Posts tagged photography
Photographing Shawls
Shawls Book 2 by The Crochet Project

Pulling a book together, even if its just 5 patterns, is a lot of work.  Its less about the designing, because that is a given, its all of the little things that take up the time. I have a checklist I use when pulling together patterns and The Crochet Project books and in the run up to publication and Yarndale, it looked like we were ahead of the game.  All the flat shots of the shawls were done, the text was mostly edited and laid out, just some final tweaks here and there and then we were done.

And then came the tweet "Could we get a couple of washing line shots to show all 5 shawls together, please?" This task hadn't made it on my list and I had simply forgotten about the need to get a photo of all 5 shawls together.

While my washing green does have excellent views, it is walled and it can be a bit of a struggle to get the right angle on larger objects.

I needed an alternative plan. Out came two tent poles, some cord and tent pegs and off I went into the cow field.

It took a couple of tries to get it right.  The weight of the shawls needed some counter traction.

The I erased the guy lines in lightroom to get more of a "washing line" and less of a "using tent poles to show off shawls" effect. 

As dramatic shawl photos go, I am quite pleased, even if the farmer said something to the effect of "Every time I am up here, you are doing something odd in that field". Hahaha! 

Scenes from Orkney

The week off in Orkney was incredible. The simple act of taking time off was great and so very needed and spending them in Orkney was a dream come true.  The highlights were definitely seeing Flotta with Liz from Northern Lace, hanging out with Elly at Birsay, seeing dolphin's in Stromness harbour and just all the beach time with three sea loving kiddos.  

We are already planning our trip for next year!! 

Have a great weekend! 

Rebel Wishing

As the evenings get longer and lighter, our routine shifts and changes to make the most of them. Where in winter we would normally head from dinner table to living room, these (relatively) warmer days see us heading out and down the road with the dog.

Each child has their own activity on the walks - Georgia uses her new cycling skills, Ellis and the dog race into the woods, Theo scoots and I knit or drink tea as I walk. 

Everyone, however, has time for dandelions.  I have probably said before, but I have such a fondness for these cheery yellow flowers, after a childhood spent with a father hell-bent on eradicating them. At the first sign of their notched leaves, he would send one of my brothers out with the sprayer to douse them with a potent mix of weed killer to ensure the greenness of his lawn remained unbroken. If a cluster happened to escape the spray, there were few crimes more punishable in our house than blowing a dandelion clock on our perfectly manicured garden. Wishes were limited to birthday candles, stars and eyelashes only at the Goldin residence. 

Though there are 30 years and thousands of miles between the ban on dandelion wishes and myself, something about the feathery globes lining our road still excites me.  Maybe its the childhood rebel in me that has never gone away, who knows.

And my kids are allowed to wish to their hearts content...as long as they stay well clear of my veg patch...because the seed doesn't fall THAT far away from the stalk. 

These Days

These days in the run up to Christmas are just so full.  Its as if the vacuum created by keeping my work schedule relatively open sucked in every type of Christmas-related activity you could imagine. I suppose it is the fact of living a village life - if I am not attending a fair/nativity/visit with Santa/pantomime/show, I am baking for one. 

The last week's activities took place against a background of rain, more rain, gales, sleet, snow and more rain. Finally, last night the weather bomb (the news' term, not mine) moved on and we were left with the perfect kind of winter's morning - the cold, crisp, cracking ice on puddles kind. 

It is the perfect kind of respite from the mad rush that we've had for days and will see again come tomorrow. Georgia and Ellis spent every moment they could before rushing off to school playing outside this morning and the dog and I took our first not-miserable morning walk in weeks. 

Speaking of dogs, a few weeks ago, our beloved dog Mac was hit by a car.  It was very sad and very traumatic. Living alone at the end of a 1.5 mile track, you are lulled into a false sense of security and it took us all off guard. I cried for days. I am alone up here all day and didn't realise how much company he provided until he was gone. We'd been talking about getting a 2nd dog anyway and when a little Bearded Collie needed a home, we jumped at the chance. He is a lovely boy we named Marlow.

Ok, I am off to enjoy a few moments of quiet before the rushing begins again. Have a lovely weekend! 

One At A Time

I find more and more that I can only be creative in one area at a time. If I am deeply engrossed in designing, cooking and photography go out the window. If my camera is always in my hands, I can't be crocheting as well. If I am in the kitchen, very little else gets done.

These days, it seems that I can't move without heading out with a dog or a child into the woods.  The autumn light (when it is here) is simply magical, so we eat wraps with cold meat, no other works get done and we walk.


A Very Useful Collection (aka Thrifting For Photoshoots)

IMG_0895Amongst the many things I collect, I have a special place in my heart for pillowcases.  I make a bee line for the textile section of the charity shop and often leave with 2 or 3 - at 29p each - its hardly an extravagant spend. While, vintage cases do bedeck our pillows, I have to admit to hoarding the best of them in my office for use as backgrounds for photos for the blog and my work as a product photographer - a tip I learned from my awesome stylist for the book. I can spend ages artfully arranging yarn or exactly positioning cufflinks.  Working with models is great as well, but I like the quiet of simply placing and photographing in my studio.

