Tag Archives: countryside

The Most Numerous Things in the English Countryside

I consider myself lucky to live in the English countryside. Its not exactly spectacular, and it certainly doesn’t make the heart race. But when I lived in the city or abroad, I ached for it.

Now I get out and about with a plethora of cameras just about as much as circumstances allow. And it was on a recent excursion from my home village that it struck me that there are three most numerous things in the countryside. Clearly of all the things that one might see in the English countryside – at least where I live (in southern Hampshire) – are trees. There are bloody millions of the things. Being an agricultural region, there are also a vast number of fields. They’re not all big; but there a sodding lot of ’em. When I’m strutting my funky camera stuff, I would really like to wander through the woodland, and perhaps skirt along the edges of fields. Maybe a stroll along the banks of the small streams and rivers that pass through the two aforementioned areas would be nice too. Perhaps I’d spot a King Fisher or an Otter. Hmmm. That would be very nice. Were I to do so, I’m sure I could capture lots and lots of other charming images too. But sadly (for the most part) this option is denied me. This is because of the third most numerous things in the English countryside. These bastards…

They’re every-fucking-where! You can’t walk more than a couple of hundred metres before you’re thwarted by signs, gates, and barbed wire fences. It drives me crackers. Which brings me to the Least Numerous Thing in the English countryside. Land owners. There’s fuck-all of them. You could count them on your fingers. In some areas you could count them on your dick. One individual might own huge tracts of land and everything on them – including entire villages in which no one can own their own home. In their defence, somebody suggested that if people (perhaps a family from the town, trying to escape the hurley-burley of life for a couple of hours) were to (for example) visit a river, beside which they might picnic and perhaps allow their children and dogs to play in the water, said river bank might soon be eroded and the area bespoiled. That, in effect, by denying anyone access, the landowner is protecting the environment for future generations. Well his/her future generations, that is.

“Well, yeah-yeah.” I mused for a moment, when confronted with this  arguement. But then I paused to think about it – and duly said: “So why’d they allow whole herds of cows to wander in and out of the rivers – breaking down the banks, tearing out the foliage, and shitting and pissing everywhere?”  

It was a good, and accurate summation of the situation. Then, today, I found an even better example of careless land/river ownership. I may not be allowed to wander along the non-husbanded, stinging nettle and bramble-infested river bank: but some toss-pot is welcome to drive a truck right through the river (complete with re-introduced and endangered Water Vole homes) to dump the spoil, from some home or building renovation, upon the undergrowth – suffocating everything beneath it,  and scarring the river bank for years to come…

Hmmm indeed. They’re all arse holes: take my word for it. If they’d let me, I’d kick them in the bollocks.

Thank you for reading my rant.

Tooty

Photography: As in Film, So in Digital

Back in the days of my youth, I was, as now, a bit of a happy snapper. Of course then it was all Kodak Instamatics and 110 cartridge cameras. I discovered, quite quickly that there were distinctive differences in film stock. Kodak film gave a bright, colourful print. Fujifilm, conversely, was more subtle, bordering upon clinical. Of the two I favoured the more honest Fujifilm – though looking back through old photos, I wonder if those halcyon days might be better remembered in a more bright and colourful Kodak manner. As I took my daily constitutional today it came to my attention that I was carrying two cameras – made by Kodak and Fujifilm. “Hmmm,” I mused, “I wonder if, in these digital days, the old ways still hold true.” Or, to put it another way, are Kodaks still bright and cheerful, and Fujifilms all clear and sensible? The obvious way to answer my simple question was to pause my route march and take a couple of snaps. So I did. Here are the results. Which one is the Kodak; and which the Fujifilm?

Not a lot of colour here, but those greens in photo number one sure look…er…green . So, yep, judging by this test, it’s the same as it ever was. Maybe I’ll conduct a few more tests, just to make sure. After all – any excuse to show off my photos…

Photography: Sony, Time and Megapixels

It’s generally thought (or should that be, it’s thought generally?) that as time passes, and megapixel numbers increase, cameras (and therefore photograph quality) improve – particularly if those cameras are made by the same company. Well, whilst out and about on one of my country rambles recently, I discovered that the cameras that I’d selected at random just happened to be made by Sony, but two years apart. One was a 7.2 megapixel S730; the other a 12.1 megapixel S2100. The former was released in 2008: the latter in 2010. So, I surmised, the S2100 would produce better shots, and duly chose it for my first photograph. But doubt crept in when I started snapping in a wood near my home. The S2100 pictures just didn’t accurately represent what my eyes were seeing. With no options (except brightness) to change settings in the menu, I withdrew the S730 from my shirt pocket, and gave it free range.

