Summer is in full bloom, and on my daily walks – irrespective of the weather – the leaves and shrubs are bursting with life. One afternoon I was escorted through the woods by a constant display of Cabbage White butterflies engaged in aerial manoeuvres. They’re very hard to catch on camera, as they have a jagged, jerky movement that’s a little unpredictable. The difficulty with catching them at rest is their wings are folded up so their patterns are hidden. But at least you get to see their grey ruff. It was quite delightful to have this procession of butterflies guard my path. The very next day the butterfly escort…
I walk in the woods and forests in my area regularly. I’m always struck by the different atmosphere in them depending on the weather, the season, and the varieties of trees. They also contain pockets of strangeness. All is friendly and light at first, and suddenly you walk into a watchful area, where footfalls are muffled, and you hold your breath a little. Then there are the parts which radiate a magical luminescence and anything could happen – anything could step from behind that tree. This is why so many fantasy stories and fairy tales are set in woodlands. People can disappear in them. Time stretches under their canopy of…
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…
Tonight, there is an amazing moon. I’m lucky to live in a place with little liight pollution, and there are some nights when this is a joy. Earlier this evening, because it was a clear night with strong moonlight, I decided to walk Minnie in the woods in the darkness. I don’t do this frequently, but whenever I do I swear I’ll do it more often. When we arrived at the woods I noticed that the person with the property opposite to the entrance was having a bonfire. It was magical. The fire snapping and popping, the saffron-crimson flames licking up between the gaps of the trees and Mistress Moon…
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…
a grey day
It’s one of those cold, wet November days where you have to search hard to find a spot of beauty. As you can see from the above photograph, the woods are pretty bare now. I like the mood of this image, however, probably because Minnie’s body language is alert, and the path indicates a journey that has yet to be taken. But, there is a hazy quality to what lies ahead, and even the watchful dog is out of focus. Sometimes, life is uncertain. All you can do is move forward, and keep the hound close.
We had another fantastic autumn day in the West of Ireland with icy blue skies and the sun burnishing the dying leaves copper and gold. I took advantage of the good weather to take lots of photographs, because at this time of the year who knows what tomorrow will bring? Tonight, it is frosty with a dollop of fat moon in the sky. The spirit of Halloween is very much present. This evening, instead of a photograph, here’s artwork inspired by the woods and the weather. I’ll expect I’ll have my first hot port* of the season soon. That is when I know winter has really arrived. * Hot Port:…
These are leaves coated in the first frost of autumn. Every year I’m struck by the fact that frost and/or ice can transform the ordinary into something beautiful while also causing us bother. At least it contains the potential for joy, even if it makes us curse.
I woke up this morning out of unpleasant dreams with a headache. The house was chilly as the heating had only kicked on. I didn’t feel well, and the bed was warm. I lingered a little longer than usual under the cosy covers until Minnie the dog starting shuffling about nosily in her “where’s my walk?” routine. Eventually, I got myself up and out to the woods. My mood was sliding toward glum, partly because of how I was feeling, the overcast sky and damp, cold air. The light was not great for photographs, especially compared to yesterday. Then, I looked up at the clouds and noticed it wasn’t uniform.…
back in the woods
This morning we had the first frost of autumn. My car was a icicle (or a carcicle as I call it), and my dog Minnie waited impatiently for me to defrost the windows before we drove to the woods. It was blindingly sunny. The azure skies were scrubbed of clouds. A low mist clung to the undergrowth, and ice sparkled on fading flowers and dying leaves. My favourite autumnal weather. Even though I’ve only been away from the woods for a few days it’s remarkable how quickly change takes place at this time of the year. Holly berries have appeared in great scarlet clusters. Most of the trees are sporting…