Monday, 4 July 2011

365 Day Project: Day 25: July 2nd: ‘Ritual’

An undercover shot sneaked through the strings of my hammock at a party hosted by Everyone's An Artist on Saturday evening...I think I managed to grab it without disturbing them...eeep!

I had a bit of fun with this one, to accent the weirdness of it - as if that were possible or necessary! As well as adding a vignette and box, motion and gaussian blurs I applied a slight 'fisheye' effect and a dash of cross-processing.

And yes, you'll always find me snapping pictures at's the perfect excuse for not dancing/socialising/drinking...and it keeps me happy and entertained to boot!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

365 Day Project: Day 24: July 1st: ‘Patience’

365 Day Project: Day 24: July 1st: ‘Patience’

This delightful trio of poster dogs for the phrase 'patience is a virtue' caught my eye (not to mention my heart strings!) as we were walking home through the local supermarket car park - they just looked so adorable...! It was extremely difficult to choose a shot, because they just looked so lovely in all of them! In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret - this image is a Photoshopped merge of two photos, which I couldn't resist having a play with in order to get all three dogs with their eyes open...I'm really pleased with the result - it took me ages, but I genuinely can't see the 'joins', so I'm happy that it was worth it...

In a bizarre and pleasantly quirky twist of 'fate' - call it synchronicity if you will - which I choose to look upon as life demonstrating once again its love of playing games with us all, I later discovered that the owner of these lovely dogs is an ex-Puma helicopter pilot trainer. Really, you couldn't make it up! Hope you like the photo, Angus :o)

Friday, 1 July 2011

Thursday, 30 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 22: June 30th: ‘Grace at Nine’

Day 22: June 30th: Grace at Nine

My beautiful daughter, who is just the most fantastic model :o)

We did a little 'shoot' looking for pics to send to the wonderful Randi Antonsen, who has made my entire YEAR by offering to paint a series of images of her - one of my absolute all-time very favourite artists painting my 
absolute all-time very favourite human being...pinch me, I must be dreaming :o)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 21: June 1-28th: ‘Ducks-on-Thames’

Day 21: Ducks-on-Thames

Because it would be simply 'not-right' to live so near the river and let another day pass without a photo of ducks :o)

I took this shot hanging the camera over the edge of Wallingford Bridge - I do so like to experiment with unusual angles and perspectives on things. The image was then tweaked in Photoshop - levels, curves and a blurred vignette added...

365 Day Project: Day 20: June 28th: 'In An English Country Garden'

Day 20: In an English Country Garden

We babysat this garden (well, the dog and cat that call it their home) yesterday, which was a wonderful treat...'Gracie' spent most of the time hanging out with the Mr and Mrs Newtington and Monsieur Le Frog...hmmm, and I wonder how Mama spent the day...? click, click, click...!

I am absolutely delighted with this sepia shot - I think it is right up there with my very best work, and makes me wonder what on earth I might achieve with a pro camera! The original colour shot was already very promising, but when I started playing with it, at some point I converted it to sepia and just about fell off my chair - it suddenly sprang to life and became something very, very different...and very, very lovely :o) 

My post-editing skills are improving quite rapidly as a result of this 365 day project: I can't bear the idea of producing a years' worth of throw-away shots ;o)  So I was able to tweak the sepia tones and contrast, and the blur and vignette to make the whole thing look...well, really special, I reckon :o)  I'm very happy for Gracie that she'll have lovely images of herself to refer back to - and I'm enjoying it SO much! I love 'painting' with photography!

365 Day Project: Day 19: June 26th: 'Freddie-on-Thames’

This little 'beach' area is a magnet for dog-owners and their projectile-following pets - any trip to paddle in the river is likely to yield photo-opportunities of this nature :o) I love Freddie's intent gaze in this shot..."Throw it. Just throw it. JUST THROW IT! Please!!!!!"

Saturday, 25 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 18: June 25th: Puma on the Prowl

Day 18: June 25th: Puma on the Prowl

We've had snail hunters, predatory kites, me out rust-hunting...I wonder what these fellows are hunting for? Blood? Glory? Honour? I don't know. 
Today it was donations and the next generation of young hunters...tomorrow it could be the youngsters of Afghanistan or Libya - all a bit disconcerting if you ask me, but they were very pleasant and dashing fellows to a man...

