2023 May

misty start to the day
misty start to the day

May started with the Spring booster shot for Covid. It seems we are on the list for Insch for the Covid shots now. It’s not the easiest place to get too, being very rural roads – but the little cottage hospital is quite the nicest and most friendly vaccination centre we’ve been sent to.
But the vaccination shots are always a struggle for my PVS/ME. A couple of days in bed with mainly liquids and sleeping – that’s the ‘knock-out’ – followed by a week or two to get back to some level of energy, sleeping, and eating. The big challenge is to take it slowly. I feel OK for an hour or two, and try to do too much!

It has been a very slow start this year … winter has dragged on and on. It started early in the autumn, and hasn’t released it’s grip fully yet.

back rockery

As May progresses the season does seem to be changing to the ‘summer’ pattern. The back rockery has really taken off, and is spilling over with colour! The temperatures are rising!

In the front garden we have our fragrant yellow hedge of Azalea Luteum spilling over with bright colour! It has taken years of careful work to reach this state, and we are quite proud with the results!

yellow azalea luteum

The temperature’s improving, but there’s no rainfall. It looks like we will be repeating last year, when we had to get out the hosepipes and start to water round the most vulnerable plants. It was tiring, but essential to keep the garden alive!
With the return of some warmth and sunshine, we also have a chance to discover just how bad the damage is in the garden after the 8 months+ of ‘winter’. There’s a lot of freezer burn on all the bushes, and quite a few of the smaller plants have perished. Not a pretty sight! And the drought that is shaping up will not make recovery easy.

white rhododendrons

But as the month progresses the rhodies and smaller azaleas bring wonderful colour back into our garden and lives! I have a yellow azalea luteum under my bedroom window. Its fragrance is so welcome.

The top layer of the front garden is full of the red, white and yellow of the azaleas and rhododendrons. The colours are so bright and cheerful.
But soon they will be past their best and the potentillas will take over!

The front garden in May

It is time to move the geraniums and other plants that we have over-wintered in the hallway back out into the shelter of the porch, where they can catch the morning sunshine.

As the warmth, sunshine and dry conditions persist we can finally think about taking a look at the world around us, and collecting some photos along with the fresh air and exercise!

Goldie filter infrared Fyvie path

I took one of my Infrared cameras with me when we finally managed to spend a morning in Fyvie Castle gardens. The harsh winter has taken a toll, with so much of the pathways overgrown with weeds.

There are still so many signs of Storm Arwen! It devastated so many trees. But there are still some standing proud! The other sad thing is the Avian Flu which means we cannot feed to ducks!

infrared Fyvie trees
Daphne in a miniature vase

The indoor shooting is never laid aside! Here I was determined to capture the Daphne bush with its delicate star-like pink flowers. And a Yuta Segawa Japanese miniature vase is the ideal companion!

And there is always the fascination with light and glass prisms and spheres! Here with a backdrop of a blue patterned winter scarf. The play of light, and a bit of post-processing too!

Blue lensball

And so on to June, and
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2023 January

new specs
I can see clearly now …….

And so the new year begins …. and I have some new things to celebrate.
I have finally found the lightest spectacles I have ever seen. So light I hardly know I’m wearing them. Rimless and with thin titanium arms they have revolutionised the seeing experience for this reluctant late-comer to the world of varifocal specs. I just had to photograph them in celebration!

Small world chair and bear

I have added a new ‘small world’ to my photo prop collection. Inspired by a fellow Flickr-ite I discovered Minimum World where they make miniature furniture and more. All hand-made and beautiful.

So I am beginning to explore the ways in which I can combine my love of macro photography with all the possibilities of story telling that these new finds can offer.

Small world bench

In the dark days of winter I have been shooting indoors, and I love to play with prisms, glass and light ….

glass and light

Add a brightly coloured scarf as a backdrop, and there are so many surprises for the camera lens – and for me too! Not quite an abstract, but it is difficult to discern the elements.

