Tag Archives: Essex

Dog walking with Rufus…

Rufus has been with us almost a year. Difficult to imagine the home without him now. He’s been the best in what has been a tough year…

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He is either a very intelligent dog, who decides to ignore the pathetic goings-on of the humans around him, or else he is very thick and simply doesn’t understand our commands. Either way, he is clearly very happy.

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Early morning walks are good – for me as well as the dog! And we’ve been treated to some superb sunrises over the past few days. Here’s my local Caspar David Friedrich tree, just next to the Lizzie Bennet lane…

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Rufus is very bound-y, just like Tigger, and chasing a ball is absolutely what Rufus does best. Or licking the dishes in the dishwasher – perhaps that is what he does best; or maybe the challenge of a big stick on an early morning walk? No…, I have it, best of all is the chance to go for a swim in water, the smellier the better.

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Processed with Snapseed.

(I do like that tree – very CDF for sure.)

So long may our dog-master, master-dog morning walks continue. Great fun for us both, and a chance to go hunting for sticks…

Processed with Snapseed.

 

 

 


The mycologist in me will out!

OK. So I know I’m pretty obsessed by all things photographic. But I must admit I always thought mushroom photography was a step too far! But no, it seems not. The mycologist in me will out. And finding this rather impressive specimen in the forest, I just had to. I am clearly turning into a weirdo…

Fungi1

Where is all this going? What will I end up photographing next? Buttons? Garbage? Grass clippings? Mind you I didn’t set out to photograph mushrooms. I just sort of came across them. They were there, and clearly demanding to be photographed…

Fungi4

 

Fungi3

 

Fungi2

 

I shall have to kid myself – it was a test: “See if you can make an interesting image out of some fungi!?!” Well, I’ve tried. Now I’ve even gone so far as to look them up. Golden Scalycap no less (Pholiota aurivella)! Seriously Tom, get a grip! Get back to some serious photography, portraits, landscapes, nudes, anything, but keep me away from the ‘shrooms!!!

Fungi5

 


The Blazing Forest

Wake Valley Pond_press

I have to admit, I’m a teeny weeny bit nervous. Today I’m hanging the pictures for my first exhibition, and I’m wondering if anyone is going to come along to see it, and if they’ll like the images! It’s not as if it’s a big exhibition, it’s not in a prestigious Bond Street gallery (I wish), but it’s 30 of my pictures, & I’m an exhibition virgin, so I’ve come over all shy and apprehensive…

 

Gate_press

SONY DSC

 

My theme is Epping Forest in the autumn – the Blazing Forest. The tiny world around Epping will vibrate with exquisite colour. The leaves are turning right now. In 4 weeks the forest will be shimmering yellow and burnished gold.  Morning mists, sharp frosts, still ponds, twirling leaves. Come November a storm will hit, the trees are stripped and winter will have arrived.

Wake Valley Pond mist_press

Foliage_press

 

The show is on until 30th October at The View, 6 Rangers Road, Chingford, E4 7QH. If you’re around, come and have a look and make sure my pictures don’t go unseen. If you’re not around, get a plane, train or automobile and come over (joking…). The private view is on Sunday 4th, 2-4pm, and you are all invited. Come, say hi, and have a glass of wine. And enjoy the forest…

Loughton Meanders_press

 

SONY DSC

 

SONY DSC


Engage brain and question…

Is this image too complicated? Compositionally it’s ok – a square halved, lead in line from the top, met by branches from the bottom. But how does the mind ‘get’ this? Confusion? It is, of course, a tree at the top half, and a reflection at the bottom. But because the pond stretches back behind the tree at the top the forest is reflected in the top half too… hence a more complicated image.

Pond reflection

Pond reflection

Actually, that’s why I like it. They eye needs a few seconds more than normal to work it out. Engage the brain.

This one is easier. The post in the water gives it away, the mind recognises reflection straight away and everything falls into place. Easy. But as interesting?

