Photographic diary, Uncategorized

Really my camera is totally awesome and I never knew it!

Having made the decision to take my camera off of automatic mode I knew I had to get to grips with how the camera actually worked, everyone said the photos would improve and I would never want to go back, but I just couldn’t get my head around exactly what settings were for what.

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I decided photography blogs and you tube should be my first port of call… I found an excellent video on you tube that explained all of those buttons and dials, that I had just ignored for so long… I suddenly could see what each button was called and exactly what it did, I watched it several times with my camera in my hand going through each button and dial as the guy in the video explained what it was and what it did.

Next I found some excellent photography for beginners blogs, I read, and reread them, aperture, ISO, shutter speed, I wrote notes and found cheat sheets on Pinterest… next I gave myself exercises to understand how each aspect of the exposure triangle worked with each other… when you reduce the ISO the shutter speed needs to be increased, and when you increase the ISO in darker situations you need to decrease the shutter speed, what I did not realize was that changing the aperture, F-stop would then affect both the ISO and shutter speed too… so much to think about.

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I found an excellent guy on you tube who has created these fantastic short videos using his real life to explain everything from lighting to shutter speed and everything inbetween. Moose Winans sang to me, his videos are short fun and speak my language when it comes to photography, I love to sit watching his videos and they seemed to explain this complicated world of a DSLR camera to me.

This changed the way I set my camera, suddenly I began to understand a little bit more, I start with a setting of ISO 400 shutter speed of 320 and f-stop of 1.8, then I adjust it from there depending on whether I am inside or outside, if the light is good, if there is shade, I always change my ISO first, more of less depending on how much light I have I set my white balance to the type of situation I am in and then I look at shutter speed, moving it up or down until my white balance meter is set to either 0, just above + or just below -.

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Once I gathered a little knowledge it was time to get a new lens, I wanted one with a lower F-stop than the two lenses I had, I wanted to take portrait photos both indoors and outside, I looked at both 35mm and 50mm, in the end I chose the 35mm, just because I like to take a lot of photos indoors, but I am now looking to invest in the 50mm too, just because I want something with a longer exposure for outside and I am now looking at the lens with a lower f-stop of 1.4.

I also decided it was time to switch from the basic photo editing software on our Mac computers and iPads, I looked at lightroom and photoshop, lightroom seemed easier to use, but photoshop although more difficult to learn could do much more creative effects that I would eventually like to do, so I found the monthly $9.99 deal for both online by reading blogs written about both lightroom and photoshop… after a little research I signed up and I am loving it.  There is so much advice online about settings for different types of filters you want to create, the list is endless and in lightroom it is so simple to achieve a look you require.

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I have endless amounts to learn in all areas of photography, everyday I take my camera out and snap away changing the settings and experimenting with it, I then go onto lightroom and I am trying to learn how to change the photo for different filters, the above vintage setting is one of my favorites. I may have slightly over used it recently, but with my newly acquired skills I think I am allowed a little creativity over use.  I am tending to set the camera for a lighter setting, some might think it looks a little over exposed but I am loving the new lighter effect of the photos, I hadn’t realized quite how dark the photos looked on the auto setting of the camera… one of the bonus’ of setting your camera to manual you get to choose the settings exactly the way you want your photo to look.

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I had read so many times that once you switch you camera off of Auto and start to really learn your camera in Manual mode you would never want to go back… As someone who has recently made the switch I don’t think I will ever go back, sometimes I second think my settings and panic a little, but usually I have made the right choice, so I should have more faith in myself…  everything I read was completely true… I have thought about doing this for a very long time, but always doubted myself, the Manual setting is so much more fun and you have complete control instead of relying on your camera guessing the type of photo you want… if I can do it, you can do it to… it wasn’t as difficult as I first thought and every day gets a little bit easier.

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Baking…

I love to bake, I love making sweet treats for my family… but with a new oven to deal with it’s been difficult getting those cakes to rise and stay risen, so finally yesterday I googled the reason that cakes keep sinking in the middle, one of the causes could be the oven is too hot, the cake cooks from the outside in, so the cake is cooked and browned outside but the middle is not so it sinks… makes perfect sense, so I’m thinking a little experimentation is in order. 

