Archive for the 'photo' Category

All that glitters

I always reckon I’m not particularly “girlie”. I don’t care about make-up. I haven’t got a clue about hair styling. I’m not really a fashion fiend. Rings, necklaces, bracelets and other sparkly trinkets don’t really do it for me – I wear the same earrings and necklace all the time.

However, it occurred to me as I was scrabbling around the damp lawn this morning (still in my PJs and dressing gown) that I do like – if not love – some sparkly things. Nature’s jewelery!

At grass roots level

Hanging out

Wet Skirts

Natural frame

X-ray

Three blobs

So perhaps I am a little bit girlie after all.

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Rhomboid

This week I made my first entry to show photos at an exhibition. It’s the idea of the tutor of my photography courses this year (Christophe Dillinger). The exhibition is in Grenoble in France, and is called “Square in Grenoble”. This is because the theme that all photos must be submitted in a square format, and the idea is you will show 9 photos in a square layout – 3 by 3.

I was interested in it as soon as he told us about it – but he did actually ask me to have a go as well – so I have. I fully expect not to be selected, but hey – gotta give it a whirl eh?

My tutor picked a few of my photos (from ones that I’d brought in as ideas for the coursework) and then said he wanted to see some more of the same sort of thing. So I’ve picked a few – after much agonising – and put my entry in one day last week. The closing day for entry is today.

So if you’ve been following my flickr stream and wondering why you’ve been seeing square mosaics appearing. That’s why! This one is my final entry.

My creation

Mmm….beer…..

My new macro lens has arrived. I’ve been having a little play with it this evening.

 Bottle top

Corona beer bottle top

I think we’re going to get along just fine! ūüôā

Too many projects and not enough hours in the day!

Sorry for being quiet for so long. I think I’ve just got a case of ‘too much on’ lately. I’ve been trying to finish off my Photography coursework. I’m getting there (although I have a tendency to agonise for far too long over¬†tiny alterations in PhotoshopElements), but I still haven’t actually¬†taken all 12 photos for my portfolio. Oops.

I’ve done 8, so there’s only 4 to go and I know exactly what I want to do. The problem (for me) is that all photos have to have people in them. This assumes you easy access to a ready-made supply of willing volunteers which, living on my own,¬†I don’t. The problem seems to be getting me and my volunteers both available at the same time! I think I was meant to have handed it in by now, oh well… It WILL get there.

I am extremely grateful to my LA volunteers who nobly sat around at various buildings staring off into the (often not particularly exciting) distance while I snapped away to get a series of (often not particularly exciting) photos. Ah well. The course tutor did tell us to try not to¬†use the same old buildings if we’d chosen that one. I think I’m pretty safe in that respect!

Then, whenever the weather is nice I’m trying to do stuff in the garden as I am just determined to have a more ‘finished’ looking garden this year. As it was one of those rare Saturdays where me not being at work co-incided with dry weather I decided to crack on with getting this far bit of ground ready for turf. (I’m hoping to do that next weekend, since it’s a bank holiday here meaning a three-day weekend).¬† This just involved trying to get it as flat, weed-free, and stone-free as possible. I used a combination of the more traditional treading down with tiny footsteps and (since my feet are so small and it was taking ages) my own improvised techniques of ‘giant ice-skating on soil type movements’ as well as ‘sitting down and patting it with my hands’.¬†

 Getting ready for turf Ready for turf

I’m not going to be so bold as to say it’s perfectly flat, but it’s definitely flatter. I’ll describe it as ‘smooth with minor undulations’. Hopefully nothing too noticeable. No craters to stumble into with the lawn mower for example.¬†I must remember work out how much lawn I actually need or I can see me turning up at the turf place and having a Homer Simpson moment.

(Note to self – get around to doing that first mow of the year.)

Aubreita

And now time for a couple of pictures of things¬†that are looking nice in the garden at the moment. My aubreita is out and looking fab – especially when it’s sunny. I’m a sucker for purples and lilacs so I always enjoy these in the spring.¬†It’s just a shame it’s only a spring baby and¬†doesn’t last right through the summer.

