Monthly Archives: August 2012

Ohhh … go on then … Capture the Colour!

I had read about the “Capture the Colour” competition a little while ago from a couple of blogs that had dabbled. But I decided not to enter myself, mainly because it is run by Travel Supermarket, and it appears to be looking for travel-based photographs. Sadly, I do very little travelling these days. My previous life of wanderlust has taken a back seat to single motherhood, and finances rarely offer the opportunity to get much further than a Sun holiday to Skegness.

Ironically, I have loads of photos from way back when I lived by my wits and walked the world on very itchy feet … but they were taken on film cameras and I haven’t a clue how to convert them to the computer.  Since the advent of the digital age, my portfolio consists of wedding, nature, and macro photos … so I was quite happy to sit on the fence for this one.

And then, Vladimir from “Wind against current” went and nominated me to take part!

Oh good grief! I hate it when someone gives me a challenge. Something inside me just keeps niggling away, and I have to give it a go.

I thought I may be resigned to presenting five pictures of colourful bugs … HOWEVER! After a bit of trawling, I came up with a few shots that may actually fit the bill. The purpose of the competition is to present five pictures, each of which represents one of the following colours: Blue, Green, Yellow, White, and Red. So here goes … (click on the images for more clarity):


I have only ever crossed the border from England into Scotland once, when I travelled with my son to a tiny village called Creetown in Dumfries and Galloway. It was one of those places that had zero crime, and nobody seemed to worry about anything. There are few residents and fewer tourists – despite its cult claim to fame that Britt Ekland filmed her infamous dance scene from the original “Wicker Man” film there.  We stayed at a local pub, and we were welcomed by extremely friendly locals. One couple invited us to go out sea fishing on their small boat with them one day. While we were out there, my son, aged seven at the time, caught thirteen Mackerel(s?) using one of those multi-hook lines. It didn’t take this seagull long to figure out that there is such a thing as a free lunch, and it hung around the boat for much of the afternoon:


As many of you already know, my idea of perfect, peaceful break away from the rat race involves some level of immersion in nature. I love to walk through the woods, take a picnic to a country meadow, and generally just lose track of time among the wee beasties and the wildlife. This picture was taken during one such excursion through the woods around Cusworth Hall in Yorkshire. I was lucky enough to spot a large dragonfly resting on a twig. Like the rest of us, he was happy to just take things easy and gave me time to take a couple of remarkably close-up shots before disappearing into the sunset.


I went on a weekend holiday to Rhyl in North Wales a few weeks ago, accompanied by two very energetic boys. We stayed in a caravan park, but, as you could expect, there was little opportunity to relax. The beach was quite rocky during the day, because the tide was very far out, and the kids scratched themselves quite badly when they ventured into the sea. However, the tide returned to shore in the evening, and while the boys were being entertained by the site’s party staff, I had a chance to sit on the rocks and watch the sun go down over the waves. Despite being very cloudy during the day, I was rewarded with two evenings of beautiful sunsets. But before the sun really began to “set” beyond the horizon, and the colours deepened to remarkable shades of orange and, eventually, purple, there were a few minutes when the whole scene was bathed in a shower of golden yellow.


This picture was taken on a very eerie, foggy morning, as I was passing Conisbrough Castle in Yorkshire while walking my dog. It looked as if a cosy, soft blanket of cotton wool had been draped over the castle, yet within another ten or fifteen minutes, the sun had warmed up and the whole mystical scenario had evaporated away.


Flying home from America, we took the “red-eye” flight which began in the early evening and landed the next morning. As we were heading east, the time zones were jumping forward, and the sunset and night seemed to happen in fast-forward speed. At the time I had a “cheap” point and shoot camera, and took a chance by pointing it directly at the sun as it set. The result was some remarkable colours and visual effects that can be seen if you change the angle that you look at the picture (easiest to illustrate the illusion by tipping the laptop screen back and forth).



So, there you have it!

The other part of the contest is to nominate five other bloggers to take part. I appreciate time is short, as the contest finishes tomorrow … but then, I was only nominated yesterday, and I’ve managed to dig out some pics – so give it a go!




Veronika Hjorth

Hamburg und Mee(h)r

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Weekly photo challenge: Urban

I hate the city. I hate the fast pace, the expanse, the crowds, the hiked up prices, the greyness, the intensity, the impersonal feel to it. I have never lived in a large city – despite having lived in many, many places in several countries over the years. Many of my family live in the London area – I could never live there. People don’t acknowledge each other in the city. They don’t smile or say good morning when they stand at bus stops. They are always in a hurry – and travelling on the underground trains is a claustrophobic, physical nightmare. I couldn’t go to the city to take “urban” pictures, because I would be anxious to have my camera out in public.

People who live in the cities will probably argue that all of the above statements are purely speculative and stereotypical … but hey,  it’s just the way I feel.

So this is the closest thing to “urban” I could find in a small pit village in the North of England – an old, disused factory, given a little colour by local artists.

(Click on the pictures for more clarity)





© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Weekly challenge

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Jakesprinter Sunday post: Black and white

This week’s challenge by Jakesprinter is “black and white.”

Apart from a B and W college course many moons ago, in the good old days of film photography and darkrooms, I have never strayed into the black and white arena – mainly because I can’t get my head round it and I don’t feel comfortable with the pictures that are produced.

But a challenge wouldn’t be a challenge if it wasn’t challenging, so I thought I’d give it another try.

Granted, I have not chosen a subject that has a lot of colour in the first place, but I think the textures in these pictures don’t do badly with the black and white touch.

