Wednesday, 26 December 2012


I hope everyone had a good peaceful Christmas, we went to L&N who catered brilliantly, turkey yesterday, with all the trimmings, and roast beef today. I lost track of how many puddings were on offer: Christmas pud,
plum&apple crumble, Barbara's yummy creamchocolatecake with cherries in brandy, Calorine's pudding, cheesecake & mincepies, all with cream, icecream, brandy sauce & brandy butter. I think we've all lost sight of what it's about, but it was wonderful to be looked after and do nothing more challenging than a little gentle washing up! Thanks L&N!

Saturday, 22 December 2012


We've had a pleasing number of woodpeckers around recently, I haven't managed to get a photo of a green one yet.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Chilly, Ready-or-Not!

We had some really hard frosts the other day, left the garden a bit dead& slimy, but the cobwebs even better than dew. If the sun had come out briefly they would have looked better, but gone in minutes, these lasted two days.

How do they manage not to get frost-bitten feet?

Christamas is looming, L&N are doing the hard bits this year, so I'm late & disorganised, but got around to a wreath for the door today, & one for L&N. I use what's in the garden, I'm sure that's the traditional way, so hedge-bits, ivy and white-backed Elaeagnus & Cottoneaster leaves.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Not really drugs!

My Photoshop course is now finished, it was quite challenging, time and the hateful computers, but I really enjoyed it and feel as though I've just started to explore the possibilities.

It occurred to me as I was putting these up that they could both suggest I'm a drug-fiend!

High-tech Flower

Everyone must be familiar with the little white edelweiss from the sun-blasted heights of the Alps. We also found this one in the wilds of Ladakh, furry against the intense cold and wind.

In the current RHS magazine there's a fascinating snippet about the fur: microtubules a few dozen microns across, sized precisely to absorb UV radiation. Space scientists are now adapting it to protect electronics &  solar panels on deep-space vehicles. All the best ideas are borrowed!

Monday, 10 December 2012


Small snippets of scenes suggest intriguing possibilities for patterns to be explored in Photoshop, watch this space!

If one could encapsulate London in one image, this one might be a contender.

And this one's just pretty!

Mathematical, Firey

 Have you noticed how often mathematical shapes creep into nature? Crystals are an obvious example, but the Fibonacci series is always worth contemplation, and the cells of honeycomb couldn't be better designed by computers.

Don't dial 999! The building is not aflame, just reflecting a rather fine sunset over the Thames, the wind-turbine look-alikes are the supports of a bridge.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Magic Again!

Putting one image in the spaces cut from another isn't as hard as it looks, and much easier than cutting out photographs with scissors, you can also go back when you make a mistake.

Panoramas take about 1 minute to do automatically, that really is cheating!

Monday, 3 December 2012

First Frost

The first frost of the year is always a bit gloomy, the tender things become a soggy mess, waiting to be scooped slimily into the compost, but there's an upside too.

The second reason why I leave teasels and other seed-bearers, the first of course to feed feathery visitors.

These two photos are the same Calicarpa ( appropriately from Greek beautiful fruit), the pinky one is in early morning sun, the purple still in the shade, a good demonstration of the light-colour our brains adjust when they "know" what it should look like. Just occasionally the camera doesn't lie!

Magic: Photoshop

 Almost as magical as animation, I can see the taking many hours to master and explore all the possibilities. We've been looking at removing and replacing colours, so easy, just a few buttons & sweep with a tool or two...

And then you can remove colour from most of the image, leaving or replacing whatever you like...

Or you can go completely crazy!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Old school friend, Dartmoor

The weekend before last our intrepid walking club had our annual Dartmoor trip, a brief interlude between the storms, so as clean & beautiful as only Dartmoor in November can be. Most of the walks on my "most-horrible-ever" list are here too, but when it behaves it's unbeatable. 

We found several of the 130 or so dartmoor-crosses, many of which have  fascinating histories of dark tales of murder, some were way-markers between monasteries, some village or church monuments. Some may be 1,000 years old, s0me only 100. they range from well kept to remnants in drystone walls or even only the hole where they once were. It's a fascinating area for exploration.

                                               Hexworthy Cross, just next to our pub.

Horse Ford Cross

Mount Misery Cross 

The day before we visited S&J who've recently retired to Newquay. Like all sea places it's a different world in the winter, sadly it was grey & drizzly, but very good to catch up & reminisce. A few memories are listed on a previous post. In spite of the greyness, a few splurges of colour always lurk somewhere.

Lazy, Space

It's always said that if you want something done, ask a busy person, the end of my full time course way back in June probably explains why I've got so lazy about my blog. There's no lack of things to report, just seems less urgency. Yesterday was mince-pie day, I try to get them done & frozen well in advance, some years they don't get as far as the freezer & I have to start again, but I beat the gannets with 4 dozen. I use Mrs Beeton's cheese straw mixture for the pastry, it gives a tangy savouriness to them. For the people who don't like mincemeat I do spicy apple&cranberry ones.
As well as being a mathematician, R is a bit of a space-freak, it's catching; I find the thought of pictures like this coming from saturn many billions of miles away incredible, and this one this one after the computers have played with it.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


I still have a sneaky suspicion Photoshop is cheating slightly, but has become acceptable by widespread use. I wanted to learn how to use it to make arty pictures, rather than change "real" ones. I'll try to make it clear when I've used it on normal looking photos. I suppose in time it'll seem no worse than using different film or paper grades to change the effect in traditional printed photography, or some of the tricks in printing them.
These are my most recent projects, simpler than at first attempt, and huge fun. It's a good way to tackle the computer-phobia, like my friend who took up climbing to overcome a fear of heights!

These ones are simply combining two photos, in the one below I changed the colour and contrast first.

The final ones include text in various forms.