With three Birthdays this month I needed to enlist my little bakers help, the first one was  this weekend, so we set about a nice easy Victoria Sponge recipe from Mary Berry, an easy mix all ingredients go in, mix together then divide equally into two 8 inch baking tins, bake at 350f for 25 minutes… both cakes looked good in the oven they rose nicely then just before they were due to come out they both sank in the middle… REALLY, I couldn’t believe it.  I sent Blu out for more eggs and started again.

I decided to switch recipes, this time a Victoria sandwich recipe from Jamie Oliver, his cake was a little more in ingredient weight and dial up the heat on the oven to 375f… this time the butter and sugar were beat together then the eggs added one by one, finally a gentle mixing in of the dry ingredients… once again both cakes looked good in the oven but just as the timer went off both cakes sunk in the middle… REALLY again!


Time to get GOOGLE working for me… ‘why are my cakes sinking in the middle?’


I had to use one set of cakes and after I added strawberry buttercream, fresh chopped strawberries and grated chocolate it really didn’t look so bad… my little helpers did a fantastic job of adding ingredients, counting the eggs, mixing, chopping strawberries, making chocolate drizzled strawberries and most importantly eating all the strawberries before they had a chance of going in the cake, that was the best part of all of this… for now I see a lot of experimentation of cake temperatures in my new oven… Happy Baking πŸŽ‚

Photographic diary

The making of a Christmas card…

Well the forecast is COLD COLD COLD next week as the polar artic blast is set to freeze our socks off… but the weather has been very mild up until now, so mild in fact that we even managed a Fall trip to the beach…

The beach… that is when I decided I needed a mini Christmas card photo session… I love to be non-traditional at this time of year, I love the idea of cards set in something you would not necessarily think of as Christmas, with a little twist… so I planned outfits and simplistic prop and off we went…


It was so mild my children even decided to take a quick dip, I freaked out thinking the water would be freezing, but after a little investigation I agreed with them the water was very pleasant and kind of warm.  It was a good job I had packed several outfit changes as Tate was having so much fun at the waters edge he fell over flat on his face and got soaked… Mommy to the rescue, quick change into dry clothes before he got cold, then he was up and running around again.


I love the beach when it is quiet, the waves crashing in and the sand stretching for miles shining in the sunshine… I was expecting a very empty beach when we arrived but we were surprised to find a lot of people had had the same idea, and who could blame them, it’s not often you get a lovely day at the beach this near to Christmas… oh to live in a warm climate all year round near the beach… that’s what dreams are made of.


As I’ve got older I’ve learnt to appreciate the simple things in life… I’m in the process of decluttering my life and so with that in mind I wanted my card to be simple, no fancy Christmas colors, just shades of white to match the sand, sea and sky, a very simplistic prop was all I needed to highlight the time of year and it was done. (Gorgeous dress by Mini Boden and the cutest boys clothes by ZARA)

Now I consider myself to be very lucky to have two of the very best models around, they love the beach so I just let them do their thing and snapped away, I think it came out pretty well considering my amateur photographer status.  

Some of you may ask ‘why are only two of your children on the card?’ Well the answer is simple, most of my children hate having their photos taken, Mabel said if she was around she would have loved to have been in the photo, but she is a social butterfly these days and so she was out with her friends on this day out at the beach… you have to take what you have been given and in this case I think I was very lucky to have these two beautiful babies let me take photographs of their day at the beach.


Happy Holidays xxx xx xxx

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Anything your heart desires πŸ’Ÿ

I cannot believe it has taken me so long to get my self organized, I’m not fully there yet, but I’m getting there.  Yesterday was the first time in a very long time that I got to sit down in a reasonably clean and tidy house and watch tv, I caught up on the show Welcome back Potter, Tate slept on my lap, Florrie was playing at her friends house across the garden from us, Paul was working and everyone else was out… peace and quiet time just for me… that is exactly what getting myself organized is all about.


