Changing Seasons 2017: February

February arrived at the meadow and the little wooded area beside the stream, enticing nature to quicken as the year edged slowly onwards…

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(Remember to click on the galleries for better views of the pictures!)

As youthful sunlight grew bolder, caressing the earth with an enlivening touch, new life began to stir amidst the leaf litter. Green shoots pushed free of chill dirt. Soon, hosts of delicate snowdrops bowed their heads in shy greeting, whilst hearts and minds swelled with romantic ideals.

Bathed in dawn light or dusk, the paths meandered over the meadow and beneath the trees, drawing footsteps onwards. Benches invited those visitors brave enough to face the frigid elements to sit awhile in peaceful contemplation. Meanwhile the stream flowed on in a silvery ribbon…

Within the tree tops birds gathered, peeking from behind branches and darting from perch to perch. In search of partners with whom to share the coming months, they sang their boastful songs as they preened, their chests puffed out in self-importance.

Amidst February’s burgeoning landscape, a multitude of detail was hidden – for those who were willing to look. Bracket fungi provided stepping stones into fairy lands, whilst ivy bedecked in dewdrops glistened in dawn light. Strands of fur tangled around brambles, hinting of life forms present when a human gaze was absent.


This post is for my February edition of Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons Challenge. It’s a little later than I’d hoped to post it – mainly because my internet is still not completely back to normal. It’s not too bad for visiting blogs now, but unfortunately it takes forever to upload pictures!

If you’d like to see how the meadow, wooded area, and stream have looked at different times of the year, please visit the ‘Changing Seasons’ category in the menu at the top of the page.

Do you have a favourite picture? I’d love to know!

Changing Seasons 2017: January

As the midwinter celebrations fade into memory, the new year settles into a haze of grey monotony – a progression of days shrouded in obscuring mist. But even amidst the gloom, an allure can be found if you open your eyes to the sight. Light will filter through even on the dullest of days.

(Remember to click on the galleries for better views of the photographs.)

Find your way to the natural places, and breathe deep of the chill air. Bathe in the peace to be found as you connect with the earth. The daylight might yet be thin, lacking the strength to which it will grow in the months to come, but it is strong enough to enliven your spirit as you walk across the meadow and beneath the trees.

Whilst no flowers yet bloom, and the trees remain starkly bare, there is still beauty to be found in the minutiae of the wild places. Beneath your feet toadstools continue to emerge, whilst moss, ivy and lichen add touches of greenery to a largely umber world. Droplets cling to leaves and branches, reflecting back at you a miniature world, bathed in light.

Amongst the branches a multitude of birds flit, darting from perch to perch in search of sustenance. Blue tits, long tailed tits and blackbirds can all be spotted, adding life an movement to the wintry tableau.

A final sight to lift your spirits can be seen as January draws to an end. The first hints of Spring’s revival can be found amidst the remnants of the old year – fresh green leaves reaching towards the sky. Soon new life will arrive.

new-growth

This post is for Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons 2017. As usual, I have far more than the 5-20 pictures we’re asked to share – though this is barely a quarter of those I could have included. Sorry, Cardinal. o_O I’d say that I’ll try to stick to the limit better next month, but I know just how low the likelihood of that is!

As I began last year’s challenge in February, this post actually brings me full circle. I had thought about photographing a different place this year – but the meadow, wooded area and stream is where I always want to visit when I head out of the house with my camera. And there’s always something different to be seen…

If you’d like to take a look at some of the previous posts for this challenge, I’ve now added a Changing Seasons category to the menu at the top of the page to make them easier to find.

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Changing Seasons 2016: December

During December I again photographed the meadow, wooded area and stream in my village for Cardinal Guzman’s Monthly Changing Seasons challenge. With the busyness of Christmas preparations, along with an unseasonably warm but drearily overcast month, I only managed a handful of visits to my favourite place, but luckily those few walks gave me plenty of pictures!

Remember to click on the galleries to see the pictures at a larger size.

So, come and join me on a walk through the meadow, down to the wooded area and beside the stream, as December takes hold…

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You breathe deep of the chill air as you walk across the meadow’s open expanse, enjoying the feel of the crisp grass and the fallen leaves, rimed with ice crystals, as they crunch beneath your feet. The paths that in the summer months wound through long grasses, are now mere echoes upon the ground, but you follow them still. Whether in the shrouding mists of early morning or the sublime gold of the afternoon, each footstep carries you further from your troubles, opening your mind to the possibilities that lie ahead.

The many benches scattered around the space draw you to rest for a spell, allowing you to absorb nature’s serenity. Wrapped warmly in woolen layers, with hat, scarf and gloves protecting your extremities, the chill doesn’t bother you as you meander from perch to perch, though you don’t linger long at each stop. There are many more areas to explore, after all.

Resting on the bench newly placed beneath the trees, you gaze at an area held tightly in December’s grip. Oak, birch and horse chestnut trees all stand starkly bare. Winter green has now become dominant within the woodland spaces: holly, ivy and fir adding a dash of colour to an otherwise bleak scene.

