Posts from the “photography” Category

Best of 100 Vol 2

Posted on 8 October, 2015

I am loving taking 100 pictures in one day! I realise that this is only week two and my feelings may change but today was wonderful! Having to take the camera out made me get off my rear end and go somewhere that might look nice, which isn’t a bad thing to do on a bright(ish) autumn day. So after a recommendation from a friend we took off on an adventure to Doneraile Park. Calling it an adventure for Ewan meant it was an instant success before we’d even left town!

If I hadn’t had the challenge of taking a 100 pictures today I probably would have thought that sounds like a nice thing to do I should take Ewan and then would have forgotten instantly about it in favour of the routine things we do. I have been to Doneraile Park many moons ago but true to form I didn’t really remember it. It’s beautiful! Ewan was thrilled with the way in. You go into the woods through a formal garden and a big red door. Encouraging him back to the red door was the only way I had of getting him to leave. He loved it so much.  I was a bit nervy that I’d get terribly lost again and end up with a repeat of the previous disastrous “adventure” so we took a fairly straight forward route and hung out with the deer who were pretty interested in Ewan’s sandwiches!

The highlight of the trip for me was the squirrel hunt. Ewan was determined we were going to see a squirrel. Having only seen one once in my life the chances were slim but I said “sure, we might”. So he collected lots of acorns and went through the woods holding them up shouting “Squirrels squirrels, I’ve got nuts”. It was too cute for words! We didn’t find any but he soon found a stick which he called a fishing rod and the squirrels were forgotten.

Ewan and I had been rubbing each other up the wrong way for a few days now and I think we needed something to break the mould. Today certainly did that and I’ve promised him another adventure together next week. I can’t wait!

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Weeeeeeee

Weeeeeeee

Pond

Pond

Hmm you've got a little something...

Hmm you’ve got a little something…

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Anyone for a cheese sandwich?

Anyone for a cheese sandwich?

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Best of a 100

Posted on 28 September, 2015

The secret I’ve been harbouring these last few weeks is that  I have left my basic Nokia and have gone full swing back to a smartphone! Goodbye moral high ground I’ll miss you!

In the end there were too many things that drove me insane about having an extremely basic phone. A knock-on effect of going back to my smart phone is that I haven’t picked up my big camera since I got the new smart phone. It has been literally gathering dust, and I’m already forgetting the little tricks and tweaks I used with my camera to get the photos I wanted so I have committed to taking a 100 photos in a day once a week.

When Steve asked why 100 I said “just ’cause”. But since he asked it now feels like one of those things I might have read on the internet, then forget, then thought it’s my own idea. Well to the best of my knowledge it is my very own idea.(Cue comments with links to 100,000 other people who have been doing this for 5 years) In my mind my first 100 photos was going to be somewhere majestic. I had imagined a woods with long shadows. In reality I’m filled to my eyeballs with sniffles and cold induced self-pity which equates to “no intention of leaving the house”.

Sometimes I feel bad for Ewan when I’m sickly and not up for doing much but today was one of the days when it wasn’t really a choice. My body looked at the lovely sunshine outside and said ” pah you can keep it, I need a cosy cardigan,blanket and as many tissues as you can find!” and so here is what a cooped up day in the sunshine looks like.

While I took a 100 it would bore you senseless to see 100 over exposed photos, many of which are off my feet, so here are my top 10:)

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The puzzle we made 12 times today

The puzzle we made 12 times today

Whoo whoo

Whoo whoo

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Sweet sweet bed

Sweet sweet bed

My glamourous #ootd a nightdress, trackie bottoms and a cardi, bang on trend!

My glamourous #ootd a nightdress, trackie bottoms and a cardi, bang on trend!

Never a fun time:(

Never a fun time:(

Please make the nail cutting stop!!

Please make the nail cutting stop!!

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A week in photos

Posted on 6 February, 2015

Ewan and I have been experimenting with walking into town without the buggy as back up! I’m trying to figure out how far he will walk before sitting on the ground and refusing to move. So far I’ve been impressed and with a bit of encouraging he is walking further than I had thought. Still though his walking is very much mood dependent and  I never leave the house without the bus fare in my pocket,  just in case!

IMG_9495We’ve had a few bird encounters on our  walking adventures:)

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Last week I spent the evenings  a thousand tissues deep on the couch sniffling with the cold that never ends. This week I took my cold out with me and sniffled on others instead. IMG_9567One of these night time outings  was to a friends house for a lesson in felting. This is my first venture in felting and, with her help ,I hope to have something amazing to show you soon (ish!)IMG_9581 IMG_9594

In the spirit of new ventures I’ve shaken things up in the hair department too.  I’m now sporting the latest hair trend, a fringe! I fully believe in the amazing restorative powers of a hair cut. So after a lack lustre January I’ve chopped off the split ends and I’m ready for new ventures.

