Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I was just bringing the milk in when I spotted this little chap on my pyracantha. I dashed in and got camera, macro lens and tripod. I still find macro work very hit and miss but these aren't a total disaster. I don't know why but peering through the macro always gives me a headache!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Two more photos from the wedding - both of these were taken by Phil.

This is Sian, wearing one of the buttonholes knitted by the bride. Every single guest got one of these and of course they'll last forever...I'm planning on wearing mine on my winter coat! I think Sian looks so lovely here and very grown up!

The second photo is one of the detail shots we took on Saturday. It's the bouquets belonging to the bride and her two adult bridesmaids. I really enjoyed setting up these shots using tulle, beads and various other accessories!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The wedding was on Friday and this evening has been spent going through our photos. I'm pleased to say it was a SUCCESS - we have enough good photos for our niece and although I was terribly nervous and anxious beforehand; I ended up thoroughly enjoying my role as official photographer!! I made a few mistakes and we had a couple of disasters but on the whole I'm happy!

The photo is of the beautiful bridesmaids, including our twin nieces aged 10. Aren't they sweet? The bride made all the bridesmaids dresses, plus she knitted all the flowers used in the wedding, along with the little rabbits and dorothy bags the twins are carrying. I hope to post some of the photos of the flowers later; they are very effective!

The day was very dull and we had some exposure problems. I found I was constantly having to vary the ISO and over or under expose.

The advice I had from various sources was invaluable; here are the bits I found most useful:

Be assertive - this didn't come easily but I decided to sort of act a part as a confident photographer and managed to carry it off. I was told I was telling jokes and seemed very calm and assured - phew!Inside I was shaking!

Have a list of the photos I wanted to create - this really helped in those "my mind's gone blank" moments.

Get help rounding up people for shots - one of the ushers was brilliant; I gave him a copy of the above list and he was very helpful.

I concentrated on formal groups and Phil did mainly candids.I bottled out of the big group shot however and he did that one!

We did the big group shot first after the ceremony when everyone was out of the church- great advice. I would add that a small step ladder is useful for this if space is restricted - Phil managed to rustle one up when we realised the area in front of the church was smaller than we'd remembered and it worked out very well taking the group from a higher vantage point.

Things that didn't go so well...our new speedlight refused to fire for the signing of the register and the "in the car" shots weren't too good for the same reason.The confetti toss...we only had enough for one attempt and if we do another wedding; I'll make sure we take our own supplies!

We did a "mock" cake cutting before the reception - much easier than doing it in front of a room full of people!

We were lucky enough to be able to do "detail" shots - flowers, rings etc today. This took a lot of the pressure off us yesterday.It was a lot of fun...we played around with tulle, beads, silver confetti etc.

Thanks everyone for your advice (especially picperfic and John) and encouragement...

Now, I just want to do another wedding!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I spoke to K on Sunday night. She is still in hospital; she has THREE Viruses including ecoli in her lungs :( She was able to chat quite happily though and we had a lovely "visit".

The MRSA superbug is present on her ward, however, and if she were to get THAT it would be extremely serious. So please, keep her in your prayers and thoughts...

Sian was sick again most of yesterday. I was thrown into panic as it is the wedding tomorrow. After much consultation and worrying we've decided not to travel over to Beverley today. Phil will come home from Lancashire tonight and we'll ALL go over together tomorrow...barring any more sickness!

I had several "wedding photography" nightmares last night so didn't sleep well! I have got all my kit ready and my lists written etc. This time tomorrow I'll be in the thick of it...eeeek!! Remind me NEVER to offer to be wedding photographer again LOL! I just spoke to my niece and suggested SHE takes the photos and I'LL get married; but she wasn't buying that idea (can't think why...)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post; I was so touched by the kind things you said. I don't really know where all that came from...I'd written a very ordinary sort of post and suddenly all that angst came pouring out! I have said before I don't always know how much of my feelings I should reveal in my blog but sometimes maybe these things are better "out than in"...

