And we’re back …..

After a 10 month hiatus, project 365 is back again.   A very happy 2017 to you all.

Turns out I’m not so good with prompts, the photography challenge way back in February last year completely scuppered my desire to take images.   I saw the prompt, knew what I wanted to capture but couldn’t do it for whatever reason and then lost the will to continue.

New Year – new 365 challenge with no constraints as I want to enjoy my camera again.  To start with, two images from a lovely walk round Harlaw Reservoir in the Pentland Hills (near Edinburgh) on New Years Day.  These are my pics from Jan 1st and 2nd as Jan 2nd was actually spent in the car so I didn’t take any actual images.

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In other news – my 4 month old is now a wonderful 14 month old (no, it’s not him in the image above – that’s just two random people).  As fabulously photogenic as I think he is, I’m not planning on him being the focus of my 2017 365 project.   I’ll try to not include too many images of the dog either.  After a sort of accidental change in career (I was extremely lucky and found a fabby new job when not really looking) , I am very much enjoying a new role, new responsibilities and the wonders of flexible working.    The plan for 2017 is not to take on too much but to keep things simple and enjoy things as much as possible while taking hopefully ever improving pictures and sharing them randomly on here.  I hope you all have a great year!

 

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2016 Photo a Day Week 10

I’ve been doing a “course” with WordPress – Photo 101 – to try and remind me of some of the photography basics which I forget when not actively thinking about them and also for inspiration to keep me going.

They are encouraging you to blog every day with your images but with the 4 and a half month old, it’s just not possible.  I am however back out with my proper camera (not the iPhone) and taking images every day which is nice.  The sunny weather also helps hugely!

Day 1 last week was the theme of Home.  There are so many things you could think of for this, a photograph of the house, one of the rooms, the dog, the view from near Aviemore in Scotland which always makes me feel at home.  In the end, I chose the fire as cosying up with the fire on is a great way of feeling at home.

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Home Sweet Home

Day 2 was all about Street and Establishing Shots.  This is something I’m not so happy with.  I don’t feel comfortable with wide angle shots, I just don’t get the composition right.  That said, the high street provided a suitable canvas for the first image and then I had a play with the view through the Westgate to see if that improved things any.  This is an area that still needs work me thinks.

Day 3, Water and Orientation.  I’m quite happy with landscape or portrait and I knew exactly what shot I wanted for the Water theme but I couldn’t get to the right part of town to shoot the water coming out from the City Mill so was stuck with the following.  At least it’s the same river.

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The river Itchen

Thursday (Day 4) and it was all about Bliss.  Right now, with the wee one, bliss is a cup of tea, some chocolate and half an hour to myself.  Today, it’s writing this, last week it was the promise of sitting with a work in progress and some mindless knitting after taking the photograph.   Unfortunately I didn’t clear the background properly and by the time I realised, the wee one had woken up and the cup of tea was going cold.  By the time we were sorted, the light was going so I’ll settle for this.

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The last day of week one of the course was all about Solitude.  Again this is an interesting one, someone standing alone on a busy street, a solitary person out walking their dog, all sorts of things.  For me however, it was the peace and quiet of standing outside on my own looking at the moon as the sky darkened.

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The challenge for the weekend was to Experiment with Composition, practice the techniques and try uploading a gallery (multiple images together rather like day 2).  I went slightly off book and went macro instead with pretty flowers.

I wonder what this week will bring?

2016 Photo a Day Weeks 8 and 9

Two for the price of one!  Or something like that.  More realistically it’s that I’m a bit lazy and last week I just didn’t quite get around to posting the pictures.  I’d also been in a little bit of a slump in terms of photography so everything had been captured on the phone rather than taking my proper camera out and about.  On top of that, frankly the images were a bit naff and I’ve culled lots so there are very few (only 4!) to show for these two weeks.

We’re starting off with a photograph of the wee one.  He turned 4 months so granny was enlisted to help with a photoshoot.  Trying to get two people (one of which is a baby) both smiling and looking towards the camera at the same time is beyond me but I am quite pleased with where we ended up.

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Then a couple of days later we had a grand day out to the Wellcome Collection in London.  It’s a seriously cool place with a lovely coffee shop for lunch, the best bookshop and exhibition shop I’ve ever found and then some fantastic exhibits.  Can you tell I like it there? The image I’m selecting is from the reading room where you can go to work peacefully, have quiet meetings or just read and lounge on the bean bags on the stairs surrounded by some pretty funky things.  This is a dental station from the 1920’s.  Random but really quite interesting.

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Then we have two images from out and about near home.  Firstly we have a wooden carving on a bridge over the local river.  It’s next to the grounds where an Abbey used to stand and the way they’ve marked the perimeter of the Abbey with planting and then extended with woodwork over the river is lovely.

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Last but not least … would you believe it had been snowing 10 minutes previously (and was snowing 15 minutes later as well!)??

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This week I’m doing a photography thing with wordpress … should be fun.

2016 Photo a Day Week 7

This week is a bit of a mish-mash of images starting with a completely missed day.  I have no idea what happened on the Monday but no photographs were taken.  The camera was not even thought about I presume.

