The Lion, The Ape and The Whimsical!

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Fresh back from our holiday, just in time for the half term break, so guess some of you may be taking a holiday yourselves this week. Enjoy!

We packed lots in to ours, had a few super days in Kent, got away from it all and included a quick visit to Margate for a bit of reminiscing. My grandparents had a pub/hotel there back in the day so it became a bit like a second home at the time, many, many moons ago of course. Now it’s a pub no more, it’s an antique shop in fact, but the building itself, even the interior, are still much the same. Bought back a few memories 😊

We also had a brilliant day out to Longleat, strangely somewhere I’d never been before considering it’s not a million miles away. Really glad we went, I’m sure many of you have been there too, and if you haven’t, it’s well worth the visit. The safari park is quite an adventure as you drive through, with the monkeys clambering all over the car, so amusing, then lions walking strolling by the car window. Surreal.  Fantastic for taking pictures needless to say. The entry ticket also includes a boat trip where you see a 56 year old gorilla on his own little island, with his own house – complete with his very own smart TV (seriously folks, apparently he loves watching it!!!). The two resident hippos were sleeping at the lake’s edge, we could just about see their backs poking out of the water; then came the opportunity to feed the sea lions by throwing fish from the boat – more amazing photo opportunities!

I’ve had a ball practising my digital art too. At the moment I’m veering along the whimsical route, as I love this particular style. Using techniques I’ve learned from the course, I’ve also been incorporating some of my own hand drawings of whimsical type faces, such as in the pic below, and then combining these in Photoshop with textures and other elements, floral etc which I have acquired since starting the course. I became the proud owner of an Ipad Pro and IPencil a few days ago so have been using those to do my initial drawing – boy have they been a revolution!! Along with the brilliant Procreate App, which transforms the Ipencil into virtually any medium you can imagine, you can sketch and paint to your hearts content! Awesome fun 😊

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Haha but fear ye not 😉 I’ve put my drawing hat aside for now, and am getting back into the swing of things post holiday. As happens after time away, there’s lots to catch up on and this week is busier than usual with shoots as the schools are off, which is lovely and I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and some new ones too!! Thanks so much for your patience whilst I’ve been away and as I work my way through the backlog. I enlisted some editing help whilst I was on holiday to enable me to keep on top of things as much as possible and I’m now getting cracking on with outstanding orders and preparing galleries in between my studio sessions, so I’ll contact you soon if you’ve been in touch whilst I’ve been away.

So here we are again, that busy, busy time leading up to Christmas, which will be here before we know, and with the clocks going back next weekend it will really feel like winter with the dark evenings upon us.

This means it must be time for an offer!!! Yay!!!!  I have that very special gift voucher deal coming up – a £50 studio voucher for only £25 and a £100 gift voucher for only £50 (did someone say half price?) – available to buy for one day only!! I’ll announce the date you will be able to get yours in the next day or so. Ideal Christmas pressies!!

Just one more thing to mention for now … a new security system at Basepoint means anyone coming for a Sunday session will find the front gates closed and will have to gain access by pressing a button on the gate which alerts me in my unit so I can let you in. I’ll be emailing those of you concerned with more info soon and will update website etc with more details soon.

 

Happy half term!

 

 

A Little Artiness

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So two weeks in to the Photoshop Artistry course and I’m really lovin’ it!

My pictures, as you can see, are a bit diverse, but that’s the fun of it, experimenting, throwing things into the mix, finding what works and what doesn’t (at least what I think works – art is very subjective) and just seeing what transpires.

There is no must in art because art is free.”  Wassily Kandinsky

Here’s some of my creations to date …

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Before I started the course, I reckoned my Photoshop skills were pretty much OK, having used the software to edit goodness knows how many pictures over the years!

As with a lot of things, I guess you learn the bits you need and use all the time – so much so you could do them standing on your head, and although of course you’re aware there’s a lot more to it, you don’t delve too much into other functions when you’re managing perfectly well with those you’re familiar with and use all the time.

Until you DISCOVER more!!  As I have done via this course.

Putting aside for a moment the abundance of arty inspiration gleaned (which has been absolutely fascinating), the PhotoShop Artistry course has also opened my eyes to much more! Loads of things I hadn’t learned/understood before re the complexities of Photoshop, but now I’ve seen them in action, I wonder how I ever managed without! So these tips and tricks have been a real bonus. 😊

If you’d like to know more about the course here’s the info and an offer they are running (at the time of writing this post) https://prophotoshopartistry.com/specialoffer

The man behind the training is Sebastian Michaels and he explains everything with great clarity as he demonstrates in a number of videos and articles the various techniques within Photoshop which he uses to create his amazing pictures. His wonderful work and ideas alone are truly inspiring, but all the “lightbulb moments” that came on for me as I have been watching his demonstrations, are going to be so useful in my day to day work.

