Reflecting on January

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  • Post published:February 14, 2021
  • Post category:Blogs
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After the sh** show that was 2020, I have flung myself into lots of personal projects to keep my creativity flowing. Feel free to add any of these ideas or new ones into your sessions with us. Once we are allowed once again. Oh, the dreams of celebrations I have been having. Cannot Wait!!

If you find these personal projects too self-indulgent, feel free to scroll on by. If you maybe want some inspiration for your own self-indulgence and self-care, please read on.

I’ve decided, for those interested, each month I will blog a highlight reel of the month. But you may have already seen my Instagram posts throughout the month. Why would you want to see them all again?

I could not do it alone, community is everything. So, I’m paying it forward and sharing my settings, in camera process and inspiration for each image.

January Through my Eyes

Day 1:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/80 Auto ISO
  • Process = Night indoors, with only artificial low lighting. Kids were calm, wanting to capture mood and environmental lighting. Camera handheld, camera shake if too low shutter speed.
  • Inspiration = Photography community coming together to post and introduce our 365 projects. I wanted to show our reality as it was. This was the first time the boys stayed up until midnight to see in the New Year.

Day 2:


  • Settings = F3:2 1/800 ISO 8000
  • Process = Mixed lighting; daylight from window and artificial lighting; the joy of winter. Harvey was facing the wrong way for me to get both in shot using window light. Wanted both in focus but not background, increased F stop to retain bokeh but have both children in focus. Alyssa was excited and moving fast, there was also a slight screen lag picked up by the camera so had to use faster shutter speed. These combined meant pushing my ISO, I had to embrace the grain to capture the moment.
  • Inspiration = Ran to grab my camera for this as the kids were so cute together, playing and talking as if together. The reality of how we are currently living.
video calling

Day 3:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/8000 ISO 2200
  • Process = The light was changeable moment to moment. I couldn’t quite capture the light how I wanted. Playing with objects, colours, light and focus.
  • Inspiration = Looking out the window after opening the blind. Could see Penshaw Monument in the distance. Storm and rain clouds were rolling by and due to high winds, rather quickly, the sun was trying incredibly hard to burn through, creating an eerie light. Strangely the rainbow dream catcher caught my eye. Rainbows being the hope of the globe in 2020, and yet here in 2021 I felt the same. I shot Penshaw Monument through the dreamcatcher, using my signature low depth of field. And just for fun, I switched it up and changed my focus to the dream catcher but didn’t alter my framing and shot again, this time dreamcatcher in focus. Trying so hard to remain positive.

Day 4:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/320 ISO 8000
  • Process = Signature shallow depth of field to blur background. Harvey was climbing on Ric and moving a lot, so I didn’t dare drop shutter speed too low. Had to push ISO to 8000, embracing the grain.
  • Inspiration = Evening and I hadn’t shot anything as we all watched the news knowing what was about to be announced, Lockdown 3.0.
playful labrador

Day 5:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/125 ISO 800
  • Process = Artificial light. I could keep myself still, but camera shake still consideration. I was very aware of how claw like my hands are when naturally holding the camera, altered this slightly.
  • Inspiration = Struggling. Not confident enough to post a full self portrait but knowing I have the photography community to retreat to, in search of inspiration through learning.
self portrait

Day 6:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/250 ISO 2000
  • Process = Reading with Harvey at bedtime. Only artificial light. Framed the book with Harvey to show he was the narrator, and I was the observer and listener. As is the viewer of the image.
  • Inspiration = It’s everywhere, especially when we aren’t looking for it.

Day 7:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/160 ISO 640
  • Process = I was simply trying to shoot at a different time of day, making the most of what little daylight we have in winter. I had work, so I didn’t have long.
  • Inspiration = Winter also brought the beauty of frost and this made something so simple sparkle. This was sparked in part once again by the ever-inspiring artists who share their process just to connect.

Day 8:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/30 ISO 2200
  • Process = Similar to Day 7 I was experimenting with shooting at a different time of day, earlier. As the wall was inanimate, I could lower the shutter speed. To add to the dreamy feel, I shot through my day curtains, creating a white vignette almost.
  • Inspiration = The lockdown had certainly affected my mood and creativity, think my emotion spilled out on this one.
winter yard

Day 9:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/5000 ISO 100
  • Process = Wanted to capture the bright and warming feeling of the sunlight on the snow. But I wanted to capture the detail, this meant I wanted as little grain as possible. As always, I wanted a shallow depth of field so this meant I had to increase my shutter speed, and shooting something white I had to factor for this with metering.
  • Inspiration = I wanted to capture the way the light reflected on the snow. There was something magical about it. Keep looking for small joys in life, to push through these difficult times. Having to dig deep.
winter sparkle

