18 years

18 years ago
I was right here
A different person
But the same me

I was breathing
I was terrified
Realising my life was about to change
The fear
The thrill
The pain

I didn’t know it would be hours yet
But I knew it was time
It was all beginning
And everything would change

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Anticipating Spring

I know, we haven’t even got Christmas out of the way yet, and I’m already thinking about next year! The Weekly Photo Challenge this week is about anticipation and this made me think of spring time and how I eagerly look for signs of what’s coming in the hedgerows. One of the things that gets me excited is when I see the Bluebells beginning to emerge. First of all the flower are in tight green buds, all packed together, but you know what is coming so the anticipation builds.

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Best Christmas Outfit

17/12/16 – Edited to add:

The vote is now closed! Thank you for voting. The winner is number 10! Congratulations 🙂

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Photo number 10

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At the weekend I was at the Christmas Show Jumping competition at Rheidol Riding Centre. While rosettes were awarded for the various rounds, there wasn’t an award for the best dressed rider on the day. So I thought, for a bit of fun, since I photographed everyone, maybe we could have a vote to see who we think was the best dressed rider.

Here are all the riders who dressed up (click on a photo to see it larger, and you can then scroll through them to see them all):

Each photo has a number so you can vote for your favourite in the poll here:

To thank the riders for their efforts which added lots of fun to my photography, I’ll give the winner a prize of some sort … maybe a free digital download of themselves in action? Or maybe chocolates? Anyway, let’s just see who the winner is … get voting! 🙂

Confidence

If I could give myself a Christmas gift this year, I think it would the gift of confidence. Not over-confidence and arrogance, but just enough confidence in myself to not feel stupid, embarrassed and not good enough. I find it very hard to believe in myself and my abilities. Even though there are many of you following my blog, I still feel like I’m not good enough. I don’t want to be ‘fishing for compliments’ as they say, just explaining myself. This pondering was brought on by the Weekly Photo Challenge this week – New Horizon:

This week, we’re challenging you to think ahead and show your work in a representative photo. If you set New Year’s resolutions, give them some thought a few weeks early. If resolutions aren’t your style, show us something that you want to achieve — it could be setting a new goal, making plans, or even tackling that pile of laundry waiting by the washer. The goal is to get out of the busy “now,” and imagine your new horizon. Go!

It coincides with a conversation I had recently about the need to be more assertive and stand up for myself, and believe I am good enough at things to deserve recognition for that. I want to be that person, but it’s so hard for me. I want to achieve this confidence and assertiveness, without bringing anyone else down, or being arrogant, or ‘blowing my own trumpet’. I think that balance must be hard, but I would like to move more towards the centre rather than being down at my end where there isn’t much confidence at all.

I was picking some photos to add to my ponderings and for no particular reason I chose this photo of a sheep. She appears to be making faces at me. Perhaps she’s trying to be encouraging!

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I also chose this robin, who finally sat still long enough for me to get a photo of him a while back. I may not be a ‘robin whisper’ but I do have persistence and patience and get that shot in the end.

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A big aspect of needing confidence in photography is when you take photos of people. Insects, birds and flowers don’t really threaten your confidence directly – only in your self-critical analysis of the photos you take. But when you take pictures of people there is a risk that they think your photos are rubbish. So it takes confidence for me to be brave enough to take photos of people riding, other than my daughter, and to dare to suggest the they might buy a copy if they’d like a larger version. I find myself trying not to say ‘oh they’re not very good, I’m sure they’re not worth paying for’. But there are some lovely people who have a bought one or two so my confidence is gradually creeping up in that area.

Here are a few recent photos from a show jumping competition:

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I can already feel myself being self-critical. Oh the lighting wasn’t great, and maybe the balance isn’t right. The pony is too low down in the frame… etc. But I am trying to have confidence in myself.

I often find myself like this ladybird. Out on my own and not quite fitting in. But I am unique and interesting in my own way. So why worry that I’m different? Easy to say but less easy to achieve. Good luck to all in their endeavours to achieve whatever it is you are wishing for.

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In the spirit of confidence, if you are interested in my photography equipment, I’ve created a page about what I use so please take a look if you would like to now more about that.

Soothing Light

I was looking for photos on the Weekly Photo Challenge theme of ‘relax’. Initially I tried to capture my cat relaxing with my daughter, but being a black cat, he’s not terribly photogenic I find, and this was the best I could do:

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So I started thinking about a different approach. Rather than something or someone looking relaxed, what photos just make me feel relaxed? Looking through my images, it seems that the ones I find relaxing are images with light and warmth. Others make me excited, happy, nostalgic, etc. etc. but these are the ones that make me feel relaxed. So here are some images full of light and warmth that I hope you will find relaxing too:

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I started writing this post earlier and then decided to see if I could capture some of the sunset to add to the photos of warmth and light. I realised that winter sunsets are not quite in the right place to see from our village as the sun goes down behind a hill instead of a gap between hills like in the summer. But I got some nice shots of the lovely sky.

