Saturday, 30 June 2007

June 30 ~ Lovely If You're a Duck!

Well, at least Duckie's enjoying the weather. He thinks it's just splashing!

As you may have guessed, it's bucketing down again. Guess the nice weather is being saved for Monday, when I return to work. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow, my last day off, turns out reasonably well. There's a motorcycle show (I think that's what it is, anyhow!) on tomorrow local to me, so I might head out with the camera to check that out.

Hope you're all enjoying your weekend - and your LONG weekend for those of you in Canada! {{HUGS}}

Friday, 29 June 2007

June 29 ~ At the Lighthouse

Finally! The weather has cooperated with me, and I have been able to get out with the camera and wide-angle lens before I have to return it tonight. I wanted to get out for sunrise, but it was dull and cloudy. I went back to sleep instead. Around 9:30 this morning the sky looked rather ominous, with black clouds and scattered showers. The sun kept breaking through though, so I decided to take my chances and head for the coast. Armed with a groundsheet and a poncho, I figured that even if the heavens opened, I might still come away with some shots of dramatic sky. As I drove north on the motorway towards Whitley Bay and St. Mary's Lighthouse, the rain came and went - torrential at times - and the sun kept peeking through. By the time I'd arrived at my destination, I had these fluffy candyfloss clouds over the lighthouse. Behind me, over the mainland, the skies were dark as night. Guess having the poncho in my camera bag is a good luck charm - no rain! The only difficulty I encountered this morning on my jaunt was the busload after busload of schoolchildren that arrived. There must have been about 5 or 6 class trips going on today. They were scrambling about in the rockpools and exclaiming over seashells, little crabs, and seaweed. They were a lot of fun to watch and listen to, but kind of ruined the tranquil scene I wanted to capture! LOL

Hope you're all well today. I can't believe that it's Friday already; usually I can't wait for Fridays to roll around, but this week I wish it hadn't. I've been enjoying my time off work - now that I'm almost over my cold at least - and wish I had more time to relax. Strange how when you take time off work to recharge your batteries, you end up getting sick! Oh well - I still have the weekend left to enjoy myself. {{{HUGS}}}

Thursday, 28 June 2007

June 28 ~ Pears

Yup, you guessed it - weather yet again refuses to cooperate with me. I have the wide-angle lens until Friday evening, and I've not yet had a chance to use it outdoors. Figured I would play around inside then. Nothing special, just the contents of the fruit bowl, but I like the perspective. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow as it would be a crying shame to return the lens without having had the chance to take any landscape photos with it. Don't know when I'll have one of my own, so want to make the most of the borrowed one while I can. Oh well, here's hoping tomorrow dawns bright and sunny! {{HUGS}}

June 27 ~ Rustic

Another dull, grey day here today. I know I shouldn't complain - especially what with the horrific flooding going on round the country - but I am so disheartened that on my week's vacation I have no good weather for photography! Particularly as I have that borrowed wide-angle lens; very frustrating! As a result, I played indoors with the lens. This is the result.

Hope you're all well - lots of {{HUGS}}

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

A Few More From the Farnes

I just couldn't resist! Here are some more from Saturday's trip out to the Farne Islands:

June 26 ~ Roker Storm

The sun made an appearance today - finally! I've been thinking a lot about those further south, particularly in Sheffield and the surrounding area. Thank goodness my friends P and W and C are all safe and well. The dam at the Ulley reservoir looks like it's going to hold as well; fingers crossed that's the worst behind folks now.

Weather today was changeable; lots of short, powerful showers. On our way back from the dentist's we stopped along the coast road to take photos at Roker Pier, as the wind was whipping up the waves. The intermittent sunlight streaming through the storm clouds made for lovely light and I wanted to make the most of it. This shot is my favourite. I would have loved it if the storm clouds had been over the horizon rather than over me so as to make for a more dramatic sky, but hey - I still got a decent shot!

Lots of pottering round the house to do tomorrow. If it's nice out first thing I might sneak off for some landscape shots somwhere though. I've still not had a chance to try out the beautiful, beautiful Sigma 10-20mm lens that my friend A lent me this week. I have to return it Friday evening at camera club, so I want to make the most of it while I can. Unfortunately, the weather's had other ideas so far. I will be without my car for most of the day Thursday too; it's going in for its annual service. Hope I get lucky with some lovely sunrises then!

Hope you're all well. Sending {{HUGS}} your way!

Monday, 25 June 2007

June 25 ~ One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill has been nicknamed Broccoli Gap on Marrow Pass, Northumberland by a friend - I think I like that better than my original title!

I was stuck for some inspiration on yet another dank, dark, gloomy and drizzly day (the first of my week off, to boot!). The vegetable aisles at ASDA became my inspiration. I know I shouldn't complain about the weather; here in Sunderland on the NE coast, we've been far, far more fortunate that folks a bit further south from us. Watching the news on TV tonight, it seems that Sheffield has been particularly badly hit. Lots of flooding, and talk of the forces flying in a Chinook helicopter to rescue those trapped by floodwaters. I'm thinking of all my friends who live in areas that might be affected, and hoping they're safe and warm and dry tonight.