Tuesday however was a bit of a grand day out for half term with the youngest stepson.  We took the train to London and up a rather tall building (the Shard) to see the sights.  Not sure it’s worth paying full price for but with the “kids go free” deal at half term, we had a lot of fun.  We also went to the Science Museum which is just an amazing place and I’d recommend the Cosmonaut exhibition to one and all.

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Wednesday, I just liked the moon appearing over the rather tall Scots Pine near home, Thursday was a shot of that day’s cooking project (a delicious chorizo and mushroom risotto – one of this month’s new recipes and cooked entirely by the youngest stepson) and Friday a shot from the vestibule of St John’s in town (I just liked the shape of the windows).  Sunday was the Blackthorn blossom spotted this year.

Saturday’s photo is of a yarn haul.  Slightly geeky but I do enjoy knitting and stuff and it’s helped as a distraction since health got in the way of running and such like.  Anyway, I took a day trip out with the wee one to my first ever yarn show, Unravel.  If you like yarn, it’s a great place to visit.  If you’re not interested in yarn – stop reading now and I’ll see you next week.

The show was very busy, and not good if you take a pram (we had the sling – phew!) but I came back with a stash of lovely things.    While Pink Hazel is based in the Netherlands, the easyknits team are South East London so a bit closer to home.  Not quite sure where the yarn is sourced from but the colour as added not too far away.   Getting somewhat closer – I know that the designer behind CoopKnits and the Socks Yeah yarn is from Berkshire so very local.  I’m not sure where the yarn is sourced but oh it’s lovely and it will become a nice pair of socks soonish.

The little grey sheep is even more local which is great.  They’re based in Hampshire at Well Manor Farm.  The sheep are their own and it’s a great family business.  One of the ladies shears the sheep, the wool is processed in Yorkshire, spun in Devon and then dyed back on the farm.  I think I may need to arrange a day trip to see their shop some time but I may need to leave the credit card behind.  The 5 colours are going to become a hat I think.

A lovely day out.

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2016 Photo a Day Week 6

We’re fairly storming through February, it’s a busy month.  This week was a mixture of images but it was mostly about light starting with the light in the Cathedral at the end of the day.  The stained glass is fascinating – the original images in the stained glass were destroyed by Cromwell and his cronies many many many years ago (I think they threw coffins through the windows).  The glass was collected and the windows rebuilt but not in any discernible pattern.  It’s the most beautiful hodge podge of glass to look at and every time I’m there I spot something different.  Image wise, I couldn’t decide between the majesty of the large window or focussing in on the shards.  I think the full scale of it is pretty impressive.

Then you have the vaulted roof and you can imagine being in there once the sunlight streaming through the windows has gone for the evening and the whole place lit by huge chandeliers of candles.

This was followed by some signs of spring including a daffodil, one of the local swans and a field of snowdrops from Welford Park.

For those of you who like GBBO, Welford Park is a private house which is home to the famous tent for part of the year.  In spring however, they have a Snowdrop Wood which you can visit and wander round.  It’s quite spectacular seeing quite so many snowdrops all at once and I’d recommend a visit next year.

Finally this week we have a wonderful birthday cake made by the youngest stepson for the eldest stepson (it was delicious and did not last very long) and some lovely flowers.

A good week for photos!

2016 Photo a Day Week 5.

This week we had some sunshine.  It’s been wonderful.  The flowers are also starting to come out which makes me think spring might be just around the corner.  I’m not sure it should be like that so early in February but it’s a lovely hopeful sign for me.

First up are the snowdrops, delicate and pretty.  I love seeing them peek through the snow but there’s definitely no snow to be had in the South of England this year so far.

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Then there’s the narcissi in the pots outside the front of the house.

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And as I didn’t believe there would be sun, some cheerful flowers in the house too.

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There were also scenic shots from when out and about on dog walks.

The first was actually of a camouflaged digger (can you spot it?) doing some remedial works on the river bank.  They’ve been re-building reed beds as well … the ducks like it but I think they’ve scared off the kingfisher as I’ve not seen him in a few weeks.

I’m enjoying watching the nearly adult swans lose their grey plumage and turn white.  They’re still watched over by a parent nearly all the time as well.

Then it was just the blue blue sky but I felt it was cheating taking a completely blue photo so included some trees as well.

Last but not least this weekend is a shawl that’s only taken about 18 months to complete … it should have taken about 18 days it was such a lovely quick knit.  Ah well … at least it’s done and the intended recipient can have it one winter late.

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Jamie January

The year my husband and I were married, we had a bit of a fun cooking challenge – one new recipe a week for the year.  We got through to about the end of September before running out of steam and some of the recipes we found we still use today.   I’d been feeling in a bit of a rut again cooking wise so felt like bringing back the challenge in a reduced format.  Two new recipes per month.

Why am I writing about this?  Well, it keeps me sane while the little one sleeps!

For January, purely by chance I ended up cooking two Jamie Oliver fish recipes.