Yes, they seemed like personable, friendly, proud-of-their-profession chaps, but presumably killing is their business...and business is good...when they're not charming the locals by dropping in unannounced at the park and allowing their children to run all over their 40-year-old Puma, that is...!

365 Day Project: Day 17: June 24th: '6'

365 Day Project: Day 17: June 24th: '6'

Well, I reckon 16 days without rust and peeling paint is just about ENOUGH! :o) So off I went, rust-hunting...I also found masses of juicy wild cherries along the way, which is always an added bonus :o)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 16: June 23rd: Of Kites and Chemtrails II

‎365 Day Project: Day 16: June 23rd: Of Kites and Chemtrails II

Seriously, almost every day...

...the Red Kites have me longing for a better camera...

...and the chemtrails have me longing for a better world...

...but here I stand, content despite my longings - content to see, delighted to be, and privileged to be able to communicate my innermost feelings to the clouds and the bids and the sky...

Red Kites and chemtrails: polar opposites, yet sharing same sky, the same life, and the same life force. As are we all. Namaste.

365 Day Project: Day 15: June 22nd: 'Of Kites and Chemtrails'

365 Day Project: Day 15: June 22nd: 'Of Kites and Chemtrails'

The two are omnipresent in the South Oxfordshire skies...

Given the limitations of my camera 'set-up' at present, this is the best shot I am likely to get of the beautiful Red Kites that soar majestically above my house every day. I often see up to 20 of them circling and playing overhead - pure magic :o) I wonder what they make of the chemtrails...or me?

Red Kites were my 'favourite' birds for years: I even travelled up to Inverness-shire especially to (try to -failed!) see them. 3 years ago we moved to South Oxfordshire, and I now see more Kites than sparrows, literally. There are even families of them nesting 100 metres away from my house :o)

I could do without the chemtrails, though...After observing and photographing them for several years, I can officially confirm that they suck, big time...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 14: June 21st: 'Snail Hunters Inc'

365 Day Project: Day 13: June 21st: 'Snail Hunters Inc'

When the rain comes out, so do the snails - and so do we!

I am clearly the only parent in our neighbourhood crazy enough to go out in the pouring rain (with a camera!) to join in with snail hunting...! ;o) But unless you get out there with your children, how will you ever know what fun you're missing out on? And how will they know that there are still adults on this planet who enjoy and appreciate nature's wonders?

Quite apart from the joy of snails, and the joy of joyful snail-loving girls, I was in photo-op heaven when I saw that row of busy, busy matching pinks :o) Music to my eyes! It took me an age to figure out how to add the textures and effects to this shot without losing them...! Again, all good Fun, though - and all natural, in-context learning, which works just as well in my own life as it does in my daughters :o)

So after collecting them in various jars and receptacles, and at bedtime the snails were released back into the wild - except for two each who were selected for the privilege (!) of overnighters. I do believe two of them were destined for whatever the British equivalent of 'show and tell' is the next day, but ours were reunited with their brethren the following morning...

Monday, 20 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 13: June 20th: Park-Puss

365 Day Project: Day 13: June 20th: Park-Puss

We don't know his given name, but we call him Park-Puss...
We see him almost every day on our way through the park into town, so it is only right that he should be included in my 'year' as the subject of a shot of the day - and in any case, he is irresistibly photogenic ;o)

I thought I'd have a go at a bit of selective colouring here, although I haven't gone completely b&w with the background...I also added a couple of layers for depth - multiply with a gaussian blur, and screen with an unsharp mask...

365 Day Project: Day 12: We are Family

365 Day Project: Day 12: We are Family

I am painting and photographing new stones every day at the moment for our new Etsy shop 'Said In Stones', so it is really only right that they should pop into a shot of the day...

So, here are a  few members of my little 'Said in Stones' family...their matter may be vibrating somewhat slower than that which constitutes my own physical being, but we are all constructed of the same energetic material...All and everything...All One...

