Sepia sky1 16 Oct 2017

Today the sky says that it is not an island. It’s painted sepia from lands far away, and dyes the world beneath into almond and darkness.

Sepia sky2 16 Oct 2017

The air is coloured with ash from the forest fires in Iberia and dust from the Sahara, sucked northwards by the force of Hurricane Ophelia, which is currently battering Ireland as a post-tropical cyclone. At 3pm the light levels slumped as if in the afterglow of winter twilight, and humanity rebelled by flicking on streetlights and headlights – but it seemed feeble under such a sky.

Before the dust, there was colour: leaves that would seem improbable if a human artist drew them.

Leaf 16 Oct 2017

And fungi carved into maple leaf-shape by slugs.

Leaf-shaped bolete 16 Oct 2017

Their less-eaten peers were in full show this morning. Meadow waxcaps are one of the largest of the waxcap family, and this is the first time that I’ve found one in my area.

Meadow waxcap 16 Oct 2017

But any giant is relative. The waxcap was dwarfed by a monster in the ancient woods. The lens cap is about 2 inches (5cm) wide, and the mushroom cap would dwarf some saucers. Its identity still eludes me, but possibly it’s an exceptionally big honey fungus.

Fungus giant 16 Oct 2017

The dust is sweeping northward and the sky is greying. I would not surprised to find a sprinkling of African sand over the cars tomorrow.

12 thoughts on “Sepia

  1. Adele, Ah, the mysteries around us! Until you say it, I had never thought of Saharan dust in England. Now it makes perfect sense. The Hurricanes around the world are blowing their might this year. We have a “Pineapple Express” heading our way today. The rain has just started and they are promising high winds and heavy deluges! Rinse and repeat on Wednesday!! As much as we don’t want to complain, we do!


  2. The unusual phenomenon of a hurricane in the Eastern Atlantic has certainly provoked interest on the ‘Net, along with its interesting effects. Paul (Words; I’m sure you remember him from MyOpera) has posted about it, as well, ( )Naturally, the effects in Ireland are rather simpler and more brutal than in England, but interesting, nonetheless.
    That maple leaf is certainly spectacular, and the Meadow waxcap is caught at its peak. The two “sepias” are positively antique-looking, quite 19th century..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’ve seen his amazing sunset shots. My brother lives in the same town and he saw an equally extraordinary sunrise yesterday. I think the south coast in general had more time with the dust; it didn’t hit Surrey until about 3pm. It really was the most bizarre thing. It was like standing in a Victorian photograph.


  3. This makes me remember some storms in Serbia, the next day cars would be covered in orange dust, they said it was a sand from northern Africa… No such a thing in BC, but here they thought me an interesting thing: in Vancouver, if you can see mountains – it will rain, if you can’t see them – it is already raining πŸ˜€ And that over here we don’t tan, we rust… Local jokes but so true with all the rain.

    Btw, you have Tamron lense, can you tell me which one and how satisfied are you. I keep my eye on 16-300mm Canon mount but it is still over $700, a bit too much, especially since I am preparing to upgrade to Canon 80D…


    1. Haha, yes, that sounds like a good BC proverb πŸ˜‰

      I hope you can get the 80D soon! I’ve had it for about 18 months now and cannot fault it. Regarding the lenses, my Tamron is the SP AF 200-500mm F/5-6.3 Di LD. It’s so far survived about ten years in my company, which is saying something considering the challenging environmental conditions I often work in. It has had to be professionally mended twice, however. It’s not as fast as a Canon lens but in general it works fine for me, especially on the 80D which is good in low light.

      If I were looking for a new lens, then I would certainly consider another Tamron – as long as the reviews were encouraging. Incidentally, I got a loaned Sigma of about the same telephoto during one of the Tamron’s repair episodes and considered the image quality to be noticeably inferior.


    2. A note on lenses: A competent writer on the subject ( makes the point that it is better to overspend on lenses rather than cameras, because the lens will remain useful for a longer time than the camera, which will be replaced in a year or so by something with more and better bells and whistles, whereas the lens remains “current” for a much longer time.


      1. I got my big Tamron lens in 2006, I think. It’s been partnered with three cameras as far as I recall. If it lasts for another three, I’ll be happy.

        That sounds like an interesting picture re: the dust. The sky is such a massive conveyor-belt, and yet that’s easily forgotten until something dramatic happens like the events of this week (or a volcano in Iceland erupts…)


      2. That’s true and I will stick with my current lenses for a while – even though some of them are just basic ones – but my current Canon T3 Rebel is showing its limits and I need an upgrade. The reason why I want that Canon EOS 80D is for its performances, the fact that I can still use my current lenses and a fact that body is sturdy and protected enough to withstand weather conditions that I am (ab)using my cameras at πŸ˜€


    3. Another subject … The mobility of the Sahara dust is truly amazing. I had, in the past a Xograph from Wally Bohan of a full-earth view from ATS-III, which showed a slight orange tint progressing westward across the Atlantic. It was dust from the Sahara, carried by the Trades (which also direct the hurricanes from near Africa toward the Americas), which accounts for the mysterious appearance of viruses and uother pestilences from Africa to North and South America.


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