Results of the photomarathon – it was a great challenge!

Yesterday was a fun but tiring day (I walked over 5 miles taking these shots).   I had to have a long bubble bath when I got home!   At 10am, Lee and I exchanged topics and off we went, him in Swansea and me in Gosport, near Portsmouth.

I got a bit flustered at first, worrying about all the subjects at once, but I soon realised that I should only think about one at a time, get it ‘in the can’ and then move on.    As long as I kept half an eye on the clock it was fine.   It was a good excuse to have a coffee or a sit down at the end of each topic to review the pictures, check I had what I wanted, and delete the ones I wasn’t going to keep.   Then move on to planning the next one.

The pictures are below…. the first one “Some of us wear masks” is the header above.     I’d love to hear what you think!

I got a bit stuck with “Finding your balance” as I had the idea of doing one of my shadow selfies whilst standing on one leg!    I sat having my lunch overlooking Portsmouth Harbour and planned my shot.  As soon as I stood up I saw my issue, the sun is too high at this time of year and that time of day and my shadow was beneath me!  I phoned my husband to complain (not that he could move the sun!) but whilst talking to him, I inadvertently did a demo of how I would have to stand and bend forwards in order to get a shot of my leg shadow – and voila!  A shot was born.   However, this pose was actually quite hard and looked ridiculous so I took myself off to somewhere less populated because I feared drawing a crowd!   I ended up at Royal Clarence Yard on some decking which proved perfect!

Before the last one, I met my husband at the Explosion Museum cafe because my idea involved two empty coffee cups and it was a good excuse for another cup!   I could have asked for a spare cup of course but after 5 hours it was nice to have some company.

Fools rush in

Fools rush in

Silent knowledge

Silent knowledge



Find your balance

Find your balance



You can see Lee’s blog here showing his pictures so you can see his take on the same topics.

You can see our pictures together on Flikr here.

I woke up this morning and my husband said

“It’s a lovely day, do you want to go out photographing”


I have had enough picture taking for a few days, I am going to get my paints out instead.



Mindful photography and a photomarathon – join in!

This week I was invited to take part in a photomarathon – I’d never heard of one!   A friend is doing one in Cardiff soon and wants to train, so we are doing a practice this weekend.

The deal is this, we will have six hours to produce six pictures.  Sounds ok so far!   However, each of these six pictures will have to conform to a different theme that we will be given at 10am.   Since it’s just the two of us, we are actually choosing them ourselves – I am going to do a random book search and look for phrases that jump out at me on Saturday morning (if I do it any sooner, I will start to plan my pictures which I don’t want to do).      Lee is supplying three and I am supplying three and we will order them alternately.

But…. and this is a big but, the pictures must be taken in order, with no processing.  The idea is that at the end of the six hours, I have just six pictures, in order, on my memory card, which I’ll show Lee (and he’ll show me his and no doubt we will have a little discussion about them too!).

I am very excited about this, it challenges the very essence of the way I photograph.  I seldom go out with a subject in mind, I take lots of pictures that appeal to me, I come home and process them (not much, but I do crop into pictures a fair bit, I will sharpen, boost the colours or make them monochrome.)  I won’t be able to do any of that except the monochrome because I have that function on my camera (luckily!).

It’s going to be hard work but I will post the results here on Sunday (if I have recovered sufficiently!).

When Lee does the full photomarathon in June he will have 12 hours to produce 12 pictures!   That is quite a feat.

Stalking my husband on the shores of Portsmouth Harbour!

Stalking my husband on the shores of Portsmouth Harbour

Lee is the mindful photographer who taught me so much in January when I first got a proper camera.  I will, with the restraints of the above rules, endeavor to be taking the pictures mindfully.   This, I interpret as:

  • Going to an area to photograph – usually I do not have a subject in mind, but I might be in a particular mood and want to reflect that.
  • I wander around and soak up the area, I might sit and breathe and relax – I practice mindfulness anyway so it is not too hard for me to zone in and focus on ‘now’.
  • I become aware of the beauty and interest around me.  Things start to catch my eye (Lee calls this ‘receiving’ a picture).
  • I take some pictures.
  • When I am happy that I have captured what it was that appealed to me, I move on.

If you want to know more about mindful photography, I recommend Lee’s site: Photential  or see his twitter stream @Photential – we are still looking for people to join in on Saturday!  (We are not geographically close so we are not doing this together in person, so it doesn’t matter where you are – I’m in Portsmouth and Lee is in Swansea).   Get in touch!

The picture in the header was taken over the weekend in Gosport.   I was walking through an industrial estate to get to a beautiful peaceful beach and this caught my eye…. “Rotation”.   The second picture was actually taken about 50ft from the first.


Daily photograph – Day 12 – Spring has sprung in Hampshire!

OK, first off, I have an admission to make.  I can’t do the one picture a day challenge!  There are just too many pictures out there to take and it is such a beautiful day!    I went out today for a long walk around town and found several things that I wanted to capture – so I did.  I am not going to let a self imposed challenge stop me from taking the pictures I want to take.

But I have learned a lesson from the exercise – I have learned to take my time before snapping, to think and really let the picture come to you rather than searching too hard.     And I think I have come to value the shots much more highly, to treasure the good ones more – so it is not wasted.    And I will still post a picture a day for the 30 days that I intended.

It’s a glorious day here and this is some pussy willow against the blue sky.

