Friday, 31 January 2014

Day 31 - January 31 - Miss Mouse

"Mouwwwwww!" That is Caroline's usual cry when she sees her Minnie Mouse doll. Caroline makes herself understood exceptionally well using few words, and this is one of them. She loves to cuddle up to Minnie at night.

One month in already. The year is whizzing past. Two weeks from tonight, we will tuck our four year old into bed for the last time. How on Earth is our baby nearly FIVE? It seems like only yesterday we found out that we were expecting her, and now she is a bright, bubbly, inquisitive, determined, fun, cheerful and busy girl. I could not be prouder of her ♥

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Day 29 - January 29 - Getting Ready for Chinese New Year

Alyssa has been busy at school. Chinese New Year is on Friday, and her class has been making dragon masks to celebrate. She's really proud of her work, and rightly so; it's vibrant and fun and full of joy, just like she is.

Nifty fifty yet again!

I'm hoping to get out with my camera club tomorrow during our meeting to take some night shots, but we are at the mercy of the weather, which is looking distinctly unfavourable at the moment. Nevertheless, I will have my batteries charged and my kit ready in the hope that my photo of the day tomorrow may be something that little bit different.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Day 28 - January 28 - Tang Teeeee for Two

Tea for two, and two for tea, tea for you, and tea for me..... and so the ditty goes (or something along those lines, anyhow). Unless you're Caroline. Then it's Tang teeeeeeeeee over, and over, and over again :) Tang, for the uninitiated, is Tangled. Tangled is one of Caroline's favourite movies. Caroline is fluent in one-syllable worlds at the present time. Teeeeeeeeeeee is, well, tea. Alyssa gave Caroline this Tangled tea set for Christmas, and Caroline is in heaven if someone (read: Chris or me) has tea with her ad infinitum when the feeling takes her. She will trot to the DVD, announce it is "Tang!" and then trot back to pour, stir, say cheers, then drink up. Repeat as required. Something that memories are made or. She is going to be delighted when she sees this image tomorrow.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Day 27 - January 27 - Positively Prehistoric

The nifty fifty toy theme lives for another day. This is No-Name the dinosaur, who Caroline more often than not refers to as Rawwrrrr. Maybe that's his name, then. He was a first birthday present to Caroline from Alyssa, and she often snuggles him when falling asleep of an evening.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring? I'm enjoying this project as each day when I've completed a photo, I find myself looking forward to the next.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Day 26 - January 26 - The Doc Is In

The Doc is in, and she'll fix you up. If you're a toy, then you're in luck.

So begins the theme song of one of the girls' favourite TV shows. Doc McStuffins, for the uninitiated, is a 6 year old who wants to be a doctor and fixes toys. Toys, lo and behold, form the subject of today's photo yet again. These five are treasures of Caroline's. My parents bought her Doc's four friends for her birthday, and Chris and I bought her the Doc doll to go with them.

Nifty fifty strikes again :)

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Day 25 - January 25 - Toot

Meet Toot. He belongs to Caroline and is well-loved. He's an owl, and owls apparently say "Toot." We explain that they in fact hoot, and Caroline looks at us scornfully and states, "No, TOOT." So Toot he is, and Toot he shall remain. An owl named Toot. At least it's original :)

It's another nifty fifty photo today. I don't think I've had any other lens on my camera in a couple of weeks now. Part of it has to do with the fact that the weather is pretty lousy and I don't have time to go out for landscape photos, part of it has to do with the fact that, as per its name, it's a pretty nifty little lens. Might be interesting to use it for some landscape work and see what the results are. Watch this space; I'm sure I'll get the opportunity for a shoot sometime this year!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Day 24 - January 24 - Family

I found myself looking for a photo idea this evening. It's been a long, busy day at work and I am so pleased to have the weekend in my sights. I am really looking forward to spending time with my little family. That's when my idea came to me. Family. The most important people in my life. There's my photo. I love you all. Thank you for being the reason I keep going, and the reason I do so with a smile. I am so very blessed.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Day 23 - January 23 - Movie, Anyone?

Anyone for a movie? These are some of the girls' favourites (and mine, too!) We love snuggling up on the sofa and watching one together; it's really nice family time. We're big Disney fans, the girls and I.

I think I need to keep track of how many of my daily photos are taken using my nifty fifty. I think I'm making good progress at making friends with this lens :)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Day 22 - January 22 - Keep On Truckin'

Another day, another photo. Another photo, another toy. Another photo, again with my 50mm f/1.8. What a lens!

Keep on truckin'!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Day 21 - January 21 - My Day

Three weeks in to my Project365, and I am really enjoying it. I've not missed a day so far, and it's been a pleasure rather than a chore - which is exactly how I hope it continues to feel.

