Tuesday, 14 April 2015

The Seeing Eye

I slept late this morning. It was a trade for the hour I lay awake between five and six listening spell-bound to the dawn chorus. I really must make the effort to get up and record it for you. The ground-swell of song that lifts from out of the stillness is awesome, in the original sense of the word. 
Our cuckoos returned from Africa at the tail end of last week and they were singing in this morning's medley. I pondered for a while how it is that your ear can pick out and focus on one single note amid such a rich tapestry of sound.

Days here have been hot of late, with the warmth playing out to a backdrop of buzzing and light and colour. On days such as these I don't have to remember to look with my eyes as well as my camera. There is so much to see.


This morning, for example, Pop and I were examining the Ribes, discussing the best way to photograph it (this has been eluding me for some time) when a deeper, more distinct and throbbing buzz than those made by the ever-present hoverflies alerted us to the arrival of a Red-Tailed Queen Bumble. She flirted with the pinky-crimson flowers of the Ribes for a bit, before finally settling on the blue-lilac of the Grape Hyacinth....


Poppy was intrigued, but was also listening to me as well as the bee and stepped back from too close an examination when asked. This made me proud of her, because she is still only a little girl learning her way through the world, and although she tries so hard to be good, sometimes small people need to be playful and just a little bit naughty.

 
We returned our attention to the complex issue of capturing the essence of the Ribes. It has done us proud this Spring and I wanted to represent it well. I felt frustration at my inability to connect with it and get the shot, then I found myself thinking of my friend Amanda whose photographs are always exquisite and vocal, and I imagined how she would approach the picture. Something clicked and the picture came.


Once we had that one in the bag, others started to appear inside my eye so that when I looked through the view finder the right image was there. I don't mess about with my photos; short of cropping them, what you see is what I have taken; no editing, no touching up, no colour or shade alterations. I like the purity of publishing what came out when I pressed the button. There is something about 'seeing' the image that you want and knowing it when you see it. It is the difference between producing a record shot and creating something that speaks with feeling, something that conjures more than simple appreciation of the subject (to me, anyway). I also like to be faithful to my subject, warts and all, because often the warts are the interesting bit and they turn the photo from an ordinary capture into something more memorable.





Up at the pond, the King Cups are in bloom.


And tucked away around the edges of the garden, primroses are still blooming, this morning decked in simple jewels courtesy of the night's dew.


Another flower I have trouble photographing is the Forget-Me-Not. They are so very pretty, but I never seem to be able to reproduce this sufficiently well to do them justice. This morning, thinking about seeing differently, I took this shot from an angle I have never used before. I think it works.


Likewise, these shots of Mossy Saxifrage. They are tiny blooms, so I got down on their level to get an impression of what the world looks like from their eyes. It was quite a revelation and I like the resulting shots.



Finally, the moth box was out last night, but instead of the usual record shots, I'm going to show you a couple I took with the eyes I'd been using in the garden. The first is a close up on the wings of a Powdered Quaker.


And the second, the feathered antennae of one of the many Brindled Beauties who were flying about the garden last night.




Finally, I'll leave you with some shots of butterflies who have been visiting the garden. The Comma (first pic) is the first this year, and the Small Tortoiseshell's are now out in large numbers, which hopefully bodes well for them. I've seen Orange Tips every day for the last three days, which is exciting, especially as I've had to stray no further than the garden to see them, but I am still waiting on the photograph. Patience is my new mantra.




I quite enjoyed all of that. It does me good to think and see from a different perspective every now and then.

Hope all are well,

CT x

40 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos of the flora, and your sweet little pup! You've got some really nice closeups of some lovely spring blooms. I like getting down on the ground to take flower shots too, and it gets tricky when the flower heads hang down and I want to see inside the flowers. Neighbours must love it ;) Wendy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Wendy. I'm glad you enjoyed them. Blogging is such a lovely way of sharing pictures. Our neighbours are very used to me after all these years- I don't think they register surprise any more :o)

      Delete
  2. yes thtwould be a good idea to record the dawn chorus! Yout flowers shots especially the really close up are marvelous.Of course the pooch is smashing as well. Good to see the butterflies ppearing now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful images CT and personally I really hope that you do get around to recording the dawn chorus, it would be wonderful to hear as well as interesting as regards the differences compared to up here.

    No Cuckoos up here yet, though with this being St.Tiburtius Day I am hopeful they will be here any day now :-)

    Hope you are well and kindest regards to all :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi David,

      Lovely to hear from you- hope all's well with you and yours.

      Yes, I will record the chorus, it's something I've been meaning to do for the past few years but not got round to. It is such an amazing thing to listen to, isn't it?

      I'll be interested in when your cuckoos arrive- the first I heard recorded round here was the start of last week. Seems early to me.

      All the best :o)

      Delete
  4. Quite a masterclass - I love being down in the mossy saxifrage - I've just bought a plant, which looked vigorous and lush at the time, but has gone very shy after the frosts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :o) My saxifrages go through phases of looking dead and then seem to perk up, so hopefully yours will to.

