Wow! I really need to keep up with this monthly blogging I intended to do. It has been a mammoth time with work and getting the angels through for their exams. Exam season is over and I can get back to working on photography.
My latest project while away has been in preparation for the next Camera School module on the Natural World. I’ve been working with close ups and blurred backgrounds in bright sunshine. Really tried to get the aperture, shutter speed and exposure right. I feel I’m getting better. As always, any constructive criticism and advice is welcome. Here are a few from my Dad’s back garden.
I played around with the positioning for the best composition. After closely looking at all of the photographs I took, these three were my favourites. While it is encouraged, in many magazine columns I’ve read, to position the flower to the side, I like the last one because of the symmetry the image gives – right above the flower is the bright blue sky between the fence panels. The background is blurred and the attention is drawn to the rose as it evenly surrounded by the green hedging.
The second one required awkward positioning of myself. Tip toes: great if you can stay still. I would have stood on something to give me height, but I was wedged behind the gazebo with very little room to place a platform. Tip toes had to do! Probably not perfect because of the shadow to the left, but I like the brightness of the yellow and the blend into darker shades in the background.
My aim was to emphasise the brightness of the rose. I feel these three out of all the ones I took do that.
My next Camera School project is ‘Still Life’ so if anyone has any tips, tricks and advice, I would really appreciate it. I’m hoping to get out and do some more nature photography while the flowers are in bloom.
May Day in Devon was a busy one for Nanna’s birthday celebrations, so not much time to take photos of the scenery. I did manage to take some after dinner in her beautiful garden, however. I found this little spot with a secret path – the perfect place to practice lead-in lines. Here’s what I captured.
The garden was another opportunity to capture the Spring flowers in bloom. I love the vibrancy of the flower below against the deep green leaves.
My next trip to Devon, I will definitely making more time to explore this garden and the acres of land around it.
During Easter break, my other half took me to Nostell Priory, a beautiful piece of Yorkshire heritage. This was a great place for me to practice because you couldn’t use flash inside the house and the lighting was low to protect the furnishings from further colour fading. Here are some of my favourites.
While it’s not perfect because of the slight blur as you look towards the background, I love it for the angle I took it at. I probably looked strange to other visitors getting low to floor, but it was fun trying to get the shot.
I would have liked the exposure to be brighter, but like I said it was difficult in the dark rooms. What I do like is the clarity of the words and pictures on the page against the slightly blurred background. I had the widest aperture setting I could get on my Nikon D3000 (I’m behind with the times – kit’s expensive!) and got as close as I could. I really like where they’ve left the glasses and it magnifies the writing on the page too.
When we’d finished looking around the house, we had a walk through the beautiful gardens with an array of Spring flowers in bloom. Now we were outside, I had to continue to adapt the setting for the bright sunshine we had that day.
The vibrant pink littered this garden at the back of house; they are beautiful flowers (I forget the name of them). I know I would love some in my own garden next Spring. I wanted to work on macro shots in the garden. Easier said than done with basic a kit lens. I will invest in different lenses later – I know I need to get technique right first. I’m pleased with the way this came out though.
Not got the same background blur as the first one, but I think the bright orange against the green backdrop helps. Absolutely adore this flower (again, I have no clue what it is called, so if any of you know comment below; it would be much appreciated). The colour is stunning!
This won’t be my only visit while the flowers are in bloom. I will definitely be heading back some time in the near future to work on a few things. If anyone else is looking for a day out to appreciate some great Yorkshire heritage, a beautiful National Trust property and capture its beauty, this is the place to visit.
I submitted my first homework for the Camera School and received my feedback yesterday. I wasn’t expecting anything but constructive criticism. I got just that and a bronze certificate on its way to me soon. Here’s the screenshot of my feedback for now.
Getting out and about this weekend and next to work on this feedback and begin the mech homework which is portrait. I’m really excited to get to it. A huge thanks to Camera School!
My first outing with the camera. I decided to visit my wedding venue. Walton Hall is beautiful with its lake and moat around the listed building, elegant swans and fantastic geese gliding along. The grounds are bursting with colour at the moment with a range of flowers and shrubbery. It was a very bright day, so I had to really play around with the settings to get the right balance. It makes me laugh now because I know where I was going wrong, but my first shot came out pure white! Here a few of my favourites.
This was on the way there, walking around the golf course. I like the colour of the hedging in the foreground and the way it leads us the trees in the background. I also like the way the hedging separates the larger tree. When taking this, I was thinking about ‘rule-of-thirds’, mentally sectioning parts of the image. I’m not sure if I’ve got this quite right yet. I still like the way everything is positioned here. The photo below, I wanted to try from a different position.
I like this one because it shows the path this time still keeping the larger tree a part of the image. If I have another opportunity, I will centralise the path; I just feel it would create a better divide if the photo showed some symmetry.
This one at the time, I didn’t like because of how dark the structure turned out, but after thinking about it – while not deliberate – I like how it becomes a silhouette against the blue sky. I’ll keep changing the settings to figure out how to get this effect deliberately in future.
I will end on this pesky creature. My zoom wouldn’t reach her from the path leading up the hall, so in my naivety, I got a little closer – maybe a little too close for her liking (although I didn’t think it would be too close at the time, until she starting hissing that is!) Note to self: leave a nesting goose alone, or invest in a better lens. I’ll work on the latter, because the birds around here are too beautiful not to capture.
To get started, I’ll be taking on small projects to practice new skills. Still unsure whether to take these on weekly or monthly just yet. These projects will come from photography magazines, websites, inspiration like the exhibition, or they can come from you. If you are a photographer (any level) or simply love to see moments captured beautifully, any ideas to get me started and learn new skills will be much appreciated. Last week, I went to my wedding venue to have a go with my first camera. Photos and my reflections will be up this week.
During The First World War, soldiers were given a therapeutic activity which would help their healing process. As the nurses tended to their physical injuries, sweetheart cushions gave the soldiers a way to heal the mental and emotional scars of war. Once complete, they would be sent home to their loved ones.
Last year, a colleague and friend of mine, Olivia Young, began a project that she holds dear to her heart – a project that expressed her passion for both embroidery and The First World War. At the start of the month, she opened this project up to the public at her first ever exhibition. I was lucky and honoured to be invited to this remarkable event to celebrate Liv’s journey and begin my own in photography.
Fifty unique replica sweetheart pincushions were crafted to commemorate fifty soldiers – members of the Leeds Pals of Yorkshire – who fought and died on 1st July 1916, the first day of The Battle of the Somme. Each heart, made with love and care, has been dedicated to an individual Leeds Pal who lost his life that day.
The exhibition was held at Rivers MEET in Methley where the sweetheart pincushions were on display for the public. It was beautifully simple and moving, carrying the theme of trench life and decorated with poppies. All hearts were carefully lined up along the burlap for everyone to enjoy. They were available for purchase after the event and a percentage of sales made have been donated to The Royal British Legion to help today’s veterans and families.
The exhibition truly showed Liv’s dedication to her craft and her passion for keeping the memories of the past alive. She is definitely one to watch with more commemorative sweetheart pincushions in the works as well as commission pieces requested by relatives of other soldiers who lost their lives in battle. This poignant event is the start of something truly special: the journey of a memorial textile artist.
You can follow Liv via her Facebook page ‘Liv & Sew: Memorial Textile Artist’ where you will find the full collection of sweetheart pincushions, along with previous work she has completed and future projects in the making.
*All photographs shown are my own and if edited will be stated in the captions below.
See my adventures come to life as I learn to capture those moments…