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It Seems Only Yesterday…

18 Nov

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

Fallen

It seems only yesterday that he was just a bud, forming slowly as the winter days grew longer. With the coming of spring and that oh so slight increase in temperature, he started to plump up more, as a pregnant creature might, and ultimately he broke free like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Just a tiny thing at first, growing almost imperceptibly and with that beautiful lime green colour that heralds the arrival of spring.

His siblings broke out all around him and together they adorned the tree that was their host, bringing a freshness of tone and shade, and bringing new life to the woodlands. As spring progressed and summer arrived, his colour deepened into a darker, richer shade of green and creatures regularly used him as shade and shelter……some even used parts of him as food, nibbling his edges. Sunshine, winds and rain came in turn, attacking him constantly. The wind beat him crazily against the surrounding branches, it was like a fairground ride, both exhilarating and scary at the same time. He wondered what the health and safety leaf would say about it. The sun attempted to burn him! But he stood his ground, proudly enhancing the woodland and living out the purpose for which he knew he had been born.

People came and went below him, he could hear their voices, and their pleasing praises for his colour. Children climbed through the branches, scuffing against him as they did so, almost crushing him with their feet. But still he held firm!

Summer passed and autumn arrived and gradually his deep green started to take on a warmer hue. His friends all around him were changing too, turning ever so slowly to shades of orange, brown and red until the green had disappeared completely. He was tired now, and as the autumn winds came, he struggled to maintain his grip on the twig which had been his home. Little by little he began to lose his strength until finally, one fateful day, he could hold on no more and he gave himself over to the mercy of the wind. He let go!

He drifted softly to the ground below the tree where he formed a part of an ever growing carpet that covered the earth. He had lived his life well, played his part in beautifying the countryside, and now his time was over…….but not completely. Even now, his usefulness continues as he lays decaying and in that very decaying he provides a feast of leaf mould that will feed the tree and bring out another generation of fresh new growth when spring comes around again. His children and his grandchildren will follow him.

His life on the tree is over and it seemed so short. He was once a new leaf – it seems only yesterday!

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend
The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All words and pictures in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and may not be reproduced without permission.

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Embracing the Creative

5 Aug

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while or who have read my about page will know that I set it up in order to bring together my passion for Dorset, walking, cycling, nature/the outdoors, and photography in a way that would hopefully interest and entertain the reader. So it usually comprises articles about these subjects. But that poses a problem!

You see, I have always resisted being put in a particular box or being typecast as one particular style of photographer e.g. a landscaper or whatever. Yes. I take landscapes because I am out in the countryside a lot but I am not solely a purist landscape photographer. I actually enjoy all forms of photography, landscape, street photography, portraits, macro, conceptual photography, or frankly the out and out experimental and creative.

The danger with this is that you may be seen as ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, or that followers may not be interested in half of the posts. People who like my Dorset posts for instance may not be interested in my more photography based posts. Does this matter? I’m sure that some would say that it does and that to increase your following and keep your readers you need to specialise and have a constant theme rather than generalise as then people will know what to expect. Then again, I guess that depends of the view of individual readers as some might actually prefer variety rather than continuity or sameness. Its a bit of a conundrum that I haven’t yet bottomed out – how tight or how loose should a brief be in order to keep the blog interesting? Maybe I should have two or three different blogs 🙂 !

Anyway, today I thought I would share a picture that definitely fits in the creative category and it is all about Embracing the Creative, albeit it was taken in Dorset and in the outdoors, and features a tree so does fulfil some of my criteria……sort of 🙂 ! I called it ‘Forestry Man’!

Forestry Man

Old Age

I actually went walking along the River Stour and I carried my tripod as I thought some long exposure shots of the river might work well. Having taken some typical landscape shots though, I decided to have a play and get creative and this shot is one of the results. You see, we are all part of the created world, whether human, animal, tree, plant, bird or whatever and at the end of our time here, our bodies return to dust. So, in reality, is there much difference between us and say a tree when considered over millennia? Well of course, we have a soul so the end is not the end for us, but the body and the tree aren’t dissimilar really – we are both part of a greater whole and will eventually age and erode. I’ve tried to show that in this picture.

On a technical note, I guess I could have sandwiched two separate images together to get this effect, but I didn’t, this was all done in camera by using a long exposure.

