Wanderings with Chris……………..Our Dunham Massey Adventure

Several weeks ago i planned a visit to Dunham Massey to coincide with the autumn colours and the deer rut. The first day we had earmarked we couldn’t go, the day we did go we got to about a mile from our junction turn off and traffic came to a sudden stop due to a serious road traffic accident. It was a nice day and not to late on in the morning so we were not worried too much. Turns out there had been a guy knocked off his motor cycle so it was pretty bad. (but i didn’t let that stop me and i managed to get a few shots of the stalled traffic for potential stock photos.)

When we finally arrived at the park we arranged to go on a guided walk around the park in the hope of seeing the deer and learning some of the history of the place.¬† Our guide John was fabulous, really knowledgeable and nice too. We walked with him for about an hour and didn’t see any deer at all! When we started to walk back through the park we did finally come across some young bucks and Doe’s hiding in the long grass. I managed to get a few photos without disturbing them, which can’t be said for this pair who got up right into the face of this buck. I had my camera ready just in case they were chased.

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Wanderings with Chris……. down the road to the nature reserve

I think this is the first wanderings with Chris post of the year, we haven’t been out very much because of ill health and commitments but it was a beautiful spring day, the sun was shining and we just had to get out of the house and go for a walk. For the past few years i have been battling with Fibromyalgia and arthritis in my hip and knee so walking is very painful and slow and Chris has had problems with his legs too so our walk down to the nature reserve was slow! Just before we went in through the gate we stopped for a look out over the fields towards Greasby and there posing majestically in the pond was a Grey Heron. Major excitement! I managed to get 20 or so shots before it flew off to the other side of the pond, i’m not convinced that they are totally in focus as i didn’t have time to use my tripod but what a beautiful bird!
The nature reserve is actually reclaimed land, back in the distant past when i was a child it was actually the local refuse tip and over time a dip developed which filled with water. I can remember during one winter taking our dog down and walking out onto the ice that had formed on the pond, looking back we are really lucky the ice didn’t break under us. When the council decided that the refuse tip was ‘full’ they landscaped and a group of local families asked the council if they could turn it into a Nature reserve. After a great deal of time and hard work they dug out the pond, planted trees and rushes, added an island in the middle and soon after the wildlife flocked to it. It’s even stocked with fish.
We had a slow walk around the pond and i managed to take quite a few photos, there was lots of blossom and spring flowers and ducks, geese etc, i can’t wait for the babies to appear, cute little chicks to photograph and be chased away from ūüôā We have a couple of buzzards which i would love to photograph but i don’t know where they roost and they fly way to high for me to successfully photograph. We had a lovely walk and on the way home bumped into a lovely lady called Diane and her horse Aztec, Diane let me take some photos of her with Aztec, i hope she likes them. Hopefully with the nice weather over the coming weeks we will get out more, with or without children, i cant wait to see where our adventures take us next.

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…………………………………

A walk in the mist with Chris

Opening the curtains to a lovely misty day i decided that i would drag my poor husband out for a walk and a photographic expedition but where to go? I¬†don’t¬†know why but i usually head down to the nearest body of water, must be my¬†fishing¬†family roots, though this day i¬†didn’t¬†want water, i wanted landscape, trees, anything as long as it was land based. So i decided to drag Chris and his sore leg to Thurstaston Hill. It is ¬†a dog walkers heaven so you have to be careful where you walk and there are always people there and we were not¬†disappointed.¬†We only realised later that the children we encountered¬†legitimately¬†had the day off for the voting and not because they were skipping school.¬†Chris is a great writer, very talented and he also likes to take the odd photo, so he wandered around snapping away with the camera on his phone and spouting soppy¬†nonsense¬†as usual. I wandered around looking and i must admit, moaning about the lack of inspiration. ¬†It took a while but eventually i started to ‘see’ and i think i managed to get some nice images. The mist hung around nearly all morning and being so high up when we looked out over the Wirral it was wreathed in mist.

Thurstaston has its own ‘Rock’ in Thors Rock. We had a wander around there, through the trees and heather and wondered at the beautiful vista of ‘The Wirral’. I think i am pleased with my photographs, i like the views over the trees. Its actually looking over to Wales but you cant see past the mist. I hope you like looking at where i live, it really is a beautiful place.

Autumn appeared in some unexpected places but nowhere nice to photograph

So we have had the longest day and it is getting darker earlier as we head into winter. Did i get my ultimate autumnal photograph? Well in a word NO! I have looked and looked, there have been some beautiful trees here on the Wirral but they were in totally the wrong places. I would drive along the road and see lovely colour, yellow, gold, brown, red but at the side of a boring road or in someones front garden where it made an uninspiring image. So i will have to be content with the images i have managed to get and wait 12 months for next autumn. I gave it a good shot and tried different places and these are what i think are my best.