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A week in photos

Posted on 9 January, 2015

I thought before the week is out I’d drop in and say hello…

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This week has been filled with rainy days so any break in the weather and we are up and at ’em before you can say “umbrella”IMG_8939 IMG_8997Christmas and New years were delightful but I have to say I’ve enjoyed getting back into the regular routine. We are back swimming, music group and the parent toddler group are back in full swing and myself and the wee man are getting used to just each others company again.

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Without a host of grandparents and visits life is quieter around here but that has it’s charms too as we lounge around in pj’s for longer than the civilised world has deemed necessary.

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I have saved the biggest news of the week until last. My friend Dee gifted me the Catherineholm teapot that I was so unattractively jealous of. There was many “I can’t take it, it’s yours” ” I’ve decided you’ll just have to take it” “I can’t!”. This went on for some time. In the end the deal was clenched when she said that she likes it but I will LOVE it and it would give me great happiness. I still can’t quiet believe it. It is amazingly generous of her and I am so grateful. The accolade of finding a Catherineholm piece in the wild is all hers. I’m just thrilled to get to look at it. But I have already warned Ewan that he is not to get notions, on my death it is going straight back to it’s rightful owner Dee! IMG_9085In case you are wondering I bought the yellowCatherineholm  bowl from Etsy a few years ago at ridiculous expense when I had more money than sense! And also it’s worth noting that the tea pot pours like a dream and yes, tea definitely does taste better from it!

 

Chocolate, Orange and Polenta Gluten Free Cake

Posted on 22 October, 2014

Yesterday I made a chocolate, orange and polenta gluten free cake. It doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue, does it?  The world of people who don’t eat gluten seems to be growing and growing so I’m adapting and trying to broaden my horizons. Plus cake is always, always a good idea.

I had never used Polenta before and I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. Wikipedia kindly advised me that it’s a cornmeal boiled into a porridge. That doesn’t sound like a taste explosion but it was very cheap and  with chocolate and orange how could I go too far wrong.

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I got the recipe from Rachel Allen’s Easy Meals book. I can’t find her recipe online and I don’t want to run the risk of being attacked by her publishing company so if you’re keen buy the book or there is a different, more elaborate recipe for the same kind of thing here.

Aside from just wanting cake I had a secondary motif for my baking enthusiasm.

I also wanted an excuse to play with my aperture settings on my camera. I recently read a great blog post about getting to grips with the basics of photography. I am a fan of  Capture by Lucy’s  but this post in particular got me revved up to take out my camera and explore more. And never was there a more tempting subject than chocolate cake!

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I have learnt bits and pieces from the DIY and food styling workshops but without practice or giving myself time I seem to forget it and my patience for exploring my manual setting drops.  Well after reading her post I decided it was time to go off-piste again!

 

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Last night I photographed it by the fire with side plates and it was all a bit naff. This morning I revisited it and decided on cheery cake pictures but I wasn’t too pleased with those either. (I can be quiet the Goldilocks!)  I wanted to focus on dropping the aperture numbers, getting small details and blurring the background. I also wanted to play with the darkness of chocolate  a little so I decided to go for moody cake pictures instead!

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Sometimes I genuinely get unashamedly pleased with photos and will show them to Steve in a “look what I took” kind of way. I’m not as thrilled with these but I am proud of them and delighted to have spent so long playing with my camera. I took very mediocre shots last night but instead of leaving it at that I came back to it this morning.

Along with writing more this is one of the best gifts I have given by starting the blog. I love taking photographs and taking time to do, review it, sometimes to be unhappy with them, to start again, and to make something that I’m pleased with when it’s finished. I love sitting down to write a blog post and give it enough time to revisit it before you see it. I plan that you’ll see a lot more of these slow-process type blog posts in the future.

As for the cake itself if I had written this post last night I would have said it was very gritty. I thought maybe the polenta I bought was too coarse or the orange peel was not fine enough. However today these problems seem to have fixed themselves. The texture is still a little different from a flour based cake but the grittiness of yesterday is gone ( I’ll need a baker to explain how and why that happened!). So today’s verdict is that the cake is pretty darn good. It even got a “oh this is very special” from one of it’s recipients. So I’ll take that.

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Finding my marshmallow

Posted on 11 June, 2014

I feel the strange title of this post needs an explanation! At the Oh me Oh my DIY workshop last weekend the photographer said that before she did any photography training she spent six month playing with her camera and setting herself tasks. She talked about spending three hours photographing marshmallows and exploring capturing their texture on camera. Without the will power to resist eating marshmallows for 3 hours I set about finding my own texture exploration around the house.

After much internal debate I went for the peonies.

IMG_4263I love these flowers and associate them with lots of American blogs I read. For a while I thought you couldn’t get them in Ireland or that the only existed in a blogosphere far from here. Well it turns out you can buy them at Lidl for €5 so that’s me proved wrong.

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I didn’t spend three hours at it but I did give it a go. I played around with light and twiddled some settings.

