Well most days are Friday here. Everything orientates itself around Wednesday for me. I take an extra tablet that day and so when I see the bonus tab in the box I know it is hump day. It has been quiet on the moth front due to wind and rain. Nothing too dire but enough to keep the moths tucked up in bed. My 5am trap check this morning produced precisely one moth.

By 9am however the sky was brightening and I suggested to Mrs. Ha that we stroll over the Down and take a walk along the Itchen Navigation. She agreed so off we went. She was enchanted by Mrs. M. Allard and all the little Allards. Less so by Mr. Swan, who rather ungraciously hissed at her. I kept an eye out for diurnal moths and added Micropterix calthella to my  Shawford list. There were plenty of Yellow Flag Iris in bloom and the Comfrey looked splendid. We also bumped into my sister-in-law, who was returning home across the water meadows. All in all a pleasant way to spend a morning.

I should perhaps add an update on Woody at this juncture. We are worried that he and Mrs. Woody don’t seem to be moving into the hole he so lovingly carved out for her. They are around the garden and cackling away like demented crones. No sign of heads sticking out of holes though. Did she go to a different estate agent? Have they got a pied à terre next door? Monitoring their comings and goings is much more difficult now because there is a fully-leafed Oak branch blocking our view. Two weeks ago it was bare.

Two photos from today. Firstly a shot taken on our walk:BlueSky

And secondly a rather beautiful lichen. I found this on a branch that must have come down in the last day as I walk the garden each day and it was not down yesterday. It may be Ramalina farinacea or it may be something completely different. Ramalina farinacea

The gardeners came today and tidied up the front so we have short moss front and rear of the Lodge. It looks vaguely respectable now. I keep finding new plants but I have no idea what many of them are. Other than the big mature boundary trees (Beech & Oak) and the ornamental ones (lots of Acers) there seem to be far too many Hazel trees. They probably have not been coppiced for years. I feel an Autumn project coming on.

Happy weekend and wish me good moths.

All the news that’s fit to print?

What is black and white and Communist read all over? A Chinese newspaper perhaps.

Indian TimesThis is a perfect example of why you should not delete on the hoof. When I took this I was trying to frame the woman reading the paper against the door in the background. When I downloaded it I realised the 35mm lens had given me the Indian chief as well. HOW! I was not looking through the viewfinder when I shot this. I used zone focusing and you can tell I shot from about waist level.

A couple of other shots from the walk, perhaps not so successful in my mind but blogworthy perhaps. Balloon man is on the prom quite often and very good he is too. I liked the studied concentration of the onlooker.Balloon man And finally Mr. Veggie Stall, this time with his other half, not his best pal from way back when. They were chatting to a local customer. The alley is too tight to get a really wide shot with a 35mm lens. I should have taken my 24mm. Close observers will see a box marked ‘Pocari Sweat’. This is a canned drink, rather sweet, supposedly good at replenishing minerals. They told Mrs. Ha to drink some when she was in hospital. She hated it. Blue Girl is as you would expect (??) a beer.Veg stallAnd that’s your lot for the day. I wish everybody a most enjoyable weekend.


I see Charlton lost in the cup last night…..

A number of people have been kind enough to say my photographs could be viewed as story prompts. I took this shot in the old town at lunchtime today. The two men are in the doorway of the vegetable shop. Custom is, shall we say, light. I wondered if they were looking at the sports pages. I invariably read a newspaper back to front. This is nothing to do with living in China. I simply start with the sport, move on to the business and usually ignore the current affairs at the front.  And so I imagined the pair of old friends looking through the results and noting with some sadness that Charlton Athletic had been beaten in the quarter finals of the FA Cup (soccer). Or perhaps they are going through the obituary column to see if any familiar names have troubled the scorer in the last few days. I definitely think there is a story to be told in this one.

OvermyshoulderI had 2 goes at this shot. I walked down the narrow alley and shot with the camera held in one hand at my side. The framing was ok but not quite what I wanted. I back-tracked and tried again and was lucky enough to frame it exactly how I wanted. I pushed the iso to 1600 to give me as much shutter speed as I could get. Motion blur is a real issue with these shots. And I opened the aperture to F2 and pre-focussed at about 4-5′. When I looked at the shot on the screen I had both men full length but an orange box was in the bottom right hand corner and I didn’t like it. So I cropped the bottom away as it added no value.

Not everything works to plan of course. This is an extreme example of motion blur:

Life's a blurQuite a nice effect but definitely not what I was trying to do.

And here is another, for want of a better word, cock-up. I had set the aperture to F8-ish and 1/750s for another shot. And of course when I went to shoot this I forgot to reset the aperture and speed dial. It looked pretty dark on the camera’s LCD. Back home however the histogram showed me I was only about 1.5 stops away from a reasonable exposure. That is recoverable in Lightroom and I decided then to use the dark effect to my advantage.

TunnelIf you think it looks vaguely distasteful it is in fact a lady about to pick up some rubbish she saw on the floor in the underpass. Good for her. I hoped she would walk away from me into the light at the end but in fact she walked towards me and I didn’t get a second chance here.

Before I finish I wanted to thank you for the excellent and thoughtful comments on my post yesterday. I had a fear that people would see the absence of images and just move on. Normal service will be resumed soon and the birds will be back as soon as my shoulder feels stronger. Otherwise I shall dip into the archive for you.