Last days out of summer

The summer holidays have come to an end. Daughter goes back to school tomorrow, into Year 8. Bags are packed, new pencils, rubbers, scissors and geometry set taking pride of place in a new pencil case. I’ve even done some ironing.

So yesterday we had a penultimate day out, visiting Bucklebury Farm. The highlight of this was the tractor ride to see, and feed, the deer – pictures below. Then today we toured Oxordshire, visiting Blenheim Palace, Chipping Norton and Letcombe Regis, so I could take photos for my calendar. Daughter was very patient and earned a trip out for a strawberry shortcake waffle at the end of the afternoon.

 

We noticed today that it was feeling more autumnal, so I think we have had the last days out of summer. But hopefully autumn will bring kind weather and the fun can continue a while longer. Daughter has another day out coming at the weekend. She is going to London with my sister, and some of her family, and going to see the dinosaurs. I’ll be getting ready for taking photos at a Sue Ryder Ball so I can’t join them, but I’m sure they’ll have a great day. Then the following weekend my Dad will be visiting us and we’re also meeting up with my nephew and his family who will be on their holiday not too far from here. And in October we have a day trips to Portsmouth and the Harry Potter Studio Tour lined up, plus a girls’ trip to Blackpool for daughter and I. So keep checking back to see how things turn out, and for updates on production of the charity calendar of course.

Thank you,

Sam

Best rice ever!

Those of you that pay attention will know that I try to help the Oxford Homeless Project. I think that this project is all about such a simple but great idea – those that are able to donate food and/or time to cook and/or serve lunch to those that are in need. Lunch certainly is well received, both the curries and the cakes. This week I was able to attend their fortnightly lunch and help a bit with serving drinks, washing up, and putting things away. (And I was lucky enough to sample the rice, which was amazing!) I also took the opportunity to get a few photos and some opinions on the project, to help fill a calendar I am working on, to sell in aid of the OHP.

This has taken a long time to come together, but now I have a few pages complete and plans to take the necessary photos for another three within the next week, and I’m waiting for permission for the remaining few. I admit that it’s not been as easy as I’d first imagined, finding suitable properties and then finding the right person to ask permission. Then trying to find a way to sell the calendars when they are ready. There has been a lot more admin involved than I’d anticipated. But a gardening injury has kept me away from my tools this afternoon so I’ve made good progress with a number of enquiries. Come back in a few weeks to see how things are going – hopefully I’ll soon be able to give some details about sales, but for now here are a few photos from yesterday’s lunch.

 

Cooling towers are falling down, falling down, falling down

It’s been one of those times when a month has slipped past between posts. I thought that when the school holidays came along there should be more time available. But it seems not. But today does have a couple of extra hours available to me as I was up very early (5 am) to go see the cooling towers come down at Didcot’s power station. I confess that I chose a convenient location, rather than one that gave the best view – only 2 out of 3 towers were visible to me, with the 3rd hidden behind. But as the saying goes, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. Several people shared my viewpoint and we could see another group across the field and I’m sure there were a few other popular locations. The photos below show the towers as they fell, and Fudge, a friendly young fellow with a very waggy tail, who seemed to be delighted to be out and about this morning.

So what else has been happening since I last wrote here? Well I’m still working on the calendar I’m hoping to sell for the Oxford Homeless Project. So that’s given me a few trips out to take photos or to look for inspiration. I won’t post any potential calendar photos here just now. Sorry, you’ll have to wait until the project is complete.

I’ve also had a great week with my Dad in Norwich. As well as seeing family, we went on a tour of part of Norwich’s history that is now underground, I had a trip down memory lane by taking my daughter to a museum that my Mum used to take me to when I was a child, we had a fantastic day out at the seaside, and I went to see the helter skelter (temporarily) located in Norwich cathedral.

 

It’s Sunday, not M(o)onday

My daughter wandered through to our room this morning “Sorry Mummy it’s ten past eight.” I explained that was OK as it was Sunday, not Monday. Then I realised that I’d meant to post this photo on Saturday, to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. We went to an interesting talk about this on Friday but then yesterday I got engrossed with weeding our garden. So sorry about that. Anyway this isn’t a new photo – one I took earlier this year. I want to try some more lunar photography, to improve on this first real attempt. And I’d love to get some good star trails too, and a photo of the milky way. I had a wee experiment a couple of years ago, when we were in Death Valley and the light pollution was low, but I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, so the results are very amateurish to say the least.

 

But it was fun – if a little eerie, standing around in the dark, listening to wild animals in the distance – and I’d like to try again. No sure I’ll make to to Death Valley anytime soon though, so if you have a good suggestion for somewhere closer to home, please let me know.

And finally for today, please have a look at a few photos from a christening I was lucky enough to shoot at last weekend.

 

Memories

I’m at a bit of a loss for what to say. Two weeks ago my Mum died, and although life is going on, it is with a bit of a heavy heart. So all I’m going to do here is share some of my favourite memories of her.

The early bird…

I was up early yesterday, at 5.15 am, left the house at 5.30 and drove to a neighbouring village where I’d spotted a fantastic display of poppies. I admit it was a bit ouchy getting up so early, but it was so, so worth it. You can imagine that it was very peaceful at that time of day, so I was able to drink in the golden light and quiet. I was able to walk right along the edge of the field, and at one point I followed an existing pathway a few steps into the field, but taking care not to trample on any more of the flowers. I hope you like these photos – my favourites from the shoot.

Birthdays, parties, photos

If you are observant then you might have spotted that the blurb on my homepage has changed from saying I am Mum to an 11 year old girl to become Mum to a 12 year old girl. Yes, my baby is creeping ever closer to being a teenager.

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I was told that 12 year olds (or this one at least) don’t have parties (though a sleepover was requested) so I didn’t have that to arrange or photograph. I got away with just a few snaps of the cake (still a key feature of a birthday apparently) and the birthday girl.

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I do remember the days of planning and hosting a party for up to 30 children. Trying to get photos at the same time as pouring drinks, organising the pass the parcel, clearing up spillages, checking everyone is having a good time, telling little ones where the loo is, saying thank you to mums at drop off and pick up, and cutting up birthday cake for party bags! It can be really difficult, even for those who are brilliant multi-taskers. We all want those wonderful shots, beaming faces, plenty of action, so we can preserve those special moments and look back on them over and over again as the years press on.

