In my last post I mentioned that it is snowing yet again! So,to keep the ‘white’ theme going I am posting a photo that I took some time ago. I took a simple shot and then using PS just inverted the image and then raised the level of contrast until I got a pleasing image in black and white. I really like the effect and may just have to try this again some time!
Archive for the ‘portrait’ Tag
I am Happy, I am sad
I am here, I am glad
In a world of commotion affecting emotion
Who knows what tomorrow
Feelings you’ll borrow
How others affect you
In all that you try to
Achievement and strife in a challenging life
Make a difference to others
Your sisters your brothers
Aggression or kindness
Ignorance and blindness
To see only the best puts your faith to the test
I am happy I am sad
I am here
I am glad.
(A poem by Lucy Gutteridge)
A few years ago I visited the awe inspiring city that is Rome, I was truly amazed. I have always had a passion for history but this place is something very special, its living breathing history at every turn. I spent 2 days there the first time I visited, most definitely not long enough, my second visit again was a short stay and so I have it on my list of things to do to return and spend a week there. Having visited the Vatican and St Peters basilica it was time for a spot of lunch. Remarkably my friend and I found a restaurant right on the corner of the main street that leads to the square and so took up our seats and placed our orders (In English!). Whilst waiting for the order to arrive we noticed that the surrounding streets had gone from being relatively quiet to being 5 deep at the edge of the roadside, the noise levels were increasing with anticipated chatter and police were positioning themselves on their motorbikes…..lunch arrived but before we had chance to take a bite a loud cheer made its way towards us, we stood up on the top of our chairs to see what the fuss was about and to our absolute shock and delight it was none other than the Pope himself, in his papal car surrounded by security men and accompanied by his aide driving towards us! I had no idea he was due to make a visit outside of the Vatican and to be fair I wasn’t at all sure that he was even there! This shot really was a lucky shot, it appears that he is waving directly at me, but no sooner had he arrived he was gone, the crowds disbursed and we resumed our lunch break, amazed at our luck and timing. People travel thousands of miles to catch a glimpse of the Pope, stand for hours awaiting his arrival, we simply happened to be at the right place at the right time, a wonderful day and a wonderful memory.
I can hear you all now, portrait of a sheep??? I happen to love sheep and whats not to like? Ok so they may not be top of everyone’s most favourite animal list but they do make remarkable sitters when your looking to practice your camera techniques! This one was part of a small flock belonging to a local smallholder, at the time I think they thought I was bringing them food, but this chap posed long enough to achieve some quite unusual shots by reducing the light around his face which left a lovely almost back-lit effect highlighting his mop of woolly fleece! After a few moments realisation dawned that there was no food and they turned away, luckily the owner arrived with a fresh supply of pellets and I left with a couple of rather nice low light portraits!
Now anyone who has cats will know that they can be quite difficult to photograph, except of course when they are sleeping! Some time ago I managed to photography my other cat Slipper and I was really pleased with the resulting shot, so having got Finlay’s attention I went for a repeat of the technique previously applied! After a few wobbly blurred images and many bribes with cat treats I got him to sit still long enough to get almost the exact same shot that I took with Slipper! Animal photography is so difficult as you cant always use flash, the moment the flash fires my two usually disappear at high speed making further shots impossible! I’m so please as now I can have a frame on my wall with both cats doing the same pose and that’s no mean feat!
I was at an equestrian event last weekend and I am always overwhelmed by the love and affection lavished on the horses and ponies that compete. As I stood watching the final judging of a pony class I could see that the riders, all of which who were probably no more than 8 or 9yrs of age, looked anxious and impatient to discover who would walk away with the win. But then I looked along the line of ponies, and the funniest thing struck me….the ponies also looked as if they were waiting for the result! Heads tucked in, proudly standing for their young mounts, but look at the eyes and you saw a look of anticipation, as if they knew that any moment they would be called forward as a winner, hugged by their ecstatic rider! This pony particularly caught my attention, they say the eyes have it…..just beautiful!
