Earlier posts

Earlier posts
This blog is a continuation of an older one. To explore previous posts please click the photo above.

Monday, 10 May 2021

More bluebells

I know I'm not the only photographer who gets seduced into an endless quest to capture 'the definitive' picture of bluebells. I enjoyed a walk with a few friends from the camera club in some woods in Bramhope, on the outskirts of Leeds. The bluebells were wonderful there, and just about at their peak. Try as I do, I can never seem to satisfy myself that I have captured the beauty that you actually experience for real. I know that's not just me either, as my friends all say the same. What I do like about these two images is that the colour is just about true to life - and that's not always easy to achieve either, as they sometimes look too pink and sometimes too purple. En masse they have this wonderful blue-mauve cloud effect. Individual blooms often look rather more of a vivid, darker blue when closely viewed. 

In addition to the bluebells there was masses of wild garlic in the woods, just beginning to flower with its attractive white star clusters. The garlicky aroma rather drowned out the more delicate fragrance of the bluebells, but garlic has an earthy scent that's not unpleasant. 


Sunday, 9 May 2021

Sunday meditation: Rose

“There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A friend gave me some roses at Easter. As I wasn't inclined to go out much then (still freezing cold and rather windy) I spent some time playing with Photoshop layers and textures. A rosebud made a pretty subject. I've still lots to learn and need to continue to develop my creative eye for this kind of work but it is an absorbing way to pass a few hours. 

Saturday, 8 May 2021

A surprise visit

The monthly theme in my online photo group for April was 'Surprise', to be interpreted however we chose. I happened to sign up for a tutorial on creating composite images during the month and, rather than use the supplied mythical drama-type images (which weren't really my 'thing') I hit upon the idea of using an old family photo of my grandparents, originally at the seaside.  So this is them making a surprise visit to Saltaire! 

Grandma sadly died just before I was born, so I never knew her. My grandfather was at one time a coal miner, until ill-health forced him to quit, after which he became a coach driver. He was well-used to driving to England's beauty spots, though I doubt he ever came to Saltaire, which was a working mill and not a tourist attraction in those days. But I think they enjoyed their 'day out', judging by their smiles. I felt weirdly happy when I'd finished the image, as though I'd actually shown them round my neighbourhood. 

Friday, 7 May 2021

Playing on...

Here's another park with a bandstand. This is Myrtle Park in Bingley. The bandstand is a good deal older than the one in Roberts Park (where the original had been demolished and was replaced a few years ago). I think this one is Edwardian, apparently manufactured in a foundry in Glasgow, before being installed in the park in 1913. It is still sometimes used for brass band concerts, though it has been subject to a few incidents of vandalism in recent months. 

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Ilkley bridges walk

I had a short walk along the River Wharfe in Ilkley. There are three bridges within about half a mile of each other. The old packhorse bridge (above), dating from 1675, is now pedestrian only, being very narrow. It has high arches and large buttresses. The river was very low when I was there but I imagine in flood it can roar down with a lot of force so the builders were obviously playing it safe with a sturdy construction. 

Looking down on the buttresses they look like rock gardens, covered in mosses and wild flowers. 

The Three Bridges walk takes you on scenic paths through Ilkley's riverside gardens. There were numerous blossom trees brightening the view. The central bridge is a road bridge (not special enough to tempt me to a photo!), cutting across the river in the middle of Ilkley. 

The third (below) is another pedestrian bridge: an elegant suspension bridge. The river here is a popular picnicking and bathing spot. Local pressure groups have recently succeeded in having the area declared a designated bathing site, which forces the Environment Agency to regularly check for pollution. There has been uproar about  sewage in the area, released as part of 'storm overflow discharges' from a nearby treatment works. 


Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Ilkley bluebells

When I find a bluebell wood, it's very tempting to go overboard and take loads of photos. Then it's always rather frustrating because pictures never quite have the impact that the real scene has. Ilkley's Middleton Woods are a famous location for the blooms, and with some justification. On the gently sloping terrain, the blue carpet effect is really evident. 

They were not quite at their peak when I had a walk there and they seemed to be suffering a little from the very dry weather we had in April. Being quite fleshy plants, they need some moisture to look at their best. Still really beautiful though, and I especially liked the areas where the yellow lesser celandines were out too. The combination of yellow and blue is a very Spring-like palette. 

Ilkley's slopes are south-facing and therefore often slightly ahead of my local Hirst Woods display. I'm hoping they won't peak for at least another couple of weeks as I've planned a camera club outing to explore Saltaire and our woods and it would be lovely if the bluebells were looking good. 


Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Streets of blossom

Even the most ordinary of suburban streets can be transformed when the cherry trees are blossoming. This is Dallam Road. You do occasionally see trees that have both pink and white blossom on the same tree - something to do with the way they are grafted and pruned. I think the white is the hardy rootstock but it shouldn't really grow and overwhelm the pink.  


Monday, 3 May 2021

Of rocks and trees

A few more photos from my walk on Otley Chevin. I would have gone further but I'd left my walking shoes at home, and I was wearing soft sneakers. Luckily, April has been a really dry month so the quagmires of winter mud have disappeared. 