I allocated a few hours in the first week so I could get a good start on the training, it’s very addictive, so it was great to be able to do that. Since then I’ve been working on it whenever time allows.  I’ve now completed all the modules, and have been practising the different techniques as I go along, making use of both the myriad of textures/elements included within the course (kid in a sweet shop springs to mind!) and working with some of my own images too. Whenever I go out I’ve been on the lookout and photographing textures in the great outdoors to incorporate in my work (concrete, gravel, wood, sand, stones, you get the drift) – it doesn’t sound very exciting eh, and I did sense one or two funny looks from passers by as I was photographing some things … drains, anyone … but it’s amazing how overlaying one or two of these as textures in the picture can really bring it all together! And no, it won’t resemble a drain (or whatever) once it’s in the final composition!

The artist’s world is limitless.  It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.  It is always on his doorstep.” Paul Strand

I’ve worked through the training quite speedily as I was excited to see what there was to learn next! Perhaps having experience of Photoshop has helped to get through it a little quicker than had I not. A few of the earlier videos covered some of what I knew already – apart from the “lightbulb moments” as mentioned – but that’s great if you’re starting from scratch of course.

I’ll be going back over several of the videos to refresh my memory on some of the techniques and I’m sure I’ll pick up even more – it’s tricky to take it all in first time round.

I’d thoroughly recommend this if digital art is your thing too. It’ll really get those creative juices flowing! It certainly has for me – it’s unleashed a mountain of ideas, and I know that some I will be able to use in your pictures too, as I’m constantly on the lookout to bring some innovative creations for your galleries.  I’m hoping at some stage to sell some of mine as wall art and cards too.

I shall certainly keep creating – there’s always something new to learn and keep ideas fresh. The course also points you in the direction of loads and loads of excellent resources for use in your creations – you can’t fail but to be inspired!

Good luck if you decide to go for it – I’d love to see some of your works of art too 🙂

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” Kurt Vonnegut

 

 

A Higgledly-Piggledy Month …

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Wow, can’t believe the summer holidays are all done for another year!

Hope you’ve had a great time while the kids have been off and lovely holidays if you’ve been away.

August was a somewhat higgledly-piggledly month for us, what with the house move being a week later than expected (which threw our holiday plans right out of kilter); having no broadband for a few weeks (who knew how much you miss it!); sorting out the new abode, which involved several trips to Ikea for some storage necessities (wardrobes anyone?), plus one or two (ahem, maybe 3!) deliveries from ao.com.

So, there’s been loads to sort out, as is generally the case when you move of course, and been keeping Lee busy with all the flat-pack building!!

Just wanted to say thank you so much for all of your orders which have been coming in thick and fast since I got back to work last week. And also to say thanks for waiting so patiently during all of our moving upheaval and time off. I’m on the case, but it’s taking me a little longer than usual to process everything due to such an overwhelming number coming in at once. I’m not complaining of course, just loathe want to keep you waiting longer than necessary for your prints and images. The good news is that I’m starting to get on top of everything now it’s a week in, having enlisted help from my brilliant editing company with the final clean-up edit that I like to carry out on all images ordered.  So you should be receiving everything very soon, if indeed you haven’t already.

I must say, we are absolutely LOVING our new abode, it’s all coming together very nicely indeed and the traumas of the moving process have now been religated to the memory banks, thank goodness! It’s a very spacious flat, just minutes from the studio, so a perfect location, and several of you are my “nearly neighbours” which is lovely!

We didn’t get a “proper” holiday as such, but managed to squeeze in a couple of days out, including a lovely day out at the Great Dorset Steam Fair a couple of weeks ago, in amongst all the bedlam, which was very welcome – and fantastic weather! If you’ve never been, it’s well worth a visit when it’s on again next year. Something there for everyone!

Just a little advance notice, we’re also taking a week off 15-22 October so we can have some time away and chillax without the worries of moving taking over our break!

For now though, it’s back to normality, I’ve been really enjoying all your latest shoots and getting back in the studio, as well as several on location. Lots of variety and loving every minute!

Oh, and as I’m writing, Just a little shameless reminder … I do get booked up this time of year, especially at weekends, so if you are thinking in terms of photos for Christmas pressies, please book your slot as soon as you can!

Did someone say Christmas! Ouch, sorry 😉

Equine Photo Session … behind the scenes

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“To ride a horse is to fly without wings”

Equine photoshoot

Much as I love horses, I must admit to having very little first-hand knowledge of them, let alone ever learned to ride. Even though a part of me has always imagined that it must be a fantastic feeling, taking to the saddle, wind in hair and galloping across the land – just like in the movies! 😉

In personal projects, I really enjoy taking photographs of the ponies in the New Forest, albeit mainly from a distance – and often from the other side of a fence!

