New Toys, No Clue!

I have been exceedingly fortunate to have been given a new camera lens and editing software for Christmas from my husband. I have new toys but no clue as how to use them..

Frustratingly I haven’t been well enough to read up on my photography lessons, now including macro coursework. Plus, no brain function to read up on how to effectively use the editing software.

Undaunted, despite not having a clue as to how to use the new lens or navigate the software I spent an hour playing with my new toys.

I took umpteen photos and discarded almost all of them. It took me hours, literally, just to work out how to use the basic software functions.

However, I had fun and it was lovely to lose myself for a while in my favourite hobby.

The results of my endeavours, all be it hugely amateurish, are below..












Play Day in the Snow

I haven’t been following my photography lessons recently because of all the shenanigans involved with the run up to Christmas.

I smugly inform you that I have bought, wrapped and dispersed the gifts to my family in readiness for the gluttony, sloth day later this month.

I have decided to enjoy the festive season free from study and will re~start my lessons from the first week of January. Until then my camera is my plaything, to mess around and snap things just for fun, without any thought or plan.

I know I already blogged my mad morning snow exploration photos but the recent snow that covered most of the country brought forth the desire to capture the garden whilst it looked so pretty. The slush afterwards not so pretty though, so will spare you that.

So here you go, a few snowy snaps from the garden…


x Wishing you a very Merry Christmas x


Deranged Early Morning Photography Exploration!

This morning bleary eyed I stumbled down the stairs after the dogs, it was my turn to let them outside and feed them their breakfast. It took a little while for me to even notice the snow, I had already opened the patio door and filled the dogs bowls up with their food before I noticed it.

Peering out through the kitchen window I could see the fine snow coming down and observed that the garden was covered with a thin coating already. Now I don’t really do mornings, it takes vast quantities of coffee to chase the sleep from my eyes. However, this morning I felt the urge to grab my camera and take a few snaps before this magical scene disappeared and melted away.

Shoving my bare feet in boots I ventured forth in my pyjamas into the snowy garden ~ oblivious to the dampness permeating my clothing and hair I snapped away as if possessed ~ not taking any notice of camera settings or framing I just felt the urgent desire to record that this dusting of snow had in fact occurred and wasn’t a dream.

Finally, damp and cold I came back inside to the comforting embrace of a warm house and a mug of the liquid nectar that is coffee. My hair was soaked and my pyjamas damp, so I popped on the fire to warm my poor chilled hands and enjoyed the warmth of the coffee as it slipped down my throat and into my belly.

Finally, fingers dexterous enough to slip the memory card out of my camera and into my computer tower I downloaded the images.

I have been pleasantly surprised that not all of my images were write offs, in fact I quite like one or two. Considering I was half asleep and randomly switched between Manual, AV, and Macro settings I have mange to capture the odd decent image.

So, without further ado, I share with you the images taken whilst half asleep and stumbling around the garden in pyjamas and boots like a lunatic!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I bizarrely enjoyed taking them ~ I also have to say that it was a brilliant way to blow away the cobwebs.

Hopefully, health allowing I will be able to return to my photography lessons and share with you my next step towards understanding and learning how to use my camera to its full potential.

Until then I wish you all a fabulous weekend whatever you are up to.


Holiday fun

I spent last week on holiday in our caravan on the Yorkshire coast, the fates smiled down on us and granted us fantastic weather for the entire week. The rains only arrived on the day we left, which, let’s face it, is pretty impressive for a week in mid October in the UK!

Now I’m not going to lie, my health status at the moment is at “pants” level, so getting out and about wasn’t all that easy. Despite that, on three separate occasions I managed to get out for a little while. I seriously appreciate the value of mobility aids which allow me to maintain my independence whilst also having hands free to snap away and take the odd picture or three.

I didn’t really think about my “lessons” from my course ~ after all I was on holiday. Instead just went with the moment and had great fun playing with my camera, switching through the settings and generally messing about.

The locations were all very samey as I couldn’t stray far from my base, mostly cliff tops, the beach (accessed from a path close to our caravan) and the lake side area of the caravan site.

Here are a few of the photos I took. The first are of a solitary bee, lonesome among the lavender which had in previous months been alive with bees..

A lone bird perched on a lamp post..


Some cliff top views..

Some from by the lakeside..

Some from the areas around our caravan..

Some of the woodland walk on the way to the beach..

Some of the beach..

Some of the beautiful skies we saw..

Finally, some of myself, husband Dave and the Hairy Duo..

Since returning home from our holiday my second born has pimped the original foxy tattoo she did for me on the outside of my left ankle, the first tattoo she gave me, so has sentimental value for me. That is why it is my logo for my photography.

I feel exceptionally lucky to have had such great weather whilst we were away and for the support and love of my family.

