Seeing Cabbage

B&W CabbageSavoy Cabbage

Seldom do I have the opportunity to see something common and ordinary in a whole new way. During my photography class, I was introduced to the work of Edward Weston. I will never see vegetables in the same way again.

My favorite image was a black and white photograph of a single cabbage leaf. Edward Weston captured remarkable grace and beauty using one leaf. One imperfect leaf. One perfectly imperfect leaf.

Mr. Weston inspired me to see what I could see. I, too, chose a cabbage leaf, but my attempt was not to duplicate his work. Instead, I went for harsher contrast using a savoy cabbage leaf, which is angular and architectural as compared to the flowing fabric-like leaf Mr. Weston used.

I share a few of my favorites here.

B&W Cabbage

B&W Cabbage

B&W CabbageWhereas Mr. Weston’s image was of flowing beauty and grace, my experiment seemed to result in something closer to ominous mystery.  Oh, multifaceted cabbage, how you intrigue me!

I hope this post inspires you to look at some of Edward Weston’s photographs if you aren’t familiar with his work and, perhaps, to have another look at some of the everyday objects in your life.

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Thruscross Forest Path

Trees at Thruscross ResevoirForest trail beside Thruscross Reservoir, North Yorkshire, England.

A new friend and I ventured into the Yorkshire countryside to take photos at Thruscross Reservoir. While the water’s edge was worthy of attention, I was equally drawn to the surrounding nature, including this forest path.

Trees at Thruscross ResevoirA chilly breeze ran through the branches followed by a quiet and mild calm when the shifting shadows slowed to a ripple. A held breath. Then the wind began again.

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Snowdrops’ Message

Forest snowdrops at Painswick

Carpet of snowdrops at Painswick Rococo Garden, Gloucestershire, UK (2014).

Snowdrops are one of the first flowers to emerge in full force at the end of winter. A few days ago I strolled through a local garden and saw clusters of snowdrops beginning to open their white, hanging heads. They are waking up. And their arrival couldn’t have come at a better time.

This has been my fourth and hardest winter in England. Moving a few hours’ drive north makes a big difference not only in the daylight hours (or lack thereof) but also in the quality of light. This winter in Yorkshire seemed noticeably darker than my last three winters in the Cotswolds.

The harder the struggle the more appreciated is the lifting of that struggle. I welcome the arrival of spring. Thank you, snowdrops, for letting me know that we’re almost there.

Because the local snowdrops are just starting their annual show, I decided to post a few photos from an outing last year to Painswick Rococo Garden, which is known for its snowdrops display.

Snowdrops bed at Painswick

The profusion of snowdrops along with the misty day transformed an otherwise pleasant stroll through the trees into something truly special.

Snowdrops in forest at Painswick

Rain fell briefly. The snowdrops wept tears of joy for the promise of the approaching spring.

Painswick Snowdrops CloseupI felt as though I could, too.

Snowdrops in forest at Painswick

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The English Adventure Continues…In Yorkshire

Yorkshire Dales near Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale

Castlestead and Scenery near Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

Greetings from Northern England! I am happy to report that the Hubster’s and my British visas were extended for a few more years, so we decided to spend that time experiencing a different part of the country.

We took a road trip up north for a house-hunting trip in mid-August in preparation for our move from the Cotswolds in September. Between house showings, we drove into the Yorkshire Dales to get a taste of what awaited us in Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Dales near Pateley Bridge, NidderdaleAt first glance, I found the scenery to be very similar to the Cotswolds. The hills seemed a little bit bigger and steeper, but the rolling green fields with separating rock walls, occasionally dotted with livestock such as sheep or cows, were just as I had grown accustomed to seeing in the Cotswolds.

The villages were equally quaint, scattered among the hills and dales.

Public Footpath Sign in Yorkshire Dales near Pateley Bridge, NidderdaleThen, just outside of the town of Pateley Bridge, we turned a corner and were surprised by expanses of heather. We parked in a lay by at a bend in Nought Bank Road (Google Maps Lat./Long.: 54.069150, -1.763522/54°04’08.9″N 1°45’48.7″W).

Heather in Yorkshire Dales near Pateley Bridge, NidderdaleSimilarities with the picturesque Cotswolds certainly exist, but seeing the swaths of heather was a wholly new experience.

Heather in Yorkshire Dales near Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale

The air carried a faint, delicate fragrance. We were a little early for the full show, but enough was on display to please the senses.

Heather in Yorkshire Dales near Pateley Bridge, NidderdaleAfter following a footpath for a short distance, I glimpsed the valley of Nidderdale. (Being new to the area, I’m not sure of the proper way to refer to a dale. Perhaps it is the dale of Nidderdale? Or just Nidderdale?)

