Category: photography

A Day of Tulips

My sister and her family bought me the coolest birthday gift, a day spent with many, many gorgeous tulips. Sarah Raven Cookery and Garden School ran a day course visiting Great Dixter and then Perch Hill with lunch and a flower arranging demonstration. You can imagine I was in heaven!

The time at Great Dixter was mainly spent with one of their gardeners taking a group tour of the garden. Our guide hailed from California and it was his third year at Dixter. He was very knowledgeable and it was a wonderful hour filled with lots of detail and information I brought back home.

Here are some photos from the tour.

He spoke at length about the ethos of their borders and how they plant for succession using Tulips as well as early flowering plants and herbaceous perennials.

The combination below of Tulips and foxgloves is something I really want to try out here at home. So pretty.

Tulips and poppies and you can just see alliums popping up too.

A border made with pots. They are very clever folk here.

After the tour we had time to wander on our own and then make our way to Perch Hill which is home to Sarah Raven.

Lunch was wonderful all made right there and using lots of fresh ingredients from the garden.

After a talk from Sarah about her favourite Tulips, how she uses them in arrangements and then a flower arranging demo we headed out to look at the Tulips around the garden.

The Oast garden. Truly stunning.

There we so many interesting and unusual ways they planted up these bulbs. Just looking back at the photos make me eager for next seasons catalogues to arrive.

So many takeaways from this magical day I can’t recommend a visit to these gardens enough and of course big thanks to my sis and her gang for the gift.

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Week In The Life™ 2017 – Sunday Photos

I have been joining in with Ali and her Week In The Life™ project. This is the first chance I’ve had to share my photos and it was all about the garden yesterday.

But we started with a walk to get coffee and the paper.

Hanging out the washing with the big camera slung round my neck.

It was good this week to get the Canon out and take some photos with it again. The iphone makes it too easy to snap and I have been forgetting to take the bigger camera out and about.

I used the macro lens on these Ivy leaves.

I know its blurry but I love this photo. My foot, his paw.

The Poang is still in the hall after last weeks Easter Sunday lunch for sixteen. And someone loves a Poang.

Sowing seeds.

For the shot above I used the timer on the phone and balanced it on some plant pots. Below, phone photo again of the same area in the garden but this time pulled back and Gav at the potting up bench.

I like the two different photos of the same spot in the garden.

Bedding back on. Let it be known that of all the housework jobs I hate changing the bed the most but so adore clean bedding.

I was messing about trying to take selfies while Gav went out running and ended up feeling really sick! Probably something to with trying to lie on my stomach…..

So it was an early night for me. I felt a bit better later after a snooze so I watched snooker on the laptop in bed.

Love this project. Going to sort my photos out and send them off to be printed. I’ll share more on the completed album soon.

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Saying goodbye, saying hello

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At this time of year the internet is awash with goodbye old year hello new year. It is the way of things. I’m not ready yet to say farewell but I guess I have little choice so as a nod to the oncoming new year here are a few favourite photos from the last twelve months.

I made cinnamon rolls for the first time.

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Bud got a new Christmas jumper.

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It snowed in February.

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I made bun and butter pudding in March.

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And had a lovely birthday dinner where Buddy had a spot in the restaurant all to himself.

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I started to make a quilt with material I bought in 2015 from the US…..still to be finished!

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And we formed a monthly ritual of going out for dinner with Hannah.

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May saw the patio awash with spring flowers.

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And I made antipasto kebabs.

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June was the month of the iphone!

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And the garden sprang to life.

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July was the month of the selfie.

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And I found a rare post box right on our doorstep!

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In August we took Hannah to see the Lion King.

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And harvested peas and beans.

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In September I arranged flowers.

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And we went to Portugal.

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October was the month of the tomato.

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And I caught these three on camera.

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November was a walk in the park.

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And a walk on a beach.

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December was filled with fun.

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And a surprise gift (more on this soon!)

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That was my 2016 in 24 photos!

Happy New Year and wishing you all an amazing 2017.

Celebrating autumn leaves and loved ones

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Recently I suggested that we have a trip to Roundhay Park to throw some leaves about. They were not that enthusiastic but we seemed to have fun anyway!

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I think that I need to practice my photography skills some more……. But regardless of the blur I had fun too.

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And clearly we were rather pleased with our efforts. A great reminder for me. Get out there and enjoy whatever moments you can with those you love.

Holiday vibes and shadow photos

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Having a lovely time here in Portugal. We have found our own routine. Late breakfast, reading, pool, late lunch. A walk here and nap there just the perfect lazy holiday. I’ve also been taking lots of photos some on the ‘big camera’ but most with my iphone. I’ve been particularly enjoying the light and the shadows the light lets you create……

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Even roped Gav into the fun!

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Oh we laugh…….

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In the frame – a journey in self portraiture

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During a recent class with Ali about photography called Lens of Joy she introduced us to Vivienne McMaster who has taken the idea of a selfie and run a million miles with it. I was intrigued and interested in the idea of a selfie from a different perspective. Vivienne’s idea is to ‘cultivate self-love through self portraiture.’

Throughout my photo snapping years I have been known to take a self-portrait or two. I began taking photos of my feet years ago when I saw everyone else was doing it. Taking photos of my feet is one of my favourite types of photo of myself. Here is the week I took some feet shots during photo a day last year.

