Posts Tagged With: green

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist

I wasn’t keen on this week’s challenge. Firstly, because I don’t have internet anymore at my house and only have limited time at the library to log on. And secondly, because I have to rely on the pictures I have stored on my computer (which aren’t many since I lost everything from an external hard drive).

Most of my stuff is nature-focused, for no better reason than it’s easier to find and closer to home. But I do get a bit of a kick when I come across an example of nature reclaiming its territory. On this day, I noticed that somebody had spray painted a wall along a trail in the woods. They had pulled away (rather forcefully and dismissively) a lot of the ivy that had originally clung to the wall in order to create the space to paint, and piles of it were dumped on the ground alongside. The twist in this tale is that the plant world doesn’t go out like that, and in parts, little by little, and inch by inch, the ivy was beginning to creep back and reclaim the wall.

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© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

 

Categories: Alice's world, pictures by Alice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

I expect there’ll be all sorts of “moving” entries for this week’s photo challenge, but I thought I’d refer back to what I seem to know best … bugs 🙂

Only bits of this hoverfly were really on the move, I’ve read differing reports about how fast its wings actually beat (anything between 120 and 300 beats per second) but either way, it’s bloody fast. Even with the old “Anti-Ansel Adams” fast shutter speed going on, I still only managed a blur for the wings.

What a way to live!

(click on the photos for bigger and better viewing)

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© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

 

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

WPC: Letters and the Start of an Anti-Ansel Adams Series

Scroll down to the bottom if you’re looking for the Photo Challenge picture. (I call it “Lost Ball. It’s the only one I have with letters on at this time!)

For those who are new to the name Ansel Adams, he was an American photographer and an early version of a conservationist/environmentalist, who spent many years capturing the wild and wonderful landscapes of the Americas and particularly renowned for his photographs of Yosemite National Park.

His approach to photography was one of patience and enormity. He worked almost exclusively in black and white, and his noted contribution to photography (as we are often being reminded in photography classes) was the idea of “pure” or “straight” photography, using tiny apertures and very long shutter speeds. He founded “Group f64” with Edward Weston in 1932 and incorporating eleven well established photographers all using this approach to photography. This technique resulted in majestic landscapes with every part of the image, from foreground to the furthest subject (often a mountain peak) remaining in sharp focus. If you want to learn more, have a look here or here.

Anyway, back to me.

While I’m all for magnificent, powerful, vast, landscapy, black and white images, I have neither the patience, the time, the money, the transport, the knowledge, nor the tripod to reproduce one. So I have honed my own little niche, which I will christen the “Anti-Ansel Adams Series.” Not anti as in “against” or politically or personally opposed to.” In this case, I mean anti as in “kind of the opposite of.”

Basically, the photographs that I will induct into this exclusive domain will be produced using a cheap camera, with a cheap macro lens extended to its fullest extension, so that generally it will be no further than a couple of inches away from the subject it is pointed at. The shutter speed is set at “really, really fast”: minimally 1/500 sec and most likely between 1/1000th sec and 1/4000th sec. This is mainly because I do not possess a tripod, and when I’m thrusting my handheld camera into the face of an insect or a stinging nettle patch, it’s better to get things over with quickly.

Autofocus doesn’t work under those conditions, so I generally just edge the camera lens towards whatever takes my fancy until something looks “kind of interesting” on the LED screen (keeping in mind that the laser eye surgery I had ten years has now worn off with interest) and click the button with the index finger of the same hand that is dangling the camera.

The result is that, if I’m lucky, just one tiny bit of the picture will be in focus, and the rest will swirl around the rest of the frame in a very “painterly” style.

So, that’s my approach to photography.

Please feel free to join me next week, when I’ll describe my “Anti-Isambard Kingdom Brunel” approach to bridge-building (just kidding!)

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Click on the picture for more clarity – or not, as the case may be!

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

 

 

 

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

Introducing my Sister Blog: Like a circle in a spiral ….

Circles in a spiral

Click on the picture for a better view

I just wanted to draw your attention to the sister blog I mentioned previously. It’s a place for me to discuss the unfortunate situation between my son and me, trying to unravel it a little, and telling our story and how we got to this point.

