Saturday, 27 August 2016

Autumn Goals

It seems unreal that six months has passed since my dad left us. This summer is flying by in a way that feels new to me. Until this year I'd never worked a normal Monday to Friday schedule, and it's been a shock to the system. It certainly makes time go by more quickly. I was used to working odd shifts wherever I could and constantly forgetting what day of the week it was. I am, for the most part, feeling settled in the new job now, but not settled in the sense that I am bored of it. It's getting more challenging lately which is slightly daunting but really good. I am immensely grateful for it.

But, of course I appreciate time off too. It is Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, which means an extra day off, hooray! I am spending some time this long weekend making a few plans for the autumn, and here is my list...

1. Take a digital photo everyday. I've had a long break from this and I feel ready to get back into it. Autumn is the perfect time to do it. Last autumn I did a 30 days in Autumn photo project. Maybe, I will do something similar again. I'm not sure, except I want to start the project sooner than I did last year. I'm still deliberating over what to go for...we'll see...

2. Go on holiday abroad. My mum and I are off on holiday to Croatia really soon. I cannot wait! It will actually be my first time on a plane for over 7 years(!). I am taking 4 cameras with me. Yes, 4! So, expect plenty of photos on my return. :D

3. Go on lots of weekends away. I have 4 weekends away in various cities booked for the next few months and I'm really looking forward to all of them. :D Two of them include gigs – Lush and Pixies! I don't know who I am most excited about seeing! 

4. Practice my saxophone regularly. At least, for 20 minutes every other day. I stopped playing it after everything that happened with my dad, and then found it increasingly hard to pick it up again, but I have done recently and I am trying to get back into it.

5. Go on lots of autumnal photo walks. Because, autumn is so photogenic. 

6. Finish putting together the darkroom.

7. Use the darkroom!

8. Shoot lots of film. Always a goal of mine.

9. Do some more Getty submissions. It's been ages.

10. Blog more. I miss it.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Where I Take My Bird Photos

It feels like forever since I dedicated much any time to photography, but I am hoping to get back into the swing of things in the autumn. I've been experiencing some very minor, but annoying, health problems over the summer, as well as having technical problems with my new laptop. There's nothing wrong with the laptop, but I am having trouble getting used to all the new software as I had a good photo-editing-rhythm with my old one that worked for me, and now it's all change as I am trying to work with RAW images for the first time. It is just taking me a long time to work everything out. 

Also, because I now work on a computer every day at work, I don't feel like spending much time on one in the evenings. Most weekends I've been busy doing other things, so I haven't really spent much time on the new laptop yet, other than to watch Netflix!

I am currently having a very lazy weekend at home, which I've been in need of for ages. I am catching up on lots of chores around the house, and of course, catching up on this blog. Today, I thought I would share a few photos of where I take all my bird photos.

I take all my bird photos from our kitchen window. We have several bird feeders very near to it. They were mostly quite expensive squirrel-proof feeders from the RSPB website, and they work pretty well. We still get the occasional young squirrel on them, but on the whole the squirrels have realised they can't get to the food and they stay away.

I always sit right up to the window so I can get as close as possible to the birds. Most of them don't seem to mind me sitting there, although I know they do see me.

For all my bird photos I use the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR lens. It's the only telephoto lens I own so I have nothing to compare it to, but it does the job. I don't use it for much else though, as I tend to stick to my prime lenses for everything else.

I always use my Gorillapod for bird photos. I am not very good at keeping the lens steady without it. It is actually the only thing I use my Gorillapod for. I had bought it several years ago and barely used it until I started photographing the birds.

I did manage to take a quick shot of a woodpecker the other day without it, which is just about in focus, but most of the time I use the Gorillapod. I only didn't for the woodpecker because he/she is extremely timid and flies away if I get too near the window, so it was a case of grabbing my camera and snapping it as quickly as possible before it saw me and flew off!

Ever since my dad got us these great feeders from the RSPB we have attracted so many beautiful birds to our garden! So far, in the last couple of years we have seen robins, blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, coal tits, blackbirds, magpies, pigeons, greenfinches, chaffinches, bullfinches, dunnocks, wrens, nuthatches, green woodpeckers and most recently, a greater spotted woodpecker. I always wonder what we will see next! 

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Lately on Instagram

I've been trying to make an effort to post on Instagram. These are a random mixture of old and new DSLR photos, and new phone photos.

I thought I'd start sharing my Instagrams here as I know not everybody is into it, or has time to check it regularly.

