Taken at 8pm, the rays of a setting sun set the spring blossom of my favourite bluebell wood alight. As the days grow slowly longer, the Woodland Trust is preparing a campaign to encourage people to visit woods – and have selected my sunset shot for an upcoming advertisement. Check out the flora and fauna gallery at Itchy Feet Photography for more bluebell pictures.
‘Lonesome George’, the iconic giant tortoise of the Galapagos Islands has died. Estimated to be over 100 years old, George was the last of the Pinta Island tortoise, subspecies Geochelone nigra abingdoni. I visited his captive home, the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz island in 2007. Alone in his bathing pool, George looked a sad sight but the efforts of staff at the centre are to be commended. It cannot be easy, tasked with protecting the wildlife of these iconic islands.
The Pinta Island tortoise – and a conservation icon – is now extinct. Sadly, many more endemic/threatened/rare species of the Galapagos are in danger of being lost forever. To discover more, visit the Galapagos Conservation Trust website.
Left to Right: Prof. Yadvinder Malhi, Dr. Dan Bebber and Kate Humble
Climate Change and Forests
Every year Earthwatch hosts a series of free lectures at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Their most recent event brought 3 eminent climate change scientists together to discuss the findings of a 5yr programme between HSBC, Earthwatch, the Climate Group, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF to inspire action by individuals, businesses and governments on climate change.
Visit the Earthwatch website to find out more, including audio of the 3 speakers and the introduction given by TV presenter, Kate Humble.
A few miles up the coast from Liverpool is Another Place – an art installation by Antony Gormley consisting of 100 life-size statues facing out to sea. These iron men face a daily battle against wind and sea, succumbing to each incoming tide.
In the artists words: “Another Place harnesses the ebb and flow of the tide to explore man’s relationship with nature. The seaside is a good place to do this. Here time is tested by tide, architecture by the elements and the prevalence of sky seems to question the earth’s substance. In this work human life is tested against planetary time. This sculpture exposes to light and time the nakedness of a particular and peculiar body. It is no hero, no ideal, just the industrially reproduced body of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet.”
I wanted to express this idea of movement with some long exposure photography. To achieve this I used a neutral density filter that blocks out light and forces the shutter to remain open for longer. Combined with a remote release, the above image was taken with an exposure of 7 seconds – smoothing out the incoming waves and giving the water a glassy appearance.
See more images of the Antony Gormley sculptures at Itchy Feet Photography.
|Canon 5D Mark II
Manfrotto 441 Carbon Fibre Tripod
Hahnel GigaT Pro II Wireless Remote Control
Hoya ND400 Neutral Density Filter
ND Exposure Chart
Waking with Giants
ZZZzzzzzzzz Giant snores reverberated around Kings Dock before two huge marionnetes were brought to life by the Lilluputian crew of Royal de Luxe, a French street theatre company here to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
Dated 13th April 1912, a letter by 10 year old May McMurray from Liverpool was written to her father, William, on the ill-fated cruise liner. A century after it was posted it became the inspiration for the UK’s largest street theatre event held over 3 days in the city of Liverpool.
May’s letter, now in Liverpool’s Maritime Museum, reads: “Dear Father, It seems ages since I last seen you. I wish we where in Southampton with you, it is very lonely without you.”
William would never see the letter; it reached White Star’s offices after the Titanic had embarked, and was returned to sender. He died when the ship sank, despite having had the opportunity to board a lifeboat.
Alan McMurray, William’s grandson, said: “An officer sent him back to look for water and biscuits and he never returned. They couldn’t wait any longer and the officer said to a gentleman standing alongside the lifeboat ‘You get in the lifeboat’. The lifeboat was picked up by the Carpathia and they all ended up in Newfoundland where the gentleman who got into the lifeboat in place of my grandfather asked about him. He eventually came back from New York to Liverpool and went straight to the White Star office. He checked on William’s details and found out his address and went there. He met my grandmother and told her the tale of what had happened on board the ship.”
May’s letter ends with a goodbye message from William’s three children; “Love from all dada hoping to see you soon with love from Ivy and May and Ernie xxxxxxxxxx kisses for dada x”
Walking with Giants
Faces pressed against the windows of tall buildings came eye-to-eye with giants as the Uncle and ‘Little Girl’ took to the streets. Sea Odyssey tells the story of a young girl giant whose father, a 30 foot giant, stowed away on the Titanic and died when it sank. His brother, the second giant puppet, took a century to learn to dive and having found the wreck of the Titanic returned to Liverpool to meet his niece and distribute letters from the ship around the city.
This spectacular 3 day event is not the first for Liverpool. Another giant has roamed the streets…
In 2008, as part of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture celebrations, a 50ft mechanical spider known as La Princesse went walkabout! Water cannons shot jets of spray over unsuspecting crowds and a myriad of special effects brought flames and snow to the occasion.
London has also witnessed street theatre on a giant stage. Back in 2006, the Little Girl made an appearance accompanying a 50-ton elephant. Towering over famous landmarks – and shooting water from it’s trunk – the Sultan’s Elephant was an extraordinary and magical production.
Visit Itchy Feet Photography for more pictures of Sea Odyssey – Giant Spectacular and discover videos of the event on YouTube.
Compared to my own patch of green, the Oxford University lawns are kept annoyingly immaculate. But even polite signs asking people to keep off the grass don’t always work – several tourists merrily ran across to take close-up pictures of this sign!
The above image was taken in the quad of Oriel College, Oxford and has been licensed for textbook use.
Lavender landscapes may be more associated with the Provence region of Southern France but these vibrant fields were found in a corner of the English Cotswolds.
Cotswold Lavender Farm is open to the public and grows more than 35 varieties of lavender. Time it right, and you will be greeted by a beautiful patchwork of purple.
The therapeutic properties of this plant are famous and the above image has been licensed for use by a local skincare company.
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