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03/01/2015

Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip The 52 Project

1/52 {The 52 Project}

03/01/2015

Last year I signed up to a blogging photography challenge. The challenge to take a photo every week that represented to me the very essence of childhood. I loved taking part in Living Arrows, just as I love the 52 (and quite a few more) photos that I took, even if it does rather suggest that 2014 was the Year of the Swing (and that suggestion would be wholly accurate!).

I love the photos, and all the memories tied up those moments, and it was fun looking for parts of our week that seemed to be part of the timelessness of early childhood.  But I also found that I don’t really need challenging to take photos of my family; my camera lives on our dinner table, or on the end of the sofa, on the kitchen counter, or in the back pocket of the nappy bag and there’s rarely a day when I don’t pick it up, even if the results come out all blurry and oddly yellow. Recording our family life is second nature to me now, I love that and I don’t want to change it.  But I don’t want to stagnate either, to find that I’m just ticking over, taking the same pictures of the same moments in the rhythm of our lives, only with slightly bigger children.

So for 2015 I want to work on the quality of my photos, rather than the quantity, and so I’m changing things up a bit.  I’ve got something a little different planned for Living Arrows this year, but I’ll tell you more about that on Monday.  Instead for today I’m joining up with Jodi at Practicing Simplicity (one of my favourite of all the new to me blogs I discovered last year last year) for the very first of the 52 Project.

A portrait of each of my children, once a week, every week for 2015.

It’s feeling like quite a big undertaking written out like that, but I’m not planning on making the children sit down for a formal portrait each week, my natural style of photography is candid and it’s that I want to hone, not try to entirely reinvent myself. I also want to force myself to edit, to choose between a handful of pictures that I like and try to work out what it is that makes the photos that I really love.   I’m also going to note down the settings for each picture. I know I’m always curious about how other people set up their cameras and I suspect I’m not the only one but I’m also interested to see what I’m using regularly, to see what I’m changing first, and to know what I would want to do differently another time.

I know there will be weeks when the light conspires against me, or the shots don’t come quite as I envisaged them but that’s all part of the learning process. Feel free to get back to me with that one when you find me sobbing in a corner in March because it’s rained solidly for a month and the children are all refusing to look at me anymore.  But I hope that at the end of the year I will have 156 portraits that I’m really proud of; a record of 2015 for each of them.

And so let us begin at the beginning:

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

 

 

Kitty: her hair in four plaits because she couldn’t decide which of the new Frozen hair bobbles to use and came up with an ingenious solution. She gets taller every minute, and is always surprising me with what she can reach if she stands on tiptoes.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/125, f/2.2, ISO 320)

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Elma: devoted mama to her birthday monkey, imaginatively named “Monkey”, she takes such care in dressing her up and giving her cuddles.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/100, f/2.2, ISO 320)

 

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Pip: “Clothes? and being on my tummy? Do I like this Mummy?” My beautiful son, so like your biggest sister in looks, and so very much your own little self in personality.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/200, f/2.2, ISO 320)

Blogging Elma Family Kitty Milestones Pip Work in Progress

On 2015

03/01/2015

2015. A brand new year. A blank page on a clean fresh calendar not yet crumpled from being swiped by some over enthusiastic opening of the fridge door. Empty and just waiting to be filled with excitements and adventures and the mundane and the ordinary.

Am I the only one that is always rather taken by surprise by New Years? I know it’s on the same date every year, and it really shouldn’t be a shock to the system, but somehow it just creeps up; one moment it’s nearly Christmas, there are carols and mince pies and the house is full to bursting with happy noise and baking, and if you sit still for long enough one of the girls will probably try to deck you with tinsel, fairy lights or both, and then suddenly we’re moving on into a New Year and yet again I find I’ve spent the lull in the end of the year wallowing in the loveliness of relaxing with the family. It’s just never seemed exactly the perfect moment for rigorous self examination and making detailed plans for the next 12 months when you’re sipping the last of the champagne and brushing fruit cake crumbs off your fingers.

There are things I want to do in 2015, some of them have crystallised (get a light fitted next to the front door) but most are still swirling around my mind like dust motes in a shard of sunshine.  There are house thoughts and thoughts on the children, oodles of creative projects and a list as long as my arm when it comes to the blog and I just haven’t got them all caught and organised yet.

So I’ve come up with a new plan.  I’m deferring my New Year’s Resolutions and giving myself January as a planning and organising my thoughts month.  I’m hoping that it will make me actually take the time to work out what I want to achieve next, and I’m hoping it will reign me in.   It’s so tempting with all that white space to sit yourself down and think right, this is the year that I’m going to do this, and that, and this, and this, and I’m sure I’m going to have done all of that by March so then I’ll do this and this and this, and it’s going to be amazing.  But the slight hitch with that is that my calendar isn’t blank, in fact, it’s rather occupied with three small children, my lovely H and trying to keep our home in some sort of order.  If you’ve followed any of my creative endeavours over the years you know I’m horribly prone to thinking I can do double the things in half the time and if there’s one thing I really don’t want to do it’s to set myself up for failure because then my little niggly subconscious would really go to town on that one.

So January will be for thinking and planning and then the rest of the year I’m going to wildly overachieve on all of my plots and plans (oh yes, definitely!).

But in thinking about the thinking I have found my word for the year.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Last year I wanted to be centred, the eye at the centre of the whirlwind of our family life.  It all tied in to wanting to help our girls to thrive and to making our house a haven and a home, and to getting ready for the new arrival we weren’t quite ready to tell the world about.  Everything I wrote last year remains true, mainly I suspect because they’re not really resolutions as much as general intentions for life; spending time as a family and time being creative being pretty high up our list of core values.

And for this year I want to build on that.  I want to keep going with our very slow decluttering and organising, to focus on being fit and healthy, to be truly present for my little trio, and to help them grow into strong confident slightly taller people.  I know how it feels when the balance is right, when we’ve had time to be together as a five, and one on one time with the children, with each other, and doing the things that make us truly content; and I want to keep that feeling front and centre as a sort of mental reference point for each of our decisions.

And it is going to be amazing, even if it doesn’t look like anything has changed, because it is a year that has H and Kitty and Elma and Pip in it, and with those four around my cup of joy runs over.