The Keswick Launch stopping at Ashness

The girls and I just got back from our first ever solo trip: we went up to Keswick for one night as Phil is busy being a professional photographer! Yesterday we wandered around the shops in Keswick, walked to Friar's Crag and visited our friends D & J who run an animal rescue charity and from whom we have adopted all our cats. We finished our day with chips from the Kingfisher Chippy in Keswick, and spent the night in the Penrith Travelodge. I bought the girls a small silver pendant each to commemorate our first " all-girls" holiday together!


We started the day with breakfast at the Little Chef next door to the Travelodge; Sian was in heaven with her Olympic Breakfast roll! After that we parked by the lake in Keswick, took the Launch to High Brandlehowe and walked back to Keswick along the shore. The weather was perfect and we had such a good time; missing Phil however - it was strange being in his favourite place without him!

After buying sandwiches for a very late lunch, we revisited the shops - Friar's Chocolate Shop was a "must" and then we bought "kebabs" of strawberries and marshmallows dipped in chocolate from the Chocolate Fountain shop :) It was hard to leave but it had been a wonderful short break.

I am missing Phil loads. He struggles to get a signal on his mobile where he is, so it's very rare we can have a conversation. I can't wait to see him again on Friday. I did have a really memorable time with my two beautiful daughters and I am so grateful to them for their company!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In appealing place to shop!

This weekend seemed to go by very fast. Phil came home on Friday night and it was great to see him! Then Sian got a tummy bug early on Saturday morning - she was sick over and over! I realised Phil's parents wouldn't want to visit us in the circumstances! So Phil and Kate went off to watch Everton play and Sian and I stayed home - she resting, me doing housework! It was a beautiful day, too!

All too soon it was Sunday and Phil set off for the second week on his commision; to the estate in Lancashire. Tomorrow the girls and I are going for a flying visit to the Lake District. I'm hoping for nice weather!

I have been thinking a lot about self esteem and why I don't seem to have much of it! My first response when someone treats me badly is to apologise; and then apologise again.And again... And then I spend hours, days, sometimes even weeks worrying about what I did that was so wrong to make them treat me like that. Even when it is pointed out to me that I did nothing wrong; I still ALWAYS blame myself. I think if I was a better person, they wouldn't treat me like that.

I know in many respects this is a very egocentric way of thinking as not everything is about me!! People around me have "off" days or bad moods that are in no way connected with me and yet I always assume it's me. I need to get over that. I think I'd also be a happier person if I wasn't always trying to please everyone around me and make them happy with me 100% of the time.

I tried once to be the perfect friend; every day I tried harder and yet still I failed and in quite spectacular fashion. I am not sure if I will ever be able to forgive myself or put that behind me. I was talking to the Wildcat the other day and I mentioned how I'd wanted to be "the perfect friend". There is no such thing as a perfect friend (said she).

I wish I could gain and hold onto a sense of my own worth and not just see myself reflected in the opinion of other people.

Friday, October 19, 2007

On a corner in San Francisco...

Another week is ended although there's a faint chance i may have to work tomorrow! These last two days have been very busy. I'm really missing Phil and it will be worse next week as he's off to Lancashire. However I'm away in the Lakes Monday and Tuesday...we are looking forward to seeing our friends in Keswick.

A beautiful sunny day today but a real autumnal nip in the air too! The colours in the trees are beautiful.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Phil, Kate and I were walking through San Francisco taking photos; the other two were a little ahead of me. I suddenly noticed this guy hitching a ride as the car sped over an intersection: I grabbed this quick shot. Seconds later he turned his head, waved and grinned at me! The encounter really made me laugh!

Very, very busy day at work today, not helped by my badly aching right hip and knee. After the half-term holiday next week I'm going to see the doctor I think. I have been in daily pain for years but this is starting to limit my activities quite badly as well as making me thoroughly grumpy and fed up!!

I spoke to K in Canada on Sunday night; although still very poorly we managed a great conversation. As usual she plays down her own illness and worries and is more interested in how I'm doing...After we talked I was unable to stop grinning from ear to ear..she has that effect on me!

