Monday, 9 August 2010

Laptop blues..days 30 -

Ok, I'm still using the laptop and not really enjoying the experience.  We've also had illness in the family - (my mother-in-law broke her hip but is thankfully mending well), and I have fallen a little behind with my posting.  But, I have some time this evening and also the inclination so here's a bit of a catch up.

# 30/365  The bottle brush flowers  attract many, many bees and wasps as well as other insects. 

# 31/365 View from the office.  I'm very lucky to work in a place where there are many plants and flowers, lots of green space and trees.  This is a detail from a hanging basket  - one of a pair outside my office window.

en pointe

# 32/365  Ah, tea........This is the only photograph I took on this particular day, which was a loooooong day and this mug of tea at about 9.30 p.m. was a lifesaver!  I used my favourite handpainted mug (there's a ladybird in relief on the other side) which my mum bought for me about 10 years ago for comfort.  No-one else is allowed to use it!

with milk and sugar

# 33/365   -  We seek him here, we seek him there

The mystery has been solved, the truth revealed, but no-one has been beheaded.  Imagine my delight when I identifed the tiny red wildflower as a scarlet pimpernel.  The link has some fabulous close up photographs of this lovely little flower and although we don't have it in abundance, I'm hopeful for next year!

that demned elusive pimpernel

Monday, 2 August 2010

Computer crisis, seeing trees and a mystery - days 27 - 29

My son's computer is faulty - eeeek!  He has been as patient as a 17 year old can be, but finally cracked, so he has borrowed my clunky old machine (it doesn't have a handle to turn on the side, but it's not far off).  That means that I'm using a laptop and unfortunately I find laptops a little difficult to get used to.  So doing anything takes about three times as long as usual :(

Anyway, I've hooked up the external hard-drive with my photographs, downloaded the ones on my camera and off we go!  

# 27/365  Fallen petals - I don't know whether the correct term is petals for a bottlebrush plant, but whatever they're called, they appear in a wonderful burst of warm red, attract bees and wasps for a few days and then start to fall. 

flowers within a flower

# 28/365  Do you see what I see?   After a rain shower, I was in the garden and as I turned to go back into the house, I saw these patterns on the window sill.  This is a detail from the photographs that I took; they looked (to me) like trees speading out their large, sheltering branches.  All that I've done with this is crop it slightly and add green tint.  Perhaps to you it won't look anything like a tree, and perhaps this is where the title of this blog comes into its own!

 In a forest?

# 29/365   It's a small daisy...  This is another wildflower that has appeared in the wild patch in the garden,  It is tiny, vivid red, and really beautiful.  It's so small I found it difficult to take a picture of it and also decided to include the daisy in the shot for scale.  There are quite a few of these have appeared - tiny, tiny flowers and I haven't been able to discover what they are.  If anyone can help out I would be very grateful.

BTW - I HATE laptops!!!!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

what day is it.....?! Days 23 - 26.

Time, as they say, is flying and the days have turned into a bit of a blur just recently.  I haven't been visiting as many blogs as I really want to, and have not been taking anywhere near as many photographs as I would like.  Hopefully things will calm down over the next few days and I'll be able to catch up with everyone.  Fingers crossed!

# 23/365 - I'm sure it's a wasp...

The bottle brush seems to attract as many wasps as bees, and that explains why not every detail is clear in the shot above.  I was standing as far away as possible without using the zoom and I chose this one because of the contrast of colours (including the blues and purples in my blouse!)

# 24/365  - Fresh Garbage

This is a scarf that I bought many, many, many years ago in Fresh Garbage in Belfast, a shop that is just about big enough for a couple of people to browse in at the same time.  At one time I would have bought lots of things for myself from there - indian cotton dresses and scarves, silver jewellry, incense - now I go in to buy presents for the younger generation!  I've had this red & gold scarf for so long and I still use it because I LOVE it, although it's soon going to have to be upcycled into something else, as it is now very worn in places.  I'm not getting rid of it though!

# 25/386 - burning spice in the evening

# 26/365 - beside the forget me nots

Another wildflower, which I haven't identified yet, that has turned up in the little wild patch in the garden.  The flowers are slightly larger than the forget me nots and are very, very pretty. 

Monday, 26 July 2010

Catching up - Days 19 - 22

The last few days have gone from being quite hectic (in work) to very lazy (over the weekend).  We spent some time in Co. Down over the weekend, at Delamont Country Park and from there it's only a short drive to Castle Ward, which is where we spent last Saturday (I'll be posting some of the photographs from there on my other blog here).

