Wanderings with Chris ……Hoylake is enjoying the Open Golf, again!

Eight years ago the Open Golf came to The Wirral, we had money thrown at us to improve Hoylake, which they did really well but it didn’t go all the way through it just kind of stopped up by the Anchor, still Hoylake was left looking pretty. We had thousands of bodies and their cars visiting and they were neatly parked in massive carparks and shuttled in and out. They (quite a few but not all) visited our pubs and wine bars leaving behind their money and going home with great impressions and wonderful memories and we are doing it all over again this month. We have Tigers, McIlroys, Scotts, players from all over the world and they have brought their caddies, managers, families and goodness knows how many other people all geared up to make their week go without a hitch. http://www.royal-liverpool-golf.com/ Our hotels and guest houses are full and if you wander down Market St after 8pm you can hear people commenting on how it feels like you are in a foreign country as there is such a great holiday atmosphere.
During July we have also held Hoylake’s festival of firsts, a fortnight of entertainment and art, the shops, pubs and bars have local poetry and art in their windows and on their walls, which add’s to the great feel of excitement in Hoylake. Thursday was the first day of the Open and i went to Hoylake with Chris to say Hi to our artist friends manning their art stalls hoping to sell their art to the milling hordes. There were plenty of hordes and some selling of art but i was more interested in the movement of Hoylake, the people and the change of pace. People pored from the golf club, jumped on buses and trains or headed for the pubs and bars, they spilled out over the pavements onto the grass and laughed and joked and drank. Prime opportunity for some great street photography.

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We wandered along Market St slowly, chatting to people we know, stopping and sitting drinking in the atmosphere and taking photos of the people doing the same as us. Along the way we walked past Jill’s Cookshop where i have several photographs entered into the Festival of Firsts art competition, in the window is the Lighthouse at Fort Perch and underneath it is….. a Silver award!!! ūüôā Way to go me! and congratulations to all of the others awarded.
fort perch lighthouse
Of course we were really excited and whenever anyone went to look in the shop window Chris would dash over and tell them that i took the photo, i think he is rather proud of me. After we hung out and chatted and took loads of photos we drove down to the promenade and drove along to the RNLI station just in time for a beautiful sunset, a great time to take some photos of the Grace Darling sculpture.

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The sister to the Black Pearl in New Brighton. We watched the sun go down together then headed home to replace the hustle and bustle of Market St with the hustle and bustle of family life. (Read BEDTIME) We have two more days of the golf and then weeks of getting everywhere back to normal again. I hope they bring the Open back to Hoylake eventually it is an amazing event and an amazing opportunity for Hoylake and the Wirral.

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Wanderings with Chris……. down the road to the nature reserve

I think this is the first wanderings with Chris post of the year, we haven’t been out very much because of ill health and commitments but it was a beautiful spring day, the sun was shining and we just had to get out of the house and go for a walk. For the past few years i have been battling with Fibromyalgia and arthritis in my hip and knee so walking is very painful and slow and Chris has had problems with his legs too so our walk down to the nature reserve was slow! Just before we went in through the gate we stopped for a look out over the fields towards Greasby and there posing majestically in the pond was a Grey Heron. Major excitement! I managed to get 20 or so shots before it flew off to the other side of the pond, i’m not convinced that they are totally in focus as i didn’t have time to use my tripod but what a beautiful bird!
The nature reserve is actually reclaimed land, back in the distant past when i was a child it was actually the local refuse tip and over time a dip developed which filled with water. I can remember during one winter taking our dog down and walking out onto the ice that had formed on the pond, looking back we are really lucky the ice didn’t break under us. When the council decided that the refuse tip was ‘full’ they landscaped and a group of local families asked the council if they could turn it into a Nature reserve. After a great deal of time and hard work they dug out the pond, planted trees and rushes, added an island in the middle and soon after the wildlife flocked to it. It’s even stocked with fish.
We had a slow walk around the pond and i managed to take quite a few photos, there was lots of blossom and spring flowers and ducks, geese etc, i can’t wait for the babies to appear, cute little chicks to photograph and be chased away from ūüôā We have a couple of buzzards which i would love to photograph but i don’t know where they roost and they fly way to high for me to successfully photograph. We had a lovely walk and on the way home bumped into a lovely lady called Diane and her horse Aztec, Diane let me take some photos of her with Aztec, i hope she likes them. Hopefully with the nice weather over the coming weeks we will get out more, with or without children, i cant wait to see where our adventures take us next.

My 3 words for 2014

For the past 2 years i have been taking photographs, experimenting with techniques, learning to edit, plopping them on social networking sites for all to see (very technical term ‘plopping’) upgrading my equipment, entering competitions (i have won one!) and finally getting around to selling them. My success rate isn’t good (truth be told its abysmal) BUT I have looked at other peoples work and think in some cases mine is better, i have read lots of books, articles, blog posts, emails, well anything that’s been thrown my way and i think i have improved 100% to those first DSLR photographs back in 2012.