Arising from the bench, you walk alongside the stream, watching the sluggish flow of water beneath the icy tendrils that stretch out from the shore. The afternoon light gilds branches in gold, adding an element of warmth that your chilled senses deny exists.

You carefully watch where you put your feet as you walk beneath the trees, taking care not to trip over the jagged remains of tree stumps or to tread on any of the funghi that continues to sprout amongst the concealing leaf litter.

You stop where a branch reaches out over the water. The last few leaves cling like tree ornaments, whilst water droplets glint around them, hanging like nature’s own midwinter decorations.

But nature’s own are not the only decorations to be found. Strung from the trees throughout the wooded area are fat balls, packed full of winter treats for the birds, whilst strings of popcorn drape over the fir trees clustered in the corner of the meadow. Robins, blue tits and long tailed tits can be seen flitting to and fro, enjoying their midwinter feast.

Finally, as the sun sets beyond the trees, and with your senses bathed clean by the calm stillness of nature, you take your leave of the meadow, wooded area and stream, knowing that soon you will return…

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I hope you enjoyed accompanying me on a walk around my favourite place. Did you have a favourite picture? I’d love to know which ones caught your eye.

If you’d like to revisit some of the previous months’ galleries, you can follow the links below:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November

thechangingseasons

Changing Seasons 2016: November

During November, despite spending the majority of my time working on my NaNoWriMo novel, I still managed a few walks down the the wooded area, stream and meadow to take some photographs for Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons monthly photo challenge.

Don’t forget to click on the galleries for better views of the pictures.

Come on in.

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Walk through the trees of the little wooded area. Here, fallen leaves crunch underfoot, whilst light filters through branches adorned in gold. Follow the path beside the meadow…

…until you reach the stream. Take care at the water’s edge, where leaves create a false surface, tempting you to step closer.

If you look carefully as you wander beside the stream, you can spot lots of toadstools still growing amidst the leaf litter. Lying on frosty ground in the early hours of the day to take photographs is no fun, but the results are generally worth it. 🙂

Step out from beneath the shelter of the trees and into the open space of the meadow. The ground is speckled with leaves, fallen from the surrounding trees. If you’re early, the ground might still be frosted white, or the view may be hazed by mist. Perhaps take a seat on a bench for a while, and watch the sun warm the chill earth.

As you walk, be mindful of the minutiae of nature’s shift from autumn into winter. Crisp leaves and fallen seeds, some frosted with delicate ice crystals or lit by golden light, can be found wherever you look. The last few berries speckle the hedgerows, their colour fading in mottled patterns, shining as if gilded in celebration of the changing season. Spiderwebs drape over branches, strung with dewdrops that glint like fairy lights.

If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the wildlife that flourishes in the wild spaces. Birds flit from branch to branch, their voices raised in song, the motion of their wings carrying them rapidly out of sight. Squirrels scurry, collecting nuts for their winter stores.

squirrel

Yes, the only one I managed to photograph during my walks was a lone squirrel – and he was too far away for me to get a good shot!

I hope you enjoyed the virtual walk. I’d love to know which sights caught your eye – did you have a favourite view?

You can see the previous month’s galleries here:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October

thechangingseasons

 

Changing Seasons 2016: October

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During October I’ve again been photographing around the local meadow, wooded area and stream, taking pictures for Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons photography challenge. For those of you who don’t know, local to me is a little village in the east of England, near the border between Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. The meadow is my favourite place in the village. I like to sit beside the stream, or on a bench in the meadow, to write my stories and poems. I find the place wonderfully calming and inspirational. Unfortunately I haven’t spent anywhere near as much time there this month as I would have liked, especially over the last fortnight, which means that the majority of these pictures were taken during the first half of the month. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out more in November.

Don’t forget to click on the galleries for a larger view of each picture.

Let’s begin by taking a little wander through the trees, watching out for toadstools underfoot, and down to the stream…

Although the mild weather we’ve been having this year means that the leaves are only just turning, October has nevertheless seen autumn steadily taking a stronger hold. Fruits and seeds were flourishing wherever I looked, with toadstools in particular becoming a regular focus for pictures.

Whilst the majority of the leaves have only just begun shifting into their autumnal colours, there were a few early ones that caught my eye.

Bare of summer flowers, the meadow has provided far fewer opportunities for photography during October than in previous months. But that’s not to say it’s provided none at all. There have been a number of misty mornings, and these in particular gave me some interesting scenes to capture.

I’ve already posted some black and white pictures of the spiderwebs that could be found adorning the trees and plants, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few pictures in colour, as well.

Unfortunately, there has been little in the way of wildlife for me to photograph this month. I’ve spotted a number of squirrels, but they never stay in one place long enough for me to capture them on camera, whilst the spiderwebs were all strangely devoid of spiders (not that I’m really complaining about that!). I did have one encounter with a robin during which I took a lot of pictures. Like the squirrels, though, he was flitting around so quickly that only one shot is even close to being in focus, the rest are pure blur.  I thought I’d share that one with you anyway, even though it’s not as clear as I’d have liked, along with a shot of a buzzard in flight over the meadow and a late red admiral butterfly enjoying the ivy flowers.