A mum I know has found this a problem recently. Over the past few weeks both of her children have had birthdays and parties and while I know she loves taking photos of her children, this just wasn’t possible while hosting a party and she had to reach out to friends after the event.

If anyone got photos from F’s party yesterday, could you send them to me please?

Did anyone who came today for E’s gathering get any photos at all please?

I’m sure she’ll get sent a good selection, after all everyone’s got a phone with a camera, but when put together will it be a coherent set of photos, including everyone, covering all the key points? Will she get the images that were most important to her? Will the quality be consistent across the set? Will there be plenty of photos of the birthday boy/girl or will other parents, understandably of course, have focused on their own children?

So many uncertainties. If your little one (or not so little one!) is having a party and you’d like to make sure you get great photos then do consider asking In Any Event Photography to pop along for an hour or two. I’ll capture all the birthday magic, making sure I cover the moments that really matter to you, plus a wide range of shots that include the birthday boy/girl, the guests, the, food, the fun, and plenty of smiles. I can also bring along a background with some dress up items and props if you’d like to include some fun photos.

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And it needn’t cost as much as you might think. Prices start at £40 for one hour’s photography, including supply of processed images with permission to print and share photos, and a weight off your mind of course. At the moment there is 25% discount on birthday party photography bookings made for 2019. Depending on party timings it may be possible for me to get a group photo and print copies to give to guests as souvenirs to take home. I really do try to be flexible and offer options to suit everyone, so please get in touch if it’s something you’d like to discuss.

 

Rock the Casbah!

There are times when I really love my job! Saturday night was one of them – I got to watch and photograph an evening of superb entertainment in the form of 27 amazing dance acts at the Casbah Cafe. Thanks to the amazing Hannah’s organisation it was a fantastic evening. Under the umbrella term of “bellydance” I saw such a range of styles from fast and furious to slow and sinuous. And the costumes! I think that every colour under the sun made an appearance, and you’ve never seen so much glitter and sparkle! I came home with a memory card full of photos and am excited to share just a few of them with you here. I hope you’ll agree that everyone looked stunning.

 

If you’d like photos taking at your performance or event then please get in touch and discuss how I may be able to help you.

What’s going on?

Me again with several items of news…

  • I’ve set up an online ShootProof gallery that contains a (currently small) selection of photos that I hope you’ll like. These can be bought as hard copy prints in a range of sizes. So please have a browse and maybe place an order if you feel so-inclined? I find the 6 x 4 print size is great made into a greetings card…
  • I’m taking posed and action bellydancing shots this Saturday in Kidlington. I’ll be setting up an online gallery from that event so that dancers can view (and buy) photos with ease.
  • I’m continuing with plans for a 2020 calendar to raise funds for the Oxford Homeless Project. I admit I only have 2 out of 12 photos planned, but I do have some unconfirmed ideas. I’m quite excited about this and if I can bring it all together I hope that it’ll be a success. If you have any great ideas of Oxfordshire homes I may be able to photograph then please let me know.
  • I’m honoured to say I’ve been accepted as a volunteer for Remember My Baby, a very worthwhile cause.

I still have some availability for any events you have coming up – so please get in touch if you’d like to discuss anything. I’m happy to cover weddings, christenings, birthdays, anniversaries, performances, charity events, or anything else you can think of.

Stop and smell the roses

I know, life gets busy, right? You’re maybe trying to skim read this so you can get onto the next thing. I’ve been there, done that. In fact at the back of my head I’ve got half a dozen things fighting for attention. I’ve had bookings and a cancellation (June 21st is now free!); I’m trying to turn ideas into firm plans for a photo calendar I’m trying to produce’; I’m trying to learn songs for the choir I’ve joined; I need to sign my daughter up for Taekwondo lessons; I’ve got to get up to speed with some new photo groups I’ve joined; I’ve got knitting to do and photos to edit.

Woah! Keep going like that and somethings going to pop right out of my head and get forgotten. Thankfully with this week being Mental Health Awareness Week, there have been plenty of hints and pointers about taking it easy. Being mindful. Meditating. So today I had a bit of time out. My sister is visiting and we literally stopped and smelled the roses (and other flowers) today at Waterperry Gardens. After a pleasantly relaxed morning and some fun this afternoon I’m pleased to say that I feel calmer. I’ve ticked a couple of small things off from my mental to-do list (taekwondo lessons are organised, 2 photos are planned) and feel better able to prioritise the rest.

So remember people, stop, breathe, smell the roses, enjoy the moment. Most things can wait. Yes, some of the things on my list are urgent, but they don’t have to be today. Most don’t even have to be done tomorrow. Which is good as me and my sister have plans. But I will get some things fitted in around that, so please do come back tomorrow or the next day to find out about coming events and adventures.

Fake tan, anyone?

May bank holiday Monday. Therefore it was our local Girl Guiding Mayfair. I had volunteered to help out, so was out bright and early this morning with a boot full of kit. I was running a “tropical photobooth”, though booth may have been the wrong word for it. But “tropical backdrop against the wall and I’ll take some photos” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

So I had a tropical beach scene hung up as background, curtains on the floor to mimic white/gold sand, plus hats, glasses, flower garlands, a snorkel, a beach ball and bucket and spade as props. Add a camera with flash and a printer and I was in business. To fit in with the tropical theme I was dressed in shorts, Hawaiian style shirt and flip-flops. It was just a shame it was a grey, cold day, with the wind blowing in through the door, enough to make the backdrop flap. We were all brave and stereotypically British about it though, and pretended it was hot and sunny. One family even had ice creams on “the beach”. Sadly, I can only share a few of the pics with you, as I don’t like to share photos publically without permission. But a few people have agreed so you can see what a good job we did of faking it.

 

All of this can of course be set up wherever. So if you’ve got an event on that you think could benefit from a bit of fake sunshine then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Spring has sprung again

I know I’ve been quiet for a bit, but I haven’t gone away. Life has just been kind of busy. Which is good. Last weekend I visited my family, which was lovely, and organised an egg hunt for my daughter and her little cousins (my great nephews and great niece). They had a fab time hunting in my parents’ garden (the weather was AMAZING!) and all the adults seemed to enjoy it too, especially when the chocolates were shared out at the end.