First up – there are no photos as frankly it looked a bit of a mess but it was …. from the 30 minute meals cook book and was Sticky Pan-Fried Sallops with Sweet Chilli Rice and Dressed Greens.  Now with these 30 minute meals, I always allow myself at least an hour as I don’t know how you can cook everything in 30 minutes and I am not the sort of person who prepares everything before cooking.

The scallops were easy enough – hot pan, lob in the scallops, turn them when golden and add chilli, garlic, lemon, honey and butter then finish cooking.  The one miss here was too much liquid so it didn’t go quite sticky enough but oh they tasted good.

The rice was a bit weird, you part cook it then add a mix of egg, soy sauce, sesame oil and olive oil then keep cooking.  At the end you add some corriander and sweet chilli sauce.  It tasted lovely but looked seriously like a dogs dinner.

Will we cook it again – actually yes but need to think a little on the presentation.

Next up was Jamie’s Salmon En Croute from the magazine.  Note – food photographer I am not!  It was surprisingly good and easy to follow if a bit lemony.  I’m not quite sure it needs the zest and juice of a whole lemon and wouldn’t use that much when cooking it again. We did go off piste a little in that I completely forgot the parsley (it’s still in the fridge), we couldn’t get baby leaf watercress so I used a mixed bag of it and something else and didn’t bother with the watercress sauce at all but overall it did work.

I was debating two recipes from the Fishy Fishy cook book for a Fishy february but maybe I’ll try something else….

2016 Photo a Day Week 4

It’s the end of January already … I cannot believe it.  A short week photographically as I’m only choosing 5 images and a short post as it’s Thursday already and I really need to get up and ready for the day.  I did take photographs every day but on two days, they didn’t work out so they will stay unshared.

Anyway, lets start the week with a night scape.  We had clear skies, unfortunately no Aurora that night but still, it was good to nip out and capture a few shots.  It’s amazing using infinity focus, how many you can still get out of focus!

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This is followed by sunshine after the rain.  It had been seriously tipping it down and then there was a break in the clouds and it was just lovely looking over to Cairngorm.

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The next two shots are actually car photography … I just liked them.

And last but not least, some shallots.  More on that in a separate post.

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2016 Photo a Day Week 3

I know I mentioned this last post but just to make people jealous … I’m on holiday.  It’s not a bleak dreary January for me with the merriment of the festive season a fading memory, replaced by short days, rain, cold weather and long office hours.  Oh no.  I’m on holiday for two whole weeks.

I’m on maternity leave too so please don’t point out I’m in the middle of a 9 month holiday, this is different.  My lovely husband is with me and we’re away in Scotland in one of my favourite places in the whole world having some down time and it’s wonderful.

We arrived slightly late on Monday night and the sun had set but the stars were not out yet so the week starts with an image of some cheerful lights in the hutte.  (It’s a chalet but we call it the hutte in memory of going to the mountains to stay in a hutte in Austria – just go with it). It was fun playing with changing the focus to have bright spots of light in the image through to having the lights in focus as in the image above.

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The following morning was cold and frosty and the spiders webs were quite something to behold.  This was taken from the door of the hutte just before sunrise with a very flat light.  Once the sun came up – it all melted (well, the frost on the spiders web did, the snow hung around for a little longer).

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Wednesday was a magical cold, clear(ish) day so a trek out to Ryvoan bothy for lunch was on the cards.  Bothy’s are fairly rustic shelters dotted about the countryside (there are about 100 in Scotland), there to shelter a traveller and great for staying over at without needing to lug a tent.  This one is easy to access from the Cairngorms so perfect for a sheltered lunch spot.

2016 Day-20Importantly for me, this is a huge leap forward.  A year or even when up here 6 months ago I would not have even considered walking out to here and while tired upon returning to the car, this was definitely a very manageable (flat) walk.  The grin on my face while out was huge.

Unfortunately the wonderful snow has not hung around and following a pretty spectacular sunrise the following morning, it warmed up and there’s none left down here.   There’s still plenty on Cairngorm (just visible in the distance on the left hand side of the image below) and on the other tops but we’re back to mud now.

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Friday was another walk, this time round a stunning loch on the Rothiemurchus estate, Loch an Eilean.  There are lots of images on the web of the castle on a rock in the water looking over towards Cairngorm in the distance and I did my best to replicate them but I liked the image below of the late afternoon sun instead this time.

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The image for Saturday is from Roseisle beach on the Moray Firth.  It’s mile after mile of golden sand, shallow seas (which are warm enough for swimming in, in the summer, even though it’s the North Sea in Scotland) and on this particular day … stunning sunshine.  Just fabulous.

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Finally for the week, something a bit different.  This weekend saw the 33rd annual Sled Dog Rally in Aviemore.  Trying to photograph moving dogs with a moving wheeled sled behind them, with reasonable depth of field so everything was in focus proved challenging (and beyond me) so here’s a shot of just the dogs instead.

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Weeks like this are a joy for photography … you don’t have to think about what to capture, just taking the camera with you works well.  Lots of fun.