or a farmyard hen?

A friendly neighbourhood hen.

Or a weathered wall in Newcastle?

Or an even more weathered olive tree in Greece?

One of the ancient olive trees of Agios Achillios

And then there’s the featured image of course, not shown in colour. Any guesses?

I’m offering this post to Bren too, for her Mid-Week Monochrome #115

And just one more final offering. Becky, for her #Walking Squares, has been out in all weathers. Let’s offer her the makings of a roaring fire.

Monday Fog, Mid-week rain, mid-week Monochrome

Look out of the window any day this week, but particularly yesterday, and you’d have seen a scene in glorious monochrome. Leaden skies, rain tumbling from the skies, hour after hour. As the header picture shows. Monday hadn’t been as rainy. Instead we had fog. Monochrome fog.

Some of the pictures were taken as I spent time at Fountains Abbey out in said rain – and against expectations, enjoying every soggy moment of it.

These though are taken at various locations in North Yorkshire, and in fog rather than rain:

And here are three more, for Becky’s Walking Squares:

I couldn’t resist a few more (sodden) tree roots from Fountains, but the water shot, and the desiccated cow parsley come from walks – who knows where?

Bren’s Mid-Week Monochrome #114

Becky’s Walking Squares

Younger trees, old tree

Today I’m taking you (again) to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. We’ll walk up the High Ride, through glades of trees, in relatively young maturity …

… before descending to saunter through the parkland of Studley Royal. I’ve got a lot of ancient trees to show you next week, but today I’ll show you just one. A cherry tree, or what’s left of it. It’s about 400 years old, which is unfathomably old for a fruit tree. I must say it looks its age. But isn’t it remarkable?

A newer branch has somehow grown from that ancient trunk.

For Becky’s Walking Squares, and Bren’s Midweek Monochrome.

Music for Monks?

A concert in the cellarium of Fountains Abbey last Saturday.

Pitch black, cold.

The singers gather,

muffled up.

Sing loudly, like long-gone monks -

conquering the dark.

And to lower the tone, that’s the scene once the audience had departed.

For Bren’s Mid-Week Monochrome.


	

Midweek Monochrome of Mossyard

Google photos has a happy habit of reminding me of what I was up to this day one year, two years, three years (and so on) ago. Today it pointed out that in 2020, just after the worst of Lockdown was over, we escaped briefly to Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland. And there we discovered Mossyard Bay.

Let’s take a virtual trip: there’s not a fairground ride, amusement arcade or kiss-me-quick hat in sight.  There’s not even a chippie.  Just us, the rocky shore, and the sea, advancing or retreating with the tide. Happy memories, translated into monochrome.

For Bren’s Mid-Week Monochrome #106, and as suggested by Sarah, of Travel with Me fame. Bren herself takes us to the Nidd Gorge, my back yard when I lived in Harrogate: while Sarah, for her post, is in her favourite city, Paris.