Heather in Yorkshire Dales near Pateley Bridge, NidderdaleI breathed in the fragrant, fresh air as I watched shadows move across the land. I smiled, thinking, “Soon, I will be calling Yorkshire my home.”

Farmhouse in Yorkshire DalesAs the drive continued, I started noticing other distinct differences between the Yorkshire Dales and the Cotswolds. For example, the building stones being grey instead of the characteristic honey color of Cotswold villages.

Rocks in Yorkshire Dales, North YorkshireWe passed big rocks strewn among the heather, giving this area a wilder, less civilized character. These stones reminded me of our visit to the North Yorkshire Moors a few years back, which specifically included the Bridestones as a must-see destination. I don’t remember seeing large boulders like these in the Cotswolds.

Heather and Sky in Yorkshire Dales near Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale

Also, the sky seems somehow bigger up here. A great enticement for a cloud lover like me.

I loved living in the Cotswolds. I wouldn’t change the experience for anything. However, whether I wanted to or not, it was time to go. Happily, from everything I’ve seen so far, I think I’m going to like living in Yorkshire too.

The English adventure continues….


Posted in All Posts, Clouds and Sky, England, Flowers, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Yorkshire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

White Rose, Red Bug

White Rose Red BugThis week’s homework assignment for my creative photography class was to shoot a surreal image. The assignment stretched my imagination and tested my problem-solving skills. After several failed ideas, false starts, and adaptation, I selected this as my final image.

In case you were wondering, the car is not Photoshopped in, although I did use Photoshop to blend and smooth some pixels.

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Snowdrops, Dew Drops, and Silk

Elkstone Dew on WebDew drops on a spider web at Elkstone Church, England.

Elkstone GravesOn a misty morning in a church yard, the world collapses into a local dampened space. The mist appears to buffer sound and movement; silence seems loud when all is still and quiet.

Elkstone WebA dew-adorned web strung between fading snowdrops is proof of recent stirrings of life in the grave yard.

Elkstone SnowdropsThe dew reveals a spider’s past wanderings among the snowdrops.

Elkstone Water DropWithout the gossamer assistance, would this leaf blade have succumbed to the seemingly heavy load of its rock wall reflecting dew drop?

Elkstone SpiderPerhaps the tender of the garden has been found? Found but definitely not disturbed.

Elkstone CrocusesNearby are dew dappled crocuses…

Elkstone Bumble BeeIncluding one in which a bumblebee sleeps. Here, among the graves, even the epitome of buzzing life is still in the mist.

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Leckhampton Light

Leckhampton Hill, Cheltenham, GloucestershireAfternoon View from Leckhampton Hill, Cheltenham.

My legs ache as I attempt to descend stairs without looking like an invalid. Such is my state after hiking up Leckhampton Hill a few days ago to catch the view so fondly remembered from a long-ago walk. Last time the pace was leisurely along gentle slopes. This time I ascended from the north side of the escarpment. Reaching the top, I was happy to note the excellent visibility; however, the landscape seemed a bit dreary under the clouds. But then a ray of sunlight broke through the clouds, illuminating the hillside. I love moments like these, which are so worthy of the price of an arduous trek.

Not only was I pleased with the image captured, but I’m happy it has prompted me, finally, to post again. I’m truly shocked to note that I haven’t posted anything since mid-November. I have images uploaded and some text written. I’ve got a backlog of images from multiple trips since. I think I can only chalk my absence up to a busy schedule along with a bit of SAD. My first two English winters didn’t have this effect on me, but this winter’s been a hard one. I hope the longer days and sporadic sunshine will improve my mood and motivation and re-invigorate my blogging efforts.

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Autumn Stroll at Westonbirt Arboretum

Red Japanese Maple, Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Japanese Maple at Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England.

A recent visit to Westonbirt National Arboretum to enjoy the colors of autumn proved colorful indeed. Although colors were not at their peak, a nice smattering stood out among the 14,902 trees (2,500 different types) seen from portions of the 17 miles of accessible paths. The Arboretum comprises three areas: Silk Wood, an ancient, semi-natural woodland with exotic plantings throughout; the Old Arboretum, a designed landscape dating from the 1850’s with trees from around the world; and the Downs, a species-rich grassland.

The day of the visit was a mixed bag as far as weather was concerned. Exploration before lunch took place in the Silk Wood area under grey and rainy skies. Although somewhat gloomy, the grey backdrop and diffused light really made the colors pop. After lunch (which was a delicious pulled pork sandwich from the open barbeque outside the Arboretum’s restaurant), the skies had cleared and the sun was shining. During the Old Arboretum stroll, walking and photographing with a droplet-free lens were far more enjoyable, but the atmosphere felt completely different from that of Silk Wood. The change in lighting changed everything.

