This last week has been a busy one so I have not been out and about with my camera much. I had a look back at my pictures from over a week ago and noticed on my Facebook page a comment on this intimate moment atop a Hogweed plant.
The insects are Red Soldier Beetles and they are having a ‘Special Cuddle’ as my wife mentioned to her friend Brian 🙂
It is so easy to pass on by scenes like this – see how many ‘Special Cuddles’ you can spot in nature tomorrow 🙂
As I was observing the cadets from afar I had plenty of time to look for the little details that make up nature. I found that detail with this scene where a fly had been trapped in the sticky glandular tentacles of a Sundew plant.
The fly had not been caught long as it was still struggling. Within about 15 minutes of being trapped they normally expire with exhaustion and are slowly dissolved by the Sundews enzymes. You can find out a lot more about this beautiful little plant at carnivorous–plants.com
I come across hundreds of Sundews at this time of year alongside the upland streams however it is not often I spot one having a snack.
My local church St James here in Bramley held a wonderful flower festival last week. Each display linked to a particular hymn and the one that really caught my eye was the display for the armed forces.
The armed forces display was split into three parts. There was a separate display for the Army, Navy and RAF and the hymn they all related to was Eternal Father however it was the RAF display set against the Brocas Aisle window that really caught my attention.
As an old soldier and a serving member of the cadet forces I was particularly pleased to see my church remembering Armed Forces week in this beautiful way.
Reviewing my pictures this week I kept on coming back to this one. I would not say it was in anyway a brilliant shot however it is a shot of ‘Quality Time’ – that is time well spent with my daughter Catherine teaching her to use her new camera. She was really taken with all the yellow iris flowers and last years reedmace stalks.
Catherine I feel has a good eye for a picture so it is not hard to work alongside her. This was the first time she had tried out the monopod stand with the camera. Here’s to lots more Quality Time out and about 🙂
I had to stop and ask myself – ‘Did I just see that?’
Have you ever had one of these moments when you were bimbling along a quiet country lane? Well I did last weekend while down in Dorset on holiday with my family.
After passing by this little portal in a wall I had to go back for a closer look. It did not feel as though there was anything wrong with peeking into someone’s garden as the portal framed it beautifully. The view went on down a meadow slope, through some trees and finally to a lake.
It has been a weekend of heavy rain and parties here in Hampshire. However it is my lovely daughter Catherine’s Birthday very soon and we had her party today.
It was a day of girlie spa treatments and cake. Alison also made a fantastic chocolate cake with an icing Hot Tub on top. I liked this picture of the cupcakes with the candles best and it definitely is my picture of the week.
Last weekend found me in the New Forest here in Hampshire in the UK. I was with the Sea Cadets and we were running a full on weekend of Adventure Training activities and we were based at Ferny Crofts Campsite.
My picture of the week though goes to a more relaxed moment as some of the cadets were sitting around the campfire toasting some marshmallows under the watchful eye of these fire faces.
I will be writing a full report on the weekend sometime soon however I thought I would share just a little bit of what was a magical weekend with you.
One that I was not expecting tonight. I was out with my lad Finlay to observe some plants as part of his naturalist badge at Cubs. He asked if we could have a quick play in the local swing park and so in we went.
Now when I took this pic I thought he was sensibly holding on but after looking at it properly when I got home I could see he was testing out some centrifugal forces by the looks of it.
Fun was had though with a little bit of learning thrown in 🙂
It has been a couple of weeks since I have posted a Picture of the Week – caused by a certain Kitty Brown 😉 nominating me to do the Nature Challenge over on Facebook.
Well it is back again and here is one I titled A Majestic Family.
They are a family of Greylag Geese I spotted at The Vyne National Trust property. I took loads of pictures of them on the water and on the meadow carpeted in Daisies. They were all lovely but this one I thought particularly majestic. One parent stands aloof and on guard while the other gently tends the Goslings. All this with the beautiful Cedar of Lebanon in the background.
This afternoon I spent some time in the woods introducing my son Finlay and his friend William into the intricacies of shelter building (a post will follow on this).
We did have fun building the shelter however it was not free fun. I let the lads zoom off into the woods (I am still hobbling along) only to find them as usual at their favourite perch.
This perch is all that remains of the root system of a fallen tree. It looks horrifying with all these spikes but they know only to climb up and down it from the back where it is smooth. I thought it looked rather lovely today in amongst all the bluebells.
This last week has found me cooped up in the house nursing a ripped muscle in my calf – the after effects of a nearly 50 year old going to a trampoline centre with his children (my advice is don’t do it – no matter what they say about how much fun it will be).