Take the same elements of prisms and glass surfaces and shine LED lights of several colours at them, and more mysterious abstracts appear. Move the lights or the prisms a little and the image changes…

LED bokeh

Another way to use the photographic potential of the winter months, is the low winter sun. The sun is late to rise, and never reaches the heights of the Spring or summer months. So catching the moments when the sun does shine, there are long shadows to be captured.

light play with forks

Catching that low winter sun shining through the window. The shadows are not deeply strong and dark … but they can seem to stretch on forever!

Position the subject just right, and at ‘high noon’ the sun has enough intensity to give multiple shadows. There is so much fun to be had with just 2 forks!

light play with forks 2

But January wouldn’t be complete without recording the latest venture into the world of technology. Yes … time to upgrade the technology we all depend on more and more as so much of daily life moves online. So, a new iPhone was added to our tech. store.
I was fortunate enough (if that is the right word) to fall down the rabbit hole into the world of Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome when the first developments of what would become today’s smartphones were happening. And I got into the cutting edge tech of the time back in the 1990s, while running a website called FoxPop. On the website I could follow and review the latest gadgets from Psion and Geofox in the UK.
“The Geofox One was a sub-notebook styled PDA that used Psion’s EPOC32 OS in 1997.”
And later we added the Blackberry, and other handheld organisers. Developments in miniaturisation led to handheld organisers and small laptops coming closer and closer in size and power… until we have a smartphone today that is many times more sophisticated and powerful than a large laptop of 2000!
The years I spent running the FoxPop website gave me a head start in understanding the technological revolution that has swept the 21st century world into the online, connected, digital world it is today.
So – despite being in the age-range of those who struggle with modern smartphones – I enjoy the ever changing and ever challenging world of personal technology.

On to February …… and re-awakening some dormant cameras!
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2023 Vision

Looking at 2023
Looking at 2023

And so 2023 begins.
This it the third year of my online Journal, and each year has confounded my thoughts as I sat and looked into the possible shape of the coming months. Maybe weaving plans and expectations for the year ahead is not really a wise move!
But it’s a natural, human thing to do … to make shapes of the future, and to make stories of our past. Maybe all journals should be written only in retrospect.
I confess that I have fewer ideas about what lies ahead in 2023 – fewer than I expected I’d have. The last 3 years have completely shaken up all our plans and expectations. I guess that is the nature of a pandemic – a global event that reshapes the world. All I can do is describe where I am now, where the UK is now, and where the wider world is now … as seen from this small corner of the Scottish highlands.

Personally we (Mike and I) still treat the pandemic as active, along with ‘flu and several other winter infections. So we live a quiet life of ‘shielding’ and wear masks when shopping etc. This is unusual now, as most people try to act as if the pandemic is over. But cases are still fluctuating, and the advice in Scotland has changed to mask wearing in crowded public places – ventilation and social distancing.
There is no functioning NHS. Under-funded and overstretched for 13 years it is collapsing around us. Indeed all public services are collapsing: teachers, local government workers, train drivers, social care workers … so many are striking after 13 years of ‘austerity’ which meant pay freezes all round.
The tipping point came in the final months of last year, as rocketing inflation has driven more workers to need Food Banks to even eat minimally. The UK government is doing nothing, waiting for ‘public opinion’ to turn against the strikers, and the strikers to be starved back to work.
It sounds Dickensian, doesn’t it …. and it feels Dickensian too, living through it!

January …and the journey begins with some new delights.
February …… and re-awakening some dormant cameras!
March ….. and the indoor winter experience
April …. and a look at how Covid had changed our tech. lives
May … and it is shaping up to be another drought and heatwave

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2022 October

October 2022
October 2022 Journal page

Autumn has arrived – the nights are cooler, and nights close in sooner. The leaves are changing colour. Yellow is the predominant colour, there are fewer blazing reds – I wonder if that is due to the change in our weather that climate change is bringing? We had a long drought in the Spring and summer, and then a week or two of extreme heat.
October began with mopping up after the rainstorms that broke our months of drought. We bought a simple rain gauge this summer, and placed it in the middle of the front lawn. It measured over an inch of rainfall overnight during the worst of the rainstorms.

dawn across the howe

In autumn we start to see some stunning dawn ‘events’. The sun is lower in the sky when I wake to catch the rising sun.

