Lockdown birds

Bored in the lockdown, I notice the birds are strutting their stuff and sometimes psyching each other out on the untidy spruce hedge south of my back yard.

It was a beautiful day on Sunday. After I went outside to wait on the birds, they seemed to have decided to do something else- feed, perhaps. This was the only picture I took. The colours, unadjusted, are beautiful.

I waited, in the gorgeous light, including during the Zoom Quaker meeting. I thought, I am distracted, roll with it, I won’t distract others too much. I was worshipping, and the ego-acquisitiveness of wanting a picture, unknowing if I could get one, and what that made me feel seemed suitable for contemplation. Once, a bird alighted for a moment and took off before I could adjust the camera.

On Monday, the light was much poorer, and these needed adjusting.

I am so pleased to have caught the moment of take-off. That’s luck, and snapping a lot, and spending the time.

And on Tuesday the weather is better.

I disliked the irritating habit they have of perching so the fronds are in the way, and the camera focuses on the fronds. So for my favourite photo, the one that is possibly worth keeping, I have made a feature of the hedge.

Or perhaps framed in this way:

Three pigeons

In brilliant sunshine, I watched two pigeons try to chase each other off. Repeatedly they would move from the roof, to the telegraph pole, to the TV aerial, and back.

This looks like preparation for a blow in karate:

Here one strafes the other’s wing:

Attack from above:

The weaker bird flees:

And- the suitor approaches courteously. Alas! She flew off!

Flocks of geese

The geese take off from the lake, fly around in a great flock, as far as three miles perhaps, then alight on the water again.


It is very beautiful. I saw them on Friday, but was with a friend so did not want to be messing about with a camera. Now, the next sunny day, I wonder if they will repeat. I see no flocks of geese as I approach. Just my luck if they had all emigrated!


The self-aware swan, nervously looking at its reflection, is some consolation.


Then- there they are! It would be beautiful, just to contemplate them; but I want a good shot. They are towards the sun: perhaps from over there I would get a better view.


They fly so close together! Many shots are less well focused than this.


I love this shot:


I stood around for about half an hour, waiting for them, then snapping away, seventy shots, most unfocused, some just of sky or trees. I got chatting to an old bloke who comes here every day, can tell different kinds of geese apart, and has been watching them from the causeway.


This family has four young, a good survival rate. They were ten yards away, aware but unfazed by me.


Public Art

I would like a bird in flight photo, but am unlikely to get one.
five birds fly over the path
Flight is expensive, it is cold and food is scarce
larger bird flies over the path
That is unlikely to repeat
flock of small birds fly over the path

So I get my camera out. “This way!” I project at the red kite. Perhaps sensing my interest, it goes the other way.

There they are, sitting on the lake.

birds on the lakebirds, on the lakeWhat do you think of the black and white effect?

birds, on the waterHere is more public art, “The museum of interconnected events”, from the people who brought us Changing Tracks.

The museum of interconnected events

The water droplets, glowing in the sun, made me try to capture this.

water droplets

Bird, flower, tree

It was not a completely wasted weekend.

bird 1 bird 2

bird 3We went to the Royal Horticultural Society gardens, where there is a hide by a few bird feeders, and I snapped away. I don’t know a tit from a finch, but they are pretty. After I cracked my line that “bird, flower, tree” is usually specific enough for me, C. made remarks like “Isn’t that buddleia pretty”. Um, I think I may have heard the word buddleia. She added to my irritation by taking great pains over inane photos of blooms, when she had sabotaged my requested photo for a facebook profile. I have a new wig, you see. flower 1

Oh fuck. Am I moaning? I’m not boring you am I?