I have realized I am just not happy and contented in disorganized chaos, I have no time as I’m always feeling there is something to do, which there normally is, but right now I’m content to look at toys sitting there as I know it’s a five minute job to clear it up, I’m happy to do my laundry as I’m so organized there is only a tiny pile, washed, dried and put away each day.  I have a lot to still do, but I can feel my house slowly returning to my true self.


My biggest problem is training my older children, shoes and clothes left anywhere and everywhere, food remnants scraped from their plates left in the sink… am I being too picky here? they are putting their plates in the dishwasher after all, but the clothes and shoes drive me crazy.  Florrie has discovered she likes things tidy and is my biggest helper, she loves emptying the dishwasher and knows exactly where everything goes, she loves cleaning, sweeping and mopping the floors, she could teach my older children a thing or two.


Anyway, the point of my story, enough of this rambling… I’m so organized this year I’ve actually organized my Christmas cards, they were ordered, printed and have arrived and it’s not even the middle of November yet, now this may seem pretty normal to all my organized friends out there, but to me it’s just so impressive, I am giving myself a huge pat on the back for this one… now all I’ve got to do is address the envelopes and mail them in good time for Christmas… fingers crossed I can get this done on my new organized schedule πŸŽ… 

I think when all is said and done we can all change who we are, who we have been our whole lives it just takes a little work and belief in yourself that you can do it… I’ve even managed to fit in yoga and meditation into my busy schedule, I love it and hope I can continue the way things are right now.

Have faith, peace and love in your life and you can achieve anything your heart desires πŸ’Ÿ

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Not quite the final kitchen update…

Well it’s officially 4 months this week since we demolished our old kitchen back in May, it’s been along process with lots of bumps in the road, but this weekend was the last Birthday of the year in our house, it always ends our summer, begins our Fall and this year it was the first Birthday we have been able to spend in our new kitchen… yay!


We now have a working stove top, oven, microwave and dishwasher, our farmhouse sink is installed at long last and fitted out with a faucet, so no more trips upstairs to the bathroom to wash anything up, although it’s become a habit it’s hard to break out of.  With the nights getting darker earlier we are thankful we now have lighting in the kitchen, as I type my kitchen island lights are being installed, it seems so long ago that my Mum and I found the newly open Restoration Hardware outlet store, it was the first day of Summer break, I dropped M to the lake to hang out with her friends, then we headed out… we had Shake Shack for lunch and I found these cool cage hanging lights, I had forgotten what they looked like until I just had to make the decision how long I wanted them to be… decisions, decisions.

I have spent the last two years planning my new kitchen, I’ve browsed Pinterest so many times creating boards with my inspiration, when the time actually came to buy the kitchen I knew exactly how I wanted it to look, light, bright, farmhouse style, subway tiles with a darker gray grout, wood and light Quartz, black handles, white ceramic sink and silver taps… I had the plan but I didn’t realize how difficult all the decisions along the way would be… small handles, big handles? One handle or two on each drawer? How wide to have the grout lines in the tile? White or silver recess lighting? Long or short pendant lighting?  The list is endless, but now the kitchen is coming together I’m very pleased, it may be just an IKEA kitchen but it’s what you do with it in the end.

We have had a slight setback this weekend, some wall water pipes had been drilled through when cabinets were installed causing a leak in the basement, this has now been fixed, and is drying out, so there is still some more work to be completed, but we are almost there now, it’s been a hard summer dealing with contractors, problems and cooking on the grill on the deck, but it could have been worse, Summer was the perfect time to be without a kitchen, no lighting, no problem we sat on the deck anyway, no cooker, no problem we love to grill in the Summer months and some of the Fall too, I think the hardest part was no sink, my potted plants suffered as I couldn’t fill my watering can so easily, we have lived with disposable everything, not very environmentally green, which I hate, but you have to do what you have to do.  

Now it is time to unpack all of the boxes of kitchen stuff and decorate this light and airy kitchen… my favorite part, we’ve already chosen the wall color, we have bought an 1800’s train station bench to renovate, we have old meat scales from the 1800’s which were from a local farm, so  very cool, we will be hanging them in the kitchen and I managed to buy some old farmhouse shutters that need a little crackle glaze and whitewash to bring them to life… oh happy days 🌞

Photographic diary, Uncategorized

Sunday afternoon…

I have been contemplating for quite a while where I could go for a little antiquing fun, in England we visited all over on our antiquing quests, Lewes near Brighton in Sussex was my favorite little town to visit, I could spend hours just wandering around the little antique stores scattered around.

