Archives for category: photography

February’s photo: When I lived in Cape Town, this was the hottest month of the year however now it is so cold and bitter that I need to look hard to find beauty. But it is there. The barren sweep of countryside, the frosted teasels and the bare tree silhouettes against a dawn sky. There is always beauty to be found.

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January’s photo: It was a nail biting month waiting to hear if my daughter would be offered a place at the school that we believed was the right one. I took the photo on the morning when I had just heard the good news and with much thankfulness in my heart. It certainly felt like a new dawn for a big adventure.

Towards the tail end of last year, I created dinky desk calendars as a gift for friends and family. Sometimes a scene whether intimate or dramatic is worth pausing for and reflecting upon. The photos in this calendar captured images that delighted and pleased me. It has also inspired me to share them on my blog along with their stories.

Private road1My brother says it is just a private road. But actually it is The Private Road. There is a sense of mystery and ominous foreboding as the long linear line of trees overpower with their shadows and their height. But we still dare to use it, openly by foot or bike and if in an emergency skulking along in a car. It feels like such a bygone route running parallel to another ancient route – The Ridgeway.

And I wonder where the path ahead leads as we wait on the eve of a new year. May you travel courageously and safely remembering to enjoy the journey and slow down to appreciate the views. Don’t always let the signs stop you either!

Much love to all, Tessa

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About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.

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During November we went to Wales for two long days of walking. And what a fabulous time we had especially as the weather was crisp and clear instead of the forecast of greyness and fog. We were walking above the clouds and the views were nourishing for the soul. Richard had his maps although we laughed as they were over 15 years old and paths had been added and full forests had grown up since he had them – I offered to scratch out and add in but we will most likely invest in a new map next time.

I returned to the fray revived and refreshed and looking at these photos reminds to see all problems and challenges in perspective.

About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.

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It was heartening that so many people missed the mini desk calendars that I produce. They are back… so enjoy the 2016 calendar featuring many of the monthly photos I have taken over the year. They make good stocking fillers, thank you gifts for hostesses or to enjoy on your desk depicting the beautiful (mostly) local countryside. They’re also perfect for posting as overseas gifts. The calendars are 95mm square and are within a small perspex box (a bit like a CD box) and you can buy them directly from me for £4.00 (plus p+p). Contact me by email tessa@casebase.co.uk.

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I’m not quite sure what the other school mums thought, but I didn’t care as I was having so much fun bustling around the undergrowth along the village bank taking photos and coming up close and personal with autumn. My treasures were complete when I found Toady. He was completely disguised amongst the leaves and his warty skin creates fabulous texture and just look at those golden eyes. Incidently, to tell the difference between frogs and toads look at their feet as frogs are webbed but toads have dear little toes!

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About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.

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What I love about this time of year is the new start. We let go of the lazy summer days and return to a little more order and routine when September comes around. I love summer but it is also invigorating to ‘get a grip’ on the day and jobs that should be done. The countryside is likewise; winds clear away the leaves, excess greenery dies down, the fields are ploughed ready for winter crops and then we are rewarded with a little extra glorious sunshine. I didn’t take the best photos on this morning’s walk but they do capture the vastness and clearness of the countryside with its crisp fresh air as we ready ourselves for winter.

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About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.

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I recently fulfilled a minor ambition which was to go cycling with everything we needed. Over five days we cycled from Ilfracombe to Plymouth which is 100 miles mostly on disused railway lines and quiet Devon lanes. There was something satisfying about taking the bare essentials packed into one set of panniers and two backpacks and taking off on our bikes.

Because we were cycling slowly through the countryside, we watched the land change from seaside to forests to moors and back to the sea again. I loved taking photos of the scenes and textures although my only frustration is that we were travelling so light, the only camera I had was an i-Phone. I especially enjoyed taking photos of the flags and delightful details at Yarde Orchard. We stayed in a yurt there and with its wood burning stove and bunk beds, it looked just like a little hobbit home.