I was taught a while ago that any decent photographer can stand in any spot and after considering all the angles take a half way decent shot. This is what I did here at the side of the man made lake at The Vyne.
I spotted some newly burst sycamore shoots at the base of a tree at the edge of the lake and thought that the angles could work for me. It was a bit of a struggle to get low down for this shot without causing myself any further damage but the soft mud at the edge of the lake worked for me 🙂
I have worked on the picture to brighten the new sycamore shoot on the right but to to give the picture a slightly darker look all over – probably to reflect my current mood where I do feel slightly better now but am still really frustrated over my lack of mobility.
Ok, not so much a picture of the week but a collage of the week.
I had a delightful walk last Sunday with my family at The Vyne National Trust property in Hampshire. The gardeners have installed a number of wicker figures around the gardens and named the trail the Wild Wicker Walk.
Some are easy to spot but some are not (the Hawk in particular) however they kept our whole family happily busy as we hunted for them.
My favourite (they are all excellent) because of its location on a fallen log has to be the Fox.
Thanks to all the gardeners for taking the time to make these wicker characters and placing them in some beautiful spots for us to find.
Ok, I know it is supposed to be one picture every week however I thought I needed to zoom in on this one a bit more so I added another for detail.
Many of you know I love to tinker with log rocket stoves so today found me once again working on another design.
I came across an old Swedish design for a log rocket called the Schwedenfeuer (Swedish fire) however like many other log rockets all the parts were held together with wire. As these stoves are supposed to date back to at least the middle ages they had to be held together with something else then.
I came up with the idea to use green wood wedges carved into the stove in a dovetail fashion. They worked perfectly, I got my coffee made and also a video (to follow). I will also be popping a How To…. blog post soon to show how to make one.
My good friend Rick popped over to visit me today and we went for a Bimble around the village in the afternoon.
There were plenty of Daffodils and Lesser Celandine on show and even a few Snowdrops still hanging around but other than that all was pretty quiet on the flower front.
When we got to one of the village ponds I was saw that only the Yellow Iris was starting to show through so had a quick look and was about to head off.
Rick though mentioned that he liked the contrast of life and death between the Iris and the Reedmace. I could see his point but until I got right down and took this picture at a very low angle did I truly see what he meant.
As an aside to all this I managed to damage my ear drum when I lay down on my side to take the picture. I felt an intense pain in my right ear and realised a dead stalk of some plant or other had gone into my ear – here’s hoping the pain does not get worse.
I spent last weekend up in the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia in North Wales. The winds were particularly strong and the rain was pretty continual.
I was with fellow instructors from the Sea Cadets working on our navigation skills. Although the elements were against us from the start and we did not top out everyone kept up good spirits. This picture of my friend Dave captures for me the tough conditions however it also shows the high spirits of folk.
This week found me working hard for my pictures. With much of nature dormant at the moment in the woods (plenty going on on the peripheries though) my stroll through my local woods this weekend was slow and quiet.
This scene came up on me and kind of reflects the still magical place the woods seem to be at the moment.
I took plenty of pictures however this one reminded me that you do not need to look far for an excellent scene to capture even when you think nothing is going on.
Last weekend I ended up in Dorset visiting my friend Fraser Christian from Coastal Survival. It was a stormy weekend but thankfully the wind dropped enough on the Saturday evening to allow me to sleep in my hammock.
On the Sunday morning not long after I got up I spotted this waterfall effect of Turkey Tail fungus on an old stump and was quite taken with them from a top down view – kinda glistened in the early morning sunshine.
Today found me out and about with my family at The Vyne National Trust Property near Bramley in Hampshire. The day started wet and overcast but we still managed to get out and get muddy.
I took lots of pictures but this one of my son managing to have fun with just a couple of sticks on an old wooden fence really put a smile on my face. He likes his X Box but thankfully likes to get muddy just as much.
This is my 200th post on my Bushcraft Days blog and I have had fun writing every one – Looking forward to the next 200.
Thank you to everyone who follows my little adventures.
So begins a New Year and I was considering where my photography would take me this year. After a long hard thought (about 10 minutes really) I came to the conclusion my photography could go wherever it liked.
So I plan to have a post once a week with what I consider my best or most interesting picture.
On New Year’s Eve I took a bimble around our village and was seeing lots of signs of spring (a bit early if you ask me) when I spotted this leftover morsel from last year.
Normally the squirrels beat me to these little nibbles so I was surprised to see some still left over from last year’s crop. This hazel tree was overhanging a reedmace-covered pond so maybe it proved too precarious a perch for the little fellas.