Saturday, 18 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 11: June 18th: ‘One Plus One Equals Three’

365 Day Project: Day 11: June 18th: ‘One Plus One Equals Three’
Every Saturday I head off bright and early to our Local Producers' Market - it's the highlight of my culinary week :o) This morning I was accompanied by my Sweetheart, who for once is off work over the weekend...
The local farm shop stall is a favourite...potatoes, salad, portobello mushrooms..."shall we get carrots this week, Schmusi?" "Oh, no, no carrots this week." "Well...they look so nice - and they were lovely last week...I'm going to get some anyway - I'll eat them all if you don't want any..."
Home. Later. Schmusi is cooking. I'm painting stones. And my shot of the day presents itself!
"You have to see this, Jay - look! I think I have your shot of the day..."
WOW! Carrots, entwined! AMAZING! It's DEFINITELY my shot of the day! "But you cut the tops off...they might look cute lying on a bed of gorgeous green carrot tops..." And there, in the compost bin, hiding amongst the carrot tops...was baby carrot!
So they looked a whole lot better on a plate than on greens. And I wish they could live forever, so cute they are :o)

Friday, 17 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 10: June 17th: 'ARE YOU AWAKE? YES! xo'

Spotted on the exterior wall of Christ Church College in Oxford - I walked right past it and then realised that I HAD to double back...

Despite all the glories that the City of the Dreaming Spires has to offer, this was the 'image of the day' for me ;o)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 9: June 16th: 'Skyboat Silhouette'

365 Day Project: Day 9: June 16th: 'Skyboat Silhouette'

A shot I took today of the garden studio skylight of the very talented sculptor and artist, and legendary Headington Shark creator, John Buckley. Whenever I visit John, there is ALWAYS something fabulous and interesting to photograph...!

So this time I just happened to look up and there they were - little skyboat people, cute as a button and making fantastic silhouettes against the sky :o)!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 8: June 15th: DO NOT DESTERB FANCYOU


So she's been away for 'four sleeps', with another four to go..but she has not left me without company: tucked away under my desk stool is Spidey, chilling out, but keeping an eye on me ;o)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 7: June 14th: 'House of Cards'

365 Day Project: Day 7: June 14th: 'House of Cards'

Day 7, and a glorious June day - and more reflections in glass caught my eye! 
The sign on the lamp post is 100% genuine, by the way - I don't know if anyone else will 'get' it, but I found it deeply amusing, and very, very cool :o)

Monday, 13 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 6: June 13th: 'Coffee House Reflections'

365 Day Project: Day 6: June 13th: 'Coffee House Reflections'

One of my favourite activities is candid (stealth!) photography: people are so fascinating when they don't know they're being observed ;o) 

Whilst being treated to a cappuccino this morning, my eye was drawn to these two ladies and the reflections they were casting in the glass opposite me. The lady on the right was very animated and talkative, and the body language between them spoke volumes! I loved the way I could see their faces in the glass when they had their backs to me. Just the perfect photo opportunity, really, especially since the animated lady was far too absorbed in her chat to notice the sneaky bird with the camera in the corner!

It took me an hour or so in Photoshop to get the lighting and the focus the way I really wanted them - this project is really inspiring me to learn all sorts of new things! I discovered 'box blur' whilst working on this - very cool indeed!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 4: June 12th: 'Self-Appointed Inspector of Donkeys and Rain Storms'

It is pouring it down here in South Oxfordshire, and I had to grab this shot quickly before my camera got a soaking...!

Walking through the storm and standing under the trees with my donkey friends, I was reminded of the rain storms and thunder storms quote from Thoreau...

I do believe myself to be 'a self-appointed inspector of donkeys (ears) - and storms!' ;o)

I discovered these donkeys only a couple of weeks ago, having been wondering for some time now how it could possibly be that there were no horses nearby. Just days later, we were out exploring and 'bingo!' - horses AND donkeys, and not 5 minutes' walk from my house. Did I ever mention how much I love synchronicity? :o)

I messed about with this shot in Photoshop, trying to work with it rather than rescue it - although shot in RAW format, the lighting was very low and the aforementioned rain was a major factor in producing the grainy, far-from-perfect effect. I thought I'd go for something quirky to go with the low lighting and the donkeys' ears ;o) Three layers here - original, b&w and cross-processed, blended and tweaked. I like it - especially those bony donkey backs front of shot...and the down-turned ears on my little friend left of centre...!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 4: June 11th: 'Beautiful Dreamer'

Please click on the photo to see a larger version...

Day 4: June 11th: 'Beautiful Dreamer'

I took a number of shots which I thought might pip this one to the post today, but in the end this capture was the obvious choice. Taken at about 08:00 this morning, the lighting was soft and perfect, and I thought I'd share with you one of my all-time favourite sights: my beautiful daughter, sleeping...

