Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A Review of 2011

2011 was definitely a busy time for me photography wise.
There were the numerous monthly photo challenges both here in blogland and on facebook which have often made me think outside the box but which have also made me realise the beauty that you can find in your own back garden!

2011 was also the year that I took the plunge and joined the local camera club
This has been both informative, with talks from professional wildlife photographers to local wildlife trust rangers, and competitive, seeing me enter and win some of my first photography competitions.

In 2011 I photographed my first (professional sounds too, well, professional so lets say official) wedding/christening which proved to be exhilarating and nerve-wracking all at the same time. 
Did I enjoy it? - Yes
Would I do it again - yes absolutely!!!

This leads onto my next big thing of 2011, having photographed the wedding/christening it made me realise how much easier it would have been if I had two cameras This set me thinking to saving a bit of money each month to buy another camera in the future - little did I know that Paul had other plans and in September I became the proud owner of a Nikon D200, complete with flashgun and a prime lens.
I'm still getting to grips with having two cameras and tend to grab my D40x as it feels more familiar but I'm hoping that 2012 will see me take a leap into the unknown territory that is the D200!!

Well I think that about wraps up 2011 I know that there has been very little blogging going on on here in the past few months but I would like that to change for 2012 with regular updates from camera club, showing more of my photographs and the techniques used and also pointing you in the direction of any photographers that catch my eye.

Finally I just wanted to say thank you to those of you that read my ramblings and to wish you all a very happy new year.

Friday, 4 November 2011

A Kitten Called Betty - 4/30

I managed some more tidying in my sewing room today and armed with the advice given yesterday about aperture, etc, I set about taking some photographs of my box of zips. These had been cascading onto the floor since I had made some make up bags and I finally managed to squash them all back into their box. 

Thursday, 3 November 2011

A Kitten Called Betty - 3/30


I had a lovely lunch today with my friend Ruth we enjoyed looking through Christmas magazines (some dating back to 2000), chatting and even managed a trial run of some padded hearts for a forthcoming craft evening at Ruth's church. After Ruth had left I set up this magazine style photo and tried out my new flashgun.
I think that it is a little over highlighted in the left hand side, I mentioned this on the A Kitten Called Betty group page and what I love about the challenge is that you can always get some great advice. So I shall be practising getting my focus right by using a smaller aperture to obtain a greater depth of field as well as getting to grips with my flashgun..
I have a real love of bokeh photography (shallow depth of field - like the pink flowers in my header) so when it comes to a controlled still life picture like this I find it a challenge to get the focus right on everything so armed with instructions I think I will be setting this shoot up again tomorrow and having another go!!!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A Kitten Called Betty November Facebook Challenge

I really enjoyed the October 30 day challenge over at A Kitten called Betty and although I didn't manage to post all my photographs here on my blog before the end of October I will endeavour to post them at some point.
A new challenge has been set for November - a single theme photographed over 30 days. My theme is my other passion crafting so I will be photographing my sewing room, the colossal fabric mountain that lives there and hopefully some finished products too.
It also needs a really good tidy up so I am killing two birds with one stone and tidying up as I photograph each area. Good thinking eh?

There were a few problems over at the Kitten Called Betty page as people were unable to comment on some photos and there wasn't an option for separate albums so a group page has now been set up. If you would like to join in or just fancy taking a look at some of the photos then pop over to

1/30 - My Sewing Room

2/30 - My Machines

Sunday, 30 October 2011

That "Oh No" moment

Sorry I haven't been keeping up to date with my 30 day challenge posts but I recently realised that I have been importing all of my pictures to my C drive and this was causing Picasa to work rather harder than it should so I spent several days moving over 30,000 photos from my C drive to my external hard drive!!!! One folder at a time!!!

I read lots of advice on the Picasa forum and am hoping that I have done everything correctly, I have now set Picasa to import directly to my external hard drive but this was not before I had my "Oh No" moment.....

Since transferring all the files to the external hard drive I have been trying to remember to change the import drive location on Picasa before pressing the import button so that all my photographs are imported directly to the external hard drive but on this particular day I forgot.

I realised my mistake as soon as I clicked the import button which meant that all my photos would be imported to my C drive so do you know what I did I clicked the cancel button!!!! I'm not sure what made me do it but I did!!

My "Oh No" had happened not only had I cancelled the import but I had also ticked the delete everything on the card box.

