Time to practice

Monday 4th November 2013

After being unhappy with the photos I took with the ESO 6D on Friday I decided that I should have another go. Yesterday I had sorted out the WiFi function on the camera, so that I can tether it to both my iPad and my Samsumg Galaxy phone. The latter is the most convenient as it means I can use the phone as a remote when the camera is mounted on a tripod. So first thing I had a little play, just to make sure it all still worked. I also took the opportunity to take a couple of close up shots of Jez, who was lying on the sofa in the sun. I particularly like this one of her front paw.

Another Paw

Despite the sun, Jez decided she would come out for a walk with Max and I, mainly, I think, as Monday is ‘bin day’ and she gets all excited for some reason when Chris puts the rubbish out. As I was playing with it, and the sun was shining, I took the 6D rather than the PowerShot with me.

First off, here’s Max, standing waiting for me & Jez just after we’ve crossed over the Roman Road.

Max on Upton Heath

It was a beautiful morning, and the lower heath looked stunning in the autumn sunlight.

Upton Heath in the Autumn sunshine

There is also a real autumnal feel about the bracken.

Autumn Bracken

There has been a lot of rain, though, so in the more boggy areas the ponds are full to overflowing again.

The boggy ponds have filled up again

Here’s another of my photos taken in the little birch copse. I just love the contrast of the low sunlight through the trees and the green of the leaves, with the very dark shadows. Jez is standing on the path in the middle of this shot.

Jez in the birch copse

And here’s another photo of Jez and Max at the little bridge.

Shadows and reflections

I love the shadow of the handrail and the reflection in the large puddle.

Just after taking that photo I realised that a large group of walkers was coming along behind us. Jez noticed them too.

Jez watches a group of walkers approach

And lastly, another ‘sunlight through the leaves’ photo: this one taken along the Roman Road looking towards Longmeadow Lane.

Sunlight through the trees

We’ve been really lucky again this year to have such lovely sunny and warm days all the way into November. Lets hope it lasts.

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Surprise Sunday sunshine

Sunday 20th October 2013

The forecast for today suggested it was going to be bucketing down all afternoon. Consequently my Sunday morning wasn’t so lazy: I cleared up the early leaf fall before the garden bin is emptied tomorrow. I also took the opportunity to clean my deep fat fryer. I know it goes in the dishwasher, but dishwashers just don’t get all the sticky gooey stuff off the edges that comes from deep frying.

I was pleased Jez went for a walk in the morning – I didn’t expect to get her out in the afternoon. At lunchtime the deluge started, and it was so bad I didn’t think Max and I would be going either. Then the sun came out. Then it rained again. When the sun came out for the second time I thought I’d grab my chance while the going was good. And I was really surprised that Jez decided to come too. I was expecting to get soaked, so rather than take the car and get the inside soaking wet on the way home I walked over to Upton Heath again. We went a slightly different way and joined the Castleman Trailway in Creekmoor, where I took this photo of a particularly swampy patch of ground.

Swampy

Although it wasn’t raining, there was a lot of rain coming off the trees, which, a bit further along the Trailway, made for a rather nice photo.

Sunlight filters through the wet trees

By the time we got onto the Heath the weather was much nicer.

After the deluge ... the sun

The little birch copse on the lower heath (where all the fly agaric grow) was looking particularly lovely in the autumn sunlight.

Silver Birch Copse

And lastly for today, still in the birch copse, a shot of the sunlight filtering through the trees (with Jez just visible in the foreground).

Sunlight and Shadows on the Heath

In the end it was a really lovely walk – and I couldn’t believe that not only did we get wet, but we had all that lovely sunshine while we were walking on the Heath.

A sunshiny morning on Canford Heath

Tuesday 15th October 2013

Oh dear! Jez is falling back into her old ways. Just as I tell the vet that she’s really keen to go on morning walks again she changes her mind and chooses to lie in the sun instead. So that meant that it was just Max and I went over Canford Heath this morning, which has its advantages and we can walk at a faster pace and so go further in the time. Today we went along the path above the crematorium, then walked across in front of the old rubbish tip and through the woods the other side, before turning down the old Coach Road and then back across the Heath. First though, we walked through the pine trees, with the sunlight filtering through them.

Sunlight through the pine trees

Heading up the hill I found two small teasles by the side of the path…

Teasle

And this large Fly Agaric that someone has cut a chunk out of (I’m assuming its the one Chris was telling me about the other day).

Someone got hungry

It was nice and sunny as we headed up the hill away from the Crematorium.

Heading up the hill

I would have liked some shots across the Heath, as there was still some early morning haze around, but sadly they didn’t come out. So onto the woods, where I went and took a look at a spot where I know there are usually lots of fungi. There were – and all of them the very pretty Hare’s Foot Inkcap.

Hare's Foot Inkcaps

This was the view as we came out of the woods, looking down the old Coach Road.