I have a terrible memory, i’m not ashamed to say, and i can read an article think ‘i’ll go and do that this afternoon’ and get there and realise i cant remember what i’m supposed to do. Point in fact i totally forgot about the +/- bar at the bottom of the screen even though i look through it to frame a shot! And was getting my panties in a bunch because i couldn’t get the exposure right, sigh. (shake of her head, I want to do this for a living?)
I don’t know about you but i sometimes find that i take the shot, load it onto my computer, back it up onto my hard drive, open up in PS Bridge CC, read the photos, (you don’t look at a picture, you read it) choose which i think are the best and ‘tweek’ if it needs it and find that i have looked at those images so many times i am sick of the sight of them. Then i get bored and don’t look at them for a while then look at them and think they are rubbish. I then feel bad and that i’m not going anywhere with my photography. SO, this year i have decided is going to be ‘THE YEAR I GET MY ACT TOGETHER AND FORGE AHEAD WITH MY PHOTOGRAPHY’

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I read an article called ‘3 words for 2014’ and decided to do this for myself. The words i have chosen are; give up, run away, defeat, NO, actually they are; PERSEVERE, do not give up on anything, keep trying to be my best even when the going is tough, i know i have limits and i will try to work right up to them and a little beyond to do what i love. MARKET, i will work harder at marketing my work, using social media, local fairs, competitions, you name it i’m going to have a go at it. Last week using twitter and google+ i shared half a dozen photos and found that on one site alone i got over 25 hits, on each one! So it does work. And most of all BELIEVE in myself, my work, my talent and what i want from it. I will make this work no buts or maybe’s. I have an idea for a coffee table book and have started to work on it, i intend to get myself in magazines online and in print, have an exhibition and hopefully sell something! Going to be busy aren’t i! I just hope that my children and husband are self sufficient enough for me to do it all. Here’s looking forward to the rest of 2014, Happy New Year.

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Can’t sleep………………………………………………..

I can’t sleep. ¬†Not quite an unusual occurrence as it may seem. My daughter brought it on tonight, she is 11 years old and has hit puberty with a wallop, i don’t like her at the moment sad to say, she is nasty, foul mouthed, contrary, if i say it’s black she say’s it’s white, parents every where will understand. She also has problems sleeping, it all stems from her having to sleep in our room until she was 6, our house is on the small side, 3 adults and 3 kids and only 3 bedrooms, until we went up into the loft. The boys are up there and she now has the box room, read ‘cant swing a cat room’ and she has tried! I think she misses the company, tonight she went to bed at 9pm and was still not settled at 11.30 so now i can’t sleep because of worrying about her, it’s school next week, big school, that doesn’t help. I worry she is going to be sleep deprived in senior school like she was all through year 6, it affects her work and now she is going into serious study she needs her whits about her, it’s not time to be messing up, so i worry and i cant sleep. I have fibromyalgia and one of the awful components to it, for me, is not having the greatest sleep patterns, so i have to be careful of stress at bedtime, so tonight i cant sleep. I am stressed because my mum has cancer, my aunt has just passed away, my husband is not well, my kids are, well kids, so i cant sleep. Grrrrrrr it’s 3.40am and i cant sleep! So, i write. ………….. I went for a ‘wander with Chris’ on Tuesday evening, we went down to the beach and had a walk around the marine lake, well a bit of it as i got cold. We went so i could take some photo’s of the sunset, we have great sunset’s here, legendary, and Tuesday’s was golden!

Funny how a good sunset bring’s out the photographer’s, i want to consider myself a promising and talented photographer, i think i am right in saying it, I’ve sold stuff, been in magazines etc and i have put together quite a good kit and know how to use it ūüôā and when i go out, camera slung around my neck, i laugh like a loon inside as i walk around, past other camera slung people and we are all trying hard not to scope each others kit out, is their’s better than mine, look mine is more sophisticated, wish my lens was that big and you can see them out of the corner of your eye doing the same to you as they walk nonchalantly past you. I’d love to see what their photo’s look like, are they better or worse? Who know’s because no one ever stop’s to chat, they just scuttle on past with a quick glance to make sure their camera is better than your’s. sigh………………… Wednesday Chris and i wandered over to Hilbre Island, i haven’t been there in year’s, it was a killer walk it really hurt but it was worth the pain,

i am processing the photo’s and i think i have some good one’s, one’s that please me, finger’s crossed. So really i should be able to sleep, now i can guarantee i will loose half the day catching up, vicious is this circle.

Wanderings with Chris………….Wilson Trophy 2013

Having been really busy all week Chris and I escaped the family and wandered down to a local park in West Kirby, Ashton Park,  http://www.ashtonpark.btck.co.uk/History/AfullerHistoryofAshtonPark    as i wanted to try out  my new camera.