Day 10:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/500 ISO 3600
  • Process = I had time to focus on Lexi’s eyes while placing something in the foreground to add depth. In this case wild plants, this also frames her.
  • Inspiration = Themes to help educate readers, but this inspires photographs or a way of talking about them. Lexi was still but staring in the distance, alert and aware.
black labrador

Day 11:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/500 ISO 560
  • Process = I wanted to capture the colours in the woodland but be sure the focus be purely on the angel. Once again calling for signature shallow depth of field. ISO and shutter speed settings very simply were for the light and mood.
  • Inspiration = I felt connection when I saw this angel, despite not knowing its creator. An acknowledgement in my soul there are others around, even if we can’t currently be with them. The Fairy Dell in our local nature park is beautiful for this, new additions each week.
knitted angel

Day 12:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/500 ISO 500
  • Process = I wanted to focus on the smiley face so delicately drawn on the marshmallow in chocolate. The time, care, and attention. And of course, the smile that put on my face and Harvey’s and I wanted to share that further. You can see how cold and damp the weather reflected on the chocolate, a further sign of our current way of life. Gifts to lift the spirit, while we endure the harsh outdoors to pass them on.
  • Inspiration = I was trying so hard to remain positive and show up for others, could this be toxic positivity? I struggled to put into words how I felt for a caption and found this poem. Simply because it was Tuesday and it reflected everything, I was trying to be for myself and others. And of course, this image reflected that. A simple biscuit from one cousin to another to show she has been thinking of them.
thinking of you

Day 13:

  • Settings = F1:8 1/5000 ISO 140
  • Process = Bright and low winter sunlight, creating high contrast of light and shadow. Snow reflecting the sun, causing distortions and patterns. Oscar is often too aware of us watching when he’s up to no good, so I hid behind the curtains slightly, adding another element in the frame and bringing my awareness to my reflection.
  • Inspiration = Love the winter light reflected on snow, it fills me with hope. The photography community. Lifting each other and sharing ideas, community over competition. Finding beauty in everyday moments. Just watching Oscar in the garden, a sprinkling of snow. To add more to the feel I caught my own reflection, rather than seeing it as a distraction I thought for a change it may tell a story, add in layers.

Day 14:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/500 ISO 1800
  • Process = This was all about trying to capture the moment. It was a dull, damp day.
  • Inspiration = Theme thanks once again to the photography community helping to inspire. This was on reflection. My niece so excited to be on a walk with us was just having fun, doing her own thing. On this occasion, channelling Pepper Pig and jumping in muddy puddles.
puddle jumping

Day 15:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/320 ISO 8000
  • Process = Evening, artificial light. As he was playing with me and I was holding the camera to my face, there was a lot of movement. I pushed the shutter speed as far as I dare.
  • Inspiration = I was grabbing my camera to catch the kids playing, but Oscar wanted to be my model once again. Little attention seeker.
happy dog

Day 16:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/640 ISO 8000 and F1:8 1/320 ISO 8000
  • Process = Evening, artificial light. Fast moving and wanted to freeze the frame, this meant embracing the grain and pushing my ISO to 8000. As Ric is an adult (sometimes haha), he was able to contain his excitement to hold a little steadier for me to get the shot and exposure to capture the details I wanted.
  • Inspiration = Nerf gun fight. Part of living with boys. Documenting reality and capturing those moments of joy we all have, just being silly.
nerf gun fight
nerf gun fight 2

Day 17:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/640 ISO 1100
  • Process = Utilising natural window light, so I can lower the ISO and not be concerned of grain. I could have lowered the ISO further and the shutter speed as the camera was resting on the stable windowsill. However as this is a self-portrait, I was more concerned of getting my eye in focus while retaining a shallow depth of field. Much harder when you cannot focus directly on your subject.
  • Inspiration = Phlock beyond the ordinary
solemn self portrait

Day 18:


  • Settings = F 1:8 1/800 ISO 2200
  • Process = As always, I wanted to work with a shallow depth of field. Due to the reflective material of the tunnel this created a lot of contrast and highlights, meaning I needed to expose for this, I did this with a faster shutter speed. With such high contrast I knew this image would involve pulling some details back in my post processing. I had to push the ISO a little higher to catch the details in shadow, but not too much as I wanted to be able to work on it post production.
  • Inspiration = A wet day at the park, lots of reflections. It was a fun day, and this was the boys playing hide and seek. I felt this image also had a double meaning as I was disappointed Louis had left to his Dads.
hide and seek

Day 19:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/320 ISO 2500
  • Process = This was a chance moment where I was playing with the light reflecting in the wood and simply snapped as Oscar walked by.
  • Inspiration = Reflections of light in the wood
big paws