I was pleased with a lot of the images that I was able to capture, but decided to limit how many I posted to just a few of my favorites, mostly taken from Silk Wood before the sun came out. I hope you enjoy!

Tree Tunnel, Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Colors at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Colors at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Shady Path at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Path with Bench at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Path at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Colors at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Tree at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Tiny White Mushrooms, Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Purple Berries, Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Chestnut Pods, Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Colors at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Path at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

Colors at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK

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Lovely Lake Bled

Bled Castle and Bled Island, Lake Bled, SloveniaLake Bled, Slovenia

The beauty of Lake Bled was a central reason for my husband’s and my recent 10-day trip to Slovenia and Croatia. The first time I saw pictures of Bled Island I knew that one day I had to visit Slovenia.

On our first evening in Slovenia, my husband and I walked around the entire lake. Lake Bled did not disappoint, changing but ever beautiful from each new angle and shift in the light.

Assumption Church dominates tree-covered Bled Island, which is situated near the western end of Lake Bled. Bled Castle can be seen in the background, standing high above Bled Lake and the town of Bled, which is at the eastern end of the lake (hiding behind the island from this vantage point).

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Uig’s Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen Uig Skye

Faerie Glen, Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Tucked away in a remote corner of the world (also known as the Isle of Skye) is the Faerie Glen (Google: 57.583767,-6.325122) where fairies dwell among miniature mountains and tiny, trilly trees. A mere mortal passing through might mistake this landscape as one of sharply peaked hills with a smattering of shrubs, but he would be wrong on all but the most surface level.

Uig SkyeWe approached Uig from the north after traversing the eastern portion of the Trotternish Peninsula where we had already visited the Storr, Quiraing, Kilt Rock, and Lealt and Mealt Falls earlier in the day.

Uig’s seeming small-town normality doesn’t even hint at the treasure that is secreted so nearby. But my husband and I knew better than to be deceived by Uig’s quaint charms. We passed along the western edge of Uig (seen above) on our way to the south side of town where, assuming our luck held, we would find the road to the Faerie Glen.

Fairy Glen Pond, Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland After following a winding, one-track road for a little over a mile, we came upon a pond tucked between some noticeably distinct earth forms.

Fairy Glen, Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland Just beyond the pond, we parked our car in a lay-by under these tiny, delicate trees. I sensed the presence of fairies.

Fairy Glen, Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland Our time was short because evening was approaching, but what better time than in the fading light to possibly catch a glimpse of an elusive fairy. As if by magic, a path materialized beside us leading through a mini-mountain pass.  Was this the work of nearby fairies? I have my suspicions.

Fairy Glen, Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland From the top of the path, looking back, we had a nice view of the rocky tower known as Castle Ewen, which is the highest peak in the Glen. Castle Ewen can be reached on a path with a trail head just on the other side of the road from the lay-by. But, alas, the fairies had conspired not to make this path known to us, and its existence remained hidden until after we had returned to England.

Panorama of Fairy Glen, Uig, Isle of SkyeFrom the top of a nearby peak, I took this panorama of the area with Uig in the distance.

Fairy Glen Pond, Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland Here’s a closer look of the pond we passed on the way in. It looks so much smaller from up above. Or perhaps that’s the magic of the Faerie Glen at work.

Fairy Glen, Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland So, so amazing. Sigh.

Fairy Glen, Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland Beyond the mini-mountains and away from the road is a wide pasture with evidence of the existence of sheep, but it seems that fairy sheep are elusive, too. However, a waterfall in the distance made for a nice distraction from the fairy-sheep hunt. We did not hike over to the waterfall, but…

Fairy Glen Waterfall Uig SkyeWith the power of a zoom lens and cropping, I give you fairy falls. (I don’t know what it’s really called, but maybe it doesn’t have a name because it doesn’t really exist!)

Fairy Glen Pond, Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland

We were so sad to have to leave the Faerie Glen, especially having not seen any fairies. Perhaps we were too loud. Or maybe they were still at dinner.

As we drove away, I continued to take pictures, hoping to capture just one more image of this magical place that might later reveal a hiding fairy peeking out from behind a rock or a patch of grass. Sadly, no fairies were captured, but photos of a beautiful and memorable landscape were.

Uig SkyeAlso captured was a change that had occurred while we spent time in the Faerie Glen. The road we had driven down earlier seemed more magical somehow. Was it because of the change in light or were we still being affected by the invisible fairy dust that must have been floating in the air in the Glen?

Uig SkyeThe question may never be answered. Returning to Uig was a return to reality. Happily, that reality was the remarkably beautiful Isle of Skye.

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