Winter Photographer’s Idiot Checklist

Winter. Brrr

There are many, many articles out there about what camera, which tripod and which lenses to use when out doing photography, but often it’s the small things we forget, or don’t think about until it’s too late. Then whoops, you’re stuck.

So here’s a list I use myself, being a seasoned camper, camper-vanner and photographer. Safety, especially in this cold season, is paramount, especially if you’re heading for the countryside to get some shots of pristine snow and ice.

  • Camera, lenses, lens cloth (things get steamed up), flash (puts a sheen on snow on a dull day), and if you have one, a battery charger for the lighter socket. Carrier bag, large. This is handy for kneeling on in the wet.
  • Tripod. Low light often means longer shutter speeds.
  • Blanket, towel, flask, snacks (my favourites are dark chocolate, crisps, nuts and fruit) to keep your calories up should you get stuck in snow.
  • In the boot… Emergency break down kit, including warning triangles and tape. Cars left in snowdrifts have been known to be hit by snow ploughs once buried in drifts.
  • Spare socks and shoes… it’s surprising how dry feet can warm you up after stepping in that puddle/stream with the camera in front of your face.
  • Mobile phone (fully charged) to call for help should you need it. Car phone charger.
  • Any medications you might be on, just in case you do get stranded. It’s one thing less to worry about while waiting for rescue.
  • Bottle or two of water. Snow isn’t hygienic and doesn’t taste nice.
  • Powerful torch and spare batteries.
  • Spade or shovel. You may need to dig yourself out or clear ice from your parking space.
  • Warm gloves, fingerless gloves. Tripods can freeze your hands!
  • Boots with grip. Don’t underestimate the ground. Under that lovely white snow could be a sheet of ice waiting to catch you out.
  • Make sure your vehicle is dosed with anti-freeze and have an ice scraper handy.
  • Hat. You lose a third of your heat hrough the top of your head. I have a thermal one and a furry, smart one. I’d rather be too warm than too cold!
  • Mirror. Is your head screwed on the right way round? Did you use your checklist? If so, check, one idiot!
  • Have fun and get great photos.

Do you have a tip to add? Please leave a message….

  • Baby it's cold outside

    Out and About

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Great News! Sales go Live on Website.

Hoverfly on Thistle. Copyright caffimages.co.uk

I’ve cracked it. I’m not the best tech-head in the world, but I’ve got my website set up to take sales by paypal. Not all of them are for sale just yet, but my large, square format images are, as they’re my visitors’ favourites. Flowers for your walls! Reminders of spring and summer all year round! And they’re NOT print outs from a desktop printer, either. I have a top quality pro-lab printing service, tried and tested printing on Fuji-lustre high quality paper.

These prints make great Christmas/birthday presents. (as family and friends will attest). There was a stumbling block for these square shots until recently, and that was obtaining frames. But now even Wilkinsons has frames available in square format. I bought some for my exhibtion and they’re just fine. A 20″ frame with a 16″ mount sets off my pictures perfectly. If you’re desperately looking for a special present, something NOT available in every high street shop, come and have a look at my website at caffimages.co.uk.

Wish me luck, folks. It’s been a long, hard slog to get things this far. As ever, your comments are always appreciated!

Purple Dahlia Copyright caffimages.co.uk

 

How Not to Photograph Birds

Well, despite feeling rotten yesterday I forced myself to go out with the camera to our local woods. I decided to go down to the hide and photo the birds, who I reasoned, would be there in throngs due to the frozen ground, and I was right. I didn’t factor in the low light levels at that site, though, so shutter speeds were far too long for good sharp images, and because I was feeling rotten my reflexes were also far too slow. The results are obvious, if slightly amusing! I thought I’d share, so next time you fancy taking shots of birds, you find a good, bright site with lots of light and make sure you’re feeling bright, too.

Blurrrr

Where's it gone?

Then there’s how to do it properly. These were taken in my own back garden while I sat in the lounge, patio doors open and a nice bright day so shutter speeds were much higher and I was much brighter, too.

Mum, feed me!

I'm just busy, OK?

Now all I have to do to photograph the other species that don’t visit my garden is find a better spot to bait wild birds with food, get myself comfy and freeze while waiting with lightening reactions when they arrive!

