Sunday, 30 October 2011

London Fields

Today I met up with a group of Pro Togs :)

It was a great day, even with my monster hangover!! Claudia Carter of Claudia Rose Carter Photography set the meet up and it was plenty of fun. We hung out around London Fields, snapping away at each other and anything else that took our fancy. The meet up is sponsored by Aspire Photography Training of which I have an eye on a course for when I finish my City & Guilds!

I really got to "know" my camera more today shooting in Manual and playing around quite a lot. Gary was great and got a particularly nice shot of me by the canal, great experience and made me realise I just need to be more bossy... I mean "confidently instruct" my subjects!

Here are a few of my favourites from the day...

Monday, 24 October 2011

Hot Pink Sunrise

I haven't blogged for a while... my Brother in Law went for a fantastic trip to Rome with his Girlfriend and took the Canon. They got some great shot, would love to go myself.

So in the meantime I used my husbands 35mm film camera... I thought it'd be a good idea to learn, might even see if my tutor will show me how to develop it in the dark room. It's hard taking pictures with it because you can't veto it before continuing... you just have to hope it's good enough! that and the fact it had an old film in it... I thought he'd put a new one in! doh! Really looking forward to seeing the pictures, they're mostly of Erin... playing at the park, helping Daddy strip wallpaper etc When we get a bit further with the house renovations I will get some shots up of that too.

So it's been quiet on the photography front, I missed college too last week and it's half term this week.
I have busy weekend ahead with a ladies night away (can't wait!) with some great friends, food and wine! I'm also very excited to be meeting up with some fantastic photographers on Sunday so will undoubtedly have lots of photographs to show you then :)

This is the sky view from my house this morning, isn't it pretty!

Sunday, 16 October 2011


I went for a leisurely stroll to a derelict delight. I first spotted this place when I was doing lots of outdoor running. It was actually dusk when we ran past it and the building was lit up and eery. I decided to check it out in daylight and see if I could get closer to get some images.

I wasn't disappointed... we found a little hole in the fence and creeped through...

It had such a grand entrance, it's been like this for some time as you can see the plants are growing from the inside out now. I looked it up online for some background on this place, it was ruined originally by fire 10 years ago. Approximately 60% of the building was gutted within 12 hours, destroying the house and it's extravagant  features and has pretty much been sat there since. It is up for sale for a cool £1million but is guessed to probably cost £5million to restore.

For some reason, some twurp has felt the need to dump a load of tyres here, just on the inside of the little hole in the fence... I don't get it?! it's not like you were being opportunist as you drive past, it's about half a mile up from the main road.

There were loads of "floating" fireplaces... I would have liked to get in a bit further but it really didn't look like it would be safe!

You can see the charred wood here on the right, remnants of floorboard or ceiling too!
I should have got a picture with myself and Jake... my 12 year old trusty tripod carrier!! I was a little nervous though as it was the first time I'd explored a derelict building for photos. Think he quite enjoyed the history of it all... history is his best subject at school!

Can't wait for my next exploration...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Tinkling the Ivories

I have finally decided on what theme to run through my portraiture project! People's interests and hobbies, i did on Tuesday evening actually! I then had to keep writing ideas down after they kept popping into my head... whilst I was trying to sleep!

I also have my homework of contrasts so had a little think of how I can do this to run in with my theme too. I began with photographing my daughter at her tennis lesson this morning and then on to my Mother-in-law's which is what I am going to share with you today.

Gill is a doting Grandma and loves to play the piano together with my little lady. Having been a music teacher, as well as a head teacher, it was lovely to watch them together. She would ask Erin to play animal music... snakes, monkey, hippopotamus etc and Erin would change the style to suit. Erin was also partial to a spot of sad music and even monster music!

With windows at both ends of the room and the piano between a wall and sofa, the light was tricky and angles even trickier! It did give me the chance to use my lovely new flash and I am pleasantly pleased with this action portrait...

And for my contrasting image I have gone with young & old, love this picture of their hands playing away...

I didn't want to leave, they played so beautifully together, it was especially cute that Erin picks the music book and selects different pages... she is intelligent but not quite genius, she can't actually read music!
As you can see music makes you smile... especially the improvised ivory tinkling of a five year old :)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

College Studio...

Oooh I've had lots of fun playing with the studio tonight, lights, f-stops, ISO and shutter speed!

First of all we talked about the legality of photograph taking, in public, public buildings, private building, the law, terrorism, harassment, invasion of privacy and so on. Helps a lot with my thoughts on what I might do my project portfolios on. Really must get started on this soon.

