Birthdays

In the twenty years since I met the OH there have been a few significant birthdays within the family, including the births of seven new grandchildren. We don’t make a big fuss of celebrating our own. We used to like having a short spring break and an autumn break which often coincided with one of our birthdays. Mostly in the UK, but my most memorable overseas one was on Vancouver Island in 2010 when I got to have a lovely birthday meal in Tofino.

The first one we celebrated together though was in the Algarve back in 2002 when we stayed in a hotel near to Carvoeiro. I was presented with a cup cake and a sparkler when we went for breakfast, but I ended up having a pizza on my own in the evening as the OH became very ill during the day and had taken to his bed!

My birthday in 2003 was by far the most special as it was the day we got married. As I was on a PGCE course and couldn’t take time off we had a brief honeymoon in the eclectic enchanting Italianate style village of Portmeirion in north Wales. Famous for the cult TV show ‘The Prisoner’ in the 1960s and also for Portmeirion pottery.

I don’t have digital photos from either of those years.

New Forest

Other trips include a weekend in Oxford, a week in the New Forest (where we attended the wedding of my youngest son), a fortnight in Penzance to house hunt, a week in Bridport and a few wonderful days in Montreux tagged on at the end of a trip to Geneva back in 2009.

Pub near Oxford with a telephone kiosk in the pond!

My birthday is at the beginning of October so during the period I was teaching that was term time so holidays were restricted to the school holidays. It was a relief when I stopped teaching and could travel whenever I liked.

Oxford college

The OH on the other hand has a birthday that is normally during the spring half-term so we were able to get away even though it is a more expensive time. His most glamorous getaways have been a day visiting the island of Ithaca during our week in Cephalonia in 2003, and another island trip in 2006, that time a day trip from Malta to Sicily.

His UK birthday holiday breaks have taken us to the Cotswolds,

Cotswolds – Lower Slaughter

North Devon, Aberaeron in west Wales, Keswick in the Lake District and Penzance in 2015 before our move to Cornwall.

Habourmaster Hotel – Aberaeron, Ceredigion Coast.

I would have said that the best thing about birthdays was travelling to a new place to explore, but since moving to Cornwall in 2016 we have rarely left the county and certainly not to celebrate a birthday. We usually find a nice local bar or restaurant where we can clink a couple of glasses together and have a wander around a beautiful beach or garden.

NZ Sav Blanc

We do however have a very clever granddaughter who makes excellent birthday cakes. This one was for her sister’s 15th birthday. A shame we weren’t there to help eat it!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #193|Birthdays

Cool Colours

I know I am a little late for this challenge, but it’s taken me a day or two to sort out all the photos taken during our first holiday in two three years! And I think this one fits the brief.

This is as far as I got walking up to the Glastonbury tor on a rather warm day. My knees were protesting at the number of steps and although almost on the flat as I reached this point, I felt that I had got close enough. There will be more Glastonbury posts to come once I have sorted out the photos and found the energy to blog.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #149 | Blue-Green

My Photographic Journey

Photography has never been ‘a thing’ in my family. I don’t even remember my parents having a camera, but they must have done as there are a few black and white ones at the beach when I was very small, along with the usual studio shots and school portraits from that era.

I must have had one to take with me on a school trip to Germany when I was 15, but the photos are about 2.5 inches square and very bad! Although I didn’t cut off people’s heads my compositions weren’t great. Next was a 10 week trip hitch-hiking around Europe, with the same camera I think. Again, nothing very special. With film and developing being expensive you didn’t take several shots of the same thing, hoping that the photo you did take would be what you wanted Sadly so often the results were very disappointing. And no way to go back to the Acropolis for another take. This camera accompanied me to Geneva where I worked as an au pair, six months working in Norway and on the overland journey to India. What missed opportunities! The photos are small and square and don’t even scan well.

For my 21st birthday I got a Kodak Instamatic into which you could pop a sealed cartridge which enclosed the film. No more having to close the curtains and sit in a darkened room to wind your film on or off the sprockets. This was used for many years for mostly family photos. At some point I moved onto a Fujifilm point and shoot camera which accompanied me on my first and second visits to Australia in 1998 and 2000 where I began to be interested in landscapes (though not necessarily understanding light and shade).

The Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia (2000)

And then on my Southern Africa trip in 2000. This camera had a panoramic setting, the problem was that once you had set this feature you had to use it for the whole film. It was on that trip that I decided I wanted / needed a better camera. For the first time I was desperate to capture the landscape, the wildlife. And all I had was a little point and shoot camera.

