Daughter Days

Here is my gorgeous and wonderful daughter, Arabella. She’s funny and cheeky and fierce and sometimes shouty and other times sweet and smart and talkative and lovely.

She starts school next year - I can’t believe it. She’ll only be four! And we get two days a week where we can hang out. So those days, I make sure I am spending quality one on one time with her. Because in only a short a year, that will be gone. It’s already gone with my son, who started school in September. And part of that makes me feel a bit sad. Because it’s out of my control, and I can’t change it. And because it makes me realise how fast this time has gone, and yes, everyone says it, and sometimes it’s annoying to hear, but… the time really does fly by, and will be gone before you know it. And school and friends will take over.

As a family, we stay at home a lot. Weekends are mostly spent in the house or garden, possibly out for a walk, or to extended family’s houses. But both my husband and I, (mostly) cherish this time together. And love to take it slowly, to live slowly, to just do nothing sometimes, but talk and hang out and listen to music and play with our children.

Here are a collection of photos of my daughter at one of our favourite National Trust hang outs - Tyntesfiled.

How I use light in photography composition

I love playing with light in my photo composition. It can change the mood of an image in an instant. And I love that. If I could take these kinds of photos all day long, I would! But of course, broad daylight, mid day sun and poorly lit conditions don't always allow me to do it this way, so I have to get creative!

If I am doing a photography session in someone's home, one of the first things I do is walk around the house looking for good lighting. And by good, I don't always mean bright. Sometimes, a tiny slither of light escaping through curtains that are just a little bit open, will create a beautiful halo of light - like in the first image of my son, and also the fourth image of a bride getting her makeup done - where you can just see legs! 

A portrait taken with the subject facing the window can give the most soft and natural lighting - like the last image of the bride looking out pensively. And it helps because the rest of the room is dark, with the only source of light coming from the window. 

The image of Denise with her beautiful bump was backlit by the window instead. And this cast interesting but soft shadows over her skin. 

In broad sun light, like mid day sun, I find it best - where possible - to find some sort of shade. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but the shade will help to create a much kinder light. The image of the dad holding his daughter was taken in Australia on a sunny day, at about 3pm. Dad and daughter were standing under the verandah, but towards the front of it, so they were just out of the direct light. 

Another way to add a different feel to a photo is to use the sun to create a feeling - like the photo of my daughter standing in the veggie patch. I positioned the sun partly obscured by her head, which added to the summer time feel and produced a lovely, gentle haze. 

Waiting for Spring

I had the loveliest day last week with my children. It felt like Spring had finally arrived, after what has been a rather long and dreary winter.

We went to Tyntesfield and took our time wandering and exploring. We ate ice cream. We had a picnic. We walked around the gardens, and visited the greenhouses, which were alive with colour, summery scent and beautiful bumble bees! We relished in the sunshine all day. 

And then over the weekend it snowed again. And it was not welcome! Yet it still sits firmly in my garden, keeping Spring at bay. 

And so, we are waiting for Spring once more. 

You Are My Star

It is OK to cry and spread your arms wide
To weep at my side, these are not things to hide.
It is OK to say how much you love me
To ask me to hold you and squeeze you tightly.
It is OK to paint and to play with soft toys
To sing and to dance, to be not like other boys.
It's OK to tell me how you're feeling,
I will never tell you that you are a weakling,
I'll never say, man up and be different,
I just want you to be you, whoever you are.
And I want you to know that you are my star. 
I just want you to know that you are my star. 

Yin and Yang

I have retreated this winter. I have just felt like hibernating; seeing less of people, doing less, and just feeling quiet and reflective. 

The only time I really wanted to pick up my camera was when I did a walk on my own through the Shapwick Reserve in Somerset, where my photos reflected the sombre and bleak mood of my mind these last few months. I just didn't feel like being creative. I didn't play my guitar, I didn't sing. I didn't write, and I didn't photograph. 

I was reading about the natural yin and yang of the seasons. During the warmer months, we have more energy and spark. We smile, we socialise, and we are active. We can get up earlier, and go to bed later.

Then, when winter falls, we start to retreat. Our energy levels need preserving, and it is a time to nurture ourselves with hearty food, warmth, and the comfort of our home. We can read, watch films, take long baths, and just generally lead a quieter life. 

Only now am I starting to resurface. It helps that we have moved house and are now much more settled. There is still a scatter of boxes and unattended paperwork, but otherwise, we are all happy and content with our new surroundings. 

And the creative fire inside me is burning once more. So, hurrah!! I have been photographing my children and cat, playing my guitar, devising plans for exciting paths ahead, and generally feeling lighter and brighter. Oh, and I can't wait for those warmer months! Please be a sunny summer, South West of England.