London’s streets are paved with gold and honey

There is a nice vibe in London this summer with local heroes paving our streets with gold. West Londoners enjoyed a perfect end to the Olympic Games at the weekend when Mo Farah stormed to victory winning a double gold. The Telegraph‘s Simon Hart reported: ‘A capacity home crowd on its feet and roaring itself hoarse as Londoner Mo Farah tore down the finishing straight for his second Olympic gold and a place at the very pinnacle of British sporting history. It does not get much better than this.’ (The Telegraph, Sunday 12 August)

I’ll admit to feeling a little teary eyed as Mo Farah grew up in my home town of Hounslow and went to school in Isleworth where a post box has been painted gold to celebrate his victory. My friend Christine kindly provided this photo of the gold post box in Isleworth – where we too went to school.

A post box is painted gold in Isleworth in honour of new local Olympic hero, Mo Farah. Image © Christine Wilkinson

The British summer saved itself for the Olympics and beautiful sunny days have brought back the familiar hum of bees to our parks and gardens. Bumbles, solitaries, honeybees, butterflies and hoverflies are foraging on whatever is flowering in August to stock their larders with honey.

Donna of Garden Walk Garden Talk and Green Apples wins the gold for shooting insect photography with her incredible post: Macro World – Look Into My Eyes. Inspired by Donna’s work, I have taken the first step from ‘automatic’ to ‘manual’ on the SLR with the result being a lot of blurry pictures and a few focused shots captioned by this summer’s quirkier Olympian quotes: What Usain Bolt & others said at London Olympics 2012 (BBC Sport).

‘Today the weather was beautiful and I decided just to go for it.’

‘We are not obliged to throw our president out of a helicopter.’

‘I’m now a living legend.’

‘We are from space, I am from Mars.’

‘Yohan is crazy. If he keeps talking like that someone is going to put him in a straitjacket one day.’

‘I love you mum.’

‘Watching the Olympics on TV with a beer and a bowl of crisps.’

Related links (or catching up on my blog reading post-Olympics)

I like learning from my fellow bloggers, so if you enjoy macro photography of insects and pictures of wildlife and flowers too, check out these blogs:

Portraits of Wildflowers – a lovely post 25 years, 25 pictures rounds up some of the best
Leaf and twig – with bees at Harvest
A French Garden – studies a Bee in echinacea
Rolling Harbour Abaco – maybe you can help with An Abaco insect is bugging me – what is this creature?
Standingoutinmyfield – It’s like a hair shampoo ad for bees, How to clean your antennae
Apiarylandlord’s blog – sums up my thoughts this August with I’ve been busy and here is my gallery

And finally, two photography blogs:

Daily tips on learning SLR on A Shot A Day with a lovely picture of a rainbow
Planet Earth Newsletter has created a lovely Sunday photo magazine (scroll down to seen some amazing bugs)

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27 thoughts on “London’s streets are paved with gold and honey

  1. Some stunning photos here – and so brave going for manual settings. I’ll have to find myself some time to look through the links as they look very helpful but am dashing out and need to get ready for visitors so cannot indulge at the moment.

    • Thank you, I’m a beginner to SLRs this year but have found people so generous with their knowledge, so I’m setting up a page on my blog with everything I’ve learned. A useful tip from a kind lady, Natalia, at Jessops was to go from ‘automatic’ mode to ‘P’ mode initially, so you can experiment with ISO first and the camera automatically sets shutter speed and aperture.

  2. The photo you opened this blog with is a dream I have yet to achieve after taking hundreds of bee photos this year. Great blog. The Olympics was awesome. I was blown away by the macro photography in the link.

    I have agreement from a landowner for beehives to be placed in an ancient wood outside of Colchester.

    • Thanks, Alex! I could hardly believe my eyes when I got home and saw it on my card! Bumbles are far more accommodating to photographers than honeybees – they fly slower and spend longer on flowers, and don’t mind if you get up close in their face 🙂

      Great news about your new beehives: ‘The bees in the wood’ would be a great blog! Emily and me may have found a potential exciting new site for our bees next year too 🙂

      • The wood is Pitchbury near Colchester a site of an ancient iron age fortress. I will certainly write a blog about the bees in the wood when I have something tangible to write about 🙂

  3. Fantastic photographs, you have certainly got to grips with the SLR. I would love one too but I cannot decide how extravagant I should be. I’d really love a “Rolls Royce” model, that’s what happens if you start reading photographic magazines, but I really cannot justify it for just a hobby.

    • Thank you, I’m getting to grips with ISO, aperture, shutter speed – must confess it is all a bit complicated but the results off automatic mode really are surprising… I researched SLRs for about a year before buying mine and asked lots of photographers. Nikon seems to be a favourite model for beginners in terms of being most user friendly and still taking amazing shots, while Canon and Lumix is favoured by professionals that I know. I went for a Canon 600D with standard kit lens and a zoom lens but getting a macro lens (F1.4mm) next. Hope that helps 🙂

  4. Emma, you have some really wonderful images for just beginning on Manual. They are very clear, you can see the eyes very well. I am going to invest in some extension tubes and diopters which will get me in even closer. I am not knew to the use of manual settings, but am relatively new to extreme macro work. I have been reading on it quite a bit and found out all the things I can get to improve. Also, on Kelby Training, where I am a member, has two classes I watched which gave me all these tips. I am so excited to try to get in even closer. Thanks for mentioning my post and awarding me the ‘Gold’.

    • I’m thinking of trying extension tubes too though haven’t heard of diopters. Your photos make you look like a pro at macro and have set the standard that I want to reach! Wow, if you can get any closer we’ll be able to see your camera reflected in those insect eyes 🙂

  5. I just discovered your blog – intrigued by your picture when you posted a “like” on ProfessionsforPeace. You and I both are fans of Gina’s blog. We have something else in common, too: a respect and affinity for honeybees. My husband of 50+ years is a retired beekeeper from CA. We now live in Montana – and I am relatively new to WordPress. Meeting people like you and becoming acquainted with your blog is a real treat. What marvelous photography! Thank you, Emma, for sharing your creativity ;o)

    • Hi Jan, welcome to WordPress, it is a great community for bloggers – very friendly. Gina’s blog is very inspiring. I am intrigued that your husband is a retired beekeeper because in the UK beekeeping is mostly a hobby. He is lucky to have done beekeeping as a job. Do you keep bees in Montana?

      Thank you for the kind words about the photos, I’m getting used to SLR.

  6. Great photos and the games looked beautiful…you would never know (from a distance, on TV) that the weather was an issue. London looked spectacular…

    We hope the weather holds and you, and your bees, get a great, late summer…

  7. Two of my friends on the Visual Anthropology course at Goldsmiths recently made a short film about two beekeepers in the area, and I thought you might find it interesting. 🙂

    As always, beautiful writing and stunning photos.

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