And there is a similar shift in the sky when it comes to moon-rise!

It isn’t often that I manage to catch the moon rising behind the same trees as I shoot with the rising sun behind them!

Moonrise across the howe of the Ythan
sunrise on the road to Inverurie

The low winter sun is wonderful to capture as we drive along, but not so good for the driver! It can dazzle and shine right in your eyes!

I am the passenger, needless to say! I often shoot with my Sony RX100, which is great at handling both the speed and the bumps in the road.

Personally the first week of October was marked by a sudden eye “subconjunctival haemorrhage”. The entire eye looked blood red. I went to the optician to get it checked out. It seems that sometimes, a blood vessel in an eye can break, leaking blood on the surface of your eye. It looked most dramatic, but was not dangerous, or signalling an underlying problem. It took two weeks for the haemorrhage to disperse … and I am hoping that ‘red eye’ will not visit me again!
I did feel a little beleaguered, as I am still recovering from my first tooth extraction in over 50 years! Not since teenage removal of wisdom teeth! And the cavity is sore and tender, and making eating quite a challenge still. But there has been a positive ‘after effect’ of the tooth extraction – and that has been my introduction to the salt mouth-wash. I never knew about the benefits of using plain salt water as a mouth rinse after brushing.
Remaining on health issues, we both have our winter Covid booster and ‘flu jabs booked in Insch Cottage Hospital at the end of October. So we drove there twice, scouting out where the cottage hospital is and what parking facilities there might be.

Aware that we might have some significant ‘backlash’ after the double vaccines, I tried to catch up with my ever-expanding ‘To-Do’ list beforehand. There is always a big energy hit with these vaccines, my Post Viral/ME underlying condition ensures that a long balancing act is to be expected.
So we arranged for an oil delivery (our primary heating is by oil-fired boiler).
We found a 50% rise in cost – 1£ per litre. We fill up twice a year, so it was a 50% rise in just 6 months. And no ‘cap’ has ever been imposed on heating oil, unlike those lucky enough to be on mains gas supply! I wonder what it will be like in the spring of 2023 when we next need to fill up the storage tank?
Next was to renew our driving licenses – getting older means renewing every 3 years!

A big task that has been hanging over my head for some months now is my iPODs. I have 7 or 8 of them collected over the years, and all full of music, podcasts, dramas and audio books. They are getting older and Apple no longer produce them. So over this Spring and summer I have sent them away to have the internal hard drives replaced with SD cards. That means that the SD card can hold more data (music and audio books) and it is also less likely to be damaged by a fall or knock.
The down side is that I’ve lost all my playlists, and all the songs I had loaded – they are wiped clean. So now I need to start the long process of re-loading iPods etc with all my listening!

Another revolution in my listening is the discovery of a Bluetooth speaker which can play music direct from my latest iPhones!
My iPods are too old, but the newer iPhones can play anything I load, as well as streaming services such as BBC Sounds. So I am loading up both Classical and Jazz, as well as my favourite groups and singer/songwriters.

new Bluetooth speaker

The big advantage is that it is not dependent on electrical power – so the 6-day power cut of last winter could have been made easier – as will the planned ‘rota’ of cuts for this winter!

But there have been tech problems as well as triumphs …. my 8TB HUGE store failed with corrupted data segments. I had to replace it (expensive!) then replace and rebuild contents. A long slow process . It also threw up problems with Dropbox – issues with exFAT and NTFS. Dropbox uses HTFS and the new EHD uses exFat. I discovered later that Dropbox requires NTFS on Windows. Always problems!!!

And how can I forget (though I am trying VERY hard to) the TRUSS fiasco /0\ A new PM (for a few days/weeks) and a spectacular crashing of the financial structure of the UK economy, that we will be paying for over the next many years! Together with the Brexit fiasco and the runaway inflation … the Tories are showing the reality behind their much-trumpeted claim that “the economy is safe in our hands”.

