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 …

Photoshop Artistry creations

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.

Ducks

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!!

Their Future Today

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

 

 

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 🙂

Looking forward …

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So here we are then, 2017 is underway!

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas. As usual it has flown by  – no sooner have the tree and decorations gone up, it’s time to take them down again!

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Decs Away!!!

It’s good though to get back to “normality”. I never did much like the few days between Christmas and New Year (and I don’t think I’m alone in this). After the franticness of December, the excitement and build up to the big day, the magic of Christmas Eve (always been my favourite day of the year and also happens to be our eldest son’s birthday) and of course Christmas Day itself, afterwards things seem a bit, er, flat.

Although I find the break a great opportunity to come up with new ideas for the year ahead and start putting the wheels in motion for them. This cheers me up no end; I really love this kind of research, especially when I discover stuff that is going to prove very handy. As indeed I have. I also have fun finding and trying out new apps and experimenting with creative effects to my heart’s content – a perfect chance to do just that – and of course I’ve fallen head over heels with a couple of new (to me) Apps which I’ll tell you about soon!

As well as the brainstorming, we had a fleeting visit to Marwell Zoo, to start making use of the annual membership I bought Lee for Christmas (and treated myself too!). We’ll really make the most of it I’m sure – so many amazing photo opportunities! It was a very cold and misty day, and lots of the animals not surprisingly were hiding away. So we only wandered round for an hour or two this time but it was great to blow away some cobwebs and have a nice brisk walk and there was still lots to admire and photograph. Wildlife is so fascinating isn’t it! Being so close to Marwell, it’s great that we can nip over there with our cameras whenever we have a spare hour or two. Here’s a few I took on Friday, I expect you’ll see one or two more in the next few months!

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This little bute very obligingly strolled slowly passed me several times so I could get a few good close-ups! Or maybe he was just thinking I’d make a good dinner … yikes!!!

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We also had our annual panto trip to the Mayflower on New Years Eve – oh yes we did!! (Sorry couldn’t resist that …) With it being a special night, we always treat ourselves to dinner in the theatre’s Ovation restaurant pre-show, which never disappoints. Did any of you see this year’s panto, Robin Hood, there? We had a good old giggle and joined in the banter, the effects were very clever too. Lee and I first met when we were in the back row of a panto chorus together, an amateur production in Sunbury-on-Thames, many moons ago. We did our fair share of pantos back in the day, so have some great memories – the shows were usually late January so the rehearsals and set building etc was a brilliant way to overcome any January blues!! So we still love to get our panto fix once a year – but from the audience rather than on stage these days!

I’ve had some great feedback already re the joy the pictures you bought as gifts have given when opened by your surprised loved ones on Christmas Day. That’s so nice to know 🙂 Thank you.

It’s really lovely to have lots of photoshoots and weddings in the diary already – so looking forward to seeing you all!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year, may it bring you everything you wish for!

‘Tis The Season to be Jolly

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Yes, ‘Tis the season to be jolly once again! (Maybe that should be the mantra for all year round really).

It’s not always easy to be “jolly” this time of year is it, with so much extra stuff to be done, but we usually get there in the end!

So, once there’s time to breathe …. chill … and start winding down a bit, you might begin to feel a little nostalgic about Christmases past, as I always do this time of year. Aha, cue for last year’s blog post https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2015/12/ Must be that old cine clip that does it 😉

Also, maybe a time to reflect a little on the year gone by. I hope it’s been a good one for you.

It seems like only 5 minutes ago that we were just coming into 2016 and the approaching ten year anniversary of Romsey Fotografix, back in January. I really enjoyed putting together the Then and Now montages from some of your shoots, delving into the archives and looking back at all your photo sessions over the years.

Speaking of which, here’s a young lady who’s been in every year on her actual birthday in December since she was 2 years old (bar one year when lots of snow stopped play!). Lovely to see her again, looking all grown up, for her 11th birthday shoot last weekend, this time along with some friends – and her gorgeous dog Alfie!

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Giggles galore!!!

For us, both socially and workwise, there’s been lots going on, which I guess has made it feel like the year’s gone by even quicker. Particular highlights of course, my weekend of surprises https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/surprise-after-surprise-after-surprise/ and the beautiful day we renewed our wedding vows https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/renewing-our-wedding-vows-30-years-on/

If any of you have kept up or started a 365 day photo project, it’d be great to hear how it’s going. I’m still doing mine, and am glad as it’s pretty cool having a daily picture diary to look back on, although it’s time consuming and ‘twould be fair to say I’m not quite so enthusiastic about it as I was when I first started!! More about this year’s in another post, here’s last year’s https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2016/01/06/on-the-blog-today-update-on-my-365-photo-project-for-2015-365photo-365project/

I would love to take this opportunity to say a massive THANK YOU to each and everyone of you who’ve entrusted me with taking your photos, whether in the studio or for your “big days” – and in some cases both! It’s always such a privilege to share and photograph the special times in your lives; it really means such a lot to me to be asked. And it’s been brilliant to see so many familiar faces again this year, as well as lots of new ones too!

So many amazing, memorable moments 🙂  As I’ve said many a time, you make this job of mine so joyful, it just doesn’t feel like work!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And have yourselves a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year.