Red Campion

After 15 months of not being able to travel much further than our own local area due to the COVID pandemic, we finally managed to venture over the border to Scotland in June to visit family and friends. This meant we were able to explore more of the North-East of Scotland’s coastline and take in some of magnificent coastal views.

This was our first trip to Bullers of Buchan (Aberdeenshire), which is about 6 miles south of Peterhead. We’d heard several reviews stating it was a perfect location for Puffin spotting, so we actually went with the mission of hopefully being able to photograph some Puffins. Sadly we did not manage to spot any to photograph. We did manage to capture a few good photos of some other seabirds, which I’m saving for another post.

As well as being a perfect location for photographing seabirds, the rugged coastline and flora are just magnificent to photograph. The cliffs are covered in various wildflowers including these Red Campions, which line the edges of the foot-trails along the cliffs. I couldn’t resist photographing the flowers as they swayed in the wind looking out to sea.

Drumstick Primula

Memories of Spring…taken earlier this year while exploring a local woodland garden. These Drumstick Primula’s (Primula denticulata) caught my eye, their delicate white flowers highlighted by the Spring sunshine through the trees.

Two of my favourite seasons are Spring and Summer. Seeing nature spring back into life and burst with colour again as the weather begins to warm up after the colder Winter months always lightens my mood.

As we now slowly move in to Autumn I thought I would look back at some of the photos that I had taken earlier in the year, that I’ve not had the chance to share until now.

Bulrushes

At the start of Spring this year we visited Shire Brook Valley Nature Reserve, which is about a 20mins drive from us. From what I recall it wasn’t the best weather conditions for a nature walk. It had been raining the day before so a lot of the reserve was quite wet and muddy and it was typically cold for early Spring. Nevertheless we managed to find some photographic inspiration, for me that was these Bulrushes.

I love how the Bulrushes look almost like cotton wool or candy floss on sticks of. Watching the soft cotton like reeds dance in the Spring breeze is quite relaxing. The soft golden hues of the Bulrushes at this time of year when they are in their cotton like state really creates a sense of calm, which we all definitely need at the moment.

I had not visited this nature reserve before, even though we live so close by. I shall definitely return again, it’s a perfect landscape for nature photography.

Flower of Scotland

I’m sure that I am being stereotypically Scottish by saying that Thistles are one of my favourite flowers, but it’s true they are. These in particular are quite special as they are home grown. We have been growing Thistles in our garden for a few years now and they never fail to disappoint. Apart from being beautiful flowers to photograph they attract insects such as bees and butterflies (doing our bit for the pollinators), I’m not one to waste a photographic opportunity when these insect visitors come calling.

I love the colour of these Thistles, the radiant purple spikey flower heads that always look bright come rain or shine. As well as helping bring wildlife into our garden and giving me another source of photographic inspiration, growing these Thistles is like having a little bit of Scotland in our Yorkshire garden.

Dark Frost

As we say goodbye to Winter and welcome back Spring I thought I would share a last glimpse of Winter for another year. Dark Frost is a set that I actually created last Winter (2019). After these photographs sat dormant in my archive it felt the right time to share them now.

I wanted to try something a little different with these shots, which resulted in a more heavily edited set than my usual work. I normally prefer to apply soft editing techniques such as tweaking histogram levels, saturation, etc. Trying to leave the captured image as natural as possible. This time though I felt the urge to be a little more creative, a little more artistic. So after playing around creating various different effects I finally came up with “Dark Frost”, which in my opinion really brings out the feeling of how cold it was when I first took these shots. I wanted to create something darker than my normal work, which I think it’s safe to say I have achieved that. Sometimes it’s good to go dark, as long as you come back to the light.

Pink Cosmos

Summer is definitely my favourite season and although Autumn may be well have settled in here in the UK, I’m still hanging on to memories of summer. One memory of this summer are these beautiful Cosmos flowers, taken a couple of months ago now (September) on a visit to the cities botanical gardens.

Strawflowers

Earlier this year we planted some Strawflowers, which I have taken various photos of during the summer. Although these are the first photos that I have shared on my website so far. These flowers have intrigued me as they are unlike most flowers that I have seen as they change appearance everyday depending on the weather. So they have provided me with endless photographic inspiration since we planted them.

