Sunday 30 September 2012

Keeping Clean

Latest batch of soap drying.  Nikon D7000
30th September 2012

I noticed this evening that the rows of bars of soap drying gave some interesting angles to photograph.  I stand up the bars in an old egg box.

I did not have my camera to hand last week when I made the batch of soap; a minor lapse of concentration while I was washing up some of the oily jugs meant that the slow cooker with the soap in did its best Vesuvius impression,  including pyroclastic flow across the top of the cooker.

After a bit of panic and lots of scraping up, the soap was reinterred into the slow cooker to finish saponifying.   There is now a chance that the soap contains exfoliants such as bits of rice, pasta and anything else that had been on the top of the cooker at the time :(

Saturday 29 September 2012

What's brown and wrinkly and hides under fig leaves?

First Fig.  Nikon D7000
29th September 2012

I have been waiting patiently, but at last, the figs are starting to turn brown and shrivel.

We had the first tonight and it was yummy.

There are loads more starting to turn; all we need are a few nice warm days to get them to perfection.

Friday 28 September 2012

The Difference a Year Makes

Car in Horsetail and grass today.  Fuji F11
28th September 2012

I have been watching and waiting for a few months now to capture today's picture.   It was a little tricky as I could not remember where I stood exactly one year ago today, but I had a go at a 'then and now' sequence.

The old abandoned car was much more visible this time last year, although it appears that since July, the incessant rain has battered down some of the undergrowth!

Car in Horsetail and grass exactly one year ago today.  Fuji F11
I had great difficulty trying to crop the image to the same dimensions; with not much of the car visible or the posts in the field, it was really tricky and  mostly guess work!

Given how much rain we have had, I suppose there is also the possibility that the car has sunk into the mud :)

Thursday 27 September 2012

Dark and Light

Sun  hidden behind rain cloud.  Fuji F10
27th September 2012

The last few days have seen either lovely sunshine, or stair-rod like rain; no middle ground.

This evening there seemed to be a fight between the sun and the dark rain clouds.  Luckily a few moments after I took the picture, the sun won through.

I also waited a few minutes, watching to see if the cloud formation just left of the top centre would turn more phallic; it just went limp and dissapated unfortunately.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Colours: Autumn Red

Virginia Creeper leaves.  Fuji F11
26th September 2012

After having a few cold nights (not quite a frost yet but close), the Autumn colours are appearing everywhere.

This Virginia Creeper has changed to its Autumn red hue and is looking rather spectacular.

Hopefully we will have a lul in the cold weather so that the leaves stay on for sometime longer before all falling.

Tuesday 25 September 2012


Crushed Can.  Nikon D7000
25th September 2012

In continuing the study of objects on a plain background, I decided this can may be fun to photograph.

I used a single flash off to the right and up, fired through a white umbrella to give a large light source.  The large light diffuses the shadows and also provides a broad highlight area to the front of the can and the ring-pull.

I realised after crushing the can that I should have cut the can apart and saved the nice thin, flat aluminium for making pinholes in for more cameras :(

Monday 24 September 2012

Es Car Go

Snail on the side of the car.  Fuji F10
24th September 2012

Today was a bit wet and when I got to work, I noticed there was a passenger on the side of the car.

The snail looked quite content sliding around on the wet metal; I suppose I should have charged it a fare for its travel!

First Fire

First fire of the Autumn.  Fuji F11
23rd September 2012

Today was surprisingly chilly and so I took the opportunity to light the fire.

It was the first lighting this Autumn and I had forgotten how soporific a nice open fire can be.

I hope to light many more over the coming weeks so that I can build up a nice quantity of soot for printing with :)

Colours: Brown Dates

Dates.  Nikon D7000
22nd September 2012

I thought I would continue the colour theme and saw how wide the range of different tones of brown the box of dates had.

Apparently the dates are rather nice; I dare not take the chance, but thought I had better take a picture quick!

The picture was taken using a single flash head with a small diffuser over the flash reflector, off to one side.   The moderate-to-hard side lighting seems to have pulled out the shades and shiny textures quite well.

Hen Pecked

Russet pecked at by a chicken.  Nikon D7000
21st September 2012

One of the chickens has found a way to escape and has been terrorising the garden for the last few days.

