Another photo from "la Brenne" in the département of Indre, in central France, the area of more than a thousand lakes known as "la Brenne" which has become a wonderful habitat for both wild animals and migratory birds. On this visit to photograph the dozens of semi-wild horses which roam in herds of twenty to thirty or more I came across a foal which was starting to find it's legs and venture away from it's mother.
Ed Buziak has been selling his photographic images for more than 40 years to publications all over the world. For the past four years he has also achieved many successful image sales with the Alamy stock agency. Ed is now making available a limited selection of those photos he's seen, shot and sold as beautiful wall-art and greetings cards using the services and expertise of the highly respected FotoMoto enterprise. You can also read here why and how he shot these beautiful images.
Saturday, 24 September 2011
This is one of my favorite butterfly shots I uploaded to the Alamy stock agency a couple of summers ago... a Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) feeding on a Small Black Knapweed flowerhead. Early morning is a good time to see the Marbled White as it absorbs the warmth of the sun's rays with open wings. This species can be seen quite easily, even from a distance, and you may see a flower head with several adults feeding on nectar together... especially on the rich food sources Thistle and Knapweed.
Friday, 23 September 2011
The Plum - which I will always recognize in future after reading-up on the blossom shown here - has many forms and varieties... my favorite being the Mirabelle, which I have never seen growing in England, but is common here in France. It was probably cultivated for European soils by the Romans, from origins in the Anatolia Caucasus. Shakespeare refers to cultivated Plums, Prunes and Damsons... and many gardens of his generation must have contained a large variety of those fruits.
His contemporary, Gerard, in his own 1597 Herball wrote... "To write of Plums particularly would require a peculiar volume... Every clymate hath his owne fruite, far different from that of other countries; my selfe have threescore sorts in my garden, and all strange and rare; there be in other places many more common, and yet yearly commeth to our hands others not before knowne."
What's better than a lazy weekend fishing trip... getting away from life, from work, from noise, from shopping crowds, from neighbours, from the TV... the list is endless! There's a lot to think about in a small row-boat on a gentle river... even if you choose not to have a hook or worm on the end of your line as I've done in the past. Man and Nature... back to basics... catching peace, happiness, enjoyment, fun...
I can still remember as a child in the 1950s going for donkey rides along Blackpool beach and being jogged up and down to the soft muffled sound of hooves on hard sand and the tinkling of bells sewn onto the animal's leather harness. Although "Eeyore" was apparently the gloomy donkey from A. A. Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh" books, I always remember them looking and acting rather intelligently... and being gentle too with their soft thick padded coat protecting them from the knocks and rough treatment usually handed out to what are unfortunately called and still treated as beasts of burden. No wonder so many donkey sanctuaries have been set up to rescue these friendly, harmless animals.
Black cats are said to be lucky, so I'm hoping the shots I took of this example mounted high up on the wall of a building in the town of Chauvigny will be good sellers! Chauvigny, 23 kms east of Poitiers in the Vienne department of Poitou-Charentes, originally derived its wealth from the porcelain industry. The town is also overlooked by a hill with five ruined castles along its ridge including the Château des Eveques (baronial chateau), the Chateau d'Harcourt, the Donjon de Gouzon, and the Chateau de Montleon.
Further down towards the south of France, black cats are referred to as "matagots" or "magician cats" and according to local superstition they bring good luck to owners who feed them well and treat them with the respect they deserve... I should think so too!
Known by several forenames including Common, Field, Corn and Flanders - every November they are worn in Commonwealth countries in memory of those who fell during the Great War - the particular colour of this poppy is only rivaled, but not matched, by one other British flower... the Scarlet Pimpernel. My ”Familiar Wild Flowers” (F. Edward Hulme - Cassel & Co. 1906) relates the impact of its colouring by saying... ”Though the Marsh Marigold flower is a perfectly pure and brilliant yellow; the White Campion, a white of spotless purity; the Borage as deep and unsullied a blue as could possibly be met with or imagined - these colours, beautiful as they are, must yield in brilliant strength and intensity to the scarlet of the Poppy.”