      Delete
  5. Beautiful! Would love to hear your dawn chorus. I was woken last week by jackdaws dropping sticks onto our roof as they build their nest in the chimney again this year. Not such a great dawn chorus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have nesting Jackdaws too- a couple of years ago one got inside the chimney and flew out into the room :o)

      Will get up early and get the recording for everyone x

      Delete
  6. Gorgeous photos. I came downstairs the other day to find the living room freezing cold, because the eldest had had the window open since the first hint of daylight listening to the dawn chorus. There's lots of playful and more than a bit of naughty here too, mostly from the smallest person, I think he and Poppy would be the very best of friends. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's beautiful about your lad- he is a keen birder, isn't he? Long may it last with him. That sort of thing keeps you going through life I reckon.

      Poppy would ADORE your smallest- they would doubtless wear one another out getting up to fun and mischief :o) She loved having the two little cousins here for the weekend and was quite bereft when they went home xx

      Delete
  7. Thankyou for the beautiful, beautiful photos, especially the inside of the Daff.
    I know what you mean with the Awesome word. I was talking to Tom once about how wicked it was to tie up a fox on some tv prog or another when my then young Grandson said 'Thats not wicked Nan, it's cruel' just one of the words that I've had to adjust in my vocabulary. lol
    Briony
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sick is another one whose meaning is different if you're a teenager, as I learnt recently. It all makes me feel old! xx

      Delete
  8. Stunning pictures CT, the Forget-me-not one is most definitely my favorite m'dear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks john. I was pleased with that one, I think they're quite hard to take well :-)

      Delete
  9. They are beautiful shots CT. I just loved the super up close moth images, well worth a different perspective. Not so many butterflies here at Broadsands, but I bet my old garden will be full of them. I need to plant butterfly friendly plants here.
    Lovely weather here and I too have been enjoying the buzzing around me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure once you get the blooms you'll get the insects, especially given the proximity of countryside near you :-)

      Delete
  10. absolutely gorgeous photographs! truly brilliant.

    our dawn chorus is in full swing here, too....the frogs have just started to join in as of yesterday morning and they're one of my favourite spring sounds.

    of course, between the grackles, the red-winged blackbirds, starlings and ravens, our dawn chorus tends to stretch out all day these days....;)

    i would definitely love to hear yours though...perhaps we can do a symphony exchange? ;)

    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A symphony exchange is a great idea! I have recorded it here, now just need some time to upload :-)

      Delete
  11. Lovely flower and butterfly photos!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh my goodness CT - you are so much further ahead than us! So lovely to see and, now you've heard a cuckoo, Ours must be on its way. Pops looks gorgeous - please tell her so from me! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Regional differences are fascinating things. We get fewer cuckoos each year which saddens me. Pop says thank you for the compliment :-) xx

      Delete
  13. Very nice photos indeed. It is lovely getting up close to all the lovely plants and bugs that we probably all have in our gardens, a refreshingly different viewpoint! Hope all are well.x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shauna. Hope all well with you all too xx

      Delete
  14. Those pictures are amazing, such a treat to see them. Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your pictures are as always stunning! I sat in the garden this evening and listened to the birds, not the dawn chorus, but the pigeon's chasing each other hoping for a bit of you know what chorus.... xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the idea of a bit of you know what chorus
      :-) xx

      Delete
  16. Stunning and glorious!
    I'll admit the Powdered Quaker has stolen my heart.
    Jane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are rather smashing in a quiet, understated way :-)

      Delete
  17. Hey CT,
    I lie in bed listening to the dawn chorus every day. It's my new alarm. It's the little wren that stands out the most. She must be nesting nearby. he's spends a lot of time in mine and next doors garden. The other day she was going the the clappers in the plum tree, stopping for a while as another wren sang an answer a little way away, and then sang her heart out again. (I know that it's probably the male doing all of this showing off and territorial stuff, but I always think of wrens as Jenny's). I think you've taken some lovely pics by using your eyes in a different way. I only crop my photos. I sometimes use a function on my camera that allows me to focus on a particular area, and I do crop. But other than that I leave well alone. I admire Sarah's photographs, who blogs over at Mitenska. But I wold imagine her photos are quite edited versions of the original. I don't have the time or the patience for all of that nonsense!
    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's something about wrens isn't there? They steal my heart and have done since I was a tiny weeny person. I always think of them as girls too! Xx

      Delete
  18. I've not seen a red tail yet, very unusual

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We get fair few of them here, although that's the first one in the garden this year.

      Delete
  19. Lovely photos CT - love the mossy saxifrage pictures - it looks like a miniature forest :) I haven't seen any Orange Tips yet this year (you must be ahead of us) but have had Comma and lots of Peacocks in the garden. No photos though - they never seem to stop flying around! Had the moth trap out here last night - just about to empty it after moving it into the shade.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the flutters are on the move here too- lots of meeting each other and twirling about :-)

      Delete
  20. What stunning photos you take. You make me feel I should be more ambitious with mine. I love the one of the saxifrage. Perfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks, Elizabeth. I'm trying to photograph things from different or unusual angles- it makes all the difference and allows you to show an unexpected side to familiar things.

      Delete

Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x