Almost everything was gone, the only photos showing were about ten pictures all of which I had imported a couple of days before so I already had them in Picasa.
I was so cross with myself you wouldn't believe it.....and I honestly thought that was it -  I'd lost all my photos.
My camera not only had that days photos of our trip out with friends to the local woods but it also had photos from several days before some of which I really wanted to keep.
There was only one thing for it I trawled the Picasa forum yet again and found out that I might be able to recover my photos from the memory card as long as I didn't take any more photos on it.
The way to do this would be to use a recovery program, there are lots of different companies offering recovery programs and after much deliberation I plumped for Recuva.
I nervously downloaded the program to my computer and attached the camera via the usb cable and set the program to scan and waited.
Amazingly there they were my 217 photos recovered in a jiffy.
My "Oh No" moment was now a "Oh Yes!" moment.
I quickly moved them to the external hard drive and apart from three photo's that didn't get fully recovered I had all my photos safely ensconced once more in Picasa!!!

This has been a hard lesson to learn but learn it I have...and after reading another Picasa forum post I now realise that I can set the import location permanently to my external hard drive, which I have now done. I also only tick the delete copied pictures too which should ensure that this doesn't happen again, but if it ever does then I know that there may be hope in the name of Recuva.

Sorry this has been a word heavy post, normal photography blogging shall resume shortly........

Saturday, 8 October 2011

30 day Photo Challenge - 5/30 - 6/30 - 7/30

Day 5/30 - From a High Angle
couldn't resist getting a shot from the top of the slide in our local park!!!
have to confess though that this was the little slide and not the big one as
a) it was quite windy and I didn't want to get blown off the top of the slide
b) I looked pretty odd as it was climbing the small slide/climbing frame without a child of my own nearby, imagine the strange looks I would have got if I had climbed the big slide!!!
c) not a pretty sight if I had slid down the slide and got stuck!!!!
 only a little tweak with this shot - changed to black and white and soft focus added.

Day 6/30 - From a Low Angle
I had a couple of ideas for this one today but when I finally uploaded my photos decided to plump for this shot of one of Tomas' trucks in the garden...


Day 7/30 - Fruit - An Apple

Take one apple, place it on the windowsill, snap away until you are pleased with your shot, then crop and upload!!!

Pop over to A Kitten Called Betty to see more photographs of these themes!
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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

30 Day Challenge - 4/30 - Something Green

I've been sewing today whilst Tomas has been at pre-school so I thought it only fitting that I incorporate that into my photograph for today, so here is a snapshot of my green threads.

To see different interpretations of " Something Green" pop over to
A Kitten Called Betty
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Monday, 3 October 2011

30 day challenge - 3/30 - Clouds

The glorious weather today meant that we had masses of low level cloud this morning making the sky completely grey and beautiful blue skies this afternoon with no clouds at all.
Not to be defeated I popped out into the garden after dinner and managed to get a few shots of some clouds. There were three clouds in particular that looked pretty unusual so I snapped away at different angles, my first impression was that the cloud in the bottom right corner did in fact look like a bird but it just needed something a little bit extra.
Picnik has a doodle thingy so I added some eyes, beaks and feet and found this super quote from Lewis Carroll....

What do you think????
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30 day Photo Challenge - 2/30 - What I Wore Today

It was a sorcher of a day yesterday so clothing was keep to a minimum - beige linen trousers and a white vest top
draped over the chair in my bedroom.

To see more photos of "What I wore Today" visit
A Kitten Called Betty
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Sunday, 2 October 2011

Paper Mill Lock

On Friday Ruth and I decided to take the kids and our cameras down to Paper Mill Lock in Little Baddow, a chance for the kids to have a run around and for us to take some pictures.
Here are some of mine from our little jaunt.....

The sun was reflecting beautifully off the water at the lock and I tried to capture this.

When we first arrived my two played "lets see how many people we can make wave to us", they didn't do too bad at all!

The water on the other side of the lock had a layer of algae on the top - too tempting for some!!!

Lots of the boats had stained glass doors and windows - roses to match the canal art.
A wonderful evening boat ride - lucky for some.
The children enjoyed rock throwing - en masse!
and tree climbing,
whilst I had the chance to catch some reflections

and the pretty lockhouse
Our walked finished with some rather cold but enjoyable paddling
I enjoyed myself and I think they did too!

A new Photo Challenge

I've joined another photo challenge over on a facebook, A Kitten Called Betty is a new community page that has been set up and yesterday saw the first day of a 30 day challenge.

1/30 - Self Portrait
I spent some of yesterday afternoon playing around with self portraits, never being one to like having photo taken I tried to think of a few ideas that didn't involve you seeing all my face!!! I tried spoons, reflections and just plain hiding but finally settled on this idea of seeing a blurred me behind a hand. I have a similar photo of Tomas, less posed much direct response of having too many photos taken) and thought it would be a gentle introduction to me!
I took this picture on my Nikon D40x with my new 35mm lens using a 10 second timer, it took a little time to get right with just the right amount of focus on my hand and depth of field to blur my face. That left just a little bit of editing so I changed it to black and white and added soft focus.