So as October ends we prepare for the vaccines on 28th – get as much essential planning for ‘resilience’ and the coming winter – bring lots of planters indoors. The rest of the month I can expect some days with a high temperature and feeling very very ‘flu-ish.
But to end on a more upbeat note;;;

magical dawn 1

… on Sunday 23rd we drove to Inverurie and the incredible mix of low winter sun, and early morning mist made for a magical photoshoot. Long shadows and a bright rising sun.

The fields were glowing with mist that the sun had turned golden. The closer fences and trees stood out as stark silhouettes against the brightness.

magical dawn 2

And so on to November, where winter begins with a personal loss.

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2022 August

calendar for August 2022
Calendar for August 2022

The heatwave that has been dominating the summer across the Mediterranean bringing record-breaking temperatures, drought and wildfires has spread north throughout Europe and finally arrived in the UK. August saw our local Aberdeenshire area feeling just a little effect in comparison, but it was enough for me! according the Wiki

“The 2022 United Kingdom heatwaves were part of several heatwaves across Europe and North Africa. The United Kingdom experienced three heatwaves; the first was for three days in June, the second for three days in July, and the third for six days in August. These were periods of unusually hot weather caused by rising high pressure up from the European continent. There were also more grass fires and wildfires than average, and in August a drought was declared in many regions”.

We found our daily pattern was to move our planters from the overnight shelter of the porch to the patio each morning to catch the shade at the back of the house … and then by late afternoon they were all moved back to the porch as the sun blazed down on the back garden. Chasing the shade cast by the house itself was the name of the game!
Every drop of water we could collect from indoors was used for the planters too. Trying to keep little water pans scattered across the garden for the birds, and putting out apples each day was the best we could do to help the birds.
We had to move the cars to catch a little shade, and open their windows too … as the metal baked. Temperatures outdoors were in the high 30s at some point each day, and overnight didn’t dip below 20c.

Every window and door was open to the max. trying to get some circulation of cooler air. Not very successful as our houses are built and designed with heat retention in mind, not heat dispersal. I slept with just a cotton duvet cover (no duvet inside) and windows as wide open as possible … but sleep was difficult. We ate less, cooked very little and drank lots of water! As August passed and the temperatures moderated we were so grateful … just a taste of what most of Europe was enduring …. but enough for us!

It all meant that at least half the month was spent on dealing with the heat, and little else was accomplished. And we emerged from our brush with the heatwave feeling exhausted and low on sleep! So there wasn’t a great deal of interest to report!
I tried to keep my photography going, with different lenses recording the local scenes.

Infrared landscape

Using my infrared camera here to record the barley field across the road from us. I use infrared mainly for landscape shooting, and like my other landscape lenses it has been little used since the pandemic began!

Looking the other way from the farm gate, back up to the Kirk. The IR filter here is the 720nm, which gives a soft, gentle effect, and allows a little colour to enter the image.

Infrared local landscape
B+W Doorway at light

Another way to combat the heat was to shoot at night when things are cooler! Still too hot for comfort, as our windows don’t open very wide. But the front door looks inviting!

One thing I miss is my collection of sun-specs. When my eyesight was 20/20 I had some elegant and unusual sun specs. Now it is one pair of varifocals with light-sensitive lenses. Not quite the same!

Sun specs
Guitar abstract

My Flickr groups keep me alert with weekly challenges. Here a macro group asked us to shoot ‘sound’. This is guitar strings in the bright sunlight, seen up close from an unusual perspective.

And another macro shoot brought me close-up to my pink geraniums. As well as keeping them well watered and in the shade, they are also beautiful photography subjects!

pink geraniums
Agapanthus flowers

It’s not often I can find agapanthus flowers – these ones came from the supermarket. shooting them is a real challenge, as they have such an amazing flower-head!

One thing that I wanted to do was to celebrate my friend Laurie’s wonderful creative work with Japanese temari balls. While she was here in May she made me two new balls, and the making of one of them is described briefly here. It gives just the smallest hint of the skill and complexity of the art form.

making a temari ball
making a temari ball

And so on to September, when the world here cools down!

