Sesame Street Toys

Kermit, Elmo, Ernie, Oscar the Grouch toys on a patterned chair

HeyJude is asking to see pattern used as a background in this week’s 2020 Photo Challenge. She adds:

Don’t have your subject too large in the frame or it will detract from the pattern. And consider whether the patterned background adds or takes away the impact of the subject.

The pattern reflects the zaniness of the characters. It’s bright and bold, but could we imagine Sesame Street any other way? Continue reading “Sesame Street Toys”

Anole In The Limelight

Shadow of an anole lizard seen through a backlit leaf

All photographers learn to enjoy light. These upright elephant ears (some form of alocasia) are so beautifully backlit they would be interesting even without the patterned raindrops and veining and the anole’s shadow.

But I’m not complaining about the photobombing anole. I like the spreading toes (I’m scared of snakes, so lizard toes are always a reassurance) and it interests me how our minds interpret height from the strength of the shadow. We know the head is raised because the shadow is softer – it’s a three dimensional shadow, not a flat one.

This green anole lizard was benefiting from the vision and hard work of Jesse Yancy, a literary gentleman who has raised a garden / wildlife haven on land around the edge of a small, concrete car park that he does not own in Belhaven, Mississippi. Continue reading “Anole In The Limelight”

Comparing Lancashire Rainforest With Mississippi Backwater

Trees covered by moss in a Lancashire wood
Temperate rainforest near Cadshaw Brook in Lancashire

When my sweetheart described the woods near the Entwistle reservoir as temperate rainforest, I was taken aback. Rainforest sounds like something you’d have to travel thousands of miles to see rather than walk less than four miles up the road.

Our moist, cool, steamy climate encourages mosses and liverworts, lichens, fungi and ferns to creep over trees and boulders. The Irish sea keeps conditions mild enough for these ancient plants to thrive through summer and winter.

Having grown up scrambling through the wooded valleys of the moors, the Tolkienesque character of this type of landscape is as familiar as the open moorland over the hill. Wild orchids grow further along the path that heads from this spot towards an outcrop of rock called Fairy Battery; follow Cadshaw Brook and you may surprise a fallow deer grazing near Entwistle reservoir. Continue reading “Comparing Lancashire Rainforest With Mississippi Backwater”

Bird House Refurbishment And A Hauntingly Lovely Journey

Brightly coloured birdhouses on wooden poles with a white picket fence

While I was in Mississippi, we were passing Suzie Cranston’s house when a ball of energy with a beaming smile bounced out of the driveway, exclaiming “I’m painting them! You must look! And I’m really enjoying it!”

She’s the lady, some of you may recall, with perhaps a hundred birdhouses in her garden.

Polka dot birdhouse with tin roof

Waving us down the path to her workshop, she pointed out the detailing of the ones she was working on. Any bare wood had been painted over with cheerful colours. Continue reading “Bird House Refurbishment And A Hauntingly Lovely Journey”

Playing With Wool

Bug with pink nose and cute expression
Wool and metal bug by Debie Deaton

Debie Deaton sculpts with wool, creating colourful, upscale toys and puppets like this little bug. I met her at Mississippi’s Chimneyville Arts Festival earlier in the month and was immediately taken by her lovingly made, character-infused creations. A whole booth of these animated figures, each one unique, but all united by her humorous house style, is a carnival.  Continue reading “Playing With Wool”

Nephila clavipes | Golden Silk Orb-weaver Spider

Large yellowish spider hanging from a web

Apologies to anyone who has a phobia of spiders – this isn’t the start of a series, I promise!

My sweetheart is scared enough of spiders to quiver and let out a loud, high-pitched squeal when he sees one. If a spider imprudently reveals itself indoors, I am called upon to relocate it using an upturned glass and piece of card.

Strangely, some spiders don’t give rise to that instinctive reaction. For instance, he’s developed a nodding acquaintance with a large spider that lives in a corner of my shed. He admires the little, sturdy jumping spiders for their feisty attitude, observing that if you attempt to scare one off, it holds its ground and sticks its front arms up in a boxer-like stance so it seems to be saying “I don’t think so!”.

And I ought to confess that this spider scared me more than it did him. It was hanging around with the right crowd: we found it suspended face high on a web in woodland outside Mississippi’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks last autumn.  Continue reading “Nephila clavipes | Golden Silk Orb-weaver Spider”