Wishes & dreams

Lets go fly a kite?

I often wonder what my children will become, at the moment my daughter has decided she would like to be a doctor or a teacher, she is pretty bright and so good with people that I can see her doing either. My son wants to be either a professional footballer or own his own company!

I was surfing the web and found this quote and thought it was perfect to go with this photo, as I know I just want then to grow up healthly and to be as happy as they can in whatever direction they choose.

Make a wish

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

 

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In search of the light

To the point

Starting Project Life last year has meant that I often need to capture moments early in the morning before it gets light, in the evening or at night when the light can be challenging. I do not particularly like taking shots like this with a flash, as I just love to use natural light whenever I can for this as I prefer the atmosphere that it evokes.

When there is lots of good quality light, there’s no denying that it becomes easier to take a good picture, it does not mean though that you have to stop shooting when the light starts to disappear or avoid low-light photography altogether. It just get a bit trickier if like me you prefer using available light. You have to know how to set your camera up to make the most of the failing light.

The tips I have found along the way  (in no particular order) are:-

  • Shoot in manual mode – if you shoot in manual mode and monitor your exposure in the viewfinder, it becomes easier.
  • Shoot with both eyes open – often I know I do close one eye when shooting in normal situations, but in low light I make sure both are open.
  • Use Single point auto focus – if not manually focusing.
  • Increase the ISO – I am lucky that my camera handles higher ISO’s quite well, but I have found quite a few shots I have taken have been grainy, especially my Project Life ones, for these types of shots I have embraced it and found that I actually love some of these shots now.
  • Use a fast lens – the faster the better. I use my 50mm 1.8 or 35mm 1.4 most of the time for this type of photography and have had a lot of success with my 100mm 2.8 macro too :-)
  • Spot meter – this type of light often has extreme, uneven ranges of light levels. Metering for such situations is difficult. If you choose to meter, keep in mind that you likely will NOT want middle gray tones; you want your night scenics to look as though they were taken at night, so they will usually be a couple of stops darker than what your averaging meter says. If you have a spot meter, take your measurements off important highlight areas, and use those settings. Bracket if you can.
  • Find the light – position yourself according to how the light falls on your subject.
  • Use a cable release – it reduces the risk of movement from pressing the shutter down.
  • Know your camera – it really does help to know your camera inside out as it makes it so much easier.
  • Shoot in RAW – this maximises your chances of getting more shots that you can use.
  • Keep steady – one of most important things in low-light photography is the shutter speed, it is important that the camera is as steady as possible to avoid camera shake, which is inevitable with slower shutter speeds. As a general rule, for sharp images you should use a tripod when the shutter speed is greater than the inverse of the lens focal length (for example, if you are using a 50mm lens then the shutter speed is 1/50 or longer).
  • Improvise – if you are using only ambient light it can be fun to explore the different  lighting sources that can be incorporated into an image – candles, lamps, and torches etc.
  • Reflectors – I usually use one now to ensure that I make the most of any available light and bounce it back on the photographic subject.

I am sure there are a lot of other tips that you have found, but these ones have really helped me a lot to be more successful in low light situations.

Below are just a few photos I have taken (including the top one above of some of the older girls, at a ballet show my daughter did).

I found this document recently online (which I added to my Pin Interest account), as the post says it can be used on blogs, I thought I would share it here, as it has some useful info on it.

low light photography
[Snapsort’s Low Light Photography Infographic]

Don’t miss another photo due to low light, embrace it and the fun begins :-)If you have any other tips for photography in these conditions I would love to know?

Come over and check out my FACEBOOK page, I would love to know what you think and hit the like button if you’d like 8)

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Natural Light v Flash

I have long been an avid fan of natural light photography, I am sure I will always have a preference for it, but as I am now starting to take a few bookings for shoots, I really need a back up plan just in case. To that end I am now teaching myself how to use my speedlight to give a “natural look”

Looking up

The above shot was taken in low light using just the available light, I love the drama that shooting in the dark towards the light has created. Here I just used the SOOC shot and converted it to black and white in Lightroom.

In contrast the shot below I used a bounced flash to remove the shadows and soften the image, I think that it looks fairly natural, I converted to monotone to remove the colour of our sofa, but to me the tell-tale sign that a flash was used is in the catchlights, but I can start to see the benefits of using a flash.

Shattered

I would so love to know what you think as this is my first attempt using a speed-light for portraits  Also, if anyone has any tips for setting up or any good reference books to read on flash use for portrait photography, I would love to hear from you.

