Friday, 21 July 2017

King's Cross Quarter

Those of us who live in the provinces often see London as a place that not only produces money but sucks it in from where we live, depriving our communities of funds that would help to re-balance the country. London, to we provincials, seems to do everything to excess. I reflected on that when taking this photo. A provincial building site would have a painted, printed or photographic sign up to advertise what was going on. Not London. The glossy, three dimensional, internally illuminated temporary sign on these metal faced(!) hoardings hiding the building site outshines many permanent and final signs elsewhere in the country.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Nigella seedpod

Of all the plants in our garden I find "Love in a Mist (Nigella damascena) to be one of the most fascinating. Its English name is descriptive of the appearance of these blue (usually) flowers when seen in a tight group, gently swaying in the wind. However, the spiky, other-worldly seed pod that the flowers produce are completely at odds with that soft, benign name: then one of the plant's other names - devil in the bush - seems more apt.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Monday, 17 July 2017

Pavement fountains

It has been interesting to see the spread of "pavement fountains" in recent years. I've come across several in Britain and I've seen them in other countries too. They are a magnet for young children and dogs in hot weather, and have their attractions for older folk who are young at heart. What draws children, and what leads to them getting wetter than they perhaps intended, is the apparent randomness of the way in which they turn off and on, catching out the over-confident. The fountains in the photograph are near King's Cross in London, a particularly large example that was offering welcome relief on a hot July day.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Garden pavilions

I know a few people with garden pavilions, small, wooden structures, often open at one or more sides, sometimes with a door and windows. They offer somewhere to sit and admire the garden, perhaps have a cup of tea or and alfresco snack. No one I know, however, has one quite as grand as this example at Melford Hall in Suffolk. Built of brick with a tile roof in 1559 it is contemporary with the great house and from its upper floor offers a fine view of that Tudor building as well as the garden by its perimeter wall.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Thursday, 13 July 2017

A rowing boat as eye-catcher

A visit to the gardens of Beth Chatto, near Colchester in Essex, produced the photograph above. The pond is one of a series that have been created on a slope in the garden and it features this rowing boat. I imagine the boat is used with serious intent only occasionally. However, it supplies a semi-permanent focal point in this section of the garden as an eye-catcher. Most garden eye-catchers are on land; statues, pavilions,mock ruins, sun dials, etc are typically used. Where there is water it can be a boat house on the shore, a fountain or perhaps a building on an island. I've never seen a  boat used in this way before, but it works, not only for this section of garden, but also for a photograph.

 photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The dipper

I imagine that everyone who watches wild birds on a regular basis has their favourites. I've always had a liking for the wader known as the greenshank (after its green legs). It's an elegant bird with subtle colouring. I also like the wheatear, a bird that was a harbinger of spring when I lived in the Yorkshire Dales. In recent years I've developed an affection for the swifts that flash about the village in which I live, screeching or hunting for flies. The old name for them in "devil bird", but I can see nothing about swifts that warrants that derogatory name. On a recent visit to the town of my upbringing, Settle, I photographed another favourite - the dumpy dipper, a bird of fast flowing upland streams and rivers.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Nikon P900

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Weeping willows

The weeping willow is a variety of the white willow (Salix alba). It is characterised by long slender branches, coming from sturdier boughs, that hang low over the ground and particularly by water. Its individual leaves are long, green, and spear-shaped with silvery white undersides. These willows come into leaf early in the year and cast their final leaves relatively late in autumn. Its weeping form always reminds me more of a waterfall than human tears. That is true when in full leaf, as with these examples by water in Bourne, Lincolnshire, or even when leafless in winter, and covered by hoar frost.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Friday, 7 July 2017

A multitude of beach huts

Beach huts are a widely photographed phenomenon of Britain's seaside resorts. They are either privately-owned or publicly-owned for hire and constitute a place where someone can base themselves when spending a day or several by the beach - a place to eat, make a cup of tea, rest, laze, change clothing, shelter from rain etc. Privately-owned examples are often very individually painted and frequently feature somewhat humorous names. Public beach huts are usually brightly painted but with fewer colours. On a recent visit to Walton on the Naze in Essex I came across these ranks of (presumably) publicly-owned huts for hire. I've never seen so many together in stepped ranks, and rarely so few in use on a summer afternoon.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Photographing Queen Elizabeth

I'm not a fan of our system of constitutional monarchy so you'd be unlikely to see me going out of my way to photograph Queen Elizabeth II. But Queen Elizabeth I is another matter. Any photograph I took of her would, of necessity, be of a representation, and there are some very interesting examples to be seen. The portrait in stained glass shown above is in Melford Hall, Suffolk. It dates from the nineteenth century and is based on a well-known Elizabethan-era painting. As I waited for the photographer in front of me to complete her shot it occurred to me that the inclusion of her silhouette might make for a more interesting image.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Monday, 3 July 2017

Brachyglottis or Senecio

Science doesn't stand still, nor should it. I remember reading several years ago that some academics had calculated the "half-life of scientific knowledge" at 45 years i.e. in that many years time half of current scientific understanding will be superseded by new knowledge. You can see this at the layman's level in the name changes that animals and plants periodically undergo as DNA and genetic research re-classify species. One example from the garden is a New Zealand shrub with yellow flowers and grey/green leaves. For decades I have called it Senecio greyi: now it is Brachyglottis greyi. Today's offering is a contrasty black and white photograph of this plant's leaves.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10