New Life

Following yesterday’s post, some more evidence that spring is definitely here. Not from my back garden this time, but from a recent wander.


Amongst the desolation, there was still the vaguest of hints that something new, something big, was coming. She wandered through the ruins and rubble, and stopped beside a pile of stones. The barest glimpse of colour among the greyness had caught her eye and she had to go back and check.

Yes, there it was, a tiny blossom, subtly pink, tiny yellow stamen that reflected the weak sun’s light.

She felt a tear run trickle down her left cheek, clearing a path through the dust and dirt she new she was covered in. For the first time is weeks, no months, the tear was a happy one. This tiny bloom, this tiniest of blossoms represented something she had not encountered in a long, long time.

Hope.


The World Keeps Turning

With everything going on at the moment, it’s easy to forget that this virus and its complications, while bad enough, is only affecting humans. Mother Nature is still keeping the world going (grateful, I am guessing, that us pesky beings are giving the planet a bit of a break from our pollution), and across the Northern Hemisphere spring is, well, springing…

Three shots, then, from my back garden! (Click on an image to see a larger version.)



9 in 45: 4th April 2020

It was a sunny weekend in Somerset and, while the restrictions in force still allow a daily walk, I thought I would take my camera out for another 9-in-45!

The idea of the project is to set out on a walk with a phone/stopwatch and your camera. Set your stopwatch for five minutes and start walking. When the five minutes is up, stop walking. You have a minute to compose and take a photograph. Set your stopwatch for another five minutes and start walking. When the time is up, stop and, within a minute take and compose your second photo. Keep going until you have walked for 45 minutes and have nine photos.

I’ve undertaken several of these before and now, with the move to the South West, it’s giving me an opportunity to explore new places and seek out new routes!


4th April 2020 – 14:24

I promise not every set of photos is going to include the Tor, but on this occasion made it too good an opportunity to miss!


4th April 2020 – 14:29

A welcome to the Somerset town, but I was walking the other way. There is no “Thank you for visiting” billboard, however, so this will have to do!


4th April 2020 – 14:35

…definitely no more photos of the Tor, I promise…


4th April 2020 – 14:41

Walking along the River Brue, you come to a small weir. This hut, I would imagine, has something to do with water management, though don’t quote me on that.

Graffiti on out of the way huts: good or bad?


4th April 2020 – 14:46

It really was a lovely day for a springtime walk! The sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm…


4th April 2020 – 14:52

Love Actually is all around. Glastonbury is a place of peace, calm and openness and these painted rocks – on the road from Street – stand as testament to that sense of love.


4th April 2020 – 14:58

Heading back homewards now, and a steep climb through a field of cows as I ascended Wearyall Hill. The timer on my phone went off and there was little obvious to photograph (apart from cowpats and hoof prints).

The chimney in the foreground belongs to the old Baily’s Tannery and Glove Factory, disused since the 1980s.


4th April 2020 – 15:04

The top of Wearyall Hill now, and a place to stop and relax. I have sat here and relished the view on a number of occasions, but today I carried on, because I had a ninth photograph to take!


4th April 2020 – 15:09

Never ever be afraid of being the odd one out, the black sheep. Life is made for standing out!



Another nine photographs taken in 45 minutes, then; my seventh attempt! Click on the links below to see the previous results:

And the original “Take Nine Photos In Forty Five Minutes” collection can be found by clicking the link.


Sketchy

I haven’t yet started photographing indoors.

I’m currently not under personal quarantine, and am eager to have my daily constitutional for as long as I can.

In addition to this, having not long moved into my new home, the place is still a bit of a tip (although it’s getting there slowly) and with some building work going on (the builders working in isolation), I am paranoid that whatever photo I take will show up the dust!

So, with my once-a-day walks continuing, camera in hand, I am photographing the outdoors quite happily!


Mass Observation: Isolation

Set a few weeks ago, before a quarter of the world’s population were told to stay indoors, this seems more poignant a post than it was ever intended too. Many thanks for all of you who took part and enjoy the photographs!


Isolation by Killing Time With A Camera

Name: killing time with a camera … (https://steviegill.wordpress.com/)

Location: My backyard, Toronto

Note: Probably a little overwrought as a metaphor but the idea kinda got stuck in my head, plus I had a packet of peas in the fridge! I wanted to convey that humans are ultimately social creatures and, while most of us need to be alone from time-to-time, being away from other people for too long can feel alienating and lonely.