Now, which number are we at...?  
On Thursday evening the sun was beautiful and the reflections on the telephone wires were very pretty; on the coiled wire it looked as if there were droplets all the way along.  I've used a process on this from picnik called orton-ish, which creates an effect named for Michael Orton. It's a kind of glowy, saturated effect which is very dreamy.
# 19/365

On Friday I was really pleased to see that I had another poppy in amongst the Forget me nots, so this is a kind of deja vu because there was a poppy on Day 4.  Still pink...

# 20/365

We visited Castle Ward on Saturday and had a great time, albeit that the weather wasn't great.  The grounds are beautiful though LARGE (there's a 14 mile walk that you can do, and NO, before you ask, we didn't!), and the house is just lovely, with so many quirky and eccentric qualities. 

One of the features of the grounds is a Sunken Garden, which has a surrounding wall.  The wall and the four sets of steps down into the garden are time-worn and made from absolutely gorgeous brickwork, mellowed and colourful.  I couldn't resist taking a photograph of one set of steps.

# 21/365 steps back in time

Just to give an idea of the elegance and beauty of the sunken garden, this is a photograph from the terrace above it

After spending all day in Castle Ward on Saturday, we were very lazy on Sunday and spent the morning reading, chatting, dozing, not moving and so the photograph for Sunday is one that I took from my chair, of Mr Pugh's recently vacated chair opposite.  In my defense, the colours and shapes were strong, with a nice abstract design to them, but still......truthfully, if I had to move, I didn't photograph it!

# 22/365 -  lazy Sunday 

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Days 17 & 18 - shadows and reflections

Yesterday, I noticed that many of the Yellow Loosestrife flowers had fallen and were decorating the grass underneath the plant.  My plan to take photographs of them there was hastily revised because the flowers are also lying below the Bottle Brush plant, which is in bloom and full of bees and wasps!  I gathered up a few of the flowers and beat a hasty retreat, because I am a coward where wasps are concerned.

This, then, is the alternative version.  What really appealed to me about them is that the flowers seem to fall without damage or without being withered - they look perfect.  It was also in the evening and the sun was bright but the shadows were long.

# 17/365

I was torn between the shot of the loosestrife and one of a sycamore seed that was also taken yesterday evening, in the bright sunlight.  The texture of the seed and the evening shadow that was cast were very satisfying.  The colours in the Loosestrife finally won me over so I used that one, but go on, have a look at the other as well!

Today's photograph is processed using the lomo effect on picnik.  This afternoon we had a thunderstorm and although the sun was bright and warm by the time I arrived home, the washing line still had a line of droplets.  

I took a couple of shots and was really intrigued by the way that the reflection of the yellow plastic line gave the larger drops a solid looking base, and made the smaller drops look as if they were moulded into the plastic.  I don't often get frustrated by my lack of skill in photography, as I enjoy the whole thing and am quite philosphical about my abilities.  This is one time, however, when I really wanted to be better.  

Anyway, this has been cropped and lomo'd (I don't think that's  a word, by the way).

# 18/365

Monday, 19 July 2010

Day 16 - humour me

For a fuller discussion of this book please have a look at my other blog, Too Much at Random.  

# 16/365 - Augustus Carp

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Day 15 - now in colour

I enjoyed trying out the b&W yesterday, and will try again but I can't do without colours for long.  Taking advantage of the "back to school" offers, (which seem earlier every year, a bit like Christmas shopping) I bought myself a set of acrylic colours :D.

I haven't used acrylics for MANY years and very likely the best result that will come from them is the photograph below.  It's very unlikely that any painting produced will ever see the light of day!  I intend to enjoy them, though and am quite childishly excited about starting.

# 15/365 -

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Day 14 in black and white

I was very inspired today by a post on Vision and Verb, in which Sue describes an assignment in her photography class.  The task was to use the digital camera in b & w mode instead of processing the shots into b & w from the original colour.

It's a post that's well worth reading, because it describes what it's like to be taken out of your comfort zone and to try something different.  I decided that I'd try that today and took a series of shots in b & w, which involved looking at subjects and lighting very differently and being really surprised at the range of subjects that work very well.  I crave colour in my own photographs and yet love looking at other people's b & w shots, so this was a bit of a challenge, but for me the idea of the 365 project is to be able to look back and see where I've tried different things and been inspired to try something new.  

So there are two shots today.

# 14a/365 Acoustic - This is a detail of the battered and much loved acoustic guitar belonging to a friend of my son

# 14b/365 - Pipecleaner hands.  The photograph is of a doll made from a bobbin, and I think was a reproduction of the type of doll that a mill-worker's children might have played with, in the absence of other toys.  