Also we have to keep a workbook of the mini tasks we're doing, so it's off to hobbycraft this weekend me thinks!

I'm really starting to get to grips with my camera technically a bit more now and it was good to try out the studio lights a bit more this evening. We split into two groups, one group sat with the tutor going through the technical side of their cameras and the other in the studio... I flitted between the two! Here are the Tog Students in their natural habitat...

The pregnant lady wasn't in today, was gutted as I really wanted to show her Baby Bethany! I hope she is ok, don't think she was due for a few more weeks yet!

I thought I'd share with you some of the better portraits that turned out from my studio frolics of my class mates!

There are lots of giggles and fun with this crazy lady! First image was a little on the bright side, I have tried to adjust that a little in photoshop. I really like the second one, she did actually take one of me too, bent behind my tripod... could see right down my cleavage!

This young lady is an A-level student, and way too cool for school... she said that she always looks moody in photos that are taken of her when she is off guard... it's not deliberate she said she just looks that way! I found her easy to photograph as she seemed natural and comfortable in front of the camera.

We've a new mini-task from tonight to gets some shots on Contrasts/Opposites. Will have to have little think and spend some time out without the kids to get some images. First part is to produce a pair of images that contrast with each other and then the second is to combine contrasting elements within each photograph... things like manmade and natural, still and moving, large and small, old and new etc.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Comment issues

Morning! It's been brought to my attention by a few people that the blogspot comments box is a right royal pain in the butt! On advice from my lovely friend Rose I am trialling a new 3rd party comment box. Really hope it works as I love reading everyone's comments, it's encouraging and helpful!!

It should make commenting for everyone much, much easer...feel free to try it out...

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Baby Bethany....

Friday morning at 4.25am, one little lady decided it was time to arrive and she wasn't waiting... bearing in mind Mum went into labour just 25 minutes earlier, it came as quite a surprise to Dad and Grandma who were also there. Bethany was caught in her Mum's arms at home as Dad was ringing for an ambulance!

Weighing in at 8lb 1oz Bethany Amber is a beautiful baby, content and snuggly. The plan was to warm up the bedroom for some lovely nudey shots, however it was a bit of disastrous morning with broken washing machine and leaky radiators, so the heating wasn't working when we got there. So we can't blame Bethany for mewing a little when we took her warm romper suit off! after a cuddle and wrap up in a fleecy blanket she was the most alert she'd been all afternoon! She was super inquisitive, staring at me intently... quite impressive at just 2 days old...

I'm really looking forward to getting more photographs of Bethany over the next few months, she's simply perfect! Congratulations to my Sister and Brother in Law and good work on making another smasher, she's gorgeous. x

You can see Bethany here when she was still a bump!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Contemporary Portraiture & Leading Lines

Tog College on Tuesday was great. We studied some famous contemporary portraiture artists, talked about the lighting for each image we looked at. We also went through a load of landscape and street photography too whilst discussing vanishing points and leading lines, which coincided with some of my "cool lines" pictures from Portsmouth (see road trip post) Thought I'd list some of the ones that came up, I am yet to decide on my favourite and am sure I will find others too.

Sally Mann
Mario Testino
Annie Leibovitz
Ansel Adams
Fay Godwin
Andreas Gursky
Andre Kertesz

We were asked to have a walk around the college to experiment a bit, so although they're not the most interesting of shots, I thought I would share with you the pictures I took on tuesday evening. My motorway one from last week is my favourite though, I am going to try and get some more shots in this weekend too.

On another note, I ordered a Canon Speedlite 430EX II and it arrived today! i am very excited about this and looking forward to experimenting a lot more with light when I am doing portraiture at home etc. I am going to chat more to my Tutor next week about how to use it but I had a little play this evening and bounced the flash off the ceiling to see what the false "natural light effect" looked like and I was not disappointed! Bearing in mind it is dark already outside so the light indoors is naff! This is my husband... and his new toy... yes it is a washing line, but before you question his masculinity, it's a camping washing line to hang our wetsuits on next year on our surfing holidays!

I literally plugged it onto my camera and took a photograph there and then so if you can ignore the actual image itself and think about the lighting, just see how the light mimics daylight... cool eh!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Mum's the Word

First off.... how blumming sunny is it? unbelievable!