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I love getting the self timer photos with Gav on our U.S. hols and of course I did that fashion show…… So I’m not averse to being in front of the camera.

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From the point of view of the Lens of Joy class, Ali was guiding us towards the realisation that being in the photos means we are in our story, visible, tangible. And I am 100% in agreement with that.

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There is something about the images that Vivienne takes, they are different from what I have taken in the past and called a selfie. She isn’t just in the frame, she’s owning the frame. She isn’t apologising for being there, like I think I often look like, but is saying this is my life, I’m here, I’m in it, I am being seen, I am visible, I love me.

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Another thing I find so interesting is that she is re-defining what most think of as a selfie. Photos of hands, blurred half body shots, creative reflections all count as far as she’s concerned.

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As you can see I have being consciously taking different selfie’s recently. Experimenting and flexing my selfie muscles a little.

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I can’t lie and say that I love every selfie. But in the spirit of being my own beloved I am learning to look at the photos differently and I don’t cringe as much as I used to. By examining photos of myself I feel like I am seeing myself differently and I am improving my photo self timer skills, learning what makes a better shot and actually enjoying this photo project.

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The most important thing is that I am in my own story front and centre. So join me and Vivienne because we all deserve to be in the spotlight of our own adventure.

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Oh beautiful bees, which one are you?

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I don’t think it would come as much of a surprise to anyone that’s been here for a while that I love bees. They are a vital part of our garden and a vital part of our food production and I can’t sing the praises of encouraging them into your garden enough.

Last year I spent quite a lot of time trying to name species of bees that came into our garden. I didn’t make much progress.

This year armed with the macro lens I felt certain I would fare better. Hmm…

Not sure that I have. But on any sunny day you would find me out there with the camera trying to catch a bee or two. I even resorted to the tripod in the hopes of getting better shots. (You’ll be pleased to hear that the tripod didn’t make much difference – well that the story I’m going with anyway….)

I poured over the images and am finally ready to share what I think are six different bees. I say I think I have because it’s a complicated business. I used this website and a PDF found there to help with the process.

So although I am naming them as I go I am not 100% certain I’m correct! The delightful specimen at the start of this post is a Common Carder bee. This one below is also a common carder bee getting his fill of an Antirrhinum flower.

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Next we have a White-tailed bee on a Spiraea flower head. Look at all that pollen on his back legs!

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And another White-tailed.

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And an Red-tailed one. The Knautia plants in early summer are bee nectar bars.

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And a Honey bee.

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Here is a Tree bee on a Geranium flower.

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And finally an Early bee.

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Fairly sure about this one as I managed to capture his yellow hairy face. Below is the same bee where you can see his blunt buff coloured tail.

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I would recommend planting the Knautia and also for later in the season Helenium and Echinops.

It’s been a labour of love, this identifying business but a worth while and fun one and I’m sure I’ll carry on photographing and trying to identify more species next summer.

The quest for a self timed photo

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I think about photos a lot. You probably worked that out about me! During our trip to the US in 2008 I began a tradition. I realised that we were not in any photos together. Here we were on our first crazy jam-packed road trip and we had no evidence of us together standing in front of landmarks and famous attractions.

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So I started looking for a spot to put the little point and shoot camera, set the self timer and run back into the shot to join Gav for our photo together. The funny thing was though that very helpful folk always offered to take the shot for us and although there is nothing wrong with handing your camera over to a helpful stranger I really wanted to be self-sufficient and develop a strategy for grabbing a shot anywhere, busy with people or not.

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It turned into a bit of a challenge for us, trying to get the shot taken before anyone asked to help us out. We had quite a few laughs, aborted photo ops and blurry pictures along the way.

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I’ve carried this tradition on during all of our holidays since and I have scrapped lots of the self timed photos too but this year I seemed to be obsessed with the quest and took the most self timed shots ever.

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The ones in this post are the pick of the crop. They are not perfect but they are all ours and they tell their own story as well as adding to this one I’ve told here today.

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The lesson? Make sure you get all of you  in the frame whether it’s two of you or twenty two.

A photo wall

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I love collections of photographs displayed on a wall. I have a few images pinned over here.

We used to have a more traditional wall of photos in the dining room before switched rooms and decorated. That was over three years ago now and I still hadn’t put the pictures back up.

I shall call my lethargy on this project lucky though because in the time it has taken me to motivate myself a new home decor item has appeared. Little shelves for displaying pictures etc. Gav was going to make me some but we found these at Ikea all ready to pop on the wall. Hoorah.

So that’s what we did.

I added photos to new frames and arranged them on the shelves adding a couple of canvas’s and our prized Manhattan movie poster. This wall is all about NYC, if you hadn’t already guessed.

I wasn’t sure about this wall at first. I fussed with the photos for a while then just left them. You have to be brave sometimes and just go with it.

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And after living with it for a week or so I love it.

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She’s got that camera pointed at me again….

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I am sure if he had any thoughts in his head, apart from walks and food that is, his next one would be to get the camera out of his face! I just can’t resist that little nose.

The shot below didn’t enlist the macro function of the 100mm lens but you can still get pretty close up.

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I liked the almost over exposed light in these photos too. Must remember that.

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Such cuteness withough even trying.

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And finally, this one was using the macro……

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