It won’t be the easiest of reads, but hopefully it will give a little insight about living with Conduct Disorder and open some people’s eyes to the struggles of dealing with domestic violence at the hands of your own child.

I think the title of the blog, “Like a Circle in a Spiral,” is perfect, because, as the song from which the line was plucked states, the life I’ve had with my son has been like living “on an ever-spinning reel.”

 

 

For those of you who are in the mood for a little nostalgia, here’s the original version of “Windmills of Your Mind.”

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

 

 

 

 

Categories: Alice's world | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring has sprung! WPC: Inside a snowdrop

Inside snowdrop 1

Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,    Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,      And pensive monitor of fleeting years! - William Wordsworth -

Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!
– William Wordsworth –

I lived overseas for many years (a two-week trip that lasted 17 years …), and despite my love of the wanderlust life, there were a few things I missed about England throughout that time: one was Marmite, another was Woodpecker Cider … and telephone boxes, and double decker buses, and Coronation Street, and sarcasm.
But, more than sherbet fountains or teabags or the Arctic Monkeys, after living in the sweltering balminess of places such as Southwest Texas and Louisiana, I found myself longing for seasons!
Granted, upstate New York had seasonal change, but their winters were a bit extreme, unless trudging through 8-foot snowdrifts is your idea of fun.
No, I missed English seasons – unpredictable, often erratic, with mild winters, cold summers, and slushy autumns … And most of all, I missed the English spring and the flowers that come with it.

So when I returned to England with my son and we “settled” in our first real home, I made a point of filling every nook and cranny of our tiny back yard with bulbs that flower every spring and herald the new green of the year.

Snowdrops are my particular favourite. There’s not a lot to them – just a trio of white waxy petals with a dash of green inside …. but they are often the first flowers to nuzzle their way through the frost, and the sight of them always brings a smile to my face.

(As usual, click on the picture for a better look).

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A rain poem …. (and picture)

My head is busy, noisy, struggling to find peace.
But in between bouts of madness I finally managed my own poem about rain and a photo that makes me feels reasonably calm:

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day.

On second thoughts, come back and stay.
Send deluge down and wash away
The tears, the fears, the rent arrears,
The given name as it appears
On credit card and banker’s draft.
Let monsoon flood the bailiffs aft.

Bring cloudburst on and, with it, hail.
Drown out the offspring’s frightened wail
That stranded, man should understand.
Then bruise the bully’s stinging hand.
Let showers pour and flush aside
The errors, wrongs, mistakes I tried.

Oh, rain, let purer rivers rise
Spite crags’ and canyons’ compromise.
Though blind I am to future ends,
Dilute the past and present cleanse.
Sweet rain, be now my closest friend
And bring this heartache to an end.

Raindrops on pine

(Click on the photo for a clearer look).

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rain and me …

I tried to write a rain poem to accompany this photo, but in the end I just couldn’t say it better than Shel Silverstein did in 1974.

I opened my eyes And looked up at the rain, And it dripped in my head And flowed into my brain, And all that I hear as I lie in my bed Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head. I step very softly, I walk very slow, I can't do a handstand-- I might overflow, So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said-- I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head. Shel Silverstein 1974

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.
I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.
Shel Silverstein 1974

(Click on the picture if you want it bigger and better – I recommend it with this one!)

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Through a dewdrop darkly …

You may recall that yesterday’s quick pic of a sycamore seedling had tiny dew droplet in the background …?

These two pictures are taken from the other side of that composition.
Voila!
Tiny dew droplet now takes front and centre stage!
Feel free to click on the pictures, and see them in all their microscopic glory:

A host, Innumerable as the stars of night Or stars of morning, dew-drops which the sun Impearls on every leaf and every flower. John Milton - Paradise Lost

A host,
Innumerable as the stars of night
Or stars of morning, dew-drops which the sun
Impearls on every leaf and every flower.
John Milton – Paradise Lost

Every dew-drop and rain-drop had a whole heaven within it.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Every dew-drop and rain-drop had a whole heaven within it.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Predictable unpredictability

