The trees are starting to look amazing aren’t they? Its that time of year when they really start to break out of those winter duds. With the lighter evenings as well it feels like there is a slow shift in the pace of our evenings. In the winter it can feel like tea comes soon after the end of school. But with the lighter, sometimes sunnier evenings it feels like there is loads of time before we need to start to thinking about evening routines and bedtimes. It feels nice to let those things go now. More like they way the spanish do it, although sadly without the siesta!!

One of the kids favourite things to do is to climb. Having a hardened outdoor, cliff climber as a Dad was probably always going to effect that! If there is a tree around then there will be one or all of my kids and my husband will be up it with me left holding the coats and the dog at the bottom!

A great place to climb trees is a local park, which has some grand, old trees with low, swinging branches that have probably had centuries of kids hauling themselvesย up onto them, scraping their knees and getting grubby. ๐Ÿ™‚

Its lovely when the sun puts in an appearance through the leaves as well. This was one of those times when i didn’t have my DSLR with me, I have used this park many times for portrait sessions, it lends itself beautifully to family shots as there are so many places for a family to interact and play together. So it was out with the iphone and whilst the images might not have the pin tight sharpness of my DSLR they are still as valuable. ย “the best camera is the one you have with you” (chase Jarvis 2010)

Good times.

I am chuffed to have been nominated for a BIBS aware again this year. Thats Brilliance in Blogging. I have been nominated in the ‘photography’ category and if you would like to go and vote for me to get into the finals then please follow this link. I am just incredibly honoured that there are folk that took the time to nominate me. thank you xx

 

 

 

 

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Last weekend the OH and a few crazy friends of his set out for a weekend in Scotland to climb a couple of mountains if they could. It was forecast to be an awful weekend with hail, rain and high winds. Just the sort of weather you want to go climbing a mountain in…not.

Well not in my case but he cam back buzzing and full of how amazing it all was. The pictures they were sending back just made me feel cold to look at them! But i knew the OH was prepared. A large portion of his degree was outdoor education and i sometimes forget until he goes away like this and the crampons, ice-axes, and ropes appear from the loft. He was also travelling to Scotland on Burns night and although i think they might have thought it was fun to go and have a dance at the hotel cedilah. It ended up with them getting a take-away and falling asleep from the tiredness from all that activity!

Here are some of the pics from the weekend..these are obviously not mine and are the work of our friend Will. Who had the quick mindedness to snap some shots as it seems that my OH didn’t take a single one. tsk tsk ๐Ÿ™‚

Those of us left back at the ranch so to speak were also being blessed with a weekend of crazy weather and we spent a lot of saturday and sunday dodging the hail and the rain. On Sunday afternoon in a bid for some outdoor time, myself and the other ‘scottish widow’ decided to head out to a park and play a quick game of rounders. Which was going well until as we arrived the biggest black cloud showed up and we got pelted with hail for 30 seconds or more.

I think the kids thought we were crazy when we just told them to hide under a tree! My youngest was pleading with me ‘i want to go home!’

But we chivvied them along and found a large fallen tree to play on, which of course was now very slippery!

But we did eventually get our game of rounders and the kids could burn off some steam. Once the game had started thoughts of going home seemed to leave their minds and they got stuck into the game. It wasn’t a long game but we had achieved a little outdoors and whilst it wasnt the trek up the side of a scottish mountain in the snow that their Dad’s were doing. It felt like a lot of a victory to us two mums and our, between us, eight kids!!

 

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

mummy mishaps
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a long time ago..i used to ride.

Like. properly.

I competed, taught kids to ride, worked in numerous yards with some brilliant people and with some total numptees. But horses were my passion and my plan for a long time. I was lucky enough to be able to pursue it for a massive chunk of my young years and into my twenties. Largely because of my incredibly supportive parents who were very long suffering and allowed me to get ‘into’ it.

Seems like another life now, really it does. There are few people here that would know that i used to spend my days teaching children to do rising trot and how to do a round the world! Funny how things change. Recently some friends of ours have bought their daughter a horse and the kids have been asking and asking to go and see it and finally on the day before they went back to school we went to see the new arrival!

Funny what you remember isnt it and its always the smell that takes me back. That molasses mixed with sweet hay and shavings smell. After so many years of it being my everyday routine those familiar things will never be too deep in my conscious im sure. I dont really know what happened to make it all disappear. I moved here and away from the countryside, away from home and where my ponies used to be and that was it. Life happened, work, marriage and kids and there wasn’t any space for horses physically or emotionally.

Hanging out at the yard for the afternoon I was reminded just how good horses are for little girls and boys. Learning how to look after an amazing creature that can bring stack loads of fun and exercise and keeping them away from One direction obsessions!! Nothing wrong with having horse and pony posters all over your walls!

My two older girls are so loving horses, they even got to have a little go on this pony. A little walk and trot is quite enough for any beginner…

and of course the old girl couldnt resist having a go..i was actually forced into it my the kids and couldnt walk properly afterwards for days!!..i was a little bit hindered by the hat i borrowed which was falling in front of my eyes all the time!! i think my head must have shrunk!


๐Ÿ™‚

Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Continuing my series of looking at some of my favourite images from last year. You can see my last two posts here and here.ย 

I do a lot of newborn baby sessions. They are one of my favourites. I always say ‘babies are my business!’ ๐Ÿ™‚

Having worked with newborn and premature babies for all of my professional nursing career it seemed like a natural extension when it came to photography! 2013 was a good year for newborns for me, I got some really well behaved, good sleepers and settled little clients and managed to get some lovely shots that i am really proud of and that i hope the parents love to! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have written some another post about newborns here

One shot I did last year that I was really keen to try. I had seen another photographer talk about it and had waited until i had a really good sleepy baby and a game Dad to give it a try.

