An unreliable memoir

Archive for December, 2015

That was the year that was

Three Trees

I don’t know how many shots I took in 2015, somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 (it’s complicated – 2 cameras, iPhone). 10% got deleted in the device and never made it out of memory, 89% got deleted in the first screen on the monitor. I have kept less than 1% and published far fewer than that. I’ve spent more money than I intended to on kit (although less than most people seem to be happy to spend). But I feel that I have grown as a photographer, and in that sense it’s been a good year. I’m now at the point where I can say I am happy (but not satisfied) with 0.01% of my shots. Like this one.

Three Trees. Nikon D5200 Tamron 17-50mm f8 18mm 1/250 ISO 100

Three Trees

Sustainability Quiz


At this time of year quizzes to entertain bored readers are very popular in the media, so I’ve set you one to think about. Ready?

Question 1) One of the objects in this photograph has been there 600 million years. The other has been there 47 years and emits 10 million tonnes of CO2 captured from the atmosphere during the Carboniferous period 300 million years ago annually, making it the 18th highest CO2 emitting power station in Europe. Which is which?

Question 2) What is the moral basis for our authority to have a pop at the Chinese and the Indians about their coal fired power stations?

Question 3) Why is Amber Rudd?

Ratcliffe-On-Soar. Nikon D5200 Tamron 17-50mm f11 50mm 1/45 ISO 100

A Christmas Mouse

Wood Mouse

‘Twas the night after Christmas and outside the house
A creature was stirring, a hungry Wood Mouse.

Wood Mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus. Nikon D5200 Tamron 150-600mm f6.3 600mm 1/125 ISO 2800

The Holly and the Ivy

Holly and Ivy

Nikon D5200 Tamron 17-50mm f8 50mm 1/250 ISO 100. 4 image focus stack.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Perfect Day


It’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you.

Charnwood. Nikon D5200 Tamron 17-50mm f8 17mm 1/4000 ISO 100

Come back Sun, all is forgiven


Bust a gut making that henge. Thank the ancestors it worked.

Shortest day

Nikon D5200 Tamron 17-50mm f8 18mm 1/1500 ISO 100



Normally, today would be the shortest day. But this year it’s not (it’s complicated). In reality, around these parts the shortest day is determined not by the calendar but by the weather. On Saturday there was no dawn. In fact, it never really bothered to get light at all. But today, the sun dawned bright and clear at 08.14 sharp. Which is reason to celebrate.

Then it rained.

Nikon D5200 Tamron 17-50mm f4 17 mm 1/4000 ISO 100

Mono version:


Rusty Oak Button

Rusty Oak Button

It’s been a good year in many ways, but not for Lepidoptera. A few grassland butterflies did well (I’ve never seen as many Gatekeepers as this year), but most butterflies and moths had a very poor year. I’m not talking here about the 40% year-on-year decline that 76% of UK butterflies are suffering, but standard seasonal variation that changes from year to year. Perhaps next year will be better, but at this time of year it doesn’t really matter – we aspirant Lepidopterists have got a bad dose of cabin fever. So when a Rusty Oak Button turns up in your kitchen when you’re eating breakfast, you grab it quick. Then spend a happy hour making an 8 image focus stack.

Rusty Oak Button, Acleris ferrugana. Nikon D5200 Tokina 100mm f8 1/180 ISO 100, 8 image focus stack

Shepherd’s Purse

Shepherds Purse

Shepherd’s Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris. Nikon D5200 EL Nikkor 50mm N f4 1/250 ISO 100

I also shot some fancy pants focus stacks of this, but I prefer this simple, somewhat abstract image.