Saturday, 29 June 2013

Week 26 of the photo a day challenge

The theme this week was "Out of Place" things where you wouldn't expect to see them, things where they shouldn't be or simply the odd one out in a group of things. I'd been worrying about this theme for a while because I knew it was going to take some imagination and I'm so busy with work at the minute that I'm struggling to be imaginative. However I spotted a few things around the house on the Saturday that were out of place thanks to having a puppy and two kids, I realise things often end up where they are not supposed to be!

For the first time ever I was actually excited to see Emily's shoe in the middle of the kitchen floor when I got up on Sunday morning! I'm not sure if Emily left it there or if the puppy has been playing with it but instead of telling either of them off, I ran to get Mr Nikon before one of them moved it.

Monday is my working from home day, when I got back from the school run I spotted this half eaten apple nestled in the clean washing! Now I know this was one of the kids........ But which one I wonder?

I took Tuesday shot on Monday night, I was just getting ready to get in the bath when I saw this in my eye line. My partner must have left it there. So I grabbed my iPhone and lined up the shot, I was trying to make it look like the can was coming out of the tap

I have to admit I wasn't really feeling the love for this theme by this point in the week. I had enjoyed the previous few weeks so much (children, landscapes and people) that this week was feeling a bit of a let down. Some of us talked about it in the group and I decided to look to the streets again for inspiration.

As a result Wednesday's shot was this rather odd crocheted bike I found in the middle of Barnsley town centre

This dapper looking chap got on my train on the way home on Thursday. It took a while to get a half decent photo though as there were people stood in between me and him most of the way home. This was the best I could do. He looked a bit out of place on a train full of commuters at 5pm.

On Friday morning, I sat down at the bus station, looked up and saw this stack of buckets and used flowerpots abandoned next to the seats. I guess someone was intending to take them home and forgot them when the bus got here!

For Saturday, I used a shot I'd taken earlier in the week. Partly because I really liked it but had already posted a picture that particular day and partly because we were out for the day visiting family and I wasn't sure I'd get the opportunity to get another one. Plus I also wanted to start thinking about next week's theme. So my final out of place picture was someone wearing a thick woolly hat, in June, on a really warm and sunny day - apparently it's the fashion and he must have been a really trendy lad, if a bit warm, I hope he didn't overheat under that glass roof.

So I ended up not hating the theme, but it certainly wasn't one of my favourites. I think I've definitely discovered what my preferred area of photography is. It's people - street photography, the urban landscape, the way people interact and leave their mark on the environment.

I'm looking forward to portrait week!

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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Week 25 of the photo a day challenge

The theme this week was "people / crowds" but as usual there was a twist. This was our first official street photography exercise. We had to take pictures of strangers! I of course I checked out google images for street photography and there's some amazing images. So I aimed for that style which means most of my pictures can't be described as a crowd!

On Sunday I took Emily into town and we saw this man making a dog out of sand

On Monday we passed this chap cleaning the streets on the way to school, I wonder what the ladies behind the rails are taking about

Tuesday's picture is the Blue Rinse Brigade, three little white haired old ladies having a rest on a bench. I wonder if they were all together or had just navigated to the same bench randomly. They look like triplets with their hair. But what I really love about this picture is the man I caught running past, I had no idea he was there - that's the essence of street photography!

On Wednesday I got caught! The train I was on stopped for ages and these guys we working on the track beside us. I took a quick snap through the train window, inspected it and then looked back at them to find they were all looking at me and grinning. I realised to my horror that my phone's flash was on! Given that a train looks dark when you're on the outside looking in, I guess the guy in the middle of the shot - the one looking right at the camera, must have seen the flash and told the others I'd taken a picture of them!

Thursday's shot I took while waiting for a train, I was stood quite close to this guy but tried not to make it obvious I was taking a picture. It was a really bright day and love the high contrast that came out naturally in this picture.

I managed to get out of the office on Friday lunch time and couldn't resist this pregnant lady with her rather striking dress

My best shot of the week though was on Saturday, as soon as I realised what was about to happen I whipped my phone out

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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Week 24 of the photo a day challenge

This week's theme was "Children" but it wasn't as simple as that! Some people don't have children, or access to children they can (legally) photograph. So there were two options with this week's brief.

A) recreate childhood memories using staging and/or props - so if a childhood memory was going to the park you could take a picture of a swing, swinging, at the local park, for example.