Fabrika Exhibition Starts Today

Fabrika Independent Arts Organisation, Leicester

Well, having been to Leicester this morning to have some pictures taken of the inside of my head, (they assured me there is a brain in there) we decided to call in at Fabrika. My pictures were sat there, about to be hung. So from today they’ll be on display for everyone to see (and buy if they wish). My partner had his mobile phone with him and decided to take some shots of the building and my photos in the queue.

Three of my photos ready for exhibition

Here’s a lo-res jpeg of the biggest one I’ve put up, and one I have great memories of taking, as I have an affinity with owls. They always seem to appear in my life when things are changing for the better. Plus, when I was little, my mum taught me a poem you may or may not know. So, poem and photo…

Eurasian Eagle Owl

A wise old owl sat in an oak,

The more he saw, the less he spoke.

The less he spoke, the more he heard.

I wish I was more like that wise, old bird.

And even in my fifties, I wish I WAS more like that wise old bird!

Anyway, Since I couldn’t get to the frost this morning  with my camera (had to rush off to hospital appointment), that will be a job for tomorrow. For now I’m keeping my fingers crossed that loads of people see my work and some of it sells. More on that soon, as I’m getting ready for sales from my website.

More Exhibitionism

Arty lily

Well, an unexpected opportunity has arisen. I’ve spent the day rushing around to buy frames in which to mount some of my photographs. There’s a last-minute exhibtion starting in Leicester’s Fabrika and my photos will be delivered there in the morning. It’s all very exciting. A lot of hard work has gone into my collection and now it’s beginning to pay off. I’ve got a brilliant shot of an Eurasian Eagle Owl and three flower pictures. They will be for sale but it’s great just to get them out there and let others see them! This is one step closer to my website going live for sales. It’s slow going as there are still lots of other things I have to do as well as my photography, but slowly but surely I hope to get there.

Wish me luck, and please say hello if you’ve dropped by, here or at Fabrika I’d love to hear from you.

 

Remember spring?

 

 

Ghoulish Fun

 

ghoulish moments

 

 

Last month I travelled up to Yorkshire to join friends for a Halloween party. We’re a bunch of pagans who see this time as special, Samhain. The veil between our world and the next is thinnest, the winter truly begun. But we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We spent time just being together, chatting, laughing, remembering those of us who have already gone to the other side. My friends have a great sense of humour.their garden became a magnet for me because of course, I’d taken my camera. Someone brought fireworks, and my hosts had ‘decorated the garden. So today some ghoulish shots that we had to have some fun with. Here they are to share with you. As the ‘models’ were plastic, I’ve found the slightly blurred shots more convincing than the completely in focus ones.

 

It's cold outside!

Can I have a toffee apple?

The fireworks were quite funny, as some were from last year. We stood waiting for huge explosions and sometimes only got a fizzle. All the funnier after a few party beverages, of course. The party animals thought this next idea was hilarious. As I was taking long exposures I couldn’t see the results until I reviewed them. It’s time we all smiled more!

 

I wonder what they were trying to paint with light?

One firework that worked

 

 

 

 

 

Cornwall Floods

Eden Project, Cornwall

My thoughts are with the people in Cornwall today, especially those struggling with the aftermath of the flooding in and around St Austell. Around 3 feet of water flooded into the area after a river burst its banks, in exactly the area I spent such a happy time back in September. The local villages, so pretty, friendly and relaxed, are now in chaos, and will take months to recover. Homes have been ruined, lives totally disrupted.

Huge sculpture at Eden

The Eden project, designed as an educational facility about our planet has been badly hit, too. It’s such a shame to see the place where I sat enjoying live music and photographing such wonderful plants and exhibits covered in mud and debris, and I’m sure it will cost tons to put right.

Metal Man

Take a closer look at metal man. (click on the pic). Eden built this man out of scrap metal to illustrate how much scrap metal each of us will generate in our lives. It towers above you and is made of washing machines, old computers etc. Shocking, isn’t it? This sort of education is well worth doing. I wish Eden all the best in recovering from the floods. If I was close enough to help them I surely would.

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