There’s three different types of aubreita in my garden and I’ve just about managed to get all of t hem in the photo. Light and dark purple and you can just about see a hint of¬†the burgundy one at the far top of the picture. It’s only a hint because of the three, it’s the one that is less rampant.

And this is one of my heucheras (heucherii?? – who knows…). It’s definitely my favourite. It’s such a gorgeous colour. I was very stupid to put it at the far end of the garden though. I should have put it where I can admire it from a window. Ah well – we live and learn.

Heuchera

And to finish –¬†I’ll leave you with a glimpse of the lovely evening sky we had yesterday…

Perfect sky

(It’s back to being grey and overcast today. Oh well… teaches us to be grateful I suppose.)

So…how IS my garden growing then?

The very observant amongst you may have noticed I have changed my blog title. I never liked ‘The world according to Nez’. It sounds stupid, and I never had any truly worldly thoughts.¬† It was just all I could come up with at the time.

I’ve been trying to think of a better name for ages, and this week I finally found some inspiration. I’d been reading a book (chick lit – nothing weighty) in which one of the characters sang ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’ to a small girl. This resulted in me humming various nursery rhymes to myself, getting as far as the second line of ‘Mary Mary quite contrary’ and thinking ‘hey…that’s an idea’. (It would be even better if my name was Mary, but sadly it isn’t.)

Anyway РI did spend a good couple of hours in the garden this afternoon. It was nice and dry, not too cold and I wanted some fresh air. I did a bit of wandering around with the camera, thought about going for a walk before deciding I felt like doing a bit of tidying up outside.

I started off by pottering about a bit in the greenhouse. I was given an Amaryllis for Christmas, and it’s quickly grown too far big for the pot it came with and there’s not enough compost to keep it anchored. The silly thing keeps toppling over (and naturally making a mess). Anyway, it’s now in a larger pot and staked with a smallish piece of bamboo so hopefully that will do the trick. While I was in the greenhouse I had a brief geranium (pelargonium?) inspection. A couple are still showing signs of life:

Inside the greenhouse...

After that I spent about two hours on my hands and knees having a general ‘weed’ in the flower beds. I didn’t quite get the whole way round before it was too dark to see what I was doing (and before my toes started going numb with cold) but I wasn’t far off. If I’m in the right mood, I enjoy weeding. You don’t have to think too much about what you’re doing, you can think deep thoughts, and you only need to look up every now and then to see the progress you’ve made which can be very satisfying. I just wish I had some plants to put in the nice crumbly looking soil now.

Things are definitely waking up. I hope they’re not doing it too early. These bluebells are certainly anxious to say hello. This is the first time they’ve been in this spot, having been moved last year, so I’m pleased to see they’re still alive. I hope they do actually flower. I’m not sure if a move will have an effect on that or not.

These are going to be bluebells

Down at the bottom of the garden, the baby rhubarb is now definitely visible to the naked eye. The bigger clump at the back is the one established bit I didn’t dig up last year. The two smaller bits at the front are ‘new’. I’m glad they appear to have taken. Down behind the greenhouse....

And to close, here’s an update on the hellebore from last week. (There are three more blooms in bud on the same plant.) It’s opened up a bit more so you can see its stamens. (They are stamens aren’t they??) It’s a bit awkward to photograph though as it’s insisting on keeping its head down as if it’s embarrassed about something. Don’t know why – it’s gorgeous! Please note the blue sky making a rare appearance.

Delicate

Nice Suprise

I’m not sure if it was genuine ‘stir craziness’ or subconcious procrastination regarding digital photography written homework, but I decided I absolutely had to have a walk this afternoon even though it was raining. (A weekly walk around the town is just about the only exercise I get at the moment. During the winter months, I¬†generally ‘feel the urge’ on a Sunday afternoon as the ‘urgh…back to work for another five days’ and ‘double urgh…won’t see daylight at home again until next weekend’¬†vibes kick in.)

