Thursday, 30 December 2010

Just Walking in the Fog...

Cath and I did a four mile walk in the fog this morning.  There were an amazing amount of other nutters keen athletes out trying to walk and run off the Christmas excess.  I decided to take my camera but not the new one, the 400D is smaller, lighter and a lot easier on the neck muscles!

Because the cats don't trust me to do anything competently unless one of them is supervising, Mrs Pod was sent into the study to make sure I put on my trainers correctly.  She didn't think much of my technique and voiced her very critical opinion of it at regular intervals.

'You do realise you're doing that completely wrong don't you?' 

'I knew she should have had velcro fasteners...' 

A walk in the park... 

Deer in the mist - they were on the other side of the river
from us and of course I didn't have a zoom lens on me... 

The ruins...  

Strange and unusual tree... 

And of course we ended up here on the way home...

Random Things...

I've been thinking about whether to start a photographic project for 2011... but what to do?  I've seen the 365 photos one, the 52 weeks in black and white one, the self-portrait a week one... is anyone else planning on committing to a project?  Any ideas?  

I meant to go out and take some Christmas lights shots last night, but the fog was very thick and it was very, very damp.  Hopefully I'll manage it before the weekend.  Instead I took just a few random images...  Cath and I are off for a yomp around a country park this morning, can't take the 7D with me though, it's too heavy!  Yes I'm pretty pathetic...

Charlie (of course), who thinks I should do a 365 days of Charlie project...
He doesn't look too happy here, probably something to do with Mrs Pod
invading his personal space (he likes to have a total exclusion zone of about 20 feet
around him)

How wonderful is this salt and pepper set? The sheep even have a little green
mat to stand on for grass.  I bought them in Lakeland intending them
for my sister (well half-sister to be precise, not sure what the other half is...:O))),
but it will be hard to say goodbye to them...

...and finally, the colour version of yesterday's b&w.
I am seriously liking the gold tones.  I really
have to put that Christmas tree away...

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Black and White Wednesday

I bought this gold ornament in the sale at Lakeland yesterday!  It's very pretty and the things on top spin around with the heat from the candle.  

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

ABC Wednesday - X

X is for... a poem called, surprisingly enough, X!  Appropriate for the season in that it mentions Christmas, it is also rather dark, but one of those poems that the more I read it, the more I love it.


December that year started out
all right though I knew
my heart could tear easily
as tinsel.

On King Street watching the legless
beggar on wheels I
counted my fortunes.

But what's the use of legs if you're
burdened with a mind
rushing headlong into dark
endings said the shadow

That night exorcising terror I
offered you love you
called me jailor

The season prematurely ended.

Up north Christmas trees
quietly retreated to the
dark forests and the
long awaited baby

never came.

(by Olive Senior)

Olive Senior was born in 1943 in Jamaica, she is a journalist, poet and writer of short stories.

Go to ABC Wednesday for more eXcellent posts!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Scavenger Hunt Sunday...

David and Mum J - one from the archives

Motion Blur
Pepper killing one of the bright mice she got for Christmas

Pretty Package
Well it is to me anyway :O)  I originally took
this earlier in the week for my post on books
We'd opened the presents yesterday before
I remembered I was meant to take a picture of one!

I know, it's been done to death, but I do like Christmas tree bokeh...

It was meant to be sparkling anyway, but
the sun wasn't out... ho hum

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas, Cats and Cameras...

Well the new camera has been used so much today I think I have repetitive strain injury in my finger.  I'm still not sure what I'm doing with it most of the time but am having fun trying.  The cats had four little Christmas stockings with goodies in including catnip amoebas (they were meant to be catnip fish but as I made them they looked a bit  further back on the evolutionary scale than that).  I did try and get some shots of the cats with the stockings but the light was dreadful so very few were in focus.  Things were slightly more successful when I opened the little parcel my friend Sandra had sent them.  Inside were three bright mice that Pepper immediately attacked.  Anyway, here are the pics.  Hope everyone is having a lovely Christmas Day.

'Christmas - we haz it...'

Charlie through the banisters...

...and after getting his paws on the catnip amoeba

Mrs Pod...

Pepper not doing anything bad at all for a change...

...and here.  Although she was seen hitting Mrs P on the head at one point.

The three bright mice... of which is about to fall victim to the curse of the claw.

Pepper kills the orange mouse...

...whilst Posky is all Christmas-ed out

Friday, 24 December 2010

Macro Friday and The Weekend in Black and White - Crystal Earrings

This gave me such a headache to take - think it was me trying to get to grips with a new camera and the light reflecting off the crystal confusing said camera... am now going to have large glass of red wine and relax..

Click here for more marvelous macros
For more magical monotones visit The Weekend in Black and White

Woo hoo!

Excuse the excitement.  Santa has been early and left me my new camera, my Canon 7D and I LOVE IT!  It is seriously impressive and the cats and Ben have already had their patience severely tried by me shoving it in their faces and taking their pictures.  I also took David's when he was asleep but he refused to allow me to post it.  So what I want to know is now I've got this to play with, who's going to cook Christmas dinner?  Beans on toast anyone?  :O)))
Posky.  His photo was the first one taken as any new camera
has to be first given The Blessing of the Grey Cat if it
is to take successful pictures.  He's beginning to get
a little vexed with me here.