Isolation by Postcard Cafe

Name: Postcard Cafe https://postcardcafe.wordpress.com

Location: Botanical Gardens, Sheffield  

Note: Isolating the daffodil from others close by and also from the ground (using shallow depth of field) has managed to produce an interesting shot of an obvious subject for spring. What I didn’t notice while composing the shot was that I had also isolated a rainbow in an out of focus water droplet.  While it’s only a small detail, I really enjoyed that I had captured this chance moment. With any photograph our eye might naturally be drawn to the main subject in a photograph but it is always worth exploring the whole – to see what other surprises may be lurking!  I think this is a positive image and I thought for this months submission we need a few things that give us a smile right now. Take care out there, PC


Isolation by Doctor Ken, Gin Sop

Name: Doctor Ken, Gin Sop

Location: Somerset

Note: I wasn’t thinking about the Mass Observation at all, just taking my daily constitutional with my camera in hand. There was a tent on the other side of the field, and it looked so lonely I felt the need to photograph of it!


Isolation by CKPonderingsToo

Name: CKPonderingsToo (https://ckponderingstoo.photo.blog/)

Location: Glastonbury Tor

Note: I was having a wander on the one walk a day we’re currently allowed, and went a bit off the beaten track. There were a handful of other people escaping the lock-down by having a walk, and saw this woman. She was staring wistfully across the fields, and looked quite lonely ( even though her friend/boyfriend/husband was just along the lane). I loved how her poise was echoed by the steeple on the Tor and snapped a quick, candid pic!


Isolation by Cooking-Post Nerd

Name: Cooking-Post Nerd

Location: Somerset

Note: High above us, in the sky, a buzzard circles, searching wide.


Isolation by Cap Does Craft

Name: Cap Does Craft

Location: Bolsover Street, South Yorkshire  

Note:  For many people right now isolation is not a choice but a necessity.  This photograph looks at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to self isolating.  I’ve often thought that tower crane operators might actually enjoy being isolated in the cabin. High above the town or city, away from the noise and dust of the building site.  Views that many would pay money to see and no boss leaning over their shoulder. Photographically this image also has a nicely isolated silhouette of a street lamp nicely adding a little more value to the shot.


A nice number of submissions for this month’s Mass Observation Project. Keep an eye out on this site for May’s theme.

In the meantime, in this mad and crazy world, stay safe and stay sane.

The Great Outdoors

Lyte’s Cary

What will be the first thing you do when the isolation is lifted? Where will you go? Who will you see? What will you do?

For me, not being able to get into the great outdoors is the big frustration at the moment. Yes, my posts have included daily walks around Glastonbury, but I want to get properly out and about. Having moved to Somerset seven weeks ago, I am itching to see more of the local area, the countryside, the seaside resorts.

My National Trust and Glastonbury Abbey passes are sitting in my wallet, going unused because all are shut. The countryside is very apparent from here. Looking out of my office window, I can look across Butleigh Moor to the Hood Monument, knowing I cannot, in all good conscience, get out and visit, climb the hill and see the Tor from another angle.

Frustration and cabin fever are kicking in…

Limbo

We are all of us in limbo at the moment. It seems like someone pressed the Pause button on 2020 back in February, and nobody seems to know how to get it kick started again.

Limbo is a dangerous place; we run the risk of becoming lethargic, or apathy setting in; things we would normally crack on with no longer seem important because, as I alluded to the other day, we can always do it tomorrow.

We run the risk of becoming a society of procrastinators, holding off, pacing ourselves, because if we end up doing something too quickly, we will have nothing to do tomorrow, or the next day or the next.

We are stuck ‘in-between’, a world waiting for something to happen, but not sure when it will, or what it will be.

Is there an easy answer?

9 in 45: 31st March 2020

In this time of restrictions and “one walk per day”, what better use of that time outside than to undertake a “9-in-45”?

The idea of the project is to set out on a walk with a phone/stopwatch and your camera. Set your stopwatch for five minutes and start walking. When the five minutes is up, stop walking. You have a minute to compose and take a photograph. Set your stopwatch for another five minutes and start walking. When the time is up, stop and, within a minute take and compose your second photo. Keep going until you have walked for 45 minutes and have nine photos.

So, the nine photos…


31st March 2020 – 08:58

It was a crisp, bright morning, and I had an idea of where I wanted to go. Living in Glastonbury now, I am fortunate enough to have the Tor virtually on my doorstep (as you will see, 15 minutes or so from the summit!).

Walking up to the main road, I pass the Rural Life Museum – currently closed, as with most other places at the moment. I have seen the bicycle sign on numerous occasions, and it just happened that, when my first five minutes were up, I was close enough to it to include it in my set of nine photos!


