Posts tagged ‘28-105 D’

August 10, 2010

Common Darter

Common Darter Dragonfly

Dragonflies are wonderful insects to watch and for me at least very difficult to photograph.  I don’t have a macro (close up) lens so it means I have to get as close as I can.  Unfortunately my attempts to get a picture of this fella (a Common Darter), were a bit like the fisherman and ‘the one that got away’.  From a distance I managed to get the picture above (which I have magnified to make it look bigger but at the expense of detail) and then I carefully edged forward until I got really close.  It would have been a good picture.  I pressed the shutter release only for the memory card in the camera to stop working!  As I looked at the error message in the viewfinder blinking ‘CHR’ the Dragonfly saw his chance of escape and darted off.  Humph.

June 21, 2010

Poisonous Beauty

Woody Nightshade Solanum dulcamara

My better half saw this plant growing in a couple of different places in the garden.  We thought that it might be Deadly Nightshade, and a quick search on Google showed us this plant exactly, referred to in a number of different articles as Deadly Nightshade.  So that is what I thought I was dealing with.  I put on a thick pair of gloves and dug it out, put it in black bag and into the bin.  Foolishly I had some skin showing on my arms and just touching the plant brought my skin out in an itchy rash.  I mentioned all this to a couple of wise farmers on Sunday morning and they looked at me a bit quizzically.  So I went to the bookshelf afterwards and found “The Oxford Book of Wild Flowers”.  It turns out that this plant is in fact “Woody Nightshade”; it is poisonous (though not as poisonous as the “Deadly” version) and is a particular danger for children, pets and farm animals who might like to eat the egg-shaped berries.  I’m fascinated at how such a pretty flower can be poisonous, though that poison (from the berries) has been used for centuries to treat various skin ailments (didn’t do my skin much good) and even (in a dilution) to treat Rheumatism!

Foxglove Digitalis purpurea

In another part of the garden there is a much better known plant, the Foxglove.  I have always loved the flowers, I remember watching with delight as a child as bees scampered into the bell-shaped purple domes to emerge only to disappear once more (it didn’t take much to keep me amused)!  Also known as “Dead Man’s Bells” (because this is a poisonous plant too), the leaves produce a drug used to treat heart conditions.

I am ever amazed at the sheer variety and staggering depth of complexity found in Creation.  Similar to my reaction to the wonderful Gannets and Razorbills (see below), understanding more of nature brings  me closer to the One who spoke all this into being ex nihilo (out of nothing):

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

(Genesis 1)

May 31, 2010

Early-purple Orchid

It’s amazing what you can find when you’re not looking for anything!  My better half came across this tiny little flower whilst she was cutting the grass (the blades of grass around the flower give a sense of the small scale).  We think that it is the beginnings of an Early-purple Orchid, but are not entirely sure, maybe some of you green-fingered readers will be able to help us out here?  I know some people like to treat their lawns with all sorts of chemicals so that they can enjoy a velvety grass-only lawn with not a weed or any moss in sight – I’ll gladly put up with a few dandelions here and there if it means we can get to see such lovely flowers as this:

Lord, just as a flower can radiate its precious beauty
and cast its fragrance everywhere.
So I ask you to cast the sweet fragrance of your presence over me. 
Surround me with your love.
Fill me with your healing balm.
Enfold me with your peace.
Comfort me with your presence.
May your fragrance linger in the stillness of my soul.
May your healing love renew my very being.
(From Fr. James McSweeny: A Year in Reflection)
May 12, 2010


Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 D, Fuji Reala 100

Potential:  Existing in possibility, capable of development into actuality…

May 6, 2010

Garden Colour Part Two

See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labour or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.  
(Matthew 6:28b, 29)

Well Spring has sprung a bit more since last time.  If ever you are thinking about a film for showing off colour (whether it be in your garden, landscapes or even for portraits) may I humbly recommend Fuji’s Reala 100.  Seeing as only strange people like me use film these days I got twenty rolls of this film off eBay for £20!  All these pictures were taken with a Nikon F100 and 28-105 AF-D lens.  
March 25, 2010

