The May is well and truly oot (in both senses) and I’ve cast a cloot. Admittedly, I put it straight back on when the temperature dropped again, but the burst of warmth at the end of May and copious rain has helped the flora progress nicely. Some of the earlier-flowering hawthorn around Durham is already going over, but this particular shrub was still in full flower last weekend. It’s such a stunning sight that I had to get a couple of shots of it.
I think it’s the cultivar “Paul’s Scarlet” – the double flowers and leaf form certainly look consistent with the RHS photo and description. It stands out as the only red flower amongst many other white and pink hawthorns in the immediate area (by the side of the A177 at the top of Shincliffe Bank); I’ve a sneaking suspicion that it’s “escaped” from a local garden. You can tell it’s a Midland rather than Common Hawthorn because the leaves aren’t as deeply lobed as the example I included in Early Hawthorn…Or Not.
I was shooting in low light again on an overcast day, but at least it wasn’t raining this time. I was using a tripod with a 100mm macro lens but the light levels we so low that I had to start making compromises between ISO and shutter speed if I wanted to stop down at all without the shots suffering from motion blur. There was only the slightest of breezes, but it was enough to cause some problems. The top image was taken at ISO 200, f2.8 and 1/25 sec and the second image was ISO 640, f8 and 1/20 sec – longer shutter speeds than this resulted in the in-focus areas being less than sharp and even then I had to choose my moment to release the shutter carefully.
I’m coming to appreciate the differences – sometime subtle, sometimes not – between varieties of some of the UK’s indigenous species. I’m sure I’ll find some more to highlight in due course.