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Frosty Leaves

Yesterday morning, there was a frost and all the fallen leaves were looking pretty with a frosty coating. Sums up this time of year of autumn moving into winter, with the autumn leaves and the cold frost.

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: It’s Not This Time of Year Without…

Christmas Magic

I know some people may feel it’s a little early but what’s more magical than Christmas sparkle and twinkly lights? We’ve put our tree up early this year to cheer us up in the dark nights, and fend of the darkness of depressing/frustrating news stories. Light and bright, bringing hope, and reminding us to hold onto the important things, to live, love and laugh, and make the most of what we have.

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Magic.

Autumn by the river

As I mentioned, last weekend I took a long walk through the woods down by the river. It was beautiful! I’m glad I went then because this weekend is mostly grey and damp and we’ve had a lot of wind during the week which will have stripped of some of these lovely leaves. The only down side to my walk was that according to my back/leg I went a little too far, and suffered for it afterwards. However, I think it was worth it.

Soon after I started walking I came upon this lovely site – a gorgeous Beech tree that had already created a lovely carpet of orange leaves on the ground:

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Looking out at the river from under the tree:

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And looking back at the tree again, with its glorious orange carpet:

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Close up of a branch complete with raindrop:

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Further on in my walk I came to this raised area, where there was another beautiful carpet of leaves. As the sun came out the shadows of the trees made stripes on the carpet and you can even see me there too if you look:

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With the sun streaming through the trees, the light was lovely:

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There was still a fair amount of greenery, although it was mostly turning at least yellowish, if not golden orange:

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Further on, the path went under the trees and again, the carpet of orange leaves made it look magical:

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I had to keep stopping to take another photo round every corner!:

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And finally, back near the river again I took another shot of the trees on the bank, with a little glimpse of the river on the right:

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Tiny Mushrooms

On a walk in the woods last weekend, I found some tiny little mushrooms (and some bigger ones). It was beautiful in the woods with all the autumn colour. I must post some of the photos of the autumn trees soon. Meanwhile, the tiny mushrooms – enjoy 🙂

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny.

Among Nature’s Chaos

Back in June I was finding tiny grasshoppers among the chaos of grass stems. I remember that joyful feeling of walking along and seeing tiny creatures springing about, then getting down close to the ground and seeing so many tiny hoppers peeking out at me from various stems.

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More recently I’ve enjoyed photographing the chaos of ferns where you rarely find a lone frond with a quiet background. It’s mostly fern on fern on fern, with various other stalks and trees thrown in. But if you can get the focus right you can draw out one frond and bring a little order to the chaos.

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I love catching the light shining through the fronds.

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Back in the summer I noticed this one lone flower on the Frogbit in my pond. Otherwise it was just a chaos of little mini lily pads, but this one flower stood out among the chaos.

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And finally, a chaotic scene of scabious flowers, and in the middle of the chaos the age-old story plays out of continuing the species.

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Chaos

Beech Transformation

The Weekly Photo Challenge this week is ‘Transmogrify’. What a word! This is what it means:

transmogrify
/tranzˈmɒɡrɪfʌɪ,trɑːnz-,-ns-/
verb humorous
transform in a surprising or magical manner.
“his home was transmogrified into a hippy crash pad”

Well, in nature things shouldn’t be that surprising as they happen on a regular basis, but it still thrills me at this time of year when I look out of my bedroom window at this:

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My beautiful Beech tree is looking amazing at the moment. So much colour – yellow, gold, orange, brown and still some green. Isn’t it lovely? I’m so lucky to have this in my hedge right outside. Please excuse the strange small shape half way up the left side of this image – that’s the handle on my window – it won’t open any further!

But what about the the transmogrification process, or if you prefer (it’s easier to say) – the transformation…

Back in the winter there were no leaves, making it a great place to take a photo of the sunset, with a lovely silhouette:

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And when it was rainy it collected the droplets on its bare branches, looking like it was decorated with jewels:

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As spring approached, the buds began to fatten up:

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And then the joy of fresh delicate green leaves emerging:

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These 2 photos are quite old, before I found my style for processing images, but I’m including them so you can see the full tree in spring. First with only some of the leaves emerged:

This is how it looked on Monday - kind of half done

And then in full leaf:

And this is how it looks today :)

After a summer of lush green leaves, the colour started to change, just a little at first:

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And back to the present, this time viewed from the path outside my front door:

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Rain and Shine

During my last couple of walks round the village, the sun was shining after rain so there were a few things catching my eye with the shine of sun on water droplets.

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And the few remaining insects were catching the light in their eyes and their wings.

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shine