Day 20:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/1000 ISO 180
  • Process = Low ISO and high shutter speed to catch the colours in the sky. Shadows in the trees and that moon be tack sharp. Could have upped the F stop when shooting at this distance and no foreground element. Distracted in the moment, maybe.
  • Inspiration = I am such a hippie. The moon and colours captivated me. Sunset fading into twilight on a clear and crisp night. A chance shot when walking the dogs.
twilight moon

Day 21:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/320 ISO 2500
  • Process = Evening, artificial light. Shallow depth of field. Shutter speed as low as I dare for an overgrown puppy, this meant pushing the ISO a little and turning on extra lights.
  • Inspiration = Theme of perspective set by Wild Rose Family. Knowing I was on late cover this left limited time. None of the humans in the house were in the mood to be photographed and so I was left playing with the dog, taking photos and playing with perspective.
golden labrdor

Day 22:


  • Settings = F 1:8 1/800 ISO 1000
  • Process = Still wanting to have bokeh and focus on the detail, needed to expose to show the detail in my hat and create the view I was seeing with the naked eye.
  • Inspiration = Chance inspiration when I dropped my phone and saw the reflection. Just the trees didn’t work the same, I tried to capture my camera but it wouldn’t focus correctly. I focused on my hat and liked the effect, but wanted to show the pattern in the wool.
abstract self portrait

Day 23:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/6400 ISO 125
  • Process = I wanted to capture the detail in the reflection and as you can imagine with the sun flare this meant a fast shutter speed. The low ISO was me attempting to do some foliage blurred in the foreground, but I couldn’t get the light right in it.
  • Inspiration = Just nature.

Day 24:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/1250 ISO 280//F1:8 1/1250 ISO 2000
  • Process = Shallow depth of field to blur the legs and lead the viewers eye to the figure in the distance, the audience to sense the anticipation. Fast shutter speed as Harvey was running and I wanted to freeze the frame. Also exposing for the sunlight. Second shot I was caught in the moment and changed the ISO rather than shutter speed factoring in animals.
  • Inspiration = chance connections. Village characters.

Day 25:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/1250 ISO 2200
  • Process = I’ll be honest, practicing social distancing took over my thoughts here. Ensuring a two-metre distance on a narrow path with children and animals was tricky. I wanted to capture the moment without seeming ignorant. My settings went out of my head.
  • Inspiration = Missed focus but there was something dreamy, powerful, hope all in one image. The caption was genuinely the emotion attached to this image.
little hero

Day 26:


  • F1:8 1/1250 ISO 1400
  • Process = Exposed for the general light of the area as there was a lot going on in a shot space of time. Needed fast shutter speed for kids and animals. Love my shallow depth of field.
  • Inspiration = Harvey was posing for the camera and being silly, I caught out the corner of my eye Oscar running towards Harvey at full speed. I focussed on Harvey, asked him to hold his pose and multishot. Not a bad parent – I grabbed him and moved him out of Oscar’s way, but Oscar ran past anyway.
comedy moment

Day 27:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/800 ISO 640
  • Process = Exposing for the lighting with a shallow depth of field. Positioning myself to catch another tree in the background to blur. Focus on the detail.
  • Inspiration = Just out on a mindful walk with the dogs and noticed the cute little ornament left on a tree.
tree decoration

Day 28:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/250 ISO 2200
  • Process = Capturing moments as they happen, considering perspective, angle, framing etc. Exposing for environment and reflections.
  • Inspiration = Heard the kids giggling their heads off in the bath, wondering what was going on. But the laughter was so infection I grabbed my camera on the way up and wasn’t disappointed.

Day 29:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/250 ISO 2500
  • Process = We have a small kitchen that I am ashamed is in desperate need of an update. Shallow dept of field is a great way to hide this. Positioned myself at the end of the bench as I could capture without getting in the way. And wasn’t on camera on his tablet, as this was during a zoom meeting.
  • Inspiration = I am so grateful for the life skills taught by Scouts even why they can’t meet in person. Great activities and bonding with the kids too.
mug pizza

Day 30:


  • Settings = N/A
  • Process = Struggling a little, Saturdays are my rest days. Chose to allow myself a day off from my project without judgement.
  • Inspiration = Counselling

Day 31:


  • Settings = F1:8 1/1250 ISO 400
  • Process = Shallow depth of field and exposing for the surroundings, making sure to capture the colours in the trees, despite being bare.
  • Inspiration = I love a faceless portrait
faceless portrait

Disclaimer: My method, post processing and style have developed over years of study and practice. This is to inspire not copy.

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