The tulips in my parents’ garden were looking great. I do think tulips are one of, if not my very favourite flowers. I saw some lovely blossom on trees too as we were out and about. Another fun point was when some more family came to challenge us to egg and spoon racing. I was last by quite a long way, but it was still good fun racing up and down the road like we were all kids again. Of course, the younger generations still are kids, but for us relative-oldies it was a trip down memory lane.

 

I guess we are well and truly into Spring now, with summer not far behind. I hope there’ll be plenty of photography going on to share with you soon.

The Photography Show

I had a fun, if exhausting, day out yesterday at the Photography Show at the NEC, Birmingham. As a lover of all things photographic I was like a kid in a sweet shop. With hundreds of stands, including all the big names plus loads of companies that I hadn’t heard of. There was of course plenty of stands with cameras, plus albums and printing, drones, bags, tripods, accessories, lighting, training courses, insurance, photography associations, plus books, magazines and more.

I spoke to some very helpful and well informed people (including a very kind lady who gave me some ibuprofen), collected plenty of information, leaflets and magazines (see image above), and thankfully bought very little! Not that I wasn’t tempted, but I restricted myself to a book about photographic locations in London. While most of the locations are well known, the book contains information and some stunning images that should inspire and help me get better photos on future visits. It’s possibly a good job that my legs ache today or I might be tempted to jump on a train and make a start!

The day wasn’t all about stands selling equipment and services though. There was a range of shows to watch, with several stages and a varied timetable. I saw three presentations on the Wedding and Portrait stage which gave me some food for thought. Of course, everywhere you looked going round the hall there were stunning images on display. A real feast for the eyes. I had my camera with me and it would have been so easy to simply take photos of these great artworks. But that would have felt cheap and cheating to me. I did take some photos around the show though, a few of which are below. If you’ve got an interest in photography and have the chance to go, the Photography Show is on until Tuesday 19th March.  As for me, I think I’ve got about a month worth’s of reading to do. Happy days.

International Women’s Day

 

So today is International Women’s Day. I’m feeling a bit guilty that I haven’t done anything about it because while I know women tend to be more recognised and have more rights than in my grandmother’s day I also know things aren’t perfect.

In all the years I have studied and worked in science I’ve been aware of bias and inequality. At school boys made something jazzy in metalwork, and girls bent coathangers to make a baby’s mobile. I did get to do the same metalwork as the men at university but not everything was equal. I studied physics and as you might expect it was very male dominated. Even the little things seemed against us women; we only had toilets on every other floor while the men could just walk along the corridor whichever level of the building they were on. I learned about many more male scientists than women, and found that sometimes women were just not represented accurately. For example, Rosalind Franklin played a major role in the discovery of the DNA double helix, yet James Watson and Francis Crick were the authors on the published paper and received the Nobel Prize.

I’m hopeful that things will be easier for my daughter; that if she continues to be keen on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) it will be considered much more normal then when I was a girl. And in recognition of IWD I’d like to share some photos to honour some great women, who have inspired and supported me.

 

 

All the fun of the wedding fair

I took a step into the unknown today. I took IAEP to its first wedding fair. This gave me one of those dual-time effects; it felt like a long day (setting up at 9am, packed up and left at 3.30pm) but it also flew by.

I talked to a lot of people, all of them lovely. So if you were at Shaw House today then thank you! You made it a good day for me. I hope you liked what you saw. I certainly heard several people saying the photos on display were lovely. I invited everyone who stopped to chat to get in touch if they’d like to discuss anything or ask anything. That offer is most definitely open; I’d love to hear from you and open discussions about your big day. So congratulations to all the brides and grooms to be and hello to the suppliers I met today, and hope to see you before too long.

 

Magic

It was just me and my daughter today. So I promised her a day out, and she chose to go to the Winchester Science Centre. It’s been 5 years since we were last there. She only has vague memories; mostly of hurting her ankle and having to go to the first aid room. No such luck today though, just lots of fun. We got there as it opened so managed to do some activities before it got too crowded. We managed to do most things, and saw a planetarium show and a “magic of science” show too. But a big part of the magic was just spending time with my daughter, having fun, playing with science, learning together. Recently days out with Mum have become less cool, less interesting, unless of course they involve something fun like bowling or trampolining, or a free run at the shops with lunch and Starbucks thrown in. I managed to take some photos of her that will embarrass her when she’s older and tried to get some shots of science in action. Some things of course proved to be trickier than others, especially if grubby, scratched perspex was involved. So I still have to conquer some shots – I guess I’ll have to see if science is still cool in another year or two?

 

 

Snow joke!

The North wind does blow and we shall have snow, and school shall be shut so the children will have a snow day. Yes, yesterday daughter was at home because of the snow, She did go out and play with friends for a while but before that we had a play in the garden together. She largely played with the snow, I largely played with my camera.

The downside of the snow is that the Newbury Wedding Fair, that I have been busy preparing for all week, is postponed. It’s now taking place on Feb 17th. Same time (11am – 3pm) and same place (Shaw House, Newbury) though and I’ll be there with IAEP as planned. So do please send any brides-and-grooms-to be along to say hi.

Two warm welcomes and an invitation

I had the pleasure of visiting two of the Camphill Village Trust sites this weekend. First I visited the lovely, warm, and welcoming Cafe on the Corner in St Alban’s, where I met some lovely people and tasted some fantastic coffee. I resisted the hand-baked cakes, but they looked very tempting! The scones were certainly highly recommended by one customer. If you’re in St Alban’s and need refreshment I recommend taking a moment to find this cafe.

 

I received an equally warm welcome from the Trust’s Berith and Camphill Partnership and was lucky enough to spend a little time in one of the cosiest rooms I’ve ever seen. With soft lights, gently twirly projections, and bubbling tubes of water it’s virtually impossible not to relax!

 

And don’t forget – if you’re planning a wedding, or if you know someone who is planning wedding then come (or send them) to Shaw House next Sunday. They’re having a wedding fair, with all sorts of suppliers, including me! So please come and say hello – I’d love to see you – and find out more about what I can do for you, or your friend.

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When you are the moon…

… the best form you can be is a full moon

Or so says the Mighty Boosh’s moonface. But it seems that there is a better form of moon – the super blood wolf moon that failed to show it’s face here on Monday morning because of cloud cover. So glad I didn’t get out of bed for that!

