The secret waterfall

waterfall
A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a photographer, Jenifer Bunnett, based in Surrey who had found me on the internet and suggested we might go out on photo safaris together. We met up for a coffee and a chat and found we hit it off. Jen is a super photographer whose interests are similar to mine. On Tuesday we had our first adventure together. I have already posted my shots of fungi from the woods around Friday Street in the Surrey Hills. However, our main quarry was this waterfall, something Jenifer had read about but hadn’t yet found. It seemed to be something of a secret, mentioned mysteriously on the internet but without directions. It turned out, to my surprise, that I had been there, several years ago, on a family hike. Surrey isn’t known for its waterfalls, but this one is pretty and tranquil – we had it to ourselves. Although most of the trees around it are laurel, and so evergreen, we did notice a few birches so a return visit in a couple of weeks is very much on the cards.
If you are interested, do visit Jen’s website and/or her Facebook page.

More forest secrets

mushrooms

55mm, f7.1, 1/25, ISO 800

It’s a grey, drizzling day here, the sort of weather that people imagine when they think of England. A day for editing images rather than shooting them.

mushroom

55mm, f8, 1/40, ISO 800

I hope you can forgive yet another mushroom-related post. There were so many toadstools and other fungi in the woods near Friday Street yesterday. I snapped a few of the nicest, or strangest, depending on your point of view.

fungus

55mm, f4, 1/150, ISO 800

The last couple of days have been bad back days so I only had my little Fuji along. But it coped well with pretending, using the 18-55mm kit lens, to be a macro shooter.

mushrooms in leaves

55mm, f 4.5, 1/80, ISO 800

One or two of the mushrooms were kind enough to pose above ground level.

mushrooms

55mm, f4.5, 1/60, ISO 800

Using a wider lens than I would normally gave me the chance to try something a little different from my usual shallow depth of field, isolated subject, loads of bokeh style. In the shot below I wanted to make more of an environmental shot, using the log to lead the eye into the frame.

mushrooms

18mm, f5, 1/40, ISO 1600

It was while I was taking that shot that I noticed the cute little toadstool posing on top of the log featured in my post yesterday. Here it is a bit closer. Well, I couldn’t keep the bokeh at bay for long.

toadstool

55mm, f7.1, 1/12, ISO 800

Despite having now edited all of the images from the shoot, the image I posted yesterday remains my favourite of the day. But I have made a better edit of it, muting some of the brightest highlights in the background.

fungi

18mm, f.5, 1/50, ISO 1600

Tomorrow, one more secret of the forest, but not a mushroom in sight.

Marmalade beauties

insect

Final approach

One of the most common hover flies in my garden is episyrphus balteatus. I am fairly confident about my identification in four of these shots. Less so in the one below.

insect macro

Legs!

I believe episyrphus balteatus is one of the flies also known by the common name, marmalade fly. Obviously, this is because of its colour and not because it has a penchant for preserves!.

insect in flight

Making a bee, err … hoverfly, line

I think hover flies are a delightful addition to the garden. The adults feed entirely on nectar but the larvae are voracious predators of aphids, which makes them jolly useful! Episyrphus balteatus is also one of the best hover fly hoverers, making it a relatively easy target for the photographer.

insect macro

Hovering over candles?

Hover flies disguise themselves as bees or wasps as a defensive mechanism. Unfortunately, they are so good at this that many people assume they are bees or wasps and, if they think the latter, they tend to swat them. What a shame. Hover flies have no sting and no downside for humans. They aren’t even interested in our food.

insect macro

Shimmer

Hawthorn Shield Bug

insect
Each Spring, the return of the insects to my garden prompts me to dust off my macro lens. After that, it tends to be the default lens until Winter sets in once more. However, it always takes me a while to get my macro eye back in. This year, other commitments meant that I didn’t have much time for photography; a foray into the garden yesterday showed me that my macro eye is most definitely still out! Never mind, there’s always next year…
insect
These shots of a hawthorn shield bug are from earlier in the year. One of the challenges with photographing insects in this country is most of them are so small. In warmer climes, there are big, chunky bugs to capture. These shield bugs are among the biggest I see in my garden, and they are still only 8-10mm when full grown.
insect
I must confess that I was not 100% certain of my ID here and originally misidentified this as a birch shield bug.  Thank you to Maria for the correction in the comments below.

insect

That’s it, I’m off.

Poppies, again

poppy field

Poppy field near Send, in Surrey.

In July, I shared some images of a poppy field I had found near the village of Send. I couldn’t resist sharing a few more. It was really special being there, among all the flowers. Three whole fields were covered in poppies. The first shot was taken in the morning, but I popped down again in the evening for some better light.

poppy field

Poppies mixed with other wildflowers and grasses

As the sun set, the poppies began to close, but the light was more interesting.

poppy field in evening light

Poppies start to close

poppy field at dusk

Everything changes in evening light

In low light like this, a tripod was essential. Needless to say, the camera was not set up for a moving deer, so when one bounded across the field I was working in, all I could do was react and take the shot with the wrong settings. At least I have something vaguely deer-like to jog my memory; I have a picture in there that needs no settings.

deer in poppy field

Common Blue

butterfly

It’s been several weeks since I was last here. I’ve missed it.  I just pressed the button on my dissertation!   I can no longer tinker with it; it’s done.  All I need to do now is bind and drop off the hard copies tomorrow.  I am excited to be able to get back to the blog.  I hope you haven’t all given up on me!

I couldn’t completely leave the camera alone for the whole summer.  Here’s a shot of a lovely little common blue butterfly, captured while on holiday in Sark in July.  See you after college tomorrow!