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This month the countryside was a little different as we were in Spain and I had great pleasure in photographing the almond trees. I love the way the silky covers cocoon the shiny shells. When the trees are shaken the almonds fall like clackity rain and the harvest is ready. The children found that the supply of almonds was perfect for writing messages which provided endless pleasure. It is delightful to wander around enjoying the different fruits and foods that grow in Spain from olives to grapes to carobs to figs. Although figs will never be the same since I’ve discovered they are pollinated by wasps and EVERY SINGLE fig contains wasp lavae which is part of the pollination process and some larvae haven’t had the decency to vacate by the time we come to eat the fig. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually! Thank you Marilyn and Nick for making us so welcome.

About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.

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One late July evening I saw countryside drama unfold as the gigantic combine harvester rumbled relentlessly across the fields annihilating everything in its path. Poised for unsuspecting game was a gunman at the ready. The tension of him waiting and me watching while the harvester ground towards us was stretched to breaking point. At the last possible moment, three muntjac deer flew out but they were reprieved – this time they were not the quarry. The harvester broke through the final barrier with no shot being fired and the hunters exchanged a few rueful words against the gleaming dust. I was the only one shooting that evening.

About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.

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I inherited a greenhouse with my new garden and was not quite sure what to put in it. This dilemma was removed when the UNSUPERVISED poppies took over. Before I knew it I had glorious poppies growing and as my daughter pointed out, they were unsupervised and unplanned. They gave me such a thrill, the flower lasting but a day before disintegrating into floating petals and leaving a very stylised seed head. I now have an unsupervised sunflower taking up residence – the only one that survived is the one I didn’t plant.

Inspired by my own greenhouse, I wandered over to the village allotments where I very much enjoyed taking surreptitious photos of other people’s sheds. One is even rumoured to be a salvaged Nissan hut. I love studying allotments which appear chaotic and confusing but as you walk within, you can see each has its own order. We garden differently just as we file papers differently. I also love the joy that allotments bring: growing vegetables from seed is deeply satisfying.

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About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.

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The countryside is frothing with Queen Anne’s Lace as it skirts the borders of the fields softening the edges with its filmy flowers. I love cycling through them and seeing them glitter in the sun. This flower is known less prosaicly as ‘Cow’s Parsley’ which developed into an interesting conversation with a young friend of mine. We decided that as it is on the edge of the fields, just as parsley may decorate our meal, it garnishes the grass for the cows. I very much enjoyed my mini photo shoot this month and rushed out early one morning when I had ten spare minutes as the light was perfect and the grass was dew-dropped. There wasn’t time to go further afield so later in the week I cycled off in the early evening for another session. It is quite challenging to capture their impact as the delicate flowers create a diffused texture which becomes flattened in photos. Although cow’s parsley can be eaten and has a fresh spicy flavour, don’t confuse it with its sinister cousin hemlock, which did for Socrates. I personally don’t take this risk of misidentification!

About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.

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Visiting the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford is always a treat, and this was no exception. It holds one of the world’s finest collections of anthropology from around the world and I always spot something new in this treasure trove of the unusual, interesting and macabre (think shrunken heads). This time I spotted a ‘witch’s ladder’ which was a twisted rope pierced with cockerel’s feathers and was used as a spell to sour milk or kill old folk. It was found in the wardrobe of an old woman in 1911 – was she the victim or the perpetrator? There was also a delicate little flea trap made of bamboo that was worn in clothing to catch itchy fleas.

We caught our breath in the gallery cafe of the Natural History Museum adjoining the Pitt Rivers. The lighting and recently restored neo-Gothic architecture was fabulous and I was frustrated not to have my camera with me. I did what I could with my i-Phone and am rather pleased with the result above.

 

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In April, the fields around where I live turn violently yellow which is eye-wateringly bright as the oilseed rape blooms. I love the sensation of being surrounded by yellow, yellow, yellow. When my children were very little it was a wonderful way to introduce colour as we got sucked into yellow contrasting with brilliant blue almost like being engulfed by a Van Gogh.

About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.