Tag Archives: contrasts

Colourful Winter sunrise silhouettes the early morning landscape

Nature’s Colour Contrasts for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Nature has a keen eye for colour and she greets us in every season with so many different colour contrasts.

Pink and yellow

In our valley we are treated to some colourful Winter sunrises when the sky is aglow with amazing pinks and yellows.

Yellow and green

Yellow Winter Aconites against green leaves
The golden globes of Winter Aconites and their bright green leaves

It was mid-February this year when we spotted the glorious golden globes of the Winter Aconites Eranthis hyemalis as we took a woodland walk one sunny afternoon. I always look forward to seeing these flowers blooming for they bring with them the promise that Spring is not far off.

Yellow and blue

Yellow Gorse against blue sky
Gorse in bloom against the bright blue February sky

Gorse is a rather prickly shrub that grows widely in wild places in our area. Its yellow pea-type flowers begin to bloom from late January bringing some welcome brightness in our hedges and woods, replacing the browns of Winter.

Purple and orange

Purple and orange - crocuses in early Spring
Crocuses in early Spring

Like many people, we grow a pot or two of crocuses in our back yard. When our purple crocuses bloom, I know that Winter really is past and Spring is here to stay. The bright orange stamens seem to glow when the Spring sunshine catches them.

Purple and green

Carder Bee feeding on Common Knapweed
Bee-on-a-flower – a Carder Bee feeding on Common Knapweed

Our family has spent many happy hours focusing on creatures on Common Knapweed – literally! This beautiful purple flower of Summer is one of my favourite colours and the greens of the grass and foliage create a perfect backdrop.

Orange and purple

Comma butterfly on thistles
Comma butterfly on thistles

Colourful butterflies are another delight of Summer. The orange of this Comma butterfly contrasts well against the purple thistles.

Red-orange and green

Rowanberries - close-up
Rowanberries really are full of sunshine

As the Summer draws to a close, the hedgerows fill up with Autumn fruits. Red berries against green foliage are a certain reminder that it is time to stock up the larder with these juicy fruits, full of captured Summer sunshine, to see us through the dark days of Winter. We also make sure we leave plenty for the birds and beasties.

Do take a look at the ‘Contrasting Colors’ others have chosen for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.

J Peggy Taylor

Shaft of sunlight lighting up the old waggonway between the dark conifer trees

Straight lines and contrasts – photo challenge time

When I saw the themes of two of this week’s photo challenges, it made me remember an interesting industrial archaeology project we worked on a couple of years ago. For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week we are seeking out “straight lines”. For the WordPress Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge we are considering “contrasts”. In the place we were exploring our industrial archaeology we noticed several combined instances of these concepts.

Our local area is full of industrial history as we live on part of the Durham Coalfield. Remnants of old mine shafts, iron workings and networks of old railway lines and waggonways are woven into this peaceful green and rural landscape. It must have been a very different environment a hundred years ago when coal mining here was at its height. The noise, the dust and the smoke have all gone completely. The collieries, old spoil heaps and railway tracks are now gradually assimilating into the landscape. Reclaimed by Mother Nature and grown over with woodland (some natural, some planted), unless you know their story, you don’t really notice them at all when you pass by.

Here’s my selection:

This straight track is part of the old railway line. This railway carried steam locomotives hauling their cargo of coals to the River Tyne. Now it is a peaceful footpath where we watch butterflies and pick blackberries as we look out across the wooded valley.
This straight track is part of the old railway line. This railway carried steam locomotives hauling their cargo of coals to the River Tyne. Now it is a peaceful footpath where we watch butterflies and pick blackberries as we look out across the wooded valley.
Sunlight searching through this steep-sided stream gully provided a stark dark/light contrast from our vantage point on the hillside between some tall, dark conifers.
Sunlight searching through this steep-sided stream gully provided a stark dark/light contrast from our vantage point on the hillside between some tall, dark conifers.
Blocks of moss-covered stone masonry built into the bankside are all that remain of this early 19th century coal mine shaft. The horizontals of the masonry contrast with the verticals of the conifers above.
Blocks of moss-covered stone masonry built into the bankside are all that remain of this early 19th century coal mine shaft. The horizontals of the masonry contrast with the verticals of the conifers above.
A wide, flat, straight pathway through a hillside conifer plantation. This pathway would have carried a wooden waggonway, with horses drawing the truckloads of coal from the mine along to the colliery yard.
A wide, flat, straight pathway through a hillside conifer plantation. This pathway would have been a wooden waggonway, with horses drawing the truckloads of coal from the mine along to the colliery yard.
A shaft of sunlight glances across a woodland floor. A century ago this used to be a noisy, busy colliery yard.
A shaft of sunlight glances across a woodland floor. A century ago this used to be a noisy, busy colliery yard.

Most of these photographs were taken by my son. He loves to seek out interesting patterns in the landscape.

J Peggy Taylor