Sunday, 29 April 2007

The Gardening Photographer

A while back we decided to do something about the concrete jungle that was our front garden. The previous home owners had a requirement for lots of car parking and had tarmac'd the whole front. We ripped up the whole section under the front bay window and are going to order our new turf this week - I will post some images once we get it all done.

Also, we had a flooding issue out front, as the tarmac was too high so the rain water ran into the porch, so we added a step - I think you will agree John made a great job of the tiles - not bad for an accountant ! With a coat of black paint on the door and a new door plaque, we are almost there.

So today I finally got around to planting up my hanging baskets (well, the front garden ones so far). I decided on cast iron baskets with an assortment of plants - hopefully I will remember to water them and they flourish.

We have quite a large porch so I added a wall-mounted half-moon basket there also, just to add some detail on the brickwork.

I don't particularly enjoy gardening, but we can't see the point of spending money on someone coming in to do it - we're not Posh and Becks after all :) - so we do make an effort to keep it all looking nice.

Of course, no post about the garden would be complete without the cats ! They were out enjoying the sunshine for most of the afternoon. They are house cats, so they are heavily supervised when out in the back garden - they get used to being told off (gently) when they go to wander off somewhere they are not allowed :)

This is Tig getting a little bit curious ...

And Tom as aloof as ever !

Then a bottle of beer to end the day - perfect ! (Other beer makes are available ...)

A quick shot of some flowers already starting to bloom in the garden - not being a gardener, I have no idea what they are - but they are tiny, there are lots of them and they are very pretty :)

And some of the leftover blooms for the hanging baskets - I really must get that compost and plant up the rear garden pots before this lot die !

Gill x

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Pets and People

Well, for me, people and animals are the most interesting of subjects - yes, flowers and landscapes are beautiful too, but people are fascinating. Especially when they are being themselves - expressions and emotions are what makes my job fun and interesting.

Here are a few of my favourites I have shot over the years ... I will start with some pets - these started out life as snapshots or as test shots with a new camera or lens and they turned out to be lovely portraits.

This is Deano, my Parents' little dog - unfortunately he took very ill suddenly at the end of 2006 and died - I framed this photo for my Parents so they could remember his cheeky little face :) This works for me, even though his nose is in focus, rather than his eyes.

The next couple are of my little tabby cat, Tigger - he was born with a problem with his legs so he can't jump very high - his brother takes advantage and teases him relentlessly ...

This one was taken as he was looking longingly out of the french doors - the light is lovely on his face ...

Of course, not forgetting my other cat, Tom. Even though they are brothers, they could not look more different - Tom is jet black - no white on him at all !

This one was taken with a ring flash on the end of the lens - you can see the effect in his eyes - it also helps to bring out the individual black hairs and is a lovely even light (usually used for macro photography).

And one of him screaming :)

Of course, whist it is fun to look through my images of pets - they are gorgeous - I also look around for people opportunities, like this fun shot taken in the office ...

This was a badly taken shot whilst at college studying photography - it isn't really well focused, but the pose of the subject and the framing makes for a lovely shot and a lovely expression nonetheless ...

So, when I am shooting a wedding, I am looking for expression and feeling and moments - the candids are always best as they capture people as they really are - yes, poses have their place, but I love to capture moments too !

This bride was howling with laughter with her new husband ! You will notice a different tone to this as I have added some Sepia for effect.

This guest was waiting patiently for the main event - the speeches ! I love the thoughtful expression ...

This particular wedding was a footballer - and they were getting married on cup final day !!! In order to placate the guests they set up a plasma screen - here is one guest not quite happy with the ref's decision :)Gill x

Sunday, 22 April 2007

More about me and photography ...

My interest in photography started at a very early age - I was one of a very few students who would live in the darkroom at school - I loved everything about it, from manually focusing to get the shot (no such thing as auto-focus in those days lol), to the sound of the shutter, to watching the image appear in a tray of chemicals - loved it ! Of course, these days the processing is a little different and I get to view the image a lot faster - immediately when I am shooting with my digital cameras - I do occasionally dust off the film camera, but I do it less and less these days.

I shoot anything and everything. I just love the whole process of making photos and I love seeing the results. I learn from the ones I don't like and I make sure the next one works. My husband and my cats are probably my favourite subjects as you will see on this blog, but literally anything goes. A typical example is this shot taken in a friend's house - we were there having a meal and had gone into the conservatory for a drink or two and I did what I always do - got my camera out :)). There were candles all over the room and a little sparkly start, so I captured this which shows some of the mood in the room ...

