An English Spring (Jodie Randall)

I seem to have spent much more time than usual this year taking photos in my garden rather than venturing further afield. After building the new pond for the frogs in the hope of creating a perfectly level and highly reflective water surface to photograph the frogs against they have failed to inhabit it.

I have had to resort to taking photos of them in our old pond which has been there years and is well established. It was not built with photography in mind and has quite a few disadvantages, the biggest being that it is wonky, preventing me from getting completely level with the water surface. A close second has to be the smell which is more than a  little off-putting.

Since the spring equinox the weather has been wonderful with temperatures of up to 24 degrees celcius just a few days ago.  The sprinkling of white amongst the hedgerows, only a couple of weeks ago due to the blackthorn bushes along with the thick, sickly-sweet smell of honey and almonds in the air, is now thanks to the milky white flowers of the hawthorn. On a gusty day just as the blackthorns were going over and the wind coaxed the last petals from the bushes I found myself caught up in a blizzard, albeit a blizzard of blossom rather than snow.

In my local woodland the bluebells are out about two weeks early due to the fine weather. The wood anemones, lesser celandines and early purple orchids have died off or are passed their best. Spring seems to be speeding by at such a rate its hard to keep up. Many of the subjects on my list of things to photograph this season look like they will have to wait another year. The  swallows have arrived and I have already heard both my first cuckoo and nightingale of the year. The blackbirds and robin flit around the garden with acid green caterpillars clutched tightly in their beaks. As one flower dies another blooms. Spring seems to be advancing at an ever quickening pace.
Back in the garden the list of butterflies is growing. A comma was the first back in the early days of March, flying off in a flutter of fiery wings, startled by my presence. Then there was the wide-eyed peacock and the first ever brimstone to visit my garden, a possible sighting of a common blue, and both male and female orange tips. The males, the only ones with the bright orange tips to their wings, career through the garden energetically never appearing to settle.

The skylarks in the field just across from us can be heard singing their optimistic verse  throughout the day managing to raise their voices above the droning of the traffic on the busy road below. Not bad for a tiny speck in the sky. And in the evenings as dusk closes in clouds of gnats dance a dizzying dance, pulsating to inaudible beat above my head.

See the new NBP Students Online Edition

NBPS Students Online #12

Click on the issue here to view the Spring issue of Nature’s Best Photography for Students online digital interactive edition:
Take a look and enjoy the stories by students for students! Our “Master in the Making” for this issue is Alex Mody and some of favorite images from students are featured in the “My Best Shot” gallery. New contributors to this edition are from St. Mary’s School in Memphis, Tennessee. Get advice from pro photographer, Joe Riis, reviews of nature websites and books, and learn how to recycle old technological equipment.
Send us YOUR photos from spring and summer trips, whether you are relaxing at home, busy with jobs and internships, or off traveling. We want to hear your ideas for stories and hope you will share your tips and tricks for successful photography.

All the best! The NBP team

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