My beautiful friend – Happy 40th!

It’s not every day you get to shoot your friend…

The result, I hope, is what she wanted. They were taken on a very sunny morning, last week, at Poppit Sands, in Pembrokeshire. I have a very beautiful friend, on the inside and the outside and I hope that this translates in my photos.

Jennifer – your photos are on smugmug for only you to see – this is only a VERY small teaser! Check your email for your password to the gallery. These are NOT the very best photos… as I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Happy birthday love. Enjoy! xxx

A learning journey

I have recently been asked to do a few more adult portraits. I don’t have a studio, so if someone asks me, it is because they know we will be outside, come rain or shine, walking through woods, struggling through mud or fighting with the incoming tide. It takes a certain person to agree to this! For children it is of course great fun to run around the park, the beach, the trees etc, but not always for adults. However, i love it! And, I believe that you get some very natural shots when you are outside. It is as if, not being confined to a certain space, or have glaring lights in your eyes, eases you more readily into a feeling of comfort and security, helping you to trust your photographer.

It was a few weeks ago now that I was asked to take some photos of Paul, and at the same time, we decided to invite his stepson to come and take part and have his photos done too. It was such an enjoyable shoot. It was easy, fun and relaxing – at least for me! We went on a long walk through Hestercombe gardens, through the gardens themselves, into the woods, up and along the pathway. We sat in the old cubby holes and leant on posts, pillars and trees, and the results were pretty darn good. It is not difficult to take photos though when the subjects are as willing and as malleable as these two. My job was almost done for me, before we even started.

The brief was to take some shots of Paul for his profile photos. We wanted to bring out the creative side of him, the eco friendly side as well as the successful business man. I think and really hope, that we achieved this.

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As for Patrick… well, I haven’t really done any teen shots before, so I wanted to see how that would go. I thought it would be much harder than it actually was, but it really helped that Patrick was so easy going and handsome young chap, to boot. The shots were done at the same time as Paul’s shots, using the same trees and areas of Hestercombe as with Paul. Patrick is a musician, plays guitar really well, and I wanted to convey a sense of the teen idol, in his photos. Hopefully next time I will get to photograph him WITH his guitar.

One of the things I am learning so much about is seeing with my eyes, what my camera sees and how a shot will actually look when I get home. There is one particular shot of Patrick that I have included in the slideshow where his jumper is all ruffled and at the time, I didn’t actually see that. It is such a shame when you get a lovely shot and something like this changes the whole look and feel of it. I wish I had noticed and had him straighten his jumper before I started shooting. The great thing however is that we live and learn ! The other thing I learnt a lot about was light. the sun was glaring down at us for most of the day, and some of the shots were far too bright. I later learnt that I could have used my flash to deflect the light from the sun, but actually, a walk in the woods, the leaves, the trees and the shade they created, added to a much more atmospheric feel in some cases. That’s what I love about natural light photography. We use what the universe brings us.

It was a wonderful day, and I learn so much every time I go and turn on my camera. It is a great journey to be on and how amazing to have so many wonderful people come along for the ride.


For Sketchjay

This is a little post for Dawn Henning, an artist and blogger who creates the most amazing bird art…

I am just back from a weekend in Pembrokeshire… a weekend full of beaches, cliffs and so much different wildlife to take photos of. Along with seeing Dolphins on the shores of Britain for the first time, I was also very fortunate to find this little guy…

We were driving home from the children’s football match in the morning on Saturday, when I noticed a bird of prey on the ground… just sitting there. I asked my friend to quickly turn around and drive into the carpark, I sprang out and there he was, happily munching (what was) a pigeon. I was so amazed, as he didn’t fly away for ages. Luckily I had my camera to hand.

Let me introduce you to a young male Kestrel. I didn’t know he was a Kestrel until I got back and checked the bird book, but was very happy when I did. We have a lot of Buzzards in the west country, but have only ever seen one Kestrel before, and that was very far away as it was hovering   near a cliff. I always feel very blessed to be in the presence of wildlife and this little chap made me feel this even more. 

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After this, we went to Mwnt beach which is where we saw the Dolphins and then, on the way home, on the motorway, we saw a red kite, but I was driving so I couldn’t very well get my camera out. I love Red Kites, they are most definitely my favourites as they are quite simply so graceful and have that beautiful burnt orange colour when the sun shines on them. I also really love Peregrin Falcons, though there aren’t that many of them around where we live – we need some more cliffs and more tall buildings!

Anyway, Sketchjay – enjoy! xx

Shooting into sunlight

Sometimes it works…sometimes it doesn’t. I do love the way you get some quite ethereal looking images when you shoot directly into sunlight, especially LATE light, shining through the trees, light that picks out just one or two subjects and puts them in the spotlight for just a moment…

I always feel that photography is all about luck. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but when you are REALLY lucky, you come home, you transfer your images to your server, you take a back up, you load them into lightroom, and then, when you least expect it… BANG! there it is… or even better – there THEY are… the images you thought you took, but couldn’t be sure of… there they are, in all their glory…

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In the wise words of that bloke from the A team… Hannibal?…
‘I love it when a plan comes together’ – (for those who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s!)
Am republishing this as I have made a few changes to my twitter accounts, and want to make sure that the posts are going to the right place… fingers crossed!

Flying with the crowd

Starlings November 2011

A filth of starlings coming home to roost

I am SOOOOO annoyed… I just wrote a lovely post all about me (obviously) and then I hit the wrong button and it completely disappeared, and now I can’t find it…

I wanted to tell you all – even if I have already mentioned it a  few times on Facebook, that it seems that 2 of my photos have published… They are going to be in Exmoor Magazine! I am so chuffed… had this been the original post, you would have hear a much more exuberant and energetic chuffed voice… but since it is this post, and my second so far, suffice it to say that I am incredibly pleased and proud as punch – wanting to tell Everyone my good news. My last post was rather long, so it could be that it is a blessing in disguise that I am not harping on in this one…

What I do want to say though, is that every day I doubt myself and my photography. Every day I feel in some way that I am just playing at it or pretending to be any good at it, and although at the time when I took these photographs I didn’t have much of a clue about what I was doing in terms of my camera or my lens, or my settings or the light or which ISO to use or ANYTHING, I do know, deep down, that I managed (through some luck) to take some beautiful photographs of the starlings. They may not have been perfect, but they were certainly evocative of the evening that we spent watching the murmurations. And that is it… if I can hold that thought close whenever I feel that my images are not good enough (whatever that means or however that manifests itself) then I think I will become more and more confident in my work. And… because of the doubts, the fact that a magazine like Exmoor Mag, with their huge pool of talented and wonderful photographers, actually wanted to use my images, makes me even more proud, even more happy and even more overexcited.

I feel so grateful that, even though it took a long time, I have found something that I love to do, something I can be immensely proud of, and something that not only makes me feel good, but also makes other people feel good. How lucky am I?

And remember… If you can even for just one moment see yourself doing something, being someone, creating something, that you previously never thought possible, then in that moment, you can create your reality… that  is what I did… I dared for a moment to dream that one day I could be a photographer… I have MANY mountains to climb, SO much to learn… but I am on my way…

Don’t forget that you can find me on google+ and see my latest photos which I add regularly… and Facebook of course – and do follow me on twitter too – all links at the VERY bottom of the page!