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The Changing Seasons 06

The sixth in a year-long series of posts participating in The Changing Seasons project hosted by Cardinal Guzman. All photos were taken in May 2015. These images also appear in my Wordpress blog, where you can comment directly if you do not wish to use Disqus

May was hectic, leaving little camera time and the weather was distinctly patchy. I didn't get out and about much and almost all of my photos were taken in the immediate vicinity of my home.

I had just two short walks with my camera in addition to my weekly Monday Outlook photographs, plus a few lamb shots taken at a neighbours farm. 


The weather was occasionally good but mainly poor, remaining wet and cold and windy overall. When the weather was good, it was very good and we were able to go walking at Cata without coats on.


Mainly due to the continuing strong winds, the ground dried sufficiently to plough. Compare this shot with March's 

PloughedFinally dry enough to plough

Bright skies and stiff breezes make for good shooting for finished knitted projects!

Lady LismoreBeautiful May skies make wonderful backdrops for completed knitted items

And continued rain keeps the wetlands topped up.

Wet,wet,wetLooking towards home across the wetlands between our house and our neigbour

The grass finally began to grow but not sufficiently and the farmers were unable to turn the cattle out on to the fields as usual. Wild flowers began to appear, the daisies coming first, followed by the dandelions in less abundance than usual (me and my hayfever were very grateful).


Lambs appeared in greater numbers in the fields. The cattle were eventually turned out towards the end of the month but not because the grass was ready. The farmers have run out of winter fodder and had no choice. As the grass is not growing well yet we are in for a short season, meaning that hay and silage will be in short supply for next year. It is a worrying time. 


It is always good to see the lambs and the coos appear, they change the landscape completely


 However, Beautiful Decay is always with us whatever the season and I can never resist it.

Shed roofI love a ruin
MailboxSeen on a walk

Previous posts in this series: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 

 #thechangingseasons #monthlyphotochallenge

The Changing Seasons 05

The fifth in a year-long series of posts participating in The Changing Seasons project hosted by Cardinal Guzman. All photos were taken in May 2015.

April brought its challenges mainly in the form of a virulent chest bug. I spent much of the month indoors, trying to breathe. The weather was remarkable at times and we had several ultra-still days. Very lovely but at the time I was experimenting with long exposures and water-smoothing, so flat water was not really what I needed.


I managed to get out every Monday for my weekly Outlook shots and a couple of evening walks to the pub furnished some more images, especially the sunny evening when we took time out to stroll along the pier.


The daffodils emerged and the lambs finally arrived! 


There was blue sky at times, and everywhere reminders of the past season amongst the signs of the new.


Previous posts in this series:

01 | 02 | 03 | 04



The Changing Seasons 03

The Changing Seasons is a Photo Challenge originated by Cardinal Guzman.

February is still very much Winter time here in Orkney. The wind do blow and the rain do rain.

A Rough Day

When the sun shines, it can look stunning but you may be sure that there is a cold wind blowing that the camera may not betray.

After the stormWhat a difference a day makes

We lag behind many places but the daffodils, though not yet blooming, are definitely now asserting a presence.

Signs of SpringDaffs!

No lambs yet - hopefully I can share some lamb photographs next month. Have a cute cat instead - this one I found sheltering from that icy wind by the bale shed one day when I took my camera for a walk over to the Cross Kirkyard.

Farm CatKeeping out of the icy wind

We have had good days, rough days, wet days and glorious sunshine but always that wonderful Orkney cloudscape is present

Amazing clouds The view over How, just before sunset

For several of the roughest days, we were away on the big island in our campervan. In fact we were stranded there when our ferry home was cancelled due to high winds and rough seas. I took many photographs but they don't fall into the spirit of the narrow geographical area for this challenge. I shared them here.

Here's my album for this month. Most are taken from around the house, a few come from that walk to Cross. Several photographs have had a trip through my Nik Collection software.


There is a mosaic of these images in my Wordpress blog and I am happy to take comments there from anyone who does not care to use Disqus.

I am looking forward to improved weather and more chances to take the camera out. I have made some recent camera purchases and can't wait to get out and play with my new kit.

The Changing Seasons 02

January on Sanday was wet and windy with no frost or snow. This is not unusual by any means. The markers of our winter season are wind, rain, migrant geese, short days and long dark nights. The cattle are mainly absent from the field though some sheep stay on pasture.

The Changing Seasons Challenge got me out and about with my camera and I had more than 350 images to select from. Quite a few of these come from our local Photowalking Group's outing to explore an empty manor house at the top of the island. Another set emerged from a fine day when I chose to walk to my weekly Spinning Group meeting rather than take the car. I was rewarded for my effort. Other images were taken around and about the house; one of them comes from a new project of mine at Blipfoto to capture the bay on Monday mornings when I put my rubbish out for collection. The project will be ongoing and should provide at least some of each month's photos for this challenge.


