or…. I had to get a photo for the Fotospeed challenge; it was late on Sunday night; I would have photographed The Belles but ended up co-opted to sing with them; pub was packed; this was my last chance subject; there was practically no light
For the Wex Mondays and Fotospeed challenges this week I have created another of my little still-life squares. I added a bit of smoke to the mirror using my vape but I must say it was harder to try and control than I thought it would be! I stacked nine images together so that I could get the smoke in all the areas that I’d wanted. I kept it soft like a sea mist. These little pieces are very self-reflective. There are many times that I feel like an empty shell, a pale reflection of the person I should have become. I can put on a mask but it’s all smoke and mirrors, tricks of the light. This shell is cracked. Not fit for purpose! Even a hermit crab wouldn’t want it. Half a life of Crohn’s will do that! It’s IBD awareness week with the theme Make The Invisible Visible (Crohn’s and Colitis) so this is a way of sharing something of the impact that the disease has had on me. I think if I took off that mask and lived showing people how I really felt all the time it would absolutely destroy me. I’m a rather fragile shell really. The mask is as much for myself as for anyone else. But still, there’s beauty even in an old, cracked and empty shell.
This photo of friends and musicians, Claudia Stark and Lisa Von H, totally encapsulates the atmosphere at The Phoenix Cultural Centre‘s Big Busk in Woking Town centre on Saturday. We had all come together to celebrate music, community and culture in Woking. It was hoped that we would also be celebrating the signing of the lease on Quake nightclub, to be renamed Fiery Bird, as the next phase in the Phoenix project. Sadly the lease deadline passed, once again, without any further word on the completion! Get Surrey posted that “the council said it is looking into the matter”. Neither this latest let-down or the freezing cold could stop us partying though! I’m so proud to be part of this project and to have been part of this brilliant, fun event too.
Have I mentioned all the amazing musicians and creatives that I am blessed to know? Maybe once or twice 😉 Yesterday brought a few of us together at my friend, Julia’s, studio and rehearsal space for the filming of Amy Turk’s forthcoming YouTube release. I brought the studio backdrop, captured a few stills, Julia and Simon cooked a Tagine, Ben and John filmed and Amy provided the day’s soundtrack on harp. I love watching Amy play. It’s seemingly effortless and absolutely mesmerising. Her arms and hands flow through the moves of some graceful ballet and the music follows her lead. I love photographing musicians performing live, as it gives me a way to try to capture the essence and emotion of their performance, the connection between artist and instrument. So this is Amy, captured while lost in the music, in harmony with her harp. I’m putting this into this week’s Fotospeed challenge and I hope everyone will be enchanted and intrigued to follow this LINK for Amy’s YouTube channel. The new video will be aired very soon! I hope to be bringing more news from Julia K’s Firespark Records and Studios soon.
I had another go at focus stacking this last weekend. This time my subject is botanical, the decaying petals of a hydrangea. They’re all from one flower-head but all at different stages of decay, from the age-spotted pinks through to skeletal lacy remains. The petals were arranged on glass on a black background and lit with a diffused, blue spotlight. After stacking my images in Photoshop and masking in the focused areas, I decided that the image felt more appealing, almost vintage, with some areas left soft and unfocused. I gave the whole piece a hazy, matte finish to accentuate that vintage look that is a mirror to the subject itself. I hope you like it! I’m putting this one forward for both Wex Mondays and the Fotospeed challenges this week. Good luck to all taking part!
I went for a short walk with the hubby at Heather Farm yesterday to capture the fabulous skies over the Autumnal landscape for today’s Fotospeed challenge. I actually ended up with added extras to the scene that I had had in mind! The Horsell Common Preservation Society (HCPS) is based at the Heather Farm Wetland Centre near Woking in Surrey. You can see the building that they use, alongside the cafe, at the back of the landscape within my photo. The Society’s landholdings include 916 acres of high forest, woodland, meadows and lowland heath that form a part of the internationally important Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area. Heather Farm riverside meadows and wetlands were developed as a SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace), which provides a less fragile landscape for people to enjoy walking through. Part of the site is now a much loved dog walking route. Dogs also receive a warm welcome, water, biscuits and towels at the Water’s Edge cafe! Owners are being asked to be extra careful with their four-legged friends at the moment. Within the fenced-off wetland area, Badger Face Welsh Mountain sheep are grazing the grasslands as part of the natural land management and conservation work done by HCPS. Larger areas of grassland within the common are grazed by Aberdeen Angus cattle. These living lawnmowers are the most natural, environmentally friendly way to manage grasses and scrub, maintaining the habitat for a large variety of wildlife. They’re also really very attractive sheep to see! On Saturday the ewes got to meet a rather important new member of this little flock. His name is Hector and you can see him just off-centre in my image. Once all the ewes have fallen pregnant this winter, the farmer who owns them will collect them from the site, so they can lamb safely in the Spring. For now they seem to be greatly enjoying their job and visitors are definitely enjoying them!
Go back to my roots Returning to Mother Earth Remains of decay
This leaf is one of the many, fallen from the sycamore in our communal gardens. I love collecting the leaves from this tree to create macro studies from. I usually keep them all in colour, enjoying the vibrancy and richness of the many tones. This particular leaf really lent itself to a monotone study though. It’s my entry for this week’s Fotospeed challenge. Good luck to everyone taking part!
After a horrible week of car breakdowns and throat infections I was treated to a warming end to the weekend. Simon took me down to RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday, for the last few hours of daylight, so I could get some much needed fresh air and a revitalising dose of nature! After watching the birds from the hide for a while we just had time for a cuppa and cake, sitting outside the main restaurant, watching the sun dip behind the trees on Seven Acres, edging the scene with a golden hue that lifted both the colours and my spirits. This is my entry for the weekly Fotospeed challenge as it’s one I would absolutely love to have printed up and hanging on the wall!