If you are one of my ‘Dorset’ or ‘landscape’ followers then just gloss over this blog entry – normal service will be resumed shortly. But hey, for a moment, why not Embrace the Creative?

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

A Picture with a Story 3…….

2 Aug

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let your hair down...

You probably know the story of Rapunzel, but in case you don’t…….

Young couple – pregnant wife – witch living next door with a veg garden full of rapunzels (basically lettuce) – wife has craving – husband goes scrumping – wife wants more – husband goes back for more – husband gets caught by witch – witch says ‘take all you want but give me the baby’ – husband agrees – baby handed over – witch locks girl in room at top of tower with no stairs – girls hair grows very long – witch visits every day and climbs up to room at top of tower using girl’s hair as rope – handsome prince comes – when witch leaves, climbs up to see girl also using hair – comes back often – fall in love – get caught by witch – thrown off tower and blinded – girl banished to wilderness – prince blindly wanders wilderness – couple meet again – fall into each others’ arms – prince gets sight back – both go off to his kingdom (well actually four of them as she has had twins by now) – live happily ever after!

I find this historical story factually challenging, the main issue being who on earth ever got a craving for lettuce 😉 ! Where is the law that says a baby is good barter for a lettuce? Also, how did the witch get to the top of the tower carrying the baby in the first place as there are no stairs? How did she climb up when the girl’s hair was growing – I’m sure a two year old’s hair wouldn’t have reached the ground? How come princes are always handsome? How come no frog was involved? Why do they always live happily ever after?…………:) I could go on!

So I was walking White Nothe after another wonderful day on the Dorset Coast Path and the sun was setting and turning the sky a delightful shade of orange. As always, I sought a suitable place to capture the sunset but then I saw this old, ruined tower which I thought would make a great silhouette, especially if positioned so that I could get a nice sunburst as well. I’m not sure if this is the actual tower that Rapunzel was held captive in, but if not, then it is one very similar.

Strangely, although I have walked this part of the coast many times since, I have never seen the tower again, just an old fence post that stands in the same place 🙂 ! Maybe it was demolished.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

A Picture With a Story…..

29 Jul

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

I thought I would just do a short series on what I have called. ‘A Picture with a Story’. These are all pictures that have a story behind them which is not necessarily the obvious story 🙂 ! Some of these will have been taken in unusual circumstances and others might be of unusual subjects, and the first of these I have entitled, ‘What Might Have Been’!

What might have been

 

What Might Have Been

It was a cold February day when I set out on a 16 mile walk. I anticipated a good sunset so I did what I often do and planned my walk so that I would arrive at a good spot in time to capture the setting sun. On this day, I decided that Corfe Castle would be just such a spot so that I could capture the castle in semi silhouette against the sunset sky or that lovely post sunset glow that can be so special with its soft light.

Now the problem with such a long walk, especially in winter is that it is difficult to gauge the time right so that you have an enjoyable walk but still get to take some photographs at the end. Arguably perhaps you should do one or the other, enjoy a walk or just take pictures, because then you can get in position with lots of time to spare. But I was determined to do both! And in fact it all worked out perfectly and I reached the top of East Hill perfectly…..except the weather didn’t play ball!

I could see the sun setting beautifully as I was walking along Nine Barrow Down, and even took pictures of it although with nothing of interest in the foreground, but then ‘Murphy’s Law’ kicked in and the sun did what it often seems to do – by the time I had reached the castle, it had dropped into a bank of cloud on the horizon to be seen no more. And no post sunset glow either, just a dull grey sky! But I took my pictures of the castle anyway because I had an idea how I could achieve what I wanted.

Back home, using Adobe Photoshop, I amalgamated two pictures, using one picture of the castle and dropping in the sky from one of my earlier pictures (the two pictures are above). The result is pretty much what I had in mind. But it does pose a slight moral dilemma, especially if you are a purist photographer. Is it right to manipulate an image? If so, how much manipulation is too much?

I actually don’t have a problem with it if you are producing an image which is obviously manipulated as with a lot of fine art. With a ‘normal’ landscape though I am less comfortable with heavy manipulation although I think this is more about people trying to pass the final picture off as genuine when in fact it is not.

