Photo a Day 2015 Set 34

I’m up to date – who would have thought it!   This is a week of two halves sort of.  Monday – Saturday are actually all iphone photographs, Sunday’s collection are from the camera.  I found it easier not lugging the camera around as I’m beginning to get tired.  I don’t know if it’s bump or if it’s the M.E. but either way, I appear to be slowing down.

The first image is a little bit random – you know the pictures of full washing lines – the black and white ones from days gone by … well this reminded me of it and I just had to take a picture.  I like the whites against the clear blue sky – I would also have liked one long washing line and no brick in view but the whirlygig had to do.
Day-229 Then it sort of turned slightly cooler and on Tuesday I found myself out with the dog first thing in the morning in my new shiny wellies (I hope they last longer than my previous pair), a jumper and a scarf.  This was a continuation of me thinking about composition and putting an image together.  It sort of worked but the light, dog lead(s) and radiator do detract a bit … still – moving in the right direction.

Day-230 Another early morning shot – just as sun was coming up by the local field.  I just liked the cloud trails.


Then it was time for bake-off on Thursday.  I am seriously impressed with this cake as it was made by the 12 year old completely on his own.  It was light (which is good for a chocolate cake), moist, the ganache / chocolate fudge was not only shiny but tasted divine.  YUM!  Needless to say it didn’t last very long at all.

Day-232 Friday’s image was just a snap of the dog having appropriated a newly finished object for a pillow.  I just liked the cheek of it!  She snoozed there for quite a while.Day-233 Saturday is flowers from the garden.  Day-234Now we’re on to Sunday – I’ve actually got a few images from today as I enjoyed playing with the XPro1 and seeing how you can change the look of things.  Effectively I was playing with composition and trying to get a good shot to show texture / colour / structure of a couple of finished knitted items.  First up is the blanket that the dog enjoyed snoozing on.  It’s actually still in two halves (and will be joined when baby gets big enough for them to be one blanket) so I tried stacking the folded blankets with a bit, but not a huge amount of success.   Artful draping over a chair or laying out on the grass really didn’t work but I think I hit the jackpot by pegging one half up against the back wall.
Day-235aDay-235Then it was time for a pair of socks.  I really like them on the brick wall as well as it shows off the colour and heel construction but the best was actually wearing them among the geraniums.  I quite enjoyed this and will definitely do this again but for the next week, considering the schedule I expect more iPhone snaps.

Photo a Day 2015 Set 33

Well hello there. Still a week behind but I have sorted (and even uploaded) the images for Set 33 and 34 so maybe, just maybe I’ll be on time by the end of this week?  This week was the first week back at work and being honest, after about 2 hours the memory of the holiday was rather distant.  The joys of a sales meeting the first afternoon back and trying to sort out several hundred e-mails first things in the morning is not ideal  What that meant was that there were no photographs on the Monday.  None at all.

Tuesday, well, this was just a lucky shot while out walking the dog.  Completely unplanned and I was looking at something else entirely when this bee just buzzed into shot.  Its nice when things work out this way.

Wednesday’s picture was taken in the evening light coming through the bedroom window.  I’ve been vaguely thinking about the themes / weekly focus ideas that I was muttering about before going on holiday and realised that I don’t really tend to set up shots, I just capture what I see.  There’s nothing wrong with either approach but I’m wondering if setting up a shot would help me think about composition a bit more.  Anyway – this is a blanket which you’ll see next week when completed.


I couldn’t believe the Rowan berries are out already – it doesn’t feel Autumn enough already (as in it’s still August – the temperature and weather would have you believe it’s Autumn mostly).  I love the vibrant reds.  It made me want to go set up a composite of looking at the local flowers / plants to get the colours of the rainbow.  Maybe I’ll get round to that.


Friday was actually a lovely day this week but the morning dew was fabby.  If only I could remember what this plant is called (I should know, it’s in a pot outside my front door).


Next up is a rather silly shot taken from the iPhone.  It’s not that great but until the Saturday we were rather short on things for the impending arrival so blitzed it in one day.  It’s the only shot I took that day so that’s why it’s in here – definitely nothing to do with photographic merit.