I hope you enjoyed October’s pictures. Did you have a favourite? I’d love to know.

If you’d like to check out the previous months galleries you can follow the links below:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September

thechangingseasons

CB&W: All About Nature

sunburst-over-fading-bluebells-b-and-w

In amongst the

minutiae,

the everyday,

the hither and thither

of life rushing by,

there’s no time to talk,

no time to rest,

no time…

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Stop.

Breathe deep.

Tilt your face to the sun;

feel the warmth on your skin.

The world will wait.

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Listen to the

harmonies of nature’s music

as wind strummed trees

join in chorus with buzzing insects,

whilst trilling birdsong

fills the air.

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All it takes is a moment.

So stop.

And breathe deep.

The world will wait.

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This post is for Cee’s Black and White Challenge. This week’s theme is It’s All About Nature. The pictures were all taken at the meadow at various times this year.

I hope you like them.

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Changing Season 2016: September

It’s a few days later than I’d intended, but here’s my September post for Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons photography challenge. This year I’m photographing around my favourite place – the meadow, wooded area and stream in my village on the border between Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, England. I find the place wonderfully inspiring, and I write many of my stories and poems while I’m there. I hope you all enjoy the virtual tour.

Remember to click on the galleries to see the pictures at a larger size.

Come on in:

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Follow the path into the little wooded area…

During September the wooded area and stream became my favourite place to spend time photographing. With the first hints of autumnal colours beginning to show, the fruits and seeds in the trees and the toadstools underfoot, the area became even more enchanting than usual.

Here are a few general views of the area:

And here are a few close ups:

Whilst the bright colours of the summer flowers had faded from the meadow during September, beauty could still be found amongst the sea of golden grass and seedheads that filled the area. The many small trees, paths, fences and tree stumps provided focal points for general views:

A closer look revealed intriguing shapes and forms in the seedheads, and even a last few flowers hidden in the long grass:

As well as the growing things I always like to capture pictures of the wildlife that inhabit the area. This is never quite everything that I see when I’m there – most of it moves far too quickly for me – but I  catch what I can. I was particularly pleased this month by the shot of the grey squirrel. He might be missing a part of his paw but at least he isn’t just a blur like all the others I’ve photographed!

Most of the pictures of the meadow were taken before September 22nd. On the Autumn Equinox it underwent one of its most sudden changes of the year – it was given a haircut!

mower

This is how the meadow looked afterwards:

after-mowing

If you’d like to see how this month’s views compare to previous month’s you can check out  my other Changing Seasons galleries by following the links below:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August

I hope you all liked the pictures. I’d love to know if you have a favourite.

thechangingseasons

Changing Seasons 2016: August

During August I’ve again been photographing the wildflower meadow, wooded area and stream for Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons Challenge. As usual I have far more pictures in my galleries than we’re asked to share, but I couldn’t bear to cut anything else out!

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With many of the flowers having withered away over the summer, leaving a sea of golden grass, during August the main focal points of the meadow became the little trees scattered throughout the area. There are over thirty of these, but until recently they’ve been too small to show up in pictures, having only been planted when the field was bought a few years ago by a lovely couple who live in the village. It is this couple who have turned the space into the beautiful area it is now, and have made it accessible for everyone – for which I am incredibly grateful! Here are a few pictures of some of the little trees:

Whilst most of the flowers in the meadow have faded, there are a few that still remain.

But even with the fading of the flowers, there is still beauty to be found amongst the long grass. I’ve always found seedpods and dried flowers to be as attractive in their own way as flowers at the peak of their bloom…

One of the things I always love to do when I’m visiting the meadow, wooded area and stream is to look for any wildlife that I can photograph. I always see far more things than I actually manage to capture, though during August I was particularly fortunate with many of my shots. Having said that, a few pictures (the moorhen and the sparrowhawk) were taken right at the limit of my 70-300mm lens and still had to be cropped to show the creatures properly. They were also taken handheld, meaning that they’re not quite as clear as I would have liked, but I they were shots I was so pleased to have captured that I couldn’t leave them out.

One of my favourite features in the meadow are the cluster of tree stumps, and the items that sit on top of them. And yes… many of them were placed there by me. 🙂

With Autumn drawing nearer, the wooded area has become increasingly interesting to photograph. The acorns and sycamore helicopters have grown larger, whilst spiderwebs  wreathe many trees.

To finish off I’ll leave you with a few pictures of my favourite things to hunt for at this time of year – the toadstools that hide among the grass and leaf-litter.

I hope you all enjoyed August’s collection of images. I had hoped to share them before the end of the month, but unfortunately my internet connection died. Luckily it didn’t stay off for too long this time.

If you’d like to see how the area has changed over the course of the year, you can find the previous months’ galleries by following the links below:

February
March
April
May
June
July