Last night however, the not-quite-full-but-pretty-good-anyway moon was shining high in the sky and clearly visible from outside me house. I was still disappointed from Monday morning, so I wrapped up and braved the cold. I’m sure it could be improved on but I’m quite pleased with my first proper attempt at lunar photography. Even though I used my biggest zoom (which to be fair isn’t that big), the moon was pretty small in the image that came out of my camera – see below. The the big pic above has had some serious cropping to make the moon big enough to see properly. I hope that with a bit of luck I’ll get further chances to get more images in the near future. If any are worth sharing I will do see via this blog so do come back if you’re interested…

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Making plans for the new(ish) year

I know it’s a little late to be wishing people a Happy New Year now, but better late than never. I got hit with some awful germs over Christmas time which hit me hard and I didn’t surface properly until well into January.

But now I’m catching up with things and it’s all go at the moment. I’m taking some photos with the lovely Camphill Village Trust next weekend, and the week after that I’m attending a wedding fair at Shaw House, near Newbury on Feb 3rd. This will be IAEP’s first wedding fair, so it’s a bit exciting and a bit nerve-wracking at the same time. I’ve making sure I’ve got all the bits and bobs I need to put my display together so just hope that lots of lovely people come and say hello. And today someone suggested I plan and take photos through the year to make a calendar to sell at the end of 2019 to raise funds for a charity to help homeless people. That sounds like a project I can get my teeth into and I’d love to hear what sort of photos people would like to see!

I’ve got an important decision to make tonight though – whether or not to set my alarm super early to get up to see the super blood wolf moon? I think I’m now going to check the weather forecast etc and see if the skies are likely to be clear. I can’t see the point in being up by 5 am to see just a lot of cloud.

 

 

A very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year….

So this is Christmas, and what have you done?

Another year over, and a new one just begun.

 

Yes, hard as it is to believe we’ve got through another year. So what has IAEP done? There’s been a bit of this …

 

… and a bit of this …

… and quite a bit of this as well.

I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has allowed me to share their special times this, or who has allowed me to take their photo, or made this year shine for IAEP in any way. The brides, the grooms, the guests, the dancers, and the whole community, you’ve all made my year in one way or another. And to everyone who has liked or shared or supported this website and its sister facebook page – again, thank you.

I’m on holiday now, enjoying some time with my family. I hope you all have some magical times yourselves over this festive season, whatever you’re doing. Merry Christmas to you all, and Happy New Year. Please come and see what’s happening in 2019 as I hope it will be another great year, if not better!

We shall remember them

Remembrance Day. A bright sunny afternoon, a little fresh perhaps but quite mild really for the time of year. I went to Didcot’s remembrance parade, partly for the sake of the parade, to remember, and partly to watch my daughter parade with the guides. And how surprised I was, and how proud, to see her chosen to lay a wreath.

Wedding photography

I do love a wedding. And if you ask me to do your wedding photos I’d be delighted, and also honoured. Because I realise both how special that day is, and that it is important to catch the emotions and beauty and joy of the day. Partly because memories fade, partly because there will be people who can’t make it to the big day, and partly because the happy couple won’t be able to see everything on the day. The bride won’t see the groom waiting for her arrival. The groom won’t see her having her veil adjusted as she gets out of the car. Maybe neither will see the bridesmaids playing in the corner. But they can see photos of it all later.

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So having established some of the reasons for wedding photography, and valued its importance, I want to make sure I can do my very best for each and every couple. With that in mind I went on a workshop about wedding photography this weekend. This gave me the chance to refresh skills, learn new ones, pick up tips and learn about trends. All of which will make me better prepared for future weddings.

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It was a good event, and very useful. The lovely Ms S and Mr M modelled in a variety of poses, including sitting on a bridge, a wall and the floor. We did miss most of the rain, but the weather wasn’t great, so thanks to them for their patience outside in the cold. I’ve got lots to reflect on and am really looking forward to my next shoots. I hope you like these pics in the meantime. And if you, or someone you know, is getting married then please do get in touch – I’d love to discuss your plans with you and see if I can give you a beautiful set of photos to help you remember your special day.

Weddings, and whizz-bangs

It could have been a quiet weekend. I had no bookings and we had no family plans. But instead I took myself to photography school, to learn more about wedding photography. It’s called Continual Professional Development, a way to keep improving, learning, bettering oneself. In this case it was also a good deal of fun.

The workshop I went on was organised by the Royal Photographic Society and held at Lacock in Wiltshire. A good mix of classroom and practical sessions.  To save travel I stayed over at nearby Chippenham, and even managed to find a bonfire & firework display to attend on Saturday evening. More photography on Sunday, including an outdoor session down by the river. I didn’t have the right shoes to paddle in the river, but a couple of others did. The things we do for a good photo!

And then today being the 5th of November we had sparklers after tea. And we’ve even got a few sparklers left over for my birthday next week. I’ve put a selection of pics below to show a bit of what I’ve been up to this weekend and hope to have about the workshop, and some of the photos, tomorrow.

 

 

If you go down to the woods today…

… don’t drop your mobile phone.

Yes, I was foolish enough to let my phone fall from my pocket today while I was taking photos in Didcot’s Millenium Wood. Thankfully for me someone found it later while walking her dog and I was reunited with the phone a couple of hours later – thank you nice lady! So the lesson is be careful when you’re kneeling on the floor taking photos of moss and the base of a tree.

 

With bonfire night on Monday I’m sure there will be plenty of fireworks going off this weekend. If you’re going to a display or having your own at home remember to be safe, wrap up warm and have fun. If you fancy trying to get some fireworks photos then do use a tripod if at all possible – you’ll be working with longer exposures then usual and it’s SO important to keep the camera steady. Assuming you’ve got some distance between you and the fireworks then manually focusing on infinity should do the trick, especially if you’ve got a mid-range aperture to give you some depth of field. After that experiment with shutter speed; the great thing about digital photography is that you can review and adjust. And don’t forget to include some shots of your family and friends enjoying themselves – photographing sparklers is always good fun and silhouettes against the bonfire can look great. I’m not sure if I’ll get to see any fireworks this weekend – I’m away on a photography weekend, an early birthday present from my husband. But come back in a few days and see how I got on.

Have a great weekend!

