Photography as a record

Photography had to take a back seat while I was busy going through the trauma of moving house, but I didn’t stop taking photos, as they’re a great record of our move. I just didn’t have time or energy to update my files and pass on the photos to you. But now we’re settled, have got most things out of boxes and have a desk to work at, I’m back with you.

Photography can have many, many applications, and I use those that suit me. One of them is as an aid memoir or record of things I’ve seen, places I’ve been etc. Of course most of us use it that way. These days photography is cheap, and you can keep a record of anything you’d like. Wouldn’t you like to be able to look back on your life and recover those memories in great shots? Images that really remind you of what you did, where you were, what inspired you or made you smile? Carry that camera or phone and don’t miss opportunities to make memories. They fade too quickly without reminders! My thoughts often turn to my camera when I haven’t got it, so I’m going to re-aquaint myself with my little cannon point and shoot, as it’s now always possible to carry the Nikon kit around.

I’m very lucky. My dad was into photography and cinema way back when black and white film was all there was. We have cine film of us as children that he’s since scanned digitally to preserve it for us all. These records are rare, as very few people had the enthusiasm or equipment to do this. I’m continuing to record my life. My memory is awful! And with digital cameras, you can pinpoint the day, time and place each shot was taken, so no arguing years later when you look back on what had been, when and where!

Here are some shots of our new house and what we’ve been doing since I last posted. Photography doesn’t have to be picture perfect, unless you’re trying to sell it of course. These are records, not exercises in photographic perfection. Getting clear shots that give you the detail you want is the aim.

house move record kitchen

House move. Our new kitchen

garden record

Garden record. Now I know what needs sorting out in that bed!

Record of winter snow

Record of this winter's snow piled at my back door.

local-fields-snow-record

The beauty of our local fields under snow

Record of our first fire in our new hearth

Hungry Robin Record

Record of a hungry robin

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Druids Temple or Folly? – a photographic trip into the past

As you know if you follow my blog, we travelled a lot this summer around the UK. One trip was a camp with friends that ended in a rather special treat. Our good friend Pete took us to one of his favourite spots. A so-called Druids Temple in Yorkshire. Built in the 1800’s, we think it was used by the wealthy family for ceremonial purposes but can only guess just what kind of rituals were performed here. Some say it was just a folly, but the scale, detail and magnificence of it gave me the feeling it really wasn’t just a showpiece but a large piece of working kit. What do you think?

My Friend Pete proudly waiting at the entrance

A First Glance Inside. Scale.

Inside the Temple Space. This thing is huge!

The Inner Ring-not visible when you enter, with cave-like structure

Taken from above the 'cave'

Inside the Cave Structure. The standing stone in front of it shields it from view.

Friends above and behind the Temple - barely visible through the trees. Well hidden!

This is one set of photographs that was hard to pick out for you. In the three hours we were there I took over 100 shots trying to capture the flavour of a very mystical space. I hope these do it justice. A hidden gem from the past still there for us to enjoy. I look forward to visiting there again, probably next summer. Come on, what imagery of unusual place have you got on that hard drive of yours? Care to share?

 

Travel, Photography, Life and Death

I took a lot of photos this summer. We travelled, saw friends, saw some beautiful places. One of them was Whitby, famous for Jet and of course Vampires! It’s not hard to see why Bram Stoker was inspired when you go up to the Abbey and take a look around. Life and death appear side by side – opposite sides in fact, of the same town. A strange, thought-provoking juxtaposition to see. A cemetery right above a thriving town full of living people. Quite a picture.  But what a place to end your days!

Whitby life and death

The Abbey itself is an imposing structure.  It’s a very impressive image and very provocative for any writer. My partner writes Vampire and horror fiction, and he loved the atmosphere. He has visited Whitby several times in the past and doesn’t tire of it. You can see why. Perched high above the town, Stoker had the perfect breeding ground for a fertile imagination.

Whitby Abbey

It’s a wonderful old town, crammed with little shops and craftspeople. But the approach to the Abbey is a daunting one. We took our time climbing the steps, stopped and admired the view, getting our breath back at the same time.

Approach to the Abbey

Whitby Bay. A view from the climb

Here’s another view from the steps.

Abbey Steps View

Where have you been? What have you seen? Did you gain any new insights or inspiration from your travels?

 

Inspiration for Photography – Where does yours come from?

Where do you find inspiration when you take your camera out? Do you shoot friends? Do you concentrate on wildlife? Architecture? Do you experiment and see what happens? Are you willing to think outside the box? Personally I can’t help but keep trying new ideas. I can’t help shooting anything that takes my eye. When you look back on this blog at previous posts, you may be forgiven for thinking that all I’m interested in is flowers and animals. But here are a few of my experimental shots. I’ve never done night photography before, but on holiday this year, high on a hill overlooking the Brecon Beacons I was wending my way back to my camper when I stopped, looked and felt compelled to return with my camera. I’d been at a wedding all day. Then our camper had got stuck on the way back up to the site and I’d trekked, still in wedding gear, up the track to the site and across the field to our new found friends. They’d wrapped a blanket around me and the farmer helped get our van back on site. By now it was one in the morning so I was very tired But I had to try to capture what I saw for my own memories of the place. The wonderful, scenic place we’d found ourselves in after booking over the internet. Memories of my partner’s son’s wedding, memories of the friends we’d made on that hill around a camp fire in the dark. We’re still in touch, months later with those new friends. And the memories of the place are preserved.