Next week it’s back to the photography course and lesson 4, so see you then.


A kiss in the sky above the caravan


New Toy & Focus!

I HAVE A NEW TOY! It’s a photography sphere! 22140950_10155758065764555_6921164871132346974_n

I have yet to actually learn how to use the thing properly because being impatient and feeling bored and crap I decided to go ahead and have a play anyway.

My biggest issue was not getting my reflection in the sphere as I took the photos ~ I’ll probably kick myself when I actually read up on how to use it!

I promise once I have read up how to use it and understand how to get the most from it to follow up with another blog and let you know how I get on.

For now though, here are my random home and garden shots with it.

Okay, now I’ve shown you my new toy I had better go back to sharing with you how I am getting on with my photography course. After having several weeks being grumpy and poorly in bed or on the sofa I decided today to try and get back on the horse, so to speak.

This weeks lesson (no.3) is about focus, playing with my camera with the focus setting on manual so I have to set the focus for each shot. Initially I had to use it in AV mode and then on Manual mode.

As I am in a relapse physically and mentally due to my myriad of illnesses I struggled cognitively at times. Also due to the relapse the subject matter for my images is limited to my low maintenance garden. That being said I have finally (it took me ALL day) completed lesson 3 of my course.

My first exercise was to set out three objects on a table and set the camera on a tripod, so it was fixed in the same position for three consecutive shots. With the focal point settings on manual I then had to photograph the focal point on the nearest object, middle object and then finally the furthest object from me. Then to look at the three photos to see how the focus changes. It’s a quick, easy way to see how the shot changes.

For this assignment I popped three shells onto a tablecloth and took the shots. Then applying the same technique I focus on a screwdriver, looking at the handle, shaft and then point. Here are the results.

1 nearestwm

Focus on nearest shell

1 middlewm

Focus on middle shell

1 furthestwm

Focus on furthest shell

focus on handlewm

Focus on the handle

focus on middle wm

Focus on the stem

focus on point wm

Focus on the point

The following assignments after that were related to looking at things on your camera and working out what the various buttons and settings do ~ so no images were taken for these.

I also had to work out what was the “sweet spot” for my camera in order to get the sharpest images. According to google the sweet spot for my lens is roughly f7~ish ~ but I’m not sure, perhaps its my eyesight, which isn’t that great ~ but looking at these images I think f/4 and f/8 are the clearest. I think the only real way to work it out would be to take an awful lot more photographs of different subjects then sit down and review the images. I plan to do this whilst I am away on holiday and have the time next week.

After doing this I then had to take different images in AV mode and try to take the clearest images possible using the “sweet spot” and manual focal points. Once I had done that then I had to take photographs in Manual mode, setting the ISO, the focal point, exposure time and f number.

Here are a few of the images taken, I am too tired to tell you which are which (AV or Manual) but you can see that the focal points are different in various images and some are clearer than others while I tried to find the “sweet spot”.

For lesson 4 I am going to be learning about JPEG/RAW/TIFF. I know what a JPEG is but haven’t heard of the others, so that will be interesting!

I am not quite sure when I’ll get round to completing the next lesson because I’m going away on holiday next week. My holidays are my respite time, mostly sitting watching the sea wrapped up warm or resting in front of a film ~ or sleeping.

I can’t guarantee doing anything at all but will try to get down to the beach with my sphere if I can or the cliff tops.

Depending on health issues, relapses and sheer idleness, it’s most likely my next blog will be random holiday photos and nothing to do with lesson 4.

‘Til next time..


Little Update

This is the third Monday in a row I’ve not been well enough to do my photography coursework BUT the PEM I’m currently experiencing is totally worth it.

On Saturday in the small wee hours my hubby drove myself and Keisha, my eldest, over Peterborough way to a small airfield. The reason for our journey was that Keisha had signed up to do a tandem skydive to raise funds for animal free research. Being vegan Keisha is passionate about animal welfare, something we fully support.

On her fundraising page she explains..

“On September 30th I will be taking part in Skydive for World Animal Day and doing a 10,000 ft skydive to raise money for Animal Free Research UK.

Some info about medical testing on animals (from
The harmful use of animals in experiments is not only cruel but also often ineffective. Animals do not get many of the human diseases that people do, such as major types of heart disease, many types of cancer, HIV, Parkinson’s disease, or schizophrenia. Instead, signs of these diseases are artificially induced in animals in laboratories in an attempt to mimic the human disease. Yet, such experiments belittle the complexity of human conditions which are affected by wide-ranging variables such as genetics, socio-economic factors, deeply-rooted psychological issues and different personal experiences. It is not surprising to find that treatments showing ‘promise’ in animals rarely work in humans. Not only are time, money and animals’ lives being wasted (with a huge amount of suffering), but effective treatments are being mistakenly discarded and harmful treatments are getting through. The support for animal testing is based largely on anecdote and is not backed up, we believe, by the scientific evidence that is out there.