This past Sunday we decided to brunch in our little neighbouring town, the cutest little lunching place was our destination, we were hoping to get there for breakfast but our timekeeping was not great, we did manage to get there for lunch though,  stuffed mushrooms for me with salad on the side and a huge sandwich for Paul, our babies had a firm favorite of grilled cheese sandwiches… the atmosphere was relaxing and the food was comforting.  What I had forgotten about this town was how abundant it was in antique shops… yay a win for me.


Lunch was fun but shopping was even more fun, I told both F and T not to touch anything, they could look but not touch and I have say they were both so good, several people commented on how good they were, they loved looking at all the old things, asking questions and just looking with very little touch ‘I’m just rocking the baby Mom’ Tate said in the cutest little voice. Paul and I love browsing the old antiques, we look at very different things then occasionally we find an item we both love.  I could have spent so much money, I’m a little bit addicted to all this old ‘junk’, old crates, glass bottles and jars, weighing scales and old ladders, I want it all… but I did not see an old farmhouse table, one thing I really need, but I did buy some old farmhouse meat weighing scales, did I need them, no, did Paul and I love them… yes, so now they will be hanging in my new kitchen, much to my fussy daughters disgust, she does not take after me for my love of old things… maybe one day.

On our way home we called into a weekend Antique sale at a local storage place… lucky we did or I wouldn’t have found my old 1800’s bus shelter bench… I saw it from the car and knew it had to be mine, luckily Paul loved it too, several people looked at it, but I knew I wanted it… perfect when bought back to life with a farmhouse table in my bay window… I’m so excited… luckily it got mostly good reviews in my house, apart from my teenage daughter who as I have said absolutely hates old junk… I think she lives in the wrong house πŸ˜ƒ

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Late Summer fun…

I love to get out and about, see new places, experience new things, it’s difficult trying to juggle house renovations and getting out whilst this weather is so beautiful.  I don’t know about you but I think life’s too short not to be out there experiencing the world around us, even if it’s just local there are always new things to do and see.

Now that the busy summer season is over and Labor Day is behind us, it’s time to get out there and visit some local places with relative quietness around us, I am not one for crowds so I love this time of year.  We decided to start homeschooling this week leaving last week and the fantastic weather for a little bit of late summer fun at the lake.  We are lucky to have several beautiful lakes in our town, the beaches at the lakes are safe, clean and very picturesque… A magical way to spend a sunny, warm September afternoon.

The forecast for this last weekend was good, we had plans to go to the shore, sometimes having teenage children with their commitments can change those plans though… As was the case this past weekend, oh well those changed plans meant we got to experience the beauty that is High Point State Park.  We have never been to High Point but this past Summer saw a couple of friends visiting it, it looked stunning so we thought we would see for ourselves.  The beach was closed, but you could still use it, there just was no lifeguard on duty, but that was fine we just walked on the sand, played in the park and then drove up to the monument, 1803 feet above sea level, this elevation has fantastic views all the way round as far as you can see, just amazing on a clear day.  It was extremely windy, but this was the best part of the afternoon for my little ones, they ran around the monument, hair, dresses and t-shirts lifting up in the gusty wind, they loved it so much they didn’t want to leave.

Back to homeschooling began yesterday with a field trip, original planned for later in the week, but again having older children changed my plans, I needed to collect something for my son and it was in the direction of the farm and some apple picking fun.  Our Theme at the moment is Frozen the movie, our letter of the week is Aa and our numbers are 1 to 5. Apple picking was a perfect way to kick off our week looking at the letter Aa in more detail.  We rode the hay wagon, picked some juicy apples, of course you have to try them first before you pick them, we picked some huge furry soft peaches and visited with the animals, it was hot dusty but oh so much fun.


This coming weekend looks beautiful again… Plans are already in the making for one day in the house catching up on chores and the other day, who knows where we will be?