Brecon Beacons at Night

This was the place during the day. Still beautiful, in not the best of weather conditions for a brilliant shots, but these aren’t intended for sale or for competitions. They’re for me and my partner to fondly look back on and share with friends and family.

Brecon Beacons

We left Wales and crossed the Severn Bridge. I’ve never been over it before and was interested in getting pictures of it but slightly worried because of my heights phobia. So I focussed (pardon the pun) and got busy with my camera. Of course you’re not allowed to stop on the bridge and my partner was driving. I could only point my camera out of the window and hope I was getting a good shot. I didn’t want our slightly grubby windscreen to interfere with the images, so used auto focus and kept my fingers crossed. I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Severn Bridge

Then I went for some more obscure angles, to see the structure of this wonderful bridge.

Bridge detail

Severn Bridge detail

No, they’re not perfectly composed. No, they wouldn’t be judged as great pictures. Does that matter? Quite frankly, no. What matters is that I have my memories and I have experimented and got interesting detail of that bridge I couldn’t have otherwise captured.

Wellies

When we reached our next destination on our trip, we were greeted by these in the entrance to our campsite. This is an image that was inspired by someone else’s inspiration to brighten up their site. If only more people helped to make the world a brighter, more recycled place. Delightful!

So where does YOUR inspiration come from?

Wildlife Photos in the Garden

It’s been a while since I posted, and for several good reasons. One, my parents needed help and live 120 miles away, so travel was necessary, taking me away from the computer and time to write. Two, my son had a birthday for which I did a party involving people travelling and staying with us and three, we’ve found a house we love and are frantically promoting the sale of our current residence so we can move. The new house is a bay fronted semi, backing onto fields. It has 120ft long garden where I can grow food and flowers, encourage wildlife and have some peace and quiet, something in short supply in my current home. I can’t wait.

Gardening organically has already had its rewards for me. I’ve had plenty of birds visiting for years, but I’m delighted to introduce you to Jimmy, my resident hedgehog. He/she (they’re not easy to sex) first appeared at my feet when I sat out in the garden at  midnight one July night after returning from a trip. I thought I was very lucky to see one close up for the first time in my longish life. What I didn’t expect was to find he’d moved into the garden and taken up residence in a garden sack of clematis prunings I’d put aside for the next fire. He’s made a cosy nest in there and now comes to my back door every night for his supper before going off foraging. Of course, I had to get some photos of him and here he is.

Jimmy the Hedgehog

Jimmy the Hedgehog

He didn’t mind at all that I was laid on the ground right in front of him and using flash. He just carried on munching his supper. When we move, I’m taking him with me. The estate we’re on now is surrounded by busy roads and lots of big dogs. Where we are going he’ll have the run of my garden and all the surrounding gardens and fields, never needing to go near a road. As hedgehogs are now endangered I hope this will help just a tiny little bit.

We’ve had other wildlife in the garden, too. I try to photograph it whenever I can. It’s great to see diversity coming back to what was once a patch of scrubby couch grass and not much else. Earlier this year I had a plague of blackfly. It didn’t take long, though for the ladybird brigade to turn up and help me out with them. I’ve never seen so many ladybirds before on one plant. These two obligingly posed for me on a nice, still day.

Ladybird Friends

Mother and son?

It’s great to see so many friends in the garden. Hedgehog eats the slugs and snails, ladybirds eat the blackfly and hoverflies of course do a similar job.

Hoverfly

Then there are the ambitious spiders. They seem to want to catch a human. Each morning we have a new web across the back door. It’s a good job I quite like them or I’d never get outside! They of course do their part in keeping pest numbers down, are beautifully marked and quite fascinating to watch. No wonder King Arthur burnt the cakes!  This one made a web on the washing line and I couldn’t resist trying for some shots, despite the breeze, which made the whole thing quite frustrating, but worth it, I think.

Spider

So I don’t have to go far to find friends, photographic subjects and bags of interest to keep me going as long as I keep on gardening. So many advantages from one hobby. Organic food, money-saving, photographic subjects, the satisfaction of doing my little bit for conservation and my own enjoyment – all from one plot. what more could a woman ask?

Abstract perspectives in photography

It’s difficult to choose a subject with over 1,000 to process currently, so I’ll concentrate on one tiny aspect of what I’ve been up to. As I’ve been running around on my travels I’ve been inspired to do some abstract photographs. There are always lots, of course, but some things just strike you as worthwhile the time and effort to shoot. When looking at objects, move around them, or of they’re small, move them around. Look at them from different angles. try to obscure or leave out any distracting elements. Play with that camera! Play with colour and light. Experiment. It costs nothing to press delete of you don’t like the results, and you might get something special.

abstract spades

abstract fishing

fishnet abstract

old rope

Look for a good composition, balance, colour and interest. The technique you use should be creativity. Forget which lens, which filter or which camera even. Just LOOK until you find that composition. Then you can play with equipment.  Try different shots from different perspectives of your abstract until you find something you’re happy with. Think outside the box! Above all, have fun with that camera and find your own image of the world.

Rare chance to Photograph Baby Birds

While on our travels this summer, we visited Porlock in Somerset. It’s a lovely little place with friendly people, a picturesque village and a visitor centre. Imagine my surprise when I saw a swallow flitting in and out of the  porch there, looked up and spied these swallows.

swallows

At least that’s what I think they are. Of course, if you know different…let me know, please! Here’s a close-up picture of the babies. All I could do, technique-wise, was steady the camera, point in the right direction, get someone to tell me when mum (or dad) was coming in and shoot with fingers crossed.

Baby Swallows?

Next Blog…Drowned forest at Porlock bay.

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