Monday, 26 December 2011

A Family Christmas 2011

Christmas Day is my favourite day of the year, and having 5 year old niece Anna in the house means everything is just that so much more magical.

We spent a couple of hours at the pub before returning home to enjoy a traditional Christmas Turkey. I don't think you can beat a mother's roast dinner!

Many hands make light work and Anna was on hand to help Granny in the kitchen.

A real fire with present opening after a late lunch has always been the family tradition.

Anna was given a doctor's outfit for Christmas so we were all given thorough medical examinations.

I think the final picture sums up the day perfectly. Anna excitedly playing with her toys and the adults always with a glass full :)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Getting Ready For Christmas

As another long year at work draws to a close, it's nice to be able to look forward to Christmas, but as much as I love this time of the year, no-one could be more excited than my niece Anna! It is such a magical time of the year for children. Anna can sometimes be a difficult subject to get to pose for photos, but in this photo she looks adorable. I have played around in editing to try and "warm" this picture up...

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


It's always lovely to spend time with the family and my niece Anna is growing up fast, and is now at infant school. Her first school Christmas was marked with a Christingle service at the local church. It was a lovely day and a great start to this year's Christmas celebrations.

The Christingle consists of:
  • an orange representing the world;
  • a red ribbon around it representing the blood o' Jesus;
  • dried fruits or sweets skewered on cocktail sticks pushed into the orange, representing the fruits of the earth and the four seasons (the representation of the four seasons was a later addition, not of Moravian origin.); and
  • a lit candle pushed into the centre of the orange, representing Jesus Christ as the light of the world.
The base of the candle is commonly wrapped in tinfoil. Many regard this as functional, though others ascribe it with a specific meaning.


A 500 mile day out on the road to Liverpool and Hull brought many images throughout the day, but the most striking images were the rainbows on the M40 near Oxford. At one point I thought for a moment I could actually see the end of the rainbow, but I must have been mistaken as there was no pot of gold.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Positive Creation

My recent new passion for photography has opened up a whole new world of creativity. Up until now I was a snap and shoot photographer taking holiday snaps or events and occasions etc. But there is so much to it and I am beginning to discover this, and really get into it with a passion. In some ways it is similar to another passion of mine which is writing songs. I will usually play around with chords on an acoustic guitar, get some words together and then bring the whole things together in an electric band environment and find this a very enjoyable creative process. With photography I tend to get an idea of a subject I want to photograph and then build it up step by step. Of course some fantastic photos can be taken very spontaneously, but other ideas can be developed gradually over a series of photos. On my joint photographic blog a recent subject matter was "RED", and so I built up my submission over a few stages.

The idea I came up with was to use a red balloon as my focal point for the red idea with the River Thames as the backdrop. In the first photo I just threw the balloon into the air and took a snap to see how it would appear.

I decided to try the balloon on the water, but my first attempt merely managed to put the balloon into the riverbank, although this was not a complete disaster and turned out OK in the final photo at the end of the this blog.

I then successfully managed to get a balloon out on the water, and it caught the current nicely giving me plenty of photo opportunities.

I got the idea of having ducks in the background as I could have zoomed in on this picture quite nicely.

In the end I went with a picture I set up of myself using the camera timer and tripod. I blew up 3 balloons and threw them into the air. I also wore a red shirt myself to use in the editing process.

The final shot here after the editing stage shows the complete removal of colour from the photo apart from red and I was really happy with the end result.

Two other river shots below were also contenders for my submission and went through the same colour editing.

These pictures aren't going to change the world or even win any awards, but from where I was with photography a couple of months ago I am now so pleased with my progression. I have still lots to learn, but it's such fun I really enjoy getting out taking photos.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Hard At Work

Not only did my new tripod arrive today, but I also found a nifty little software program to allow manipulation of colours in photo editing. The life of a packaging materials professional is varied, but it's not always about the lovely trips driving around the English countryside. I also spend many hours doing special jobs on the table at work making all various types of special polythene bags up for customers. After 27 years of doing this I have learned the art of turning my mind off and daydreaming whilst listening to BBC 6 Music.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Moon Photography - Tripod Required...

I have spent the last two weeks photographing trees for my other photograhic blog project. With the full moon this week I wanted to try and get a picture of the moon with trees in the foreground to add interest to the picture. However all the articles will tell you that a tripod is needed and the picture above illustrates this perfectly. For a hand taken picture without a tripod I am pretty pleased with it, and I like the tree effect. I have been obsessed with trees for the last two weeks, so I am looking forward to tackling a new subject next week.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Canals and The Past

I took a walk down on the Kennet river at Burghfield near The Cunning Man pub, as I never need any excuse to get close to and to enjoy the tranquility of water. I would love to have been able to have walked this path a 100 years or so ago, although I doubt it has changed much. The picture was taken today, but I used a bit of editing magic to try and recreate a scene from days gone by. Over the past 12 months I have enjoyed some wonderful times close to water whether it be in Sydney, Australia or just by the Thames close to home.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I'm Not An Early Morning Person, But...

