Friday, 27 February 2009

Photography navel gazing

No pictures today.

I've spent the last few days being very reflective about my photography in general. This is for a variety of reasons. It probably coincides with a conversation that I had with another photographer on Thursday night, and how my photographs have fared in recent club competitions. Some of the images (two are in my blog flicker photo stream) have scored fairly well but are a little 'so what' for me. However, images that I have tried to make with a different feel to them have not done so well. Oh its because deep down I'm a sucker for a soft grainy image or dark silhouettes. What does this have to do with allotments and gardening you may well ask.

It has begun to dawn on me that the photographs I most widely exhibit actually appear on my blog. Yet I do not exhibit them or take them as a 'photographer' they are often just snaps taken as a record of activity, sightings and of us having fun. This feels weird now I've said it. To be honest its rare that I take my decent camera to the allotment, so am I really a photographer. Wouldn't a photographer be more diligent?
Do blogs with highly composed images tell you whats been going on warts and all, they may just be feeding the aspirational gardener within. A little plan that I'm concocting to aid my demonstrations of gardening expertise is the the use of photoshop - it will be much needed to improve the look of my plot as the seasons progress and my usual disasters occur. I might just clone an area of successful cultivation in someones post, say a row of nice peas then just paste it into one of my plot photos. That really would be armchair gardening.

In truth, looking back through my blog I like the image on my last post. Its a TTV (through the viewfinder) image of snowdrops, each time I happen to view it I smile slightly. Sadly, if I had lots of those sort of images in each post it might look like I was trying to hard and it also might get stale quite quickly. It may not be sustainable to produce this sort of image all the time, especially as this is a created image using a specific technique its not an accurate representation of the snowdrops. However I do want to push my image taking further and the blog gives me a reason to take pictures. To try new techniques, but does this fit with the style of my blog. So how do you know what the right balance is.

It appears to be that I am wrestling with these two points at the moment
  • Would my blog have a better impact if more of its pictures were composed in a more arty way?
  • Is there anything wrong with a picture of some freshly turned earth and a 'I did this today' post?
It leads me to ask the blogging world (outside of photography blogs of course) a question what should a blog photograph be like? Lots of you post photos and compile them in certain ways, or take part in photography memes. What do you think?

Monday, 23 February 2009

Half term hangover

A half term hangover is exactly what I've got, and despite not undertaking any, much needed gardening activities during the half term week, I could not bring myself to visit the allotment today. It was so grey and depressing and frankly I'm recovering, I have another week away from work so have a little time to do a few things.

Recovering from what you may ask - just non stop activity and child entertainment.

We went to my mum and dads in Cardiff on the Saturday, the two boys and me, the journey is the bit I dread especially the stop at the service station. Keeping track of both children, obtaining a hot coffee, refueling the children and a nappy change all take about an hour of full on stress. We got there.

In wales we did a lot of the usual favorites, visited St Fagans (The museum of welsh rural life), Cardiff bay, The National Museum and Penarth with its pier. We also went swimming at the pool. Everything apart from the swimming was free and if you know my mum and dad that includes board and lodge! Thanks Mum.

My mother is well ahead with the seed sowing, on every window ledge something was germinating and her spuds were chitting. I viewed the scene with a sense of urgency to get started with my seeds, I think last year I started a little early but now I'm not so sure. Ahh, I'm always running late with my gardening.

We returned home on the Thursday, its fair to say that Huw had really missed his dad. On Friday Huw returned to Nursery and I planned a special day with Owen. We went to the Fitzwilliam museum, Owen likes the Egyptian stuff in particular and Owen also chose to draw a picture of a horse rider in armour while we were there. They had an exhibition of Japanese prints on which were just fantastic it took us ages to find the tree frog on the convolous plants in one print. We nipped into the Cambridge botanic gardens (naughty mum squeezing in some plants) its free at the moment on weekdays up until the end of February, I took some pictures of snowdrops, TTVstyle.