Animals and humans are different. 95% of drugs fail in human trials despite promising results in animal tests and in addition to being unreliable, animal testing can actually be dangerous for human health. Vioxx, a drug used to treat arthritis, was found to be safe when tested in monkeys (and five other animal species) but has been estimated to have caused around 320,000 heart attacks and strokes and 140,000 deaths worldwide. Human volunteers testing a new monoclonal antibody treatment (TGN1412) at Northwick Park Hospital, UK in 2006 suffered a severe allergic reaction and nearly died. Testing on monkeys at 500 times the dose given to the volunteers totally failed to predict the dangerous side effects. A clinical trial of Hepatitis B drug fialuridine had to be stopped because it caused severe liver damage in seven patients, five of whom died. It had been tested on animals first.

Not only is testing on animals incredibly cruel (IMO), it’s just bad science.

In the UK in 2015, 4.1 million research procedures took place on animals. Animal Free Research UK is redefining research, investing in scientists so they can make the breakthroughs that push medicine forward without the use of animals. Since 1970, we have awarded grants to over 200 projects. These include research into cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney, heart and liver disease, to name only a few. With your amazing support, we can advance human health and end the use of animals in medical research!”

Now, for many this is a hugely frightening experience pre~jump but more so for Keisha as she is neurodivergent and prone to anxiety attacks. So you can imagine our joy and pride when she took it all in her stride, kept a check on her nerves and not only jumped, but was also allowed to steer her own parachute until it was time to land.

She had two incredible young men support her through the entire process and they were her instructor and tandem jump buddy along with camera man, recording and photographing the entire jump.

I managed to fire off a few photos, but they aren’t brilliant as were taken on full zoom because we weren’t allowed in the jumpers enclosure. We were however cheering and supporting her from our vantage point in the family areas.

We are looking forward to seeing the video and images taken by the skydiving club because they are taken in very high definition and are of her in the plane and jumping out, free falling then steering and landing. Images I simply had no way of capturing.

I hope you enjoy my images below and when I have the professional photos and video of the jump will be uploading them here for you to enjoy.

When we arrived at the landing point we found it to be next to a burnt out car ~ now that isn’t something I get to see every day, nor would I want to. I had no time prior to Keisha landing to look at it because we didn’t want to miss a single moment of her journey. However, after the jump she had to return to the base in a mini bus with her instructor and the other jumpers. This meant I had 3 mins or thereabouts to have a quick look at the burnt out vehicle and fire off  a few snaps. I was sad not to have longer to take some good images, but did what I could within the time I had. I thought I would share these with you too..

If you are interested in donating towards animal free research then you can follow this link to Keishas fundraising page, which is still open for receiving donations;

Hopefully next week I will have the energy, chronic illnesses allowing, to continue with my photography course and assignments.

Wishing you a great week ahead.


Editing Software

I am a very amateur photographer and so not in the league which would allow for buying expensive editing software.  To be honest, even if I did purchase it I would need a whole new training course to learn how to use it.

With editing software in mind I asked the question in my closed photography course group asking what my fellow students used.

Some folks in the group are professional photographers and most use Lightroom. However, there are a few hobbyist photographers in the group who are like me and pretty clueless when it comes to the expensive software. The recommendations came in to trial a number of different options before deciding on one to buy. OR to go for a free option and the two top suggestions were iPiccy and GIMP.

Not being one to do anything by half I decided to go for both!

GIMP has been downloaded and saved onto my computer ~ as has the user manual. It has to be said after having a play around with it, that I will have to shelve using this for editing until I have had time to go through the massive user manual and play around with a photo editing it as I learn each aspect of the software.

IPiccy on the other hand isn’t a downloadable programme but one that you access via your browser. So for this I just saved it on my browser toolbar for fast and easy access when I need it.

So far I have only played around a little with iPiccy ~ and found it extremely user friendly and quite simple to use. It doesn’t have all the various options for editing that GIMP has but for me, with my cognitive issues, iPiccy is perfect.

At some point in the future I will dip in and out of the GIMP user manual and learn how to use its features as and when I can. I think as my photography improves that this will be the better editing tool for me to use because members of my group likened it to the closest free editing software to Lightroom.

As I progress I will share with you my thoughts on the features and uses of both iPiccy and GIMP.

I ventured forth once more the other day visiting my husbands work place to take more photos in manual mode. Being a place full of car spares most of the photos were of bits of metal in various states of repair.

After taking the photos I then used iPiccy to play around with them. Plus I learned how to add a watermark to boot!

Here they are, I hope you like them…