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December 2016

Working Kensington Gardens 


Royal Parks Foundation

I spent a wonderful morning with Royal Parks Foundation colleagues in Kensington Gardens where they were working with a fantastic group of volunteers from Bloombergs to rake the wild flower meadow.  The volunteers were incredibly hard working and listening to them describe the Bloombergs philanthropy programme was really very heartening for an old cynic like me.  The young people were enthusiastic about the volunteering scheme and were clearly loving their time in Royal Parks.  Royal Parks Foundation were delighted to have the employers and employees on board.  Win:Win.

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While the volunteers were raking, the beautiful grey working horse 'Heath' & Tom Nixon from Royal Parks Shires, walked around in ever decreasing circles harrowing the ground.  It was one of 'those' high contrast days where the low winter sun was casting long shadows. The ground was covered in thick frost and the sky was clear and blue.  It was the most amazing sight to see such a beautiful heavy horse working the land using old traditional methods.  Kensington Palace was in the background.  We were in the heart of London.  Tourists and park visitors were walking past... and here was a heavy horse pullling a harrow across frosty ground.  It was magical.

The relationship between horse and man was very special to see.  Tom uttered soft instructions and gently moved the reins. Heath responded and with extraordinary skill that looked effortless, the two of them worked the meadow.  I plan to go back to see the fruits of their hard work and look forward to seeing the gardens ablaze with wild flowers.

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Every now and then, images seem to want to be black and white... and I love some of these high contrast B & W images.  I hope you do too.


Impressions from the Kent Marshes

I like to learn new things and I wanted to learn some new camera techniques and signed up for a day's outing with Robert Canis.  

Years and years ago, I remember assuring Mark Sisson that I would never use a tripod (!) ... and I swiftly learnt that I'd have to use a tripod in order to improve my photography.  I ate my words and bought tripod after tripod in an effort to find one that really worked well.  It was another of those learning points along my photographic journey... buy cheap and buy twice ... or three times... or more!  

But for the type of images that I wanted to create, I had to leave my three-legged friend at home!  It's really liberating!  Try it.  

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I don't expect you to like my first attempts at this ... I'm not sure that I do, but it was fun to do and gave me lots of ideas for mini-projects and for times when the conditions aren't working for 'normal' photography.  These are my better attempts!  

Thanks for creating the time and space and encouraging me to try this out Robert.  It's too easy to stick to 'tried and tested' and leave experimentation for other days when there's more time.  Somehow, I never really find these days filled with spare time, so making space to experiment was important ... and it was fun!

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