An easy pond reflection

An easy pond reflection

I made this image on the same day. For me this works because the mind can wander – along the path, up out of the image… I find that quite teasing and stimulating. Mind you, I was told the other day that my pics don’t have enough of ‘me’ in them. And this  would be a classic example of that. Going to have to work on harder…

Forest Path

Forest Path


Vive Le Tour in Essex!

They’re coming!

They’re coming!!!

Any second now!!!!!

Yes, it was a long wait… But exciting. And we enjoyed the show. After all, this is the 3rd most watched sporting event in the world and it was passing right by the end of our road. Not bad. Vive le Tour!

 

The leader!

The leader!

And the day before they’d ridden past my Mum and Dad’s house in York. What are the chances of that? It’s like they were laying it on specially for us. So we had to go bananas!

Are they here yet Dad? Not quite lass, be patient, it’ll be soon…

A French cockerel in Epping

A French cockerel in Epping

Yorkshire looked great. Epping did too. Yellow everywhere, garlic, onions and tricolours livening up the High Street. We love our cliches.

Dad, when will they be here? Soon, soon.

And all of a sudden, they were!

Here they come!

Here they come!

And there they go!

And there they go!

It brought the francophile out in me, plus the Yorkshire & Essex pride. They went past in about 12 seconds, but it was great!

The pic doesn't do justice to their speed...

The pic doesn’t do justice to their speed…

 

Was that it then, Dad? Aye, indeed. Time for a beer. Well I am a Yorkshireman…

I think this chap got left behind

I think this chap got left behind

 

Love it, when’s the next celebration?

It's all just a bit of fun!

It’s all just a bit of fun!

(Apologies for the number of exclamation marks in this post. It just had to be that way!)

 

 


Football vs photography. No contest!

There is one good thing about an early exit from the World Cup – more time for photography!

Golding's Pond

Golding’s Pond

 

I managed to spend a couple of hours in the forest this morning, processed and published the pictures by the evening. The benefits of digital!

Wake Valley Pond

Wake Valley Pond

Apparently, this pond is infested with terrapins, one of which is meant to be a giant. That’s according to the angler that I chatted to. Mind you, we all know how anglers have a tendency to exaggerate, especially about size…

Sun, reflecting.

Sun, reflecting.

 

Perhaps he's under the lily pads?

Terrapin, lurking out there somewhere…

Photography vs football. No contest at all. The one gives pleasure, the other pain. I’ll concentrate on the picture making, and the hunt for terrapins!

 

(By the way, I have a series of articles being published in Black + White Photography on the why certain images create an emotional impact. Check them out and let me know what you think)

 

 

 


Seeking freedom and a bit of wobble!

I was told recently that my photographic style was neat, straight and classic. Well that made me sit up. Actually it made me get off my backside and into the forest to see if I could do something less neat, more wobbly and completely unclassic. Below is the result.

Birch trees in Epping Forest

Birch trees in Epping Forest

I deliberately left the tripod behind. Closed the aperture down, let the shutter speed go to 8 secs plus, and then let the camera wobble. It’s meant to be impressionistic. Pictorial. Un-photographic. Actually I quite like it!

Birch copse

Birch copse

It’s all a bit hit and miss. But fun! Makes a change from trying to get front to back sharpness and perfect exposure for land plus sky… I shall definitely take more images like this.

Dancing trees

Dancing trees

Wonder if anyone else likes these, or whether they just look like shaky camera technique. Let me know… Anyway, back to the classic style for the next post no doubt!


Metamorphosis in the Forest

I’ve swapped the wet – but hot – climate of the Caribbean for the wet and cold climate of Essex. It’s a tough exchange, but there are compensations (some…), namely that Epping Forest is ablaze with colour. Even on a dull day the forest glows.

