Last week on Saturday morning, my alarm clock rang very early again: at 4:30. Many people don’t like getting up so early. They even don’t like getting up earlier than necessary or earlier than on a weekday morning. Me, usually, too. But, sometimes, the plans say different. So, this weekend: getting up early, drinking one coffee, having a shower, and jumping in the car.
Depending on the general temperatures of spring, around mid-April, the bluebells start blooming and their blooming time only lasts about 3-4 weeks. They depend on loose and nutrient-rich soil and must not become overgrown with bushes. The flowering cycle must be finished before the canopy of the surrounding deciduous trees closes and no light reaches the ground anymore. Although they were very common in Europe after the last ice age, they are very rare now, except in England and Wales. This small (tiny) forest is about 1,5 hour’s drive away from my home. Thus, I had to get up early if I want to be there at sunrise. And it’s only a very small timeslot to find rich blooming ground as well as not too dense foliage.
This forest is a nature-protected area. So, leaving the few paths is not allowed. I’m fine with that rule. But, there are many others not caring about it. The locals usually complain about the reckless visitors. When I was there for the first time, besides me only a few joggers were passing by. During my second visit, 10-15 photographers were also there, most of them equipped with apparently good equipment and a tripod. But, they should know better. When walking through the flowers to get ‘better’ spots / sights, they are trampling down the flowers and compacting the ground to make it next year harder for the flowers to breakthrough. They withdraw their energy into the onions. When I was there last year for my third visit, only very few flowers were blooming. Because of the cold weather, nature was way behind normal development. This year the timing was perfect. Many, many blooming flowers were covering the forest ground. Even from the parking ground about approximately 200 m away as the bird flies, I was able to see the blue glowing in the forest. And only a couple of quite well-behaving dog photographers (dog among the bluebells) were there. But, it was still quite full for the small area.
In the end, I was back at home at about 10:00. Time for breakfast!.
I assume, most of us like sleeping a bit longer on weekends or public holidays. Me, too. But, sometimes certain ideas require something else.
The week before Easter, I got a hint about a special occasion on Holy Saturday morning in Cologne. Cologne is not that far away, only a nearly 1-hour drive. So, I set my alarm clock for 4:00 a.m. When it rang, I got up and checked the sky if stars were visible. They were. So, starting the coffee maker was the next step before heading to the shower. Less than half an hour later, I sat in the car heading to Cologne.
Unfortunately, there were a few fleecy clouds between me and my target. Nevertheless, the results are quite satisfying, except for the black sky. Approximately 20-30 minutes later, the sky would have been perfect.
I gave it a second try on Easter Sunday morning, but now, the moon went down in a different position, so the composition wasn’t possible anymore. According to the source of the hint, this image is possible only once a year. So, Easter Sunday was already too late. The last image is taken on Easter Sunday morning, the others are from Holy Saturday.
What a wonderful sight to the Cuillins. They were covered so nicely with their blanket of clouds and the sheep make a wonderful foreground.
Back at the street a final view back to the Old man of Storr and his family with an 85mm focal length. They are standing or sitting up there and enjoying the view down to the sea. The bright spots are some sheep. You can enlarge the image by clicking on it. Do you see the paths? No? Me, neither. As I already told you, there aren’t any.
The group is located approximately 450m above the sea and the name giving “Old man” is about 48m high. The Storr is the name of the whole mountain formation (750 m high), where the rock needles grew out (they were created by the rain while the surrounding material eroded and only the harder parts survived). They have a fantastic view downhill to the sea, the neighboring islands, and even the Scottish mainland (assumed the sight is good enough). I already showed it to you in my past posts
From the parking ground, you can follow a gravel path for a few hundred meters ending at a gate. Up to here, the path is steep but quite easy to walk. Behind the gate, the harder part of the way up starts. Following sheep trails, we climbed uphill. But, the ground was very soft and slippy because of the amount of rain.
I’m very happy to have been able to climb up and come back down safely. In case, you want to try it, don’t try it without very solid hiking boots. In addition, hiking poles could be very useful. I didn’t have had hiking poles but missed them.
Climbing up a steep hill has not only disadvantages. One benefit is, that you have (or at least can have) a very good sight. For this image, I turned my camera a little more to the left. Thus, The Old man of Storr isn’t in the image like it was in my image last week also taken from this point. But, you can recognize the lake and the sea way better.