Before I set off, I had a quick look around the backgarden. There’s so little in it that I didn’t think I’d find anything of interest, but I did note that there are some bluebell leaves¬†starting to poke out of the ground (which is promising since it presumably means they have survived their undiginified uprooting and repositioning last year). I was also really, really pleased to find this gorgeous little guy:

Hellebore 1

I love hellebores, but this is the first time I’ve¬†got around to having any. They were all acquired late last summer. Most of them are baby plants which aren’t doing anything much yet, but this one was a little bigger when I got it and as a result has rewarded me with its first bloom. I love it! I’m just a little bit gutted that it’s down at the far end of the garden, which probably means I won’t get another look at it until next weekend now. (Damn these stupid short winter days….!)

The other baby hellebores look nice and healthy, but I gather it can take a couple of years before they flower, and I suspect that might be the case with them. However, I’m pleased to learn that they love to self-seed, and I’m hoping they will indeed do that in my garden. (At the moment I guess I only stand a chance of that from this chap as to self-seed the plant needs to flower.)

And to close, here’s an arty farty blurry hellebore photo.

Hellebore 3

New beginnings

It’s okay – I am going for the most obvious¬†first post-title of the year.

As the weather is in dismal mode so far this week, I thought I would start by posting one of my favourite, cheerfully colourful photos from last year. I had poppies popping up (no pun intended) all over my back garden last year, and they were fab. The one main splash of colour during last year’s garden ‘rennovations’. Throughout June and July, every time it stopped raining, I would run outside with my little¬†point and shoot camera on macro mode and quickly snap away, and sometimes I got lucky like this.

poppy

(I’ve had this printed 10×8 inches courtesy of the wonderful snapfish, and I’m pretty pleased with it, although it means I¬†now have to acquire yet another frame…)

The garden looks a bit sorry for itself at the moment. I know it’s only because it’s the middle of winter,¬†it’s only really got¬†baby shrubs that have yet to get-going, and leaves have fallen off the things that leaves are supposed to fall off, but it’s still a little depressing. I keep looking out of the window and thinking “grow guys, grow”.

I hope that by this time next year (yes…I am wishing away the year already), some of the non-deciduous shrubs will have put on a bit of growth. It doesn’t have to¬†be loads, but it would be nice to be able to actually see them against the earth and fence!¬†Bascially, at the moment I’m looking out of the window and just seeing brown, and binoculars are required to spot actual greenery.¬†I am looking forward to getting back out there and carrying on where I left off though. Fingers crossed summer 2008 is not quite so much of a wash-out as last year.

I would post a garden picture, but it’s really not at its most photogenic. The holly by my front door looks great though, so perhaps I should take a few photos of that. (It’s got berries and everything!) The rellies did their annual¬†holly prune just before Christmas for festive decorative reasons.

Other new beginnings? Well, next Tuesday I start an evening class in digital photography which I’m looking forward to. I’ve been trying to teach myself some of the ‘technical’ bits. Some things are starting to go in, but I think it always helps to have a person explain too.

On Wednesday I start a second evening class in webdesign. I got interested in this a couple of years ago, and taught myself enough html to be able to build and maintain this website¬†by manually writing the code using trusty old notepad. (I use FrontPage and Dreamweaver at work, but don’t have such luxuries at home.) I’m hoping I’ll learn a few more tricks though. Possibly maybe even enough to see if job-wise a change of direction may be possible (which if it comes off would obviously be another new beginning).

I’m also planning on doing more of this in 2008:

Shadows

This was our Christmas Day afternoon walk. It was only a couple of miles I think – perhaps not even that. On Boxing Day we did a 5 mile walk¬†though¬†– just round the countryside¬†where I live. (There are some lovely footpaths and¬†villages and things.)¬†I love walking, but I don’t do it anywhere near as much as I’d like to. My excuse has been that my friends aren’t “into it”. So, this year I’ve decided, what the hell – I’ll just start going¬†by myself. Camera in tow of course. *cheesy grin*

And of course, I’m planning on becoming a cordon-bleu chef¬†and general entertainer extraordinaire this year. Baby steps Nez, baby steps!


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