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.

2016 Photo a Day Week 2

January fairly seems to be flying by doesn’t it.  I’m writing this on Tuesday 19th … what happened to the other 18 days?  I’m sure it should only be the 4th.

This week has had some enjoyable photography and a couple of days where only the iPhone was used (mainly for taking images of the wee one).  I’ll spare you the baby photos so there are 5 images for this week.

I’m not sure what I think of the wordpress mosaic of images as it doesn’t give the focus on my favourites but I’m using a dongle this week as we’re away on holiday so it’s faster than selecting the images individually.

The week started with a shot I’m quite proud of of a swan.  It’s nearly an adult with the white plumage but the grey beak just lets you know its not quite fully grown.

The next image is of a lego camper van as I didn’t get out of the house that day.  I just liked the sun on the curtains.

Moving on swiftly from adults enjoying building lego models, the sun sets nice and early so the afternoon dog walk provided ample opportunity for silhouette shots of trees and funky clouds.

Next was something quite different – I know chemical processing plants are not pretty but actually in the early morning light with a frost all about up near Chester I thought they looked pretty impressive.  At night with all the lights they could even be considered pretty but day time it’s just a phenomenal feat of engineering.

Last but not least for the week an obligatory shot of the snow (there will be more of these in the week 3 set as we’re up in Aviemore for the week and it’s been gently snowing all day).  I like the anticipation of this one – the logs are waiting to become raised beds and are dormant under the snow for the winter.

I’ve changed my mind … you’re not being spared the baby photos completely.  Just one rather than the two but I quite like the bright colours of the toys in this.

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Here’s to week three!

Photo a Day 2016 Set 1

Year two of photo a day.  Fun!  I like working from Monday to Sunday so this is a longish set with an extra 3 days.

Quite a few of these are from various dog walks … the challenge however is the grey skies and glum weather.  One of the nice things is not having to get up stupidly early to catch sunrise (the first image is sunrise on January 1st!)  but it was followed by a few very dull days which I don’t have the processing skill to turn into a vibrant image yet.  I do like the image of the Cathedral through the avenue of trees, it’s just missing sunlight!  Still, it’s good getting out most days and it’s nice to be taking images.  I particularly like the late sun on the clouds and a blue sky … it gives me hope.

These images were interspersed with a couple of images acquired in the house the days when I just didn’t fancy going out so played with my flash instead.   I quite like the tangerine as it’s so glossy.  The flat lay of the fleece suit for the wee one is ok, I didn’t quite have the angle correct which is a shame.  Need to think about that more (possibly a plain background rather than the cutting mat) and also how to increase the interest in the image.

I’ve been reading a lot about people choosing words for the year or themes instead of resolutions.  It’s an interesting idea but me… I prefer my challenge to take at least one image a day and taking joy in the everyday.  I hope you can take joy from the every day as well.

Happy 2016

7:30am on January 1st 2016 and I’m the only one awake in the house.  The  baby has fed and dozed off again and even the dog is asleep. What else do you do but pick up (the metaphorical) pen and paper and start to write?  Knit you say?  Well I’ll be doing that after this and disturbing the dog to take her round the block.

Firstly wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2016 and beyond.  In the immortal words of John Lennon (albeit about Christmas), “let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear”.

On with the show….

2016 has been a pretty life changing year in some fantastic ways.  We’ve had an addition to the family in the form of the wee one.  He’s not really so wee but he’s absolutely amazing.  I never realised you could have such strength of emotion for someone quite so small.  Here he is with his big brothers yesterday.

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Health wise, I started the year able to walk about 500 steps a day and not even walk the dog round the block.  I was working very part time, had to give up my allotment and found bits of the year really quite tough as ME/CFS can be pretty isolating.   I didn’t write about it much – I had energy for one thing and chose for that to try and be a positive blog a week of photographs rather than a “woe is me, I’m doing very little” type blog.  Fast forward to December where I had weeks where I averaged 10,000 steps.  Yes that’s a heck of an improvement and mostly I have the wee one to thank for this (with a smattering of good luck and some judicious pacing).  I’m one of the lucky one’s and from my limited understanding, the parasitic nature of growing a child inside you led to a suppressed immune system for 9 months.  There’s not much research but it seems to be that there’s about a 1/3 split each way for those with ME – it does nothing, you get worse or you improve.  There’s a possibility it’s helped reset my system … I live in hope as 10 weeks on, we’re still going strong.