So, I was really thrilled to be invited to do this equine photo session at a stables in Lymington.

When Lee and I arrived at the location, we were first introduced to the beautiful mare, Orla, who was being prepped for her “photoshoot” by her lovely owners. I joined them in her stable to start taking pictures as she was being groomed and saddled up – it was brilliant to be so close and get these natural shots, and very interesting to see what was involved.

Once Orla was all spruced up, we headed over to the paddock.

First up some shots of the star attraction. Isn’t she beautiful!

Then pictures of her with the family.

Then the action shots!

Lee was on hand with my phone to take a few snippets of video for a little behind the scenes glimpse!

Luckily the weather was perfect … sunshine and clouds, with blue sky peeking through – much more interesting in photos than cloudless days. I decided to make the most of it to add a little drama to some of the images, so took several of the pictures from a low vantage point so as to feature as much of the sky as possible.

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Equestrian clothing completed the scene – the amazing period style attire was truely something else!! It made for some gorgeous shots (and the opportunity for me to get a little arty!)

So a first Equine Photo Session for me – and hopefully not the last (hint, hint anyone?) 😉

Loved it! Thank you so much for the lovely family who made it possible for me – and of course to Orla who was very obliging!

Most Beautiful Evening

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We received a very intriguing invitation out of the blue a week or so ago!

It kept us guessing for sure … all we were given was the time and date – Friday 16 June – and “come and share and celebrate some unexpected news”.

And to be at a secret location – which was only confirmed on the day!

OMG the SUSPENSE!!!

Of course, we would be there! And we couldn’t wait to find out what it was all about!!

The invite came in the form of an email from our lovely friend, Lynn, Founder of the charity, Their Future Today https://www.facebook.com/theirfuturetoday/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf. You may remember I’ve mentioned Lynn and her fantastic charity several times before, (yes, I’m very proud of her), mainly highlighting her fundraising balls and events. In October 2016 she deservedly won a Best Business Woman award.

I first met Lynn when we worked together at a travel agency in Twickenham. We were both about 17 at the time, so a little (ahem!!) while ago and lots of memories along the way!

And so to Friday …

The beautiful venue, we discovered on the day, was at the home of one of Lynn’s close friend’s, situated on an island on the Thames no less, with simply stunning views across the river from the garden. Such a perfect setting on a gorgeous balmy summer’s evening.

There were around 60 specially invited people, including of course Lynn’s lovely family, who have actively supported her all the way. The atmosphere was so warm, friendly and very relaxed indeed.   We were treated to a delicious barbecue, along with the odd Pimms (or two!), as we soaked up the ambiance and wonderful scenery.

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Ducks in convoy gliding by!

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The “announcement” we were all eagerly awaiting, was to be at 10.30pm. Although, it flew round really quickly though as we were having such a great time and it was half past ten before we knew!

So, the moment had finally arrived!

There were touching speeches by two of Lynn’s 3 sons, culminating in the fantastic news:

Lynn had been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list!! 

(Did you spot the clue in this blog post title lol!)

Wow!!! Everyone was absolutely over the moon for her, and so delighted that her tireless hard work, dedication and fantastic achievements over the years have been recognised and rewarded by such a huge honour, and so richly deserved.

Lynn then gave some lovely words and thank you’s to all the devoted people and volunteers who have also put in such a tremendous amount of effort on behalf of the charity over the years.

Her big dilemma was how to decide who will be accompanying her to the palace – she is allowed 3 guests along with herself, and with her devoted husband, immensely proud dad and 3 caring sons to choose from, there was only one fair way – their 5 names scribbled onto serviettes (in her hands in the pic above left), with 3 being picked at random.

The celebrations and party carried on in style – don’t you just love the cake!!

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Lynn (right) our friend Carole (centre) and myself

Lee and I arrived back home at 2am still buzzing from having been a part of such an amazing evening.

So how did Their Future Today come about? Well, who better to explain than Lynn in her own words (quote taken from an email to her charity’s supporters announcing the exciting news of her MBE award):

‘Who would have thought it when I sat on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight 12 years ago coming home from volunteering after the Asian tsunami?

My heart told me that I had to try to do something to help orphaned and abandoned babies barely surviving in an orphanage in Sri Lanka. This was never as a gesture of charity but as an act of human justice.

I realised I couldn’t do much alone… but, I knew that I knew some amazing people who knew some amazing people, and it’s only with the help, support and love from you, which has made this Medal of the Order of the British Empire award possible and I am extremely grateful.

The United Nations Conventions of the Rights of the Child says that every child deserves the right to grow up in a family. We can make it happen, and we are.

Last year we helped reshape the pathway for 3000 abandoned and disadvantaged children in Sri Lanka by reuniting families, preventing abandonment and enabling education.”

Amazing, eh?

