Photo Walking Along The Queensway


Hello! Finally I managed to get out with my lovely working camera this weekend. It’s been so long that I’d almost forgotten how to use it :) 

Yesterday was the first in a new series of photo walks run by (Matt & Pete’s) Photo School and I was glad of the opportunity to have a stroll and get back into the swing of things. The aim of these walks is to visit eight different stretches of the Queensway and explore the areas around them, taking a peek down all the little side streets and alleyways that are often ignored. There is something quite lovely about stopping to look closely at the detail that is often bypassed, and it’s even more interesting to see how a group of people capture these same things on camera. 

Yesterday’s walk focussed on the area around Smallbrook Queensway (that’s a Google street view link so you get an idea of what it’s like). It’s an area that I often dash along to get to the train station or cinema, but often take no real notice of. I’ve never really found the 1950s/1960s concrete that appealing and I really didn’t know what I’d take photos of!

For the first time, I actually looked closely at the buildings and in the shop windows and there were lots of little treats in store :) There are so many things around us that we miss because we’re in too much of a hurry to notice them: reflections, patterns, signs, colour. The area is so much more interesting than I imagined!

Photo Walk 30/03/2014

As well as going at a slow pace, I enjoy that the photo walks are informal and that it’s not about the camera that you’re carrying. I took quite a lot of shots on my DSLR, but also enjoyed snapping away with my VSCO Cam phone app. I usually enjoy using my prime lenses as these allow me to get more creative with my shots, but yesterday I decided to only take my kit lens and shoot things just as I immediately saw them. The results are photos that are different to my usual style, but I really enjoyed the freedom of being a photo tourist :) 

My favourite finds were the postbox that’s having some kind of identity crisis, and the drainpipe full of little dotty stickers (which you can see in the Instagram shots above). The originals and remainder of my photos can be seen in the flickr set here (this is my new Birmingham photos flickr account for creative commons photos: my regular flickr account is here).

At the end of series of walks, Pete’s aim is to create artwork using the photos submitted by participants and I’ll look forward to seeing what he comes up with. You can check out all the photos so far in the Photo School flickr group

So there we go. I’m back on it and back to blogging. It’s very nice to be back again :) Cheerio for now!

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Fixed at last!

Brum CollectionHello there folks :) It’s been a whole month since I last blogged, during which time I’ve been pestering various people to try and get my camera fixed and returned to me!

Since I was last here, Nikon accepted that I didn’t cause the damage and they agreed to foot the cost for the repair – very good news :) They seem to think that sunlight blew the holes in the shutter while I was using a fast lens which is an uncommon and quite bizarre fault. Had I been stood pointing it at the sun for ages it would be a bit more understandable, but I was just taking snapshots on a sunny day. Ah well – it’s fixed and working and I can soon get back to business. 

It’s been strange taking time out of the blog and I have so much to catch up on! I’m excited that it’s looking a lot more like spring round here too ‘cos I can get out and about to take some new pics. 

I’ve still been snapping away with my VSCO Cam app which I’m thoroughly enjoying (the shots in this post are from a stroll across the city a couple of weeks ago). I’ve also learnt to love Instagram much more and have discovered lots of new inspiration on there recently :) 

I also took a trip to the Photography Show at Birmingham’s NEC at the beginning of March. It was an absolute nerdfest and I especially enjoyed getting my hands on some Canon and Nikon 600mm lenses, as well as lots of super little system cameras which have come such a long way since I got my Lumix G1 a few years ago. 

At the moment I really fancy getting a Fujifilm Instax camera (which I also saw at the NEC). They look like they could be lots of fun and I love the size of the instant prints for little displays at home and for sharing with friends. The camera costs about £75, including 40 prints, and then each film pack of 20 can be bought for about £13-15. If anyone has one, I’d love to hear what you think about them!

So that’s me…hopefully I’ll have some new photos for you very soon!

Bye for now :)

Oh Hello Again :)

Hello, I’m back :) My site is hopefully fixed after a bit of downtime this week, but I’m STILL without camera :( It’s all turning into quite a saga really. 

It started about 4 weeks ago when I was taking photos at a local nature reserve and all of a sudden two bright white dots started to appear on the images. My camera went off to be repaired at Nikon and they confirmed that there are two holes in the shutter :/ They only gave an example reason of how this may have happened and suggested it was due to sensor cleaning. The explanation also arrived with a quote of over £150 to get it fixed. I’ve contested this as I haven’t cleaned the sensor (I’m too scared to touch anything inside the camera!!) and have sent them before and after images taken within minutes, during which time I wouldn’t have had chance to do any damage. I fail to see how I have caused the fault just by taking photos and I’m still waiting for further information.

