Friday, 10 February 2017

A this-and-that kind of morning

I've mentioned before (maybe here, maybe over at Frond & Feather) that I've been trying to be a bit more structured in my approach to work. I'm currently working my way through the Maker's Business Toolkit and it's really helping. No, this isn't a sponsored post or anything. But it's been great to be part of an online community and to have a framework.

I plan out my working week and it's so much better than my previous scatter gun approach.


Today has been a little bit... unstructured.

Maybe I'm just preparing myself for next week - half term - when any semblance of being organised will be straight out of the window. I'm looking forward to it, actually. Yesterday morning we were in such a hurry to leave the house, I locked the front door and as we walked Joe was crying. 'Mummy! You haven't put my shoes on!' Sure enough, I looked down and there he was in just his socks. I felt pretty awful about that one.

After dropping Joe at school today I went out of the side gate from the playground (you have to be quick once the bell's been rung or they lock you in and the only means of escape is via Reception and the wrath of the headteacher) and off up the hill for a little walk. Firstly, because it's been trying to snow for days and we've had just the lightest dusting and I wanted to enjoy it. Secondly, because I wanted to play with my camera.

You see: My name's Sarah and I'm an Autoholic. 

I've owned a DSLR for probably eight years now and am completely stuck in the point-and-shoot mode. In some ways it's served me well; I have some really lovely photos to show for it. And I tend to play with images later on, thanks to some nice editing software. Being a creative type I actually enjoy the whole messing around with effects process. Although it can be very time-consuming.

But I know I can get so much more from my camera. We're now a two-DSLR household, and I keep using Jay's camera with the kit lens rather than my own with a 35mm. I rely way too much on auto-focus.

A good friend of mine is a professional photographer and she couldn't believe I never move out of Auto mode. So yesterday I made lots of notes from my 'Photo' Pinterest board and had a go. 

Many, many horribly underexposed photos later I realised I was trying to run before I could walk. So instead of leaping straight into Manual, I decided that today I'd make a start with Aperture Priority instead. I know the basics - kind of - so off I went.

The photos in this post are all SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera). Other than the black and white ones. And, to be honest, I only did that to try and improve them as I wasn't too happy with them in their unadulterated state.

Still, onwards and upwards. Apparently using Manual mode becomes second nature. Just like riding a bike or driving a car. Well I can drive a car and a tractor - complete with a trailer full of hay - so I'm going to keep on persevering.

I didn't stay out too long, just half an hour or so, because today's to-do list is a long one.

So I returned home, swapped my wellies for shoes, and ran a few errands in town before heading home for a restorative mug of hot chocolate.

I'm also planning to send off my first article for Creative Countryside this afternoon (the accompanying picture will be taken later next week. Who knows, I may be an ace photographer by then). And I need to do a bit of a social media catch-up. 

Joe and I enjoy a bit of colouring. He does these huge, weird and wonderful felt tip drawings with the most surreal stories attached to them. I sit opposite him trying to ignore the marks on the table and use one of those 'colouring for grown-ups' books (this one, a T.K. Maxx bargain). Having read the reviews it would appear that some people take their grown-up colouring very seriously indeed. I'm not one of them. However, it's very absorbing and a nice way to de-stress.

This story is going somewhere, I promise... You see, I recently made some more plant monoprints. Being the most picky of perfectionists, I wasn't entirely happy with the fern (above). I'm also very resourceful and hate throwing out my artwork - especially when it's done using expensive paper - so I thought I'd colour it in with green pencil. It actually looks quite good propped up on the mantel.

I like the idea of hand-tinting my monoprints, so plan to have a go at that after lunch. Whether the watercolour paint will cause the (water-based) printing ink to run is anyone's guess.

And now the sun's gone in, it's trying to snow again and I'm heading downstairs and away from my messy work table. I didn't photograph all of it. A little section tells you all you need to know.

Perhaps a straighten-up later on then, before I collect the little tornado from school.

Have a great weekend, and stay warm.

P.S. I've been re-reading the first two 'Adrian Mole' books (it's probably twenty years since I last read them). I'd forgotten how funny they are...


  1. I remember enjoying Adrian Mole as well. Must look out for some Sue Townsend, as you say, she is very funny. I like the idea of planning out the week. I think I need to try something like that. In fact I was just typing out a Grand Plan earlier today. I find it's very easy to let time slip by without achieving what I want to. Love the story about Joe's shoes. Everyone's done something like that I think. The print looks beautiful coloured, I think you're on to something there! Hope you have a good weekend and a good half-term too. CJ xx

  2. I'm guilty of never coming out of auto mode in my camera too... not that I've used it for ages as I tend to rely on my phone or iPad. You've got some great photos though so it has made me think I should be more adventurous. Have a fun half term

  3. Your photos are beautiful. I especially like the stone wall one and the heather - lovely bokeh. I started with aperture priority mode too and I found there are loads of great tutorials online. Happy shooting!

  4. Love your photos Sarah, and congratulations for 'taking the plunge' and going off-auto! I'm also guilty of this and am trying to be a bit braver with my photography. I do get confused with the ISO, aperture, shutter speed and all but am determined to master it... hope half term has been fun, see you soon xxx


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