 

 

 

 

There are others i could choose but i like these, especially the leaves. I am now going to turn my camera lens towards Winter images, so bring on the cold, frosty mornings, oh yes and the snow!

Autumn, not here yet but on its way.

I stole Chris away from his writing again on Sunday and took him off in the quest to find autumn. We have come to the conclusion that its late, going to be wishy washy green and gold with only a hint of red. So i am just going to have to keep my eyes open, my camera ready and shoot everything that takes my eye in my quest to find the beautiful colours of autumn.

We went up to Thermopylae Pass  Birkenhead, the house and land was owned by the Vyner family, for some reason they later moved the house to Royden Park, then we went on to Bidston Hill. We had incredible light on Sunday, there was a light or not so light mist in places and as the sun burnt it off it created these amazing shafts of light and if you caught it at the right angle, well it looks amazing.  I am happy with the photos i got out of this trip plus i really enjoyed the time out with Chris and no children! but i am still looking for the image i have in my head. I hope i get it this year, if not then it will just have to be filed away for the future.

Finding the flavors of Autumn

Sunday and Chris and I are off driving around Wirral on a lovely sunny day, we wanted to find the flavors of Autumn, the colour, the crispness, the floaty leaves, the beautiful reflections. Cough cough, can someone tell the trees in Wirral its time!
We went to Rabymere, its owned by the Angling Society people so you cant walk around it and anyway the trees were still green, we went to Dibbinsdale Nature Reserve, green trees, we went to Portsunlight in Bromborough, better but not great, we went to Caldy (mega rich big houses, i could tell you its where my Dad grew up but the wrong impression would be gained. He did grow up there but was the gardeners son ūüėČ ) We went to Arrowe Park which was also ok. BUT not what i wanted. Am i too early for autumnal colour? Will it happen or is it going to be a ‘damp squib’, come on trees put on your Autumnal shades, Canada and America will not outdo us! anyway i can’t afford to go there just now. I think i will leave it a little longer and try again, you never know it may be we are just having a late Autumn.
If that is so, one thing, why are the trees alongside the roads changing colour? Pollution?


Escaping the mad house

I had an urge to escape the mad house i call home, i craved the peace and quiet of my own company, a letting go of the responsibility of  being a wife, mother, carer. So i grabbed my camera and my new tripod, the other one fell to pieces after only a few months. Side line, i bought a Manfrotto tripod which is pretty neat. And i headed down to Gilroy Rd nature reserve.

Over the last 12 months or so i have been photographing specific scenes there, a gate which i find¬†fascinating, a stand of trees, the pond, all at different times of the year and using varying techniques. ¬†The sun was shining and it was a lovely day, not overly hot or cold either, the sky was a deep blue and the clouds interesting shapes, how i was looking forward to solitude and my own company. First up was the gate, i had decided to try a multiple exposure HDR ¬†technique as i was pretty sure it would look really great and just as i am setting up for the shot, well lets just say all of the dogs on my side of the Wirral decided to take their owners for a walk. I HATE taking photos when people are watching me, i feel like my privacy is being violated, so i waited and taking my time took the shot, sounds like a cereal killer ūüėČ

I dont know about anyone else but when i am in photographer mode i look at things in a different way, all of a sudden even the smallest of things took on a different view and i was quickly taking  photos of anything that took my eye. I wandered down paths and around bends stopping at interesting views and looking at the wildlife flashing past too fast for me to photograph. I was so enjoying the peace and tranquility that i was very startled when a young lad walked around the bend in the path carrying his fishing gear, nearly tripping over me as i am kneeling down, butt up, trying to focus my camera. I dont know who was more embarrassed, me or him! It turns out a dozen lads had decided that the day was too good to waste on computer games and thought it a good idea to fish the pond, even though they know, im sure, that the pond is a no fishing pond. Still, they were not disturbing anyone other than the fish and i dont think they were all that successful anyway.

Several wonderful hours later i wandered back home to my responsibilities again, i felt so much better after my ME time and i knew i had several good shots, i only had to pries my laptop from a childs hot sweaty hands and i could transfer them off my memory card and ooh and ahh over the images.   I decided to use photomatix to merge the images and photoshop to tweak them, its an ongoing thing but i am very happy with what i got out of the afternoon. Below is a sample of my work, there are other images on my flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/klawrenceuk/ if you want to see them through the year, I hope you enjoy them, if you do, or not, please leave a comment.