I've been tagged by my good friend Julie/CG. Thank you Julie - what a great start to my week off work! xoxo

Here is what she said in her post when she tagged me:

Anna is a Canadian girl living in the NE of England. Her photo a day blog contains a great variety of images. You must check out the ongoing adventures of her little wooden pals. Anna has just posted a great series of puffin and other wildlife shots from the Farne Islands which shouldn't be missed.

Now it's my turn to honour 5 of my blog friends with this award (how I love these blog awards! It makes me feel so wonderful to be given one, and I feel even more wonderful giving them to my friends!). Here are my award winners, in no particular order:

1. Kathy/Kaycee - Kathy has been a very good Internet friend of mine for a couple of years now. She is a very talented photographer living in Utica, New York. Kathy's work is always an inspiration to me; the way she sees the world and describes it to us, both in words and in photographs, always leaves me in awe.

2. Pat - Pat is like a member of my family; I am extremely lucky to know such a caring and generous soul. I am already looking forward to this December when I'm next in Canada so we can meet up again! Pat is another wonderful photographer; her Guelph Daily Photo blog is a treat to view.

3. Ruth - Ruth has a wonderful blog full of wise words and a great photo every day to accompany them. She is also a VERY gifted gardener, and her garden blog is a joy to see!

4. Muddy_Sneakers - Christy is a keen nature enthusiast and great photographer. Her blog from North Carolina is a must-see for me! Full of backyard and not-so-backyard critters and flora, I always enjoy a visit.

5. Mrs Nesbitt - A visit to D's blog is a sure-fire way to get my toes tapping and make me start humming! Every day there is a photo and song lyrics to accompany it. Starts my day off so well!

{{{HUGS}}} to you all!!!

June 24 ~ Faded

This is the last of the peonies. I just had to get one final photo of a bloom. Even though it's well past its prime, it's still got something about it that I find attractive. I decided that emphasizing the colours and textures of the petals would be the way to go here, so I placed the peony on my sheet of Perspex to see what kind of reflection shot I could get. Faded beauty is what I see, but it is beauty nonetheless - and this bloom still carried with it a lingering scent of heady perfume. So it might not be a beautiful shot to some of you, but it is to me :)

It was a dull and drizzly Sunday, so we didn't venture anywhere. Besides, I was far too sore from the day on the islands on Saturday! My arms and shoulders in particular were aching; I spent so much of my time on the islands with my camera pointed skywards trying to catch that in-flight shot I so longed for. We spent the day cozily at home, and I tried to go through the reams and reams of photos I took. Out of about 500 shots taken, I think there about 95 or so that will be "keepers". I'm delighted with that ratio! I would imagine you'll all be seeing puffins and such from me for a long while to come LOL

Hope you're all well - you're all in my thoughts! Lots of {{HUGS}} to you all.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

The Puffin Run!

Puffins, puffins everywhere! What a great day it was, even though the weather wasn't the best. We had cloud and drizzle all day, but it was better than the torrential thunderstorms at home! Here are a couple of the photos that I've gotten round to processing so far. I am especially thrilled as I managed to get my first-ever shot of a puffin in flight, ferrying a beak full of sand eels back to its burrow. Here are the first few shots I've actually had a chance to process so far. Prepare to be inundated with wildlife shots over the coming days and weeks! LOL

June 22 ~ Liz

No photo on Thursday as the long hours at work had taken their toll and I was down with a cold. I also had a late evening as I was out with the girls from work, so by the time I got in I was feeling well and truly ill due to the cold.

It was Practical Night at camera club, so I got the chance to take studio shots for only the second time ever. Liz was a great sport and we had lots of laughs as she uncomplainingly sat for photo after photo.

I really felt awful today due to my cold; just hoping that I am all right for the Puffin Run on Saturday!! {{HUGS}} to you all.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

June 20 ~ Peony

Peonies are flowers that hold some lovely memories for me. As a child in elementary school, we used to bring peonies from the garden in to our teachers in June. I remember wrapping wet paper towel around the cut stems, and then wrapping that in a layer of aluminum foil. We used to giggle on the school bus as we tried to count the number of ants crawling around the peonies (for some reason, ants LOVE peonies!)

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic these past few days; the middle to end of June almost always does it. Think it's got something to do with the fact that I have such wonderful childhood memories of this time of year; it was the winding-up of the school year (usually we were done for the summer by about the 23rd of June). I have fond memories of sitting in the back yard, often curled up with a book, smelling the heady scent of the peonies as the late evening sun cast a beautiful golden light. Guess tonight was one of those nights that really brought that back to me. What a delightful feeling!

