Sunday, 25 September 2016

Korčula: Digital Photos Part II

These photos are all from the Thursday, which was my favourite day of our week in Korčula. We took the ferry over to Orebić on the mainland. The ferry ride was incredibly relaxing and refreshing, and we both loved Orebić. In a way it was even prettier than Korčula and we had some amazing food there too - some of the best from the whole holiday; in my case, peach flavoured gelato and a delicious tuna salad lunch. Yum!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Korčula: Digital Photos Part I

I have so many photos to go through from my holiday, it's ridiculous. Here is the first bunch of digital ones.... These were all taken on the Tuesday and Wednesday. We spent time on both of these days wandering around the medieval part of Korčula, and then pottering around the harbour, stopping off at lots of cafes and on lots of benches for rests and cold drinks.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Back from Korčula Island

Yesterday I returned from my first holiday abroad in 7 years(!) to the island of Korčula in Croatia. It's a fairly small island, only about 29 miles long. As soon as we arrived I was struck by how peaceful it was there, and by how perfect it looked. As you can see, it is a stunningly beautiful place.

I hadn't been on this kind of holiday before and I had never been to Croatia before. Generally, I tend to visit cities and I've never been into beach holidays as I don't enjoy sunbathing and don't much like hot weather. But, going to Croatia in September meant that it wasn't too hot, and mostly there was a refreshing sea breeze, which makes the heat so much more bearable than it is when we have heatwaves in Birmingham city centre! For this holiday, my mum and I wanted to go somewhere where we could do one thing...relax. Korčula was perfect for this. I can't say I enjoyed the journey there and back much. We flew to Dubrovnik, which was fine, but then had to get a mini bus ride for a little over 2 1/2 hours to the coast, before getting a boat for 15 minutes to the island. The boat rides were relaxing, but the drives were horrendously bendy. It was like being on a gentle rollercoaster for nearly 3 hours! I would definitely not recommend visiting Korčula to anyone who has motion sickness. Thankfully, I was fully prepared with lots of ginger sweets and sickness bands!

I will probably take several weeks to go through all my photos. For now, here is one of me taken by my mum, and a little summary of my favourite things I enjoyed on the holiday...

♥︎ Watching and listening to the waves everyday ♥︎ Exploring and photographing Korčula old town ♥︎ Stopping at numerous cafes for drinks ♥︎ Eating coconut gelato ♥︎ Taking the ferry to Orebic on the mainland for a mini day trip where I took a ton more photos. It was possibly even more photogenic than Korčula♥︎ Eating amazing lunches every day. We booked half board in the hotel, but the food was very disappointing, so we made up for it by eating a fairly substantial lunch every day. In my case, this included delicious tuna salads and french fries, and on one day I had homemade macaroni with zucchini in a creamy curry sauce, which was unnervingly luminous green, but tasted amazing! ♥︎ Eating epic quantities of fish and sweet fresh cucumber ♥︎ Swimming in the hotel pool every day ♥︎ Buying swimming shoes and swimming in the sea for the first time, ever! As I said, I am not a beach holiday person, nor am I a very competent swimmer. I've paddled in the sea a bit when I was younger, but never felt like I wanted to swim in it before. The Adriatic sea was so clear that once we bought the swim shoes I could not resist taking a dip  ♥︎ Lounging around by the pool after swimming listening to Sue Perkins' audiobook ♥︎ Buying some lovely big shells as a souvenir ♥︎ Climbing the small tower in Koula old town to take in the view ♥︎ Drinking buckets of ice cold Ice Tea. They had a brand of Ice Tea there called Jana, which was gorgeous, much nicer than the Lipton one we get everywhere in the UK  ♥︎ Browsing the local supermarket. I love visiting supermarkets in other countries! ♥︎ Stocking up on chocolate bars I've never heard of ♥︎ Shooting 5 rolls of film in total throughout the week :D ♥︎

I'll be back with some epic photo posts shortly...

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...