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It can be really tempting to take photos of products or crafts on a white background for shops or blogs.  This can be nice on shopfronts like Etsy where white is the culture or if you need white cutouts for magazines, but truth be told, the images can look a bit flat and they can be hard to do well with white often overpowering the images (and throwing off your exposure).

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Adding fabric can really change the colours of the objects - bring out the hues and highlight certain colours, as well as fabric can add depth and movement to the image and create a mood.  They can add a sense of luxury, or a sense of fun.

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Fabric can be hard to get perfectly flat, so that is where I use my other collection - tea trays.  These are great for a perfectly flat background that is really portable. I often set them on a stool near a window, just the perfect height from photographing from above. IMG_0907

 

I also use painted wood and even our chalkboard for backgrounds.  The black of the chalkboard can really set off light items and there is always the fun that is adding writing to the image  - either by hand or in photoshop.

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So, see Kevin?  That pile of "stuff" I keep IS super useful and not clutter at all*! Yarn is from Libby Summer's soon to launch yarn line.  Its scrumptious, I tell you. Scrumptious.

*its totally normal to use one's blog to finish household arguments, right? RIGHT?!?!!?

(interested in Product Photography?  Capturing Childhood is running workshops in Edinburgh and London this autumn on how you can Rock your Product Shots).

Artists Shouldn't Procreate

 

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Lying in bed yesterday morning, as Georgia sang "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and yelled "Wook at Meeeee!!!!!" whenever we turned away, and Theo ran around with a bucket on his head, while Ellis told me he was "Never ever going to school ever ever again", Kevin and I agreed that artists should probably not be allowed to procreate with each other.  

A Morning in the Life

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Up at 5:15am. I know this, as Ellis practices his new found clock reading skills for my fuzzy brain. The light has to go on of course, so he can read the clock and I mutter under my breath about reading being overrated in children.

With Ellis up, all 3 children and Kevin are awake. (Note to self: must practice inside voices). 

Kevin shepards them downstairs for breakfast (porridge) while I stay in bed and read emails and formulate A PLAN for the day. I secretively read one chapter of my book, wanting to spend my day lost in that world, but the real world finds me in the form of a 19 month old who calls me "DeeDee".

The smallest one and I head downstairs for coffee and left over cheeze-free pizza (me) and porridge (him). I wander ino the office for a morning of work.

First up, pattern emails. I am grateful in my foggy early morning state that there weren't many sales on Etsy in the night.  Each pattern has to be emailed out individually and it's easy to miss one if I am not careful. Then, on to answering emails and tweets from Kat.  It is a very big and exciting day for Capturing Childhood, with our courses and gift certificates going live. A bit of spit and polish is required for the lovely and newly designed site and a few images I had forgotten to send. 

In between all of this, I pick up my new knitwear design.  Realising that I have misjudged the ease of the item, I have added in 2 pattern repeats too many.  Its ripped back and cast on again, then I decide I want to change the stitch pattern ever so slightly and a new swatch is made.  Its better.  Math is re-done and I am ready to cast on.

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In the background, I can hear the rabble reaching a fever pitch.  Tonight is the wedding of beloved friends and all 3 are bouncing with excitement.  Kevin does his best to keep the calm and get them dressed, but it is hard to fight the wave of energy that is emminating from the little people.

 

At 8:30, Kevin and the babies head out to work and nursery, after Kev and I decide our plan of attack for getting everyone dressed and ready this evening. I finish rounding up the big boy to go to school.  As we walk out the door and down the street, he tells everyone about the wedding and his desperate need for a haircut. 

The trip to and from school takes about 25 minutes and as I walk back in the door, Kat phones to talk through the finer details of today.  Work is divided up and I quickly write up my to do list. 

Then, its off to answer emails.  I have a list as long as my arm of people to get back to, all the while watching the weather anxiously.  I am the photographer for today's wedding and rain is not welcome. 

Once emails are done, its back to designing.  I am designing a small collection of kits for Not On The High Street. The designs focus on big and gorgeous yarns for a series of home and personal accessories.  I am currently working with Rowan Cocoon - one of my newly discovered loves. I have been trying to design a cowl for a solid week, but it is simply not flowing. I know it will come to me, but I get frustrated all the same. 

Throughout the morning, a steady stream of parcels arrive.  A few Christmas presents, but mostly supply deliveries and other designers' products for my other job as a photographer.  Days like today are wonderful for their diversity, but frustrating as well. It highlights just how pulled I am in so many different directions, but this is the reality of a small business owner...a necessary evil to keep afloat. 

10:30am and with only an hour to do before I need to start getting ready for the shoot, I take a few photos with the amazing rented Canon 5d mkiii and do a quick edit. Upload, spell check, then press publish...

 

A Week in Review

Last week passed in a blur of visiting with this lovely woman.  

IMG_5041.jpg We ate cake, visited historic places and talked about anything and everything. It was the perfect end to what was probably the busiest month of our lives.