Today's shot shows what I got up to today. I took the train to York to attend a work conference, then took the train back home again :)

Monday, 20 January 2014

Day 20 - January 20 - Hand-me-down

An old friend, ready to make a new one. My beloved Fuji bridge camera, which has served me so well and given me some wonderful images, is now going to be Alyssa's introduction to the wonderful world of photography. I am really looking forward to going on a photo walk with her, and watching her snap away. I hope she loves it like I do. A new generation of photographer :)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Day 19 - January 19 - A Pirate's Life for Me

There definitely seems to be a theme emerging here. This is yet another toy shot, and yet another which has been taken with my Nikon 50mm f/1.8. I'm really enjoying getting to know this lens, and I think it's making me see things differently and look for a photo where I might not have before. I think I may keep the fify on the camera for a while and see what happens.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Day 18 - January 18 - Construction Site

I guess I have a bit of a theme going on here. Toys. There are lots of them around, and I mean lots! This is as it was last played with - by which girl is anyone's guess. Not only am I following a toy theme, I seem to be using my Nifty Fifty quite a bit, which I'm really pleased about. It's been the most underused of my lenses over the years, and I fully intend to change that. So far, so good!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Day 17 - January 17 - It's Mega!

Another day, another photo. Taking a photo is fast becoming a part of my daily routine, which feels good. I'm enjoying photography again, which is a phenomenal feeling. I'm trying new things, which is also good for me as a photographer. Again today I've found myself using my 50mm f/1.8 to take my photo, and the more I use it, the more I love this lens. I think I will have to cart it around more often :)

These are my daughters' Mega Bloks. They have been a firm favourite in our home since Alyssa was about 10 months old. They have their own little table and everything!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Day 16 - January 16 - Camera Club

I've done it. After five years away, I've returned to a camera club. It isn't my previous club, but a new one, one that I think will suit me so much better. West Moor Camera Club is now where I will spend one evening a fortnight. This was a quick shot taken just before the cups were tidied away for the night, and next to my empty cup is my beloved Tamron 28-300mm, which is my go-to, general purpose lens.

I'm looking forward to learning a lot here.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Day 15 - January 15 - Best Friends

Like our girls, these two are best friends. Alyssa and Caroline are My Little Pony mad at the moment, and these are played with so often. They are in their natural habitat, AKA their princess castle :)

I'm making a concerted effort to use my Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens more. It's a real gem, and woefully under-represented in my photography. I aim to change that this year.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Day 14 - January 14 - Geisha

I have had these little wooden geisha for years, since Chris spotted them in a shop and bought them for me as a gift. I studied archaeology at university, and really loved Japanese archaeology, and he knew how much I would love these. Thought I would line them up and have a play. They may well make an appearance in the project in the weeks and months to come.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Day 13 - January 13 - Almost Done

I think I am going to have to admit the fact that these tulips are pretty much done for. What a shame. I've enjoyed photographing them and enjoyed just looking at them. Guess I'll have to get some more one day soon!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Day 12 - January 12 - Just Like My Sister

For those of you who don't already know, we have two girls. Alyssa is nearly 5, and Caroline recently turned 2. They are very close; this means that they are best of friends one nanosecond, and then locked in what seems to be mortal combat the next. They also each want what the other has, which is why there are now matching wellies in our home. Both girls love Disney's Planes, and when Chris spotted these in Caroline's size today, Alyssa wanted them too - it was lucky that her size was in stock as well!

It's been a typical Sunday in our house, which means anything but rest and relaxation :) There are always errands to run - groceries to buy, school tights to find, cooking to do, and general tidying up. Sundays are especially busy when I've been at work the day before, as was the case this weekend. Sometimes it just seems like there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything we want (like taking photos!) As a result, today's effort is a bit hastily composed and shot. Oh well, at least there IS a photo for today. As Scarlett O'Hara said, "After all... tomorrow is another day."

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Day 11 - January 11 - There's Nothing Like a Good Book

There's nothing like a good book. It's a phrase I remember my grandmother saying often, and I fully believe it. Books transport us to other worlds, other times, other lives. We can immerse ourselves in a book and forget our worries and cares for a time. I have loved reading ever since I can remember, Chris loves books, and we are instilling the same love in our two girls. Alyssa is learning to read now, and is so excited and proud when she reads us a new schoolbook. Literacy is the key to a whole other universe for her, and it is so thrilling to see as a parent. I am a convert to the digital age and the e-reader (I love my Kobo!) but there is something so special about opening a new book. The sound, the smell, the feel.....a sensory cornucopia. Heavenly, really. I will always have books on my shelves, treasures and beloved friends, for this reason.