Max on the old Coach Road

I say “the old Coach Road” but there seems to be some controversy about exactly where it went. A local website says it’s the path I always used to think it was, which is the main track from east to west across the Heath. But a Borough of Poole leaflet on the Heath says that it turns north mid-way across the Heath, which makes it this track you can see in the photos. So perhaps I’ll just call them both “the old Coach Road”, and then I’ll at least me right some of the time.

So, I’ll leave you with one final shot of the the old Coach Road, without Max in it this time (he’s off in a little stream behind the 3rd tree to the left, waiting for me to throw something for him.

The old Coach Road

A very blustery day

Thursday 10th October 2013

The sun was shining onto the bed this morning, and Jez decided that she’d rather stay there and soak up the Autumn rays than come for a walk with Max and I, so it was just the two of us that headed out to Badbury Rings. The kind people at Dorset Dogs had warned us that the sheep are grazing on the Rings now, rather than the cattle, so I was prepared and on the lookout for them. Fortunately when we arrived they were all huddled in the lea of the bushes near the main road. They were the sensible ones. When Max and I got out of the car and headed north for our walk, we were nearly blown away.

My first photo today is a slightly different shot – it’s of the gate as you leave the Rings on the bridleway heading north.

Gate

I took loads of photos today, so I’ll try and limit them a bit, but if you want to see all of them just head on over to my Flickr account (click on the Flickr stream to the right of your screen) and take a look.

So, heading up the hill, the Old Man’s Beard (Clematis vitalba) was looking lovely.

Old Man's Beard (Clematis vitalba)

In an old oak trunck near The Oaks wood I found this lovely Beefsteak fungi (Fistulina hepatica).

Beefsteak Fungus (Fistulina hepatica)

Back in the open countryside, we found a large number of crab apples on the ground alongside The Oaks, so clearly it’s not only oak trees that grow in the wood.

Max in the windfall crab apples

As we turned the corner to head back towards Kings Down Farm we saw the farmer out planting a new crop – there is a tractor at the top of that field, honest! I was waiting to get another shot as he came back closer to us, but a woman (his wife?) drove up and parked in the gateway – very inconsiderate.

Planting

An arty shot now – of the barn at Kings Down Farm.

Barn, Kings Down Farm

Moving on, this is the field next to the farm where the younger cattle tend to graze.

Sunlight and Shadows on Kings Down Farm

And Max wandering into a field which has a new growth of a winter crop.

Winter crop (and Max)

This is the same field, and I managed to take a photo of the tramlines in the crop just at the right time to catch them leading straight to this little puffy cloud.

Tramlines to a lone cloud

And so onto High Woods, where I was searching for fungi. There weren’t that many, but this mottle sycamore leaf caught my eye.

Mottled Leaf

As did the sunlight on these sycamore leaves.

Sun and shade

I did find some fungi though. Firstly a common puff ball (Lycoperdon periatum).

Common Puff Ball (Lycoperdon perlatum)

What I think is a Jersey Cow Boletus (Suillus bovinus).

Jersey Cow Boletus (Suillus bovinus)

These Lumpy Bracket fungi (Trametes gibosa)

Possibly Lumpy Bracket fungi (Trametes gibbosa)

And these bracket fungi of the Ganoderma family.

Bracket fungus of the Ganoderma family

As well as fungi, we also saw a couple of butterflies on our walk today. There was a Comma…

Comma Butterfly

and a Red Admiral.

Red Admiral

I’ll leave you with a final shot of the sheep, by now out from under the hedge and grazing around the Rings.

Sheep grazing on Badbury Rings

I hope you enjoyed our walk today.

If it’s Monday it must be…

Monday 16th September 2013

… Upton Heath! And Jez came too! She had not been too good overnight: she was so stiff last night she could hardly get up the stairs and had to be helped on and off the bed. And she was the same this morning – I had to lift her on the bed then lift her off again. We dont’t know what caused it. As always with her, one minute she was fine, the next she had seized up. Not only did I not particularly want to take her, but I didn’t think she’d want to come. So you can imagine my surprise when I took Max out and Chris called me back because Jez was up and waiting to get out of the front door. And oddly enough, once she was out she was fine. I even took some video to show her Physiotherapist tomorrow.

I kept the walk to our basic Upton Heath walk so Jez didn’t have to go too far. We met the Exmoor Ponies though, who were grazing close to the Roman Road.

Exmoor Ponies grazing on Upton Heath

As for the Roman Road itself, it was looking very nice with the low sun filtering through the beech trees.

Sun filters through the trees

And here’s another shot of the sunlight through the trees in the little patch of woodland to the side of the Roman Road.

The Roman Road at Creekmoor

We came home via Creekmoor Ponds and I was surprised to see a flock of Canada Geese on the pond.

A flock of Canada Geese were visiting Creekmoor Ponds

We don’t normally get them here, but there were quite a lot of them.

Canada Geese on Creekmoor Ponds

In a way I hope they don’t hang around too long as they make such a mess.