I have never been much of an early morning person; this in spite of having to get up at 6:30 weekday mornings to be in for work for 7:30. This early start is more to do with avoiding rush hour traffic. It usually takes a couple of cups of tea and 9:00 to pass before I begin to feel wide awake and deal with another day.

Today was a slightly different scenario as we had the most brilliant autumn sunrise and mild November morning. As I approached work at Medmenham the sun was coming up and I was able to pull into a lay by on the side of the road and get this view.

I am currently dog sitting so we went straight off for a walk around the farm before starting work. The sun was slowly breaking over the trees and it was a really great time to have a stroll.

The first delivery I did was ridiculously early before 8:00, but it was only a couple of miles or so up the road out in the sticks and the view across the fields was stunning.


It was quite some first hour at work, and was a great way to set up another lovely autumn day. Time and time again I am reminded just what a fantastic part of the country I am fortunate enough to live and work in.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Datchet With My New Toy

I took out my new super duper Lumix FZ-45 camera in Datchet to play with. I went out snapping with my great friend Jules who is showing me the ropes and making the whole newly found hobby a whole lot of fun. I took loads of photos, and decided to present a slightly different view of the beautiful village of Datchet from my own view point. It was interesting as to how many different signs there were with the word "Datchet" with the train station being one of them. One advantage of being on foot was when walking over the level crossing I was able to get up close and really personal with the railway.

The River Thames runs through the village and it's a beautiful setting, and there was an interesting close up view of leaves in the water with a nice rippling water effect.

Birds and ducks were out in force along the towpath outnumbering the small numbers of humans.

The church spire of St. Mary the Virgin. Standing under a tree in the graveyard I attempted to capture some kind of idea of the sheer size of such spires.

This is my "Doctor Who" photo as this amazing headstone reminded me of the "Weeping Angels".

And although Winter is not too far away and the clocks have gone back giving us darkness by 5:00, there is still plenty of gorgeous colour everywhere.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Colour Colours Colours

I am loving Autumn 2011. Everywhere you turn the colours are simply amazing, and this year I am really appreciating it and taking it all in as I drive around the countryside. The shot here is literally a view I get at work. I think an office job is not for me! :)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

In The Woods

I am very lucky to work in a beautiful part of the English countryside, and one of the great advantages of my job is going to many different places. These days with more and more businesses relocating to rural locations I get to see some wonderful sights. The woods here are only a few miles outside Marlow, but very peaceful and looking beautiful at the moment.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Contrasting Weather

Autumn has brought some pretty amazing skies at work. Early morning brings a stunning sunrise, and by mid afternoon the skies darken as the rain comes bringing a lovely rainbow. Making the most of all the amazing colours as winter is not far away...

Monday, 24 October 2011

Boulters Lock Now and Then

Boulters Lock located on the River Thames at Maidenhead is a place I have known all my life. I have always been interested as to why Maidenhead was never set around the river, with the river being the focal point as it is for so many other towns along its path such as Henley and Marlow. It is somewhat strange that Maidenhead town centre is half a mile or so from the river.

I took the photo of the lock on a lovely late sunny October Sunday afternoon. The river was quiet with just the occasional boat going through the lock. How things were different going back a hundred years ago. I found a photo from the 1900s where the lock appears somewhat busier.

The view looking the other direction back towards Maidenhead bridge is lovely and the water was very tranquil and the autumn colours on the trees provided a lovely backdrop. Sometimes it can be very easy to forget to appreciate just what wonderful sights and locations we have right on our doorstep.

The blog could not be complete without a picture of the ducks that were also enjoying the autumn sunshine :)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

A Weekend Away In Salisbury

I always have difficulty in taking off work working the way I do on my own, but I am aware of the necessity of having time out and getting some good rest and relaxation. A weekend away has finally been achieved all be it a 24 hour trip to the catherdral city of Salisbury. I did take a Friday afternoon off work so it did actually feel like a good break. 

The Grasmere House Hotel was lovely, an old Victorian house set in a couple of acres of land with views of the cathedral and a gorgeous stream running at the bottom of the garden with swans and ducks a plenty.

I was in the company of two of my best friends! :)

The Indian summer continues providing beautiful autumn colours in the late afternoon stunning sunshine.

An idyllic setting and a great place to get away and unwind from the everyday stresses. A perfect trip! :)

Friday, 7 October 2011

It's A Dogs Life

This week I finally got a little help to run the business in the form of my friend "Storm". A loyal and fantastic companion although not yet quite trained to answer the phone! It was nice to have the company as running the business on my own can be quite a solitary experience at times.