Monthly Archives: October 2011

Through the Lens 4-Kirkcudbright light

Where does the time go? Rhetorical question I know but it seems to go really fast sometimes and slows down at others. Have you noticed that? For instance, as I sit here writing this blog, time is going slowly as I wait for the delivery of kitchen appliances and a squad of men work on installing  new kitchen. I’m shut into the one room in the house  and the day drags on. I’m sure progress is being made but I’m almost afraid to see what is happening as the kitchen looks much worse on its way to its makeover (or so I hope).

Do I sound a bit despondent-yes, a little because my home feels invaded and although I knew this would happen, it doesn’t mean I embrace it fully!

Anyway, when have I had an experience of time whizzing by? Last weekend, I had a wonderful time in Dumfries and Galloway (South West Scotland for anyone who doesn’t know Scotland well). This is a part of Scotland that I often forget about and I think many people do. Heading south out of Scotland is the main transport artery -the M74- the south west is bypassed and we really only skirt the fringes and the temptation is to make for the border. But, if you were to turn off towards Dumfries which is the gateway to the south west you find wonderful rolling fields, pretty seaside villages, market towns humming with life and great local produce.

I was staying in Gatehouse of Fleet with a friend and her mother so that my friend and I could do a 1 day photography course with an experienced travel photographer, Philip Dunn. You may remember that last spring, I did a wildlife photography course at Loch Awe. Since then I’ve bought a bridge camera (somewhere between a wee digital and a DSLR), some filters and have been trying to improve through practice. This is the use of the wrong filter! Oops…but interesting

UNexpected outcomes

In reality, my photography has deteriorated but isn’t that just part of the learning cycle. Initially I didn’t know what I didn’t know so had no mental constraints. And then I learn a bit and realised how much I need to learn about light, colour, composition, shutter speeds, aperture………….and lots more. Too many combinations at first- a bit like learning to drive and not getting gear shifts, clutch control, steering working in harmony.

However, I really enjoyed the day with Philip and fellow photographic enthusiasts. We all had different cameras, different levels of experience and he offered something to everyone.

Here are a few of my photos that I like


The day passed really quickly as it always does when I’m learning and enjoying myself. I really recommend Philip as someone who is knowledgeable, skilled and, most important, passionate about what he does. What a fabulous world it would be if we were all able to do what we loved for at least some part of each day.




Anticipation of a weekend in the country

I’m heading off this morning for a weekend of photography in Kirkcudbright with a friend. Kirkcudbright is a town on the south west coast of Scotland and not somewhere I have any knowledge of. I’m told its an artists town and the light is wonderful. So, my camera is packed along with a borrowed tripod. Wet weather gear is stowed away, wellingtons are on loan and I’m hoping for some sun.

Maybe by the end of the weekend I’ll have some good photos to share on the blog.

I’m not sure if I shared with you anything about my last photography course which was at Loch Awe last May and was focussing on wildlife. It was a fabulous day of learning and fun although mostly taking photos of my fellow photographers! It was rather more difficult to get excited about the caterpillar on the underside of a fern leaf which was my ‘subject’ for at least an hour. You get the picture from my intro image-need I say more.

Now as the morning wore on in my photographic extravaganza, I shifted to a hide to photograph birds and did manage 1 image of a chaffinch that I rather liked.

So, my hopes for this weekend. That I get some shots I’m proud of, get a better understanding of shutter speed, aperture and using different lens and get to know a new place…oh, and have fun. So, I’m feeling good and there’s even a bit of blue sky this morning so it bodes well. MAybe I’ll share some of the highlights when I get home-depends on the results.

Unexpected Conversations

I spent last week in the Cotswolds on an autumn break. It’s many years since I’ve visited that part of the world and I had good memories but last week surpassed my expectations and the place sparkled every day. It got hotter and hotter as the week progressed reaching temperatures of more than 26 degrees on Friday-hotter than Costa del Sol and parts of Greece.

I reckon we all need some sun to boost our immune systems and our spirits for the coming autumn.

So, what about unexpected conversations? The possibility of these happen often but you have to be receptive to them and just stay in the moment to really capture their essence. Holidays are good for this as time seems to just unfold rather than rush by……well, in my holidays anyway. Here are a few snippits of last weeks conversations that resonated with me.

As I sat in Broadway slurping an ice cream  and watching the world go by, I was joined by an older lady who arrived with a party of walkers. She told me she was holidaying at a Holiday Fellowship venue nearby and participated in organised walks everyday. The day we met she had done 8 miles  and was tired but happy. She said that she loved walking and this was a way for her to meet new people, have different conversations and just appreciate the beauty of the countryside. This has spurred me into action and I’m planning to do a walking holiday next Spring so an unexpected conversation leads me to new paths.

Another day, as I walked through the woodland walk near Anne Hathaways Cottage in Stratford, I came across a clearing in  a woodland area. I was especially drawn to it because it was bedecked with dreamcatchers and quotes about dreams from various Shakespeare plays. As my business is called Dreamcatchers it caused me to stay there awhile. I was joined in the clearing by an elderly man and a young Chinese student and we got talking. One minute we were sharing some memories of Shakespeare plays we remembered from school days and then the next I was delighted by a personal performance from the man of speech from one of Shakespeare beginning ‘All the worlds a stage……..’ Amazing-an unexpected personal performance and wonderful because of it. Do things like this happen to other people?

And then there was a deep conversation with a lady who was a stargazer. We met in a gallery in Chipping Campden and were admiring a painting of a sky at night and her interest in the night sky just emerged. She shared the delights there for all to see in the skies over the Cotswolds. That evening I found myself looking up and the sky was indeed filled with an amazing array of constellations and planets. Living in the city, we don’t often look up because light pollution is too great to see much at all. For a short period of that conversation in the gallery I was reminded me of how small we are in an ever expanding universe -and how beautiful it is.

What unexpected conversations have you had recently? 

And finally, here is a classic Cotswolds village scene to whet your appetite for a visit.