I’m still not sold on the media, although I have much respect for those who use it successfully, but I think I might just about get away with this little collection:

(click on the pictures for bigger and better images)

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Weekly photo challenge: Merge

This is an interesting challenge this week. I know a lot of people are using it as an opportunity to merge two separate pictures through Photoshop or double exposure or whatever. I have a couple of pictures that fall into that category … but in this case, I have a feeling that that approach is not exactly what’s being asked of us.

Perhaps I’m over-thinking it, but it seems it’s trickier than that. I think the challenge is to capture two subjects that don’t seem to fit together, and make it work in a single picture. I love the idea of it – but, probably because I tend to focus on nature, I have to admit I couldn’t find anything that fit.

I have, instead, trawled through some of my old “real” photos from back in the days of 35mm film (remember that?)

We had been walking in the Yorkshire Dales and clicking a few sheep pictures, when I saw this lovely black-faced sheep grazing at the top of a hill. In the very far distance was one of few working collieries (coal mines) left in this country. It looks closer than it really was, probably because of foreshortening caused by the zoom lens. There was something about this picture that caused me to keep it, and even scan it into my computer – grains, dust, scratches and all. I think the contrast of the colourful, peaceful sheep grazing and the grainy, colourless industry of the colliery in the background is pretty symbolic. Especially in Yorkshire.

Click on the picture for more clarity

 © Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Fool’s Parsley again … with a visitor – Wee beastie #60

While we’re on the subject of Fool’s Parsley, I’ve been quite surprised how many times the plant has cropped up in my pictures. So I may pop a few posts in dedicated to what generally amounts to a pesky, and rather prolific, weed.

I’ve actually included its close relative, the Cow Parsley, before in one of my “wee beastie” posts here, and I assume it is called Fool’s Parsley because it is easily mistaken for Cow Parsley (a bit like Fool’s Gold is mistaken for gold).

This time, it had a very small visitor. The caterpillar can only have been about half a centimetre long – and I have no idea what it will eventually become.

Perhaps someone out there has a clue?




© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Bug-a-day, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Jakesprinter’s Sunday post – Close up

Jakesprinter’s challenge this week is entitled “Close up.”

I’m not entirely sure where to start. Considering the majority of my pictures are captured through a Macro lens, I have a few to choose from.

So, quite frankly, I just closed my eyes and selected a subject …. and came up with Fool’s Parsley.

This is what it looks like from a distance:

(Click on the pictures for more clarity)

But on closer look:

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

WPC – Wrong again / Wee beasties #59 – Grey striped fly

I have been remiss with the Wee Beasties series.  Quite frankly, the weather here in England has been absolutely pants, and much of the local landscape has been waterlogged. Motivation to go for my previously daily walks to the woods has waned – and the poor dog is lucky if I let her out of the back gate.

But I found enough energy to wander out today, camera in hand and took a few shots.

I came across this Grey Striped Fly (not the most imaginative title) on some water iris leaves – smashed flat by the recent floods (the leaves, not the fly). I was taken by how cooperative he was, as they are usually rather skittish. It was only later, when I reviewed the pictures, that it became clear why this one hadn’t flown away.

(Click on the images for better clarity).

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Weekly challenge

Categories: Alice's world, Bug-a-day | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge – Wrong

I’m beginning to wonder if there really is a “right” colour of Ladybird:

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Weekly challenge

Categories: Alice's world, Bug-a-day | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Watch out, Gaudi … Here I come!

There’s something remarkably cathartic about making bits fit where they can.

I started doing puzzles a few weeks ago, borrowing them from the library. But frustration tends to set in towards the end, especially if the last part of the puzzle is a big chunk of sky. If I can’t find the pieces that fit exactly, I become annoyed and give up.

But not so with mosaics.

Although I do possess many jars of regular, square vitreous glass mosaic pieces – a result of a history of excessive hoarding, I’m afraid – so far I have relied on using broken pieces of tiles and other pottery.

Not only is there an element of release that comes with smashing stuff up with a hammer … but when it comes down to fitting the bits into place, I don’t have to worry about getting the pieces exactly the right shape. I can take out my trusty nippers and create the shape to fit the space.

The other thing I’ve been able to do with these projects is take my time. Unusually, I haven’t been in a rush to get them finished the same day I start. I’ve been quite comfortable to do a bit on an evening, then leave it unfinished until the next day. I’ve been happy to slowly cement each piece with no need to hurry.

I also haven’t cared if I get mucky from the adhesive, or if it oozes, or if it doesn’t quite balance out.

All in all, a true relief from my usual position of perfectionism.

I started simple, with a pot:

Then I had a go at an old, round pub table:

And now I’ve started mosaicking (?) bits of the house – which I’ll show you next time.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Oh, that old thing…

Just a little update about the infamous thrifty garden project. I have to admit I’ve become a little pompous about it, as it seems to be thriving. Things have been a bit dicey with the crazy weather we’ve been having (massive deluging thunderstorms with intermittent snippets of sunshine).  Yes, I’ve lost a few bits and bobs along the way, and I’ve had to get rather brutal with the slugs (sadly, at the peril of the snails) – but for the most part, it’s pretty darned excellent, though I say so myself.  Even the tomatoes are still hanging in there.

And as you know, I’ve been a creative with the mosaics (of which there are now more that I will share with you shortly).

But I just thought I’d show you a couple of little recycling snippets I’ve incorporated – keeping my budget still to way under £100 for the whole garden so far (and probably still less than $100 for my friends across the Pond).

Click on the pictures to see them more clearly.

First, a couple of ways to use old bed springs:

Sweet Pea trellises

and an archway over my gate, across which I will guide the clematis.

An old chimney stack makes an interesting planter

And I even threw in the kitchen sink!

Makes a nice Herb garden.

It’s getting there, I think 🙂

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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