Category Archives: Themed photos

Botany 4.0

Over hill, over dale, 
Thorough bush, thorough brier, 
Over park, over pale, 
Thorough flood, thorough fire
I do wander every where, 
Swifter than the moon’s sphere; 
And I serve the fairy queen, 
To dew her orbs upon the green: 
The cowslips tall her pensioners be; 
In their gold coats spots you see; 
Those be rubies, fairy favours, 
In those freckles live their savours: 
I must go seek some dew-drops here 
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear. 
Farewell, thou lob of spirits: I’ll be gone; 
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.

– William Shakespeare

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God’s Own County

“I won’t know for sure if Malhamdale is the finest place there is until I have died and seen heaven (assuming they let me at least have a glance), but until that day comes, it will certainly do” – Bill Bryson

On our recent road trip, visiting family in Yorkshire and Cumbria post-lockdown, we wanted to take advantage of having the car and see more of the Dales. Malhamdale was the natural choice. Our outing took in Janet’s Foss (‘foss’ being the old Norse for waterfall); Gordale Scar, a huge gorge with accompanying babbling brook; quintessential sheep farms; and finally Malham Cove, a huge natural limestone cliff that was once a spectacular prehistoric waterfall.

For over a million years, Malham has been repeatedly covered by giant sheets of ice, and the glaciers ground away the rock and carried away large chunks of the landscape. Each time the glaciers melted, floods of water then further eroded the face of the Cove, leaving us with the stunning natural beauty spot of today. No wonder tourists flooded (see what I did there?) to the site as soon as Covid restrictions were lifted. Luckily, there were very few people to spoil the view on the Monday we visited. Perfect for practising some landscape photography.

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Paul waterfall

Final photo Credit: Paul Adnitt

Tarn and Country

GLORY on glory greets our wondering sight

As we wind down these slopes; mountain and plain

Robed in rich sunshine, and the distant main

Lacing the sky with silver; and yon height,

So lately left in clouds, distinct and bright.

Anon the mist enwraps us; then again

Burst into view lakes, pastures, fields of grain,

And rocky passes, with their torrents white.

So on the head, perchance, and highest bent

Of thine endeavor, Heaven may stint the dower

Of rich reward long hoped; but thine ascent

Was full of pleasures, and the teaching hour

Of disappointment hath a kindly voice,

That moves the spirit inly to rejoice.

– Henry Alford

My father-in-law moved to Cumbria a few years ago, which means lots of long walks around glistening lakes and over craggy fells whenever we visit. The good thing about photography is that it gives you an excuse to rest and get your breath back, as your much fitter relative strides purposefully ahead. You can pretend to be admiring the handsome Herdwick sheep, for example, or be intent on capturing the dappled sunlight on a rock…anything to slow down the pace and save face.

The Lake District is stunning. We have spent happy times inland: clambering over slate at Honister to reach the stunning views over Buttermere; slipping and sliding on damp rocks to reach Aira Force; eating fish & chips from the viewpoint above Derwentwater; slogging over miles of moorland on Askham Fell, sleet pounding our faces and wind whipping in our ears….ok, that last one was less fun. But you get the idea. And on our last visit, we made it out to the west coast for a sunny walk along the cliffs between Whitehaven and St Bees. Lighthouses, cormorants, pebble coves, and an ice-cream at the end to boot: glorious!

There are also places nearby perfect for extended stays. A few Christmases ago, in a frankly inspired move, Paul and I tagged on a night in Cartmel (of sticky toffee pudding fame), where we ate (and slept) in the amazing L’Enclume. Not something we can afford to do often, but a real treat. I’d really recommend.

And we have plenty more to do. Hoping, for instance, to re-book to see the baby alpacas at Bassenthwaite distillery (a victim of Covid); to build up the stamina to take the (easy) route up Blencathra; and to explore some of the lesser-known tarns and waters.

This is my first tandem blog post. A collaboration with the aforementioned – and very talented – FIL. Except…well, it’s kinda become a guest blog with just a few of my own photos thrown in. Dave is a much better landscape photographer than I am!

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Buttermere

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 Scafell range from Styhead (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Moor Divock

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Catbells (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Blencathra summit from Scales Fell (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Lone Birch (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Fleetwith Pike

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Tarn Hows (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Ashness boat landing, Derwentwater

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Ullswater

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Haweswater (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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St Bees Head

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North western fells (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Whitehaven

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Lowther Estate (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Castlerigg Stone Circle (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Honister Pass

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Pooley Bridge (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Skiddaw (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Buttermere Pano

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Sunset at Derwentwater (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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 Lonscale Fell and Skiddaw from Tewet Tarn (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

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Dock Tarn over Borrowdale (Credit: Dave Adnitt)

Spring in the time of Covid (Part 3)

It got hotter and hotter, sunnier and sunnier. And then, randomly, there was a day of hailstones. Some thunder and lightening. A week of thick grey cloud. It started to feel as though the weather was as confused as the nation. Lockdown continued interminably… but with some relaxations, allowing friends living close enough to meet in the park. We even managed a couple of picnics. Amazing how such simple pleasures could feel so exciting; illicit, even, and to be treasured, never again taken for granted.

