Category Archives: Photo Challenge

Photo Challenge: Face

DSC_0081… and the critical technique for the washing of the face.

DSC_0063DSC_0083My cat Ella is actually called Nigella. She was named because we thought her whiskery face resembled the stripey, feathery seedpods of Nigella damascena.




The seed head photo was borrowed from a Pinterest site.







Photo Challenge: Earth

The closest I will ever come to seeing a rain forest: my view when I drink my morning coffee.

For me ‘earth’ is plants and water and the precious atmosphere they help to create. There’s a little mist rising over my own corner of the earth this morning – we’ve had some lovely spring rain in the night.


Photo Challenge: Admiration

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A stone with fossils picked up at Llandudno beach in Wales over thirty years ago when I was on a botany field trip, studying woodland and seashore ecological succession.

It seems to me that anyone holding a camera in their hands is in the grip of an extreme admiration for the thing viewed through the lens.  It is almost like being in love – the circling of the object, the quiet, obsessive observation … the excitement of capture. (And, of course, the disappointment when faced with failure.)

My admiration here is focused on the patterns, seemingly accidental, of which nature is capable. The tracery of fossils looks a little like a birch wood, I think, and so I have fancifully draped a bit of twisted willow against it to make a picture. I wish I knew which sea creatures or plants had created that miniature woodland.

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I am messing around and avoiding work this Saturday afternoon – any excuse to play with a new camera and a much-loved old macro lens that hasn’t seen the light of day for over 15 years! And a chance to finally take part in the WordPress weekly photo challenge … the topic for Friday 19 February is Seasons.

It never stops raining at the moment and all a gardener can do is press her nose to the windowpane. Even 2015’s dried allium seed heads are starting to look a bit miserable. Raindrops and dead alliums … the summer seems so far away!

While ‘wasting’ time, I also came across Walt Whitman’s poem, ‘The Voice of the Rain’. This is more like it … a hopeful message for the rain-bound February gardener.

And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,
Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated:
I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain,
Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea,
Upward to heaven, whence, vaguely form’d, altogether changed, and
yet the same,
I descend to lave the drouths, atomies, dust-layers of the globe,
And all that in them without me were seeds only, latent, unborn;
And forever, by day and night, I give back life to my own origin,
and make pure and beautify it;
(For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfilment, wandering,
Reck’d or unreck’d, duly with love returns.)

His poem taught me a new word: to ‘reck’, meaning to take heed of, or to be thought  important. Usually used in the negative, the Oxford Dictionary says, as in, ‘It recks little.’

Back soon to start my walk around the village of Châtillon-sur-Saône …