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Watch the birdie

Taking photos has been one of the things that I have come back to time and time again during this whole period of lockdown. For a while I took a photo of the same view of the hills every morning before I started work, which became a record of that amazing run of great weather we had last year. Then I got a cheap macro lens for my mobile phone and started focusing on the very small, discovering a whole world I didn't know existed. Taking photos of nature is a simple way to enhance your connection to the natural world and has clear links to the 5 ways to wellbeing, encouraging you to slow down and really open your eyes.

This week I was invited along to the Neighbourhood Networks photography group. The subject for the week was Getting Outside, and although the weather had not been great for the participants to go far from home, there were an amazing array of photos they'd taken during the week of the outdoors from the indoors, as well as a lot of snow. The pictures prompted discussions about the nature they noticed from their homes, the birds that visited their bird tables, the plants in the garden and the far away views. People also shared older photos which brought back happy memories of

places they like to visit and friends they like to spend time with. There were pictures of parks, rivers and best of all, of the sea, which made me so happy, as I miss it.

Living Streets (the UK charity for every day walking) have piqued our interest this week with the launch of their #WalkingFromHome photography competition. Not only is it encouraging walking and photography, both things we heartily approve of, but it is rainbow themed. The competition runs over seven weeks and each week focuses on a different colour of the rainbow, starting this week with red. You've got until the 15th February to send in your photographs of red things you have seen while you are out walking. Find out about how to get involved here.

Until this week, my morning walk for weeks now has been in the dark. There have definitely been different qualities to the dark on different days, but without a doubt it has still been nighttime. From the merest hint of light on the horizon when I left the house in the morning a week ago, to a walk today that was practically daylight from the moment I stepped outside. Despite the snow or perhaps because of the snow, there has been a spring in people's steps, and despite the snowdrops being covered in actual snow, it does feel like spring is on its way. No doubt there will be more dark days to come before this pandemic is over, but take photos while the sun shines.

If you'd like to find out a bit more about taking photos of nature then we've got a session coming up that might help. Delivered by Scott from Eolas Outdoor Learning this session will look at some of the basic techniques that can be adopted to photograph things in nature. You don't need a gigantic camera collection either, because the session will be based around using a smartphone. He'll also share some ideas for projects to give a focus to your photography. I love to have a project on the go, so I look forward to seeing you there. You can book on our Eventbrite page.

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