Dave Johnson's Photography

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Scotland in the Autumn

Normally during half-term holiday we end up working or splitting our days off to look after the kids. This time we decided, back in August(!), to go away to Scotland and to enjoy a proper half-term holiday away from the normality of home. As it is with looking and booking holiday homes on-line there is always a little trepidation when you finally arrive at the front door, fingers crossed, that it lives up to the expectation that the pictures generated. Fortunately, the place we booked turned out to be amazing and a million times better than the pictures suggested. Whilst it was relatively close to a busy main road this was more than compensated for by having a river at the bottom of the garden and a view out across the beginning of the Grampian Mountains. The cottage was on the opposite side of the river to the closest town, but fortunately also at the bottom of the garden was a bridge. How handy!

Joining us for the first 4 days was Mr & Mrs Cakes who were also looking forward to chilling out and forgetting about the daily grind. In fact, the visitors didn’t stop there as one of Mr & Mrs Cakes good friends, a certain lead singer from the group Ladytron and her hubby also came up for a day – although to be fair they didn’t have as long a journey as they now live back north of the border. Us men went for a short bike ride on the Sunday following the Etape Caledonia route, meeting the rest of the gang in a lovely country hotel for what turned out to be a rather late lunch.

Following what turned out to be quite a hectic weekend, we spent the rest of the week enjoying the fantastic Scottish sun and blue sky, and visited a number of woodland walks and spectacular waterfalls in and around Pitlochry. The autumn colours were absolutely stunning and reminded me of my travels around New England each fall when I lived in New York. In fact, I would go as far to say that this Scottish autumn did enough
to rival the New England fall!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures and maybe if you haven’t been to Scotland in the autumn/fall they might inspire you to book a trip in the future. These pictures are only a select few, if you would like to see the rest of the set click the following link.

Slowing it down

A rather cool reflection

Red leaves

The Queens View

The Bridge over the lower Falls of Bruar

Higher Falls of Bruar

Instagram look-a-like by Aperture

Black Spout Falls

Possessed by pudding!

A silly cheesy smile

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An afternoon trip to Ness Botanical Gardens

This afternoon me and the family took a trip to Ness Gardens. The website describes much better than I could so why bother trying when I can easily cut and paste the text from their website!

Set on the Wirral Peninsula, Ness offers the enthusiast many horticultural delights including a replica of an imaginative show garden designed by Chris Beardshaw which won prestigious awards at Tatton; extensive, beautiful herbaceous borders always with something to offer the eye; a Victorian style Potager with many fruit trees and vegetables and Alpine House; a waterfall and water gardens; the largest UK collection of sorbus and most of the 49 known species of birch; plus seasonal surprises such as a splendid laburnum arch, and magnificent collections of magnolias, camellias, and rhododendrons.

The gardens were designed by Arthur Bulley, a local cotton merchant in Liverpool, and When he died in 1948 he left the gardens to the University of Liverpool with an endowment of £75,000 to ensure that they remained as a botanic garden which would serve as a reminder to their creator. On the day we visited the entrance to the gardens was free for everyone as part of the heritage celebration, however, normally University of Liverpool staff and their immediate family can gain free entry on any day. Good for us since Lou works at the University!

If you are into plants and wildlife then I would definitely urge you to take a trip to the gardens and then to enjoy afternoon tea in Rose’s tearoom! On this particular visit there were lots of dragonflies buzzing around, some the apparent size of a small bird! The one photographed below was clinging to a rock a few inches above the water of a large pond. I was quite amazed I managed to get a good shot as I the only lens I had with me was a 28mm prime which meant I had to crouch down and get real close to fill the frame. Surprisingly it didn’t seem too bothered by this and stayed around long enough for me to get ‘the shot’!

The version uploaded here is a low(ish) resolution version but go to my flickr site which has the original uploaded. The detail in the fly, in particular its eyes, is amazing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/djjohnson/sets/72157631355412954/









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A stroll in the evening sun

Currently, Louise and I are enjoying a few kid free days as they are having a holiday at their Grandparents in Lincolnshire. You would think that as this doesn’t happen very often we would be making the most of it and going out most evenings? Unfortunately this hasn’t been the case as Lou is currently in the middle of a course that has 2 exams (all done by Friday though, YIPPEEE) and there is just far too much good sport on TV to necessitate leaving the house. However, this evening it was beautiful with lovely warm sun and a lush blue sky – perfect weather for a stroll and take pictures. The area around New Brighton on the Wirral has recently undergone a huge development with the building of a new leisure complex (cinema, casino etc) and a number of bars, restaurants and coffee shops. I have to say that it is a massive improvement on what was there before, and given the number of people who were taking advantage of the facilities, I would say lots of other people think the same way.


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Is spring finally here?

The last week or so has been particularly bad weather wise in the UK. We’ve gone from having warm(ish) days with endless sunshine to torrential rain and floods! Traditionally, well in my sense, this time of year has always been nice as it has coincided with the birth of my daughter – incidentally, she is 2 tomorrow! So given on Sunday we had torrential rain all day and night (see picture representing how miserable it was) the weather now seems to be picking up again. Today was glorious with clear blue skies and temperatures topping out at 17C. Despite the rain putting stop to any outdoor activities we had planned for the weekend one beneficiary has been the garden. It is now starting to look very green with flowers starting to bloom and lots of birds and insects around…is it to early to say Spring is finally here?

I have for one will be keeping my fingers crossed that this fine weather continues for at least another week or so as next Wednesday myself and the family are off down to Dorset for Carol Cakes wedding. We are all extremely excited, especially the children as they are getting dressed up in the glad rags and are part of the wedding party! The weekend is also going to be pretty exciting for me also as I am taking the pictures for what will be the new Mr and Mrs Cakes! One amazing thing to look forward to is the arrival of a lens ordered in just to shoot the wedding – the amazingly awesome Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 MkII IS USM!!!!!! AWESOMENESSS

In time I am sure you will see some pictures from the wedding. Until then here are a few shots that sum up the change in weather from Sunday until today…

Rainy Sunday

IMG_1467 - Version 2

Beginning to flower