31st March 2020 – 09:04

At the base of the Tor are these two stones. There are a lot of pieces of stone in and around Glastonbury – half of the town was built from pieces of the Abbey when it was dissolved in 1539. The thing that has always caught my eye, however, is the symbol on the one on the left. I think it’s military, but I’m not sure…


31st March 2020 – 09:10

I will be honest, I am not as fit as I once was, or as I should be. I may well have not walked continuously between taking the 09:04 photo and the one above… In my defence, however, the Tor is blooming steep, and it’s only fair that I sat down on a handy bench on the way up the climb…

A fair proportion of the planet may be in lock down, but here in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring is continuing unabated… This shot, of some cherry blossom, turned out better than I thought immediately after taking the photo. (I had intended a smaller aperture, but when I had taken the shot, I realised the camera was set to f/8. However, the depth of focus turned out to be pretty much what I was aiming for!)

Right, I’d better continue my climb, then…


31st March 2020 – 09:16

Mr C’s strict rules state that selfies should not be included in the 9-in-45, but halfway up the Tor, my options were limited. I wanted to avoid the bulk standard countryside views, but the sun was still fairly low in the sky and my shadow was too good an opportunity to miss!


31st March 2020 – 09:22

In recent weeks, the summit of the Tor has been distinctly devoid of visitors (a combination of isolation and the weather). However, at other times – at the height of the tourist season or on pagan celebratory days – it can be teeming with people.

I will be honest, I prefer it quiet. With its 360° view of the levels, it is an ideal space for reflection and meditation, as you can see!


31st March 2020 – 09:27

I awarded myself a five minute sit down before moving on, but the 9-in-45 had to continue unabated. The image of perfect calm belies the fact that is was blowing an icy gale and, to be honest, I was more than happy to start moving again!


31st March 2020 – 09:33

Unsurprisingly, while it took nearly 20 minutes to climb the Tor, it only took five to walk back down again!

At the base of the hill, in a sheltered, sunny location, is the Avalon Orchard. Another place for reflection and contemplation, these old fruit trees hold decades of history in their gnarled and twisted branches.

Rather than a wide shot of trees, I thought I would close in tighter, and this fungus caught my eye as soon as the timer on my phone alerted me to the end of the the next five-minute window.


31st March 2020 – 09:39

Time for the money shot, then; I’ve talked a lot about the Tor, but not had a photo of it yet!


31st March 2020 – 09:45

The wind may still be fresh, but the sun has been in full attendance over the last few days, so one final shot to show that spring has definitely sprung!


The photos and the route in more detail:


I have completed the 9-in-45 project a number of times now – click on the links below to see the results:

And the original “Take Nine Photos In Forty Five Minutes” collection can be found by clicking the link.


Time

A lot of what is going on in the world at the moment is weird. I mean plain WEIRD. In four short weeks, society has been turned on its head and it’s taking us a long time to get used to it.

There are lots of high impact, big things going on, but often it’s a combination of smaller changes, little side effects that build and build to screw with our minds.

While I know it’s not life shattering in the grand scheme of things, time of one of the elements I have noticed has changed.


I moved to Somerset from West Sussex in mid-February. It’s a move I’d been planning for a number of years, and everything had fallen into place for it to happen in the early months of 2020.

I was moving down here without employment and lucky enough to have a financial buffer to be able to not worry about working for a while. In effect, I have been in the fortunate position to be able to semi-retire.

The thing I have found since the move is that time loses its meaning. Days and weeks have quickly merged into one, and weekends have become almost meaningless. For the first time in about twenty years, I have had to keep a mini diary to enable me to track what I have been doing each day.

This has ramped up even more over the last week or so, since the lock-down really kicked in here in the UK. With shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants closing down and other places to visit – National Trust properties, museums, etc. – being extremely limited, the complete freedom we once enjoyed has been (understandably and rightly) restricted even more.

What I have found this has led to can be summed up very simply:

“I can do that tomorrow.”

For me, someone who very readily would look to ‘do today’, this has been really frustrating. I find myself running the risk of putting off simple things; well not even putting off, but delaying, ‘spreading the joy’ of confinement.

Trying to find structure in the time of coronavirus is increasingly becoming a challenge. Routine is disappearing, commitments have little meaning, time passes quickly, with little or nothing to show for it.


To take part in the current Mass Observation Project post on ISOLATION:

  • Take a photograph based on the theme of ISOLATION, however you want to interpret it.
  • Email the image to adayinphotographs@outlook.com by Wednesday 1st April 2020.
  • Images should be a maximum of 650 pixels wide.
  • Include your name, website/blog address and a short note about the image, including where it was taken.
  • Come back and see the results on Sunday 5th April!

Mass Observation – ISOLATION

Isolation

There’s still time to get your submissions in for the Mass Observation Project post! The next theme is ISOLATION and the idea is to:

  • Take a photograph based on the theme of ISOLATION, however you want to interpret it.
  • Email the image to adayinphotographs@outlook.com by Wednesday 1st April 2020.
  • Images should be a maximum of 650 pixels wide.
  • Include your name, website/blog address and a short note about the image, including where it was taken.
  • Come back and see the results on Sunday 5th April!