Why bother, you might ask, because I love all things photography. Also, I love to experiment. This image was taken in low light (candles only) and with no flash so as not to drown the mood - I used a high ISO and handheld with an image-stabilised lens to get the mood just right.

As I have said, one of my main subjects is my family - namely my husband and my 2 cats, Tigger and Tom - Tom is black and can prove to be a difficult subject, but he is lovely I think you will agree ...
This was taken in the back garden on a fairly overcast day - the light is lovely and made for some great shots - too much sunlight gives very contrasty results - not very flattering, even for cats !

Here is another different setting - this time the conservatory, early evening, the conservatory roof is wonderful at diffusing the light ... and everybody say aaaaah :)

Another favourite subject is George. George is 3 and just loves his Aunty Gilly (at one stage this was Aunty Jelly - I am so relieved we got that one sorted !). I don't get to see him often enough as we are all so busy but when I do the camera comes out, of course. Here is George in the conservatory this weekend - he was on top form :)

Isn't he a complete cutey? It was sunny outdoors when this one was taken and so the results would have been completely different had we not taken it in the diffused light - this is much more flattering, even for a little boy's skin. Oh, and he fell off the climbing frame at nursery - the result?

Oops - and ouch ! Here's one with Mum - this is George's BIG smile :)

Gill x

Monday, 16 April 2007

Louise - Portrait Shoot on The Chase

Hi friends. I had the opportunity to head off back to Cannock Chase - this time with a beautiful teenager in tow - Louise is 16 and would love to be a model some day. So I decided to take her off for a shoot on Sunday morning to see how she fared in front of the camera - well, she was pretty nervous at first, but she soon got used to me directing her and telling her how to stand, what direction to look, etc. Her proud Mum looked on, while her dog tried to interrupt occasionally (for a kiss from Louise - funny).

Here are a couple of images from the shoot ...

I'll post some more as I process them ...


Saturday, 14 April 2007

Rose & Chris's Wedding

Today has taken me to beautiful Derbyshire, where I have been shooting Chris and Rose's wedding. The day started at Hoar Cross Church (which dates from 1720 - stunning!) where I managed to prize the rings from the best man for a shot I have been dying to try - I balanced the rings in the middle of the order of service so the shadows formed hearts - it worked great.

The ceremony followed and was beautiful. All went according to plan with no-one fluffing their words. Rose and Chris first met 35 years ago so this wedding was a long time coming !

My assistant for the day managed to accidentally catch this one ! I don't think it is usable - with me in it ! :)

The reception was held in a marquee beside Tithe Lakeside Barns - a lovely setting with lots of water (massive reservoirs) - of course, this brought us back into Staffordshire. The sun was shining - which isn't really all that great for photography - too much harsh light and lots of squinting, so some of the formals were taken inside the marquee - it was white and acted as a light diffuser.

Oh, here is my assistant, Delphine, ready to shoot at a moment's notice ... this image also shows off the lovely backdrop we had to work with.

The guests all had a great time - some more than others (a few casualties fairly early on - the dreaded beer :) - no photos of those though!)

I'm a stickler for tidy clothing, so when Chris's shirt started popping out, I asked him to sort it - so Rose had to stand in to save her new husband's dignity !

The speeches were short and well received ...and the partying was continuing as I posted ...

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Easter Sunday - A Jaunt to The Chase

I feel very fortunate to live so close to such beautiful surroundings as Cannock Chase - it really is a gem in the middle of the bustling Midlands. So we decided that today was the day to take the hard roof off the MX5 and to take a jaunt over to The Chase - armed with the camera, of course :)

This is our beloved MX5 - we bought it (near) new in 2004 and can't imagine life without it - the roof is now safely tucked away in it's little sleeping bag for the Summer ...This is a rare photo of me - I only occasionally allow hubby to lift the camera !

Unfortunately the deer on the Chase were elusive today, as were the bunnies in the many warrens - I felt like that bloke in the advert for the chocolate bar waiting for the pandas in the zoo to show - he turns his back and they come out on roller skates - I swear the place is now swarming with wildlife - tee hee - so I had to stick to shooting hubby ...

Then I decided to work on some shadow play - as the sun was out - why not ... this is me shooting me shooting me ...

Hope you all had a great Easter weekend.