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Posted on December 3, 2008 by Ash
Last Friday afternoon I went for a walk around Whitwell Moor. As well as making some bark rubbings, I took some photographs of the winter scenery.
Birch tree on silhouetted against the winter sun.
A common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) sapling on Long Lane seen with leaves on the 5th of October and without on the 28th of November (Friday). Pretty cool, huh?
A small stand of birch silhouetted by the afternoon sun.
More silhouetting! A Scots pine surrounded by other trees: birches, larches, and more pines.
A frosty beech leaf blown out of Millstones Wood.
The Lonely Oak on Whitwell Moor at twilight. This post from January has a contemporary photo of the Lonely Oak with links to three other photos from spring and summer 2007.
Posted on December 7, 2008 by Ash
I took a walk with my father yesterday afternoon. We followed near enough the same route as my walk two Fridays ago. The weather was near enough the same too, the only difference being it wasn’t quite so cold. I took the following photos in the space of fifteen minutes between four and half past, not long after the sun had set.
Can you make out the face of a devil in the middle of the knotted deadwood silhouetted against the sky? It’s pretty freaky, man.
Away from the stunted trees now, a big pine blocked out what little light was still afforded by the sky.
The distinctive feathery outline of a beech, and in the background the moors of the Peak District.
Posted on December 13, 2008 by Ash
Sunny young sycamore leaves from a walk up Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, on the 3rd of May 2007.
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) is a large deciduous tree common throughout the British Isles. It may be known in Scotland as the plane. Foreign readers of this blog should not confuse the British sycamore, with which I am concerned, with different species growing around the world which are also commonly called sycamore or plane.
[Sycamore] is not native to Britain. Its real home is high ground in southern and central Europe extending northwards to Paris and east to the Caucasus.
As an epilogue to Harris’s article, there was a response by M. P. Denne 4 (of the Department of Forestry and Wood Science, University College of North Wales) published in the next but one issue of the Quarterly Journal of Forestry. Denne writes that she has “not yet found any sycamore amongst the fragments of charcoal that I have been asked to identify from a number of Neolithic sites in North Wales”. The second half of her letter is a good response to Harris, so I’ll give Denne the last say in this matter.
Judging from the uses they seem to have made of the different timbers on these sites, Neolithic people must have had considerable knowledge of the wood properties of different tree species. Since sycamore can produce good quality timber on a wide variety of sites, and the wood is strong and easy to work, one would have expected it to have been in frequent use if it had been widely available at the time. As Esmond Harris points out, sycamore regenerates freely and grows well all over Britain, even on inhospitable sites. So if it was native to Britain, is there any reason why it might have been relatively rare in Neolithic times?
Posted on December 23, 2008 by Ash
As 2008 draws to a close, I thought it would be nice to look back on some of my favourite photos of the year. Then I realised that I never did this for 2007, so perhaps I ought to cover that year first, and look back on 2008 next week. This is good time to mention that I have been going through the archives and replacing a lot of the old lo-res (500px by 375px) images with higher resolution copies (1024px by 768px). To view the full-size versions, just click on the photo to be taken to its Flickr photo page, and then click on the ALL SIZES button (above the top left-hand corner of the photo).
3rd May 2007 Yes, this photo did feature in the previous post (an unfortunate coincidence), but it originally featured in a post entitled ‘Blackford Hill gallivanting’. It was a sunny day at the end of my third year at Edinburgh when I photographed these new sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) leaves on a walk up Blackford Hill, which was my territory of choice back then as I lived so close by. I love how the sun highlights every detail of the tender young leaves.
16th June 2007 I took this photograph on a visit to Derwent Reservoir - the towers of the stunning dam wall are seen in the background. I love how the sunlight catches some of the hawthorn leaves.
16th August 2007 Just before I started my final year at Edinburgh, one of my classes went on a field trip to the Italian Dolomites, part of the Alps. It was a brilliant trip in every respect, and the scenery was most conducive to photography. In fact, three of these five favourite photos were taken on that trip! This photograph was taken on our first proper day, when Bruno, a local forester or park official, acted as our guide on a walk up a valley. I have never been anywhere so beautiful in all my life, and this photo is a good one in that it gives some sense of the enormity of the mountains.
24th August 2007 We visited this stunning locale twice. Another place so beautiful words or photos cannot do proper justice. I have got to go back one day, and that day can not come soon enough! The lake is called Lago di Calaita, and off this photo to the right is an old rockslide that we climbed up to reach a higher part of forest.
24th August 2007 The sky at night as photographed from our accommodation for the last three nights of the trip: two log cabins in the middle of nowhere perched halfway up a mountainside! It was really pitch black, but a long exposure brought out detail that the human eye couldn’t see. The remoteness from any kind of built-up area meant that the stars were very prominent, lending the sky a quality I haven’t been able to see in Britain. This photo featured in a post entitled Field trip to the Italian Alps (Part One). The previous couple featured in Part Two.
It’s funny how three of those five photos came in the space of eight days in the Dolomites. It might be something to do with associating the positive memories of the field trip with the photographs. No winter photos made it onto the list. I haven’t picked out five favourites from 2008 yet, but I wonder if any wintry pix will make it into those. Regardless, I can’t see the list being dominated by one trip!
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