May 2020
May 2020 - A New Normal

We have all been learning a new vocabulary over the last few weeks with words and phrases such as "social distancing," "furlough", "lockdown" and "new normal" becoming common parlance. It might all be laughable were it not so serious. The impact of Covid 19 has been terrifying on both the economy and the number of human lives claimed. I wonder how this sad period will be portrayed in history in, say fifty years time? Perhaps we might only just have recovered from it by then?

My "new normal" has been to photograph more locally than ever before. This is unsurprising given that we have been urged to stay at home! I have set up props around the seed and peanut feeders to photograph the garden birds. We have been blessed with regular visits from the great tit, blue tit, robin, dunnock, chaffinch, bullfinch, goldfinch, greenfinch, wood pigeon and magpie. A grey squirrel can't resist the peanut feeder and I now need to design him an obstacle course! Queen bumble bees are also searching for mouse holes to nest in and regularly visit the blossom now emerging in the garden.

We have had a half whisky barrel filled with compost and wild flowers for many years now. Each year I plough more seed into it and a riot of colour emerges. Many seeds have dispersed around the garden resulting in the odd surprise. A cowslip grew out of a thin strip of gravel between our back lawn and terrace. Early evening sunlight illuminated the petals beautifully while the wooden cold frame that formed the background languished in dark shadow. A patch of lesser celandine has been steadily expanding year-by-year in one of our flower beds to produce a lovely spread of yellow star-shaped flowers. Too good to overlook, I posted an image on Facebook. The wild flowers will continue to come throughout the spring and summer which, along with the birds, will provide me with plenty of photographic material while we remain in "lockdown."

I am fortunate to live in a leafy suburb of Edinburgh close to green space and woodland. Consequently, I am looking to incorporate some photography into my daily walk which we are permitted to undertake under "lockdown." My wife and I have recently explored some new trails, reacquainted ourselves with others less frequented and enjoyed some old favourites. With three woodlands within easy reach, I am closely watching wood anemone, ramsons and bluebells supercede the one flower leek spreading across the floor. I suspect I shall be undertaking plenty of flower photography this year due to the travel restrictions.

Just recently I enjoyed a walk round the Meadows (which is parkland to the south of central Edinburgh) to view the beautiful blossom of the apple and cherry trees that line many of the park's walkways. I was carefully watched by a pigeon lodged amidst the colour (see image). Similarly, a walk along the Braidburn followed the stream through open parkland and wooded glen. The Water of Leith - one of my favourite haunts which I visited during the month to see and photograph goosanders - is close by with weirs and wildlife providing enormous photographic potential. The union canal passes within walking distance delivering a different waterside atmosphere. At times like these, it does make one appreciate just how spacious Edinburgh is and how lucky I am to live there.