In my case, both pictures were taken the same day and in fact had I walked quicker and reached the castle 15 minutes earlier, the main picture is exactly the picture I would have captured….hence my title, ‘What might have been’. In that sense it is genuine anyway…..or could have been. Plus of course all photographers process their images and make adjustments and enhancements on the computer, be it to increase contrast, brighten a picture up or whatever. This is something that has been done since photography began. Even if you go back to the old days of ‘steam driven’ film cameras, we were pretty adept at manipulating black and white prints in the darkroom using bits of card or our hands, or a second negative, so it is nothing new.

At the end of the day, image manipulation is all part of the overall creative process to produce a final picture that is pleasing or meaningful to look at, but I guess I am a purist at heart and with landscapes particularly I prefer to get it right in the camera in the first place. Besides which, it means less time spent at the computer and more time out on the trail, and that’s got to be good 🙂 !

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

At the Seaside

27 Jul

Anyone who regularly reads my blog will know that I love to walk in the countryside with the grass under my feet and greenery all around, or in the mountains or coast where there are rocks, ruggedness and remoteness. There are times though when I love to walk the more ‘cultivated’ parts of our coast, the seaside, where there are characters and much to occupy my camera.

This is just a selection of alternative seaside shots and these are my attempt to capture something of a different view.

Most of these shots have been taken with the same lens, a very old Tamron SP 500mm Cat Lens. This manual focus, fixed aperture lens has the effect of separating the subject from the background because of its shallow depth of field and also throws some ‘marmite’ doughnut shaped highlights – ‘marmite’ because you either love them or hate them :)!

Focus on Blue

Focus on Blue

A simple shot of a row of beach huts.

Gormley

Gormley

I called this ‘Gormley’ because this paddler just reminded me of the Gormley statues that were placed at the seaside.

Ducks and Drakes

Ducks and Drakes

An action shot grabbed just as the stone was about to fly.

On a Lonely Shore

On a Lonely Shore

I felt this shot needed a romantic feel so processed it appropriately.

Through the Fence

Through the Fence

A different view, using the fence as an unusual frame.

On Board!

On Board!

Another action shot although the action didn’t last long as the surfer ended up in the water shortly after.

Forever

Forever

A beach wedding.

Watching

Watching

Just a watcher watching waves.

The Bench

The Bench

I tried a different approach by focussing on the bench and also by using some different processing.

Sitting Pretty

Sitting Pretty

What caught my eye with this one was the lovely rust colour of the groyne top.

Wheee!

Wheee!

I would have normally got the kite in as well but it was way too high so I just focussed on the surfer silhouetted against the sea.

Rocks 'n' surf in the sun

Rocks ‘n’ Surf in the Sun

An abstract shot that illustrates well the doughnut shaped highlights. I was trying to create a very summer sunshine feel with this.

Resting

Resting

Two young runners take a break whilst people walk by on the promenade.

Waiting!

Waiting

A young bather watches the waves. I felt this had an air of threat about it with the young girl picked out by the late afternoon sun against the darkness of the waves.

Journey to the Unknown

Journey to the Unknown

A tall ship rounds Old Harry Rocks having just left Poole Harbour.

A Helping Hand

A Helping Hand

A young cyclist gets a helping hand as they cycle into a stiff wind.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have enjoyed this little trip to the beach.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

I HAVE NOW SET UP A FACEBOOK PAGE FOR THE DORSET RAMBLER AND THERE IS A LINK ABOVE. THIS IS TO BRING TOGETHER MY THREE PASSIONS OF DORSET, WALKING/THE OUTDOORS, AND PHOTOGRAPHY. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THESE OR YOU ENJOY MY BLOG, PLEASE DO ‘LIKE’ MY FACEBOOK PAGE.

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

To Live a Creative Life!

26 Jun

Summer daze!

If you follow my blog, you will know that I love walking in the countryside, through the created landscape – I can’t see it any other way than created any more than if I walked out to my drive and found a brand new car there, I could see that as anything other than created. To me, it would be laughable to think of that new car as just an accident and that the parts just kind of formed themselves together by chance. And yet, for the most part, our countryside is seen that way. To me, the world we live in, and indeed you and I, are not the result of some freak accident of nature.