I find it really shocking 
that Nikon have failed to give me a suitable explanation and have immediately put the blame on me, despite telling them exactly what happened. It’s also disappointing that I keep having to chase for any information about it. Hopefully things will progress a bit more this week *sigh*.

Luckily the retailer I bought it from have been really helpful so far (thank you Wex Photographic), but just beware that Nikon’s repair service isn’t great if you’re thinking of buying from them. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced an issue like this so it’s not just a one off. 

In the meantime I’ve been continuing to snap away with my VSCO Cam app, so here are a few little shots of the canals and abandoned buildings in Digbeth and Eastside, Birmingham (on a very rare dry and sunny day). I love the threaded ‘Don’t worry’ across the footbridge :) 
VSCO Abandoned Birmingham
Cheerio for now,

Six Questions – Lauren Hanson

Hello! It’s time for another Six Questions post and this week it’s Lauren Hanson’s turn to tell us what motivates her as a photographer. Lauren blogs at A Girl With A Gypsy Heart where she aims to help and inspire others, and you can also find her on Facebook.

I have been taking photographs of… pretty much everything since I was a child. I purchased my first camera when I was 11 and ended up babysitting and doing extra chores to pay for film and processing. I just love capturing beauty and masterpieces.

I have to say I have three favorite types of photography… all pretty different. I love portrait photography. As I said earlier, I love capturing beauty, especially in a woman who maybe has had trouble seeing herself in that light before. I love travel/landscape photography as I love to explore and am constantly amazed at all the wonders our world has to offer. And last, but certainly not least, I love food photography. I could eat my way around the world easily. 

Lauren Hanson

I find inspiration in phenomenal lighting. Mornings are my favorite, but I find myself catching daydreams and beautiful images most often when I’m out and about just enjoying life. I find inspiration in laughter. I find inspiration around the table. I find inspiration in new life. I guess my inspiration just depends on the day and the moment!

Lauren Hanson
I have come to love and depend on my Canon EF 50mm Lens. It is so simple, yet so dramatic!

My favorite photo from my collection is a photo of a friends 9-month-old daughter with this mischievous grin on her face. She entered this world at a whopping 4 pounds with little to no hope from the professionals and possibly as a result to such a beginning has developed quite the sassy little attitude. The photo captures her personality, beauty, and zeal so well.

Lauren Hanson
If I could spend a day with any photographer in history it would be Sue Bryce. I have always been drawn to her work and have read her blog and watched many of her videos religiously. I love and appreciate everything that she stands for. She is an incredible businesswoman, but furthermore is unbelievably talented and selfless. Her passion for others shines through in everything she does.

Lauren HansonThank you Lauren for taking part in the Six Questions post. If you’d like to take part, drop me a message via the contact page :) 

Cheerio for now!

A stroll with VSCO Cam :)

VSCO Cam Helen OgbournWell I’m still missing my DSLR while it’s in for repair so I thought I’d try something new while I was away for a long weekend in lovely Wales. I kept seeing hashtags for VSCO Cam on Instagram and wondered what it was all about, so this weekend I thought I’d give it a whirl. 

I downloaded VSCO Cam unaware that it is much more than just a camera app; I wasn’t expecting it to be such a lovely photography experience :)  The camera is straightforward to use and there are some great filters in the editing tools (some are in app purchases). I like the range of cropping sizes that are really easy to set, and the square crop is perfect for sharing photos via Instagram. The strength of the filters you apply can also be edited so it’s really easy to get a look to suit your shot.

Photos can be shared to the usual networks or saved to your phone gallery, and they can also be posted to your own VSCO grid for which you’re given a web URL (mine is here). The grids have a simple, clean design and can also show a photo description if you choose to add one.

As well as your own photo library, the app also contains a regularly updated journal of tutorials, reportage and featured photographers, and I also enjoy looking through the curated grid/featured grids of photos which are full of inspiration. You can also find this content on the VSCO website if you want to have a browse. 

Despite it being a large app (the largest I have on my phone), I’ll definitely be keeping it and using it regularly. I tend to use my phone camera for quick snapshots but this app has inspired me to try and take phone photography a bit more seriously. 