Not content with windfall apples, it decided to destroy one of my Russets that has not yet even fallen to the ground!

I know duck and orange is a good combination; it may be chicken and apple if it gets out again ...

Second Flush

Magnolia bloom with Mosquito.
Nikon D7000
20th September 2012

The magnolia at the bottom of the garden is coming into bloom again.   As the weather is turning colder now, I am not sure if the flowers will actually open fully, but they are the second set this year.

The flower also has a cold looking mosquito-like bug to the left of it; possibly another late hatching.

I just hope the plant has enough reserves to give us a reasonable display in the Spring too.


Rather well presented starter.  Fuji F10
19th September 2012

At lunchtime today, a veritable banquet was laid on at the hotel.   Often the sweet course is decorated, however all courses were here, including the savoury starters.

It was rather pleasing; normally as I cannot eat the sweet course, I just have to admire the artistry.  Today I could admire the work, then get a spoon and dive in!

Saturday 22 September 2012

Petals on a pool

Floating petals.  Fuji F10
18th September 2012

The hotel in Riyadh has an onyx water feature near reception and today they added a few pounds of rose petals to it.

The mass of petals floating on the surface of the water were rather spectacular, with the tricking sound of the water in the background.

With all that trickling water, I need a pee!

Light and shadows

Lantern breaking up  Shadows.  Fuji F10
17th September 2012

In walking up the stairs to my hotel room this evening, I looked up an noticed the patterns of light being cast by this lantern on the wall.

The whole stairway was lit by many of these light fittings and the result was really spectacular.

Apples by the box

Box of apples.  Nikon D7000
16th September 2012

Having spent many years persuading the children that fruit tastes as good as sweets really, we bought a box of apples.

It seemed like a good idea but 12.7kg of apples is actually quite a lot when you get it back home!

We need not have worried; after only a few weeks, they have nearly all been consumed; a significant proportion of them by the kids.

It will not be long before the ones off the trees in the garden are ready :)

Saturday 15 September 2012


Orchid flowers in the bathroom.  Nikon D7000
15th September 2012

The orchid in the bathroom is in flower again.  We have had the plant a few years now and it really seems to appreciate the humid atmosphere.

As for the title; I just could not resist  :)

Friday 14 September 2012

If Only I Drank Wine

Elder tree with both flowers and fruit
14th September 2012

I remember from the days when I did drink wine that the Elder tree could provide both a sweet white and decent red wine from its different seasons.

The tree at the bottom of the garden has nice ripe fruit for the red wine, but is also starting to flower again!

I suppose it is now time to make a 'rare' Elderberryflower pink wine.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Hard Cheese

Xena's Cheese.  Nikon D7000
13th September 2012

Although Xena is a dog and not a mouse, she has a passion for cheese.  Normally she will devour any chunk that comes her way and then sits patiently for more.

This evening, she produced a piece of cheese and left it in the middle of the living room.

I have no idea when she was given the cheese, but she has obviously had it stashed away somewhere for really quite some time.

It is absolutely rock solid, and the fur on its surface is not just hair that Xena has shed.....

I just hope this is the only piece she has stashed.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

First Autumn Colours

Azalea leaves turning for Autumn.  Nikon D7000
12th September 2012

At the weekend I had a good look at the Azalea to see if any more flowers had come out (there was one).   All the leaves were glossy green and the day was warm.

We have had a few chilly mornings and this evening I notices that the first of the Autumn colours have just started to creep across the leaves!

It is quite bizarre to see flower buds, faded flowers and Autumnal colour all at the same time.

Something is nibbling at my nuts

Fresh Cobnuts.  Nikon D7000
11th September 2012

I noticed that although many of the cobnuts on the tree at the bottom of the garden are still green, there have been a few turned brown and fallen to the ground.

To make sure I get a good crop this year, I crawled around the bottom of the tree collecting the fallen.

To my horror, there was one nut which had been opened by some critter and devoured!

I will watch carefully and harvest as soon as possible to prevent more 'nutricide' by the raiding hoards (well probably 'Nick' the squirrel).

Monday 10 September 2012

Worn Out

Worn Toothbrush.  Nikon D7000
10th September 2012

Those of a nervous disposition look away now!

I thought it was time for another macro photograph and the state of the toothbrush caught my eye.