IMG_4266 IMG_4267This last one is my favourite although I will admit they do all look pretty alike. Still I enjoyed practicing!

 

Going Manual

Posted on 26 May, 2014

The photography and styling workshop gave me a well needed push to start branching out with my camera.

Since I got my camera I have stuck rigidly to either the Creative Auto or the no flash setting. I’ve occasionally pushed the boat out and used the setting with a flower for flowers or the portrait setting for a person. Other than that the other buttons were scary and probably unnecessary.

When I saw the difference between my photo and the same photograph on a manual setting with some tweaking I got the kick I needed to turn the dial.

 

red balloon, child wonder at a balloon

Ewan’s first balloon

I still mainly use some automatic option but I’m starting to venture around the dial. Often this leads to disappointment,things not in focus, the wrong point in focus, a completely white screen because I’ve done something funny with the white balance. I’ve a feeling that I have a long road of cursing my camera ahead but I’m figuring the more I play around with it the less scary it’ll get and hopefully at some point the better I will get.

Ballymaloe Litfest Bookshop

Ballymaloe Litfest Bookshop

The other day I sat in on friends developing a play from the book Secret Garden. I wandered around their rehearsal space taking photos and I thought that each of them were pure gold. This glee lasted until I got them home and saw them on the big screen. While they’re not as moody and magnificent as I had hoped I’m still proud that I’ve managed to take them by endlessly playing around with settings and ignoring the ever so tempting auto options.

red leather couch red books and key

Ballymaloe Food Styling Workshop

Posted on 19 May, 2014

Yesterday was a keeper of a day. I went to a food styling workshop at Ballymaloe LitFest and it was fantastic.  Anyone who follows the blog knows that I’m not exactly skilled in the food department.  The Elmo Cake is a testament to that!

What drew me to the work shop was the magazine Feast. Feast is Irish food magazine. Every quarter they produce a great line up of local food producers. you hear their stories and their recipes.  I’m not really a foodie so for me Feast is pure escapism. I’m all about the pictures.

Once it arrives in the post I put on the kettle for a cuppa and fall into their pretty images. The final section is a gloriously set table in some beautiful building with a table full of amazing food. What’s not to love…

Dining room,Feast Magazine, Winter 2013

Image Credit Feast 

So when I saw Donal Skehan and Sharon Hearne Smith, the photographer and food stylist for the magazine, were doing a Food Styling and Photograph workshop I was thrilled.

It was sold out but with some perseverance I got a place. As the lady at the box office said if you hang around and smile long enough good things happen. And so they did.

 

Donal Skehan and Sharon Hearne Smith BallyMaloe Litfest 2014

It was amazing. They were both so generous with their time and skills. They stayed an hour after their time and carefully went through everything! The changing fashions of food styling, how to prepare for a shoot, which camera settings to use, how to use light and shadow, editing. Everything!

Balyymaloe litfest food styling and photograph workshop

 

Even though my interest is in styling vintage items rather than food there was a lot still a lot I could take away from it. I was buzzing in the car on the way home thinking of all how I could set up shots and I’m so exciting about getting to know my camera better.

We all got a chance to photograph two dishes. Here are my attempts.

Balyymaloe litfest food styling and photograph workshopBalyymaloe litfest food styling and photograph workshop

Balyymaloe litfest food styling and photograph workshop

I can’t wait for my next vintage find so I can try out a few new tips and tricks:)

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Staying home

Posted on 20 March, 2014

I’m trying to save my thrifty pennies for the trip to Berlin so this week has involved a lot of staying in (excluding St Patrick’s day of course!) and staying out of second hand shops, antique shops and flea markets!

I’m not sure it’s entirely logical to stay away from potential vintage goodies here so that I can buy things 1,963 kilometres away but logical or not it’ll be an adventure!

Staying away from shops means trying to entertain Ewan at home. The best excitement for him is being outside. It wins hands down every time! I don’t even have to be entertaining. The passing birds, planes and sirens are enough to make him happy and curious!

It has also kept my idle hands busy. The garden is still a mess but now it’s a mess with seeds in it.  I’m starting off some seeds in the glass house and hoping to have amazing things to show you by summer! Fingers crossed.
There is nothing major to report yet on the 100 bluebells but I’ll keep you posted!

Despite the fact that it’s the first day of spring the weather is a mixed bag so here is how we have been keeping ourselves entertained when the rain or cold have driven us inside.

At this point in time everything is new to him and he is taking it all in so much more than before. Sometimes I feel pressure to show him so many new things as I can,to find a new activity, to join a new group but choosing to stay close to home for a few days has made me figure out that a basin of water and a splash around is fun!
I know a time will come when he’ll think these things are ridiculous but for the moment I get to enjoy him enjoying something new and if I’m honest I think the bubbles were mainly for my own benefit! Even at the tender age of 31 I still love them and I kept blowing bubbles long after Ewan had crawled away. They are cheap and so cheerful, what’s not to love!