I have exchanged my Nikon D3100 for a Nikon D7000 and i am really excited about using it, there are lots of new buttons to learn ūüôā and remember. This camera does trip me up though as i keep forgeting to put back the memory card as it doesnt tell you that there is no card in the slot ūüė¶ and i took some lovely photos the other night of the sunset without a memory card, luckily the following evening was a similar sunset, this time with a memory card!

racing the sunset 70dpi

Anyway getting back to our wanderings, we wandered down to the park on a lovely sunny day. I took some photos of the trees, then we wandered down to the lake and i took some photos of the birds and while we were chatting to a waitress at the coffee bar she let slip that it was the Wilson Trophy on Marine Lake.  Last year we had stumbled upon the race and i had taken some great photos with a Nikon D60 that i had borrowed, this year i had my own camera and a 55-200mm lens which did the job nicely.  We have had ideal conditions for the racing this weekend and there were plenty of nail biting moments. Wessex Exempt won the trophy, well done Ben Ainslie and his team.   http://www.wksc.net/wilsontrophy/

A suprise gift from our little friend.

We had a lovely suprise gift from our young cat and her best buddy today. Chris walked, well suffled as he has hurt his back, into the kitchen and found our cat sitting with Meaouch (mee ouch) which is what i call ‘the black cat’ and in front of their little paws was a Toad! Chris rescued it from them a couple of times until in the end i made him take it down to our local pond. But before he did, well, i took a few photos of course!a toad in the hand

A walk in the mist with Chris

Opening the curtains to a lovely misty day i decided that i would drag my poor husband out for a walk and a photographic expedition but where to go? I¬†don’t¬†know why but i usually head down to the nearest body of water, must be my¬†fishing¬†family roots, though this day i¬†didn’t¬†want water, i wanted landscape, trees, anything as long as it was land based. So i decided to drag Chris and his sore leg to Thurstaston Hill. It is ¬†a dog walkers heaven so you have to be careful where you walk and there are always people there and we were not¬†disappointed.¬†We only realised later that the children we encountered¬†legitimately¬†had the day off for the voting and not because they were skipping school.¬†Chris is a great writer, very talented and he also likes to take the odd photo, so he wandered around snapping away with the camera on his phone and spouting soppy¬†nonsense¬†as usual. I wandered around looking and i must admit, moaning about the lack of inspiration. ¬†It took a while but eventually i started to ‘see’ and i think i managed to get some nice images. The mist hung around nearly all morning and being so high up when we looked out over the Wirral it was wreathed in mist.

Thurstaston has its own ‘Rock’ in Thors Rock. We had a wander around there, through the trees and heather and wondered at the beautiful vista of ‘The Wirral’. I think i am pleased with my photographs, i like the views over the trees. Its actually looking over to Wales but you cant see past the mist. I hope you like looking at where i live, it really is a beautiful place.

A chance find on youtube and Photomatix Pro is my new toy.

On Monday i dragged my poor husband Chris (clawfish) down to New Brighton. Why? Because we had the most fantastic high tide at mid day combined with high winds, sunshine and beautiful cloudy sky’s. ¬†I have recently stumbled upon a youtube video of a guy teaching a group of¬†photographers how to make HDR photos in Photomatix Pro. I have been using photoshop and the HDR tool in that program, however i was not getting the results that i wanted. ¬†I wanted outstanding images, i know you need great images to start with and i knew i could get those but how would i get the finished image that i craved. And then along comes BHphotovideopro and shows me in a short video what i needed to do. ¬† ¬†¬†So taking my poor husband, my Nikon D3100, which i have just discovered does not take bracketed exposures :(, and my tripod we headed off down to Fort Perch lighthouse knowing we would come home with some great images. What we didnt realise was that we would also come home covered in sand, froth from the water and with totally windswept hair.(Well me not Chris, he is a bit follicly challenged, sorry Chris.) ¬†I was so excited to load the pictures onto my laptop. I shot in raw as i believe this is the optimum for your images, opened them in Photoshop Bridge and was really pleased at my results. I chose the three images i needed, loaded them into Photomatix Pro and let it do its thing. A couple of the images came out, well wonky but I¬†got six images that i am so pleased with, i know they need some work in Photoshop but until i figure what to do with them, then they are the best HDR images i own. I have shared them on facebook and twitter and had a lot of views and likes, one thing bothers the hell out of me though, why¬†doesn’t anyone comment on them! How do you learn if no one tells you their opinions on what you produce. I would love to hear what they think and feel i am grown up enough not to be gutted when the idiot tells me he can do better than me, lol. So, if you have a comment, can give me constructive advice, i will appreciate it, give it a go and if it works, great. If you dont like my work tough! Its my style, my take on the genre and really i am the only one who has to be proud of what i produce. ¬†Take a look at the images, feast your eyes on the wonder of New Brighton beach and please, let me know what you think. Thanks. x