I may update the subject of the blog – I have every intention of continuing with a photograph a day.  I definitely will be continuing to knit, plan to expand my sewing beyond a quilt, changing bag and mat to the occasional garment but the allotment is no more.  That said, we did grow a good selection of food in the garden so there may be wittering on that in 2016 and I plan to start experimenting more with cooking too.

Anyway – back to the photography.  We went out for a walk to Lepe beach yesterday.  It’s a pretty cool place with the remains of WW2 features from where they were building barrage boats for the D-Day landings.  I even got everyone to pose for a shot near a mooring point (The wee one was in a sling on me at this point. He was fast asleep and there was no way I was disturbing him to pose for a photo).

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There were also some spectacular cloud effects thanks to the sun, wind and rain.  I have my DH to credit for spotting this – his iPhone image is broadly comparable to mine below (taken on the X-Pro1)

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I’d also like to take this opportunity to re-post a couple (12) of my favourite images of the year.  I spent so long photographing flowers but my favourites are scenery and random objects!

Have a wonderful 2016 🙂

Photo a Day 2015 Sets 50-52

The last 3 weeks of 2015 and what an interesting year it has been.  I’m just going to focus on my favourite images of the last 3 weeks in this post rather than a review of the year …  there are 6 images here … roughly two a week.  Lots more were taken and I’ve been learning a little about the flash but there’s still a long way to go.

This post, I’m starting with a day trip out to one of my favourite places, the Natural History Museum.  All decked out with a (rather watery) ice rink for Christmas.  It’s an amazing museum and I love visiting.

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Second, a shot acquired in the New Forest in the late afternoon light.

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Followed swiftly by a visitor to our city this year (I’m not quite sure why people queued for an hour to have your photograph on the official standing post when you can walk by and just take a photograph without waiting but each to their own.

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Moving onto some interesting weather – this was taken on the mobile from a moving car with grubby windows … the turbines looked like they were floating in the clouds.  Not the best image but considering the conditions I’m happy.

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Next, confused weather at work …

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Last but not least … a random picture of the washing … it made me think of “red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue” so I just had to rearrange them into the correct order and get the camera out … ways to make the washing fun!

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I’ve really  enjoyed the challenge and it’s helping me become a better (very amateur) photographer.  I hope to do a review of my favourite images of the year in the next couple of days and I definitely want to continue throughout 2016.  In the mean time (in case I don’t post tomorrow), thank you for reading this year and wishing you all the best for 2016.

Photo a day 2015 Sets 43-49

Life just sometimes gets in the way of things … Monday December 7th and this is the first time I have turned on a computer since October 21st.  I think that might be the longest I’ve not been on an actual computer since … erm …. the early 1990’s.  I’m not sure if that’s something to be proud of or not.

What caused this …. I’d like to introduce you to the wee one.  He’s currently 6 and a half weeks old and complaining that I’ve put him down … more later.

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(this pic is from when he was just over 4 weeks – I think he’s fabby but I might be just a little biased)

Two days later … now it’s possibly clearer why I’ve not been posting the weekly collection of images.  In general I have been keeping up with them but more on the phone than the camera (it’s a bit heavy to lug about with the wee one and all the associated paraphernalia unless I have the pram with me) and I don’t have a good / reliable way of transferring images from phone to Lightroom yet either (if anyone has any recommendations, they’d be appreciated).

Anyway – rather than inundating with many posts of random (and frankly not my best) images to catch up with 49 days or so, here’s a potted selection of 7 of my favourites acquired using my X-Pro1. (Note they are unedited and some would benefit from some processing)

I was very kindly given many flowers to celebrate the birth of the wee one – as I couldn’t really get out of the house I spent a few days photographing them all.  I don’t actually like lily’s but loved the light on this one.  I do however like protea so there’s one of them too!