Onywye. We went to Betty’s, originally of Harrogate, for tea. “I couldn’t eat here every day, but it is so lovely to take tea at Betty’s occasionally”, C. simpered. The purpose of conversation to say things with which everyone will agree so as to draw us together rather fails when what you say is Crap! It’s a fucking tea room! I’ve been trailing round with fucking Hinge or bloody Bracket incessantly screeching “My gender dysphoria is in the PAST!!!”

flower 2We went to the Quaker meeting at Pontefract, where C. actually shut up for a moment, I contemplated the beauty of their wooden table and the five children. A girl aged about one made strenuous efforts to stand. She did not take a step, and she swayed quite a bit, and getting her leg under her was a struggle and she needed some support to get up, but watching her make this single-hearted effort to improve her life was beautiful. I chatted to Quakers over coffee, and enjoyed that. I like them. I like the meeting house.

Then we went to the Outlet, and I got a frock for the wedding; and I could leave any shop C happened to be in.

We went to her country dance club on the Friday night, where about 26 dancers bodged our way through the dances. I get less pedantic about these things.

The food and the outings were pleasant enough, but she had no real interest in my concerns, or even my responses to hers. We drove through a village with a police box. As a mad keen Doctor Who fan, I would really really like a photo with that, but she ignored me. She wanted to tell me The Truth for some reason. The conversation was almost entirely tedious and horrible. I imagine her quietly satisfied.



Beauty is important.

four swallows

Across the field, which is still green- as the oil-seed rape is becoming green again, the corn in the next field is becoming gold. Indeed I have no motivation: then after seeing the swallows playing above the river, I had a great desire to photograph them there.

swallow 2

I took 340 shots, most of them showing just sky, or blurs- some quite pretty-

a prettier blur

The best photo against greenery

Green background

or water

water background

are not particularly good; but I spent twenty minutes in delighted frustration- at the playing birds, which simply refused to pose for me.


Here is a rabbit.


I am off today to Yorkshire, without my dummy tit! Pray that my withdrawal symptoms will not be too severe. The scheduled posts will keep coming- please comment.


Rule of Three


Have you heard of the rule of three?

The woman had not, though after she apologised for her dog shaking over me, she told me about the photos which had got away: she had seen a kite only 10′ in the air, bullied by two buzzards into dropping its prey; and in the back-brook where her dogs swim she had seen a carp, all the beautiful colours of it; maybe she should get a camera. Then, the picture which got away eluded me: that splash of colour from the red van, driving past too quickly to snap at, would have complemented the poppies beautifully. “Back-brook”- a phrase I have not heard before, but get the meaning immediately.


Isecurityf I could get the exposure right: I am not happy with the colour. I need a better tool for adjusting, and practice with it. So my poppy photo to illustrate the Rule of Three is not the one with strict one third to sky with the poppies one third in, one third up, because it looks washed out. My poppy photo shows the splash of red by the lower left magical point, one third in, one third up, but the yellow of the rape is still washed out.

The rule of three is so important that my camera screen can be set to display a grid as if for noughts and crosses, helpfully to show where the significant points of the subject(s) should be, and yet I had not heard of it, and am not sure it works. The test is my own response to the photo. I think it works with the swan, its body a third up, its neck a third in, and I particularly like the way the reflection of the beak becomes an abstract squiggle; and I am unsure with the poppies. I do need more practice. I came upon the rule in a page I cannot find, now.

My next encounter was not so pleasant. The man stood with his dog in its harness, telling it to sit, though it was desperate to get at me as I walked along the path. His voice would be gentle, if you can imagine gentleness completely devoid of sweetness. I do not like what the man is doing to that dog, preparing it for war with the Bad People. It seems security too far. A photo from the front might have pushed the dog beyond control. Roll on Googleglasses, when one will be always ready to take any picture: though that readiness can stop me seeing what is there.

I wander on, thinking how a photograph could never convey the ever-changing quality of being here; blogging, turning phrases over in my mind; and planning my new meme.

hut meme

Amazing how far left I have moved this past year. I have started a memes page, as writing on photos is such fun. I get to enjoy the goslings, here straining towards Mum. Have I got the framing right? Hmmm…