Come over and join me on my FACEBOOK page, I would LOVE to see you over there too 🙂

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Week 11

This week in March was so busy for us, I seemed to be rushing here there and everywhere, we had our usual clubs and then a class assembly, Steel Pan Rolling Concert and then mufti day for Red Nose Day 2013, this year my two kids wore their pyjamas to school for the charity.

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Natural Beauty

The beauty of the Jurassic

A storm is brewing!

Beach colours

Out to sea

I just love the Jurassic Coastline in Dorset and East Devon it is England’s first natural World Heritage Site. It is a unique stretch of coastline which sits amongst the ranks of the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon as one of the wonders of the natural world!

The site was granted its status for its outstanding geology, which represents 185 million years of earth history in just 95 miles, covering from Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks at Studland Bay on the Dorset coast. Over the many years that I have visited I have walked much of this coastline now though I am going to start photographing it too.

Rough Seas

Whilst visiting this time we walked from Burton Bradstock to West Bay along the beach and then back along the cliffs. Burton Bradstock acts as one of the main gateways to the Jurassic Coast and the South West Coastal Path. Hive Beach and the famous Hive Beach Cafe (if you like fish or ice-creams it is a wonderful place to have a rest), is a hugely popular family destination, made up of shingle, surrounded by spectacular sandstone cliffs. It forms part of the larger Chesil Beach; which is the largest shingle ridge in the world. Burton Cliffs offer one of the finest examples of the distinctive, alternate hard and soft layered geology of this Bridport Sands area, which make it appear to glow bright gold in the sunlight.

Regular rock falls (the last of which was at the end of February) often expose some important and fascinating fossils, such as ammonites, recognised by their ribbed spiral-formed shell, my kids have found a few ammonites and sharks teeth here during our many visits, although the best ones and most well preserved can be found at Charmouth. (They just love the kids playground at West Bay after the long walk too!).

There is a faultline at Hive Beach and the cliffs to the east of the fault change to the grey cliffs made up of clay and Fullers Earth. Burton Cliff though is similar to East Cliff at West Bay and the central part the Bridport Sands are topped by Inferior Oolite which is capped with a layer of Fuller’s Earth. The beach at Burton Bradstock is near the western end of the Chesil Beach and is made up of fine shingle. There has though been substantial loss of beach at Burton Cliffs as the fine shingle is moved from west to east by the long shore drift as a result of the prevailing south westerly winds and tides. Unfortunately and renewal of the beach shingle from the west is prevented by the harbour piers at West Bay, Bridport.

The coastal sea level of central southern England is rising at an increased rate and in general the low water mark is moving higher inland causing beach narrowing or beach steepening. Because of this, there is no longer the large quantity of fine shingle that there used to be in front of Burton Cliff.
Geologists think that over time the beach at Burton Cliff will eventually disappear and it will therefore become a rocky coast with the sea breaking onto the cliffs.

All of the photos above and the one below were edited in Lightroom and I then added my watermark in Photoshop Elements 8.

Pure enjoyment after a long walk, a delicious ice-cream, what more could a young boy want!

If you have visited any part of this gorgeous coastline let me know, I would love to hear where you feel is the most beautiful, has the best walks etc?

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Moreish Chocolate Cookies

We were fed up with the choice of Easter products to give as a gift so the kids decided it would be much nicer to take a more personal approach and asked it they could bake some biscuits and then decorate them for Easter gifts to family.

Chocolate upon chocolate

Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 175g (6 oz) butter, unsalted and diced
  • 115g (4oz) caster sugar (superfine)
  • Finely grated rind of one lemon
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • 50g (2oz) chocolate chips
  • 2 bars of good chocolate to decorate
  • Decorations of your choice 🙂
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) Gas 4
  2. Cream butter and sugar and lemon rind together until pale, light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg yolks, then stir in the flour and chocolate chips to make a firm dough. If it is a little soft (which ours was) chill it in the fridge until firm.
  3. Roll the dough on baking parchment to just under 5mm (1/4″) in thickness. Using a 9cm (3.5″) fluted cutter, stamp out rounds, and place, spaced slightly apart on non stick baking sheets.
  4. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, or until golden.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheets (as they will crumble if you try and take them off!)
  6. Melt the good chocolate over a bowl of water until it is nice and smooth and then carefully spoon it over the cookie tops.
  7. Whilst the chocolate is still warm put any decorations on top. We used chocolate mini eggs, chocolate buttons, sprinkles and mini smarties.
  8. Finally leave the chocolate to cool and set again, then enjoy.
This recipe makes 18 moreish cookies  🙂

Watching

Decorating

The Easter presents

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Another two bite the dust!

