Wanderings with Chris… Up the road to see the Blue Bells

Over the years the Blue Bells on Grange Hill have multiplied exponentially. We now have a sea of flowers along the bottom of the hill which in the Spring is a beautiful sight. I  dont know how they got there as there never were Blue Bells on the Hill when i was a child, not that i can remember anyway. Maybe someone has planted them hoping to make a beautiful sea of Blue, it certainly worked.

 

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Wanderings with Chris…… a mad dash down to the beach

Driving back from Birkenhead on Tuesday evening i turned to my husband, my partner in crime and coo’d over another beautiful sunset. With a weary sigh i wished i had the energy to get my camera and go down to West Kirby and take photos of the beautiful sunset that was in front of us.
I haven’t taken any sunset photographs in over 12 months, we live in a delightful coastal town and the sunsets are glorious so you can get a bit sunset’ed out and i had made the decision not to take anymore pictures for at least a year.
We have had some lovely weather over Easter and i had watched some glorious colours in the evening sky’s and this evening i finally gave in and made my mind up to drag my camera down to the beach.
We got home, i grabbed my bag and we dashed off to West Kirby beach, a mere 3 minutes away and as i had an idea for my photographs we set off at a trot or as much of a trot that you can manage with a leg that doesn’t work properly, to where i wanted to be. Have you noticed how quickly the sun sets when you have a sore leg, are walking on sand and have to walk far enough to get your shot? I didn’t think i was going to be in time but i was! I collapsed onto the sand, luckily in the correct direction to make the shot and as happens sometimes my first shot was the best.

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I wanted something different from the usual ball of colour and scarlet sky so i concentrated on the spartina grass and kept the colour well in the background, i think it works really well and out of the five photos i thought the best i just love the very first i took. What do you think?

Wanderings with Chris…………. and Lizzy and Meg to the Black Pearl

Bonfire night, gun powder, treason and plot. I find it kind of strange and exciting at the same time that we as a nation celebrate the plot to blow up the houses of parliament in the same fashion as those who tried to destroy them. I look forward every year to the beauty of fireworks, the noise, percussion, colour and the fact that i will be among so many other people all looking to the heavens, waiting, wondering what the next explosion will bring. Some years i don’t get to see and feel the excitement because i cant get away from looking after family, the kids wont go or i remember too late, this year i have made sure i remember and if the kids wont go, well they are old enough to stay at home while Chris and i go and ohh and ahh at the pretty fireworks together. For a couple of years the Captain and his crew have been building a sculpture of the Black Pearl (Pirates of the Caribbean) on the sands in New Brighton, we have watched it develop, get washed away in storms, develop again, we have chatted to the Captain and his crew, photographed them and generally enjoyed the way The Pearl has become such a lovely tourist attraction. We discovered, thanks to the power of facebook, that there was going to be an informal fireworks display at The Pearl on the 5th and decided we had to go, fireworks, a walk, nigh time adventures for anyone wanting to come with us, a photographic expedition in the dark, heaven! Middle kid (A) doesn’t like the percussion of the fireworks,( the best bit ) so it was just Lizzy and her friend Meg accompanying us. So we (the nesh adults) wrapped up warm and headed out. When we arrived at The Pearl we were quite surprised at just how many people had come out, several hundred people in my estimation had come down to join in the fun. Some had brought their own fireworks and added them to the crew’s bundle so we had quite a show. I took the opportunity to take some photographs, of course, it’s what i do, i photographed the sculpture decked in fairy lights and children, Liverpool’s sky line and of course the fireworks, i had such fun!

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I am very pleased with the way my photos have come out, the colours are wonderful and i am pleased with myself for having the knowledge, experience and remembering it, putting it all together and actually coming away with 30+ usable images. I wonder what the guy who was stood by me with his camera, tripod and very long lens got, i used my kit lens for all of my shots and have only had to crop one image and that was because of an adjustment in camera raw’s lens correction. I wonder if with modern technology we have lost the ability to just stand and watch, it seemed that nearly everyone had a phone aimed at the sky, watching through a screen what was taking place in front of their noses, only the very young, running around and having fun watched first hand what was going on which was a shame. I think it is very important that at times you just stand and watch and record the event in your mind not on a memory card, after all that is how happy memories are made.

Wanderings with Chris ……Hoylake is enjoying the Open Golf, again!

