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

Life in Colour

A bonus brown this week as I spotted this on my Sunday walk.

On returning home and reading through the posts in my Reader I realised that these two photos were also perfect for another challenge, though these were not taken using my macro lens, but my phone camera.

There is something inherently beautiful about a skeleton leaf
or in this case, petal.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #130 |it’s a small world

Christmas in a Warm Climate

My first Christmas in the southern hemisphere took place in 1973 when I arrived in  Cape Town after journeying overland from London via India then a ship from Mumbai to the port of Durban. Arriving in South Africa instead of Australia, which was where my destination was meant to be, was a bit of a shock. Having to pay for a ticket by boat out of the country was another shock and left me with very little money.

In South Africa, Christmas is in summer of course. Arriving in Cape Town after several days of hitch-hiking and seeing decorations including snowmen, Christmas trees and robins decorating the city was somewhat strange. Blue skies and sunshine with snowmen felt at odds. It was the strangest of times as I have explained before, in that I was working at a hotel in the city in the florist department, making table posies and helping with the suite decorations. I was staying with my travelling companion’s family until Christmas Eve when it was decided that I didn’t ‘fit’ and was told to leave.

My first Christmas in a warm climate was spent working in the hotel and then returning to the youth hostel where I had been lucky enough to find a bed. And on arriving back at the hostel I was invited to share the Christmas dinner that had been created by other ‘inmates’. It was not the best of days until then, as I was feeling very homesick, but I was made welcome and introduced to some lovely people, including a couple of New Zealand girls that I was able to spend time with in the coming month.

On that particular Christmas there were no presents, no turkey or Christmas pudding or even carol singing and no friends or family. So I am no stranger to an unusual Christmas such as many of us are facing this year.

Bottlebrush

But there were other Christmases in the sun as I remained in South Africa for many more years. Usually Christmas Day was spent on the beach, having a braai (barbeque) at home with friends or cold meats and salads (at the in laws in the Eastern Cape where it was even hotter). We still had a fir tree and decorations. And once I even cooked a full English Christmas dinner, but it was hot work!

But Christmas in a warm climate never really ever felt like Christmas.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #128 |So this is Christmas

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