Tomorrow I'm getting my hair cut, then it's RDA and I think I'll take the girls to the cinema after that. Now it's bedtime for the achy old body...goodnight!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I took this photo in Sacramento; in the gardens near the State Capital.

It's been a busy few days! On Friday night Phil and I did some more wedding planning and I practised using our new flash. I'm getting more nervous by the day - what if I screw up? I'll never forgive myself!

Saturday we went shopoing for wedding outfits. Sian and Phil are sorted, Kate needed trousers, footwear and a jacket and I needed a suit. At first it was a disaster....M&S was having a sale, was in a real muddle and if I found a jacket that fir i couldn't find the matching trousers in my size! The changing rooms were hot and overcrowded as well as badly lit. I saw myself in my underwear which reduced me to tears LOL.

We headed for Debenhams with me feeling very dispirited but phew, once in there all was much better. I found several lovely jackets complete with trousers and nearby sutitable blouses to try with them. Changing rooms were LARGE, well-lit and COOL. Staff helpful - result: i got a nice suit and blouse. Kate got lovely black trousers and a black jaclet plus boots - she looks gorgeous and SO grown up! So that's one worry over!

In the evening we visited the Wildcat; watched the rugby and ate pizza and a nice time was had by all. This morning we attended a christening; the afternoon was gardening and laundry. Phil starts his commission tomorrow and will be away most of the week although we are having lunch tomorrow!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Our wet summer has had some benefit; the experts tell us the beautiful autumn colours will last longer and be even more beautiful this year! I saw this lovely tree at the Zoo.

Yesterday morning I spent a happy few hours in the front garden; cutting back some overgrown bushes and weeding, plus I planted a few small shrubs and the last of my agapanthus. Kate had friends coming over for tea so I also made a batch of cinder toffee and some choc chip cookies! Then it was time for RDA.

We have a new group of children riding this term. One little girl cried for her mummy the entire first ride. It was pitiful; I felt it was cruel to make her ride :( The second time, I was glad I wasn't leading her but she seemed to be crying less but still not enjoying herself much. The third time she was happier and telling her pony all about her dolly waiting in the bus. Yesterday, although initially a bit upset at not having her usual pony, she said "This is fun". I was so happy!!!

I have bought some lovely Rowan yarn for my cushion, plus a pair of bamboo needles which I've heard are great to knit with. I'm looking forward to starting....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

These little fellas are amongst my top five zoo animals! They are endlessly entertaining and very photogenic. They seemed to positively revel in having lots of long lens pointed at them on Sunday. Sadly Phil had our long lens on his D80 so this is the best I was able to do with my limited resources!

Yesterday I was very busy clearing out and rearranging kitchen cupboards. I find this type of task curiously satisfying especially when I'm listening to a talking book.

Two books I ordered from Amazon on knitting cushions and afghans arrived today. They look a little beyond me but I'll give them a try....

In the evening, Phil, the Wildcat and I all went to the local photographic society to hear the WC's dad give a really fascinating talk on his favourite photos. However there was a power cut at home and as we were in the WC's car, she took Phil home before returning to the talk. I felt really awkward and shy at the club. Just lately I seem to have lost a lot of confidence in social situations. I'm ashamed of myself and angry with myself for feeling this way; you'd think at my age I'd have got over these stupid childish feelings. I feel I let Phil and the WC down by being so quiet and I'm wishing so much I could do things differently...but I can't :( All I can do is try to behave better next time.

Kate has been writing a story for school; she showed it to me and I was stunned by its quality. Her vocabulary is superb and she shows a really powerful style. I'm very proud of her!

Good news today, my lovely mum in law had a very important test on her heart function and nothing terrible was discovered...she has angina but the doctors are hoping to manage it medically. I'm praying they will be able to get her feeling better soon and relieved the test wasn't as awful as she had feared.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happiness is.....a big bunch of shiny balloons at the Zoo!
Today P, S and I met up with a group of people from the Photographers Corner at Chester Zoo. The weather was beautiful; warm and sunny without a breath of wind, and in very congenial company we wandered around looking at the animals and the planting in the zoo grounds.I had a really great time chatting to everyone. Some people I have met before, some are old friends and some I only met today but it was wonderful spending time with them all.