Eight years ago the Open Golf came to The Wirral, we had money thrown at us to improve Hoylake, which they did really well but it didn’t go all the way through it just kind of stopped up by the Anchor, still Hoylake was left looking pretty. We had thousands of bodies and their cars visiting and they were neatly parked in massive carparks and shuttled in and out. They (quite a few but not all) visited our pubs and wine bars leaving behind their money and going home with great impressions and wonderful memories and we are doing it all over again this month. We have Tigers, McIlroys, Scotts, players from all over the world and they have brought their caddies, managers, families and goodness knows how many other people all geared up to make their week go without a hitch. http://www.royal-liverpool-golf.com/ Our hotels and guest houses are full and if you wander down Market St after 8pm you can hear people commenting on how it feels like you are in a foreign country as there is such a great holiday atmosphere.
During July we have also held Hoylake’s festival of firsts, a fortnight of entertainment and art, the shops, pubs and bars have local poetry and art in their windows and on their walls, which add’s to the great feel of excitement in Hoylake. Thursday was the first day of the Open and i went to Hoylake with Chris to say Hi to our artist friends manning their art stalls hoping to sell their art to the milling hordes. There were plenty of hordes and some selling of art but i was more interested in the movement of Hoylake, the people and the change of pace. People pored from the golf club, jumped on buses and trains or headed for the pubs and bars, they spilled out over the pavements onto the grass and laughed and joked and drank. Prime opportunity for some great street photography.

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We wandered along Market St slowly, chatting to people we know, stopping and sitting drinking in the atmosphere and taking photos of the people doing the same as us. Along the way we walked past Jill’s Cookshop where i have several photographs entered into the Festival of Firsts art competition, in the window is the Lighthouse at Fort Perch and underneath it is….. a Silver award!!! 🙂 Way to go me! and congratulations to all of the others awarded.
fort perch lighthouse
Of course we were really excited and whenever anyone went to look in the shop window Chris would dash over and tell them that i took the photo, i think he is rather proud of me. After we hung out and chatted and took loads of photos we drove down to the promenade and drove along to the RNLI station just in time for a beautiful sunset, a great time to take some photos of the Grace Darling sculpture.

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The sister to the Black Pearl in New Brighton. We watched the sun go down together then headed home to replace the hustle and bustle of Market St with the hustle and bustle of family life. (Read BEDTIME) We have two more days of the golf and then weeks of getting everywhere back to normal again. I hope they bring the Open back to Hoylake eventually it is an amazing event and an amazing opportunity for Hoylake and the Wirral.

Wanderings with Chris 2014….. Eastham Country Park

The New Year is now six weeks old and those weeks have zipped past so quickly, its true what they say about how quickly time goes as you get older and i’m now one off fifty, gulp. Chris and I, well we haven’t done much wandering this year, poor Chris has to have more surgery on his leg, (bad veins) so he has found it more difficult than usual to wander with me.
We have kept our wanderings local as i have had an urge to photograph squirrels. We only have Grey’s locally but they have been fun to photograph. We have to adventure out to Formby to get Red’s which is a bit too far at present.
We went down to Eastham Country Park and had a great time watching the wildlife and birds, it was a lovely day and i found loads of things to photograph. There were lots of different Fungi too and i got up close and personal with an inquisitive squirrel, its just a shame i had a long lens on as i couldn’t focus close enough and it was one of those really great ‘shots that got away’ moments.

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Wanderings with Chris, Alex, Elisabeth……..Cumbria

Family holidays. Love them or hate them they are an integral part of the trial by summer school holidays. Ours usually consist of mum, dad and two out of three kids now, with the usual bickering and moaning and wanting  to go home. We’re used to it and a holiday wouldn’t be the same without it. We had a weeks camping owed to us from last years flooded camp site, so we upgraded to a caravan as i didn’t think we had it in us to camp this time, just too tired, and it was great! We planned our week so we had flexibility for the weather and managed to fit in some great days out. Its done us, me and Chris, a  great deal of good to get away from the trials of cancer treatments, (my mum) and the angst of late teenage, (eldest child) . From the get go i said this would be a holiday on MY terms and they would do what I wanted to do and you know what, they did. We went to all of the places I wanted to go and take photos, they even enjoyed themselves and i took them where they wanted to go and took photos there too. Re visiting places was great and i also found a ‘tin tabernacle’ hidden at the side of the main road in a copse of trees, hidden and abandoned since the mid 80’s, which was a fantastic find. I love going to Cumbria because the land is totally different from the Wirral. It has High hills, deep valleys, folds and dips and lots of forestation.  It’s also inland so the Lakes are spectacular, we went to Windermere and cruised the lake which is great fun, Ambleside to see the house on the bridge, Penrith, Ulswater, Kendall, Appleby, we visited waterfalls which were fantastic because of the rain, South lakes wildlife park to see the snow leopards and we also took it easy, resting, relaxing and having family time together, yes we were one short but we can make up for that another time.

I was a little worried about the new car and if it would live up to expectation as its smaller but we did ok, no one was squashed, all our stuff fitted in the roof bag and boot and we learned some good stuff about the car, so good all round, i will be posting on my other blog wanderingsinafiat500l.wordpress.com my findings if you are interested.

dejay copy

 

Wanderings with Chris…. More Bluebells!

