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

Simplicity

We are living through a very strange period in our lives. One that affects us all. No matter where we live or who we are. A time when we are isolated like as never before. When life is reduced to the simple pleasures. Uncomplicated. Free from excesses and distractions.

Patti’s challenge got me thinking about what this means to me. I live at the best of times in isolation, although I don’t live on my own, but I enjoy my own company and I am never bored even though it would seem to others that I do nothing.

It’s not that I am anti-social, I am just very self-contained. And I have the time to enjoy the simple things in life and appreciate what is around me.

Preferably in the natural world. Trees, water, rocks, views. Although I can and do enjoy a city visit now and then as long as I can find a peaceful place to recharge my batteries. And not just those of the camera.

I don’t need much in life. I am happiest when wandering somewhere, anywhere, where I can disappear unnoticed with my camera in hand.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #91 | Simplicity

The Birks of Aberfeldy

Popularised in a song by Robert Burns, the fine circular walk up the steep gorge of the Moness burn reveals several waterfalls.

Begin along the obvious trail from the car park, bearing left to cross the large bridge over the foaming Moness burn.

This lower part of the Birks is in fact mostly a beech wood. The walk continues along the path beside the attractive burn with several small waterfalls.

“Now Simmer blinks on flowery braes,
And o’er the crystal streamlets plays;
Come let us spend the lightsome days,
In the birks of Aberfeldy.”

The Birks (Scots for birch trees) still cloak the steep slopes of the Moness gorge, along with oak, ash, elm and willow.

“The braes ascend like lofty wa’s,
The foaming stream deep-roarin’ fa’s
O’erhung wi’ fragrant spreading shaws
The birks of Aberfeldy”

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #89 | River