Ironic really that our first assignment at college was autumnal photos! With my whirlwind week at work I haven't managed to get around to blogging about Tuesday's college session... it was nerve wracking but I was also looking forward to sharing my shots and looking at others. We split into groups so some of us could play with the studio lighting and other share their work etc.... at one point I was well positioned in the studio for others to take photos and play with lights AND I could see the photo sharing. Some really good work, my favourite was a young GCSE student's, she has a good eye for what will make a good image. I am pleased to say that my tutor and class mates appreciated my photographs, I was very nervous about being told they were a bit pants! Although I liked them myself, so many people have different tastes.

I am understanding more and more now about aperture, shutter speeds, ISO etc and unsurprisingly, more kit has made it onto my wish list... although this time it is a not so expensive reflector thingymejig!

We didn't get any sort of homework this week... didn't stop me going wild in Portsmouth though! (see earlier blog post!)

I've been wanting to blog about both of my children with some pictures but am quite indecisive on the images... not helped at all about the amount I have taken this weekend with the beautiful weather! So instead I wanted to talk to you about my Mum.... I haven't taken an awful lot of pictures of my Mum but she is currently in Uganda in her element, doing what she does best, helping those who really need it.

Taken by me at Mum's Fundraiser for Wakisa this year.
My Mum is beautiful, beautiful to look at, kind to the core and a beautiful soul... I love her lots!
I think she is bordering on crazy for having four children... but hey if she didn't I wouldn't be here seeing as I am number 4. On a personal level, Mum is in fact a rock, no matter what myself and my sisters have been through over the years, she has been there without fail, without complaint and without hesitation. She has set me in good stead being a Mum myself, I respect and love her immensely.

All this aside, for the last 7 years my Mum has been going out to Uganda to volunteer. Mum started with a 3 month stint at Sanyu Babies Home, makes me smile and want to cry all at once recounting the stories Mum shared with us on her time there. After a couple of times at the orphanage over the years, Mum decided to focus her time at Wakisa Pregnancy Crisis Centre, which is where she is now as I type. I'll tell you a little of background of the Centre.... it is run by an inspiring lady called Vivian who was a Nurse. Vivian was actually in the UK this year and came and met us all... again heart wrenching stories and smiles were shared all at once. Abortion is illegal in Uganda, however women and more to the point girls are raped so often, soldiers, family members, gangs. Vivian as a nurse watched a young girl die from septicaemia contracted from a back-street abortion. Vivian set up the centre to help these girls that are so in despair. There is a lot more to the story but this is the short version!

The girls that come to the centre are cast out as second class citizens for being unmarried and pregnant, bearing in mind some of the girls can be as young as 12 year old and had this forced upon them, they don't know anyway out of their situation. The centre, counsels the girls, teaches them how to look after themselves and their unborn babies, they learn trades and are sponsored back into education. You can find out more about Wakisa, here is the August 2011 Newsletter:

Each year I do what I can to help raise Money for Wakisa and the girls for when Mum goes over. From filling smartie tubes with £1 coins, fundraiser days, collecting donated maternity clothes for the girls. My son and I even did a car boot (he added his own toys in) to raise money. It has got to the point now where the "pull" for me to go to Uganda with Mum is beyond belief, I trained as a Doula back in 2007 and although I didn't do it for long (it didn't fit in well with my young family at the time) I still constantly have a draw to pregnancy and support around that. Going to Uganda would be life changing for me, I want nothing more than to be able to give my time and whatever I could to help even just one girl out there if I could, to be self-less and humble. I am planning to do so in the next 12-24months.

This lovely image wasn't taken by me, however I wanted to share it with you all. This is from Mum's 2009 trip (I think!) to Uganda. The girls often ask Vivian to name their babies, it's a tradition in Uganda to do this in different forms, eg ask someone who has helped with delivery or a relative etc. On this occasion the girl handed her bundle to Mum and Vivian explained that she wanted her to name the baby. Meet little Hannah!!!

There is so much more I could write about the work Mum does in Uganda but I have already been sat at my Mac for long enough... if you ever want to find out more then please do ask, they will welcome any help, from fundraising, donations to even sponsoring a girl to go to college.

That's the long and short of it... My Mum inspires me... she is an inspiration and I love her and aspire to one day have my daughter saying a similar thing about me... I once told my Mum that if my feelings towards her were replicated in feelings from my own daughter to me..... I'd be very proud of myself and have learnt from the best :)

On that note, I must go reply to her email.

x x

My Beautiful Mum on my wedding day
Photograph by the amazing Mr Beedle