Snowy Beaks and Woodlouse Feet…

I am a little bit proud of myself as I have started my photography project.

Been out the last two saturday mornings taking pictures and did a bit of work to add a Personal Projects section to my website too last weekend – with a link for this years project. I know my website isn’t great but it’s a work in progress and I’m learning!

Last saturday morning I got up early and walked to the local nature reserve in the snow and had a nice long walk around, stopping to take some pictures of the birds and plants. It was freezing cold and difficult photography conditions but I had a good time. I didn’t get many shots – birds are difficult subjects for me and I didn’t like any of the plant shots I took but never mind. My best efforts were of a blackbird that may have been frozen to the tree or just enjoyed posing for photos – love his snowy beak:

(Click on any of the pictures for links to larger sizes)

Blackbird Snowy Beak 20130113

…and one swan picture that I think has potential but I’m not sure I’ve cracked the post processing yet – tis a bit too dark I think:

Swan Mono 20130113

I want to keep it dark and moody but I think I might have taken it a bit too far. Undecided.

So, last weekend was moderately successful and I was pleased to get at least one shot that showed the snow a little bit. I was also pleased to get out of the house and get a bit of exercise after chemo recovery week. This plus the snow and the district nurse visit meant I only actually went into work on the Wednesday that week and was going a bit stir crazy by Saturday. M wasn’t particularly keen on me traipsing around in the snow and ice on my own but I promised to be sensible and not try to climb any trees or anything… and then I just left the house while he was still in bed so he didn’t try to stop me!!

This morning my actual intention was to collect any interesting leaves / stones / shells etc that I found and bring them home to photograph them in my new light tent that I got for christmas. I took the camera with me just in case and ended up poking around in the empty pots in our garden and found some woodlice… and a bloody enormous spider living in a bin full of garden cuttings that we never took to the tip. Abandoned the collection idea at this point and broke out my Raynox close up lenses instead. I did take some shots of the spider but they were rubbish. Had more success with the woodlice and I think this is my favourite shot of the day:

Woodlouse 20120126

I’m a bit annoyed with myself for not coming back inside to get my off camera flash – or even just a diffuser for the on camera flash. Definitely something to remember for next time. I can’t wait for proper bug season – shooting these reminded me how much I like macro photography. I really really want a dedicated macro lens now too and am serious considering a Nikon 105mm… which would leave me about £500 poorer if I got it second-hand. Other options are the Sigma 105mm or the Tamron 90mm which are a bit cheaper but more difficult to find second-hand. I’ve been lusting after the Tamron for years. Had always discounted the Nikon as too expensive but given recent events I’ve started I think I deserve to buy the best and treat myself!!

I’ve always been a bit of a scrooge with buying myself things but the end of FEC chemo is looming and you know, money isn’t everything. I could celebrate and reward myself with a lens couldn’t I? It’s a bit extravagant but it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting a good holiday this year. If we do go away it’ll probably be a zoo tour and then I could use my new lens… all round win!

Still – the cheapo Raynox set up works pretty well until I decide what I’m going to splash some cash on:

Woodlouse Bokeh 20120126

Woodlouse in a Pot 20120126

Woodlouse Walking 20120126

M calls woodlice ‘cheeselogs’ …. wtf?? He thinks this is totally normal.

I don’t.

I think we are off to the cinema tomorrow so these will probably be all my shots for January for the project unless I get really enthusiastic and take the camera into work and have a mooch down the river before work or at lunch time one day. Realistically that probably isn’t going to happen though – but I’m still pretty impressed that I’ve made a start at all given the terrible weather and how tired I’ve been. I’ve enjoyed it too – feels good to be taking pictures again 🙂

I’m ALSO very excited about what we’re seeing at the cinema… Les Miserable – HURRAH!

I could be the most annoying person there as will probably sing all the way through, sob loudly at various moments and give it a standing ovation at the end… assuming it is as good as I’m hearing it is of course. I will report back.

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