When you take a lot of photographs..you look at a LOT of photographs and not just your own. I am always checking out imagery, lighting and maybe the odd bit of PS awesomeness in lots of other folk’s work. Other photographers work can be so inspiring to look at and try and work out what they have done, how they have made it work. Always studying, always learning…

One of the things i get asked a lot is ‘how do i improve my photography?’

and no..my answer is never get a better camera. Well not initially anyway. I will always answer..get some training or education. Learn about light, what makes an image capture the eye and how you can go about using your camera to allow you to put on to film what is in your mind’s eye.

I have done a few bits of training with some incredible professionals and it was better for my photography than ANY bit of equipment that i have ever purchased..and i really really mean that! What you can learn, particularly on a hands on course, will teach you far more than shelling out the price of a small car to buy another fancy pants lens.

In 2013 i did a one day semi-private course with one of my photography heros. It was a day looking at natural light photography and a bit of flash based around a bride. Yeah..not exactly what i choose to shoot. BUT it was incredible. Those AH HA moments came thick and fast. I was desperately trying to remember everything and take it all in. They did not discuss kids, newborns or anything like what i photograph day to day..but what i learnt there has stayed with me and it can all be transferred to almost every type of setting. The basics of good photography don’t change. Its just your subjects that do.

It was a lot of fun actually photographing a bride and thinking about how you can get amazing poses and shots for adults who take direction. It is inspiring to be with other photographers too and share ideas and get help!!

Some of the things we chatted about were using reflectors effectively: I havent put any of these images through post processing, other than a little sharpen. Just want to show what i learnt and the difference it makes when you actually know how to use that very clever little black box you have in your hand πŸ™‚

Then we chatted a little bit about Kelvin…(thats not a person!) its how temperature is measured. Whats this got to do with photography i hear you cry? Well light is measured on a Kelvin Scale. It is fairly straightforward on most DSLR’s you can change your white balance and on some DLSR you will be able to dial in the kelvin range of the light you are shooting in so that you camera can better assist you in getting the light right.

Make sense? Nope? Okay maybe this table will help.


To demonstrate with the images of the bride. Here is a shot where we dialled Kelvin right up to 7900K. So what we have here is that the camera is then thinking that the light is really really cool, on the blue end of the scale and so it compensates by throwing in some warm tones..which we probably didnt need in the setting we were in because it was already warm ish but just to see what it was like we gave it a go. This would be similar to selecting the ‘cloudy’ setting on your white balance.

Then we dialled it back to 2950K – way down to the yellow/orange sun maybe even warm lightbulb oranges..see the difference?

The camera is now trying to take down the orange tones that we are telling the camera is there. So the outcome is this blue ish tone. This would be similar to the tungsten light setting on your white balance. Β The colour difference is amazing. She did have a little off camera light on her in the second one.(which is what is lighting her face) .but you can see the idea…:)

We played around with using a small hand held light..and the dramatic effects it can make in darker locations. More on this sort of lighting another time!!

But one of my favourite images from the day was this one shooting through a hazy filter..which gave such a lovely dreamy effect on the bride. I love that what looks like a moment of quiet contemplation is captured, like we may have just caught her as she is pausing to reflect, before the big day, after maybe, as she is praying, thinking, dreaming. Its a window to the soul (even though it was pretend as she was a model). It could easily be one of those sort of moments and the hazy, pinky filter that we used in front of the lens just adds so much to it.

One of my favourite days of photography and it was for pure enjoyment and learning. It is good to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and have a go at other genres of photography. Why not try something yourself? street photography? landscapes? nature? It helps you to ‘see’ things differently.

It was amazing rubbing shoulders with real professionals who have been in the industry for so long and had so much knowledge to share. There is an element i guess in all industries that gets its feathers ruffled when new people come along as beginners and want to learn but I am all for it. We are all beginners at some point, we all have to learn. If you have found it out the hard way doesn’t mean that everyone has to go the same route.

Its good to share! πŸ™‚

the ordinary momentsMotivational Mondayliving arrows


A few weeks ago was remembrance day and since my daughters have joined the Brownies and got invited to carry the flag in the church and on the parade. It was a gorgeous, cold morning and after a lovely service where the girls did a great job of carrying the flag (the one flag, between the two of them – you can see there might be a problem brewing there!), the whole bunch of them, the boys brigade, the girls, brownies and scouts etc all disappeared down behind the church and marched past to the sound of the boys band. It was lovely.