Last but not least, we had visitors on the Sunday for a BBQ so it called for a quick blitz on the garden.  This shot really does not do it justice, we’ve the colour from the fuschia, other plants I’ve forgotten the name of in the hanging boxes, the sweet peas climbing the walls on each side with the geranium lower down.  Then there’s the practical herbs and veg and finally the textures of the grasses, climbing plants (I do know the name but my mind is blank), lavender etc.  It just looked lovely.  There must be a way to photograph this so it’s more inspiring but from the perspective of enjoying it, it was great.Day-227

I’m finding the weight of the camera (and it’s not hugely heavy) more of a chore carrying it right now thanks to the extra weight I’m also carrying.  I may switch to iphone photographs for the next few weeks apart from when at home. We’ll see!

Photo a Day 2015 Set 32

A slightly belated second week of holiday.  Getting back to work last week was just a little bit too busy so it’s taken a while to catch up.  I’ve still not sorted the holiday photographs but I have managed to choose my 7 favourites from the week.

We start off at an amazing beach, Roseisle.  This is a vast expanse of soft golden sands, shallow and warm seas for what feels like miles (when you’re a child) and the best thing ever, it’s not too busy.  Doesn’t sound like it’s possible in the North of Scotland but it is.  The shallow incline means the water gets warmed by the heat of the sun on the sand and considering it’s the North Sea in the Moray firth, it’s really quite warm.  None of that wetsuit milarky for kids anyway!  The views changed every minute thanks to the cloud formations and as you stroll along you come across 2nd world war relics in the form of anti-tank blocks.  Being there brought back a lot of memories from childhood holidays and it was great visiting there with my parents.


The following day taught me to always have a camera with me … this is a poor second to what my dad caught on his iphone.  From the chalet we had a stunning, large rainbow with very very clear reflection behind it and some very funky lighting effects.   By the time I’d dived through to the bedroom, picked up camera and got back – this is all that was left.


The following day I was a little more lucky in that I had my camera and the right lens to hand for this oyster catcher digging up worms.  That said, I had dragged my camera all the way round Inverness and didn’t capture one image (it’s beginning to feel a little heavy to lug about thanks to the rapidly growing bump …. I may switch to iphone in a week or two for out and about shots).


Thursday (the week was flying by), we visited the Black Isle show.  This is primarily an agricultural show and there are queues of people looking at prize specimens like the one below.  I’m not sure I’d like to have the job of leading him round by the nose as when he wanted to, he could (and did) just head off in the other direction!  There were sheep and goats and chickens and ducks and dogs and horses and and and ….. Also if you liked tractors or lorries, they had them in abundance and they were actually quite cool to look at.  It’s a funny feeling being smaller than a tyre on a combine.


The last day was a quiet one but we made it down to a favourite spot on the river spey and threw sticks for my parents dog.  She’s a challenge to photograph being so black and I have many failed attempts at this so went for some action shots instead …. I needed the shutter speed faster as it’s still blurry and possibly a better depth of field to account for the dog moving but it was fun trying to keep her in shot as she launched herself into the water.


Saturday was a bit of a write off due to being pretty exhausted but getting back home was a bit of a treat thanks to travelling on the following:


Last but not least, it was back with DH and my 3 stepsons and off to the beach – it was a bit of a failure in that we missed the dog friendly beach, we couldn’t have our planned BBQ but the sun was shining and we had nice views over to the Isle of Wight.  A good holiday!


2015 Photo a Day Week 31

Welcome to a week mostly in France, just south of the Dordogne.  I should have introduced it last week as we arrived on the Saturday but anyway ….. we hunted online for a cottage (I should say gite as it was France) and found Peyrenègre which was absolutely lovely.  Situated among orchards (these were plums) and sunflower fields it was amazingly peaceful (Monday / Tuesday’s pics) and thanks to a combination of lovely accommodation, the pool, hot tub and lovely countryside along with very friendly owners we will be going back when we can.

So … back to the trees – it’s interesting how they’re set up in the orchards – the walnut groves were a little too far for me to walk so I stuck to the plums and depending on if you looked down the diagonal (as shot here) or square on you had really quite different light/shade contrasts.  It was fun.


Tuesday I just liked the bright sunflowers against the cloudy sky.  10 minutes later it was sunny again (yay).