1.  A beautiful Limited Edition Amelie pin designed by Margarita Toyents
2.  Missing my furry pal, Simon :'(
3.  A sticker I got free from DKFM, my number one favourite radio station. It plays shoegaze and more shoegaze, which is ideal if you like your shoegaze. ;)
4. A throwback to the days I made a huge effort to match my nails to everything.
5. Wearing my denim pinafore dress and Twin Peaks pin designed by Tom Grunwald
6. Some patterns I doodled on A3 paper displayed in my bedroom
7. Tik-tok, the Royal Army of Oz pin! From Sugar & Vice
8. Marley the cat. A throwback to my days working at Birmingham Botanical Gardens
9. A new DSLR picture of a mini fibre optic lamp

Thursday, 30 June 2016

The World of Illusions at Edinburgh's Camera Obscura

I am very happy to report that I now have a shiny new MacBook Pro. On the one hand, my photo editing is now heaps faster because it responds so quickly, however, on the other hand I'm taking a while over it because I'm having to get used to the new computer and also I've now got Adobe Photoshop CC and Raw, and Lightroom, so learning lots of new things is slowing me down a little. 

I am finally able to process raw images now, which is something I've wanted to do for years but my old MacBook simply could not handle the large files. I'm really over the moon about that. There have been times when I've really noticed imperfections in my JPGs and it always frustrated me so much, but I didn't feel I could justify getting a new computer until it was absolutely necessary/I could definitely afford to get one. I went for the 13 inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and it is great. The screen is just so lovely and crisp! :D

Without further ado, here's my first bunch of photos edited on it. They are all from the World of Illusions (a place filled with various optical illusions, holograms, lights etc...) at Edinburgh's Camera Obscura, which was one of the highlights of my holiday. The first few are all from the Infinity Light Tunnel, which was as amazing as it looks in the photos! I only wishwishwish that I had taken my DIY Bokeh Masters Kit because it would have been so fun to use there. I will have to make another trip to Edinburgh sometime...

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Edinburgh on Black & White film

I'd love to say I developed these photos myself, but I still haven't bought all the equipment I need, or finished clearing out the darkroom yet. Hopefully, I will have a progress post on all that soon....

I went to Edinburgh the other week for 4 nights with my mum. We stayed very near Haymarket station, which was a really convenient place to be. It was a pretty good break. The highlights for me were visiting the Modern Art Galleries, where we enjoyed the Surreal Encounters exhibition and seeing lots of Bridget Riley paintings, and also, the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. The camera obscura itself didn't work that brilliantly because of the dull weather, but I loved all the fun "illusions". We also visited Holyrood House, the Museum of Scotland and St Giles' Cathedral.

Unfortunately, the weather was cold, and grey, and drizzly the entire time we were there. Consequently, I didn't use my DSLR much at all as I find it too hard to take pictures with it whilst holding up a brolley in the wind (I could do with an extra arm or 2 in these situations...) But, I did take some quick snapshots on film when it wasn't raining too much. These were all taken with my Reader's Digest Panoramic camera and Ilford black & white film....

How wonderful is this neon sign above the art gallery? :D 

I should have some digital photos from inside the Camera Obscura's World of Illusions to share here soon - I am just waiting until I buy myself a new laptop after next pay day before I edit them, as my current one is being extremely slow, which is why I haven't been posting here much lately, or checking Flickr or blogs much either. Excuse me while I post these and dash now as my slow laptop is driving me a bit crazy, but I will be back again soon...

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Taking a break

I've decided to take a break from my daily digital photos. I have reached that point where I'm no longer enjoying the challenge and it has become a chore, unfortunately. I also feel like I mostly would like to go back to shooting film for a while, because apart from some instant film, I have barely shot any in months. I've also just ordered a supply of black and white film, which I want to get started on shooting so that I can practice developing negatives once I've bought the chemicals I need.

I won't disappear from here for long - I'll be back here before you know it, hopefully with lots of film shots (and perhaps, a few digital ones) from my upcoming holiday in Edinburgh to show you all :)

Monday, 30 May 2016

Recent Photos

Last week I really felt a big lack of motivation with photography, which was frustrating. I think I am simply in need of a week's holiday (2 weeks to go, and counting!), as I'm feeling run down generally. I haven't had a week's holiday since last November. My holiday in Brighton honestly feels like centuries ago to me. So much has happened since then. Thankfully, today is a Bank Holiday here in the UK so I am planning to spend some time today doing fun photography related things - perhaps a few Getty submissions, having a think about some future photo ideas, doing a little more clearing out of the darkroom, and maybe ordering a couple more things for it too! 

Here are my digital photos from last week....

Heart Patch

Tuesday Sunset

Succulent in B&W

Warmer Days

This mini fan is so great for keeping my old MacBook from overheating.

Spring Garden

Taken through the living room window

Mini Memorial

Simon was a special hamster, therefore he needed a special gravestone ;)