Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Hello 2013

Happy New Year

I hope everyone had a good night celebrating the end of the year, I just had my usual low key New Year's see-in by watching the London fireworks on the television with my family, a PJ fashion Champagne toast and then a race to bed. I'm so exciting!

2012 was a mixed bag of a year, there was all the amazing things for the nation - the Queen's Jubilee and London Olympic and Paralympic Games but 2012 was also an eventful year for me personally. There was turning 24, graduating, a new job, my friend's daughter little Lily's birth and then the saddening times when my car got bumped and my Granddad passed away. I feel it was the loss of my Granddad more than anything else that made me think about my life and the direction it was going and  reassess what I was prioritising as important in my life. I think I had lost my way a little and forgotten the most important thing in life is your family and friends and the support from those relationships that allows you to enjoy everything else and help you through the struggles. I've therefore been working on being a better daughter, sister and friend to all and will definitely be continuing this into the NY. I want everyone to feel my love and know that I appreciate them each and every day.

That pretty much sums up my wish for 2013: IMPROVEMENT.
I want to improve myself and the things around me: relationships; myself and my skills; and my physical environment. I'm not usually a big fan of creating NY resolutions, well apart from when I was about 10 and made myself the promise that I would brush my teeth every night and day from then on - I managed to stick to that NYR and keep it to this day ^_^. Well anyways, I decided that this year I would set myself some goals into order to help direct me further down the path I want to continue along. So here's just a few goals I want to live by and achieve this year.

  • Mark the littlest occasion with a thoughtful token, whether it be a text, a letter, a card, an email or a present. I want to be more of a giver this year.
  • Cook more for the house and add more recipes to my collection.
  • Increase my skill set and hobbies. Improve my photography, start a yoga or dance class, and continue to blog.
  • Think more about my health, both with what I eat and my lack of exercise (mentally and physically).

So thats my overall aim for 2013: IMPROVEMENT. I want to better myself with the added benefit of improving my relationships and my offerings to the world. Let's see what exciting things 2013 has in store for us this year. Whatever it may be, I feel comfortable in the knowledge that I am armed ready to conquer or enjoy it.


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas may be over but the merriment continues

Christmas has come and gone so quickly this year. My mum even tried to break the record for earliest Christmas decorations take down this year. Don't fret though - we held her in restraints until she promised to at least wait until tomorrow ^_^ (no parents or decorations were hurt in this Christmas spirit saving act). I don't know if anyone is the same or not, but I feel as soon as all trace of Christmas has left it's back to work as normal. I'd like to hold off work just that little bit more please.

I have had a lovely Christmas break and having my sister back for the holidays has been a blessing and sometimes a pain challenge. It wouldn't be Christmas without the occasional family disagreement though. Good news on the family front, this month my sister not only got accepted on the PGCE course at our local University but also passed both her exams so she is definitely starting in September 2013! Whoop ^_^. I have no idea how I am going to cope with four of us back in our family home though. Maybe NYR no. 1 should be to move forward with my arrangements to move out. Unlikely though, let's be honest!

I was slightly spoilt this Christmas with a gorgeous new tripod and monopod (free with the tripod apparently). I've been having a good play with it and already love it. I finally had a decent set up to try Bokeh and have been positioned in front of the fairy lights ever since. I still have so much to learn but I had so much fun having a good go and understanding what worked well and what didn't. Might have to have another session tomorrow before the fairy lights get hidden away for another 12months.

I'd love to see any Christmas posts that you've posted over December or any you've read and particularly enjoyed. Be back soon with a 'Hello 2013' type post to see in the new year and setting some goals.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Macro Autumn & Camera Club Experiences

Canon EOS 600D + Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II (Borrowed lens Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM)

I've recently been dipping my toe into the Camera Club waters by visiting two local clubs/societies to investigate whether it's something worth being part of. I have had mixed views of the four different sessions I have been part of, varying from talks from competition winning professional photographers to a macro workshop. I would say that out of the four sessions, one was fantastic and the others were not quite my 'cup of tea' as they were aimed for more art creating people. One session was a talk from a photoshop god and her photographs resembled art with next to no comparison with her original photographs - this was interesting although not what I would like to do with my photography, at least not at the moment anyways. 

The best session I have been to was from a photographer called Gavin Hoey, you can find him over at Gavtrain.com. He was not only a great speaker with great banter but he also shared a vast amount of knowledge, tips and tricks in not only photography on the go (see his 15 minute photo challenges) but also great photoshop tutorials. Note: My next purchase must be Photoshop Elements! If you haven't yet heard or had the chance to learn from Gavin, definitely go and check out his YouTube channel, there is so much great content on there. Needless to say I will be working my way through his back catalogue of videos and subscribing for future ones.

The above photographs were taken during a macro workshop which turned into a 'oo what equipment have they got' for me personally, especially being new to the world of DSLR. I couldn't help but look at all the different camera brands, bodies, lenses, filters and accessories. I tell you now, some people have spent a fortune on their kit. One guy even brought in a mass of about 10 lenses which were only a portion of the ones he owns! Luckily I didn't come away with a massive wish list, the only thing I would like is a tripod which is what I have already added to my Christmas list ^_^. 

Well anyways, back to the macro workshop session story. After I managed to bring myself back to from the shock of the sight of some of the cameras, my group and I were presented with an array of subjects including leaves, fungi, (unfortunately) dead butterflies (RIP little critters), computer circuits and wooden planks as well as a variety of lighting gizmos and background builders. I wasn't too fussed with playing around with fungi as they did not smell pleasant at all! Yuck! I also felt bad for the butterflies but the logs and the leaves provided a vast amount of creative muse for me. Some of the photos above are using a different lens to what I currently own and thats thanks to a lovely gentleman who allowed me to test his lens on my camera body. I didn't quite get to grips with it as I'm still getting to terms with my own lens and body but it was great of him to let me use it and I got to see what a bigger lens would be like to work with. One word, HEAVY! I'm in no rush for another lens just yet but I'm sure they'll be one added to the family at some point ^_^.

So ending this post, I'd love to know...
Are you a member of a camera club? 
What are your thoughts on them? Positives and negatives?
Have you received a talk from any photographers that you would rave about? Who were they?
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