Friday, 16 July 2010

One extreme to the other - Days 12 & 13

Yesterday (Thursday 15/7) turned out to be a bit of a washout due to a migraine (see my other blog for gory details).  I finally got up in the evening and staggered round making a cup of tea, until I felt a bit more like myself.  Taking photographs of any quality was out of the question, the best I could do was photograph a nectarine that had a bite taken out of it and looking at it today, it was so uninteresting that I had to turn to picnik to do something with it.  I tried to reflect the inside and outside of my skull  when suffering a migraine!

Day 12/365 - OUCH

Today was a complete contrast - came home feeling fine and did chores, including hanging out washing and then took some pictures.  I have to confess that I have a thing about hanging out washing.  Similar items have to be hung together, socks are hung in pairs, and I like decent clothespegs.  Seeing a line full of washing (that I've done)  on a bright afternoon makes me VERY happy - sad but true.

Day 13/365  NOT an advert...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Days 6 - 11

Having spent the weekend plus a day or two relaxing and doing very little other than reading, sleeping and taking pictures, it's now - as we say here in NI - back to porridge!  So with my first day back at work behind me, I'm spending a little time sorting out photographs and here are my shots for the last few days.

# 6/365 - Sweet pea.  A small bunch of beautiful, fragrant flowers from my in-laws' garden.

# 7/365 Bog meadow - part of a bog habitat in Carnfunnock Country Park.

# 8/365 - I give you summer hours - the beautiful, weathered face of a sundial in Carnfunnock Time Garden.

# 9/365  - the picnics are over, at least for this rather sad, abandoned table.

# 10/365 the sun peeping over the old wall in Carnfunnock's walled garden, casting the shadows of the plants and highlighting the remains of the metalwork embedded in the bricks.

# 11/365 - Spice
The subject for today's shot came to me while I was thinking about making our evening meal, and the ingredients I needed for it.  The spices here include cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and a mixture called Ras El Hanout, a North African spice rub which has various ingredients including rose petals.  I wish that I could have captured the scent as well as the colours.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Day 5 - Soundtrack to summer

#5/365 - ear defense


One of the things that I am very grateful for is that our teenager has many things to occupy him throughout the summer.  None of them involve a summer job, mind you.  He's very musical, however, playing both guitar and drums, so rehearsing as well as building a recording studio with his friends (ie repairing the garden shed that they're going to use) is taking up most of his time.  Given the choice of that or having him aimlessly hanging around - well there's no contest.  

Mind you (and this is where the photograph comes in) there are SOME drawbacks.  I've never understood why it's the person PLAYING the drums who gets to wear the ear defenders.  The photograph above is taken after he finished a practice.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Day 4

I had a choice of photographs to post for Day 4.  The reflections in the image from yesterday made me want to experiment a little with them, and I came up with something that's kind of abstract.

Then I spotted something in the garden, in a patch of grass that my husband had to replace because we had building materials stored there.  I'm not sure what he patched it with, but we now have a lovely little bit of wildflower garden, with forget-me-nots and a beautiful pink flower that I think may be a poppy.  So I took a picture of that!  

I have decided to post them both, and if I had tried I couldn't have come up with two more contrasting images, but if 365 is a record of where you are on a particular day, then ok - this is where I've been!

#4a/365 in the air

#4b a small surprise

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Day 3

I had some time alone in the house this evening,  so took advantage of the lack of nosy parkers and teenage eye rolling to do something that I haven't done for a long time....I painted a picture!!  

I watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - (that's the one with Gene Wilder, the man born to play Willy Wonka!) for the umpteenth time on Sunday, and so produced something with colours and swirls and lollipop shapes.  It was brilliant (the activity, definitely NOT the finished painting)!!  Maybe someday I'll have enough confidence in THAT nonsense to post it, but for the moment here's a photograph I took of the used brushes and water.  I had set them at the window in the kitchen and noticed the reflections.

# 3/365  Finished


Monday, 5 July 2010

Day 2

#2/365 A gift returned

This is a photograph of a ceramic dish that I bought as a gift for my mum many years ago, while I was in my teens or early 20's.  After mum died last year, it came back to me; I'm glad to give it a home.

Day One of 365

I decided to begin a new blog to celebrate the beginning the 365 project and so here it is.  The background of books immediately caught my eye, and now I'm set up, have copied my original page from yesterday to here and can't faff about any longer - I have to carry on!

This is a project that I've been thinking about for some time and have decided that if I don't just go ahead and get started, I'll be thinking about it for the next year!

So here's to beginnings....

#1/365  My new Gazania - bought yesterday and now that I want to plant out, the weather has turned, with rain and a strong wind.  So - I took photographs instead.