I have continued to practice my painting and I am having a lot of fun experimenting and learning about using acrylics.   I have used watercolour and gouache a lot in the past but for some reason I have not tried acrylics before.   I love the way they mix and the way I can move them across the surface with my fingers.  Below is a practice version – I love the colours!  They really make my heart sing.

2015-03-17 14.20.03

I feel like last Thursday was a real breakthrough – as if I had been shown a whole new room of creativity and ideas that I didn’t know was there and I am having so much fun exploring the room and realising there are so many more things I could do.  And this is why I took time off between jobs, it’s taken a while to bubble to the surface 🙂

Photo challenge Day 11 – oops, I missed a few!

I have been busy with other stuff…. and I realised just now that I hadn’t picked up my camera for a few days.   So what’s going on?!   The weather has been lousy and I think I am so obsessed with light and shadows that on a dull day I just don’t see anything that makes me think “Quick!! I have to take a picture!” – so I haven’t (I really feel strongly that you cannot force these things, it will come or it won’t).   Also, since starting to paint seriously again after a few years of pfaffing around, I guess my creativity is split at the moment!

Anyway, today is gloriously (and unexpectedly) sunny and I was in the middle of upholstering the chairs when I looked out of the window and these shadows really called to me.    I love the mix of shapes on the fence, and then the texture of the fence behind.

I also love black and white in photographs – my art work is always extremely colourful but with a camera  I think I prefer the simplification that black and white brings.   It strips everything back to shape and texture.

I feel like I am really in the groove at the moment with having ideas and trying them out.   I am saddened that it has taken two months off work before the fog really started to clear but happy that it has – I knew it would come back at some point!

More tomorrow…. 🙂

One a day photo challenge Day 8 – tulips

I feel torn creatively now, obviously I am excited about my photography and all my ideas of what I can do with it, but now I have the painting ideas too!   I was so absorbed in painting today, it was a while before I picked up my camera.   The sun was just peaking through the window (on what was otherwise a pretty drab day) and the tulips looked gorgeous.  So here you are!

I took this time from work so that I could exercise my creativity muscle and it is certainly working so far!

Did I mention I am also upholstering two chairs at the moment?!   Maybe some pics of them soon too.

No-one has taken my free art friday pic yet!   Not sure if I am pleased it is still there or sad that no-one has claimed it!

One a day photo challenge – day 6 – got my paints out!

Day six, I am quite impressed with myself for getting to nearly a week without cheating.   For six days I have taken one picture only, no deleting, and posted whatever I took.   I can’t say it’s been high art but it has been very interesting.   I have found it hard, not the bit about finding my subject for the day, they always jump out at me, but only taking one picture of it.  Normally I would set about trying to capture what I saw by trying different angles, different crops, different exposures etc.

I had a profound thought about creativity when I was painting the fence at 8 o’clock this morning – but unfortunately I have completely forgotten what it was, which is annoying and I blame old age!

However, interestingly, I just got my paints out and did 3 paintings just now.    All rather experimental and I am not sure if I have anything worth keeping but I haven’t painted for months.     My paints are held in various ice-cream containers and I loved the way they tumbled onto the desk in all their colourful glory – as if to say “Here we are!  What are you going to do with us?”

So perhaps there is a certain amount of creativity in me and if I am not using it up on photography, it’s going to leak out into watercolours!

Unfortunately, I can’t take a picture of my finished pieces to show you!

I am very excited about tomorrow.  I have the chance to attend a workshop with two local street artists who I greatly admire – I have no idea what we will be doing, but just to meet them and learn from them is a huge thrill.   I will be taking my camera and I think, I will probably be breaking my one a day rule tomorrow.   The opportunity to go to the city, travel on the ferry and the train and mix with other artists in an urban setting will, I suspect, be too much for me not to capture.

I’ll let you know tomorrow!

One a day photo challenge – day 5 – a few frustrations!

It’s a glorious day here (after yesterday being so drab) and I have already seen at least a dozen things I want to photograph!   So I am feeling a little frustrated, but they are all things I could come back to – I think if I saw something that was a one off, then I would just do it 🙂

Trying to be mindful, I waited until something really jumped out at me and I loved the shadows of these little tête-à-tête on the wall – almost as much as the sunny daffodils themselves!

Channeling my creative urges into reupholstering some chairs and doing some craft-work today, and designing a new website, and…. too many things!   Agghhhh!

How did I ever have time to work?  How will I ever have time to go back to work?  Because I kinda know I am going to have to find a job at some point.    I’ve been volunteering at a local library, unfortunately what they need me to do is sit in a room and do nothing for two hours, which I find incredibly hard to do – so I am currently torn between my civic duty (I think it’s important to give back) and my sanity.

Enjoy the sunshine!

One a day photo challenge – day four

It’s a dull day here and I wasn’t expecting to see anything today – I relish shadows and reflections so much – everything looked rather plain.

Doing the mindful photography means that rather than searching for a picture, you wait for a picture to come to you – Lee calls this “receiving” a picture,  I think of it as the subject calling me “take me!! “take me!” – when it calls loud enough, I take the picture!

I was walking home after a couple of hours and saw this beautiful turquoise reflection in the lake near my house.

I can see the worth of doing this challenge it really makes me think about quality over quantity – I don’t want to waste my one chance!

One a day photo challenge – Day Three

No sunshine today, I was on Skype with my daughter who lives in South America and was caught by a glass bowl on my dining table that was reflecting the light beautifully.    Obviously I waited until my conversation was over before taking the picture!

I loved the way the light causes squirls across the coloured glass.

I even dreamed that I could only take one picture a day last night!