• nature

    fuzzy

    Martin spotted this hairy little fellow the other day while we were walking our dog. I hunkered down and got a few snaps of this impressive caterpillar using my mobile phone camera. I was really happy with the detail it captured. You’d expect to discover a caterpillar like this in a warner country, but it seems surprisingly exotic for Ireland.

  • nature

    shrouded

    Insubstantial

    A cold, dank mist smothered Galway today. There were none of the usual markers of morning, noon and twilight, just a constant grey tone that collapsed suddenly to darkness in the evening. It was the kind of day that offered no incentive to venture outside, but the dog needed her walk, so in the afternoon I braved the woods. It was still, muffled. The thick mist suggested much and illuminated nothing. A rook cawed intermittently throughout my walk, there were occasional bangs – fireworks, or a gun – but otherwise it was utterly silent. The woods were eerie and mysterious, and I thought how easy it would be to conjure…

  • nature

    going monochrome

    I’ve been experimenting with changing some of my recent photographs of trees to black and white, and taking a slightly arty style. In some of them I’m using sepia tones. I start with the base image, go with my instinct about which filter works best and start building layers of effects. Of all the creative work I do artwork and photography are probably the most satisfying. I lose massive chunks of time when I get involved in it because it absorbs my attention completely. It’s also the work that has no pressure attached: I do it simply for my pleasure. I’ve mentioned before that woods and forests are where I…

  • Thoughts

    all things pass in beauty

    Another shot from the recent misty morning. At this time of the year the woods undergo a slow deflation until we are left with stripped perennial trees, shrunken shrubs and the hardy evergreens. It can be sad to watch this transition, but there is consolation. There is always beauty if you look for it, even in death. I often take photographs of dead leaves and withered flowers because I think they possess a different kind of allure. The above photograph is of a dead perennial sowthistle, caught with cold drops glistening on its white hair. In every moment, even towards the end, joy is possible. I didn’t walk the woods…

  • Thoughts

    seasons of mists

    In ‘To Autumn‘ Keats referred to this time of the year as the ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’. The chilly days of autumn have descended. I’m wrapping up in a scarf and gloves for my daily morning walk with the dog. Yesterday, a mist invaded the woods, muting birdsong and muffling the weakening sun. The cobwebs on every shrub and branch were made visible by tiny jewels of dew. It’s no wonder this time of the year brings with it a reputation for mystery and strange events. Anything could push through the fine sparkling mist and demand parley.

  • Galway,  Thoughts

    beautiful fungus

    Today I noticed a small track in the woods I’d never seen before. There are a number of old earthen paths criss-crossing the heavily wooded sections which connect to the main trail I tramp along most days. Many of them are little more than a memory of a passageway through the trees, and often fade away or end abruptly. Over the years I’ve explored most of these tracks in an attempt to give my dog – and myself – a bit of novelty. So I was surprised at this revelation because I should have spotted it ages ago. Still, it was fun following it, ducking under branches and weaving between the…

  • Thoughts

    autumn wood light

    This morning during my walk in the woods with my dog Minnie I heard a weird bellowing honk – obviously made by a large bird – followed by the sound of large wings beating as it soared away. I never saw the creature, despite spinning around to catch a glimpse of it. In my imagination it was some  variety of moose goose, with a big, fuzzy head, horns, a yellow beak and huge brown wings. No wonder our ancestors used to warn of strange happenings when one ventures into forests. There are always odd noises and curious rustlings made by animals – or things – just out of sight. It…

  • Galway

    Autumn

    I spotted this fine fellow on my way into the woods to walk my dog this morning. It’s a good example of Coprinus comatus, also known as the shaggy ink cap or the lawyer’s wig, among others. I usually refer to it as the shaggy ink cap (or, as I misspoke this morning upon my return – the shaggy inkwell). This mushroom erupted and flourished in the mere 48 hours since my last visit to this location, or else I was singularly unobservant during my previous trip. Change can occur in a day or two, if you notice. It was the first thing I spotted on this occasion, and I…