These images are seriously grainy because I bumped up the settings
to the highest ISO (I think it's 6400) to try it out, and also because the
light was rather dim and I didn't want to use the on-camera flash.
  Anyway, I still like them, and I love that you can 
see my reflection in Mrs Pod's eye!

Pepper - who was very co-operative and rolled about with her
paws in the air in a winsome manner... 

Charlie - 'You point that thing at me one more time
and I bite your knee-cap, capiche?'

Happy Bunny with new camera - image flipped
so it says Canon and not nonaC or something similar.

As I'm now off to work and then meeting Cath for coffee, I expect there'll be quite a few photos taken today, probably of people shoving their hands in front of the lens and telling me to 'GO AWAY!'.  More later...

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Books, books, books...

Considering the name of this blog, I actually seem to write very few words on it - the camera has taken over! Anyway, to somewhat rectify this I thought I'd post something about the books I'm either reading, or that I'm hoping to read over Christmas and the coming weeks.  Never one to go for light-heart frothiness at this time of year, my reading choices seem to be verging on the downright gloomy at the moment.

My current read is Nemesis by Jo Nesbo.  Nesbo writes Norwegian crime fiction, which is dark, complex and wonderful, with plots that are more twisty-turny than a twisty-turny thing.  Of course because I'm perverse I've read them in the wrong order - it still doesn't spoil the enjoyment of the adventures of Nesbo's chief protagonist Harry Hole, the alcoholic loner police detective.  My friend Sandra always reads them too and we have a great time discussing who we think has done it, and why Harry has such unsuitable girlfriends.

Amongst the goodies arriving from Amazon over the last couple of weeks was Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, a ghost story set in the Arctic.  What is it about Christmas and ghost stories?  Is it all down to A Christmas Carol?  Talking of ghost stories, there is also on my tbr pile The Dead of Night: The Ghost Stories of Oliver Onions.  Less well known than the likes of M R James, Onions (1873-1961) wrote over forty novels and story collections.  Mention of M R James has reminded me to re-read Casting the Runes.  One of my favourite supernatural tales, and the basis for the film Night of the Demon, which is a great film although the demon himself is a bit of a damp squib.  Think early Doctor Who monster... (yes I will be watching Dr Who on Christmas Day, even though I still prefer David Tennant).

I also want to start re-reading the Charlie Parker books by John Connolly.  These are crime stories too, but with an element of the supernatural (sort of a Chandleresque Paradise Lost), and Connolly writes like a dream.  He also has the best two side-kicks ever in the form of Angel and Louis the two gay hit-men (some of their dialogue makes me laugh out loud).

Mention of Milton (how's that for alliteration?), means poetry.  I have various poetry anthologies that I like to dip into so will be doing that at various points.  I usually grab a poetry book whilst sitting eating breakfast (if I have time to sit - often I'm standing in the kitchen trying to make my lunch at the same time).  That's the great thing about poetry - it's usually short and can be managed in small bites (much like my breakfast).  One of my tutors for literature, a specialist in poetry, once said he couldn't understand why Middlemarch was so long as if it were a poem it could be fitted onto one page.  I don't think he was a fan of novels...

Non-fiction wise I have Magnetic North about Sara Wheeler's travels in the Arctic, because you can just never have enough snow and ice at this time of year, and for some moments of spiritual reflection there's a book on Buddhism.  Last of all, as Santa is bringing me a new camera (weather and Royal Mail permitting), I also hope to be perusing the Canon 7D instruction book.  It took me about four years to get to grips with the last camera so I might be able to post pictures from it by 2015!

Happy holiday reading to all, and God bless us, everyone etc... 

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

ABC Wednesday - W

Some Wonderful Words begin with W...

OK, well Washing Line isn't one of my favourites but they're useful for hanging Wet photos on... (no they're not real, it was done via the wonders of the pc :O)))

You can make Woolly things to keep you Warm...

You can go Walking in a Winter Wonderland...

before Wending your Weary Way homeward (apologies to Grey's Elegy in a Country Churchyard), and drinking some Wine...

For more W words click here

Monday, 20 December 2010

Snow in Stratford...

Still smarting from the lack of George Clooney on Saturday night, I asked David if he'd like to go to Stratford upon Avon with me yesterday.  They had a lot more snow than we did and considering it's less than a week until Christmas the place was amazingly quiet.  We took the opportunity to have coffee in the theatre then went up to the top of the new tower, it has wonderful views made all the more stunning because of the snow.

Ice on the trees...

Two swans not swimming...

Decorations outside The Dirty Duck pub...
(when David Tennant played Hamlet he had to jump over 
the back wall of the pub to get in and avoid the mob of fans!)

Berries in the snow...

Snow tree...

Looking down from the tower...

The Avon and surrounding countryside from the tower...

Inside the theatre...

For more Stratford Upon Avon images see my post S is for...


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