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

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A first......

Today was the first time I took photos in an official photographer capacity, to say it was nerve-wracking would have been an understatement. The occasion was a triple christening and a wedding blessing, luckily the rain held off long enough to take some pictures before and after the service.
 I was also able to take some photos inside the church too which was the one thing I was really worried about doing, but the church was lovely and bright inside which helped enormously and I took my daughter along as my helper which was fantastic as she took her own camera and snapped away too.
Together we managed to take a lovely selection of photos.
 I decided to stick with the camera in auto (no flash) as although I have been using the P setting I really didn't want to mess things up on the day. I now know why photographers have more than one camera during a wedding/christening as I would have loved to have changed lenses during the service but there just wasn't time so I kept my 18-55 lens on throughout. The vicar and the church wardens couldn't have been more helpful as I had a quick chat with them before the service to ask about where I could and couldn't go which really put my mind at rest.
The hardest part to photograph was at the font as there were lots of people and children gathered round but I think I managed to capture the moment so now I can give a big sigh of relief that my first official photography job is under my belt. And although I have tonnes more to learn it was a great experience and has just increased my love of photography even more.

I haven't added any photos of the family as I need to check with them first to see if they mind me putting their photos on my blog.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Camera Club!!

Last week I mentioned that I was off to Camera Club. My friend Ruth and I did go and the next day I wrote a long post on paper in the the car whilst waiting for Tomas to finish nursery that I was supposed to post later on the day but didn't! I wrote about how daunting it was to walk in to a room full of men sitting round the table, the nice surprise to find that there was in fact another woman there too. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming and there was a chance to discuss all the future events that the club will hold over the next year. These include lots of practical evenings, talks from outside speakers and competitions....which leads me on to this week meeting.

This was an open competition and Ruth and I decided we would enter, so I spent the week looking through photos trying to whittle it down to the final three. Which was hard going I still had at least six that I wanted to show and that was at 7pm this evening!!!
You could either show your photos as prints or digital images and initially I wanted to have them printed but after several hiccups relating to low resolution, buying mounts and actually getting the prints printed I opted to show mine as digital images.
First off it was the printed photos and having felt okay about showing my images I was now feeling rather nervous and wanted to hide my memory stick back in my bag. The quality of the photos around the table was amazing. Each print was placed on a lighted a frame and the judge gave a critique of each photo, giving both the positives and negatives and also what could be done to improve the shot.
There were some fabulous shots from superb landscapes to portraits.
Next up it was the digital images, I finally made my choice then desperately wanted to change my mind at the last minute but it was too late those poor unselected photos would have to wait for another competition.
Mine were the last to be shown, by which time all I wanted to do was hide under the table, but first up was this photo that I took of Jack in the woods the judge was complimentary and gave a good synopsis of where and when she thought the photo was taken. Although she felt there wasn't much going on in the shot and it would be a good one to show any future girlfriends of Jack's. She scored this a 7/10.
 Next up was this photo of Tomas whom she thought was a girl!!!! I really need to cut off those curly locks but I just don't want to so I shall have to put up with him being mistaken for a girl for a little longer!!!
The judge felt that there was more going on in this photo, but would have liked to have seen more of her(his) face but understood that this probably wasn't possible due to the length of her(his) arms!!! The judge didn't give this one a score as she wanted to hold it back to compare it to others at the end.
Finally there was this cropped picture of some pretty flowers in my back garden when I first saw this on the screen I thought I'd made a big mistake choosing it but the judge really seemed to like it, pointing out how you are drawn into the two flowers in the foreground and how it sweeps round to the others which are more out of focus. She felt that the flowers at the top of the page were quite highlighted and I could have either added more pink in or moved the flowers in situ or even added more green to highlight the flowers in the foreground.
The judge also asked to keep this image back too and compared it along with the photo of Tomas and three others by other photographers finally giving me a mark of 9 out of 10 for the photo of Tomas and 91/2 for the photo of the pink flowers.
To say I was gobsmacked would have been an understatement it was really nice to have a critique my photos and although it was really nerve wracking at the time I'm really glad I did it.
Ruth did really well too getting 8 out of 10 for all her photos.
I'm under no illusions that i will get any where near the same marks for the next competition but it was a great experience and I shall definitely do it again.
Anyone elso have any experience of competitions or camera clubs?

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Facebook Photo Challenge - Texture

A recent trip to the Discovery Park at Braintree produced some good rough texture photos.

I really like to experiment with camera angles to try and get a different perspective, this one was taken almost level with this railway sleeper seat and gives a good impression of it's weather worn texture.

I seem to enjoy taking photos of rough texture rather then smooth - is that because it's easier do you think?
I must try and get some smooth textures in before the end of the month.

Although this photo has a bit of both the rough of the rope and the smooth of the pole.

I'm off to a local camera club tonight - a little daunting as I'm not sure what to expect!
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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Facebook September Photo Challenge

I'm going to try really hard this month to keep up to date on this blog with photos for the facebook challenge as I have been a bit lacking in that department the past few months. We didn't have a challenge last month and as September was creeping upon us rather rapidly I put together this list of themes.
Here are my first four photo's for this month.
Only Natural - nature at it's brightest
Texture - pegs on a washing line

Texture - More pegs on a washing line
I couldn't decide between these two photos so put both of them on, they are the pegs on my Nan's washing line which is a traditional rope line with wooden pegs which she has had for as long as I can remember.

Purple Passion - A recent crafty make for one of my daughter's friends whose favourite colour is purple

So that's a good start is it - just got to remember to blog and facebook post similtaniously now and we'll be okay!
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August Scavenger Hunt

I'm really scraping the barrel this month for the Photo Scavenger Hunt organised by Kathy from Postcards from the PP.
I really didn't think I'd manage this many but having trawled through my photo albums for this month I have found the following 10 photographs to match the hunt.

1. A Boat - not pretty or functional but a boat all the same!
2. This is as near to a festival as I can manage - a fete and music festival in the village of Woodham Walter - The Bird of Prey Display.
3. A Fountain -  at the Splash Park in Maldon.
4. A Picnic- enjoyed by some watercolour artists in Danbury Country Park

5. Sport - a friendly game of cricket - can you spot the ball?

6. Bread - We were supposed to be feeding the ducks but the fish seemed to want to get in on the action.
7. Fabric - A fabric covered bead bracelet I made for a recent fabric swap
8. Mountains - A rope mountain being scaled by Jack at the park.
9. Something Ancient - The ancient Ice House at Danbury Country Park.
10. Something bizarre - it's not normal to see two human beings in hamster balls on a pond - and yes I did have a go,  it was fun but exhausting!
The only ones I couldn't find a photo for were A Market and Street Food.
I always think I should have more opportunities when the kids are off school to get photos but this didn't seem to be the case this month.

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