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2022 June

Calendar for June 2022
Calendar for June 2022

June has been a month of recovery! It is month 3 of our major undertaking of the year. We are both ‘disabled’ by long term health problems, and have a very meagre energy supply. So we live very restricted and limited lives, and only maintain a balance by carefully monitoring our energy output. For me it is crucial, as long term ME/Post Viral Syndrome is so similar to Long Covid …. as the world wakes up to what we have known for decades … that viruses can do long term and irreparable damage to the human body! Fatigue is not a new concept to me, it is what I’ve lived with for decades!
So April saw us preparing for Laurie’s visit from the USA – May was the month Laurie was here – and now June has been the month of recovering. Energy is very low – an energy drought that is echoing the water drought across Aberdeenshire – so staying at home is the best idea all round! We have had deliveries of groceries rather than driving to Inverurie and shopping for ourselves. So my photography has been home based, with indoor still life photography replacing the usual summer visits to the coast and local beauty spots.

Another reason for staying home is Covid. The latest versions of the virus (BA.4 and BA.5) are still very active and growing in numbers both locally and nationally – Scotland is always the worst figures of the 4 nations. I follow Aberdeenshire quite closely, and we began June with a recorded 350 cases (134.2 per 100,0000) peaking at 996 on the 26th and ended the month with 868 cases (332.8 per 100,0000). In May I had my second booster shot, but Mike has not been offered one, so we are super-careful this summer.

And as June progressed the garden has blossomed, growing apace despite the meagre rainfall. It has been neglected this year, as the growing season has coincided with us focussing on Laurie’s visit and the preparations. So weeds abound, the honeysuckle is running rampant, and the dandelions are thriving! But we do have some surprises and delights in the mix too.
I’ve tried to grow clematis over the years and always failed. Last year I planted 6 along the bare ranch fence in the back garden.

The clematis fence

In the Spring everything looked dead, but then they started growing from the ground up. By early June at least 4 were looking promising with plenty of buds ….

And by the end of the month the fence is a blaze of blossoms, both purple and pink. I’m told they are ‘Clematis Pink Champagne’. I am just so thrilled that they have managed to thrive in our northern climate!

the clematis fence 2
clematis flower

Needless to say I managed to bring indoors some of the beautiful clematis flowers so I could shoot them!
Here one flower, in the sunshine, shot with the Lensbaby Double Glass and macro ring.

Buying flowers from the supermarket is becoming a very occasional treat now, as prices of everything sky-rocket! But I did indulge in a small bunch of peonies, something I can’t grow here.

a white peony
physalis or Peruvian groundcherry

One thing I did add to my range of planters was 2 physalis plants. I have them indoors and they are thriving and growing rather tall! They are a new venture for me … I’ll see how they do. I’d love to be able to grow my own!

On a more sombre note about ‘growing tall’ we have had to cut down our tallest tree, an alder. If we are to expect gales like Storm Arwen this coming winter, then this is the tree most likely to succumb, and damage house and garden.

tree cutting
signs of barns wallows

As ever, we share our house and garden with visiting barn swallows. This year we have two families busy raising their first brood. We sometimes have a second brood – so we are hoping.

Here the first eggshell I found, and an early feather. Shot with a miniature vase – with the Lensbaby.

Since the last vaccination in the spring (Pfizer) I’ve found my taste buds have gone really weird. I lost my taste for Japanese food, and it has only now returned. What a delight to enjoy my favourite tea –Genmaicha Iri Matcha.

Japanese tea

And I can’t close without referring to ….
the cost of living crisis.
Everything, but everything is shooting up in price. Food bills are creeping up week on week. And when there is no price rise we find that the quality or quantity of items has been reduced! Do they think we are idiots and don’t notice??
And our heating oil has had a 50% rise this Spring, with a bigger rise promised in the autumn. We have no gas supply in rural Scotland – and have never enjoyed a ‘price cap’ – so suppliers are free to charge whatever they want /0\
Electricity is another essential that is set to sky-rocket this autumn. So we do daily monitoring to get our usage as low as possible. Only use dishwasher once a week. PCs off unless specifically needed. Laptops and iPhones replace the PC. Lights and appliances off unless needed. It feels like wartime as describes by my parents!
Scary when you think we are in summer … winter in the north of Scotland can be brutal! So as we leave June we are feeling sombre and wondering what disasters await us as 2022 progresses …

So on to July and summer arrives and the world around us gets madder!

