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

CGN: Savoie

The Savoie (1914) is famous for its elegance and rightly considered to be one of the jewels in the Belle Epoque fleet which have been plying the lake’s deep-blue waters for 100 years. It was entirely renovated in 2006, retaining its original steam engine, but fitted with a new, particularly cost-efficient  boiler. I was fortunate to get a ride on this beautiful boat back to Geneva after my visit to Yvoire, a medieval town on the French side of the lake.

A beautiful old boat full of curves: its wooden ceilings painted white, smooth worn wooden decks, the colour of steel where the varnish has been worn away by the constant passage of thousands of feet. 1st class tickets only are allowed on the upper deck where royal blue deckchairs face the mountain views. Benches here have plump foam cushions to make them more comfortable.

Tables in the restaurant are set with white cloths and linen, silver cutlery and sparkling glasses, anthuriums (flamingo flower) with red spathes is the flower of choice. I presume this is for the evening dinner cruise ‘The Chef’s Table’ and I am almost tempted to stay.

Tall ferns stand guard by the curved banister of the stairway sweeping up to the upper deck

where its glitzy bar is just waiting for the cocktail hour to begin.

What a beauty! A truly wonderful and nostalgic way to end to my day.

~wander.essence~ Photography

Just Back from… Barcelona

It was going to be New York for my daughter’s 40th birthday getaway, until we saw the prices, and since we were only going for three days it made more sense to make it closer to home so we didn’t spend two of those days in the air. Yes we were going on another mother and daughter city break! Been a long time since the last one which was also to Spain just before my eldest grandson was born. He is now 14 years old. BA came to the rescue with some very decent European city breaks – hotels and flights for £350 each. We opted for Barcelona, a city neither of us had been to before and which has been well recommended by fellow bloggers. Thank you Restless Jo and Lucid Gypsy for all your help, advice and links.

Placa de Catalunya
Placa de Catalunya

Day One

A very early start meant we were arrived at Barcelona airport by 9 am – we stopped for a coffee before boarding the Aerobus into the city, tickets were prepaid for so no problems whatsoever and the buses are every 5 minutes so no waiting like you have to at Heathrow. A smooth drive with a drop-off close to the hotel where we were able to stash our luggage and head out to explore. First thing though was breakfast. We quickly found a lovely bar where we had coffee, orange juice (the Spanish make the BEST orange juice) and buttery croissants. Then we simply wandered for a few hours until it was time to join a free walking tour of the Gothic Quarter. The architecture in Barcelona is so interesting – I spent most of my time gazing upwards at the windows, carved entrances, wrought-iron balconies – Gothic mansions, Catalan Art Nouveau, and the magnificent imaginative Gaudí and taking far too many photographs.

Continue reading Just Back from… Barcelona

Monthly Photo Challenge: September

One thousand, nine hundred and seventy-five miles and I am finally back home in Cornwall. Not spent enough of this month at home to do a challenge post on the Cornish blog, so here is a summary of my September elsewhere in the UK.

Colchester Castle
Colchester Castle

Starting with a wedding in Colchester, Essex and then winding slowly northwards along the eastern side of the country to Edinburgh, where I met up with the delightful restless one – fellow blogger Jo who has now retreated to her home in the Algarve for a rest. Finishing with a relaxing week in the “Country of the Big Trees” – Perthshire and a brief stopover in Shrewsbury to visit the mother-in-law.

The wedding went off fine, a lovely bright and sunny day after a couple of humid and grey ones so the ceremony and the buffet were held outdoors. A beautiful cake made up of dozens of flower-iced cupcakes, unfortunately I prefer my cake to have more cake than icing and this wasn’t the case. Looked incredible though. And neither the bride nor her father managed to trip over on the uneven flooring!

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Weather-wise it was a pretty good month. Began with hot and humid in Essex, a wet day in Norwich, sunshine and clear skies in Lincolnshire, back to hot and humid in Durham followed by a couple of days in the murky fog and damp, before becoming sunny and bright once more in Scotland. Rained pretty much all the way home, but you can’t have it all!

Glamis Castle, Scotland
Glamis Castle, Scotland

I will write about each of the places we visited in turn, once I have sorted through the hundreds of photos and caught up with stuff back home – not least the garden which appears to have gone wild during my absence.

[the header image is of the skyline in Edinburgh – for some reason the skyline caught my eye there more than anything else – all those spires and chimneys]

The Cardinal is continuing his photo project throughout 2016 – a blogging event, a monthly photo challenge. Read his blog for the new rules this year (he is running two versions) and to view his interpretation and those of other participants.

Dear Passport…

We’ve been together for 10 years now and you need to be replaced.  But before I consign you to the bottom of the drawer, let’s take a journey through time and see where you have been…


dublin IRELAND
Dublin Canal
Dublin Canal
Paris france
reflections of palais royal
reflections of palais royal


toronto to vancouver Canada
Via Canada
Via Canada


Malta and Sicily
Upper Barakka Gardens
Upper Barakka Gardens Valletta, Malta
lemon ceramics
Ceramics from Sicily


Boston, New England and cape cod USA
Park in Boston
Bath Covered Bridge
Bath Covered Bridge
provincetown women
“They Also Faced the Sea” – Provincetown Harbour 2003-2005


South Africa and Namibia
Beach Huts
Beach Huts, Muizenberg, False Bay
Leopard in Namibia
Florida USA
miami skyline
Miami skyline
Mausoleum and Minarets
Mausoleum and Minarets


California usa
Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco, USA
Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco, USA
Geneva and Montreux switzerland
Place du Bourg-de-Four
Place du Bourg-de-Four
Montreux lakeside
Promenade at Montreux
Prague and Cesky Krumlov Czech Republic
P - Prague
Prague – Charles Bridge
Cesky Krumlov castle view
Cesky Krumlov castle view


San Diego usa

night 1

Canyons Circle usa
Sunset Point - a good viewpoint
Sunset Point – a good viewpoint in Bryce Canyon
Paris france

Café Esmeralda

Vancouver canada


Vancouver island canada
Tofino - Vancouver Island
Tofino – Vancouver Island


San Francisco usa
Mission District Mural
Mission District Mural
Yosemite valley usa


Lisbon  portugal
Telhados - Rooftops
Telhados – Rooftops
Cascais portugal
Lighthouse in Cascais
Lake Bled slovenia
Pletna Boat
Pletna Boat
Ljubljana slovenia
cafe culture
venice italy

The passport was replaced shortly before my trip to Australia / New Zealand at the end of 2014. I doubt that I shall visit as many countries in the next ten years as I have during this phase, but I hope there will be a few, after all there is nothing like visiting another country to get the inspiration flowing for a travel photographer.