As for the photos above, I snapped them yesterday on a family stroll along the coastal path and around the streets of Beaumaris, Anglesey. They are places that I know well and am very fond of, so it’s nice to capture the every day sights as memories of a nice trip :) 

Let me know if you have a VSCO grid!

p.s. The ice cream was delicious, just in case you’re wondering :)

Six Questions – Emily Wardhaugh

Hello and welcome to the next in the series of the Six Questions posts. Thank you to everyone who has contacted me to get involved! If you would like to take part, drop me a message via the contact page

Today we hear about what inspires Emily Wardhaugh in her photography. Visit her website to see more of her work. I really enjoy the moments Emily captures in her photos and I think you will too!

Emily also has a blog and can be found on instagram too.
I’ve always loved taking pictures as long as I can remember. My first camera was a cheap 35mm given as a Christmas present by my aunt, I was probably around 8 or 9. I spent that Christmas collecting all my new toys into still lifes under the tree. I should try and dig those out! 

I love anything that has meaning and has a importance to the photographer. An image that is telling a story, capturing a moment the more subtle the better. My favourite work will usually be simple and delicate.
I find my inspiration for a huge format of outputs. I get lot of ideas from period paintings hanging in the V&A and National Portrait Gallery. Majority of images I like are from yesterday, documentary photography of a time gone by. I created a scrapbook when I first move to London 5 years ago to start my career in photography, I knew I won’t live in this big city forever so want keep all the mementoes I can. It is full of exhibition tickets, cuttings, photos, darkroom test strips, labels, postcards. I add to it every few months and helps collate my ideas. I also love tumblr and pinterest to gather a collection of images, letters, sculptures and video together. I am on tumblr too much if I am honest!

My trusty old fuji natura classica :)
Not sure if I have a favourite as such, but I do love the image of flowers from my 1st visit to Japan. It’s become very popular.

Good question! To be in Cecil Beaton’s studio would be cool, to see how he worked with the limit equipment they had in the 1920/1930s.
Emily Wardaugh*******************

If you enjoyed her post, why not pop over to her website and leave her a message!

Carnaby – New Lightroom 5 Preset!

Hello! I’m really excited to bring you the latest of my new Lightroom 5 presets today! 
Carnaby Lightroom 5 Preset‘Carnaby’ is a single preset, available for instant download for £1.50 via my Etsy store. I often want to create a vintage/documentary style for some of my photos and so created this preset to do just that :) 

The preset will give your photos a darker matte look and can be used for all photography styles. See the slideshow below to see examples of how this preset can be used to give your shots a vintage feel. 

‘Carnaby’ can be used as a one click preset, or as a basis for further adjustments on your photos. The preset gives a smooth look, but a simple change to the grain setting can be made to give the preset a vintage film feel. Guidance for this really simple adjustment is provided in the PDF document which accompanies the preset.

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Please contact me if you have any questions about my presets!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thinking negatively? (Quick tips for using negative space in photography)

Sometimes less is more! We’re often so busy thinking about the positive space (the subject) in a photograph that the negative space is a little neglected.
Negative Space PhotographySo what do we mean by negative space?

Well essentially it’s the space around or between the subject that is not the subject itself.

We often use negative space without thinking about it, but giving more consideration to this space and using it effectively can add a lot of interest to a photograph.

Why should we think about it? 

- Negative space draws attention to the subject and helps to direct the viewer’s eyes around the photograph.
- It’s an important element in balancing a photograph.
- It can simplify an image.
- It can add greater contrast between the subject and the background.
- Using space can evoke emotion, for example it may show the scale, isolation, drama or freedom of a subject.


- Negative space varies as you move your camera around, so play around testing shots with varying amounts and shapes of space. Experiment by cropping your digital shots during processing.
- Keep in mind the rules of thirds to make sure your composition is balanced. By shifting a subject to the side of a shot, the negative space is used more effectively.
- It doesn’t have to be plain; it can be textured, coloured, blurred.
- Negative space can be the focus of the photo. Use the edges of objects or buildings to create interesting shapes in your photo.
- Negative space can be used to convey movement out of or into a shot.

While I’m waiting for my camera to be fixed, I’ve been having a look through some of my photos to see how I have used negative space in the past…

Negative Space Photography Negative Space Photography Negative Space Photography Negative Space Photography Negative Space Photography Negative Space Photography Negative Space Photography Negative Space PhotographyNegative Space PhotographyI’d love to see examples of your photos where you have used negative space – leave links in the comments below if you have any photos to share!

Have a great week!