I had mentioned in my previous post that I’d had a little trouble with my shiny new flash and in the middle of the week we’d planned on visiting one of the fairly famous caves in the region with cave paintings of mammoths and such like (it was supposed to rain all day so we thought we may as well go underground).  This proved the incentive to finally figure out why when the flash was connected and turned on, I still could not activate it as the option was greyed out on my X-Pro1.  Well …. thanks to the wonders of the interweb and users forums, I discovered that you need to not have the camera in silent mode.  I switched on the annoying beeps and lo and behold, my flash works – woohoo!

However, we then called the caves to find out that lots of people had thought the same thing and were visiting the caves due to the inclement weather.  It turned out, we’d not got up early enough and they were fully booked for the day (this was a conversation held by me in French which must have been very painful for the helpful person at the end of the telephone) so we went to a fascinating place called Saint Emillion instead.  It was stunning (and not raining) in terms of architecture and if you’re a wine aficionado you’ll have a great time here.  If you like photography then there are some amazing things to try and capture as well … I did like the 17th / 18th century graffiti in sandstone.
Day-210 The following morning (why was I waking up before 6am on holiday?) we had a pretty sunrise.  Shame about the high voltage wires but I liked the sky.Day-211

Friday was our other “day out” and we visited a different wine region.  This one is just south of Bergerac and it’s quite interesting as they’ve created a co-operative winery.  Anyway, Monbazillac has an interesting chateaux and in the basement they have an “example” collection of 7000 bottles of wine for you to get an idea of what a wine cellar really looks like.  The bottles fill 3 sides of a small room …. that much wine should not fit into that small a space!

The lighting was interesting and it was fun trying to balance a fast enough shutter and depth of field (playing with ISO / Aperture) without a tripod to get an interesting image without it being grainy.  This was my favourite angle.Day-212 Day-212b I’m sneaking in a second photograph from the same day here ….. these bugs were all over the rose bushes in the chateaux gardens …. I just liked the patterns and they looked like tiki masks.

The final day in France for me was a trip to Bergerac airport and then flying back – I was leaving the family to go do very little in Scotland for a week while the rest went camping (at 7 months pregnant, it’s not something I was considering an option this year).  I found this interesting (to me) bracket fungus so it had to be snapped.

Day-213 Back in Scotland, we had this visitor to our accommodation – unfortunately she was slightly wary and this was at the limit of my zoom lens but she graced us with her presence for about 20 minutes which was lovely.Day-214

Photo a Day 2015 Set 30

Well hello there from France.  Well, actually hello there from the UK – I drafted the first part of this set early in the vague hope that I do decide to leave the laptop behind for the holiday and to switch off properly.  The laptop did actually get left at home and then I found out that uploading via the app on the iPad didn’t quite work so am once again weeks behind (what a surprise).

As if that’s not enough, there’s another departure from the norm in that I’m including an image here from my DH which has sort of acted as inspiration for me this week.

The local barley fields are being harvested and on one of the weekend days, nice and early he had fantastic light and captured the above image with an iphone.   I’m a bit jealous.  I went along on Monday and that field had been cleared and all that was left was the adjacent field with flat lighting and no funky angular rows of barley stalks.  Not exactly inspiring.Day-201

Jumping days slightly to Wednesday I’m a bit more pleased with this image – the lighting is better and even though one field has been turned over and the one from my image above has now been baled, it’s a bit more interesting than flat lighting on uninspiring rows of barley, helped a little by the wildflower area in the foreground.  I suspect I need to be up even earlier to get better lighting and that golden glow (and that’s not happening this week)


As you can see from Tuesday’s image however, the dog is really quite happy that the barley has been cut so she can go racing around the edge of the field again without ending up in surgery for grass seeds stuck up her nose.


Back to today – returned home after holiday and catching up on the photos.  First up, Thursday was a busy day trying to clear the decks so the photograph is just of the yarn I planned on taking away with me.  Not the best pic I was struggling to get my brand new flash to fire and the lighting was a little flat and the focus a little less sharp than it could have been.  (more on the flash next week)


Friday is the obligatory shot from the back of the ferry as you leave the UK (had to be done).  The four photos starting with the yarn were edited on the iPad – my first attempt … they’re all a little dull on the laptop and I think it’s screen differences but it needs more investigation.


Saturday involved a late morning, quite a bit of driving and not getting the camera out until walking the dog up the driveway of the gite at about 9pm.  Big sky was the best thing available to me without tripod!
image Finally Sunday, I just liked the tractor at the gite – again, it’s a bit dull …. editing issues me thinks.