Mini Beasts on Southampton Common

DSC_0378DSC_0378_1Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 320, f14, 1/40 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link

Last Thursday I was standing in Southampton Old Cemetery enjoying the sunshine and the return of the bees. Just three days later the Mini Beast from the East had arrived, and we were back in midwinter.

DSC_0281DSC_0281_2Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 800, f11, 1/125 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link
DSC_0074DSC_0074_1Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 200, f14, 1/20 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link

The Mini Beast brought with it just enough snow to transform Southampton Common into a glittering wonderland, and on Sunday morning I had about an hour to explore the magical world that had appeared overnight before some slightly less glistening activities kicked in.

DSC_0109DSC_0109_1Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 250, f14, 1/25 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link
DSC_0025DSC_0025Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 320, f10, 1/40 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link

The arrival of snow seems to cause us to become unusually friendly and helpful to our fellow beings. Instead of studiously avoiding eye contact with strangers we smile at everyone we see; exchange pleasantries with people whom we have never met before; and discuss the current snow, our cold weather attire, memories of the last time it snowed, and future possibilities for snow with just about anyone whose path we cross (including people whom we usually actively avoid). If we see someone who is in need of assistance, or looks as if they might be in need of assistance, we rush to their aid, with no concern about looking foolish or nosey if they turn out to be perfectly OK. Generally, this is one of the things that I love about snow days. Everyone in Southampton is my friend and wants to make sure that I am safe and well cared for.

DSC_0035DSC_0035_1Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 200, f10, 1/40 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link
DSC_0095DSC_0095Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 200, f14, 1/40 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link

However, on this occasion I was presented with a slight dilemma as I was out and about with a camera and limited time. As a result, I spent much of my snow play time torn between the urge to join in the general camaraderie and good will and the desire to find photogenic spots with reasonably pristine snow in order to justify lugging a camera through the icy streets between my house and the Common. Consequently, I became a somewhat bizarre snow character, marching around the Common with a permanent precautionary grin on my face, speaking in a rapid but upbeat manner to anyone I encountered, whilst using my tripod as a makeshift speed-walking aid.

DSC_0436DSC_0436_2Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 500, f11, 1/80 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link
DSC_0083DSC_0083_1Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 200, f14, 1/40 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link
DSC_0338DSC_0338_1Nikon D5500, Nikon 18-200 lens, ISO 200, f13, 1/25 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link

Notwithstanding my personal peculiarities, the Common was beautiful on Sunday. People of all ages were having fun, sledges of various styles and sizes were out in force, and a range of snow sculptures adorned the main field. We rarely get snow in Southampton, and it is almost all gone now, which is kind of sad. Nonetheless, much as I loved the Narnia-style blanket that it spread over the Common, I am glad to see the spring flowers and blossom peeping back through. Now I can rewind my thinking back to the mini beasts of Spring and Summer. As an extra bonus, my train was delayed this morning and things were slightly chaotic at the station. This created one of the few other circumstances in which English people spontaneously and animatedly talk to complete strangers.

DSC_0210DSC_0210_3Nikon D5500, Nikon 70-300 lens, ISO 500, f13, 1/60 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link
DSC_0034Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 500, f14, 1/60  To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link
DSC_0159Nikon D5500, Nikon macro lens, ISO 800, f14, 1/400 To purchase an unmarked copy of this image please click on this link

 

 

 

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