Please take a look at Their Future Today’s story when you get a moment https://www.theirfuturetoday.com/our-story You’ll be very moved indeed.

Congratulations Lynn Stanier MBE!!! You are a very special lady and we are so, so proud of you.

Their Future Today – TransFormaTion of Little Lives. What a difference you have made.

#LOVE FOR EVERYCHILD

 

 

Beautiful Couple + Breathtaking Views = Amazing Wedding!

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The historic Town Walls have taken pride of place in Southampton for hundreds of years. So, with the venue being so near, to make use of them for pictures at the beautiful wedding of Jen and Lee on 1st April, was a no-brainer!

The wedding took place at the Southampton Holiday Inn. It’s in a prime location: with the old walls to one side, and the stunning water front views of the Mayflower Park, to the other.

Some awesome photo opportunities then!

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Quick mention for the fantastic staff at The Holiday Inn, who were exemplary in their desire to make sure everything ran smoothly – as indeed it did!

The beautiful bride, in her stunning gown, walked into the ceremony to the music of the famous Elvis Presley song “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” played by Alison, a very talented violinist.

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At our pre-wedding get together with the lovely couple, we had ambled across to the old walls, which we all agreed would make the perfect setting for some of their pictures. 

On the day itself, we had everything crossed for good weather. As indeed we do for every wedding we photograph of course, but especially so this time! The plan was for the majority of the wedding party to make their way from the hotel to the walls, via a very busy main road (thank goodness for the pedestrian lights!). Torrential rain would have made things very tricky!

Luckily, the sun shone and it all worked even better than anticipated, despite the somewhat gusty wind.  To experience the fascinating Old Town Walk with the bride and groom and their family and friends, was brilliant. The group shots turned into a bit of an adventure!

We took the “all guests” photo at the hotel first – there’s a perfect spot to the side of the hotel with lots of steps, so I could get to a good high vantage point. Everyone in view!

At the walls we could concentrate on the rest of the family and friends’ shots. We stopped at different locations along the walk, to make the most of the variety of fabulous scenic views.

The guests made their way back to the hotel as and when their photographs were done. When everyone had eventually filtered away, it was only the lovely couple with the children, their pageboys and flower girl, remaining. We took a couple of fun shots of them all by the arches, otherwise known as The Arcades.

The walk is also home to the 15th Century Tudor House, one of Southampton’s most haunted buildings, apparently! The outside of the building is perfect for romantic couple shots – no paranormal beings spotted!

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Once everyone else had gone back to the hotel, dark clouds had started to appear.  The impending rain meant a quick change of plan and the proposed evening shots in the Mayflower Park with the newlyweds were brought forward.

It turned out to be the most amazing time of the day to take the shots. The sun was low creating some beautiful light and rays. The water absolutely sparkled! A perfect atmosphere for some very romantic pictures.

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As the happy couple strolled hand in hand back across the park, the hotel could be seen in the distance. Perfect to feature in the pictures to add to the story and set the scene.

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Everything fell into place so very well. We were back at the Holiday Inn in good time for the wedding breakfast!

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Loved the bride’s gorgeous red shoes!!

Sticking with the historic theme … check out this swash-buckler of a sword for cutting the cake!!

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Once the evening guests arrived, the cake was cut by the happy couple wielding the said sword!
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Awesome cake eh! Made by the clever folk at http://www.specialitycakes.biz/  – and chosen by the groom himself!

The happy newlyweds then took to the floor for their first dance.

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A truely special and wonderful day!

Made all the more special by the amazing talents of :

Violinist, Alison Rowley http://www.morrismonday.com/

Flowers by Sarah Grist at Penny Lane Flowers  https://www.pennylaneflowers.com/

Dress by Ann, Sue and Dee of Mayflower Bridal http://www.mayflowerbridal.co.uk

Cake by Speciality Cakes http://www.specialitycakes.biz/

Congrats to the new Mr and Mrs!!

Triple the Giggles!

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So, this week saw the latest birthday visit to the studio of these gorgeous triplets. One I always look forward to!

And this time, celebrating their FOURTH birthday!

They’ve been in each year on their actual birthday, and before that at 8 months old. It’s lovely seeing how much they’ve changed each time they come in. Growing up fast!

Here’s the post I blogged after their First Birthday Photoshoot back in 2014: https://romseyfotografix.blog/2014/03/01/a-sneaky-peak-behind-the-scenes-of-the-adorable-triplets-first-birthday-shoot/

They usually bring in a favourite present or two that they’ve been given for their birthday – and this time was no exception. They were very excited to show me their new toys when they arrived. And these of course featured in one or two of the shots!

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There was lots of running around and squeals of laughter, along with some great cuddles for their mum!

And they really got into the swing of dressing up and having a little song and dance at the end of the session.

So funny 🙂

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And a few highlights from across the years…

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You see why this “job” is so rewarding 🙂