I arranged to meet up with a fellow photographer, Colin Bowles to take a look at the photographs on display at the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton from this year's awards, but I purposely made a point of arriving earlier so that I might take a few photographs of some of the plants within the gardens or in the long greenhouse, if I could manage to get in touch with one of the gardeners, Jan Tysoe.
She was not too sure I might find anything much of interest at this early stage of the season, though she knew it would not be a lack of trying on my part. I was dressed in layers for the outdoors, and away from the bitter cold inside the greenhouse, I was way over-dressed so hastily shed my coat in order to take a look the length of the interior in search of early signs of the coming season's growth.
It was not extensive, but the signs were there, and I spotted a minuscule snail on a leaf at the far end that was barely half a millimetre wide and at most one long, so had to move very close and up the speed, so that the shutter could cope with my unstable, shaky hands, but there was no way to convey an appreciation of it's scale.
I managed only a few images here before the call came through that Colin had arrived, so I gathered my gear and headed for the exhibition. Colin made an inherently sensible suggestion as to how we might proceed from the outside in, in order not to lose track of those images we had already seen by jumping from the outer walls to the inner display panels and back. It was interesting to note how many of the pictures elicited memories for Colin from his various travels around the world and his encounters with some of the animals or scenes, or how some stirred other memories from the past.
Whilst we were there a member of staff came around with a duster, and her duties must definitely have involved outside work as she was similarly clothed for the great outdoors, as she methodically ensured every one of the pictures were maintained at their best for the visitors.
Once again Colin and I both found the variety kept us interested throughout our visit, it is an exhibition we both recommend to be well worth finding the time to visit as it should be rewarding to all ages and this week is likely to be well-attended by children during their half-term break.