Saturday, 30 June 2012

Out and about (and my 50mm lens is no more!)...

Went over to The National Herb Centre at Warmington, Oxfordshire today (and isn't it great that we HAVE a National Herb Centre!).  A lovely place to walk around...  Just next to it is St Michael's Church which is a beautiful medieval building with a wonderfully rambling churchyard.

Here are some of the pics I took - including the last ones that my 50mm lens will ever take - sniff sniff... Yes my magical lens is no more... my camera was dropped (and that's all I'm saying on THAT matter),  but it seems to be fine thank goodness.  However, the lens took the full force of the impact and is now dead.  Before I became hysterical and had to be sedated, David quickly got on the interwebz and ordered me another from Amazon, which should hopefully be here by the end of next week.  I feel lost...

Bird bath and chamomile
Is that chamomile?  It looks like it.
Love the light in this.
This is from one of the display gardens at
The National Herb Centre.

Tomb detail
Onto St Michael's Church...
Tomb Detail...
There were quite a lot of
this type of angel on gravestones...

Graves in grass
Headstones in the grass...

Pine cone
And a pine cone that someone had placed
on a grave...

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Extreme Weather...

Today we had crazy weather.  It started out very warm and very humid and then suddenly we got a downpour with thunder, lightning and hailstones as big as ice cubes - we thought that the windows at work were going to crack as they were being hit with such force.  The street where I work was awash with water, a tree was snapped in half in the park, one local store's roof collapsed and many others were flooded.  Two dogs that were tied up in the street whilst their owner went shopping were rescued by passers-by and taken to safety.  However, not so fortunate was the little cat called China who lives across the road from Cath - she was hit by a hailstone and killed.  David said our cats all came to find him upstairs when it started - scared because of the noise.

We're all fine - the car roof has a few dents and the garden is a bit battered but I'm just glad we were all safe and dry when it happened.  None of us has ever experienced anything like it before.  Strange times...

David grabbed these pics when the hail started.

And here's a link to more news on the weather here today.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cats on Tuesday...

I'll start with the resident cat news.  Charlie's ear is much better although he still has to have drops in it until he goes back to the Vets.  I've also been trying to cut down on the amount of food he gets (ha!).   This Friday I have to take Charlie for his check-up first thing, then late afternoon I have to take Posky for his acupuncture to a different Vet in a different town - and somewhere in the middle I have to make time to go to work and have my hair cut.  Normal day really...

This week we have a guest appearance by Henry.  He is my friend Cath's cat, big brother to the nauseatingly cute kitten Bumble who torments the life out of him.  If you haven't yet encountered Bumble there are some pics here - but be warned - once seen forever smitten and you'll be putty in her tiny paws.

Here's Henry in his garden where he retreated to get a moment's peace from his demonic little sister.  At least he can also relax in the knowledge that he has a whole post on my blog to himself...

Well, almost a whole post...

For more kitties visit Gattina's Cats on Tuesday.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Happy Birthday David!

Happy birthday to my long-suffering (snigger...) husband David.

Here he is with Ginger the Stratford upon Avon cat - as you can see both are in celebratory mood.  You can tell it took hours of brow-sweating hard work on my part to achieve the subtle processing effects you can see in this photo can't you? :O)))

And here he is with his beloved camera...  (although he was getting overly attached to MY camera last week so I had to take it from him lest things got nasty...)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Wordless Wednesday...

Out in the garden early this morning before work.  (I did know the name of this plant but I've forgotten it!).

This morning in the garden...

Monday, 18 June 2012

Cats on Tuesday... Charlie Update!

An important announcement for fans of Charlie.  He's not a well chap and is off to the Vets first thing Tuesday morning as he has very sore ears and is limping badly (despite the painkillers he's taking).  The poor soul is not at all himself and can't even get up any enthusiasm for general wrong-doing.  David is taking him in so could everyone keep fingers, toes, paws and tails crossed that they're both ok after the event.