B) take photos of your own children, but in a way that you can't see their face(s). This of course could be while they re helping you recreate a childhood memory thereby fulfilling both options.

I, as many others in the group, made use of vintage overlays and filters to make our photos look the part too.

On Sunday (Day 160) I got Emily to dance around the living room, me and my sister used to love doing this with the radio or record player on. Kids these days can choose from one of the many music channels though.

On Monday I just had to use this shot of Emily and her friend, the girl from next door. When I was 3 I made friends with the girl who was my neighbour and who was to become my life long best friend, she is 10 months older than me and was about a foot taller then, there's a photo of us in her back garden. Over 30 years later and she's still my best friend and still a foot taller. There's about the same age gap between Emily and her friend too and I can't help wonder if they'll still be friends in 30 years time

On Tuesday I taught the kids about lucky four leaf clovers. Me and my best friend used to spend hours searching for them, my friend found a few, she even found a six leaf one and a seven left one too!

Can you imagine Emily's surprise when, on Wednesday, I sat her in front of my bedroom mirror, gave her my make up bag and told her to play! The thing is I rarely ever wear make up, she's never even seen me put it on, yet she seemed to know exactly what to do.

On Thursday I followed option A and took a photo that didn't involve kids at all. I suddenly remembered my old charm bracelet I had as a child. My dad and stepmum bought me it and got me charms for it every birthday and Christmas. It must be about 20 years old and still in perfect condition.

On Friday I got a picture of Archie trying to teach Emily how to read. It reminded me of when I used to teach my little sister to read only I was 12 and she was 6. Archie's only 5 bless him.

I finished the week with memories of the fair ground. I used to love the merry-go-rounds and tea cups. It was a real treat when we were kids, maybe once or twice a year. There seems to be some kind of ride every weekend in town these days and they charge a fortune!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Week 23 of the photo a day challenge

This week's theme was "Landscapes" again but this time it's obviously summer landscapes as compared to the murky foggy ones we had earlier in the year.

On Sunday we took the kids out to Fort Paull near Hull and I made P stop on the way so I could take a picture of Saltend where I worked as a chemical engineer for the placement year of my degree.

On Monday I took this from the hill behind our house, the view across the Dearne Valley.

When we are up early enough to walk to school, we have two choices; walking down one of the main routes and busiest roads into Barnsley or a slight detour takes us down the Trans Pennine trail, Tuesday was one of those days and this is what we chose

On Wednesday it was so lovely that we took the kids for a trea tea at a pub with a little play area outside. I could see an enticing field over the main road, and got moaned at for darting off for two minutes to get this shot. I think it was worth being moaned at a little

Thursday was very exciting because I realised that I had the afternoon booked off work to pick Archie up from dance class, but dance class had finished the week before so I took Mr Nikon to work with me. There's a hotel near the train station with a bar on the 13th floor, it has a balcony and this is the view

On Friday I didn't really have the chance to get a shot as I was in work early and ended up leaving late, so I used this one I had taken from the balcony yesterday

On Saturday had a go at Urban Landscapes and discovered I really love the concept of urban landscapes. There's a photo competition I'm thinking of entering and that is the theme. I wish I had a tripod though as I would've liked to have got a star burst effect with the lights, but you need a small aperture for this and as it's dark you need to compensate with a longer exposure, but without a tripod it ends up blurry.

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Week 22 of the photo a day challenge

This week was "Animals and insects" week. Pretty simple really. It was half term for most of the country too, so we were allowed to use up to three photos from the same day if we had had a day out to say a farm or a zoo or something.

We were at the in-laws at the weekend in Hornsea and we went to the Mere on Sunday for breakfast. I took Mr. Nikon and got loads of photos. There were tonnes of geese and ducks at the Mere which became the subject of many photos!

I decided to restrict myself this week to not using my own cats as the subject

So on Sunday at the Mere I saw a great theme-blend opportunity with this Canadian goose since last week's theme was reflection. There's getting to be quite a trend of theme-blend photos on Sundays now in the group so I couldn't resist using this shot.

Day 147 was bank holiday Monday, we took the kids to the park and I stood among some wild flowers for ages waiting for at least one of the many butterflies to settle on a flower near me. I only had my iPhone with me and they just weren't playing ball. Then Archie spotted this fly (or "beep" as Emily called it - she means bee but calls them beeps) - and no, that's not dog poo, it's a piece of bark, but so many people have said it looks like dog poo at first glance!

