1000 likes – thank you!

What a lovely end to my second month of blogging on Mad Menadering Me – I’ve reached 1000 likes! Thank you all so much 🙂



Trial and Error: Photography and Me…

I feel there is so much more to photography than achieving a faithful reproduction of a subject – it can be that, but it can also be so much more. It is a way of showing the world not just what something looks like, but how you as the photographer see it, capturing a specific image through your generic lens. I love that artistic, creative side of photography. I love the narrative potential of the still image, the way a particular photograph can sometimes catch your eye, draw you in, give you an intimate feel for the subject, create a bond between you… that’s the kind of photography I’d like to achieve, one day…

Unfortunately the science of photography requires a veritable mountain of knowledge and expertise I’m still struggling to climb – in the grander scheme of things I’m probably still stumbling around in the foothills somewhere. I understand the absolute basics – the importance of letting the right amount of light through the lens and onto the sensor; the relationship between aperture and shutter speed and what is and is not possible to achieve between the two. I understand better how to compose a more interesting shot, and how to vary depth of field. But when it comes to other things, on most occasions I still tend to rely on the camera to know best.

For now I’m happy twiddling a straightforward dial on top of the camera between A, S and P to achieve the shot I want, but I still get all too frustrated at the thought of having to fiddle with myriad confusing menu settings when all I want to do is take a ‘straightforward’ picture – especially when I then have to go straight back in and change it all back again. To date I’ve never actually used the Manual setting, but I also know the day may come when needs must.

Everything I have learned about photography so far, I’ve learned because at some point I wanted to be able to achieve something specific, but didn’t know how, inevitably screwing up somewhere along the way. I tend to learn best by trial and error – from making mistakes and then finding out how to correct them in the future. I now know, for example, always to alter the white balance when taking snow-scenes, using a slight pink-tinge to correct the inevitable blue-cast on my final images.

I’m currently learning how best to utilise lens filters – I know that many traditional colour filters are now redundant with digital camera settings and image processing software covering many bases, but for me, I actually like the hands-on, practical feel of adding or taking away filters. I have an ever-so-subtle warming filter for taking portraits, giving a more pleasing natural blush skin-tone to white-skinned subjects. I have UV filters for all my lenses, as I find they remove the hazy grey sheen that appears on any foliage in shot, keeping greenery more green, more like the human eye sees it.

I’ve also been experimenting with using a circular polariser to see whatever effects can be achieved, with some great successes and some clear unmitigated disasters. I’ve achieved some glorious deep blue skies and rich, vibrant colours – but also some very muddy-looking green-tinged algae-filled pond-water that looks absolutely awful, and totally unnatural. So I live and learn. I’ve also discovered that taking away all surface reflections on a body of water can sometimes create a better picture – but not always. Sometimes it’s the presence of reflections that actually make the shot more interesting, and less flat.

I’d initially thought I could use the polariser as the equivalent of sunglasses for my camera when taking pics in bright sunlight, but I’ve found out the hard way that doesn’t work in all situations. So my latest addition is a Variable Neutral Density filter, which should hopefully do the job I’d thought the polariser would do, effectively creating variations on light-to-dark (non-polarised) sunglasses for my lens, but this time without any distortion of the original colours, and potentially allowing for a wider aperture and slower shutter speed in bright sunlight without completely blowing the final image out. Even playing about with exposure compensation I’ve never quite managed to achieve the desired effect in such bright sunlight, so fingers crossed this time I’ll meet with more success… 🙂

All quiet on the blogging front…

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front lately – we were away for a week, and since then I’ve had a few things preying on my mind so haven’t felt very chatty, or felt like joining in with anything much. I suppose the initial novelty of blogging has pretty much worn off for me now – it was all new and exciting for the first few months on Quiet Calliope, I had lots of quite serious personal stuff to say about living with depression (which was the main purpose of writing that blog) and it felt so good – really therapeutic – finally to have found my voice and be able to get it all off my chest.