One of the best things about visitors that we go all of the places we never see living so close...Stirling Castle, Inchmahone Priory, Rosslyn Chapel...all close and all places we have never visited. IMG_5009.jpg IMG_4929.jpg IMG_4908.jpg IMG_4917.jpg

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I love this photo of them from the day we went to Stirling Castle and could kick myself that my aperture was too open to get them both in focus. Grrrrrrrrrrr IMG_5035.jpg

Canon 5d, 50mm f1.4 lens, ISO 1250, 1/50, f2.8

It is a very crazy busy week. There will be at least one pattern release later in the week (the long awaiting finale to this trilogy), with 2 others coming soon!

 

 

Today I Am...

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...up early, but I don't notice it because of the clock change.  This is the first year I can remember where I am not plunged into a pit of despair about the clocks changing.

...probably because my mother arrived on Saturday.  Today we are being ladies who lunch, tomorrow ladies who visit castles, and so on and so forth.  Some primal truths remain: who is afraid of the dark when you have your mama?

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Sun and Rain


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As Kevin has been pulled to work most evenings and weekends recently, which means I am back in the mothering saddle.  It feels good.  Me and my three.  We are busy all day long, painting, playing trains, cooking.  If the dictatorship doesn't work out for Georgia's future career, I think a chef could be on the cards.  Yes, the female Gordon Ramsay...

But more than anything, they are best outside.  They are tough and rain doesn't bother them in the slightest (sun on the otherhand...they melt if it goes about 15C/60F).  And, as a great believer in playing to strengths we are out as much as possible.  Sunshine is just an added bonus. 

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Messing Around

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Canon 35mm f/2 Lens at ISO 200, f/2, 1/320sec (cropped)

 

 

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Canon 35mm f/2 Lens at ISO 200, f/2, 1/320sec at the minimum focusing distance.

 

 

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Canon 50mm f/1.4 Lens at ISO 200, f/2.0, 1/400sec at the minimum focussing distance.

 

 

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Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 Lens at ISO1000, f/7.1, 1/200sec

 

It is always at the exact moment that I need to be somewhere else that I decide to start something new. 8:30am and 2:30pm are popular times for this, as they are the exact moment I need to start thinking about rounding up the troups for the school run. Yesterday, after getting my hands on a 35mm f/2 lens, I simply couldn't resist doing a bit of a comparison with my other lenses, so what if it was 2:45pm?

A bit of creativity and a bracing run to the school gate to collect Ellis.  I believe one calls that "Win - Win".

 

Work (Or Something Like It)

It is no secret that I coud happily work 16 hours a day.  I love what I do and have more items on my to do list than I will ever finish and I simply could let it all consume me.

 

However, there are 4 people and 2 cats who like to remind me that work can not be my life. For however many hours I could happily sit in my office plugging away, they would like to spend 3x as many with their mama.  Sometimes, I resent the intrusion. Sometimes, I welcome it. That's just the way it is. 

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On Saturday, with deadlines looming and a strict order to do some filming, we headed up the hills to Castle Campbell in Dollar.  It is a site out of a fairy tale for sure, with (i kid you not) 2 creeks called the "Burn of Care" and the "Burn of Sorrow". It was even called "Castle Gloom".

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But gloomy it was not.  I love those particularly blinding autumn days where the sun shines and the colours are so bright they make your eyes water. I could wander and putter for hours. 

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Kevin is more of a fan of the castle than I am. In fact, I am terrified by steps like these vvvvvvvvvvv

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*shudders*

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And so we mixed it up, a longish walk (with cocoa breaks) and a wander around the castle. 

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But, it wasn't all play. I did manage to make a small film of the trip.  Films aren't really my thing, and so please forgive my first humble attempts. 

 

There and Back Again (in 1000 miles)

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What a week!  I feel like I haven't stopped in days (probably because I haven't).  Even now, I am only here for a moment before  I set up for another photoshoot. I have taken 2000 pictures in the last 7 days. We have driven at least 1000 miles. We have slept about 3 hours a night. We are tired.

 

I have so much to say and so much to show you, but for now, I leave you for the weekend with scenes from last Sunday - a wander around Winchester's Farmer's Market with the lovely Kat and Monty.  

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Wishing you a lovely weekend!

September

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Without a fraction of a doubt, September is my favourite month.  For me, it has always felt like a month to begin things...school, new projects, even a new year of my own life (my birthday is later this month). Its funny how I feel so effected by the change into September...I want to clean. I want to knit. I want to make big stews in my enormous soup pan and bake things with apples and cinnamon. I can feel the pull towards distractability and looking around the looming deadline to see what is next. 

In some ways, this September is bittersweet.  I will hand in my manuscript at the end of the month and I am already very sad about it. Writing this book has been the single most professionally fufilling thing I have ever done.  I love what I have designed. I love the process of designing.  I love working with the wonderful people who are helping me along the way.  I can not wait to show you all what I have been dreaming then making into reality. 

But for now, I have to wait.  There is more work to do, here where I am. Plans are forming for Life AB (after book)...Capturing Childhood, the etsy shop reopening, some photography work...but for now I have to keep my head down and focus not on the beginnings, but on the harvest. 

Back Soon.

 

P.S. My post on Manly Crochet was featured in this awesome eMagazine, Modern Vintage, grab a cuppa and set your liberty curls and have a read.