I was back to work on Tuesday, and for the rest of the week, so no zoos or farms for me! I snapped the neighbours cat basking in the sun on our patio for Tuesday's shot. He's such a handsome cat and seems to love our house even though we already have two cats. This was also taken with my iPhone.

Wednesday's picture was another one from the Mere on Sunday as I'd had a busy day at work and didn't see any animals except for my own cats. I loved this goose though, he posed for me for ages and was looking right at me as he knew exactly what he was doing. He turned round to let me photograph him from all sides and stood perfectly still while I was doing so. This was take with Mr. Nikon. Maybe he recognised a good camera!

For Thursday's shot I used this lovely beetle we found in the garden. I caught it on a dish cloth and used a HRD technique I recently discovered - which resulted in the bright white background and dark crisp beetle.

On Friday I took this shot of Fizzy the dog who belongs to my friend Thom. She's a gorgeous dog and loves the kids.

On Saturday I used a third photo from Hornsea Mere, my mother-in-law surrounded by geese and ducks, all wanting some of our left over garlic bread!

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Friday, 14 June 2013

Meet my new friend - Mr Nikon

On Saturday afternoon my other half had taken the boys into town to get some new computer games, when he got back he asked me if I knew that they sell cameras in CEX and told me to go into town and have a look. It was about 3pm at this point and I wasn't sure I could be bothered, but Emily had been nagging me all afternoon to take her to a shop. So I decided to go and have a look. Having done some research over the last few weeks I decided I wanted a Nikon as they got really good reviews and everyone said the manual and the help functions in the camera itself were really good for a beginner to follow. I'd never had an SLR so I was going to need all the help I could get. When I got there they had a Nikon D40 with a kit lens and it was less than £200 so I rang the other half and he said "get it"

So I did!

I played and played with practise shots for a week or so, trying the different manual settings on the same subject to see how they effect the picture, but I had no way of getting them from my SD card to my iPad. And since Emily smashed the screen on my laptop two years ago, I've always only had my iPad. P had recently acquired a new laptop so I was allowed to use the old one, but it was running so slow and even then, once I had downloaded the images I needed to email them to myself to get them on my iPad. So I trawled amazon for a SD card reader for the iPad, got one for about £3 and Bob's your uncle!

My camera is now affectionately known as "Mr Nikon". Stolen from my friend and photo challenge owner, she didn't mind and I felt he deserved a title.

Here's just a few of my favourite photos I've taken with it.

Camping at Whitby:

The Leyburn food festival:

Nature and stuff:

Hornsea beach:

Hull Marina:

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Week 21 of the photo a day challenge

The theme this week was "reflections" good use of light and reflective objects to bounce images back, again I added myself the extra challenge of not using mirrors this week, but to find reflective surfaces around me.

My first photo of the week was by far my favourite, I'm so proud of it, they way the light bounces and the simple editing to put it in sepia tones and the fact that my little Emily was so compliant. This was taken early morning and you could say she was reflecting on the potential of the day as well as capturing her reflection in the glass

On Monday we had eggs for breakfast and we have black granite placemats on the table, they are great at reflecting. I was quite pleased with this shot of Archie after he'd enjoyed his boiled eggs and especially that what I didn't capture of his real face I caught in his reflection.

Tuesday morning while the kids were having breakfast, I had to retrieve some abandoned toys from the garden and whilst bent down near the table I spotted this great reflection.

A reflection of Emily in the side of the car on our way to school made Wednesday's shot

On Thursday we were just getting in from picking me up at the train station and I could see Archie's reflection in the letterbox. I decided to try and get them both reflecting in the letterbox at the same time - how hard could it be? Well given that Emily is tiny and they didn't get what I was trying to do - very hard! And upon inspection I realised that I hadn't quite got the whole of the letterbox in the shot, but I couldn't face trying to do it again.

On Friday I went all arty and used a few cocktail sticks and our black granite worktop to get this 'Mediterranean Sun' I had to edit this one in photo wizard by masking off the lemon and chillies and darkening the background but I like the result

I didn't have much time on Saturday, but while cleaning I noticed Emily was reflecting quite well in our black glossy tv unit, so I got her to strike a few poses and picked this one.

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