Some two weeks ago I took a part here on my blog in a seven day Black and White photography challenge, I loved these seven days with my camera with only light to work with, very much. However ever since I just wanted to get out and find as much of natures winter colours as I could find. At first this task looked a little harder than I thought it would be, so much of nature has died back as we slip into the early winter weeks, yet the more you look the more you find.
Like these strong reds of slowly rotting berries I found just sitting on a fallen Oak leaf.
Red has to be on of the strongest colours of autumn and early winter, it feels like the colour of the last signs of life as much vegetation turn red just days before its finally returns to the ground, the very place it took its first energy of life from.
Yesterday on my facebook page I was tagged by a great photo blogger and friend Sharon Walters Knight to take part in a seven day black and white photo challenge !
Day 1: Is this image from one of our local forests. Forest floor matting , When the forest workers finish clearing and area of woodland they save a lot of branches for matting, this matting is used to lay down tracks for their heavy machines to drive over , these roads of sticks save the environment along with many insects and plant life including seeds.
While not a stunning image as such, I felt it just captured a part of the processes involved in forestry
into the coppery halls
of beech and intricate oak
to be close to the trees
as they whisper together
let fall their leaves,
and we die for the winter
From Katherine Towers’ The Remedies
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
Robert Louis Stevenson
In the other gardens
And all up in the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over,
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Hairy Wood Ants (Formica lugubris) photographic project
Over the last few years I been involved working on a project around county Tipperary,Ireland involving photographing nests of Irish Wood Ants (Formica lugubris), this has been one of the most interesting photo project I have ever worked on.
The images in this post are captured between 2014 and 2017 ….
These Ants are on the international endangered species list and exist in locations that are kept reasonably private, just to find and get to see these nests themselves is a task and an amazing feeling.
When you get closer to the nests for the first time you will notice just how large they are (3 feet off the ground) and how many Ants that each colony contains, each nest can hold tens of thousands of Ants, the entire surface of the nest is on the move with Ants coming and going from small entrance holes. This flow of movement is 24 hours long during the months that the Ants are active.
They create a clear trail through the woods as they clear a path, traveling both outwards from the nest and returning again with food for the Queen Ant living deep in the ground under the nest itself.
It is thought she lives in a protected area some two meters underground.
In order to protect themselves and nest with its queen, they can shoot out acid some four feet from their bodies.
I will be working on this project most of this summer and look forward to each return, watching these wonderful Wood Ants is an amazing experience and working around them with a camera is great fun.
Light Between The Trees
Author: Henry Van Dyke
Long, long, long the trail
Through the brooding forest-gloom,
Down the shadowy, lonely vale
Into silence, like a room
Where the light of life has fled,
And the jealous curtains close
Round the passionless repose
Of the silent dead.
Plod, plod, plod away,
Step by step in mouldering moss;
Thick branches bar the day
Over languid streams that cross
Softly, slowly, with a sound
Like a smothered weeping,
In their aimless creeping
Through enchanted ground.
“Yield, yield, yield thy quest,”
Whispers through the woodland deep;
“Come to me and be at rest;
I am slumber, I am sleep.”
Then the weary feet would fail,
But the never-daunted will
Urges “Forward, forward still!
Press along the trail!”
Breast, breast, breast the slope
See, the path is growing steep.
Hark! a little song of hope
Where the stream begins to leap.
Though the forest, far and wide,
Still shuts out the bending blue,
We shall finally win through,
Cross the long divide.
On, on, on we tramp!
Will the journey never end?
Over yonder lies the camp;
Welcome waits us there, my friend.
Can we reach it ere the night?
Upward, upward, never fear!
Look, the summit must be near;
See the line of light!
Red, red, red the shine
Of the splendour in the west,
The National park Killarney , county Kerry, is one of Ireland treasures as far as landscape photography is concerned.
The basic details of the park are as follows :
“Killarney National Park (Irish: Páirc Náisiúnta Chill Airne) is located beside the town of Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. It was the first national park established in Ireland, created when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish state in 1932. The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 102.89 km2 (25,425 acres) of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, oak and yew woodlands of international importance and mountain peaks. It has Ireland’s only native herd of red deer and the most extensive covering of native forest remaining in Ireland. The park is of high ecological value because of the quality, diversity, and extensiveness of many of its habitats and the wide variety of species that they accommodate, some of which are rare. The park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981.
The park forms part of a Special Area of Conservation.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service is responsible for the management and administration of the park.Nature conservation is the main objective of the park, and ecosystems in their natural state are highly valued. The park is also known for its beautiful scenery. Recreation and tourism amenities are also provided for.”
I have visited many times here over the last few years and hope to return for many more landscape images in the coming months.
On my last visit I did a full image study of Muckross Abbey – of which there is one image in the Gallery below. I will upload a full post next week on this fantastic place 🙂
Killarney National Park – Landscape image Gallery
Secrets of the Forest
There’s a dead tree connecting the earth to my heart,
And yet it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
One silver root, and four dark leaves.
A branch is at my neck,
And there is a leaf telling me secrets,
Gently in my left ear.
There are vines strung elegantly from trunk to my teeth
And I’ll play them for you.
The rain is the beat,
It’s the same as your pulse.
My blood runs cherry with every note.