Family photography locations in and around Bristol

When the Spring comes, and the flowers bloom, and the sun shines, and the grass is greener - it makes me want to get out on location and do some summery photo sessions.

I love Dyrham Park - as a National Trust life member I get in for free! So we go a fair bit, as it's local to us in-between Bristol and Bath. It has huge, lush grounds with Deer (obviously) and really pretty gardens with water features and flowers upon flowers upon flowers. It makes for a really great venue to do a family photography session. 

Another place that I enjoy visiting is Ashton Court. Lovely greenery and trees and beautiful backdrops of fields and countryside. And so handy and close if you live in Bristol!

Walks in and around Ebbor Gorge are awesome (situated near Wells). If you haven't been - go! And then stop off for an ice cream at Wookey Hole on your way home. The woodland through Ebor Gorge is gorgeous - and there are numerous picnic areas too - and walking paths with fields and nature. 

Shapwick Nature Reserve - a bit further afield in Somerset (where I grew up, and where my folks live). But worth a visit if you love birds - there's a fun and wild walk you can do to one of the bird hides - and I'd love to follow you with my camera as there are so many brilliant photo opportunities there. It's so beautiful. 

I really do love the West Country of England, and am lucky enough to call it my home. 

Buster - Mr Maine Cool

Buster is just too bloomin' cool. Although I'm not so keen on the dead rabbits he presents. That's the thing with cats. They're the best ever, but they are also the best ever at slaying small creatures. Especially Buster. There was the unfortunate case of the pet Guinea Pig escaping. Poor little piggy got eaten. And Buster lay around with his extended tummy on display, looking very pleased with himself... He's a seven year old Maine Coon, and I love him.

Pussycat Walks the Woodland

If you go down to the woods today,
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today,
You'd better go in disguise.
For there's one cat that ever there was,
Who gathers there for certain because,
Today's the day the pussycat walks the woodland.

P.S But wouldn't you actually be surprised if you were walking in the woods and you saw a cat in the tree?

Also, just a bit of context about this image... We were blackberry picking in the woodland behind our house - Mouse comes with us always - and I got blindsided by the light falling on her - she was actually glowing amongst the trees.

My husband got loads more berries than me. But it was worth it. 


Is a holiday really a holiday with your baby?

OK, so 'yes it is a holiday' - the positives would be firstly that you're somewhere other than home. You get to spend quality time with family. You can eat and drink a bit more (though not really in my case with the wine because I'm still breastfeeding). Visiting lovely places like the beach, cafe's and ice cream vans can happen every day… and… perhaps that's it. 

The 'no it's not a holiday' reasons... You don't really get a rest. But having said that on the holiday we just went on, we could rest a bit more because we went with extended family, which meant our son was not always in mine or my husbands arms. (So that can go with the 'yes' pile). The big no for us was that taking a nine month old away meant awfully sleepless nights. I read an article when we got back that said 'whatever you do, don't go on holiday with a nine month old'… Oops. 

We were averaging about three hours sleep a night, because Wilfred was in with us, and at that age, they get used to their surroundings and environment, so when you present them with something new - new bed, new people, new place, new temperature - they go a bit mental. 

So I think you just have to accept that a holiday might not be what you had in mind. And that early nights should probably be on the agenda.

My tips would be to try where possible not to share the same room with your baby (unless you do at home), and just to try to make everything as normal and familiar as you can. 

Still… we had loads of fun, and I got some lovely photos. And, might I add that St David's in Pembrokeshire is beautiful. And… I have a bloody awesome family. 




Mouse

I thought I'd officially introduce our cat. She's a good, funny sort, is Mouse. She doesn't say much. And her expression rarely changes. When she's awake she's wide eyed and bushy tailed, and when she's asleep she makes you want to cosy up to her. Her fur is super soft, but it's thick and fluffy - and she hardly malts! 

We got her as a six week old kitten out in 'whoop whoop', as they say in Australia - which means in the middle of nowhere, out in the bush. She was in a litter of six kittens, and was the only one left... we soon discovered why... 

She was a ridiculous and insane kitten, to the point of my husband and I actually feeling like we'd made a mistake in getting her. She used to just run wild, up the curtains, up anything she could pin her tiny claws in. With her tail always perfectly upright.  

She made what we called a devil growl - a sort of growly gargle as she'd hurtle around. And she's never really meowed. Maybe a squeak here and there, but it's very rare to hear an actual meow. 

We nicked named her Colin Feral as a kitten. She was really rather horrid! But as soon as she was allowed to go outside, she got much better.

We lived in Perth with her for three and a bit years, and then made the decision to bring her home with us to Bristol. We did consider rehoming her, but as I'd worked with cat rescue organisations, I knew there were far too many cats needing homes, and I just didn't want to abandon her. 

So... a long flight and a two hour car ride, a three month stint in a flat we didn't let her out of because we were going to move again. And now she is superbly content and happy.

We bought a little house at the end of a quiet culdesac, with a towering wood as our back garden for her to explore, climb trees, and come blackberry picking with us. She follows us down the path every time we go. Dogs or not. 

She's an Aussie through and through. She's hardy and very, very casual. And if she could, she'd wear a flannel shirt, with a beer in one paw and a steak in the other.

She's a good, funny sort, is Mouse. 

Look for the light

A while ago I took an online course at the Define School with an awesome photographer Kellie Hatcher. Her class taught me the importance and strength of light in a composition - before I didn't really take much notice and would always meter my camera to the middle for everything. But then I learnt that I could shoot with a variety of metering - and what a difference it made! I now mostly use 'spot metering' for indoors, and 'evaluative metering' when I'm shooting outdoors. And I ALWAYS look for the light... 


Beautiful Baby Wilfie

Meet The Most Beautiful Baby. Baby Wilfie. He's beautiful and he's mine! One of my favourite things to do is to just hang out with him while he's playing, and so I thought I'd take a few photos.

These are some of those every day moments I talk about, the ones we don't play special attention to, because it's not a birthday or Christmas. But they're awesome and so should be photographed! 



The Woods

My cousin came to stay over the weekend and we explored the woodland behind our home - with my cat in tow.

I feel pretty lucky to have stumbled across our little home. It's like it's a secret in our city - we live at the end of a culdesac and our garden backs straight onto the wood. My husband and I take this route with our son to get ice cream sometimes - the second time we did we could hear this jingle of a bell behind us, and it was Mouse following us.

She comes with us every time now. Not all the way to shop yet... but she's getting more adventurous!