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Next up it’s the dog from an early excursion out of the house …

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Swiftly followed by two visits to the local Cathedral during the day (with the late afternoon sun on the main entrance) and one taken at night – no tripod (unfortunately) but a handy gatepost to balance the camera on.  I like the long exposure and the ghosts of people walking by.

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and finally we have sunset over the Pentlands and sunrise in Pitlochry from the wee one’s first trip to my “home” (it doesn’t matter that I’ve lived down south for over 10 years, Scotland will always be home!).

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With the arrival of the wee one, I’ve been taking a lot more portraits of him with all the family – hopefully it will help me gain confidence in that aspect of photography.

With what seems like the endless rain and greyness, I’ve also learnt a lot about acquiring images in low light conditions – being honest – I don’t enjoy it so much and the images are not as good and there are far too many that have camera shake or poor focus.  This winter I may learn to use the flash as a result.

Hoping to start keeping a bit more up to date now …. we’ll see.

 

Photo a Day 2015 Set 42

Just to buck trends, I’m trying to stay up to date and managed to take multiple pictures every day.  This may will not last.  In another break from tradition, I appear (with one exception) to have gone landscapey for the week.  The berries are reaching the end of season, there are fewer flowers and the colours / views looking up at the wider picture just appealed to me this week starting off with trees resplendent in their autumn colours compared to just down the road where it’s almost all still green and by the river where it’s a bit of a mix.

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From this, I spent a couple of days looking at some of the local buildings which is another departure from the norm.  We’re so lucky with a lovely high street and looking up towards the rooflines you can often see lovely buildings.  The church photo was acquired on a dog walk – another spot I’ve not made it to in a long time.  Think that’s the last of my usual haunts now within reach which is fantastic.

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Combining the theme of changing countryside and local churches, this was taken from the fields further north by my MIL’s house.

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Last but not least is the non landscape image – this was when I’d managed to go out with the dog, accidentally leave the camera behind, miss capturing a sparrowhawk hunt (even if I’d had the right camera, I’d have had the wrong lens as it’s been the 18mm wide angle all week, not the 60mm zoom).  Then I managed to not do anything for the rest of the day and just managed to take this as the light was fading – phew!

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Next week … well – all that needs said is that life will change, just hoping I can keep up with the photos …

Photo a Day 2015 Sets 40 and 41

Oh look … a second slight cheat for the year and combining two into one.  This may make the post lengthy as I actually have 11 images or so but I’d like to catch up.  It’s interesting getting behind and then rushing to catch up  – looking at lots of images at once you do work out where your comfort zone is (flowers and plants and then random household things).  When things get to a new normal, I do really want to try different things.

That said, week 40 was a bit of a mix … the week started out lovely which meant lots of images acquired during dog walks.  My favourites were some late clover, the sun on the trees on a dog walk and a beautiful rose from some flowers in the house.

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Then there was a slight change – the piano tuner visited and I got wonderfully distracted by the piano.  This instrument has been in the family for something over 50 years … we think it’s over 100 years old – it’s got marks where the candle sticks were when it was new!  Trying to capture the wood inlay was a bit of a challenge and it’s amazing how different piano keys look when you photograph them from different angles.

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Last but not least for week 40 – it’s been getting colder so photographs of hand knit socks and the first fire of the year were called for (photographing fire is so satisfying with a longer exposure time).

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Now onto week 41 and I only managed 4 images this week … well, there were more but not on different days.  I find cloudy days difficult as the light is so flat, but then again bright days are not exactly easy as the colour is bleached out.  The contrast of the grey skies to the vibrant yellow of the flower appealed to me.  The tree was turning yellow as well – just glorious.Day-279 Day-280 Day-281

Finally, another grey day beckoned so I took photographs of the mess on the kitchen table.  I am not tidy when in the middle of something but actually it reminded me a little of the staged images from the photography course, just a little less staged and a bit more stuff strewn everywhere.  Now I’m just wondering what next week will bring.Day-282