I have had lots of people ask me how i did it and of course with images now there can be a lot of ‘magic’ behind them whether thats just a little smoothing of the skin or large photoshopped edits. A lot of photographers will keep their cards pretty close to their chests! But I was keen to say how i actually did this shot because i want to emphasise how i did it from the point of view of baby safety.

Which is the most important thing for any photographer to consider…

Firstly i got Dad to have a go at his part of the shot. He is in front of a black backdrop and is leaning over a large beanbag which is covered in a large black blanket. Dad is actually kneeling on a bunch of towelling nappies that i use for mop ups! So that his knees didn’t ache too much. I shot a couple of images of this pose making sure his arms (he had very long arms!) were entirely on the background.

 

Then we got dad to strip!! and put their wee little girl who was completely asleep (they really need to be totally asleep) onto dad’s back. She was on a little rolled up towel but on reflection she was fine on her dad’s back and i was a little concerned about her being cold or uncomfortable but skin to skin is the warmest place for a baby to be….tsk tsk SCBU nurse! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then and this is the really important bit. Mum was right next to baby. You can see where mum was standing and how she had her hands on the baby’s back. Baby was in no way at any danger of falling. It’s really important to remember that babies can move their limbs very suddenly when they are asleep. We have all seen those moro reflex moves. ‘Monkey falling of a branch’ we used to call them and those sort of movements are totally involuntary and a newborn baby can do them anytime. So having a ‘spotter’ is not only important it is essential and it gives me chills the idea of working without one. You don’t need an assistant you just need mum or dad close by.

I asked mum to take her hand away from the baby’s back by a matter of inches for the seconds in which i fired the shot. That gives me distance between the two..which as anyone who has worked in photoshop knows, ย makes editing SO much easier. Taking of the shot was seconds…setting it up took a LOT longer ๐Ÿ˜‰

After the shoot, what i then did in photoshop (and i won’t go into photoshop speak, thats probably a whole other post) but remember the image at the start with dad without the baby on his back and just his arms out stretched?

Well this is what i did, i took that images and copied the part of his arm that i have circled in white. Which is the part in the shot with the baby that the mum is standing in front of.

Then i put that onto the image with the baby using layers in photoshop. That then essentially covers where mum was standing and completes Dad’s arm. Its a little more in depth than that but hopefully you get the idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

and this was the finished shot.

The refection is put in post processing in photoshop. I had someone ask me if i had him kneeling over a mirror!! *insert scary face* and i have edited out mums hand, arms etc from just above the baby’s back…and generally prettied it up a little bit with some lovely black and white highlights here and there.

It is a lovely image and i know that the family loved it. When i put this image on facebook for their sneak peek the thing i loved most about it was that people didn’t initially see the baby or weren’t too sure what it was and had to do a double take and really study it. I love that it got that reaction and that people had to look deeper into it.

From a more mushy mummy level i love that demonstrates a little that bond that a Daddy has for his baby.

Almost like he cannot move until she wakes…

๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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I may have written about this before. But we have this beautiful victorian palm house near us. It is a favourite visit and has such a lovely history. I think one of the reasons that it has such a lovely feeling is that there is a lot of love gone into this building. It is a grade 2 listed building and was built back in 1896. After being bombed in the war and then re-built a little, it ย fell into disrepair and by the 1980’s was closed to the public as it was deemed unsafe.

In June 1992, a public meeting was held highlighting the dereliction and calling for restoration. A petition was presented to the City Council by what had become the “Save the Palm House” campaign. A public fund raising campaign was established, with a “sponsor a pane” programme generating over ยฃ35,000. This led directly to the conversion of Save the Palm House into a registered charity (Friends of Sefton Park Palm House). The Palm House was partially repaired and reopened in 1993. It was fully restored at a cost of ยฃ3.5 million with Heritage Lottery and European funding and reopened in September 2001.

It is now simply stunning and is often used for events and weddings. It is so pretty and one of my favourite places. One of the things about the people of this city is that they love their city and they will get behind something that is important to them.

The palm house is evidence of that, that is for sure…

I have photographed it SO many different times. One of the first professional jobs i had was in the palm house, in the evening and with not much light. yeah was a baptism of fire. I climbed the little staircase that takes you up to the top of the palm house to try and get an overhead shot. There is a little gallery at the top of the dome. But the ladder started to wobble and got the best of me!! It was an evening ill not forget.

This is one of my shots from that night:

Ha! looking at those images now makes me realise how much i have changed as a photographer. I wont forget that fully grown angel statue and his hairy legs though!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

We often just nip out to the park and the palm house at the end of the day and before the kids went back to school and all the christmas decorations came down we did just that and it was all pretty and lit up with fairy lights and a jaunty little christmas tree in the doorway (that was actually tied down- bit windy i guess!) It was getting very dark as we left the park and i only had my little camera with me and i fiddled with the setting so that i could let in a max amount of light to get the blue in the sky. It could really do with a tripod to be honest because the shutter was slow and really it was beyond a hand hold but they kids were already yelling at me to hurry up…they get quite used to mama dragging her feet and taking lots of shots!!

Then we played a little with some ‘fill-in’ high sync flash techniques….the kids always come back on side when they are in the pictures!! (btw for the photographers out there, this image below is just taken with a entry level DSLR and the little on camera flash that it has!!)

 

Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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