Wey-hey! A Weymouth away day

We’ve just had a couple of nights away in Dorset. As yesterday was a lovely bright day, if a little chilly, we went to the seaside. Weymouth. I promised my family I wouldn’t drag loads of kit around or spend hours fiddling around – they are very patient and generous with the time they hang around indulging me but I felt this should be family time more than anything. So I took minimal kit (one camera, one lens, one mini tripod, one filter) and grabbed a bit of time on the beach before lunch, and otherwise fitted in quick snaps.

The filter was one I’ve had for a while but not used yet. A variable density neutral density filter. So I popped it on the camera, set to maximum density and used a low ISO as it was a bright day. I set a long exposure and put the camera on a mini tripod down on the beach close to the waves. I tried a load of variations with exposures between 1 second and 20 seconds. I tried some with a burst of flash followed by the long exposure to catch ambient light. Overall I was disappointed with the results, though I kind of liked the one above where the flash has caught the waves and created a sparkly trail. I think I need to keep trying, in particular finding a better view/angle, and really try a range of exposure conditions. Most importantly I need to be methodical, keeping all but one thing constant and then working through the full range of settings, rather than flitting about changing several things at once. Then I might get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. But that will take more time than I was prepared to invest yesterday. However it was a start and I have now got that filter out of the box.

My favourite snaps from the rest of the weekend are shown below. I hope you like something from them at least.

 

Busy busy busy … and paws

So much going on at the moment. It’s exciting and a little bit scary and my head is beginning to spin slightly if I’m honest.

Last week was rather busy as we had two nights out at the theatre to see Dave Gorman and Ross Noble. And I had two nights at our local arts centre (Didcot Cornerstone), one for choir and one to find out about Oxfordshire Artweeks. Last night I went to a networking event with wedding suppliers – it was good fun and informative (who knew that “Bride” originally meant cake or that May is the unluckiest month to get married?) and I met some lovely people, including the amazingly tricksy Jono Blythe. So there’s all of that to be thinking about plus a couple of other ideas at the back of my mind, AND I’m taking photos at a dance show this coming weekend. No wonder I feel a bit dizzy – one of the speakers said last night that we can only hold 7 ideas in our head at one time.

But for a bit this afternoon I did stop – I sat peacefully on the sofa with my big old soft, soppy, nincompoop of a cat (pictured above) snuggled up on my lap. It was lush, even though it did only last about ten minutes. We all need a little time out, whether it’s to stroke the cat or the dog, or to read a book, or have a bath, or a nap, or a walk, to call an old friend, or a new one, to sit in silence or listen to some music. Today is World Mental Health day, so I hope you have or you will make sure you take a bit of time out. And not just today, but whenever you need it, because in today’s busy life we should all pause (or paws) for a bit once in a while. One of my favourite things to “nourish my soul” is to get outside, spend a bit of time with nature. With all the other things going on it’s probably a good job that I got out to do just that at the Harcourt Arboretum last Friday – I hope you like this selection of photos. And please let me know your go-to time out activities – I know we’re all different, but it’s good to share ideas.

 

 

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

I’ve been trying to explain to somebody what they get if they make a booking with IAEP. And now I’ve got the Buzzcocks song as an earworm. Still, it could be worse.

Anyway, to answer the question – what DO you get? Let’s say you’re planning an event (wedding or party, say) and you decide you’d like a photographer. You do a search and find my details and make a call or ping off an email – what happens next?

 

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You get in touch and give me some basic information, what/where/when/how long and I give you a price. There may be a bit more communication by phone or email, or possibly a short meeting, giving you a chance to ask any questions, then when you’re happy to make a booking you send me a deposit and I save the date for you.

 

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Depending on where the event is happening I may go and have a look to see what space there is, where the best locations for photos will be etc. Closer to the event I’ll meet you, go through all details, discuss your requirements and preferences, make sure we all know what will happen on the day etc. I will ask you plenty of questions and take notes, and you can of course ask me anything you want too.   I want your event to run as smoothly as possible so this is where any potential issues get ironed out.

 

On the day of your event, I will make sure I am set up and ready to go shortly before the agreed start time so that I can then concentrate on doing the best for you. I’ll obviously capture all the key elements, as agreed with you beforehand. And I’ll add as many candid shots or extras as I can to build up a full picture of your event. I’ll try to fit in around you if possible, without taking over your day, though depending on your event there will be times I have to take the lead in order to take specific agreed photos. Whatever happens I will of course be professional, friendly, and as helpful as I can be along the way.

 

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After the event I will check each and every photo for technical and aesthetic quality. I’ll make minor adjustments if necessary and copy all images of good enough  quality onto a USB memory stick for you. You can then look at the images at your leisure and discuss requests for printing or photobooks, if required. Alternatively you can arrange your own printing, and of course you may share images with friends, on social media etc. And it goes without saying that if you have any concerns at any stage I will do my best to help.

So now you know. So if you book with IAEP there should be no nasty surprises. Only good ones.

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So here it is, merry autumn everybody

The equinox. This morning was wet. The sort of rain I mentioned yesterday. We were very pleased to be inside. Daughter drew kiwi fruit for her art homework and made a start with her history homework. I messed about online. We watched the end of last night’s Strictly.

Then it dried up and I decided to go out to Waterperry Gardens. It’s a beautiful place with big bold herbaceous borders, little pockets of intimacy in enclosed gardens, a variety of apple and pear trees in long rows, and other gems besides. The leaves were beginning to show autumn hues, but many of the flowers were purple. There was also an exhibition of sculptures that were beautiful, though a bit beyond my budget.

Two hours wasn’t long enough really, but it fed my soul. And it meant I got home in time to feed my family and, as a bonus, before it rained again. Besides, I’ve got an annual pass now so I can go back to Waterperry again whenever I need to nourish my soul again.

Autumn is definitely here

Well tomorrow is the equinox, so some would say it’s downhill from here on until the end of the year? As an autumn-lover I’d say we’ve got some cracking times just ahead of us, but even so it is sad to see the daylight hours dwindling. Also, the rain we’ve had today has done little to cheer the soul. It’s just been grey and miserable, while kind of neither one thing nor the other. Too wet to want to be outside for long. Not wet enough to be decent raindrops-running-down-the-windows rain where you can cosy up indoors, peering at raindrops racing on the window and commenting, “Ooooh it’s so wet out there, I’m glad we’re all warm and dry in here!”