But I also learned that an important part of having a voice is having the right not to use it if you choose not to. It soon proved all too easy for me to become too introspective, ruminating so much on talking about my own mental health issues that it became almost all-consuming, potentially making life worse again, not better…

Nevertheless I do enjoy the practice and process of blogging, so at that point I chose to let Quiet Calliope fall quiet and started a new blog, just for fun this time, nothing too serious. And here I am now almost two months into Mad Meandering Me, once more finding myself temporarily with nothing much to say…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really enjoying participating in various weekly blog challenges, in particular sharing my growing love of photography. And I’m pleased to be opening up my world a little more each day through actively taking part in those challenges, choosing freely to join in with things for once. That may be something that other people take for granted, but it’s truly a huge thing for me; joining in isn’t something I’ve ever really done ‘for fun’ before.

I’m discovering that blogging is a great hobby for depressive introverts, creating virtual contact with others without actually having to socialise in real life; no making excruciatingly difficult small-talk over after-work drinks, no uncomfortable silences to be filled so painfully, no feeling awkward and panicky in crowds, wanting the floor beneath my feet to open up and swallow me whole… And so overall I’m easily finding the blogosphere a very friendly, comfortable place to be.

But my intention with this blog was always just to go with the flow of life, and over these last couple of weeks I know I’ve been a bit quieter than I’d intended – but I guess that’s just where life has taken me for now. No doubt this hiatus shall pass soon enough, and I’ll be back to my usual meandering before too long… 🙂

Share Your World – Week 30

List 2 things you have to be happy about

My children and grandchildren 🙂

List 2 things in nature you find most beautiful

I always find myself drawn towards water in any landscape – sea, lake, river, bayou – and I absolutely love trees, the older and more full of character the better.

Show us 2 of your favourite photographs – explain why they are your favourite

Precious family photographs will always bee my overall favourites, for sentimental reasons – but thinking about the previous question I thought I’d share one of my favourite tree pictures from here in the UK, looking along the Avenue, Wanstead Flats, East London, close to where we live… The avenue is a remnant of the grand-scale landscaping done in the long-distant past when the whole area was part of the large country estate of Wanstead Park. Ironically although the house is long since gone (sold off brick by brick to pay gambling debts, I believe) there are still areas of ‘natural’ beauty left over from then to be enjoyed by Londoners today…Tree-lined-trackAnd one of my favourite tree/water combinations in the world, Grande Coupe, Pierre Part, Louisiana, where my husband’s family live… although the cypress trees grow naturally in the water here, there are clear ‘cuts’ of man-made waterways across the entire area, once used as the main logging thoroughfares in the tree-felling process that historically created much-needed local employment… so I suppose I like these photographs because they not only show the beauty of the place today, but also give a sense of history, of continuity of use, of pride and purpose and heritage… Grand-Coupe

List 2 of your best personality traits

I am quite curious – as a life-long learner I’m always looking to add to my knowledge of life – and I’m quite caring, which can be a good and bad trait in equal measure, as I can tend towards being a people-pleaser at times…

Here are some other bloggers’ entries for Share Your World this week 🙂


Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

The topic for this week’s DP Weekly Photo Challenge is Summer Lovin’ – summer in the UK for me is always a time to enjoy being outside, in nature, making the most of whatever warm and dry weather we can get 🙂brighton-pier-at-nightBrighton Pier lighting up the South coast on a warm summer’s eveningbexhill-to-hastingsWalking along the beach from Bexhill towards Hastings on the South coast

hollow-pond-boatingBoating on Hollow Pond, East London

fairground-wanstead-flatsBank Holiday travelling fairground, Wanstead Flats, East London

nairn-harbour-wallWalking along the sea defences, Nairn harbour, Scotland

rose-bush-and-wallWild roses drinking in the beautiful golden evening light, Gollanfield, Scotland