If you fancy joining in then just pop over to A Kitten Called Betty and upload your photos for all to see!!!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

A Lovely Surprise!!!

Paul went out for an indian last night with some friends, one of whom is a very keen photographer with lots and lots of cameras and equipment. When he got home last night he told me that he had a surprise for me and would be picking it up tomorrow. Well this afternoon when he got back handed me a box with a Nikon SB600 flashgun, this is just one of the pieces of camera equipment that I would love to have so I was extremely pleased and thought this was my surprise. He then placed on the table a huge Billingham camera bag and inside was a Nikon D200 camera body and a Nikkor 35mm lens. I was completely gobsmacked as although I've talked about getting another camera this wouldn't have been for some time yet.
I am slightly in awe of this camera as I'm amazed at how different but the same it is as my D40x. I think it is going to take a little while to get used it and I haven't even tried out the flashgun yet!!!

How lucky am I to have such a wonderful husband!!!

I'm hoping I can master the basics before next weeks studio shoot!!! wish me luck...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

And the winner is.......


At Camera Club tonight they held a knock out competition of summer prints you could enter up to 6 prints and each one went head to head with another photo then it was a show of hands as to which one you liked best. Well after much deliberation I entered the following prints.

I know there is 7 but I was still choosing my photos and Ken just grabbed the bundle and put them in.
There were lots of different themes, quite a few Italian lakes and many of the Sydney Opera House.
Some of mine got knocked out in the first round but several went through to the following rounds.
Then it was down to the final 2 my raindrops photo and a wonderful moody misty tree silhouette.
It was nail biting as there had to be a recount but I won by one hand. The upside was that  I won a copy of Collins need to know Digital Photography and a copy of my photo goes on the club website, the down side is that they also took a photo of me accepting my book - and I hate having my photo taking.
I took this photo through our porch window and if you click on the photo to enlarge it you can see the transposed image of the flowers in lots of the raindrops.

I'm enjoying this competition malarkey more than I thought I would and am putting my recent successes down to beginners luck.
Next week we are off to Southend to a studio to take portrait shots. I've never taken any photos like that before so it should be really interesting and informative.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

On top of the world....

well okay Essex then!!!!
Tonight I had the chance to make use of the wonderful evenings we've been having lately, Tomas went off to bed early so I took the older two up to the park, leaving Paul home to watch the news in peace whilst I had the chance to roam about at one of the highest points in the county; the back of St John's Church Danbury.
Although the light was good is was rather cloudy so the sun kept popping in and out and I really think I should have come out half an hour earlier (instead of trying to finish my crochet) as the sun soon dipped behind the trees but I will know for next time.
I managed to get a few shots of the view from the back of the church out towards South Woodham and Hanningfield Reservoir and beyond.

I also managed to get some shots of the church windows for the glass theme of our Facebook Photo Challenge.
There are several allotments at the back of the church too and I took this shot of some pretty yellow flowers growing in the hedgerow (anyone know what they are?)
I also wanted to try out some black and white shots as there is a  Black and White competition at Camera Club soon and these are the results.

Although these were taken in colour and changed to black and white in Picasa I did try and choose the subjects because I felt that they would make good black and white prints rather then looking at the shots later and then deciding. My Nikon D40x allows me to check each photo in Monochrome in situ so I could adjust my position settings etc out in the field.

Finally I will leave you with this shot which my daughter Rachel took from the car(through the windscreen) just as we were turning into our road. Sometimes I wish I was the passenger!!!
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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Camera Club

Last night was Camera Club night where we had an amazing talk and slide show entitled "In Search of The Magnificent Seven" given by Phil Shaw. Phil is an ecologist and photographer and you can find out more about him here naturephotopro.

The talk was about Phil's search for his top seven animals and birds of North America and the trips he has taken to photograph them. We saw some superb shots of Polar Bears, Bison, Golden Eagle, Brown Bear, Moose, Cougar and Wolves all shot in some of remotest parts of North America, in freezing conditions.
If you ever have the chance to see one of Phil's exhibitions of hear one of his talks I would highly recommend it. If not you will have the chance to see some of his filmwork on Autumn Watch over the next few months on the BBC.
Next week is a knock out competition of 6x4 prints of the summer 2011, where two photos go head to head and we all get a chance to vote for which one we like best, the winner then goes through to the next round. So I'm off to choose my best six summer prints of 2011
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