I am feeling tired now after my day in the open air; I have had a cold all week and am coughing so badly at night neither P nor I are getting much sleep! Poor man had to reture to the sofa last night :(

The doctors say K is improving a little - thanks to everyone for your good wishes! They mean so much!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I have not had the best of weeks and so have not been blogging much. There is always the temptation to use my blog to have a good old moan but this time I didn't feel it was fair to inflict my concerns on everyone else especially as I know so many of you have your own worries and difficulties!

This photo makes me think about being in the darkness yet looking towards the light - hoping to find a way through the gate to the sunny garden beyond.

I would ask you to spare a thought and a prayer for my dear K in Canada. She has been in hospital for a while and is not improving very much. She is always so touched when I tell her people she has never met all over the world are thinking of her and wishing her the best.

I hope everyone is having a great saturday!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The garden, Carmel Mission.

Blissful Artist has tagged me with the following instructions:

1. Link the person who has tagged you
2. Tell seven honest things about yourself
3. Tag seven new people
4. Leave a message with the persons you have tagged so they know about it

Here goes with the seven honest things...

I absolutely hate the way I look. I tell people I am camera shy but in reality I'm just terrified of seeing myself. I avoid mirrors and reflections in shop windows and my idea of hell is finding myself in a hotel room with mirrored wardrobes or (horror or horrors!) lots of big mirrors in the bathroom!

I read faster than anyone else I have ever come across.

I once sunbathed topless for chocolate (in Austria) by a lake where no-one else was topless!

I once broke P's alarm clock by throwing it against the wall in a fit of temper. When he noticed it was broken I blamed the baby (who was about 10 months old at the time). I have confessed to both of them since and I doubt the "baby" will ever forgive me.

I need a hug RIGHT NOW.

I once heard God speak to me. Although I call myself a Christian, I am not overtly religious and do not attend church right now. However, once, in a time of great need, I believe I heard His voice - and he said "You are not alone".

I took five attempts to pass my driving test because I couldn't reverse around corners. I only ever managed it once in my life - on my sixth test!

Please go and visit the Blissful Artist if you have the chance...she is new to blogging and her site is full of wonderfully creative things to admire!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Happy October 1st!

Well, so here we are in October! it's hard to believe summer is behind us. I'm glad we escaped to the sunshine in America as there wasn't that much here at home in north-west England! Here are two more Bodega Bay photos - one of P and D flying D's new kite and one of my favourite shop in Bodega Bay - Candy & Kites. They sell wonderful kites and streamers as well as THE BEST salt-water taffy!

A bought me a couple of streamers for my birthday present (you can see one HERE)
on my gardening blog. I'd bought an identical one three years previously but it had perished after too much British wind and rain! The owners of this shop are so pleasant and friendly...if you are ever in the area go and see them! There are other kite stores in Bodega Bay but this is THE BEST!

I got my plants sorted today - well, most of them. Still one "Lily of the Nile" to find a spot for. I also put away my summer clothes and got out my winter ones. I always like to see my "other season" clothes again after 6 months absence; they look newer to me than if I'd just left them hanging in the wardrobe along with the others; It's also a good time for my twice yearly wardrobe purge of all my "mistakes" and the stuff I bought hoping it would make me look good (when of course it didn't!)I should never expect miracles but of course hope springs eternal....!

I am trying to spend less time on the computer. The trouble with broadband (DSL) is that I tend to switch the PC on first thing and leave it on. Not only is that wasteful of electricity but it eats up my day. I just stop "for a minute" to check mail; before I know it an hour has passed with nothing really to show for it.... Last Wednesday I didn't even turn on the computer until early evening and I got so much more done that day! I'll always love the Internet but I'm trying to be more focused in my use of it...less mindless surfing....LOL let's see how long that lasts!!