Sunday, 28 December 2014

Slipping in a quickie (Days 347 - 353)

Day 347 - Trees up
Well I'm blogging a couple of days early between my Christmas visitors leaving and New Year visitors coming. Christmas week is always hectic - I have no idea how it manages to sneak up so quickly when I  have 12 months notice of it arriving each year. But I finally got my tree up on the 22nd just before my mother arrived.
Day 348 - Bananas
I must admit to being a bit 'bah humbug' as the shops are so busy and commercialism appears out of control. My cupboards are full despite my best efforts to cut down and the whole thing seems to be a bit bananas to me!
Day 349 - Mystical tree light
Working right up to the wire with a full workshop on Christmas Eve brought the usual winter challenges of managing the weather and keeping clients happy.  No problem with this group as they came fully prepared for the weather and nothing was going to dampen their spirits.
Day 350 - Otter has fish starter for his Christmas lunch
Christmas Day and a lovely walk along the beach.  The sun shone in between hail showers and a large dog otter sat lazily eating his lunch as we stood and watched.
Day 351 - Boxing Day dook
These brave and hardy souls joined in the annual Boxing Day dook at Lamlash pier.  A quick swim to the end and then a climb up the ladder before launching back into the drink.  Some wore full wet suits whilst others fancy dress or normal swimming costumes.  The RNLI provided safety, along with mulled wine, soup and cakes. There was a great turn out to watch the fun. Definitely worthy of two photo's.
Day 351 - Jumping off the pier
Saturday saw a beautiful sunny winters day with fantastic light and snow capped mountains.  A tad chilly on the tops with the wind freezing ears and noses, where hat and gloves were essential. But the views were spectacular (an album of the mountain pictures will be posted on my facebook page tomorrow).
Day 352 - Frozen mountains
And today everything was coated white - no snow just very thick ice.  Again the skies were clear and it was beautiful for walking with the camera and taking lots of pictures.  Now home with the stove lit and tea in the oven.  
Day 353 - Frozen wonderland

Sunday, 21 December 2014

On my knees (Days 337 - 346)

Day 337 - Fungi class
Today's photography class challenge was to work in low light (and freezing temperatures).  I had scouted an area in the nearby woodland that had lots of interesting fungi growing from the rotten branches.  Unfortunately most of these were at ground level so the morning was spent crouching or kneeling to get the best shots. The students got stuck in as usual and didn't bat an eyelid at the conditions.
Day 338 - Woodpecker
On my knees again today as I stepped out of the house and slipped on ice on the way to the ferry.  A weekend away saw me walking the dog in a lovely forest somewhere near the Kincardine bridge when I had to stop to give the dog a break from being in the car.  The walk was obviously popular and had several wood carvings along the way although I never saw any 'live' wildlife I'm sure it was there.
Day 339 - Hard cross country
Another cani cross race today, near Dunfermline. It was very cold and quite windy and I wasn't feeling at my best (bruised knees from yesterday) but it was only a 5k race - or so I thought until I passed the 5k marker with a nice encouraging 'not far now' notice!  I loved the cross country route and although I found it hard and came last in my group, I was actually quite pleased with my time.
Day 340 - Cormorant display
A lovely winter's day and this cormorant seemed happy to display his wings as I moved in closer for a shot - keeping low (those knees again) so as not to spook him into flight.
Day 341 - Sunrise
Not visible in this photo (watch out for the colour version on my facebook page), but the sunrise turned the sea a beautiful golden colour. Taking it easy today as I feel rotten with a cough and cold.
Day 342- The boathouse
Still feeling rotten, so its snap time from the beach at Machrie as I can't be bothered to even think about taking pictures today.
Day 343 - Seaweed
 Feeling marginally better today and a blustery walk along the beach helped even if the lashing rain deterred me from too many pictures.  The seaweed today was mixed colours of black greens to rustic ambers.
Day 344 - Arran Island Porcelain
Nearly there now and out came my lovely Arran Island Porcelain tree baubles. A lovely cute mouse and cheeky robin - now I've just got to get a tree.
Day 345 - High heels
Gosh not worn high heels since last Christmas!  OMG how do I walk in them?  Knees creaking and looking like I'd already had one too many, I staggered across the gravel drive. Thankfully things got easier on solid floors and I was sat down for most of the night.
Day 346 - Last bit of wrapping
Why do I find it easier to wrap presents on the floor?  My poor knees have had a bashing this week as it is, so kneeling on the scissors didn't help me one bit! Ouch!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Sunshine to snow in a day (Days 326 - 336)

Day 326 Pebbles on the beach
The first of December and I can now start thinking about Christmas.  All the usual lists to make for food, presents and Christmas cards.  Only really noticed how much stamps had gone up when I bought 2 books of 2nd and a book of 1st class and proffered a £20 note, to be told it wasn't enough!
Day 327 - Paws for thought
Today I followed the fresh footprints of an otter along the beach. Easy to spot as the prints have 5 toes and are bunched in these groups of 4 paws.  Despite looking hard, I never saw it today.
Day 328 - Nosey dog
Trying to sort out my kit after another wet day and the dog had other ideas.  He wanted his tea.  So I snapped his nose!
Day 329 - Eat responsibly 
We often hear about drinking responsibly, but what about eating responsibly.  Today I listened to the news as it talked about the NHS crisis and obesity.  Ironically I was cooking a roast chicken and noticed the packaging stated it 'serves 2'.  This small chicken weighted 1.25kg and fed me for 4 meals (+ soup from the carcass).  Why do supermarkets feel the need for this type of labelling, and if they do it why such large portions?
Day 330 - Hardy sailors
In between hail showers the winter sun was bright but I was still surprised to see a couple of hardy young men out on their small sailing boat.  Working hard with the spinnaker they tacked across the bay and provided my students with lots of photo opportunities.
Day 331 - Young swan
The swans around Lamlash and Whiting Bay are easy targets for my camera and this cygnet seemed to enjoy my attention coming right up to the camera for some close up shots (will be posted on facebook at some time).
Day 332 - Wagtail
Another foul weather day with heavy hail showers and it never really got light.  I was helping to do a wetland bird survey so couldn't avoid being out in the rain today but snapped this little male wagtail who has decided to stay put for winter.
Day 333 - Snow
Although I know there has been snow on Goatfell for a couple of days the tops have not been visible due to low cloud and this was my first opportunity of the year to snap the winter scene.
Day 334 - Student dashing for cover
The sea chucked debris up, the rain lashed down and the wind howled but my students this week have been nothing but stoic in their endeavours to take photographs.  I think most have been pleasantly surprised at what can be achieved in the worst or worst conditions.
Day 335 - Road block
Even the swans gave up today and took to the high ground at Whiting Bay as Scotland was 'weather bombed'.  The storms were ferocious and we suffered power cuts but surprisingly little damage.  And of course no ferries for a couple of days.
Day 336 - Sand blasting
Still windy today and I got caught out (again) by one of the nasty hail squalls.  I resist calling them hail stones and it felt more like hail bricks and the sand was lifted to add to the misery of having my skin frozen and sand blasted all at the same time.  Pebbles balanced on little towers of sand and it was blown away around them.  So really the week has been all about the weather but then it is winter so we really can't complain.