The best of 2013

2013 has been an exciting year for me with regards to photography; I finally managed to get myself a DSLR and was able to take some great photos with it at some amazing places. I have also been learning more about photography through a course as well as through all of you bloggers out there. Some of you have left helpful tips, while others have left kind and encouraging words, but I think most of all I feel that having seen photos that you have taken and published on your blogs you have really set the bar high, with beautiful, amazing shots of the world around you. I thank you all for your support on my blog and for helping me see the world in a different perspective.

I hope you all have a happy and successful 2014 and I leave you with some of my favourite photos from this year.

Kew Gardens – Autumn visit 2

In part 1 I talked about the Palm House at Kew gardens; here I want to share my photos of the trees in the gardens. Many of the trees had leaves in brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red and once I spotted these trees they just drew me to them.

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There were so many trees making it feel as though I was in the middle of a forest and I have to admit it made me think of those scenes in films of nature looking colourful, grand and peaceful.

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I did also come across this weird looking thing. Looking at the sign attached, it said this was a ‘tree whisperer’. I’m guessing playing certain types of sounds and music must help the trees grow (or maybe keep them company)

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I also came across several trees that had fallen over, but what I really liked was that the trees had been left where they has fallen so people can see the roots and earth around it to get a feel of how things would be in their natural habitat (here they have of course cut away the branches so you can get up close and not hurt yourself)

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There were also some great, tall trees that seemed to be placed neatly in rows, that really reminded me of a woodland area. Trees were spaced out leaving the air feeling fresher too.

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My favourite big trees though were the Redwoods. I have seen these trees on television and read about them to know that these can grow to be enormous and live for a very long time. I loved the reddish colour and texture of trunks, with the branches shooting out high above.

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What I found mind blowing was just how wide the trunks can grow – there is a plaque in the middle of the path with measurements

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And in case you can’t quite tell – it’s the size of the outer ring shown in the photo below!

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I came across this quote from John Steinbeck “The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” And I have to admit that is exactly how they made me feel; of all the photos I’ve taken of them none feel like they are even close to caturing the granduer of these trees – they really do leave you awe struck.

There were so many more trees, such as fir trees and pine trees but I couldn’t possibly try to include them all in this one post. The trees are arranged in different areas so you get a feel for their natural environment. Each area is so different to the next; in the way the air feels around them – some parts being stuffy as the branches and surrounding foliage being quite dense to the more spaced out taller trees being brighter . I have to say that this was the best part of my visit, just being able to walk around and take in the colours, smells and textures. It may sound a bit cliched but it felt really good for my soul, it was so peaceful and made me feel really close to nature, and definitely what I needed.

National Gallery

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National Gallery
I visited the National Gallery not long ago for the first time and it’s one of those places I’ve walked passed many times but for some reason never thought to go inside. The National Gallery houses some of the world’s most famous paintings; Van Gogh, Leonardo de Vinci and Monet being my favourites among many others. I think it will be a place that I will definitely visit again, and seeing as you can’t take photographs inside it really makes you look at the artwork and take in the detail and history of them. For more information of what’s on see http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/

African periwinkle

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I really like this photo; a delicate, pretty pink flower against the dark green leaves and foliage. I think the contrast in the colours make it a striking photo and the sharp detail of the water drops also stand out. What do you think?

Kew Gardens – Autumn visit

I recently went to Kew Gardens in West London; the last time I went was in school and I’d been meaning to go back ever since, especially as over the last couple of years there’s been some changes. For some reason or another I just wasn’t able to go, so a couple of weeks ago I decided not to wait anymore and just go. Initially I was a bit apprehensive about going in late autumn, as I imagined that most of the trees would have shed their leaves and there wouldn’t be much to look at, as well as the point that I always imagined going in late spring/early summer to see nature blossoming. In the end I decided to go anyway and see what there was to see, and learn from the experience.

I packed my DSLR camera to take with me and got there by mid morning. I was really lucky with the weather as it was nice and bright, and not grey and cloudy like it had been in previous days. I was also pleased to see that as we’ve had a mild autumn in London so far, most of the trees still had their leaves, and many were in now in brilliant shades of yellow, red and orange, which in the bright sun looked even more magnificent.

Here are a few of the photos that I was able to take whilst there, but what I didn’t realise was just how big the Gardens were- that after walking around for about 5 hours I still hadn’t managed to see all of it!

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Seeing as I managed to take lots of photos and because there’s was so much to see I’ve decided to do separate posts on different parts of Kew Gardens, this one being about the Palm House which houses plants from tropical and subtropical climates all over the world

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Here’s a banana tree with bananas growing from it, with leaves so big you could place two grown ups end to end and the leaves would still be bigger! There was also a pineapple plant – these pineapples were so tiny – the size of walnuts

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The walkways were full of leaves growing over it, giving you a an idea of how they would grow in their natural habitat

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There was a strange looking plant growing in the Palm House too called a Cycad, that is known as a living fossil. These plants have been around before dinosaurs, living up to 2500 years long!

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There is so much more to see but I don’t want to post too many photos of one area in case you want to visit the Gardens soon. I will hopefully be able to do another post soon on another part of Kew gardens

Robin

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I saw this pretty robin resting in a bare bush recently and was really pleased to be able to get quite close and capture a good photo. You can see how the colours of it’s feathers blend in perfectly with nature at this time of year, so was especially pleased I managed to spot it