This photo might be a departure from my more "usual" style, and I suppose those recollections are the reason why. The light tonight just seemed "right" I think, and the cut peonies in the vase on my desk just combined with the sight of the sun to make me get outside and take a photograph. It's my own little bit of childhood dream.

Hope the day has been good to you all - I'm sending lots of love and {{HUGS}}.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

June 19 ~ Dare to be Different

Yum. I love cherries. Figured they would make an interesting subject for a photo as well, provided I could keep myself from devouring them first! I had two different types of them, too - red Napoleon cherries and yellow Ranier ones. Just begged to be photographed together, of course.

Three workdays to go until the Puffin Run and my week of freedom from work. I can't wait!

Hope Tuesday's treated you all well, and I send {{HUGS}}

Monday, 18 June 2007

For Loved Ones....

Today I'm thinking of family and a friend, and sending lots of love and {{HUGS}}

I also managed to have a flash of inspiration and take a photo today; it feels like I'm getting back on track after last week's discouragement.

June 18 ~ Art Supplies

Your Personality Profile

You are dependable, popular, and observant.

Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.

In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

You are unique, creative, and expressive.

You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.

And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

You Are a Dreaming Soul

Your vivid emotions and imagination takes you away from this world

So much so that you tend to live in your head most of the time

You have great dreams and ambitions that could be the envy of all...

But for you, following through with your dreams is a bit difficult

You are charming, endearing, and people tend to love you.

Forgiving and tolerant, you see the world through rose colored glasses.

Underneath it all, you have a ton of passion that you hide from others.

Always hopeful, you tend to expect positive outcomes in your life.

Souls you are most compatible with: Newborn Soul, Prophet Soul, and Traveler Soul

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Before I post today's photo, I just want to wish my Dad a very happy Father's Day (and remind him that I owe him a pint next time we're together!) I love you so much Dad.

This shot of me and Dad was taken in 2004 when my parents were here for a visit. We were on the train from Sunderland to Carlisle when my mom snapped this. It's technically not the best photo due to flare, but it's incredibly precious to me.

Okay, on to today's photo. I'm hoping that my photographer's block is behind me:

I left my deck chair out in the rain this week, and when I was wandering in the garden today I noticed that a flower from one of my potted plants had broken off and fallen into the puddle that formed on the seat. Just what my eye needed - a happy accident!

Hope you all have a lovely day, and that all the dads enjoy their Father's Day. {{{HUGS}}}

Saturday, 16 June 2007

At Last!

At last, the rain has stopped! I managed to get out with the cameras today for a wander round the woods. I paid a visit to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Washington, which is about a 5 minute drive from home. I love walking round there and stopping to smell the flowers - literally! I felt a bit more inspired today, and came back with these photos:

This fellow was showboating on a perch over the lake just outside the hide I was sitting in. He must have spent about 10 minutes preening and posing. I was transfixed!

Just playing with the Samsung, the kit lens, and some close up filters.

This is the first live hedgehog I've ever seen! I turned a corner in the forest just in time to see him scuttling from the path into the undergrowth. He then snuffled about for about 15 minutes while I watched him and took photos. I was hoping he'd make himself a bit more visible, but he seemed far too happy where he was to accomodate me! I was flabbergasted though; although I was crouched on the side of the path taking photos, there were so many people who just marched on by, never pausing to enquire about what was so fascinating to me. They just walked far too quickly to ever notice....

Another of the showoff :)

It felt good to vent in my post earlier today about my lack of photographic inspiration, and I appreciate those who read this blog and keep encouraging and supporting me. It means a great deal. Thank you. {{{HUGS}}} Here's hoping tomorrow is another good photo day!

Lack of Inspiration

Sorry I've not posted in here in almost a week; I'm suffering from a severe lack of inspiration. I just feel rather flat these past few days, and as a result my PAD project has taken a bit of a beating. I'm hoping to get back on track today, provided I can get out to find some subjects to photograph.

It's been a very long week and I've been working some crazy hours. The end of the sales quarter is in two weeks' time, and I'm off for the last one (last week in June) so I really need to make the few days I have left at work count. I'm feeling some burnout as I've not had any holiday time since January when we came home from Canada. I'm really looking forward to this upcoming week off to recharge my batteries, spend lots of time with Chris, and hopefully take lots of photos.
The first day of my vacation is going to be spent on the Farne Islands in Northumberland taking photographs of seabirds with several members of Photography Cafe and Enjoying Photography, as well as members of Washington Camera Club. I had a great time on this trip out last June, and am really looking forward to next week. I am hoping to get a shot or two of a puffin with a beak full of sand eels, something I didn't manage to see last year. At any rate, the day trip will hopefully fuel my creativity, and will provide me with a huge amount of inspiration. My photographer's block should hopefully be well and truly cured by the excursion! These are a couple of my favourites from last year:

Guess I've rambled on for long enough, and put in enough puffins to bore you all (just wait till next week!!!).... {{{HUGS}}} to you all, and you're all in my thoughts.