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2022 April

April 2022 Calendar
April 2022 Calendar with tiny daffodils

April always seems such an ‘in-between’ month, suspended between winter and Spring, havering, unsure whether to let go of winter and commit to Spring! And this year it has seemed just as indecisive as ever!

Spring snow

The month began with some dramatic displays of winter weather. Whiteout conditions, blizzards and sub-zero nights were common – too common!

It looked as though another Spring would be blighted, as the early Japanese plum blossom struggles with the snow. Last year much of the garden suffered with blackened buds.

April snowstorm 1
Xmas cactus

The plants that had overwintered indoors thrived, sheltered from the cold – and our Xmas Cactus gave us a lovely colourful display – at Easter!

And as April drew to a close the Victoria plum was full of blossom. We kept our fingers crossed that no sudden blast of frost would kill the blossom before the fruit buds were established. Maybe a good crop this year?

Victoria plum blossom

With the weather still cold, and the arctic winds strong, I spent most time indoors.

macro of computer circuit board

Here I was shooting macro, and having fun with what the macro lens can show. This is a small 1 inch slice of a computer motherboard!

I love to shoot glass, all sizes and shapes – it is always a delight and a surprise too. Here a burst of evening sun caught two crystal glass balls ….

Two clear crystal balls
lines and light

…. and here shooting a glass cube on a glass side table, against the reeded glass of the front door. Shooting on glass or through glass there are always interesting effects to find!

And finally the collage of all my uploads to Flickr this month. My uploads reflect only a small selection of what I have been shooting, out and about as well as indoors in my little studios.

Collage for April 2022
Collage for April 2022

On to May …… which brings us a visitor from the USA
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2022 March

Calendar March 2022
Calendar March 2022

I began February by looking at how we, in Scotland, were handling the Covid pandemic. The map of case numbers showed that we were more ‘in control’ than elsewhere in the UK. But now as we reach the middle of March the picture is completely changed! It just proves that the pandemic is still very much with us, no matter how much the politicians prattle on about ‘living with Covid’ and ‘we are now in the endemic stage – it is no longer a pandemic’.

Scotland covid map March 2022
Scotland Covid map March 2022

Scotland is being completely overwhelmed with yet another new variant of Covid.
Omicron, the previous variant, is called BA.1 and the tsunami of cases now showing on the map are 85% variant BA.2. We’ve been told that it is as infectious as measles, which apparently is the most transmissible virus in the world!
Rather than tracking the ‘headline’ reported cases, the emphasis has changed to following the hospitalisation reports, the ‘severe’ cases (needing ICU), and deaths. All these indicators are rising, and especially concerning is the rise in admissions among the 50+ and 70+ so there are plans to get the most vulnerable another booster shot. So it looks like I will have a 4th shot some time in April … though at the moment the cut-off age is 75, and that will exclude Mike who has a very relevant underlying condition in diabetes!
So with the prospect of yet another vaccination, I decided to try and tackle my bad eating habits! Long term PVS/ME has cut my energy levels to the bone – and years ago I realised that taking the winter ‘flu vaccine knocked me back for months. So the past 2 years of taking not only the ‘flu vaccine, but also three Covid vaccines has pretty well flattened my energy levels. In response I have upped my sugar intake to boost my flagging energy levels and help me through the day. But if I am to face yet another vaccine, then I need to get my sugar intake (and blood glucose readings) under control. So March is proving to be a hard month, as cutting back on sugar is proving to be a struggle!

March begins with winter
March begins with a familiar scene of snow and mist.