Work has been a little too busy for me getting ready for the management meeting this morning, I ended up working late last night to get everything ready 😦 so could not finish this post until now, 5 minutes before I go in! I loved doing these weeks spread as the memories once again flood back.

Week 9 – a busy few days

Week 9 – spring is springing

Week 9 for us was so busy, I could quite easily have made a six page spread with the number of shots I had taken!  Week 10 was much the same, my son had both Beavers and Cubs this week as he went to his final Beavers meet to receive his Chief Scout Bronze Award which is the highest award that a Beaver can achieve, I was SO PROUD of him, he walked out of the meeting and on his own decided to go up t each of the leaders to say goodbye and to thank them for making his time there so much fun (I felt like crying with pride at how grown up that was!!!).

Week 10 – The proud mummy moment

I have started doing the first year of my daughters life now (Project Life style of course). I wish now that I had learnt to shoot manually with my camera before she was born, as I know from the shots I take now of newborns how much better I have got. I guess I need to be thankful though that at least I have LOTS of photos and bits that I collected to pull my memories into a scrapbook. I now have quite a lot of editing to do though to see if I can improve the shots I did take. I will share a few spreads as I go along. I though am having a fantastic time going through everything now, I so love taking a walk down memory lane.

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Where did February go?

As mentioned in my post last week, I am trying to play catchup on here so that I can get myself into a nice routine for posting my Project Life spreads each week. Here is what we were up to weeks 7 and 8.

Week 7 – A normal week

I seemed to spend most of this week at work so was feeling very stressed, I am so glad I still managed to get a few shots in though and even a selfie (much as I hate seeing photos of me, I keep having to remind myself why I do this!). I do think that it helps that I am still taking a photo a day as it always ensures I have at least seven photos each week! (and have been since 7th May 2009!!).

Week 8 – Half term holidays

Week 8 – Part deux!

This last week we all were on holiday, usually it would be fantastic to have some time off, this time though not as much as we ended up sorting out cabling that our electrician had mucked up!!! We had HDMI and network cables that when we tried did not work. This meant channeling out our newly plastered walls to re run cables…….NOT IMPRESSED to say the least. Luckily though my parents took my two kids down to Somerset for a short break so at least they had a nice holiday from school.

I am thinking of doing a couple of Clickinmoms courses at the moment, as I feel I have so much still to learn photography wise. So watch this space. If anyone can recommend any of them I would love to hear from you?

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

How far behind?

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

I thought I would try and catch up a little quicker so will post three weeks worth today and then another three this Sunday, followed by the final three which brings me up to date (yeah!!) next Thursday.

The flexibility of Project Life is great on weeks like these three where not that much seemed to happen except the mundane it is still easy to pull together a page spread. As I do tend to take a lot of photos, I have a lot to choose from, but how often do I want to add meal shots, photos of football, ballet, cubs, brownies etc etc. I do try to make my Project Life spread a little varied each week (even though our week days during term time tend to follow the same path each week!).

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Catch up time

2013 week 2

When I stared Project Life I was worried that I would get bored and I would have nothing to put on my weekly pages on a “normal” week. After all I go to work all day then pick the kids up, run them around for clubs, feed them, tidy up, have some fun time then get ready for the next day……how boring is that? It is only when you actually start documenting like this that you realise it is the little things that are special, worth documenting and this is what memories are made of. I guess it helps that I have been taking a photo a day since 7th May 2009! Well week two of 2013 was one such week, it was nothing special at all, we got up very early, returned home late and in between school, work, clubs and checking on the progress on our house………how boring…………surprisingly we actually had a good week though and I documented it 🙂

Week 3 page 1

Week 3 page 2

Well week three was fantastic we had two birthdays, my daughter was 10 first, then my son turned 8. I cannot believe how fast they are growing up and look I even managed a selfie too this week (much as I hate seeing photos of me, I am glad I have taken it and included it here, I just keep having to remind myself that it is for my kids).

I do miss doing traditional scrapbooking as I like being able to feel the photos and pull it together manually, but I know for me this is much better as for me at least it is much less time consuming, giving me quality time with my wonderful husband and children. (Noticed a few typos in week three now, I have amended them for my book and printing, but left it here for now).

Big oops on my logo design that I have been playing with over the last few days, anyone notice the “deliberate” mistake?…………………….I really should not work on thinks after a long day at work. Luckily a friend pointed it out and it has now been sorted before I have used it too many times 😮

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.