This set of images is also published as a mosaic gallery in my Scattered Thoughts blog.

The Changing Seasons is hosted by Cardinal Guzman. You may see his images for this month, along with a list of participants, here.

Further images from the outing to Scar House can be seen here.


The Changing Seasons 01

Cardinal Guzman has issued a challenge and I am hoping to rise to the task: The Changing Seasons.

Find a location near your home, take somewhere between 5-20 photos and post them in a gallery in your blog. Continue to do this every month. For my project I’ve chosen the general area “downtown Oslo”, but if you like to, you can choose a more specific area like a park or a building. It doesn’t even have to be a city. If you live on the countryside, there’s probably plenty of locations to choose from nearby: a field with some trees, a beach, a mountain, or just a simple dirt road? It can be whatever. Just keep the project going throughout the year. Try to shoot every month, so that in the end of the year, you’ll have a nice and diverse set of photos in your portfolio. The idea is to capture all the changes: the seasons, the weather, different times of the day, some night photography perhaps? Also, the idea is to build your portfolio and train your eye. I shot the photos in my gallery in December and next month I’ll post a gallery with photos I’ll take this month
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month (between the 07th-15th), post 5-20 photos in a gallery. (I’ll post mine on the 7th).
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

I shall be taking the whole island as my subject, otherwise things would become boring indeed - there's not a lot to see around here and very little changes by season: either the dandelions are out, or they're not. I know it's not quite that bad but we do really miss seasonal markers here. If I get oot an' aboot I might just spot some daffs but there are none in my own garden.

As I am a bit behind in discovering this challenge, I'll run it for 13 months. These snaps from December are actually the only outside shots that I managed to grab at all and of course they were not taken specifically for this challenge. They do in fact break the rules. I'm sure nobody really minds and I'll try to get a set next December if we're not all hiding from the wind and gales once more.

January's set will also come up short as we are already at the 14th and I have only just found the challenge.

I'm not picking a specific day in the month to post - I'm just not that organised, I'm afraid.

Here is December - all shots grabbed from outside our house:


Not a lot to say, really. It was wet and it was windy. The geese are visiting as always. We had just the one frost if I remember correctly. One feature of the season that I badly wanted to capture but did not manage was the robin that took up residence in the garden. Robins are not uncommon here but not all that common either and one can go two or three years without sighting one.

On the subject of birds - this winter saw some learning behaviour on the part of our resident Rooks, who now queue up on a Monday morning to rip my rubbish bags to shreds as soon as I put them out. I have had to take counter measures and now swathe my refuse in a sheet so the birds don't spot and recognise the shiny black plastic signal to a source of edible detritus.

For other participants in the challenge, please see the Cardinal's blog entry.

#TheChangingSeasons  #MonthlyPhotoChallenge

Note to self: stop Lightroom from adding the watermark signature.

Other Note to Self: restrict the locations and use tagging to relate the images

The Croft

After three weeks confined pretty much to the house, I was going stir crazy. I took the opportunity of a necessary trip to the surgery this morning to grab my camera and see what I could see. I parked at The Croft and walked through the village to pick up my prescription and returned to The Croft to take a few photographs. More snaps really, as I am still not feeling great.

The Croft is a lovingly renovated and recreated traditional two-room but-and-ben cottage and forms part of our new Heritage Centre provision. The Croft cottage sits in a little fenced garden and sheep graze around it as they would in the past.


A blank unglazed door, without so much as a letter box to relieve it keeps out the Orkney winds and belies the warm welcome that would have awaited visitors. 

Croft gardenCroft garden

With the open exposure across farmland and across Cata Sand to the machair dunes and beyond to the open sea, it was important to keep weather-tight.

The WeskitThe Weskit

Inside the door, in a small hallway, hangs the weskit that the crofter might have worn as he worked the land beyond the little fence. No doubt the charming floral cottage garden was the wife's responsibility! Beneath the hanging weskit stand boots and gaiters,

Boots & GaitersBoots & Gaiters

the crofter's wife would be house-proud and woe betide the man that sullied her freshly-swept floors with his muddy boots!

Signs of the pride in her house-keeping were everywhere inside the cottage.

In a traditional but-and-ben, both rooms would sport a box bed although one room would be for best and the other served as kitchen. Space was at a premium, especially for storage, and every nook and cranny was put to good use, with shelves over the beds.

Orkney ChairOrkney Chair

The traditional Orkney Chair set by the fireside has a high wrap-around back to keep the draughts from the sitter's back. Very often the base of an Orkney Chair would offer useful extra storage space.

Window decorationWindow decoration

Function would be more important than form but that does not mean that the Orkney wife lacked a taste for decoration,

Sitting Room Window

and she certainly liked to keep things nice. The lace curtains framing the best room window may well have been her pride and joy.

More images from today's outing can be seen at Flickr