The month started with heavy frosts and morning mists. Spring has taken a hit, and even by mid March the snowdrops dominate, and crocuses and daffodils are only found in protected sunny corners!
But we did hear that the gardens at Fyvie Castle are open again – after Storm Arwen and all the following storms. So we went to see what the damage was like, and what has survived, and what has been destroyed. The day was bright and sunny but cold. And evidence of the devastation was everywhere.

Storm Arwen damage

On the entrance drive fallen trees had simply been cut in two and dragged to the sides to allow for access. Everywhere trees have been torn up by the roots – young and venerable old trees.

Guessing at the grim reality awaiting us I took my Lensbaby cameras with me, to give me something colourful and beautiful to capture!

Lensbaby Fyvie loch

Even the dark bleakness of the bare trees skirting the loch can be given a lift with the Lensbaby, and a personal choice of White Balance!

Lensbaby can enliven a grey day at Fyvie loch

And what a difference the Lensbaby can make to a sudden shaft of sunlight through a stand of undamaged trees! A rainbow prism caught by the lens.

beech leaves

With a Sweet 50 Lensbaby optic and a macro ring …. the beauty of last year’s beech leaves can brighten the cold Spring morning.

I’ve been shooting the seasons, the walks, and the castle itself for many years now – so I decided to look through my archives, and remember what March in 2019 looked like – a time of seeming innocence before the world was rocked by the pandemic!
I chose a day when I took an Infrared camera with me … with the ‘Super Goldie’ (590nm) filter on my old Sony A5000. It can make the world through the lens quite magical – changing the colours radically! [More about my Infrared journey here]

B+W Fyvie Castle grounds 2019

Sometimes when we visit Fyvie Castle we are lucky enough to catch a rider, exercising her horse. Here I processed my Infrared shot in black and white, as she rode down the entrance driveway ….

Fyvie Castle grounds 2019 shot in infrared

….. and here I processed the shot to give a ‘faux’ effect, where the grass is white (not covered in snow, as it might seem) and the sky a brilliant blue. The two photos don’t look like they were shot within minutes of each other. The magic of the camera!

But for most of the month we have been at home, with the mixture of cold winter weather and tantalising spells of sunny Spring sunshine keeping us indoors. We are both feeling the effects of two long years of confinement and stress – energy is low, and everyday household chores seem to devour more and more of that meagre supply. The days pass, and we feel like we have accomplished very little!
I have managed to keep my photography ticking over, mainly shooting still life and macro indoors. The living room is strewn with small shooting sets, and a myriad of items (large and small) awaiting me ….

Swarovski brilliants

Here I was shooting tiny Swarovski crystal beads (1cm each way) – multi-facetted and clear glass. Placed on glass, lit with small coloured LED lights they glow and sparkle. A macro lens can offer a world as different as the infrared filter can!

3 glasses in B+W

And here, using the same background of black velvet cloth, I took 3 small drinks glasses, and used the reflections of the daylight on glass to define the glasses and give form to them.

reflected smiley faces

I like taking part in challenges in my Flickr groups – it often pushes me into trying something new and different, stretching me. Here it was a challenge to show smiles reflected in spoons!

miniature vases in silhouette

The challenge here was to a create a macro silhouette in black and white. It wasn’t new to me – but how to make something interesting within the terms of the challenge? Here I bent the rules a little, as there are quite a few reflections in there!

And so, as the month draws to a close there are the first signs of the latest Covid wave slowing down, if only a little! And the first signs of Spring are definitely appearing through the snow showers and bursts of warm sunshine!
So to finish I’ll include my monthly ritual for Flickr, which is to make a collage of all the photos I have uploaded to Flickr during the month. It is a way I divide up the unending flow of images that make up the ‘photostream’. This month was quite a busy one, as I uploaded 28 images in all. Some of them have already been featured on this page too …. but here is the full complement.

March 2022 collage of photos
March 2022 collage of photos uploaded to Flickr

On to April …… which I hope doesn’t echo the words of T S Eliot as “the cruellest month”
Back to the 2022 Cover page
Back to Notebooks cover

Flickr holds Elisa’s online Photo Gallery
© 2022 Elisa Liddell