spider

Irrelevant story

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Having a real summer ( I use the term loosely) in July here in Ireland is something of fiction. Some people live here all their life still waiting for their first summer. This year they finally have got it, but in October.

Last Friday afternoon, a couple of hours before the sunset, I went for a walk around beautiful Tramore Bay & Backstrand, enjoying unusual weather, soft light, and tiny wildlife. I don’t have a real macro lens and have to manual-focus my trusted 70-200, but it is how I like it.

At home, I picked up some images, resized them, added them to the draft of my new post, and started thinking about a story to match.

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I was almost ready to start writing, but got a “visit” to my blog and paid a “visit” back.  It is where I read a remarkable story that  brought back my own memories.  A story I want to share is not relevant to the pictures I have selected, but …  may be it is?

Sometimes we have dreams so vivid that they can be quite disturbing. When it happens, we either maniacally want to know the meaning of the dream, or to erase it from our memory. It is only a bad dream, it has no consequence, right?

In winter 1985, shortly after my father’s death, I had a terrifying dream that woke me up breathless. I saw a man with long arms that reached down below his knees. The man was dressed in some sort of rags, and stood at the edge of the forest. He did nothing, just stared at me – not blankly but as if considering something. This stare followed me for months.

The same year, in early autumn, I took my mother and my three years old daughter for a spin. The weather was sunny, chilly  and dry, and the air was filled with that bitter-sweet scent of fallen leaves and sadness.

We drove through an unfamiliar forest, but it looked friendly and we decided to stop and walk, and pick some berries. On our way through the forest we didn’t see any farmhouses, or any sign of human presence, so we felt quite safe and at ease. Our car was parked just behind the trees. I laid a blanked on the soft moss for my daughter to play on, and my mom and I walked around with our mugs in our hands picking lingonberries.

After half an hour our mugs were almost full, and I sent my mom and my daughter to the car to start packing so that we could leave soon, and I would stay another five minutes to fill up my mug. I didn’t see them, just heard their voices. The mug was finally full, I stood up and there he was. The man from my nightmare.

Our eyes met. He stood there exactly as I remembered him – dressed in some dirty, shapeless gown, and with his arms hung down way below his knees.  His hands were empty and it scared me the most: people are not walking that deep in the forest with their hands empty. He stared at me, and I could not read his stare.

I knew I was going to die, but there was my child, and I had to act quickly. All my instincts came to my rescue. I gave him a blank, uninterested look, slowly turned my back to him, and slowly started walking away. The only thought pulsing in my brain was ‘… don’t run… don’t scream…’ I called the first male name that came in my mind, and added ‘ I am coming!’ I kept walking; I expected being hit from behind at any moment. When I was at some distance, I finally looked back. He was no longer there. Gone. And then I ran.

My daughter was already in the car. I yelled to my mother to get in, fell in the car seat and locked all the doors. My heart was pounding with terror. With shaking hands I started the car and took off still expecting him to jump out of the bushes somewhere along the road. Yet, he was gone for good.

I have never been nowhere near that place again. What was that dream? Who was the man? How long had he been watching me? I will never know.

After the photo session with the spiders and caterpillars, I walked to the strand. The tide was out, but the sand was still wet and reflected the skyline.

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The sun was already low, but the cloudless sky wouldn’t make any dramatic sunset pictures.  I sat on the rocks staring at the distant water.

I love shooting into the sun. Dream and reality are somewhat mixed in this kind of pictures.

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Thank you for listening to my story! Please share your ideas – I still feel like I need some explanation.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!

Snakes, ladders and mushrooms

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We met this snake in Twin Falls,  at the edge of Snake River Canyon. He was moving lazily with no apparent purpose and looked harmless.  I walked behind him and worried that he could crawl to the parking lot and get run over,  but he was too big for me to feel comfortable picking him up and taking to the bushes.  Luckily a man  walked by and showing no respect carried the  beast by his tail to the safe place.

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Not always was I so shy dealing with the snakes…

When I was a young child I used to spend a lot of time in my Grandparents home. Two images below were taken a year after my Grandmother died ( I already had a daughter of my own), and the house was abandoned and vandalised by that time. It was burned down after another couple of years.

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No one would live there in the middle of the forest, with no decent road ( you would be surprised to see how quickly the new growth consumes abandoned road!) But when I was a child the house was beautiful, and there was a farm, and a garden. Grandparents were busy so no one would ask me where  I go and what I do. When I got tired I would climb up the ladder in the hay shed and sleep. I was my own man.

I must have been five years old that summer. Every evening I asked my Grandma to tell me a story, and she often used that as an opportunity to give me a warning. There were multitudes of Adders living all around, and their bite could be dangerous for a five year old;  it is why many of my Grandma’s stories were dedicated to the snakes.

My dear Grandma! How many times I went exactly where she told me not to go – to the ruins of an old farmstead where the Adders were sunbathing in the middle of the day.  No, I am not proud of what I did, but I was only five! With a sturdy stick in my hand I walked to the unsuspecting critters and killed them in bunches! And I did it a good few times that summer.  I guess  I didn’t make a big dent in the Adder population  –  sometimes they even crawled into the house. And I loved lizards, frogs and toads.

There are a few pictures of a Slow worm – a legless lizard, sweet and harmless creature, often abused. I helped him to get off the road and took him to the safety of forest.

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I love toads and kiss them whenever I have a chance.

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I don’t like slugs. I know it is silly but I  think that they can  jump and strike… I took a picture of this one because it’s belly was orange color.  Don’t like spiders either, but admire their skills.

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This is the forest where the images were taken…

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…and these are the mushrooms we picked.

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The images were taken on my holidays last summer.

It is well known that St Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Some say it was the Ice Age though… but I believe in Patrick.

I don’t know who created this image, but I saw it on Facebook  last Paddy’s day. Makes me smile 🙂

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You can walk through the waist-tall grass in your slippers here. You can step over the old tree trunks and sit on the rocks without looking first. You are safe!

Do you have any snakes where you live?

Photography tip of the day: Sometimes you have to use your  built in  camera flash.  Here you can learn how to make a DIY diffuser,  simple and very effective.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a great day!