African Adventures (2000)

As a single parent who worked all week and did chores all weekend and saved every spare penny for holidays there wasn’t much money to splurge on fancy cameras. And so the Fuji accompanied me to Australia on my third visit in 2003. On that trip my future OH joined me with his Canon SLR so I didn’t take many photos. Unfortunate as when we arrived back home we discovered the SLR had a fault and had been letting in light so a lot of photos were ruined.

Uluru (2003)

With this in mind in the autumn of 2003 we decided to buy a digital camera. An HP PhotoSmart C945  5MP and 8 x optical zoom with a 5 cm colour LCD display. It was not cheap, but neither was it the most expensive camera around. It took 4 AA batteries so wasn’t all that light either, plus you had to carry a charger around with you.

The Ring of Kerry (2003)

A few years later we moved on to better bridge cameras – the OH bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 to replace the Canon and I went for a Fujifilm S8000fd with 8MP and an 18 x zoom as I loved my compact Fuji. We also had a little Nikon Coolpix for when the OH went abroad and didn’t want the hassle of carrying a larger camera. And why is it as soon as you decide on a make and model a newer version comes out weeks after you have bought it? I’m not sure my photography improved, but the number of shots I took certainly escalated.

Knysna Marina – South Africa (2008)

Photography was becoming serious now. And seriously expensive! I even took out a subscription for a camera magazine for a year and read every review about DSLRs and the mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, but I remained indecisive. In 2011 I upgraded to a Fuji FinePix HS20 EXR which had 16 MP and 30 x zoom and everything was good until I became quite obsessed with flower photography.

For decades I had a garden and although no plantswoman I enjoyed getting out there each week and growing and planting things. When I no longer had a garden we started visiting public gardens around the country and even when on holiday and I started to develop a passion for flowers and insects on flowers and especially close-ups. What I really wanted of course, was a Macro lens. And no bridge camera was going to give me that, which led to my first digital mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses. I wanted something small enough to put in a handbag if necessary so the Olympus OM-D E-M10  with a pancake lens was ideal. Followed swiftly by the Macro lens.

Over the past eight years I have been blogging, initially to have a place to store all these digital photos and write about my trips whilst I could remember them, then to share favourite walks and gardens and join in with photo challenges and even record the development of the garden I eventually got. I have learned a lot from my fellow bloggers, some of whom are the most talented photographers. Now I am pretty addicted to photography; I still don’t understand all the technical aspects, but I like to think that over the years I have improved and that now I am more discerning. I take my time when composing a shot. I even walk away if I can’t get what I want.

New Forest, UK (2012)

My photographic journey has been long and slow, but there are still moments out there to capture, improvements to make and memories to return to.

Dee Why beach, NSW (2014)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #133 |photo journey

Seeking Angels

Patti’s challenge this week is going back to basics and starting with the letter A. I immediately thought of Angels and so I want to link to an older post from Australia where I spent a happy hour or so wandering around the Waverley Cemetery and finding angels.

Please click here for the original post and to leave your comments.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126 | The Letter A

i love beach huts

I have a bit of a thing about beach huts. I remember seeing them at the seaside near Mablethorpe when I was a little girl and wishing we had one in which to change into our swimming costumes or get dressed out of the wind and somewhere to boil the kettle for a cuppa. I envied people who had one.

And then when I lived in Cape Town in South Africa there were clusters of brightly coloured ones on the False Bay beach which provided shelter from the wind as it blew in every afternoon. They are an icon now and even used in fashion shoots.

Muizenberg

But these particular beach huts are located in West Wittering, West Sussex. I was there last week, but not in the 34° heat of Thursday and Friday. No, my visit was on the very blustery and cooler Saturday. We set off in the pouring rain, but according to the weather app it was supposed to clear at 11 am.

We arrived in the pre-booked and pre-paid for car park at 10:56 just as the clouds broke and the rain stopped.

But is was very windy. Look carefully at these images and you might just be able to see how much the sand is blowing around. And how likely it is that some of these huts will be buried if someone doesn’t get a digger out soon!

Despite the wind my granddaughters went for a dip in the rough waves. And we all went for a walk around the headland, though it was hard going at times. And cutting through the dunes and along the boardwalk we were rewarded by seeing lovely coastal flowers.

I was still crunching on sand two days later.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104 | Summer