We did get a bit of a hint of some brewing sibling trouble as the girls rounded the corner..some serious, frowning faces and we discovered that someone had told the girls that they couldn’t ‘share’ the holding of the flag for the march. In the church we had worked it out that one of them could hold the actual stick and the other could hold the corner of the material, then everybody was happy.

But that all went south when someone didnt appreciate the delicate balance of asking two sisters to do the same job!!

I think next time it might be time for an independent effort!

But it was so lovely to see the kids marching in the november sunshine to remember those gone before.



Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

mummy mishaps

A couple of weeks ago a couple of the members of apartyofseven suffered a pretty mean stomach bug, myself included. One of those that knocks you sideways and looses days and hours to the bathroom and the faithful bucket. Yuk.

About 72 hours after i had stopped being ill i decided that it was time to try and have a little run, up till this point my legs were still pretty wobbly. So one saturday morning i decided to wander off to a local ‘runners’ park after the ballet run drop off.

I sort of shuffled around the park, feeling wobbly at places but it was a slow and steady run and it gave me time to have a look at the park at the changing leaves. The park has a LOT of trees so the impact was pretty impressive. I even noticed a HUGE conker tree and thought there and then that I would suggest coming back later with the kids to do some conker picking. Which we did, although i did forget where the tree actually was and dragged everyone all the way round the park saying excitedly to them…’oh wait till we find this tree, wait till you see it!’

To be fair when we got there they did try and get enthused about it but i think to be honest they were all thinking i had kind of lost it. πŸ˜‰ But we did get a very impressive conker haul!

The park has a famous victorian palm house and a fairy glen that i have walked past thousands of times but never read the info on it, isn’t it funny how sometimes you have no idea about the stuff that is under your nose. My son and i read the story about the fairy glen and the bridge and the iron bridge. Gave me a little bit of shiver down my spine to be honest! My son though, every the pragmatist told me that it was ridiculous and couldn’t possibly be true because Ghosts down exist!!

Walking back to the car we noticed the biggest mushroom i think i have ever seen. It had some amazing colours and was standing proudly by the side of the path. I have no idea what makes a mushroom grow somewhere, do they have spores that are blown by the wind? are they planted? I haven’t a clue. πŸ˜‰

I do know though, that lots of them are very dangerous so i wouldn’t let the kids touch this one, so we looked at it a while. I took some pictures and we wondered about what type it was. Annoyingly it has a bit of grass on the top which was really spoiling it but im such a chicken that i wouldn’t even touch it to remove that for the shot! ha!!





Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Okay so its not really memphis..and being honest with you i wouldnt know what that is like because i have never been and i just really love the song…..


this hill near where we live around this time of year backs onto loads and loads of crop fields and we like to go walking over there and it always reminds me of that line in the song ‘walking with my feet ten feet of the Beale’ which until recently i thought was ‘off a field’ ( you can see my connection here) but apparently it is Β a road and not a field… HAH! Β So my comparison falls down in so many ways but in my imagination it works!

So okaaaayyyyy…

The hill is one of the high points around here and so you can get a decent view of the landscape, which it is, to be fair, slightly blotted by a motorway and lots of plyons but it is a peaceful place and i love the sound of the wind moving through the crops. It isnt that far away so its not really a day trip but we took a lunch and sat for a while. Well some of us did! πŸ˜‰

Generally the kids eat and run when we are picnicking. I have never had a child that hasn’t come complete with ants in their pants and they seem to be unable to sit still for very long. Fortunately there was a large rock to play on and some little sisters to give piggy back races to. Im amazed there were no injuries and it actually had the added benefit of my toddler asking someone else for a carry!

The rock here on this hill also gave me an idea for an image i want to get with a friend’s older daughter who is currently doing ‘en pointe’ ballet. I have been searching for a possible location and i think i may have found it. I was getting one of my girls to pretend to be a ballerina to see if it would work and she went for a classic ‘first’ position! πŸ™‚

We walked back through the wheat fields. Once they stopped moaning about having to walk..(is it only my kids that do that?) They really got into looking and noticing the different flowers and how the wheat is planted in lines and how much ‘crop’ a farmer might get out of these many fields..oh and how much actual wheat it takes to make one loaf of bread. Something to google i think as OH and i had no idea whatsoever!

A nice little afternoon. All in all


Family Farm Holidays Cornwall