If you go down to the woods today…

…in theory, you would find a bunch of like minded souls on hands and knees pointing cameras at bluebells. That’s what I thought as I’d planned to meet up with some friends and colleagues from work to go hunting for photogenic bluebells. But, typical for me, I got the directions wrong and ended up in a completely different car park. With no phone signal to check where everyone was, I waited a few minutes after our rendezvous time and then headed off to where I thought the bluebells would be.

Merthyr Mawr car park is right next to Candleston Castle, a fortified manor house dating back to the 14th Century. It is in ruins now and is the home to ivy and other creepers. Not far from the castle, I came across a large area of bluebells and set about snapping away.

The danger with Bluebells is that they can end up looking pink or purple in a digital image because they reflect so much infra red light. So it pays to bracket exposure to try some slight under exposure. I added a polarising filter too, although this seemed to make little difference. As I was crouched down n the ground, I went to lean on a small branch only to notice a line of ants marching along it. A closer look revealed a veritable motorway system complete with streams of ant traffic moving in both directions. I went to fit a macro lens on the camera and saw that my camera bag was right in the middle of another ant highway. I looked around for a place to safely deposit the bag but everywhere was crawling with ants. I was reminded of every film where ants attack humans and I was waiting for the inevitable biting and tickling that would signal my being carried off to some underground nest.

But instead, I found a clear space for the bag and took some macro shots of ants carrying food back to the nest. I had to use the ring flash as the light levels were too low under the canopy of trees to allow a decent depth of field and shutter speed fast enough to freeze their movement. I was pleased with what I got.

I explored the woods for a while, sheltering from a couple of short but sharp showers under the trees. Then I slowly made my way back to the car, stopping once again to get some close ups of the bluebells, now looking their best in the sunshine.

Shortly after I left the car park, I got a couple of text messages telling me everyone else had arrived there.

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The week

Not a particularly busy week. Work wise, it’s been steady. Home wise it’s been steady. This, then, is a nondescript blog post about an ordinary week.

Apart from the car, which was aesthetically modified by someone when he tried to park where my car was parked. Cue his insurance company authorising a third party company to arrange with me for my car to be made better again. All went well at first. The third party service provider contacted me and arranged everything to my satisfaction. Then the fun began. The insurance company and third party company each arranged for a different garage to fix the car. Cue a busy day of phone calls and emails. I finally got it sorted but all that trouble was caused by the third party company getting involved because the garage that ended up doing the work was the garage the insurance company had arranged.

For three days I drove around in the loudest blue Ford Fiesta I have every driven around in. Even Rufus was embarrassed to be seen in it! It didn’t stop us going for walks a couple of times, but he made sure he was flat on the back seat before we started moving and he leapt out and back in only when no one was looking. Apart from the colour, it was a nice car. Easy to drive, light steering and surprisingly roomy inside.

But now I have my car back and I’m happy and relaxed and comfy again.

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