A Canvas of the Minds has, for the past couple of years been leading the call for the destigmatising of Mental Health issues and asking members of the blogging world to open the platform for discussion within their own forums. I did initially create “Alice Through the Macro Lens” as an outlet to try to make some sense out of my own journey through the murky fog that has been my world for many years, and more prominently to understand how my behaviours affect those closest to me. So it was a little ironic that, when things became really tough, the blog became dormant.
But I have returned with a renewed determination to continue my writing, along with the photos, and I will take the pledge asked for by the Canvas group:

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

"The rain to the wind said, You push and I'll pelt.' They so smote the garden bed That the flowers actually knelt, And lay lodged--though not dead. I know how the flowers felt.”  Robert Frost

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.”
Robert Frost

(click on the picture for a better look)

Predictable Unpredictability:

And just when I thought it was safe to re-enter the social arena with some semblance of functionality…

it happened again.

This morning, despite a terrible night’s unrest, I woke up feeling quite positive. I did the normal things people do to start their day off: Got out of bed (trust me, that’s not always an activity that comes easily!), got dressed, ate some cold, home-made rice pudding left over from last night, brushed teeth and hair, and even remembered to take the dog over the road and threw a ball for her for a while. Then I caught the bus into town and met up with a tutor at the local college who gave me a guided tour around the Art Department. The idea of spending my days creating art on a serious scale set me buzzing so much that I happily filled out the application forms to attend during the next school year.

Life felt good, and I admit a little part of me let myself believe that I was cured. I mean, I had finally managed to secure a couple of appointments with the psych (after a nine-month fight to see one). He prescribed me a new medication, and it’s now about that time when “those kind” of meds are supposed to start kicking in.
On top of that, I’d had a productive weekend. On Saturday morning, I’d attended a workshop called the “Totality of Possibilities,” and I’ve been looking into the mirror and sending myself positive affirmations ever since. Then I tried a “Life Drawing” class for the first time ever on Saturday afternoon and discovered I’m not that bad at charcoaling naked people either.
Even on Sunday, I managed to stay cogent enough to tell half of my life story to the Court-appointed psych, who has been assigned the hefty task of furnishing a legally binding opinion about what he believes went wrong with my son and me for the family court judge next month.

But today, around lunchtime, within minutes of arriving at one of my “safer” places to visit – a drop-in community centre that I have started to attend when I just feel the need to have a cuppa, or chat, or to crochet a flower or something – my mood, without warning, dropped like a lead balloon. All of a sudden, there was no talking to me, no reasoning with me; no niceties or pleasantries could talk me round. My head became full of white noise, and I hated everyone and everything. Most of all I hated me and my life. Within the space of minutes (if not seconds), the proverbial fan was bombarded with the proverbial s–t, and I plummeted into the doldrums of irritability and blubberingness once more.

For what it’s worth, the worst thing about these ever-increasing, ever more serious episodes of unpredictable moodiness is the fact that I am sorely aware that they are happening, as they are happening – and that they are wrong – yet I feel powerless to prevent them. The best I can settle for is that, in my consciousness, I am still able to fight the searing impulses that tell me to hurl across the room any inanimate object that isn’t glued to the floor, or to take a nosedive through the nearest shop window. Instead, today, I managed (just!) to grab my coat and leave the premises without insulting anybody, before catching the bus home and falling apart as soon as I made it inside the front door.

I don’t suppose any of this bodes well for appealing my sanity. And yet there’s almost something safe, consistent maybe, in the knowledge that my unpredictability is a predictable occurrence in my life.

But don’t worry, the irony is not lost on me either.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A bit more Sycamore ….

I’ve noticed that a few of the real photography bloggers I follow have a trend of presenting a group of pictures gradually through the week that all adhere to a particular theme. For example, one week, they may present a series of photos that illustrate shadows … or trees … or Spain … or dancing …. or flamingos. Then the next week, they’ll showcase a series of pictures illustrating daisies …or pigs … or … well, you get the drift.

For what it’s worth, I’m not one of those people.

Perhaps when I grow up, I could be a real photography blogger too; but in the meantime, it just happens that I took a lot of pictures of Sycamore seedlings on the weekend, and I’m not in the mood to be remotely inventive, nor go for another walk.

So … more Sycamores it is then.

Don’t forget to click on the picture to get a truer, sharper, clearer image!

Oh, and by the way, remember that droplet in the background, cos you’ll be seeing it again tomorrow ….

Seedling with dewdrop

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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