Luckily it did not get this worn and smeggy just from my teeth; it is usually used for scrubbing unspeakable substances off childrens' shoes.

It looks like there are a few specks of unspeakable left on it....


Russets.  5x7 view camera,
210mm G-clarion enlarger lens
onto pre-flashed Kenthene VC paper negative
through a yellow filter.
9th September 2012

As the weather was nice, I unwrapped my home made 5"x7" view camera again today;  I can only use it in nice weather as I made the bellows out of paper and I do not want them to go soggy!

I thought as the Russet tree is loaded with apples this year (a first, we normally only get a few from it), I would capture the moment of having two apples in close proximity.

The texture of the skin and the limited spectral response of the photographic paper I used for the negative makes the apples and leaves have a rather interesting 'metallic' look to them.

I think this may be a good candidate for a carbon print....

Saturday 8 September 2012

Things that go Hop

Frog in the veg plot.  Fuji F11
8th September 2012

I spent some time hacking at the veg plot today; and had a surprise as something orange when 'hop'.

After a bit of chasing, it stayed still enough to photograph.

It is a common frog and looked much too big to be one of this years out of our pond, so hopefully we should get more of these folks around eating slugs next year!

Friday 7 September 2012

Pole Position

Pigeon.  Nikon D80
7th September 2012

As the sun was setting this evening, this pigeon did not seem sure as to which tree it may roost in; so it sat on the pole and contemplated.

Would look much better in a pie though :)

Thursday 6 September 2012

What a Con

Aircraft Contrails at Dawn.  Nikon D7000
6th September 2012

The sunrise this morning at 6.30am was very pretty; there was not a cloud in the sky.

Well, not a real cloud anyway; just a whole set of aircraft contrails criss-crossing everywhere.

I remember back a few years when the unpronounceable Icelandic volcano grounded all the aircraft; it was probably the last time the sky was truly clear.

I cannot help wondering what the effect is on the rest of the weather with those false clouds reflecting all the lovely sunlight ...

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Trainee Marrow

Courgette Flower.  Nikon D7000
5th September 2012

Keeping up with the Courgette plants is tricky.   The plants do seem to be liking the summer we are having and the gourds keep swelling.

I want to be able to use them when they are all small and tender, but they are growing faster than we can eat them.

The chickens may be in luck ...

Tuesday 4 September 2012


Study of an Apple.  Nikon D7000
4th September 2012

In further continuing the theme of studies of objects, I decided to consider an apple.  

It seemed like a good idea to keep the pips in each segment in order to provide some focal points, but they were frustrating and kept dropping out :(

I also had to apply a few cocktail sticks in order to get the sections to stay put too.   I used one light off to the right and up, with a white shoot-through brolly in front to soften any shadows.

Then I noticed that the apple was rapidly turning brown while I fiddled with the set up...  

I've eaten the apple now so I have no more opportunities to rearrange the composition.   Although I do not like apples, it tasted good.

Monday 3 September 2012

Shake, Rattle and Grow

Poppy seed heads.  Nikon D7000
3rd September 2012

With the rapid onset of Autumn, the poppy seeds are ready for harvesting.   I have shaken out a number of heads onto the garden to ensure we have some more poppies next year, but the rest I will save for use in the kitchen.

This years trial of weeding the veg plot apart from the poppies and nasturtiums worked well.  Lots of the weeds were suppressed by the rapid growth of the poppies and nasty urchins, but with the 'wanted' weeds being controllable.

They looked great too.

Sunday 2 September 2012

Ferny Hill

Fern in Pitcher Oak Wood.  Nikon D7000
2nd September 2012

Today we had a walk through Pitcher Oak Wood; I spent many an hour as a child investigating the trees on visits to see Grandparents.

Today was no different thankfully and the sun came out and shone through some of the rather pretty ferns; quite fortuitous as Ferny Hill is just down the road where other relatives once lived.

The kids did well too, considering they were being fed lessons on family history :)

Saturday 1 September 2012

Mrs Richmond Pays a Vist

Water Lilly Mrs Richmond.  Nikon D7000
1st September 2012

A huge bud broke the surface of the water about a month ago, but today Mrs Richmond finally came to visit.

The lilly is really quite spectacular, especially that the pond is not huge and the flower has centre stage.

There is another large bud forming too ...