I love them as they appear in early morning light, back-lit by the rising sun, damp with dew, fragile petals from the newly emerged flowers rising above the nodding heads of those about to cast off their protective sepals.
Thursday, 22 September 2011
The Pyramidal Orchid is so common on the chalk downs of the Isle of Wight it has been declared their County flower. This attractive orchid takes years - working underground as a bulb and relying on the presence of a specific fungus in the soil - to produce leaves and its highly distinctive pyramidal shaped head, which is a densely packed cluster of up to one hundred pale-pink or reddish-purple flowers. At the southern tip of the Indre-et-Loire département (37) of France where I live the seasons are in advance of much of the UK by two to three weeks, so here the Pyramidal Orchid flowers throughout May and into June on the warm, chalky, lime-rich soil banks edging many roads I cycle along.
It surprised me, the first time I passed through the small town of Saché, in the Touraine region of central France, that there was not a bunch of teenagers swinging on this giant attraction... but there again, this is rural France, and there are no signs of spray-paint graffiti, nor trainers tied together and linked to the bar holding the primary red and blue coloured disks in perfect balance and with invisible strength against, and resisting with opposite force, the breezes of many seasons and years that have swirled over, around and through this simple, classic mobile sculpture by the American artist Alexander Calder. Perhaps the local population are mesmerized by the graceful, unpredictable slow-motion of this "live" creation... it has been located in their town square for many years, overlooked bu Calder's old studio on a hillside above the town.
In this age of digital everything, there are fears that printed books are going to fall by the wayside... but there is still a strong demand for the written and printed word that can be held in both hands, read, closed and put aside for a few hours, can be annotated, underlined and even pages torn from the binding and inserted into one's personal wallet. Or, they can be thrown away after being read... recycled... or let go back to nature. These examples from a popular exhibition in France made their point to the thousands of visitors who stopped, looked and understood an important message!
Apple Blossom is beautiful in its own right at any time of the day... but on a warm Summer evening in France with the setting sun slowly sinking to a low horizon and back-lighting a single blossom flower, then the real beauty of the fruit tree's colourful display comes to life.
Red Poppies are always a joy to see waving and bobbing about on a Summer breeze... these could almost be anywhere in the French countryside with fields and lanes throughout the land being bordered with swathes of this wild plants' bright, but delicately fragile, scarlet flowers.
In the département of Indre, in central France, lies an area of more than a thousand lakes known as "la Brenne." All the lakes were man-made following natural flooding after clay extraction for building materials. However, this has resulted in a wonderful habitat for both wild animals and migratory birds. I have visited this local area many times but mainly to photograph the dozens of semi-wild horses which roam in herds of twenty to thirty or more. Because there is so much natural grassland to feed on, and the extent of the largely unfenced habitat, they rarely approach... but on that odd occasion I have been ready with my camera... and an apple from my pocket.
One day when out photographing wild orchids here in central France, this beautiful Black-Veined White Butterfly (Aporia crataegi) started flirting with me... always within arm's length. So I waited and waited until she became tipsy on nectar from the Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) and then made a few exposures. I was surprised to learn that although I've seen many of these beauties in France, they have been extinct in the UK since the 1920s.
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
This image of Spring Snowdrops in a French country garden shows one of the first and most joyful plants to arrive and brighten our new year. You will also notice the well-known photographic "out-of-focus do-nut hi-lights" effect created by the 500mm f/8 Reflex-Nikkor lens. The early-morning, freshly dew-covered grass has been specifically enhanced by the use of this lens, a special effect an ordinary camera lens could not have achieved.
This image entitled "Shadow of Man, Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire" was taken in the entrance porch of that famous English abbey with a Leica M4/P rangefinder film camera fitted with a 2,1cm Schneider Super-Angulon wide-angle lens. By using this near-silent camera, and from my viewpoint only ten or so feet away on the opposite stone seat, the subject didn't hear me rapidly taking his candid photograph whilst the absorbing scene changing every few seconds as he looked through his personal belongings, so altering the long, animated shadow cast on the stone wall by the early morning Winter sun.