Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A mixed bag (Days 31 - 40)

Day 36 - My Valentine Days Picture of Jim
I now seem to be getting into the swing of this and must admit to finding it a little easier with the odd day of sunshine - ok that may be an exaggeration, but it hasn't rained every day and it could be described as positively bright on occasion!
Day 31 - Snowdrops: The flower of hope
Spring is definitely on the way and my snowdrops (a topic I have previously covered) have put on a good show over the last few weeks, the daffodils are starting to poke their heads up and so are the croci.
Day 32 - Heather showing some early colour
Strangely enough my heather has also started to bloom, which I was not expecting until May or June! However these are probably confused plants as I rescued them from a B & Q store last year for 50p as they were essentially dead!
Day 33 - Clouds lift to show the snow capped mountains of Arran
For most of the last few weeks we have had snow on the mountains and when the clouds clear this looks awesome. Inviting and scary all at the same time; Arrans mountains are definitely not to be underestimated in full winter conditions.
Day 34 - A visit to the Business Gateway office
The bad days have seen me catching up with paperwork - a worthwhile exercise as the tax man has now paid me back some money - and I'm starting to get ready for the coming season.  I always find it interesting to see how other people work and am amazed at the different styles of office (good and bad).  Not everyone has a tuba sat in the corner.  But that's what you can find in Derek Shand's office.
Day 35 - Surreal steam
Thursday afternoon was another cold one, and I was running a catch up session for a couple of students where we needed to be outside, so I took the opportunity to grab a shot of the stream before returning home.
Day 37 - North Glen Sannox bridge
Friday the 14th was memorable, and not just for being Valentines day. It started bitterly cold and yet again my students turned up for their outside lesson the last one of a short course where all their skills are put into practice - hard when fingers are frozen to the core! In the final exercise I found some warmth in the Holy Isle Ferry cabin on Lamlash pier where Jim (see above) was good enough to let me photograph him.  Men with beards are very photogenic and this is my favourite picture from the last 10 days. The afternoon brought the island to a standstill with vicious snow storms and howling gales.
Day 38 - Remains of Kildonan castle 
A free weekend loomed and I was frustrated at not being able to get into the mountains due to a leg injury but shorter low level walks, just to the snow line kept me out of trouble and meant that I could take both dogs (Bowser isn't fit enough to do full mountain days).  A saunter up North Glen Sannox followed by a day on the beach at Kildonan ensured I had sufficient exercise and fresh air.
Day 39 - Watson
Monday came round quickly, and with it more of the wet stuff - it's hard to believe we were all screaming drought two years ago. Tuesday and day 40 was fine again in the afternoon, so I decided to take a walk somewhere a bit different to usual and explored a little of the coast around Imachar.  The sea was calm so it was great for bird spotting - albeit the majority were too far away for a photo.  The Eider duck seem to have survived the storms well and large flocks floated off the shore, along with smaller groups of razorbills.  Other divers were there (photo's still being looked at for id purposes) including the Great Northern Diver, Black and Red Throated divers.
Day 40 - Shags at Imachar 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Did I really sneak a colour photo in? (Days 21 - 30)

Another 10 days has passed and the weather is still dominating the news nationally as well as locally.  Ferries have been erratic and on one day the timetable was completely reversed causing confusion if nothing else. But remembering to take a photo is becoming easier, although colour opportunities seem to tease when I'm staying strictly to monochrome! As the days are still short and the weather abysmal the majority of images are captured during my normal working day or routine such as dog walking.  Fortunately, being on Arran does mean that we don't have to pound the pavements as we easily reach forest tracks and paths.
Day 21 - Kings Caves
I do try to vary my dog walks although I have a few set favourites which I know how long they take, how muddy the path is and how messed up the dogs will be when I get them back to the car.  The Kings Cave circuit is one of my regulars and I often go 'camera less' but not when I need my daily piccie.
Day 22 - David looking dry - it didn't last for long!
Friday 31st January brought another bout of terrible weather; I had a teaching class booked for the morning and it required some outdoor photography.  The students were split and took turns between braving the elements and sitting in a hide with blankets.   Fortunately the location provided some shelter and after suffering mild hypothermia we all returned to a warm studio.  The conditions are not reflected in the photo.
Day 23 - These trees are still standing
Now into February, Saturdays effort was fairly woeful and lacked inspiration as conditions remained the same and I got stuck into some decorating, with just a short dog walk for fresh air.
Day 24 - The water is blown back over the top of the waterfall
On Sunday a friend had asked for some help with his PC so a trip over to Kildonan and a walk on the beach in high winds blew any cobwebs away and nearly everything else.  The small Auchenhew waterfall was also fighting the wind with the water being pushed back up the flow.
Day 25 - Sea at Lamlash
More storms on Monday, with high tide around 2.30pm I readjusted my college students timetable a little so we could go out on a field trip to see the waves.  Lamlash was under a flood alert warning, but it is perfectly safe place to see how high the tide would come in.  Roads were closed between Sannox and Corrie (parts having been washed away) but Lamlash stayed dry.
Day 26 - Brighter skies and fresh sea spray
Day 27 - A pair of Shelduck in flight
Tuesday and Wednesday saw more beach opportunities with seaspray and a pair of Shelduck in flight. I am often on the look out for birds and keep up to date with the Arran Bird website.
Did I really sneak in a colour photo?
Day 28 - a snapped tree trunk
Thursday brought another day where the colour of something attracted me to an old broken log stump.  The wetness was reflecting a fabulous blue colour, which was rapidly disappearing as I moved my camera into place as the light changed with the clouds. But it still provided an image for the day.
Day 29 - Diana focuses for a long exposure
Friday again and amazing the students arrived for another session on how to survive hypothermia (this time they had been fully warned that standing in water may form part of the day)!  But I managed to find dry bank sides for their first lesson on long exposures.  Some of their pictures I posted on facebook as I think they did really well.
Day 30 - Simple photo demonstrates multiple composition 'rules'
And yesterday I was actually looking for a photo to demonstrate some of the composition guidelines I plan to teach my college students next week and although I won't be using this one, it reminded me that spring and summer are not far away.