More time needed to blog!

Hi – time is of the essence and I have no time… does that mean there is therefore no essence either? Hrmmm. I don’t have time to blog today, but I want to show off some of the gorgeous photos of the wonderful Maddison and her brother Louis and the lovely mum and dad too! I was a bit worried about the light as it was actually a lot darker than I thought it was, when I was editing them afterwards. But, I love grain… it makes me feel like the photos were actually taken with real film. I love the old look and the photos being ever so slightly pixelated. So, I had no real need to worry! What actually came out was some really special photos of the area in which they live, the road they walk along all the time and their family time together. I was really happy in the end, and best of all, they liked them! I have of course offered to take some more on a more sunny day as well, as I really enjoyed spending time with them and as the baby grows, he will change so quickly. He was a darling little thing and I am sure that Maddie is now my very best friend in the world too. I do love spending time with and taking photos of children. It is such a privilege.

I have chosen the filtered images this time, as I really like how they have come out this time. I use my own presets as well as those of David duChemin, trey Ratcliffe and some others that I have forgotten about. I love buying presets as they are generally pretty inexpensive and very helpful to let you see the various effects that you can actually achieve with a little good will.

Here is a small selection – hope you enjoy them!

 

Writing Our Way Home Blogsplash!

I know this is my photography blog, but I was sort of thinking it could a bit for writing as well, as that is my other day job at least until I get the writing blog up and running.

ON 27th November I am joining the writing our way home community in writing something about a small kindness…Here is the information for any of you out there who would also like to join in:

 

Join our Small Kindnesses Blogsplash & write about kindness…
On Tuesday the 27th of November I’m joining the Small Kindnesses Blogsplash and writing about a special small kindness someone paid me in the past. Would you like to join me?

The Blogsplash is organised by Fiona Robyn to celebrate the release of her novel ‘Small Kindnesses’ which will be free on Kindle on the day. All you have to do is write something about being kind – a memory of someone who was kind to you, a list of kindnesses over the past week, or something kind you did for someone else. It’ll be a celebration of kindness in all its forms, especially those little kind acts that make all the difference (like this one Fiona wrote about).
To find out more visit Fiona’s blog (http://www.writingourwayhome.com/2012/11/what-small-kindness-do-you-remember.html), or join the Facebook event (http://www.facebook.com/events/226720897457793). Do ask your friends to join you, and feel free to copy this blog onto your own to help us spread the word.
See you on the 27th!

Writing Our Way Home blog: Small Kindnesses – blogs taking part & writing about kindness on the 27th

http://www.writingourwayhome.com

So.. there it is! Come and join us! xxx

Because I couldn’t resist…

I remember always being told that I one couldn’t start a sentence with ‘Because’… well, I am here and here it is… I can’t resist posting a few of the photos I took of Maddie’s boys last week. We went to the park and had the best time! They are both beautiful and funny and cute, and were absolutely adorable – (seems I am making rather a lot of grammatical errors here, no comments please)…
I gave them to Maddie in colour, black and white and some using Lightroom filters. I have recently bought some more Adobe Lightroom filters to see what they were like. I actually bought them from David du Chemin and Craft&Vision, and I have to say I have enjoyed looking at them, seeing what they do, but I always feel that I cannot simply use someone else’s without having to change it slightly for my own use. Nonetheless, they are very worthwhile having.

Here are some of the filtered images…

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Challenges challenges…

About a month ago I had the enormous pleasure of doing a pre-wedding shoot with Abby and Ben. We decided to do it with their children at the venue that they are getting married at. This was great for me as I always like to do a reccy of the venue in advance so that I know what I am dealing with when I get there. The interesting thing about this venue is that if the weather is going to be fabulous on the day, we are in for a total treat! If however it is going to pour down with rain, we may have a problem! Obviously all shots can be done inside, whether it is the creative shots or the family ones. It doesn’t actually matter which ones, the only problem might be that the house itself is so chocka full of items, like stuffed animals and enormous vases and paintings that I am going to have to come up with something pretty special. I love the challenge of this, but it is definitely a challenge. At the shoot itself we utilised one of the bedrooms for a couple of shots and this worked really well as the bed was a four poster and the ambience of the room was dark and cosy and old. It was good fun and the children of course loved it. However, I am not sure that the family, mum, dad, Auntie June etc are quite ready for the bedroom shoot! There is however a fabulous staircase that I think would be perfect!

I learnt from a previous wedding not to be put off by the weather though, and instead invested in a mountain of umbrellas as it was forecast rain for the whole day, and boy did it rain, and boy did we put those umbrellas to good use! They were worth every penny!  I still have those, but feel I might have to invest in some more.

One thing I need more than anything though is an assistant. I need someone, especially if it is raining, to carry my umbrella!! How decadent! I could also really do with someone arty to help with the posed shots. I would love to be able to actually work with someone on these, not necessarily a photographer, but someone who is more prone to art direction and bounce ideas back and forth. I think a partnership works brilliantly like that, and there are many male and female, couples/wedding photographers around. I think they kind of have it in the bag. It’s great that they can also show their wedding couples how they would like them to stand or look, as they can use each other so that the couple understand and can really visualize what is expected of them. This is not a request for getting married to a photographer by the way… simply an observation!