So what DO you do on a day like this? We hijacked my nephew and his wife and their son to come for lunch with us near Winchester. Inside the pub we had little idea of the weather. Instead we were focused on pie, chips, scampi, pasta, peas, sticky toffee pudding, prosecco sorbet, banofee pie, doughnuts and a snickerbockerglory. And my little great-nephew of course. Such a smiley little boy (when he wants to be) he entertained us all with baby high-fives, stickers, colouring with a water pen, and a little wooden horse.

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If you’d like a bit of colour to brighten up this grey day, then have a look at the gallery from Emma and Chris‘s wedding. The orange colour they used in the flowers, buttonholes, and other decorations was so bright and sunny. It wasn’t just the flowers though that were beaming – so many bright smiles in the photos.

I hope the weather improves for my nephew and his family as this is their holiday week. Having one or two pub lunches when it’s raining can be seen as a good thing, but I’m sure they’d like to get out and about most of the time. After all, there’s still time for an ice cream at the sea side if we get a decent afternoon.

 

It’s nice to be in print

I took some photos this summer for the Camphill Village Trust and today I got to see some of them being used in their newsletter. I visited their “Delrow Central” cafe and also the allotments at St Albans back in July – both of which were lovely places to visit. Kat, Gemma, Joy and Ed all made me feel very welcome. The cafe had just received its 5 star food hygiene rating when I visited, and there were brand new chicks at the allotment so both visits were quite exciting. So thank you to all at Camphill Village Trust for all your kindness.

I’ve added a few more pics from the allotments below – such a good afternoon.

Changing seasons

I’m hopeful that we have some cracking autumn days ahead of us, but I think autumn has come and that the hot summer of 2018 is heading towards being a thing of legend. Strictly has started, the proms are over, schools are all back, Doctor Who is on the way and I’ve had to get my slipper socks out of the drawer. It’s not all bad news though. I’m looking forward to half term already, and Halloween and Bonfire Night. Autumn colours, playing with leaves, cosy jumpers, baked apples, apple crumble, slow cooked stews and lighting a fire.

Before long we’ll be seeing shiny things in the shops with twinkling lights and a magical feeling in the air. There will also be parties and celebrations, catching up with friends, with music, food, drinks and dancing. If you’ve got an event coming up then why not think about photography? Maybe you’d like general shots of the event, people, food, drinks, dancing etc. Maybe you’d like a “photo corner” offering photobooth style pics with a range of dress up props? IAEP can offer either of these services so do get in touch for a no obligation quote, tailored to your requirements.

 

St Giles’ Fair x 2

We went not once, but twice, to St Giles’ Fair in Oxford this week. The fair is held on the Monday and Tuesday following the first Sunday after St Giles’ Day (1 September). It dates back to 1625 when it was a parish festival to celebrate the feast of St Giles, the patron saint of cripples. In the 18th century it was a toy fair, then in the early 19th century it was a general children’s fair.  The funfair grew during mid and late Victorian times.

We only had a brief visit on Monday but long enough to try the Ferris wheel, which terrified me. It took me about 5 or 6 rotations to open my eyes! Thankfully I was not put off and we had another go on Tuesday, when we had a return visit to the fair. That time I really enjoyed it. My daughter was a bit scared of the height, but much better than me. She also had a go on one of the many fun-houses, and won a toy unicorn. Of course there were plenty of food stalls at the fair and we enjoyed donuts and candy floss.

 

St Giles’ Day will be a Sunday next year, so based on the information above the first Sunday AFTER that will be September 8th, so the fair will be on Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th. So we might not get to go next year. But if I’ve got it wrong and the fair is on the 2nd and 3rd, see you there!

It may be small, but I have a photo exhibited!

Do you remember I mentioned that the Cornerstone were asking for photos for inclusion in their 10th anniversary exhibition this September?  Well I submitted some photos and one of them has been included. So I popped in this morning to have a spy. I confess it took me a few moments to spot it, as it is just a little photo included as part of a bigger one, but there it was. The exhibition seems to show activities at Cornerstone, with large photos of dancers, artists, children making lanterns, and some small abstract photos added in the corners. My contribution is multi-coloured spinning light up toys on sale at the Didcot street fair, included bottom left of a photo of a boy. If you do go past Cornerstone, maybe have a quick look at the exhibition? It’s free and you might see someone you know??

1 wedding + 1 canal + family visits = great weekend

I’ve got my parents visiting this weekend, so just sneaking in this post while they have a lie in. It’s lovely having family visits, and thankfully they understood that I went out the first night to take photos at Chris & Emma’s wedding. What a great couple they are. I can’t share any photos just yet as they haven’t had a chance to see them, but later in the month…

We had a visit to Newbury on Saturday to have a little stroll along the canal. We were fortunate enough to see the swing bridge and the lock in action, which pleased my daughter. Especially when she got to see the lock in operation and even help a bit.

My parents have taught her how to play crib – and refreshed my memory – so we now have a new game to play. We’ve also introduced my parents to Dobble and Scoop. Because having family here isn’t all about trips out and good food (though I think we’ve had our share of that) but about time together, catching up, playing games, sharing tales. This was definitely the case when Mum’s sister and her family came to see us yesterday. My daughter and my cousin’s daughter had fun playing games and going to the park; the grown ups had a good natter; and plenty of tea and cake were consumed. A good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Didn’t we have a lovely time?

We’ve survived the family summer holiday. A week in the North East of England, visiting old friends and old haunts. It’s 16 years since we left Newcastle to come to Oxfordshire so we were well overdue a visit.

We saw nine old friends and made two new ones. We visited Tynemouth, Newcastle, Whitley Bay, Alnwick, Holy Island (Lindisfarne), Harrogate and York. We saw our old houses, travelled our old commute to work, saw pubs, shops, museums, and bridges that brought back memories, and noted the changes since we left. We had the best fish and chips we’ve had in 16 years. We visited historical and frivolous attractions and generally had a week of plain old fun.

Despite a week of busy days and plenty of activity I do feel refreshed by a good holiday. So with my batteries recharged I’m now taking bookings for the tail end of 2018 and through into 2019 and beyond.

