Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas Time

Every year I try to create a Christmas still life. As always, it has to look traditional so I avoid using any modern style decorations. This year I managed to get some lovely cinnamon sticks and a divine potpourri and both have served a double purpose. I didn't find any natural red berries branches so I used an artificial one as it didn't look too bad. I needed a "centerpiece" and after thinking hard I decided to use the little oval frame with a black and white portrait of an unknown woman in it. I may have slightly overdone with the vignette but I like the texture of it and played a long time with the colour trying to achieve the right shade of red. I think the strong vignette adds to the Christmas feel of the image. The result is a nostalgic, old world still life that also contains a wistful, even a sad note. I do not mind as I know there are a lot of people out there who for whatever reason will be unable to have a happy Christmas or people who will be missing dearly a loved one they lost. I dedicate this image to those people, the people who will have to rely on the memories of happier times.

I love Christmas and like to create a little bit of magic in my home for the festive season.

A couple of random mobile phone photos taken in a pub on a visit with a friend.

                                                                    Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

29th Otley Victorian Christmas Fayre, Sun, 7th Dec

It was my first time at this Fayre (or any such fayre for that matter) and I absolutely loved it! I thought I was happier to be there and more excited than all the kids around me. Pity it was bitterly cold and I could not stay till the end as my face and hands started to go numb. I will definitely be there next year, and who knows it might be me too who is strolling around in a Victorian costume!
I hear that the Fayre was a huge success, and I am especially pleased that the small businesses who entered traded really well on the day.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Still Life With Dried Hydrangea

I am way behind with my posts and need to find time to catch up. This still life was shot back at the end of September and processed and posted to Flickr three weeks ago.
Hydrangea has to be one of my favourite summer blooms and I also love its decadent autumn look full of amazing fading but rich colours. It is also very easy to dry retaining the colour and petals really well. Placed in the metal vintage jug it is a permanent feature either on my kitchen window sill or somewhere in the dining room. I wanted to create a rustic still life so I decided to put the jug with the hydrangeas on a randomly cut piece of hessian. I teamed it with a pair of bonsai scissors and a single red leaf from one of the stems. A dark green background makes for a nice colour combination and a grunge texture seals a rustic look. Quite pleased with this one, and Trevillion Images also liked it and accepted it!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Red House

Red House was a home of 19th century cloth merchants. It is situated in Gomersal, West Yorkshire. Today it is a delightful museum with period rooms boasting their original furniture and looking just like they did when the Taylor family lived there. The daughter of the family was a close friend of Charlotte Bronte who featured the house in her novel "Shirley". "There was no splendour but there was taste everywhere", wrote Charlotte and she was right - the interior looks most charming and cosy without the opulence of some grander houses.
The gardens are very beautiful and inviting. I particularly like their pretty ironwork. For my photo I chose a shady under the tree viewpoint which enabled me to frame the house with  foliage and thus accentuate its enchanting look. I loved the combination of rich red and green tones of the image and used a warm dark brown texture to bring them out in post processing,

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Beauty of Dahlias

I went to Golden Acre Park with intention to find some material for an autumn still life. When I got there I was amazed at how much colour there still was in the park despite it being the middle of October. I dare say the park was more colourful than it was back in August! Not only could you see most beautiful autumn shades but there was also plenty of all sorts of unusual flowers around. But the most unexpected thing was to come across this fabulous large display of dahlias by National Dahlia Society. I did not realize they flower this late in the year and even though I had seen them before in the park I was stunned by the size and beauty of this year's show.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Through Chevin Forest Park to the White House, Otley

I have always been attracted to the White House which can be seen from the heart of Otley high up on the hill in the middle of Chevin Forest Park. This particular misty October Sunday morning seemed like a perfect time for a first visit. I got to Otley fairly early and set off along the lovely cobbled Station Road that has beautiful houses and front gardens towards the entrance to the park. I was delighted with the misty scenery. The White House was built at the beginning of the 18th century and was a farm house at the time. Today it is the Visitors's Centre for The Chevin Forest Park. There is also a cafe for refreshments that was open but on this occasion I did not go in as I was not ready to stop exploring yet. I walked past the house into the woods and as I did so the sun slowly started to show through the trees creating a magic atmosphere. By the time I got onto Johnny Lane leading down back to Otley the mist had lifted altogether and the misty morning turned into a beautiful sunny autumn day.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Still Life with Red Leaves

I wish I could easily find out the names of all the lovely plants I come across. I came across this one on my way home from work one evening. There was a lot of long stems with beautiful red leaves hanging down over someone's fence. I guess it is some type of vine. I thought I'd cut a few stems for some autumn still life work. An idea came quickly to me to use an old earthenware beer bottle to prop up a stem and form an arch. Then I thought of "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" I have had for a while. It is in the form of printed manuscript and is full of beautiful drawings from nature. For my still life with the red leaves I chose a page with just handwriting on it and the one with the "October" heading seemed particular suitable as it underlines the autumn theme and suggests the time of year the image was made.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Otely I

I first visited Otley, a little old and picturesque market town in Mid-Wharfedale years ago. I was very impressed straight away but it is only recently that I actually fell in love with it. I realized Otley has everything I love in one place - unusual and quaint shops, antiques and vintage shops, charity shops, a great florist's, cosy traditional tea rooms, charming streets and passages as well as beautiful countryside on its doorstep. And all that with just half an hour pleasant drive from my home! I go to Otley every other week now and always come back very happy with a few good shots and a goodie or two in the shopping bag. Photographing Otley is going to be an ongoing little project for me and I will be posting five images at a time as I finish processing them. Here is the first lot.