There's nothing like a good book. This, to some, may LOOK nothing like a good book. I guess that's partly my goal here; to show the symmetrical beauty of the bound pages, the way they fan out when the tome is opened, its more abstract look.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Day 10 - January 10 - Tick, Tock!

One of the girls' many toys :) Bought for Alyssa once upon a Christmas in Oakville, Canada, this is now something that Caroline enjoys playing with quite a bit. She's now very adept at fitting the pieces into their spaces and takes great pleasure in showing us her accomplishments.

I used my "nifty fifty" to take this shot. My treasured Nikon 50mm f/1.8, a birthday present some years ago from my parents. I wanted to toy (get it?) with a shallow depth of field, and thought that something so linear and colourful as this would be fun.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Day 9 - January 9 - Swan Song

Tulips again. I love them, and love photographing them. Although this one is nearly done, it is beautiful still. A floral swan song, if you will. I gave it a bit of an aged, antique feel to try to emphasise the state of the flower. I think it works well, but would love to hear how others perceive it.

Maybe tomorrow I'll turn my hand (or should that be lens?) to a different subject.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Day 8 - January 8 - Still Beautiful

Flowers fascinate me. They are beautiful in their infancy as buds, magnificent in full bloom, enigmatic and lovely in their decline, when they are past their best. Much like people - we are all beautiful, at every stage of our lives. More people should remember that.

Tulips, as I mentioned in a previous post, are my favourite flowers. These are now in the sunset of their lives, but still display such beauty. I handheld this shot, and played with a higher ISO and shallower depth of field today to see what the end result might be. I'm quite pleased with it. I toyed with the idea of a more abstract image, but maybe that's a photo for another day.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Day 7 - January 7 - A Royal Baby

One week in already. Where is the time going? Here's hoping the next 51 weeks go as well as this first one has!

These little people belong to my daughters. The birth of little Prince George this summer has captivated Alyssa in particular, although Caroline is partial to "baby", full stop. The Royal family depicted here has become a firm favourite with the girls, and Caroline often waves one or the other of them in my face, informing me whether the figure in question is "mummmm", "dad" or "baybeee" as the case may be.

I almost slept right through this evening and missed taking this shot. I went up to bed with Caroline around 8:30 and cuddled with her in our bed while she fell asleep. Trouble is, I did too, and only woke when I heard Chris start making a start on getting ready for bed around 11pm. Glad I heard him!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Day 6 - January 6 - Hello To an Old Friend

Today I say hello to an old friend. Flex is the elder statesman of my little wooden family. He was followed by a few more friends, who you will meet in due course. Some people are well acquainted with these folks already, however, as they have played a major part in my photography to date. Flex felt that six days into my project it was high time he made his presence known, so he decided to make himself the subject of today's photo. I think he's a little miffed that I waited as long as this to introduce him, personally. I had the table all set up to take some more photos of my beautiful tulips while they're at their best, but no - someone had to hog the limelight.

It's good to have him back.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Day 5 - January 5 - My Favourite Flower

I finally got my hands on my favourite flower. I don't know if it's the Dutch blood in me, or just because they're so beautiful, but tulips have long been my flower of choice. If I was told that I could only have one type of flower to decorate our home for the rest of my life, I would choose tulips. The variety of colours, the petals, the shape, just everything about them is wonderful, I think. I treated myself to these beautiful roes-coloured ones, and Alyssa also chose some pale violet ones for me (after all, her favourite colour is purple, so it wasn't unexpected).

I had a VERY busy 2 year old who didn't want to go to sleep until she and I had consumed countless cups of "tea" from her "Tang teeeeeeee" (Rapunzel tea set, to the uninitiated in Caroline-speak) I am sleepy, and am faced with the prospect of returning to work after a two week break for the holidays, so perhaps this image doesn't entirely do this beautiful bloom justice. I am sure that tulips will feature in more shots over the coming few days, so there is time yet to improve :)

Although I love still life work and indoor shots, I'm itching to get some time (and some decent weather!) to get out for some landscapes - my first photographic love. Here's hoping that over the next couple of weeks I get the opportunity.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Day 4 - January 4 - Milk & Cookies

Day four and all is well. I have ideas, I have time (thank you girls, for sleeping well!) and I have space to work. All I need to sort out is a missing bolt on my tripod, which means the tripod head does not stay still, and thus defeats the object. I think tomorrow will see me off to B&Q to find a bolt to fit and solve the problem. I sure hope it's as easy as a quick trip and low cost as I really like my tripod and don't want to be spending a lot to rectify the problem.

