Late spring i starting to merge into early summer. The garden is throwing off its spring splashes of garish bulb colours and slowly adopting its summer hues. Along with this the bees have returned in their frantic search for pollen.
Whilst this is going on the air is full of the frantic clicks and screeches of Starlings as the first fledglings are abandoned to the uncaring world of self reliance whilst their parents are once more going about the business of finding new nest sites for the second broad of the year.
And finally summer can’t be too far away as the swifts and swallows have returned. it’s not a bad time to be alive, at least here in my small corner of what will be forever England.
I know all these empowering guru suggest that you should grab the day, get out an see the world or whatever passes for inspirational nonsense at the moment. Well I say nonsense. You can’t beat just sitting in your garden and watching the birds come and go and so that is what I have been doing for the past couple of days….oh and capturing a few images along the way.
One of the joys (?) of where I live is that at the moment the dawn chorus is really really loud and so if you happen to stir around about dawn from your slumbers the chances of going back to sleep are slim. So it was this morning. Nothing for it but to get up, get my morning walk in and enjoy the joys of spring.
I have been travelling through a bit of a photographic hiatus at the moment. This is isn’t the first and I doubt it will not be the last. Thankfully I can give myself the time just to let the creative juices to start to flow again (not the most becoming metaphor but you know what I mean). I’m not sure I’m fully out of my slump but this morning is a start.
I was going to write a post about the state of affairs within the current incarnation of the Conservative party and our ‘Dear Leader‘ Boris Johnson. What is the point? He’s broken his own rules, even his own MP’s seem to accept this and anyone with a decent bone in his body would have resigned in shame. Unfortunately, decent and shame are two words that Boris Johnson doesn’t understand so this whole nonsense will continue until he brings the Conservative party crashing down when he eventually falls – which he will.
Instead I thought this photograph was strangely apt.
It was wonderful to stand on the cliffs of Bempton and take in the fresh air. Of course this was a lot fresher than usual as the wind was blowing off of the land so taking away the normal aromas associated with Bempton at this time of year – which I actually missed. It also meant that the normal cacophony of bird calls was muted but beyond it was a grand day out.
There was a full blown ‘Twitch’ for a lone Albatross going on as well which meant that there was probably far more people on the cliffs than you would expect. I didn’t see the bird myself but was told many times by the RSPB guides the best place to catch it if I wanted, I didn’t so I avoided the crowds as best as I could.
It is almost 6 years since I last visited the site and a lot has changed in that time – one thing is the amount of gear I now carry around with me for a start – I made do with my 200-600mm lens, camera body and iPhone – this wasn’t the case in the past when I never left home without bags of kit. Another thing that has changed is that I am six years older and and very rusty when it comes to capturing fast moving birds. As a result I missed an awful lot of shots. It didn’t help that half way through I had a camera malfunction which, unbeknown to me, put the camera into APS c mode. I know, I know I should have kept and eye on such things but I didn’t. Fortunately, I was still able to capture most of what I wanted.
I had a great time this morning using the new Sony 70-200 f2.8 that my friend has bought for his business. My god it’s a great lens – sharp as a pin and the focus is so quick. Would I be tempted to but one? Yes if I won the lottery but my good old f4 is more than enough lens for what I do.
Not quite the same but this is what I can produce with the F4. I’m sure the f2.8 would have been brilliant if I had used it to make this images but it certainly isn’t worth me spending the £2.6k!
Are we in the ‘End Times’? Are the drums of war beating – calling us to our doom? I don’t know but what I do know is that yesterday was a beautiful spring day here and I enjoyed it. I blew some money on a meal and drove through the English countryside to see an wonderful exhibition. If the end comes soon, which I don’t believe it will BTW, then yesterday would have been extra special.
Given everything that is going on at the moment it does seem just a little bit self indulgent to say I spent Sunday enjoying myself walking through the streets of London. Yes it is but what can I do about the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine at the moment. We should all be thankful of the fine things we in the rich and powerful part of the world have but we must also carry on as best we can and for us it was taking a long walk through London. It is 2 years since we have been able to do this an so we did and it was great, although my feet and hips might disagree at the moment!
I have to say I rather enjoy the new superwide on my iPhone. It is a bit crap but I have never bothered about that so long as I am able to get the image I wanted and this camera has added to the tools I have available to make images. (BTW if you interested the above images was not captured by iPhone)
To bring things full circle we came across the clean up after film or TV series scene had been shot in the City of London and brought our thoughts back to Ukraine. This was just after it had been announced that Putin had placed the Russian nuclear weapons onto some form of Special Alert – whatever that might mean?
Yesterday was a lovely early Spring day and because of this the weather was a bit all over the place. One moment it was blue sky and sunshine the next grey skies rolled in with just a hint of dampness in the air. After the battering we’ve had over the previous week this was a welcome relief.
I spent my day with my good friend David at Compton Verney. For those of you who might not know Compton Verney is one the best non London based gallery in the country and the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year exhibition did let the side down. I have been following the TV series since it started back in 2013 and this exhibition brought together almost all of the winners and a lot more paintings beside that. The programmes themselves are a bit hit and miss because they are produced like any other reality TV show with artificial crises and controversy and with good dollop of ego thrown in for good measure. However at the end you are left with some really interesting work and a worthy winner. If you get the chance it is well worth a visit.
One of the most rewarding part of the exhibition was that you were able to view the paintings for yourself without the flattening effects of a TV series which, even in 4K, doesn’t make any of the paintings look good but rather worse than they really are. There is no substitute for standing in front of a work and just allowing your own sense make what they will of what is in front of them.
After lunch we went a walk around the grounds just as the skies were at their most grey which made for a bit of photographic challenge but it was welcome to walk off the lunch.