Wild pansy

July 2024 - Summer all sorts

Last month brought some sunshine between the showers and the resulting warmth was very welcome. Both elements encourage vegetation to grow and suddenly the countryside was awash with nettles, bracken and other waist-high plants. It had a similar effect on flowers too and I enjoyed a morning photographing twinflower and chickweed wintergreen in a pine wood in the Cairngorms. Twinflower is rare in Scotland and the spread seemed a little reduced in comparison to previous years but it was a pleasure to be back amongst them again. Chickweed wintergreen is more common but the white petals contrast beautifully with the gloom of the dense wood, hence its nick-name ‘Arctic star’ is therefore very apt.

I am a fan of the wild pansy and I managed to photograph some that were growing in an unkempt part of our garden. The purple, yellow and white colour combination provides a perfect palette to offset against the green of the surrounding vegetation. Similarly, I found some green alkanet growing in woodland and enjoyed capturing it in the dappled light.

The River Tromie is a favourite spot of mine and I can often be found photographing the water there. One morning, I wandered along a part of dried riverbed to find wonderful stones patterned by rushing water when the river is in spate. The type of rock varied and no two stone-patterns were similar. I took a series of images to accompany those I already have of the water to help ‘tell the story’ of the river.

A couple of trips to the Water of Leith were both productive. The first was on a sunny afternoon when I found dappled sunlight illuminating the bed of the river to provide an abstract appearance. The light continued to hit the water to create a wonderful contrast with the shaded parts and give plenty of atmosphere to close-up pictures of water flowing around stones. The other was an early morning visit to a weir where a heron started to fish and I was delighted to capture it against a background of cascading water.

A walk around St Abbs Head allowed me to grab some pictures of the seabird colonies populating the cliffs and stacks. It was interesting to find a few gannets nesting amongst the razorbills and guillemots; perhaps ‘real estate’ on their stronghold, the Bass Rock, is at a premium! The wild flowers growing on the grassland above the cliffs were in bloom providing a colourful backdrop attracting bees and butterflies alike.

I made my first visit of the summer to Inchkeith island in the Firth of Forth to photograph the seabirds. I spent time with the puffins (which is addictive!) before trying some artistic, abstract shots of the birds in flight using slower shutter speeds. Attempts at any flower photography were thwarted by strong winds running down the estuary but the variety in bloom included scarlet pimpernel, little bugloss, biting stonecrop and henbane. Another day perhaps…