Getting people to pose is also quite a challenge. I feel it is very important to make people feel comfortable and that is one of the reasons that I see the pre-wedding shoots as really important. I believe that if you are going to get the best out of our couples, you all have to like each other and you all have get on. They need to know how you work, and like the way you work, and you need to know what their limits and capabilities are. Wedding photography is not a one way process, it is a partnership, a collaboration. However, many people are not comfortable posing, so you have to be really gentle and careful and not expect too much of them. Sometimes the candid shots that are taken at the same time as the posed ones come out even better than the posed ones, because they are the natural, in between shots. I love these. I much prefer natural to posed, but I do see how essential it is to also have some of the posed ones, simply for posterity. I think that if a bride didn’t get the posed shots (even if she said she didn’t want them) that she  would feel like she was missing out. I would hate for that to happen.

Lighting is another challenge. Outside lighting is very easy. I am a natural and available light photographer. I don’t like using a flash of any kind, whether on or off camera. I like the way that using the light we are given, gives a truer reflection of what is going on and where we were when the photos were taken… that is not to say they can’t be manipulated afterwards to look more sunny and less grey, but in general I would say I prefer the truth of natural lighting. I think I will have to look into using a flash a bit more, when necessary though, as I have an idea that with the extra lighting the quality of the images may be better too. It’s not that easy when you are inside though, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and use a flash. The other thing you can do of course is to change the white balance of a set of images in post production. That can be really helpful, and actually using the luminance tool and noise reduction to get rid of unwanted pixels can often help as well. We have ways and means though I would still very much like to be able to take pictures that don’t need too much post processing. That in itself is a huge challenge.

I need time though… more time please… just to play around with photography… I imagine that one day I will earn enough money to be able to simply take photographs day in and day out, being like David du Chemin; the photographer, the Nomad.

I began this post talking about Abby and Ben and them getting married and having a pre wedding shoot and have come away from that and started talking about the challenges of photography. I want to say though that there is something so very, very special about being asked to photograph people, whether for a wedding or perhaps someone’s children. I may have said it before, but it really is a great honour to be part of or invited into people’s lives in that way. That is how I felt when on this shoot. Seeing two people so utterly devoted and in love and being part of that, fills me with so much joy and actually makes me realise more and more that I am doing the right thing. I came into photography very late on, but am doing my very best to make up for time lost and continue on this golden path.

I’ll leave you with a few images from the Abby and Ben shoot that I love. I do love a good family shoot!!!

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Going to London to see the Queen

I took these photos outside Buckingham Palace. It suddenly began to rain and hail – it was very confusing and certainly wet! The mouse (my daughter) loves the rain, in fact if it could rain the whole time, she would be exceedingly happy – I think this comes across… Enjoy.

Cxx

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London Street Photography… my first foray into the unknown

It’s not really supposed to be blog day today, but I can’t help myself. I had such an interesting day on Thursday, being in London and indulging in a bit of street photography. It is not an easy task and one that I personally find incredibly difficult. I think it is the fact that I feel a bit rude taking photos of people when they don’t know that I am doing it. I also find it pretty scary asking people if I can take their photos.

The other day I read an article about taking photos in the ghetto… well, photos of people who were starving or poor or homeless, or indeed, all of the above! It gave some great tips on what to do: ‘don’t ever go alone!’ was one of them… For me it is not this part that I find scary or fearful, it is the fact that I would like to ask people if they mind if I take their photograph, but then what happens if they say no? It is just called being a little bit shy about it, as I feel like I am intruding in their lives.

Anyway, it was my first foray into street photography and I found an excellent way to get around it, I simply started by taking photos of people who were already taking photographs themselves- mostly of Big Ben and the houses of Parliament, the London eye and Tower bridge…there also seemed to be an awful lot of people in St James’ Park taking photos of squirrels… a lot of Italians  I wonder why… surely Italy has squirrels. In fact, I then a few days later found myself taking photographs of a squirrel, though not a London one, and realised that I have man y times in the past taken photos of squirrels and been quite animated about it afterwards… anyway, I digress… where was I? Yes – taking photos of people taking photos of other people or things… it is a GREAT way of facing the dear and doing it anyway, because people quite simply don’t notice you and if you are anything like me, then not being noticed or being invisible behind a camera is where you feel most comfortable. Funnily enough, I never used to be this way… but then I never used to have a camera to hide behind. I guess the psychological make-up of photographers and their motivation has to be a subject for another day.

As the day went on, I became braver and braver. I started taking photos of people without their cameras, of a demonstration against the drug Khat being held by a gathering of Somalians  largely women, and later of a male couple (I presumed they were a couple) sitting on a bench chatting. Sadly it did not come out well as the railings were in focus and not the chaps… it was worth a try and I felt quite the voyeur .. and I rather liked it!

So, do I have any advice? As with all things that you fear, I would say, just do it anyway. Ease yourself into it. Go somewhere where there are lots of people with cameras already so that you don’t stand out, and don’t worry, it seems that most people don’t actually notice you at all. As for talking to people? Well, someone gave me some great advice, find a person who is quite obviously an exhibitionist and ask them. Do this as a starting point each time, because they will love having their photo taken and you will get all the practice you need in doing the asking without being turned down.

I love how a day in London can teach me so much. I only went to get my passport renewed and came back with a fondness for street photography – who would have thunk it!

Cxx

Here are a few of the street photography photos I took… I also have  afew others that I will share in another blog, they are of my mother and daughter… when they weren’t looking… (also good practice!)

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