The Chevin is criss-crossed by numerous paths and tracks, and has a number of interesting features. One is the Vacca Wall, a long line of upright stones, though to be an ancient vaccary wall for enclosing cattle:

The Chevin has various areas of woodland. In the parts that are predominantly beech, there is little sign yet of spring growth:

I noticed a few carved stones, marking a 'geology trail'. (See HERE) Carved by local artist Shane Green, they each relate to geological features and fossils found in the area. I rather liked the patterns. 


Sunday, 2 May 2021

Otley Chevin

Finally got a haircut! Hooray; my first since last September! The salon is in Guiseley so I celebrated by driving a little further to Otley Chevin to get some fresh air. The views are wonderful from this gritstone ridge along the south side of  Wharfedale, overlooking the town of Otley. In fact at this point it is called 'Surprise View'. There's not much colour in the trees yet but the gorse is coming into flower and the bilberries are showing new growth. 

In the photo above, on the horizon, you can no doubt see the outcrop of rock known as Almscliffe Crag. During the time of the Napoleonic Wars (late 1700s - early 1800s) a network of warning beacons was maintained in case of invasion by the French. Fires would be lit on high points, each within sight of others as a communication chain, so there is a Beacon Hill on Otley Chevin, a beacon site at Almscliffe and one near Ilkley known as Beamsley Beacon. I don't think they were ever used for that purpose, though beacons around the country have been lit several times for national celebrations.  

Looking in the other direction, the view is of the town of Otley. 

You can see the remains of a small farmhouse or cottage (below), variously known as Jenny's Cottage, Beacon House or Chevin Top Farm. (An interesting history of it can be found HERE.) It was demolished in the 1970s but at one time visitors to the Chevin were able to buy refreshments here. Nowadays you have to make do with an ice cream van in the nearby car park. 


Saturday, 1 May 2021

No show for April showers

April 2021 was a strange month for weather. A month traditionally renowned for 'April showers', this year has been one of the driest Aprils on record. Despite the blue skies and sunshine, it has also been one of the coldest Aprils for a long time, and one of the frostiest on record. 

It was only in the last few days of the month that we had a little rainfall. I did enjoy seeing clouds again! The sky over Saltaire was dramatic and threatening on the 30th. There's something about the colour palette of our honeyed stone buildings against blue-black clouds that I find photographically very pleasing. 

The photo above shows the back of the newest block of Shipley College: the Jonathan Silver building, and the greenhouses used by the horticultural students, some of whom were busy in the nearby allotments. It's been a tough month for gardeners. 

Friday, 30 April 2021

Just a line of washing

Just a line of washing drying in the sunshine... It's the kind of photo I might take whilst on holiday abroad, but rarely in this country. 'Foreign laundry' always seems more exotic and interesting for some reason! But here I liked the bright colour contrast and the shadows in the harsh sunshine - so somebody's bedding got immortalised. 

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Elephant Hill

The moor road from Oxenhope over to Hebden Bridge climbs steeply up from Airedale, over the watershed and down the other side into Calderdale, twisting and turning. It can sometimes feel fairly bleak and remote up there. It's not much fun in winter ice or snow, or the frequent fog banks that you find on the moors. It can however, be a delightful drive in good weather, with far-reaching views and good sunsets if you happen to be there at the right time. It was a bit early for sunset but the low sunshine was picking out the elephant mural that - for some reason - stands right at the top. (My grandchildren call it 'Elephant Hill' as a result, though its proper name is Cock Hill, I think.) Apparently there's another mural on the other side of the little building but that's not visible from the road. 

I've always meant to take a photo of it but there are few places to stop and it's a dangerous road. It so happened that I wasn't being followed on this occasion so it was safe to pull up at the side of the road and take a quick snap. 

The building is all that is left of a former RAF radio station, used as part of a navigation system that guided bombers during WWII, then later used as weather forecasting facility by Bradford University until - ironically - a lightning strike put it out of action. 

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

The end of the day

Peaceful scenes and lovely reflections along the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge, as we walked home from the park. 

You quite often see rag dolls in the windows of narrowboats. 'Rosie and Jim' was a children's TV series in the 1990s, about two rag dolls who lived aboard a narrowboat called the Ragdoll. They came alive when no one was looking, to explore the world that they were passing by on the canal.


Tuesday, 27 April 2021

After school fun

I had unexpectedly to drive over to Hebden Bridge one day. My daughter, arriving home after school with four children (her two girls and two of their friends) discovered she was locked out of her house. I have a spare key so I was called upon to rescue them, as they'd have had a long wait until dad got home! Thankfully it was a super afternoon, warm and sunny, so they were happily playing in the park by the time I got there. With four children, it was a bit like herding cats (!) but we ate fish and chips (from the paper - yum!) before returning home along the Rochdale Canal towpath. It all turned out to be rather fun. Sometimes the unexpected delivers a little gift. 


Monday, 26 April 2021


The monthly theme in my online camera club recently was 'toes'. Now, you really wouldn't want to see mine so I had to go in search of someone else's! Thankfully one of the Saltaire lions obliged, with this gritty mono of his paws and claws.