Anyway, you may also know that I am interested in creativity and I have believed for a long time that there is a creative person inside me who is bursting to get out. OK, I know I’ve done a few oil paintings, I sketch a bit, I take pictures, I even write a poem or two but that is just scratching the surface. It’s more about creative living than undertaking the odd creative act, having a creative attitude to life!

You see, by nature I am a structured person who follows routines – when I was working I even had certain suits and shirts for certain days of the week, I could tell what day it was by what was in my sandwiches 🙂 ! At school I studied the science and mathematics subjects and in fact maths was my favourite subject. I loved the very fact that it was factual, either right or wrong, no debate.

In many ways I think our education system encourages the structured kind of lifestyle, focussing very much on results and achievements almost from birth. I certainly wasn’t given time to dream dreams at school and I don’t think many people were. In fact, daydream in class and you would be in trouble! But daydreaming is part of being creative and visionary and should be encouraged, together with exploring and having a degree of freedom to find your own way.

Morning mist

The problem is, that later in life, its hard to overcome the way you have lived for over 60 years, you are almost fighting against yourself. Its like you are walking through the woods on a misty day – you can touch and feel the trees or even hug them if you are that way inclined, but try to catch the mist and you’ll have trouble. Getting in touch with your creative, spiritual, perceptive, intuitive self is like trying to catch the mist. These parts of our nature are intangibles, unlike the more obvious parts.

So what is creative living? Well, its much more than sketching or writing. Lets say you decide to have a barbecue and you invite lots of friends round, hoping for a sunny day. It turns out wet, what do you do? Cancel the whole thing, or come up with different ideas and maybe have the barbecue IN the rain, just because its different. I read a story once about a farmer who set up a chicken farm which became very successful and grew in both size and profits. The trouble was it was on the banks of a river and every now and then the rainy season would come and the river would burst it banks, wiping out the stock. After restarting several times, he gave up and was about to sell the farm when a creative minded friend came up to him and said, ‘Why don’t you keep ducks?’

I guess its about thinking outside the box. Its about doing things differently. Its about breaking out from our structured and routine based ‘prison’ and LIVING life – we have only the one! But it also means being an individual and not following the crowd, going against the trend maybe, and that can be tough! Fear plays a part in this.

Elizabeth Gilbert in her book ‘Big Magic’ suggests that all of us have hidden treasure within us, jewels just waiting to be released – searching for those jewels is creative living. We can ignore them and live a mundane life or we can search for them and live an enchanted life.

Impression - Bluebell Woods

 

Perhaps a big change for me came with retirement. until then I had to go to work every day and that, together with commitments elsewhere gave my life an automatic structure. It was like those parts of my life formed the skeleton on which everything else hung. With retirement, that skeleton disappeared and life became an amoeba with no structure, just a flexible thing that can change shape at will. I want to live life differently and maximise that change……but I could have done it earlier.

If I think back to the hippy days when ‘anything goes’ there was less structure then. Now I’m not advocating the hippy lifestyle and I did not agree with much that took place then, but there can be no denying there was a freedom in that way of life. Clearly as we are all in community and family, there has to be certain parameters to live by but do we need to be quite so structured?

I want to live life differently. I want to dream, to live creatively, to do things I’ve never done before, to live outside the box…..after all, I’ll be in it long enough (well my body will be)! It will take time to overcome a lifetime of structure. Just one small example is the clock – we live by it all our lives, but do we really need to? Certainly in retirement there is much less need……and yet I will still probably have lunch at one o’clock. Old habits die hard, but, hey, one step at a time! So I’ve set myself an objective – do one thing each day that I wouldn’t normally do, something wild or different. Perhaps I’ll share some of those things in a future post. Its free and its an adventure and I hope it will grow!

Its time to dream, its time to think differently, its time to think possibilities, its time to live creatively and grow that sense of wonder and discovery we had as a child. Its time to break out of this ‘prison’ and LIVE!

How about you?

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

I HAVE NOW SET UP A FACEBOOK PAGE FOR THE DORSET RAMBLER AND THERE IS A LINK ABOVE. THIS IS TO BRING TOGETHER MY THREE PASSIONS OF DORSET, WALKING/THE OUTDOORS, AND PHOTOGRAPHY. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THESE OR YOU ENJOY MY BLOG, PLEASE DO ‘LIKE’ MY FACEBOOK PAGE.

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.