Garden Colour

Nikon D70s, f4.5, 1/30 sec, ISO 220, 127mm equivalent
Nikon D70s, f4.5, 1/60 sec, ISO 200, 127mm equivalent

Nikon D70s, f8, 1/250 sec, ISO 200, 112mm equivalent
It’s wonderful to have a stroll around the garden and see everything coming to life, especially after such a long, cold winter.  There are of course the great parallels with Easter – New Life, New Beginnings etc.  It is as if the whole of Creation points us towards God:

Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being.  (Romans 1:20 The Message)

St. Augustine said:

Ask the earth and the sea, the plains and the mountains, the sky and the clouds, the stars and the sun, the fish and animals, and all of them will say, “We are beautiful because God made us.” This beauty is their testimony to God.

March 18, 2010

Watching and Waiting

Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 f3.5-4.5 D, Ilford FP4 plus (ISO 125), (Click to enlarge)

We were putting out some old dried bread onto the bird table with the unmistakable feeling of being watched. I turned around and there they were, waiting for us to leave so that they could tuck in! Someone commenting on this picture on said it was like something out of a Hitchcock film, maybe the black and white makes it look a bit sinister but in reality it was quite funny – we weren’t attacked by them or anything.

Waiting patiently for things is not a forte of mine so maybe these birds have a lesson to teach me. Also I am reminded of some lovely words from Psalm 130

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.

I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

March 10, 2010

Keeping a curse at bay

Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 f3.5-4.5 D, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400), (Bigger)

There’s a pub nearby with an interesting history. Noel Phair’s was owned by a well-off family in the late 1800’s. They brought the bailiffs in to evict a widow from one of their tenant cottages. Justifiably upset she pronounced a curse on the premises, saying a time would come when grass would be seen growing in the door. To stop the grass, the owners had a metal plate set in the threshold. As you can see from the photo the metal plate is still there. (From Damien Enright’s book “Walks of Clonakilty Town & Country” ISBN 1 902631 021)

“…but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
James 3:8-10
February 26, 2010


10 02 HP5010
Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 f3.5-4.5 D, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400), (click to enlarge)
I came across these words by Max Lucado recently in his book “The Great House of God“:

Some years ago a sociologist accompanied a group of mountain climbers on an expedition. Among other things, he noticed a distinct correlation betwen clound cover and contentment. When there was no cloud cover and the peak was in view, the climbers were energetic and cooperative. When the grey clouds eclipsed the view of the mountaintop, though, the climbers were sullen and selfish.

The same thing happens to us. As long as our eyes are on his [that is God’s] majesty there is a bounce in our step. But let our eyes focus on the dirt beneath us and we will grumble about every rock and crevice we have to cross.
These very helpful words brings to mind one of great verses of encouragement, Hebrews 12:2

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Fixing (or focusing) our eyes on Jesus, that’s what it’s all about – if only I didn’t get in the way so much…

February 21, 2010

Let me see thy footmarks, and in them plant my own.

Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 D, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400) (click to enlarge)

The title of this post is from the first lines of the last verse of that great hymn of commitment “O Jesus I have promised.” The verse goes:

Oh, let me see Thy footmarks,
And in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly
Is in Thy strength alone.
Oh, guide me, call me, draw me,
Uphold me to the end;
And then to rest receive me,
My Saviour and my Friend.

We sung it in church yesterday and it went very well as an accompanyment to the reading (Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness from Luke 4). I love the powerful imagery of looking for the Lord’s footprints and putting my own inside them. I remember as a child trying to put my feet into my father’s footprints in the sand at the seashore. The strides were just too big and so each one was an enourmous leap. Eventually though as one grows up it becomes easier to follow.

Same with following Jesus I suppose, sometimes the strides needed seem impossibly large, but then with time (and of course His help) it becomes less difficult.