Friday evening I went to a private view for the local photographic society I belong to, I have a picture in the display so enjoyed a quick glass of wine and looking at everyone else's submissions

On Saturday we went on a family weekend to and stayed in Derbyshire, we took a trip on the Midland railway the boys loved the steam train. We visited Dub Freeze on the Sunday which is a rag tag of VW fanatics its full of show off vehicles and scrap metal for sale. It is amazing how much time and effort people spend "pimping their rides"! We didn't manage to get a suitable skylight for our camper van. I'm not sure if I would be keen to go again it was far too busy and not that entertaining.

I was glad it was back to school today and I did indulge in some retail therapy at the garden centre. It was a bit of a wild and impulsive purchase - a cranberry bush - I have no idea if it suitable or easy to grow. So a little bit of goggleing might be in order to find out how to care for it - any advice greatly received the garden centre guys weren't very convincing with there input.

Friday, 13 February 2009

A bit of tagging

It's not often that I get tagged (and that may be a good thing), so I thought I would play along and tag a few others too. Magic Cochin tagged me because I was one of her recent visitors. I can't use that technique as I don't know who visits unless they leave me a comment. So I will just choose a few people who I have recently read their blog and see if they play along.

It's over to you Rachael, Mrs Be, Anna & Ali

It's called the 4-4-4 meme and this is what you do:

“go into your photo archive, pick the 4th folder in the archive, select the 4th picture in the folder, and write about it. Then tag 4 other people to do the same” .

This is the photo from my ancient laptop (I do most of my blogging from this as it has a wireless card and I can sit on the sofa).The photo is three years old in March, it was taken after Owen cut his head on a table. He had come back from nursery full of beans, spinning around making himself dizzy. The inevitable happened. We spent the evening in casualty where he was glued back together. It's a bad and blurry photo and feels a little fuzzy and tearful just like my memories of that evening. He now has a pale while scar on his brow that is hardly noticeable, I'm sure there will be more as he is still a bit of a giddy goat at times.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Quick trip

This is what the site looked like today and today my plot appears to be on an even playing field with the others, the snow hides what lurks beneath. I can just about pretend that large amounts of it have been dug and prepared for planting because you can't see. They should judge best kept plot on days like today.

What was I doing there on a day like today? well I had some kitchen scraps for composting that were starting to get out of control in the kitchen. Plus the spud orders were in for collection unsurprisingly I was the only punter at the shop and across the site.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

What can you do?

There is not a lot to say, the snow is going to prevent any cultivation either at home in the garden or at the allotment for many days. What am I going to do? Well the only thing I could think of was to start crocheting my new sun hat, ready for the summer - oh there better be one!

Now I have not done crochet since I was about 12 so it may take me a couple of attempts to get it right but hopefully it will be worth it.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Wicked wind

We have had a bit of a topsy turvey weekend where our plans were put on hold. Which meant we had a little gap to visit the allotment and check what was happening. As we loaded the car I thought it unlikely the kids would last long, so did not really expect to get anything done.

At the site all was well, the storage box was secure and my recent ground cover was still in place. The plot was just screaming dig me, dig me now. Across the site the wind was strong and icy. It quickly chilled us all to our bones. My hands could no longer feel or do anything, not even take a picture with the camera. We left very rapidly.

I popped into the site shop to see if the potato orders were ready, there were loads of allotmenteers helping to sort the delivery into individual orders and they will be ready next week. I also wanted some other bits for the gardening club but was out of luck and did not want to interrupt the complex work.

On the way across the site I bumped into a new allotmenteer who is in the photography society I go to, so it will provide a good mix of things to discuss on the society evenings.

Good news is our 'jedi' garlic has some shoots, some cloves have been disturbed by animals. I popped to a garden center and got some modules and some mung beans to sprout. I thought the modules could be used to plant up some left over garlic cloves both at home, and in school. I thought sprouting seeds would be a good bad weather thing for the gardening club I hope the teacher agrees. She wasn't at her plot to ask.

I got home and planted some left over garlic cloves rather than wasting them (also cooked some fairy cakes as seen in the picture). Do you think I have a potting shed with an oven or a small multi functioning kitchen?

As I post the back garden has been dusted with what looks like white icing I doubt there will be gardening club on Tuesday if the forecast is correct