I hope to hear from you soon, but in the meantime here are a few holiday snaps. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Please use the form below if you would like to get in touch, or email me at sam@inanyeventphotography.co.uk

The fun of the fair

Last night I posted about my photographic activities over the past few days. I’d been to the Natural History and Pitt Rivers museums in Oxford and I finished with talk about going to the fair. I’m pleased to say the rain held off and we did go out. Getting there at 8.30pm it was all very quiet, one of the crew told me that on weekdays they tend to have a family audience who come in the afternoon and early evening. So there wasn’t so much going on by the time we got there, but the sky and the impact of the fairground lights as the sun went down made up for I think. I hope you agree. So here are a few pics from the museum and the fair. Not much happening today and not sure about tomorrow yet, but you never know so do come back and check up on what I’ve been snapping.

 

I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to get in touch about anything photographic. And don’t forget I’ve got a half-price offer on at the moment if you get in touch by 10pm on Sunday 12th August and book a 1 hour photo shoot to take place by the end of September 2018. Use the form below, or on my contact page to take advantage of this special offer celebrating my 2 year anniversary with In Any Event Photography.

Busy life for a 2 year old

So much going on at the moment. My family are away and I had planned to have a day out at Kew Gardens but with the crazy heat we’ve been having I decided to put that off for a bit as I didn’t think I’d really get the most out of it if 50% or more of the time was spent in search of shade or a drink.

However, I did take the photos at Lucy & Mike’s wedding on Saturday, and then process all the images for them. I can show you a sneak peek now, but nothing more until they’ve had a real chance to look and comment. But then I hope to add them to my gallery selection, so do come back and check in a week or so. It was a FANTASTIC day, and the bride looked particularly radiant. They had put so much thought into everything too – a real sign of how much they care for and love all their family and friends.

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With Mike and Lucy’s wedding barely over I’ve also been making plans with Chris and Emma, who are getting married at the end of the month -and fitting in some cuddles with their very friendly dog while we were chatting! Sounds like their wedding will be another good event, and I hope to have some great photos to show you (with the Bride and Groom’s permission of course) afterwards.

All that aside I’ve fitted in some photos for fun, including this amazing evening sky the other night. And today I went with my friend Claire to Oxford’s Pitt Rivers and Natural History museums. I’ve not had a chance to look at those photos yet though, and depending on the weather in the next 15 minutes we may go out to see the local funfair this evening – see it really is all go!

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And more exciting perhaps than all of this is the fact that today is the 2nd anniversary of the first photoshoot by In Any Event Photography. I started with a family photoshoot with the Hancock Family. To celebrate this achievement I am happy to offer a 50% discount on any 1 hour photoshoot where contact is made through this website before 10pm on Sunday 12th August, and the shoot takes place before the end of September 2018. The discount price of £30 will get you 1 hour photoshoot at your house or at an agreed location (within 15 miles of Didcot) and supply of edited images on a USB memory stick.

Contractions and expansions

Oh my word. It feels like a month since the trip to the zoo. But it’s only been one short week. Yes it feels like a month, because we’ve done so much. But also like a couple of days because it’s flown by so fast.

So what have we done that’s made time contract and expand all at the same time? Well, the zoo trip was the start of a lovely week with my family in Norwich. As a Freeman of the city. I was lucky enough to enjoy a special visit to the Museum of Norwich. And over the week I also had a chance to see familiar sights in the city, as well as discover a couple of new ones. Another new place for me was out of the city. My father took me and my daughter to Ranworth Broad, where the ducks were very enthusiastic about us once we’d bought a box of food.

 

I also had a fun, if exhausting, day with my sister and my daughter looking for decorated hares all round the city. We followed a trail of 50 giant hares, and though we didn’t manage to find all of them we were quite happy with 43. Six of my favourites are shown below. It was a very hot day and 43 hares took us about 5.5 miles on foot round the city, so I think we did pretty well, considering.

 

Our last afternoon in Norwich wasn’t actually in Norwich, but in Lowestoft. I had many childhood holidays in Lowestoft so if should have been really familiar. And a lot of it was. There are still two piers with amusement arcades, and “Tides Reach” (selling drinks and buckets and spades, inflatables, hats and a myriad of other seaside paraphernalia) next to the fish and chip shop (which we visited for tea). But the beach is different. Sandy parts are now stony, and stony bits are now sandy. But what glorious, golden sand! Daughter and I played on the beach for an hour, digging and paddling. And the water was warm! And the gardens on the front weren’t up to old standards. Some of this will be due to the recent spell of hot weather, but some is just the changes that come with time. An afternoon in Lowestoft was still wonderful though, especially in such lovely weather.

 

I’ll try to keep this blog up to date with the best photos of what’s happening during the holidays. But please excuse me if I’m having too much fun to do it frequently!

School’s out for summer

I guess today feels like the first proper day of the school holidays, because so far it’s been weekend time. Not that we’ve wasted that time: oh no the summer holidays really got off to a good start with the Little Mix concert in Earlham Park, Norwich on Saturday night, and a multi-generational family trip to Banham Zoo yesterday. It was lovely to see my sister, my niece and nephew and their families, especially the little ones. I think lots of fun was had by all.

And remember summer holidays gives more time for photos, so if you’d like anything doing now’s a great time to get in touch. Whether that’s parties or portraits I’d love to hear from you.

 

Scorchio!

I think we can all agree we’ve had an unusually long run of fine weather recently. I’ve managed to enjoy it this weekend as we had family visiting so life was a bit more relaxed. But even before the weekend started I had a fun Friday afternoon at one of the sites of the Camphill Village Trust. I met and photographed some wonderful people there in the Delrow Central cafe. I’m going to another CVT site next week and hope to be able to share some pictures with you after that.

The rest of the weekend has been with family. We set up a paddling pool for my daughter, spent time in the garden, went for a fantastic lunch on Saturday, had some beer on Didcot’s Boundary Park in the evening and enjoyed a few hours at Cuttleslowe park today.

 

My hometown

A bit of me will always think of Norwich as home. But for the past 16 years Didcot has been home. And of course over that time I’ve taken photos of it. So I was very interested to hear about an exhibition coming to Didcot’s Cornerstone arts centre in September to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

ENJOY PHOTOGRAPHY? WANT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OF DIDCOT TO FEATURE IN AN EXHIBITION? WE NEED YOU!