The other news is that as you may have heard, the Dalai Lama has been in the UK.  As he and Pepper are old friends she of course had to go and have tea with him.  They had their picture taken to record their meeting but not, unfortunately, by yours truly as I was being battered by the elements at various locations in the UK this weekend.

David just got back from the Vets with the Charles beast.  He has an ear infection so has been given an antibiotic jab and had his ears cleaned out (apparently he was as good as gold!).  He has to have ear drops as from tomorrow (hmmmm....).  As for his leg - Geraldine said she thinks if he can lose about one kg in weight it should be fine - well that's easier said than done!  I think he's now under the bed plotting revenge...

For more kitty news visit Gattina's Cats on Tuesday.

Portrait of a Lady (or two)...

Where did the weekend go?  I spent mine out and about with David doing two photo shoots.  On Saturday we were in an aircraft hangar at Bicester where there were various planes (don't ask what because I don't know) along with a model, the ultra glamorous Nicole Klein (who is a photographer, hairstylist and make-up artist who makes other women look glam too).  It was blowing a gale and things became hilarious when we went outside in between rain squalls - I thought my faithful reflector was going to take off and disappear over Bicester Shopping Village at any moment.  

On Sunday we were down at Sywell in Northants taking shots of a Red Baron plane along with Fiona Harrison whom you may remember I took some portraits of back in April.  As usual Fiona had the most gorgeous outfits with her - my favourite this time was a black Edwardian dress that had originally come from a costume department.  She looked immaculate as always.  As I spent most of the weekend in purple hoody and pink anorak being blown by wind and soaked by rain whilst trying to take photos, I did not.  

I also somehow managed to knit a sock this weekend whilst travelling - the things you do eh?

Nicole doing 1940s fabulousness...

Fiona Harrison at Sywell
Great dress, great hair...

Fiona BJ-2
Am loving this look...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Wordless Wednesday... Still-Life

Good Morrow fair readers (let's be optimistic)... This morning I have been mainly shooting still-life.  I found these dishes in a charity shop for £1.25 - I haunt bargain shops in my meagre lunch break ever on the look-out for props for photos.  David brought me the lovely chopsticks when he went to Japan and I've been waiting for the right photographic moment to present itself to make use of them.  The little cat is actually a money box and I got him from a cat show at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.

Technique?  I shot in front of our French doors so lots of lovely morning light, and I used two large pieces of card - one behind and one to the left as reflectors.  The dof was created by using my 50mm lens with its aperture wide open (f/1.8).  Processed in LightRoom.

Still Life collage

Monday, 11 June 2012

Sometimes you just can't help playing with your food...

This was going to be a totally serious post about the joy of soup.  Soup is brilliant - I love the way you just chop stuff, throw it into a pan and it turns into something great. Then I thought I'd take some pics of the soup we had yesterday, but then I got bored.

See? I started out with good intentions...

  Soup 2
But then the temptation became too much
as I was faced with two slices of bread
with holes in it...

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Cats on Tuesday...

First of all can we all please sing a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday to our resident Buddhist cat,   the lovely Pepper... she's thirteen today and is planning on a quiet celebration in deep horizontal meditation on her new blanket, followed by a few of the cat treats we bought her.  (And keep this quiet but she's off to the vets first thing for her boosters! Am I cruel or what???).

Pepper with her 'Birthday Portrait' pose...

And now...

I actually posted this on Sunday as I couldn't wait to share it, but I feel it's worth a bit of recycling. Here, making his Cats on Tuesday debut, is the gorgeous BUMBLE!  No he's not mine, he belongs to my friend Cath but I am his official photographer :O)

Bumble 3
'How cute am I?...'

Bumble 11
...'Very cute - yes?'

Bumble 19
'But am I ready for the fame that being on the interwebz will bring?...'

Bumble 20
...'Will it all be too much for me? 
Should I retreat from the glare of publicity now?'

