Tag Archives: nature

November ’13 – Review

November has been an incredibly busy month for pictures and trips. The first photographic outing of the month was to see Fantastic Fireworks at Billericay. We got a great spot across the water so the reflections were even more spectacular than usual. I think I did a better job than last time, in 2011.

Colours And Shapes
Colours And Shapes

A few days later it was out to Sunny Southend for a photowalk with friends. It was very cold but the light was great.

Southend Sundown
Southend Sundown

The next week, I went on a Nature Study Day at Copped Hall run by Peter Warne. It was very enjoyable but the weather was less than kind – the drizzle was pretty awful by the end of the day! Waterproof trousers were a must, and I still got some decent shots.

Wet And Green
Wet And Green

I chose another drizzly day for a Wivenhoe Wander but the boats provided a splash of colour in an otherwise grey outing.

The Little Fishing Fleet
The Little Fishing Fleet

The next day however, there was some fab autumn light during my Mersea Meander. It was bitterly cold and my fingers barely survived, but the sunshine was most welcome.

A View From The Jetty
A View From The Jetty

Alistair came to stay for a while mid-month, and we took an evening walk along the Thames on our way to meet friends for a birthday dinner. The bridges at night looked spectacular.

The Blue Bridge
The Blue Bridge

We had a few dull days, but eventually we made the most of the sunshine by taking a trip to Epping Forest for some Autumn colour. Alistair also helped me out with my lastest Face Down Tuesday – Autumn Colour Edition.

Light Through The Trees
Light Through The Trees

Another day we went for a walk into Chelmsford and passed the Graffiti wall again. It’s always good to take a look to see what’s changed since last time:

Peeping Over The Wall
Peeping Over The Wall

As well as the wall, I also spotted this lovely leaf which was a near miss for Day #2152:

Rainbow In The Gutter
Rainbow In The Gutter

I enjoyed another weekend away this month with Alistair, this time exploring Bath and Lacock, looking around the picturesque Abbey:

Staircase Symmetry
Staircase Symmetry at Lacock Abbey
The Vortex
The Vortex

The last photography outing of the month was back to my Monthly location of Sandford Mill Footbridge, this time with some lightpainting tools to have a play. I got a few good shots before the cold got the better of me! I’ll have to revisit again soon with thicker gloves, perhaps.

I have managed several more [email protected] images this month too: #44 at Hylands Park, #45 at Southend-on-Sea, #46 in West Mersea, #47 in Bath. And of course I decided to participate in MoNovember  again this year, having done it first in 2011 and then 2012. I was pretty pleased with the results over the month.

Nature At Copped Hall

Today I attended a Wildlife Study Day at Copped Hall, lead by Natural History photographer Peter Warne. He is very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the park and grounds. Peter regularly visits Copped Hall and showed us some of his stunning images made during the varied seasons.

Folded Fern
Folded Fern

Despite the weather closing in, we managed a walk and I was able to photograph some of the things in the gardens. We then spent the lunch hour drying off while enjoying delicious home made soup prepared by the volunteers with produce grown in the kitchen gardens:

Cultivating Produce
Cultivating Produce

We then did a couple of experiments to make Spore prints of some fungi, and separating the chlorophyll from oak leaves. We were supposed to be taking another walk during the afternoon but the rain was hammering down, so Peter treated us to a virtual tour of the estate with more great pictures.

Yew Bark Details
Yew Bark Details

It has shown me that there is plenty of potential for picture making and it’s a location I will definitely return to when the weather forecast is a little better! Here are the rest of the pictures I made during our soggy walk – I was particularly pleased to find a couple of fungi species which I’d not previously seen:

Finding Fungi

Yesterday, as well as stalking the wildlife for another FDT image, I also found lots of interesting fungi in Hanningfield Nature Reserve. I took a couple of off-camera flashes with me as well as my wireless triggers as the fungi often grow in shady spots, so getting enough light on the scene can sometimes be a problem. Here’s one of the setups:

Setup With Off-Camera Flash
Setup With Off-Camera Flash

The two flashes are moved around until I get the lighting well balanced. I was using manual exposure at ISO200, with a shutter speed of about 1/60 and aperture around f/22 to maximise depth of field. The flash power was set to 1/16-1/32. Here’s the scene the camera saw:

Fungi Study As Taken
Fungi Study As Taken

Essential items I also took along were my Gorillapod, wired remote control and some kneeling pads for my poor knees! I use Live View to frame up and focus the lens (with manual focus). Then switch off Live View (the camera won’t fire the flashes with it on, for some reason). The wired remote prevents camera shake when pressing the shutter.

I was lucky to find a few unusual species I hadn’t previously photographed, including this Honey Fungus (Armillaria mellea).

Honey Fungus On A Log
Honey Fungus On A Log

Here are the other pictures I made during the afternoon:

Rural Ramble Around Urpeth

Another sunny day it turned out to be, despite an unpromising start. Alistair and I decided to tackle the big geocaching circular walk around Urpeth in County Durham. We saw lots of wildlife, including a few butterflies who were willing to sit still for us. I’m pleased with this shot, taken with my Canon PowerShot G12 – which is not the ideal equipment for wildlife close up images!

Resting Butterfly
Resting Butterfly

The toys found some Magic Mushrooms along the way, there was Wild Garlic in the woodlands and Green & Pleasant Land all around. Here are the rest of the pictures from the day (including some of the lesser-spotted Alistairius MacDonaldensis) 😉