Today's shot is of a lovely snack for someone. Santa Claus, perhaps? Only 10 days too late :) I found it difficult to light the edge of the glass well, so I guess that my lighting technique is something that I should add to my list of things to improve on this year. That's what I like so much about a project such as this; it focuses your attention on your strengths and your weaknesses, and allows you to hone in on them to improve your skills.

After struggling to light the image, I couldn't bring myself to eat the cookies. They've been put away for another day (and most likely will be eaten by the girls).

Tomorrow's photo will be a return to something I did quite a lot of when I first did my photo a day projects back in 2007 and 2008, so it will be interesting to see how I get on with it and what kinds of re-learning curve I'm up against.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Day 3 - January 3 - Colour Me a Rainbow

Day 3 and much of the country is being lashed by wind and rain and the accompanying storm surges and flooding in coastal areas. I figured something more cheerful was called for. I found a pack of coloured pencils for £1 in Wilkinsons, and thought that they would come in handy for my project. I love rainbows, but have only been fortunate enough to photograph one on one occasion. Figured I should just create my own, then.

I'm not entirely happy with the photo, as there is a bit of space between the red, orange and yellow pencils that I would have preferred not be there, but only noticed when I came to edit the image on the laptop. Lesson learned: look more carefully through the viewfinder, Anna! I could have easily rectified this before taking the shot, but my mind was already thinking of titles and this blog post. In future, I must take more time and pay more attention to the portion of the task in hand. Slow and steady wins the race, and all that.

I am quite pleased with myself. I already have tomorrow's photo planned out in my mind; all I need are some of the subjects. I'm already looking forward to creating that photo!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Day 2 - January 2 - Gerbera

Here it is, Day 2 of the Photo365 project, and I have my second photo to show for it. Hooray! This makes a grand total of 3 days in a row that I have taken a photo, and it feels FANTASTIC. I don't feel that I truly realised how much I missed my photography until this point. I get a feeling of joy when I see the photographs downloaded from my camera appear on my laptop screen.

Today's shot is of a gerbera. It's past its best, and I wasn't overly keen on its lurid orange colour, so I thought I would try my hand at a mono conversion. I love the detail on the underside, rather than the more conventional view of the flower head itself, so I tried to make that the focus of my photo. I'm not thrilled with the crop, as I think it's too tight at the top, but it gives me something to work at.

I'm very fortunate to have a lot of support and encouragement as I embark on Photo365. My husband and my mother are my two biggest cheerleaders, rallying round me and offering constructive feedback and welcome comments. I also have a good friend, David Brennan, who is starting on his own photo a day endeavour - please have a look at his blog via the links to the right. He and I have made a pact to push each other to complete the project, and this is a great thing. It's good to know someone else is experiencing the same issues - photographer's block, elation at "the" shot, frustration when an image doesn't match the concept in one's head. I've got a good feeling about this year, photographically speaking.

Day 1 - January 1st - Christmas Treasure

Here it is, January 1st. A new year (2014? Already? It seems like yesterday that it was 1994!) filled with possibilities, with hopes, with dreams. This is the year I get back into photography, big time. This is the year my passion for taking photos returns. I first took up photography in 2005, and it quickly became a passion. By early 2009, however, it had to take a backseat. We were expecting our first child and I had no time or energy to devote to photography. In 2011, we welcomed our second child and I found that I had even less time or energy to pursue my hobby. Now that our girls are two and almost five - how did that happen? - I have resolved to take the plunge and immerse myself in my photography once again. I feel very much like a beginner as there seems to be so much that I have forgotten. I'm rusty, but am hopeful that I can blow away the cobwebs and get back up to speed soon enough.

I have made a couple of New Year's resolutions regarding photography. The first is to get back into the metaphorical saddle and start a new photo a day project, which I've chosen to call Project365. This will enable me to get familiar with my camera once more, and "get my eye back" and learn to see creatively once again. The second of my resolutions is to have an image published this year. Before our daughters were born, I was fortunate enough to have several of my images published in various UK photography magazines. The feeling of seeing one of my shots in print is amazing, and I want to experience that again, and soon!

My first photo in the project is one close to my heart. Her name is Tiffany, and I got her from Santa Claus the Christmas I was 7. Thank you Mom and Dad for making sure I had my heart's desire that year (as every year). She is a Cabbage Patch Kid, and she went virtually everywhere with me. How I loved her! Because she was so important to me, I wanted to make sure my daughters had the chance to love her too. Tiffany was followed by 3 more CPKs and each daughter received two of them this Christmas from Mommy and Daddy. Alyssa, our eldest, is so besotted with her two that they MUST sleep in her bed every night. I am delighted that she feels the way I did about them. Christmas Treasure indeed.