Along with unschooling and being self-employed creative entities, one of our other 'non-mainstream' activities has always been sharing sleep time together. My daughter has slept by my side every night since birth. I remember being a pregnant mama and total newbie to anything baby-related, scouring all kinds of sources looking for ideas that resonated with me. One of those I discovered was the notion of 'attachment parenting': one might just call it 'natural parenting', actually. One of the things I was wildly uncomfortable with was the prospect of NOT sleeping with my little one, and it was a massive relief (and total surprise!) to discover that I was NOT alone :o)

Nine years later, we still enjoy each other's company night and day, and my daughter is the most balanced, intelligent, loving, capable and independent child I have ever met. All that crap about 'making her clingy' was just that - complete and utter nonsense...

...she is also free to be a dreamer, awake and asleep...and every night, she goes to sleep when she is tired, and every morning she wakes up when she is good and ready...what a gift!

With this shot, I celebrate her beauty and uniqueness: long may it continue to grow and develop.

So, my beautiful daughter as I see her every morning. What a privilege that waking up next to an angel...

...and yes, I asked for permission to post this, and permission was graciously granted :-)

Friday, 10 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 3: June 10th: 'The Magic of 03:00'

One of the things I enjoy the very most in life is taking what at first glance appears to be an utterly mundane scene or object and discovering its hidden beauties. This image is one of those moments - a 03:00 a.m. trip to the bathroom, of all things, had me reaching for the camera in the dark...

...I had a bit of trouble getting back to sleep, as the image of where this shot was heading was already in my mind... first thing this morning I imported the shots from my camera and fired up Photoshop. After a quick search online for 'bokeh with Photoshop', I was off on another learning curve, transforming an already interesting shot into something a bit more 'ethereal'...I am happy enough with the result - not bad for a first attempt at rendering this particular hand-made lighting effect, I reckon :o)

Thanks go out to for a great tutorial - I didn't follow it to the letter, and mine don't look anything like yours (!), but it was a big help anyway :-)


N.B. You can see all of my 365 Day Project entries here -

Thursday, 9 June 2011

365 Day Project: Day 2: June 9th: 'Visitor from Outer Space'

Barely two minute into June 9th, this amazing little being appeared on our kitchen wall. Talk about the perfect photo opportunity! I took a few shots before inviting my fascinated daughter to sneak into a couple of them, which enhanced the whole shot for my eye considerably...

Afterwards we very gently caught our little visitor in a suitable container and took him back to outer space. Sitting on top of the dustbin, he raised his head and had a jolly good look at us both before launching up into the sky, so big and bright that we could watch the journey upwards with out mouths in our hearts :-) And then he was gone  just like magic! Amazing...


N.B. If you're wondering what a 9 year old was doing out of bed at 00:02 on a Thursday, we were so involved in reading 'The Madman' by Khalil Gibran that we totally lost track of time! One of the great perks of 'unschooling' is that one can stay up as late as one likes and stay in bed in the morning to compensate ;-)

365 Day Project: Day 1: 8th June 2011: 'Sweet Little Bird'

Day 1: June 8th 2011: 'Sweet Little Bird'

I could not have asked for a more fortuitous beginning to the 365 Day Project: whilst out for a stroll this morning, my daughter and I happened upon this delightful little Long-Tailed Titmouse fledgeling, out on his or her own and clearly not much phased by humans yet! After thrilling us with a superb show of caterpillar catching in a small beech tree right alongside the path (within arms' reach), he or she flitted down to retrieve the fallen grub. Having swallowed it, the little sweetie proceed to take a nap on the ground right next to us. Amazing!

"I love life, Mama!"
"Me too, Gracie!"

Wow :-)

N.B. The post-editing work on this shot was all very experimental for me: another positive aspect to the project is that, having committed to posting one image every day, the creative juices are being given a if they needed them, LOL!

365 day project

Hello one and all!

Yesterday some friends and I began a project for which we've opened a Group on facebook: the 365 Day Project. Each of us has agreed to shoot and post one image a day to the Group for the next 365 days. Some of us are photographers, some are traditional artists, and some (like me) work in both media. Amongst our number are Hsien-Ku (Judith Crispin), Donna Malone, Michele Meister, Kallena Kucers, Kimba Vetten and many more wonderfully talented individuals.

I've decided that to add interest to the project for myself, I will write a little Blog entry for each image that I contribute to the project. Should be a lot of fun! 

I hope you'll join us,