Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Recent Instagrams; lucie_eleanor

Monday, 22 September 2014

To celebrate the last of a beautiful summer, I stayed with my family at the coast for a week. Wonderful weather, good food, reuniting with friends and plenty of photographs. The week disappeared in the blink of an eye. 
One hot afternoon we went to the beach and cooked mussels on a little bonfire. The sun dappled through the trees and we found a nice spot with soft pale sand. Dogs wandered past, interested in the smell of onions and seafood coming from our pot. Later we drove for awhile, parked up and went for a hike towards the needles. We watched the sunset from a cliff top covered in purple heather, everything glowed orange.
At another point we stayed up late, lying on the beach in complete darkness at midnight to look at the milky-way. I have never seen stars so strong and bright as they appear where I grew up. You could so clearly see the hazy cloud of the stars that make up the Milky Way. An occasional shooting star would zoom past and hear the sound of the tide gradually going out.

I'm a beach girl, my childhood home was next to the coast of the most southern and warmest part of the Isle of Wight. I am used to my hair and skin tasting of salt because the wind carries the moisture from the sea. Growing up, there were always a few surf boards resting on walls outside and inside the house, colourful bikinis hung out to dry and small amounts of sand permanently left on the floor in my shower. I love storms, where I'm watching them or swimming in the sea during them. Where I grew up, I felt like anything I needed I had access to, fields of flowers, cliff tops, Forests of trees, a dull Sunday could always be filled with a hike. 
Some good friends returning from travelling had a party in their field amongst the trees, many people came together and enjoyed plenty of drinks and dancing to a band. It was a clear and warm evening, with a sky filled with stars. I had known them for many years and had such wonderful memories of us all together growing up, camping, beach bonfires, exploring, hiking, climbing rocks and trees, finding animals, swimming in the sea and local lakes, spending endless summer days wandering in fields and hanging out at each other's houses.
It felt like a trip of reminders and traditions that I didn't know I had. My family are not conventional, we do things in our own little ways, but in themselves they have become traditions based around good eating and good times.

Of course, coming up to my favourite season for foraging, it wouldn't be a trip to see my family without a bit of collecting foods for cooking. Currently in season for picking are wild sloes for making gin, rose hips, wild figs (which often don't ripen in this country, however my family live in the hottest part of the country and after such a great summer, they are full and rip ready to eat.) Lastly, we picked a lot of mint growing in the garden to chop up and add to chocolate cupcakes.
The berries are also starting to ripen and soon it will be autumn where you can collect a rich variety of wild hedge fruits and mushrooms. We don't have a farm any more, my mother now lives in a cottage with a tiny garden filled with pots of herbs and flowers, but many of the things I forage can be found by walking around the country and looking at what is growing.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Rose Hip and Caramelised Orange Jam.

8oz sliced oranges, without skin
5oz rose hips
13oz sugar

The wild roses have wilted and left behind their brightly coloured seed pods named 'rose hips.' One of the many beautiful colours of autumn, they vary from yellow to orange to red. The sizes changing from rose to rose, some of the garden variety are quite large but when we went foraging one windy afternoon by the coast, we found smaller rose hips lining the hedge rows of the cliff tops. I didn't know what I wanted to do with them at that time, I just knew I wanted to make something. Rose hips have a very sweet taste and can be used in cakes or jelly, they are dried to make tea or cold pressed for their oil. I settled on making a simple jam.

Slice up the oranges and remove the stems from the rose hips. Weigh out your fruit, mine came to 13oz, which means I needed equal weight of sugar. To start with I placed the fruit in a saucepan, with enough water to allow the fruit to gently simmer and soften. Allow the water to completely evaporate but keep watching because if it goes too far it will burn the bottom of the pan. Then pour in a little more water and stir so that the water has a caramelly look. Continue simmering until the fruit has turned to pulp then add the sugar; stir the until it has dissolved completely then turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Watch carefully and after about 10 minutes, test the jam for set (drop a small amount onto a cold plate and leave to cool, if the jam wrinkles when it is cool then it will set). When ready, leave to cool slightly then pour into sterilised jars and cover.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A collage of my favourite yoga related items.

A little over a year and a half ago I took up yoga and it has helped influence me in more positive ways, helped me to slow down and become more aware of my health.
I had tried a few different classes before settling into a place i felt comfortable with. I had tried both Bikram and Hatha before finding a little class close to where I live, in the back of a shop and health centre, with a tiny plant covered garden out back. I attended that class for over a year as well as the odd workshop.
You find that yoga helps you in ways you didn't expect, it helped me to discover and start to fix issues i have with my knees due to posture. It helps to calm and remove head aches without pills. Sometimes you feel like it is so gentle it cannot be doing much for your body, but then the next day when all your muscles hurt you realise just how much good it has done.

For inspiration; a collection of peaceful from tumblr.

Some good beginners videos:
Even Strength

Thursday, 28 August 2014

I want to share a technique I have been using in-camera for years, as a fashion photographer. I used this style a lot as I consider soft, hazy imagery to be my style when shooting people. Although I don't photograph a lot of fashion these days, I often used a technique I called 'wiggling'. Wiggling only works with prime lens for their ability to reach apertures below f/3. Effectively, you take a small object and shake it in front of the lens whilst taking shots - the results can be quite random and sometimes create a lot of distortion. Any object can be used, my favourite are leaves, pink petals and a CD or crystal to give a rainbow effect. I really loved using this technique especially when I had occasional chances to use it for client work. The first collection above are examples from my portfolio where I had used the technique.

You can experiment artificially within Photoshop too, as I have done in the second collection of images. This involves creating a separate layer and painting areas of your image with the brush tool. You can use different colours or single colour in places and then lower the opacity and/or use 'screen', until you have the desired effect. I have digitally added rainbow effects, layered strips of light, or light leaks.