As I write this my beautiful tabby cat Slipper is laying across the keyboard and so please excuse any odd spellings as Im having some difficulty typing around him! Earlier this morning he decided that he was to be centre of attention, nothing unusual about that other than the fact that he simply wouldnt let me get on with anything without being right at the centre of things….a theme that seems to have continued into this evening! So, I took this self centred-ness and put it to good use, making him the theme of my blog today, but let me ask you, have you ever tried to take a portrait of a cat???? Now I have photographed dogs, horses (and humans!) but the fidgety feline is by far the most challenging of portrait subjects I have come across and for one simple reason, they want fuss more than they want their photo taking! So, after much fidgeting, spinning around and generally much bribery (a shaky bag of cat treats was deployed!) I managed to capture him at his most attentive. So, rules to be applied in future, always have a bag of treats to hand, plenty of patience and shoot as fast as you can! And to prove just how much of a diva Slipper was Ive included a shot that demonstrates how not to photograph cats, a rather blurred tabby!
The 2012 London Paralympics is holding it’s opening ceremony as I write this, it’s on record! But if the Paralympics held an event for Mum’s mine would be the gold medallist in my eyes. At a very young age my Mother contracted Poliomyelitis, in the 1950′s the disease was at it’s peak worldwide and paralysed or killed over 500,000 people per year. Thankfully my Mother survived the trauma of being placed in an iron lung, and being made to wear metal calipers on both legs to enable her to learn to walk all over again, as well as losing the use of her left arm, hand and affected vision not to mention the loss of her childhood and most of her friends, precious years lost. She was told that having a child was impossible, although she had also been told that she may not survive the disease, I therefore am living proof that my Mother was not only incredibly lucky but also an incredibly determined woman. Her life after Polio has been difficult, but she has overcome not only the physical restrictions but also the predjudice of those who see only her disability and not the person. The Paralympics means so much more to me because of my Mother. I have grown up knowing that she has had to fight for everything, battle with her own body to achieve and struggle with people’s ignorance. So when I watch those paralympians compete, strive, win and lose, I see their strength, conviction, dedication and drive, their elation and their despair, but I also see my Mum….Love you Mum xx
My Father was from the city of Coventry, my Mother from a rural town in Shropshire. A few years after their marriage I arrived but Mum hated city life and so they moved to a smaller village called Burbage in Leicestershire. This was where I was to live until the age of 22 when I moved out into the town of Hinckley a mile up the road from Burbage. The two places almost merge together now but there is a really different feel in the village from that of the town. Burbage has held onto its village way of life with many cottages, churches and pubs to be found in a small area, mainly due to its prosperous past. As it was such a nice afternoon I decided to revisit some of the places I spent as a child, Burbage Congregational church’s hall was the location for the Playgroup that I attended prior to going to school, the Methodist Church hall was where I ran my dance school of 10 yrs, many happy hours spent teaching children of all ages how to dance. I drove to the centre of the village and walked around the grounds of the main church St Catherine’s with it golden weathervane shimmering in the late afternoon sunshine, and onwards to the smaller parish church of Aston Flamville, a hamlet on the outskirts of the village, a beautiful gem of a church, small and welcoming, a place you can step back in time as nothing has really changed for hundreds of years. Driving further round the village I parked up and walked onto the park where I spent hours with friends, and Saturday afternoons watching the cricket with my Dad, a match was in full swing as I arrived although it looked like the visitors were winning! I love the shot of the Pavillion where the expressions say it all, as does the chap laying flat-out on the bench! The image of the old factory shows the knitting and textiles industry was thriving here although it has long since gone and is now the home of a photographic studio, the pub opposite which was once full of workers now a trendy bar and meeting place. The image of the blue door is purely for the colour, although Id love to know what was hiding behind….a cottage garden maybe? And there it is, a small insight into the place I grew up in, a place I have known all my life and loved to share with you all.
For those of you who adore bears this one is for you! I started to collect Charlie Bears a few years ago when my Mother bought me one as an additional Christmas gift……and then every Christmas thereafter! Its kind of become a Bear obsession, although they haven’t broken out of the cabinet yet! The problem I have is that there is a wonderful toy shop in Bowness in the Lake District and each time I visit I feel drawn to the bears! The last purchase was a limited edition collector bear, oh those eyes just begged me to buy it! As a child I was not one for dolls, it was always soft toys that drew my attention. Whilst holidaying in Devon we always visited a group of craft shops and one was a soft toy makers….and so the obsession was born, managing to persuade Mum and Dad to buy one although the budget was tight and so it was always the smaller ones that I used to have, but that was enough for me, something to cuddle up with in the caravan and fall asleep with on the long journey home. Some of us never really grow out of our childhood passions, some collect dolls, some collect toy cars, others toy train sets……but why should we grow up!?