Yes, there’s a chance that photos taken by you (or me) might make it into the exhibition. The information says that they particularly want

abstract images that show detail, texture, creativity and colour. We would love as many of you to get involved in this project as possible!

So I shall be looking through my archives and in addition I went out snapping last night. I hope you inspire you to go out and take some photos and maybe you, or me, or both of us can share a wall come September?

If you’ve got any comments then please get in touch

Ghostly images

Do you recall that I said I was thinking about a long term project? Well yesterday I went out in my lunch break and made a start. You probably won’t see any results for some months but while I was out on the grass I saw plenty of people walking, or even running, past. And so I got thinking about long exposures and taking some pictures down at floor level to get some kind of trail as people crossed my field of view. I had no idea what settings to use, so there was a lot of trial and error and lots of pictures of empty grass, but eventually (and typically just before I had to go back to the office) I got a few that I rather like.

A hot day at the park

Phew, it was scorching on the park this afternoon. How the Paw Patrol characters, or the football players managed I’m not sure. But it was all in a good cause, raising money for cystic fibrosis, and I hope everyone had a good time like us, but without the twisted ankle of course! Yes unfortunately my daughter had a little accident which meant we had to go home early, but an afternoon of rest and she’s fine now. It means of course that we didn’t get to see the raffle drawn, so if you won the voucher from In Any Event Photography please get in touch to arrange.

There is a gallery of pics – thanks to all who let me take their pictures – over on my Galleries page, just follow the link from there. I met some lovely people this afternoon and if anyone wants or needs to get in touch then please email me at sam@inenyeventphotography.co.uk or use the form below.

One last time

I’m off to school tonight. My daughter’s primary school. But not for much longer, because she’s in Year 6 and leaving in 3 weeks. Last week I took some photos of the Year 6 children – when I’ve checked with parents to get permissions to share photos online – I’ll put a few in a gallery. But I’m going back tonight to do some more Year 6 photos, setting up a photo booth at their sleepover. Yes, the children are sleeping at school tonight! Though how much sleep they’ll get is yet to be seen. Anyway I’ll have gone by then, but hopefully not before I’ve got some fun photos of them all dressed up with hats/scarves/glasses and other props. Speaking of which here are a couple of similar photos from a similar session I did at a charity fundraiser last weekend. If you’d like a photo booth at an event, whether that’s a fundraising event or a party then get in touch. I can provide a backdrop, lighting, props, camera (of course!), not forgetting my time to take the photos. I offer 2 services: photography plus supply of processed photos on a USB stick after the event (prices start at £60 for 1 hour’s photography); or for an additional fee I can print photos at the event for guests to take home. It makes great entertainment for the young, or the young at heart. So please get in touch to discuss!

 

Long term projects

I’m a bit late telling you this, but each June I look forward to checking up on a website I’ve been following for well over 10 years now. I take my hat off to it’s owner, Diego Goldberg, for dedication to the long term project. He started this project, The arrow of time  in 1976 and it’s still going strong. I’ll let Diego describe his project:

On June 17th, every year, the family goes through a private ritual:
we photograph ourselves to stop, for a fleeting moment, the arrow of time passing by.

I find it fascinating, watching the little changes year on year. Well the changes in Diego are little, his wife Susy seems to change a bit more between photos, largely due to changing hairstyle and clothing fashions. But even the little changes add up, and over 40 years you can see the effects of time. Because I don’t think the arrow of time passes us by, but pulls us with it through the years. Over the early years of the project we are introduced to Diego and Susy’s three boys. Now they are grown men, with their own wives and, in some cases, children of their own. And boy, don’t those boys take after their father!

When I look at this, I think I should start a long-term photo project of my own. I’ve got a couple of ideas (a tree and a field near home) but I never know when to start. Do I start now, while I’m thinking of it? Or wait until we get better weather? Or wait until January. new year and all that? I guess I should just get on with it rather than prolonging the dithering. Hopefully I’ll have some developments to report on soon. In the meantime enjoy making friends with the Goldberg family.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart

They say that the shoemakers children are poorly shod. What about the photographer’s children? Do they never have their photo taken? Well if I look through the ever-growing volume of photos on my computer I’d have to say that’s not true. But today, on her 11th birthday that was partly the case as thoughout most of the day – birthday breakfast, present opening, fun with friends – I forgot to pick the camera up, or did it in such a hurry that the results weren’t great. That can be the problem, it can be difficult to be the one organising the fun and get some decent photos.  At least I got a couple of reasonable cake shots and one of the birthday girl.

 

If your little ones (or not-so-little-anymore ones) are celebrating and you want to make sure you don’t miss out or mess up the photos then do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

Making (and breaking) the rules

Bank Holiday Monday and no plans. To be fair we hadn’t planned on being in this country today, which is why we had no plans. But that plan changed. So daughter and I decided to visit some local gardens (Waterperry) which pleased her because they have a gnome hunt on for half-term, and pleased me because I could take my camera.

So while I was thinking about what kit to take, I decided to do something a bit different. I decided to set myself a rule of only taking black and white photos. I set my camera to monochrome and off we went. The gardens were a treat. Big herbaceous borders full of colour. Mmmm, not very inspiring in B&W. Maybe my nan, who used to watch snooker on a black and white telly, would have appreciated it, but I thought it just looked a bit limp. OK then, if I couldn’t rely on colour to make my photos sing, then what. Texture? Shapes? Patterns? I quickly adapted to predicting what would work in monochrome and ended up fairly pleased with most of the results. But however hard I tried I could not get a satisfactory picture of the wisteria in B&W. So we came home and downloaded everything from the memory card, started to play and discovered that although I had set the camera to monochrome and was seeing everything in black and white the colour information was still there. So I decided to break my rule and turned the colour back on for one photo only. As a nod to playing by the rules I faded the colour out somewhat – as seen in the main image at the top of this page – but it’s definitely there. And in my opinion the photo is all the better for it.

 

And the gnomes? We found them all, and daughter unscrambled their names and won the prize. So a good day out for everyone.

If you have any comments on this, or would like to discuss your photography needs feel free to get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

Science + Photography = Cool

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of attending a photo walk at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. This was organised by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, to give keen photographers the chance to look round some areas of the site, and take photos of the science stuff there. I got to see Scientific Computing and the Central Laser Facility. This was all very interesting and I’m pleased with some of the photos. I’ve put some on display below – which one is your favourite?