Weekly Photo Challenge: Weightless

Oh to be a bird, flying high in the sky, defying gravity. But all is not so simple for smaller birds. Predators are waiting at every turn so some birds have a way of trying to confuse the predators. They fly in large flocks, twisting and turning through the sky to form amazing patterns. Here in the UK starlings perform this ritual before settling down for the night on their roosting spots.

Starlings in Flight

According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Grouping together offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands.

Murmuration

The only way to see this is to get out there, into the open countryside. That’s where the birds are. You’ve got to go to them.

I photograph all my birds and animals in the wild, in their natural environment. Some photographers will cut branches from nearby trees and bolt them to a small table. They’ll then put food at the bottom of the branches and sit back, behind a blind, with a long lens, and wait. To me, that may be bird photography, but it isn’t wildlife photography. – David Young

Last night was cold but worth it. The starlings started flying about dusk 4.00pm. Just a few birds at first, but gradually the flock got bigger and bigger as more starlings joined the murmuration. That’s what it’s called, a murmuration, at least here in the UK it is. Have you ever seen birds flying like this. What do you call it?

The display continued until about 4:35. Then suddenly it was all over. They just disappeared. Where had they gone? Simple really, they settle for the night on the wetlands where they roost. Here they’ll stick together and keep warm overnight. Oh! And according to the RSPB, this is where they swop stories about the best feeding areas.

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this week challenge.

He Feeds The Birds How do you overcome fear-
a touch of grace photography Eventide
The Linda Life Fog on Towers
A Visual Discovery Blog Weightless x Smoky Silhouette
Following Seas Weekly Photo Challenge
D’Al Art Candour
The Hood ~ MLJ Photos Laws of Gravity
Minimalism in Flight Weight(less)
Piroska Markus Gravity or illusion-
Silly Old Sod Weight(less)

52 in 2016 Week 1 Reflections

I must be mad. I’ve signed up for another year of the 52 challenge. What was I thinking of? Well, what’s done is done so here are this weeks photographs. Once again I urge you to click on the photographs to see them in a larger size.

I had a meet up with some old friends in Llanberis yesterday morning and since I was in the area it seemed to good an opportunity to miss photographing the lone tree which sits on Llyn Padarn.

Lone Tree

It was still early in the morning and a bonus – no one about on the lake. Usually it’s full of canoes and kayaks, around this area of the lake there are a few training areas. Llyn Padarn is full, I’m not surprised what with all the rain we have been having. Usually you can see the roots of the tree, sometimes even walk right out to it without getting your feet wet.

After the meet-up I decided to take the long way round,to get home, it was such a nice day. Over the Llanberis Pass and through the Ogwen Valley. An area I know well as I spend a lot of time here with my camera. Once through the pass and on the way down I noticed this small lake which was absolutely flat calm. If you click to get a bigger view of the photograph you can just see the road with two cars on it. It disappears around the side of that mountain before rising steeply to the top of the pass.

Lakeside Reflections

Flat calm, with a perfect reflection. Just what I need for this week. Fortunately there’s a good parking place and I was able to walk across the wet and boggy moorland to get this photograph.

That it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs.

Interested in taking up the 52 challenge. There’s still time to sign up and take part in Week 1. Just follow this link to the Flickr Group 52 in 2016

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Nan Lian Garden – Hong Kong

Wandering around Nan Lian Garden in Hong Kong the first thing that strikes me is the peace and tranquillity. Surrounded by high-rise buildings and busy overhead roadways in the Diamond Hill area of Hong Kong it really does surprise me how quiet it is.

Nan Lian Gardens

The photograph above is a panorama of the gardens. To see it at it’s best I urge you to click on it and view it larger size on my Flickr photo stream.

There was so much to see and photograph. I spent hours in the gardens and the nearby Chi Lin Nunnery. But here’s a selection of a few photographs from the gardens.

Pavilion of Absolute Perfection

The Pavilion of Absolute Perfection sits in the middle of a lake in the park. It’s closed to visitors but I quite like the angle of view I’ve got here. It’s a popular item to be photographed so you’ve got to pick your moment.

Just Posing

Don’t expect any leeway here. I had the tripod set up, just getting ready to take the photograph and in she walked. I’d normally change street photographs like this to Black and White but I decided to stay with the colour version. Nice dress!

Waterfall
At the back of the tea house is this artificially created waterfall. It’s not a great photograph but I thought I’d include it anyway just to show how much variety there is to photograph in the park.

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Another one of the pavilion. Can you see what I mean about being surrounded by high-rise buildings.

Repairing The Fence

Of course the park needs maintenance and a team of volunteers work tirelessly to keep the park in good condition.

This is just a short view of Nan Lian Gardens. I hope you enjoyed the photographs.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle

First of all I’d like to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. Regular readers may have spotted that I have changed the theme for Say It With A Camera to 2016.

In keeping with this weeks challenge I have shown you a photograph I shot in Nan Lian Gardens which are located in Diamond Hill, Hong Kong.

Circle

In an area of high-rise apartments and flyovers for motor vehicles Nan Lian Gardens are a haven of tranquillity. Nan Lian is a public park, built in the style of the Tang dynasty. The gardens have been landscaped over an area of 3.5 hectares and every hill, rock, body of water, plant and timber structure has been placed according to very specific methods and rules.

Here’s what others are saying about this weeks challenge;

https://fillyourownglass.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/wpc-circle/
https://roohanivnaik.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/preserving-legacy/
https://nesfelicio.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/astronomical-clock-in-prague-czech-republic/
https://ilghepardo.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/circles-2/
https://mamacormier.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/wpc-circle/
https://witrianphotofolio.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/weekly-photo-challenge-circle/
https://carolynsonlinemagazine.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/sacred-circles/
https://mithriluna.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/a-girl-and-her-shield/
https://pilvipouta.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/circlethe-daily-post/
https://slfinnell1965.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/whether-its-the-weather/

52 in 2015 Week 52

I’ve made it. Managed to complete the challenge and the final one was to show our favourite photograph of the year which wasn’t included in any of the challenges.

First up, it’s got to be Talacre. My favourite goto place when I want to experiment or capture a decent sunrise/sunset.

52 in 2015 Week 52 My Favourite of 2015 (2)

The other one is from Media City Salford. I stood on the quayside at ridiculous o’clock (02:39) on a bitter cold morning to take this photograph.

52 in 2015 Week 52 My Favourite of 2015

That’s it for this year. All it leaves me to do is thank you all for following and commenting on “Say It With A Camera”

Finally, wherever you are in the world I’d like to wish you a Healthy and Happy New Year for 2016.

Mike