After the last trip looking for native Bluebells, i kind of got into taking pictures of them and wondered where locally we would find enough flowers to capture a great photo. It turned out to be Burton, the mere actually. We had been to the RSPB site earlier in the year, unknowingly stealing a visit as we didn’t realise we needed to pay. As We walked through the woods we were greeted by a carpet of flowers, a plethora of bugs and the odd sculpture.

We crossed paths with two women visiting the area and they had been lucky to have seen a baby badger just around the bend from where we were photographing, they were very excited about this and we swapped stories for a few minutes, however when we walked further along the badgers had all gone away.

Someone has a great sense of humor as the sculptures are great and lots of fun!

Wanderings with Chris, Bluebell cottage and woods

Chris knew i wanted to take some photos of Bluebells in a wooded situation and while my back was turned researched where we were to go for this weeks wanderings. He chose Bluebell Cottage circular walk and RHS registered Bluebell cottage garden and nursery situated in the Weaver Valley, Cheshire. Its a bit of a trek up a narrow one lane track and you park on a grassy field but it is well worth it. You pay £3.50 to go into the gardens and nursery, where there is a help yourself tea room that serves lovely  ice-cream and home made cake and a, well port-a-loo is not quite the right description, more shed done out nice, toilet. We walked around the gardens and ooh’d and ahhh’d over the lovely plants, took some photos and then just had to stop for coffee and cake. (the fruit cake was delicious)

Fortified, we set off to discover the Bluebell woods, over the field and through the new planting in the woods and there they were, carpets of beautiful jewel like flowers, all native to the British Isles. I didnt know where to look next, there were lovely pictures just waiting to be taken and take them i did! I used my new 50mm prime lens for some shots as i wanted a very shallow depth of field. I didnt know how well it would work as i have never used a prime lens before, i think it worked ok, i am pleased with what i have, i also used my 55-200mm lens as we found an amazing viaduct when we went on the Bluebell Cottage circular walk.

There is more to follow…………………………………

Wanderings with Chris………….Wilson Trophy 2013

Having been really busy all week Chris and I escaped the family and wandered down to a local park in West Kirby, Ashton Park,  http://www.ashtonpark.btck.co.uk/History/AfullerHistoryofAshtonPark    as i wanted to try out  my new camera.

I have exchanged my Nikon D3100 for a Nikon D7000 and i am really excited about using it, there are lots of new buttons to learn 🙂 and remember. This camera does trip me up though as i keep forgeting to put back the memory card as it doesnt tell you that there is no card in the slot 😦 and i took some lovely photos the other night of the sunset without a memory card, luckily the following evening was a similar sunset, this time with a memory card!

racing the sunset 70dpi

Anyway getting back to our wanderings, we wandered down to the park on a lovely sunny day. I took some photos of the trees, then we wandered down to the lake and i took some photos of the birds and while we were chatting to a waitress at the coffee bar she let slip that it was the Wilson Trophy on Marine Lake.  Last year we had stumbled upon the race and i had taken some great photos with a Nikon D60 that i had borrowed, this year i had my own camera and a 55-200mm lens which did the job nicely.  We have had ideal conditions for the racing this weekend and there were plenty of nail biting moments. Wessex Exempt won the trophy, well done Ben Ainslie and his team.   http://www.wksc.net/wilsontrophy/

Wanderings with Chris; Chester

Last week, we ditched the kids and wandered off to Chester, i thought i might like to take some photos of Chester Cathedral and its stained glass. When we finally managed to find a parking space, £15 at Northgate, what a laugh, big buildings going up, what happened to the bus station? We wandered down through the town center and stumbled across a great little music shop, Back Alley Music, we went in as you do when you have a child who thinks he’s a rock god, and found a great little amp for his birthday gift. Of course i didn’t have enough money on me there and then and was ‘forced’ to go back a few days later with the rock god and got stung for a guitar too :$ Any way off track a bit there. After browsing we went to the cathedral, its beautiful but did you know you have to PAY to get in? Well indignation and other things stopped us from visiting his holiness in his own house, a bit disappointing though. YES i KNOW they have to make money for the up keep of the cathedral but it still is not going to make me pay, so we went next door to the church and had lunch, yes we paid there but we got a full tummy out of it, and i got a couple of lovely stained glass windows out of it too, mission accomplished! We then had a meander and met a nice man selling his art by the clock, he draws/paints local scenes and sticks Dr. Who and his Dalek’s in them, great fun! I took some photos of the outside of the cathedral, that’s free, of the shop’s, also free and we had an enjoyable day out together. http://www.cityofchester.org/

I have processed some of he images using HDR, i bracketed some and used photomatix to process them, others are just a single image i have run through photoshop or photomatix.