“Was the resulting image better?” I hear you ask eloquently. Well take a look at a series of comparison shots, and you tell me. In each comparison the S730 appears in the top section…

It’s close; but next time I take a solitary camera out with me, it’ll probably be the older model.    

Photography: Morning or Evening Light: Which is Best?

Generally speaking I like to take most of my snaps in the early morning – when few people are up and about; and, if I’m caught short, I can placate my enlarged prostate by taking a leak in the bushes unseen. But recently my relatively orderly life has been turned topsy-turvy by circumstances beyond my control, which have forced me to alter the timing of my jaunts around the local countryside. In short, mornings are out; evening in are in. So now, instead of the white light of late dawn, I’m getting used to the warmer hues of early dusk. But which is better? To find out, let’s take a dekko at a couple of my aforementioned photos. Here is very nice morning shot…

And, of course, here is a piccie of the opposite end of the day…

But, it occurred to me, perhaps those aren’t fair comparisons. They were taken at different times of the year after all. Surely two pictures of the same thing, taken several hours apart, would create a better comparison. So I went to the bottom of my garden and shot this Clematis in the morning, around breakfast time…

I then waited until after dinner to take this…

So which is better? Frankly, who cares? They’re both bloody gorgeous!  In any case, Britain is usually dull, grey and cloudy; so it doesn’t really matter, does it?

Photography: Sometimes It Really Doesn’t Matter Which Camera You Choose

I like cameras. I like cameras so much that I have more than fifty of the little bleeders. And the problem with owning so many is, which one (or five) do I choose to take on my snapping trips. It’s a problem. Or is it? Because sometimes a scene is so nice and simple, and the lighting so right, that it really doesn’t matter which one I choose to capture it. Here is a case in point. Yup, it’s another of my damned camera comparison posts. Well sort of.

Because I was visiting a river location, I’d decided to take along my sole underwater camera – a simple Aquapix W1024-Y. Here is it’s ( surprisingly huge) 6.12 megabyte effort…

I suppose, for a camera that works better submerged, this open air shot isn’t bad. It certainly compares favourably with this 5.97 megabyte shot from an Olympus D720…

Moving on down the megapixel league, sample this 4.31 megabyte picture from a Sony S2100…

Or this Pentax E40’s 3.77 megabyte shot…

And, finally, compare the first picture with this (supposedly) paltry 1.21 MB excuse produced by a Kodak C533…

Any significant difference? If there is, I’m buggered if I could see much. Certainly not enough to make camera selection that important. So, on this evidence, from now on I’m going to chuck all my cameras in a bucket and select them purely at random. In future all I will need to check is that the chosen one (or five) contains a memory card and a charged battery. You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve failed to do that!

 

Photography: The Privilege of Living in the Countryside

Born into a life of country living, my rural idyll came to an end when I left the family home to make my way in the world – and headed for the city. I didn’t expect to return. Few do. But, several years ago, I managed to beat the odds and came home to the village of my birth. Naturally, as a keen camera-lugger, I stroll or cycle around the village environs and snap away merrily. But today I realised just how privileged I am to have the opportunity. As I wandered randomly through a wood close to home I realised that I was being watched by a pair of beautiful eyes…

To my surprise she allowed me to loose off a salvo of zoomed shots in her direction. I thanked her and moved on. But a couple of paces farther along the path I discovered that she wasn’t alone…

After satisfying myself that I had (at least) one shot in focus, I turned to leave her in peace – only to discover that I had over-looked another target that lay quiescent and warming in the spring morning sun closer to me…

Three hinds, all in one place, and willing to allow me to stay, amazed me. So when I turned to leave I was quadrupley (if that’s a real word) pleased that another swam into my view finder…

Then, in some silent communication, they all slowly, un-hurriedly, moved off – behind…

…the previously invisible buck. As his harem slipped silently into the surrounding foliage, he gave me a farewell glance…

…and was gone – leaving me with this little bundle of fluff and teeth…

…who, moments after this photo was taken, got herself…

…taken from behind by this randy little sod. Dirty buggers obviously. Ah, the wonders of nature.