Last weekend we had a furiously busy few days. We were rushed off our feet going Christmas shopping and all kinds of festive prep. It was busy and stressful, as the run up to Christmas so often is.
Whilst my husband did battle with a shopping centre, I took the small boy to the SEA LIFE Centre for an hour. We love it there, it’s usually a lot of fun and an interesting way to spend an afternoon exploring under the sea. But this time we were the first through the door and as we skipped the initial photograph and film, we were a good few minutes in front of everyone else. It was fantastic.
After the chaos and bright lights of the last few weeks, we took our stress levels down a notch or two. Watching the fish swimming in the tanks and the calm undersea lighting worked wonders on our fraught moods.
I have a real thing for jellyfish. I’m terrified of them in the sea, but in the tanks of the SEA LIFE Centre they are shown up as the real things of beauty that they are. I love taking photographs of them and trying to capture some of their alien beauty. Here’s my favourite from our visit. I hope you like it too.
On Friday I spent the day at Jessops in Manchester at their academy. A month or so ago I bought myself a Nikon D3330 DSLR camera and one of the things I also did was book a place on their level 1 photography course. I was a bit nervous, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was still very unfamiliar with my camera and worried I would be the class idiot.
I actually didn’t really have too much to worry about, the trainer was excellent and explained things really well, and all the blog photography sessions I’ve sat through at various conferences seemed to have given me a little knowledge which I can now build on.
The level 1 course focussed on Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO and we managed a quick half hour on the streets of Manchester having a bit of a play with our cameras and our new found knowledge. Here is teddy posing with a mystery man outside the Arndale Centre in Manchester.
I loved the course so much that I immediately splashed out £150 on a new 50mm lens and booked myself onto the level 2 course for later this year.
If you’re getting to grips with a new camera I can totally recommend the Jessops level 1 course, it’s given me lots of confidence to go out and have a go and try and take good pictures on purpose, not just by accident!
Yesterday we went to A Day At The Lake at Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire. Despite the rain we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The festival was a delight, full of everything you’d expect from Wild Rumpus (who also organise the Just So Festival and The Lost Carnival). The day was full of magic and wonder; mermaids, marching bands, Victorian Jugglers in their bathing suits, circus sideshows, a fabulous storyteller, a helter skelter and an amazing tightrope walker who walks across a high-wire stretched precariously over the lake!
The small boy came home with a head full of imagination (more so than usual) and it’s really got us in the mood for Just So this summer. If you’re at a loose end this Bank Holiday weekend, then A Day At The Lake is well worth a visit! You can read my full review here.
I took lots of pictures of the day and I have a few favourites, but I love this one of the rowing boats. Hope you like it too.
The boys and I have had a lovely week “off” from work, spending lots of time together doing activity books, building Lego and going on little adventures. On Tuesday we hopped into the car and headed to Crosby Beach in Liverpool. A beach famous for its Antony Gormley statues – a beautifully eerie collection of 100 identical figures scattered across a two mile stretch of beach. The installation is called “Another Place” and it’s well worth a visit if you get the chance. I’m putting the finishing touches to a blog post about our visit, so do keep your eyes peeled for that.
In the meantime here’s one of my favourite pictures from our visit. Deep December blue skies, gently rolling surf, what’s not to love?
When I got my first ipad a few years ago one of the first things I did was flip the camera and take my very first selfie. I was behind the selfie times and it’s taken me a little while to develop my selfie obsession. Now don’t get me wrong, I know I’m no beauty, so I don’t take selfies to win admirers, nor have I ever with any degree of seriousness pulled one of those duck face pouts, but I do love taking selfies.
I probably take a couple of selfies every day, approximately 90% of my selfies will be deleted within moments of me taking them, but that’s the beauty of selfies, you can self edit as you go along. I take selfies because….
My hair is on point and I want to capture that moment
The light is just so and I don’t look like death warmed up, indeed I even look tolerable
I’m all dressed up and off out and want people to know I don’t actually live in pjs
I’m crying and want to know if I look cute when I cry… I don’t
I think I look rough and I’m double checking
To privately document the development of a spot
I’ve put some make up on (rare)
To reassure a worried friend that I’m alive and ok
To pull a series of funny faces to entertain someone
To practice various facial expressions so I can pull off things like pretending to listen whilst mentally writing a shopping list instead
Selfies with my son, because no one ever takes pictures of us together
Because sometimes I’m just cute, ok.
If you go on Instagram and search for “selfie” there are currently 217,597,002 photos with that tag (and that number rises every second). I’m no mathematician or scientist, but that’s a pretty big number and I think it’s reasonable to hypothesise that selfie obsession is a thing.
Here are a random selection of my selfies, I had literally hundreds to choose from, some I like, some are ok, some don’t really look all that much like me, some have been edited (purple eyes anyone?) but I hasten to add, not photoshopped to make me look young, beautiful or thin, but that’s apparent to anyone with eyes.
But what purpose do they serve? Maybe it’s a bit of vanity, some will end up as profile pictures for my various social media accounts, I may instagram the occasional one, send one or two to friends maybe, I don’t know.
I wonder if a misspent youth feeding pound coins into photo booths in Woolworths has forced me and countless others to develop this selfie obsession. Constantly striving to find the perfect passport photo or create a cute picture for your boyfriends wallet; groups of friends squashed like sardines, sat precariously on each others knees, someone shouting “nobody blink – say cheese” as the blinding photobooth flash pops four times in hesitant succession.
It occurs to me that my generation have always been selfie obsessed, it’s just these days the images cost nothing and are easily deleted, posed, fixed, edited and filtered. Smartphones are our photobooths, but we have no comical strip of images to take away and treasure, just a digital footprint, some finely filtered images, perfectly posed pouts lacking the joy of spontaneity, and instagram is filled with 217,597,002 almost identical images.
As much as I mourn for the days of photobooth fun, I couldn’t be without my selfies, but I do wonder in years to come what our grandchildren will think as they scroll through our digital histories and discover just how selfie obsessed we are, and what that says about our lives right now.
This is the super blood moon eclipse which happened this week. I dutifully set my alarm for 3am and grumpily got out of bed to see this rare eclipse. I tried to take some snaps with my ipad but it was useless, but I had my proper camera on hand and took this. It was my first ever attempt at a detailed picture of the moon, and I was pretty pleased with the result.
There was no special trick to this, I leant out of my bedroom window, pointed my camera at the moon and zoomed in as far as I could. I was wobbling the camera all over the place, so I pulled on the neck strap on the camera and held it taut, it worked briefly and I fired off a few shots before I got the shakes again. Next time I would use a tripod and maybe a slightly better camera.
I use a Nikon Coolpix L820, which isn’t a DSLR but it’s easy to use and I’ve managed to take some pretty nice pictures with it.
So that’s my super blood moon. Not bad for a half asleep grumpy woman with the shakes.