The colours of autumn

The colours of autumn

The next 3 weeks or so are just the best. Green and yellow now, turning to gold and brown by end November. Then along comes a storm, the leaves are down, and the show is over. Got to enjoy it while it lasts.

Tree canopy

Tree canopy

I saw him before he saw me.

I saw him before he saw me…

Careful, these ones are dangerous!

Careful, these ones are dangerous!

I may even have to force the kids to go for a walk this weekend… It’ll do them good, even if they do squawk and squabble and wish they were in front of the playstation. Could even drag Mrs P along! And then a delicious steaming sausage pie with onion and madeira gravy to cheer everyone up again. Yes, autumn does have its advantages! And luckily I have some spiced rum to remind me of the Caribbean!

A Forest wander.

A Forest wander.


It’s all going on at the village fête…

Come wind, rain, or heatwave sunshine, the English love a good village festival. A chance to get all the local characters together and have a party. Pimms, tea, hotdogs and cake, a pint of the local brew and a bit of fun and competition. Last weekend was Little Hallingbury’s turn, just up the road from us, so we turned up with the whole family.

Where would we be without tea!

Where would we be without tea!

and cake!!!

and cake!!

and a bbq burger!!!!!!

and a bbq burger!!!

Kids know instinctively how to make the most of these fêtes. Immy has this tactic to a tee: tap Dad for a tenner, then tap Mum for the same, and then try your luck with assembled Aunts and Uncles, and then spend spend spend. I swear she come away in profit…

instant art for 2 quid.

instant art for 2 quid.

Where else can you hold a ferret?

Where else can you hold a ferret?

Suddenly it can get serious. Time and effort has gone into the prep, especially in the competition marquee…

Carefully grown, those potatoes...

Carefully grown, those potatoes…

Fruit perfection is paramount

Fruit perfection is paramount

"How did that one win?!"

“How did that one win?!”

The competition winners will get the cups

To the winners the spoils

Of course at the stalls male sporting prowess needs to shine through. Here’s my brother-in-law, Adam, a good golfer, concentrating very hard on hitting a ball into a bucket. And missing. Spot the smirk on his nephew’s face (left hand side, sunglasses). Plus the unknown bystander (right hand side) who’s finding the uncle/nephew competition quite hilarious!

how can it be this hard?

how can it be this hard?

Given his miserable failure with the small ball, Adam has a go at the throwing shy. Here he is, not waiting for the photographer (me…) to get out of the way before pelting the targets with the beanbag. He missed, again:

Oi! Get out of the way!

That black blog isn’t a flag on the building, it’s a beanbag hurtling its way towards me….

This is Brit society at its best. Characters to the fore, both human and animal.

Dogs abound, of course.

Dogs abound, of course.

Mrs P wins a ferret race...

Mrs P wins a ferret race… and quaffs a Pimm’s

And Miss England puts in an appearance, and promptly get snaffled up by clearly the most pro photographer of the day, who just for 5 minutes has forgotten all about his camera…

the old pro

the old pro

Clearly a great day for all. Well done Little Hallingbury!


Spring is sprung, at last

At last, the blackthorn is in full bloom! One of the sights of spring. This year it’s late, of course, but better late then never.

Hawthorne in all its splendour

Blackthorn in all its splendour

I’ve been to take photographs in this spot every year for the last decade or so. It’s become a ritual. Part of my spring.

against the light

against the light

Early morning is best. The dew is still on the grass, occasionally still frost. But the sun lights up the bushes and they glow.

detail

detail

The flowers have a delicate scent, again, best experienced on a bright early Sunday morning.

vanishing point

vanishing point

The dog walkers were out in force this morning. Even in some pretty remote fields I was bumping into people frequently. Everybody is so relieved that the weather is finally improving – a chance to get out into the fresh air.

gap in the hedgerow

gap in the hedgerow

detail

detail

Even so, hang around too long and the inevitable happens. Mind you, a shower makes for a good photograph!

caught by the storm

caught by the storm