Monday, 2 May 2011

Maytime Miracle

It used to be the case that at the beginning of every May I would change the focus of my running routine from south of the river on Ilkley Moor to north of the river through Middleton Woods. During the first week of this month the bluebells would be at the height of their bloom, the ancient woodland chromatically transformed by the magical appearance of a lavender-blue carpet flowering under a fresh canopy of leaves. The myriad little tracks through the woods appear like bifurcating veins, inviting you to make choices and explore.

Quite a few years ago I made the decision that it was impossible to capture this experience with a camera. Well before the advent of digital photography I think I had taken a whole roll of film and was rather disappointed with the results. There is just too much to take in. It's thoroughly three-dimensional, indeed even four or five-dimensional if you include smell and sound. I preferred to walk or run and just breathe in all that colour and scent.

Today though, with legs still a little heavy from our 'Republic 100' bike ride on Friday, and somewhat inspired by having taken the camera out on the moor last weekend, I thought I'd try to see what I could capture. The weather was certainly never going to be better than it was today, further cloudless skies and dazzlingly clear air. It's becoming hard to remember what a grey sky looks like!

The only intrusion into this perfect late afternoon's walk was the sound of the local carnival booming up from below. It was easy enough to tune out, but what struck me as strange was that down below hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people were paying out obscene sums of money on garish rides and amusements when these woods offered so very much more - and for free. I only encountered a handful of people in over an hour of walking. The sense of space was wonderful, but it seemed a little sad that so few were enjoying this spectacle. Not that I will ever put up a sign at the carnival field to lead people here!


  1. Hello Bob! Lovely to see you're back to blogging at last.. after discovering your lovely new blog complete with beautiful pics M suggested I share a link with you.. though it comes with a health warning; leads to even more time browsing...
    Sarah J : )

  2. Sarah, what a lovely surprise to hear from you, and discover that you're such an enthusiastic blogger. I had no idea! I guess I've been stuck in programming mode for way too long. Your personality shines through. And I love your photographs.

    Oddly enough, a bit over a year ago I was quite taken with this idea of logging just one picture each day to record a memory or a feeling. I thought the discipline was wonderful, both to be creative each day, and also in limiting yourself to one image. I even registered a domain name (photothisday) with a mind to creating a site. I'm really way too busy for that to ever happen, but I'm excited to discover that there is such a site out there. I kept it up for 6 weeks but then I had a deadline which kept me locked up for a few days and the momentum was lost. I will definitely join and pick this up again. You've inspired me!

    I look forward to following you with great interest.