Bumble yawn
'Mwahahahahahaha..., bring it on!!'

STOP PRESS: Bumble went to the vet yesterday for his check-up and it turns out that he's a she!  She was far too pretty to be a boy so it's a good job really :O)

For more kitty news visit Gattina's Cats on Tuesday.

Photo Shoot with Stephanie...

Once again in my role as 'Faithful Assistant' I helped David out with a photo shoot yesterday.  It was at an airfield in Essex so a two hour drive away, and it was rather rainy (so my brolly was invaluable) but still a fun day.  The model is a lovely lady called Stephanie who had GORGEOUS red hair.

Stephanie at North Weald
Stephanie and brolly...

Stephanie Collage
a few more in colour...

Stephanie Collage B&W
... and of course in b&w

Friday, 8 June 2012

The Weekend in Black and White...

We took advantage of the long Bank Holiday Weekend to go out for breakfast... my camera went too (as if it wouldn't).

David adding sugar to his coffee... 
He adds milk too which I am aghast at...
Have I mentioned how fussy I am about coffee?  And tea?
I'll shut up now.

Nomming implements...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Wordless Wednesday... (a bit late)

I only have a small garden so have to indulge my love of trees by having eight Japanese Maples growing in pots.  Not quite an arboretum but still...

I did learn this week why the leaves of so many Acers turn a beautiful vibrant red or orange in the autumn - it's through the production of a chemical called anthocyanin which is an antioxidant.  As the tree prepares for winter it draws all the nutrients it can from its leaves.  The main protein chlorophyll is broken down and its nitrogen drawn back into the tree for next year's growth.  This breaking down leaves the leaves open to attack by oxygen radicals hence the production of anthocyanin to counteract this.

I now want it to be autumn :O)

Japanese Maples

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Cats on Tuesday... (not quite a drama in the garden but almost)

It was a quiet day in the garden when the stillness was broken by a scream from Pepper...

'HELP!  HELP!  Intruder alert, intruder alert!!!'

Sure enough, lurking behind the shed looking as if he chewed up unwary kittens for breakfast, sat a large black and white cat...

Pepper (still screaming):  'Who are you and what do you want?!'
Intruder:  'I've come to see Evil Genius Cat about
the job of assistant...'
Pepper (screaming louder): 'CHARLEEEE, there's another
minion here for you!'

Charlie came to see who this new applicant was, and Posky came just to be nosy...

Posky: 'Did you advertise?'
Charlie: 'No, it must have been word of miaowth...'

Charlie:  'OK then, what's your name and
what qualifications do you have?'
Intruder: 'My name's Ralph'(said a little defensively)
' and this is my evil stare....'
Charlie: 'Not bad... do you bite, claw and scratch?'
Ralph: 'Always - sometimes all at once'.
Charlie: 'Do you feel you could easily beat
up small, irritating Buddhist cats?'
Ralph: 'It's one of my favourite hobbies'.
Charlie (impressed): Ever tried World Domination?'
Ralph: 'Not yet, but I'm hoping to pick up tips from you on that'
Charlie (preening): 'Of course you are. OK show me some "appearing suddenly
in unexpected places whilst looking good on camera"moves'...

Ralph: 'Like this?...

... 'or this?'

Charlie: 'Oh that's very good.  You know Ralph,
I'm really liking you and I think you've got great
potential, but unfortunately due to the economic
climate I just can't take you on right now'...

Ralph: 'Is it worth me coming back around Halloween to see
if things have picked up?'

Charlie: 'Please do... I'll keep your details in my file of evil...'

Mrs P: 'Crikey, he was a bit scary wasn't he?'
Posky: 'Don't worry, Charlie won't hire someone
as photogenic as that, he couldn't stand the competition...'
Charlie (from offstage right): 'I heard that!'

For more kitties visit Gattina's Cats on Tuesday.


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