Today’s rain caused their bright yellow paper-like petals to conceal their orange centres, which look amazing when the flowers are in full bloom in the sun. So far they have been very hardy plants since planting them back in the Spring. I’m hoping that they survive through Winter and continue to bloom next year. I may have to keep a look out for other varieties to add to our garden.

The COVID-19 pandemic this year has definitely made me look closer to home for photographic inspiration, and I can’t get much closer to home than our own back garden. We are slowly adding interesting flowers and plants to create our own little patch of nature to relax in. The added bonus of our own little patch of nature, apart from helping wildlife, means lots of photographic inspiration for me in the form of flowers to garden wildlife.

As we have the next two weeks off on holiday, although exploring further afield may be difficult with pandemic restrictions I’m sure I will have find at least a few opportunities to get out with my camera.

English Lavender

Most of my photography usually involves going out exploring the world around me to find that certain “something” that captures my interest. These photos were taken a little closer to home, in our own garden in fact.

Over the past three years I’ve been growing our own little lavender patch. This year our lavender looks to have really bedded in and has produced some lovely blooms. I have tried to grow lavender (French Lavender) in the past with no success. Making the choice to plant English Lavender to add to our little expanding garden has really paid off, and of course it has given me another homegrown flower to photograph.

The small intricate flowers that make up the flower heads of the English Lavender can be a challenge to photograph. I wanted to try and achieve a soft focus to match the softness of the lavender but still capture the detail flowers. I think I have achieved this in most of the shots taken.

Dandelion Clocks

Dandelions we either love them or hate them, we either see them as flowers or weeds. Dandelion seed-heads (dandelion clocks) are reminiscent of childhood. How many of us have childhood memories of blowing the seed heads of dandelions, seeing how many attempts it takes before we can blow all of the seeds off while counting “One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock,…”.

While capturing these shots I love the contrast of the white seed heads against green grass, dandelion stems and foliage. They may not be everyone’s first choice of flowers to photograph, but I find the soft fluffy seed heads interesting to photograph.

Sea Holly

Since moving in to our house a few years ago we have been slowly creating our own little patch of outdoor heaven in the form of our back garden. There is still a long way to go, and I’m sure it will be an ever continuing project. We like finding new interesting flowers to plant. One of my favourites is our Sea Holly that we’ve been growing for a couple of years now.

I enjoy photographing flowers & plants as I find it quite relaxing, it’s a little bit more special when it’s flowers that you have planted yourself. The plan is for our garden to be a little hideaway with lots of interesting plants & garden wildlife to enjoy & of course photograph.

Rhododendron

I know I keep saying this lately, one of the things that I have been so grateful for during the UK’s COVID-19 pandemic / lockdown is being healthy enough to venture out for walks. Although I’m working from home more these days I’m enjoying the extra time from not having to travel as much. Spending some of this extra time enjoying what nature has for us in our surrounding parks and streets has been a god send. Of course this leads to lots of photographic inspiration.

I loved this Rhododendron bush and how it seems to have captured the sunlight so perfectly. Made me think of hazy summer days although I captured these shots in Spring. We’ve been contemplating planting a Rhododendron bush in our own garden, but seeing how quick it can spread and how big they can grow it might not be the best fit for our little garden paradise.

As I have been able to spend a little more time out taking photos so far this year, I now need to find sometime to actually post some of the photos I have taken.

Blossom Pastels

As we can all testify to by now this year has been a weird and uncertain year to date. We now find ourselves 11 weeks in to the COVID-19 Lockdown here in the UK. One of the few things that has kept me sane during these uncertain times (and I’m sure that the same can be said by many others) is being able to go outside for daily exercise.

One of our many daily walks in early Spring would be too take in the fresh air while enjoying the blossom on the trees. I have been meaning to post these shots for awhile now, but I haven’t got round to sharing them until now. The gentle shade of the Spring sky against the soft blossoms were like a pastel watercolour.

Lockdown has definitely taught me to appreciate nature more and enjoy the natural world around us more whenever we have the chance.

#StaySafe