But whilst things started to turn a corner on Covid, a much more insidious and enduring pandemic raised its head. The season ended with a series of marches and protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter, following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. 2020 certainly won’t be forgotten easily. Whether it turns out to be a pivotal year for equality and sets the world on a brighter, fairer path, only time will tell. But we can hope, and listen, and learn, and be hungry for change.

Just as we can hope and agitate for positive outcomes across a range of other topics following this period of enforced reflection: whether that be on environmental matters, world politics, or our own working practices and life priorities. Good things need to emerge from the ashes.

But back to prosaic matters. We’re now able to drive – or Paul is (the DVLA is likely to object if I try!) – so can finally get beyond Brixton’s borders. Roll on summer…

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Forbidden Bridge

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Buzzin’

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Black Lives Matter Plaza (Credit: Washington Post)

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Love Bug

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Celebrating Together

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Glorious Weeds

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Second Home

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Born to Reign Over Us

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Appreciation (Credit: Alex Badrick)

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Almost Perfect

Spring in the time of Covid (Part 2)

And so the weeks and months rolled on… Happily, April and May brought lots of sunny days. And Paul and I got very competitive with our ‘Lockdown Food League’, so very many nice meals were consumed. We got a delivery of wine; I finally learned how to keep a sourdough starter alive (and produced several pleasingly well-risen loaves); my running times improved; the nation carried on clapping weekly for NHS staff and key workers; and stunning flowers bloomed everywhere.

Less positively, the £30 yoga mat has only had two outings in 10 weeks. But you can only have so many lockdown projects at once, right?!

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Orchids Rule

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True Dat (Credit: Alex Badrick)

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Short-Stay Aliums

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Sunshine in Bloom

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Stamen Envy II

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Brighten My Journey

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Spring in the time of Covid (Part 1)

Having spent the whole of Spring in lockdown, I thought I would create and save a few photo blogs for posterity. Over the last 13 weeks, I’ve pretty much explored every inch of the three-mile radius around my house, deepening my love of and appreciation for this pocket of south-east London. Whether it’s jogging in Brockwell Park, admiring the architecture in Dulwich Village, stalking the dinosaurs in Crystal Palace, counting the bluebells in Sydenham Woods, picnicking in Dulwich Park, or finding new murals and street art throughout…there’s been plenty to occupy the time. Yes, I’m dying to get further afield (I really wish we had a car!) and yes, I can’t wait for pubs, restaurants, theatres and galleries to reopen. But if I’m gonna be locked-down anywhere, I’m glad it’s here.

I’ve also loved seeing other people’s photos of their springtime activities in lockdown. Most of the pictures here (and in Parts 2 & 3) are my own, but I’ve credited where others have contributed. Including special appearances from friends in Greenwich, Leeds, Elephant, Cumbria…looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!

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Out of Decay

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First Leaves

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Coffee & Kindness

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Poppies in the Park

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Bunny Watch (Credit: Jenny Hancock)

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Pollinating

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Fear is the Virus

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Until Further Notice

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Glowing Wisteria

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Supporting our Key Workers

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Fleeting Magnolia

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Superheroes Wear Masks

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Fallin’ and Risin’

Down on the Bayou

Whilst in Louisiana, I’d definitely recommend taking a break from the frenetic music schedule and heading into the wetlands. We had a truly memorable morning kayaking in Shell Bank Bayou in Manchec Swamp. You can easily organise transport through various companies. Despite a mixed weather forecast (you can never trust the forecast in this State!), we were treated to stunning blue skies, which showed off the clear water, green algae, cypress and tupelo trees in all their glory. Two alligators were spotted, along with white egret, turtles and a blue heron. The number of photos will probably make you sympathetic to Paul’s claims he was doing most of the work!

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Norfolk: Coast & Parks

A collection of shots from Burnham Overy Staithe, Holkham, Titchwell, Brancaster and Thornham from last November. We spent some time being amateur bird-watchers with Matt, the overly-enthusiastic but incredibly sweet intern at the RSPB marshes; hunted deer* in the grounds of Holkham Hall, a fabulous Palladian country manor; and walked for miles along the chilly but stunning coastline. Such a lovely part of the world!

*with cameras, not guns – to be clear.

Disclaimer(1): the photo below of the bittern with the fish is not mine. We did see this very bird at the wetland centre (Matt was extremely excited, as you can imagine), but I didn’t have my zoom lens with me. So this is nicked from a nearby twitcher.

Disclaimer(2): the photos of the water channels on the beach and the trees in Holkham are Paul’s.

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#unlockeddown

Not going to pretend that waiting out Covid is a great hardship: a fully-stocked fridge, loaded bookshelves, Netflix, running shoes, a pile of board games, WhatsApp and Zoom do not a wartime Britain make. Very privileged, and won’t be forgetting it. (Neither am I underplaying how truly difficult it is for some. Just acknowledging I’m one of the lucky ones.)

Even still…these snaps from crisp winter walks around our fabulous city made me a tad wistful. Looking forward to venturing beyond Dulwich borders once again. T-minus 10 weeks (give or take a month or two) to go. The heart will only grow fonder…

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