Sunday, 28 December 2008

Saul Junction Rendezvous

Today I rounded up the kids and drove them out to Saul Junction to meet the Stonehouse Wheelers for tea. I would have normally cycled with them but I wanted to spend the day with Sarah, oh and it was freezing out! The kids had fun though, I fed them lunch at the cafe and we chatted with the cycle club then we went out and fed the swans, ducks and geese some bread we had brought for them.

It was much too cold to pose for photos but I managed a couple of shots of the kids having fun on the bridge.

And one of the colourful Sunset.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

The Christmas Holidays

December 20th - 27th 2008

The Christmas Holidays! YaY! YaY because we got to have my daughter Sarah for two weeks! Sadly we all took turns being sick during her visit...and we are still taking turns! That aside we really enjoyed being around each other and I couldn't get enough of my baby girls. Well I geuss they aren't babies anymore at the ages of 16 and 18, but they always will be to me. The only real bad part was that I didn't take many photos, so unlike me!

Sarah arrived from the States sick, bless her heart she gets sick so easily. She passed it on to me and Alyssa got it towards the end. Sarah spent a lot of her first two days here in bed, bless her heart. Part of that time I took Alyssa Christmas shopping, I so hated leaving Sarah at home but she really only wanted to stay in bed and sleep, and I didn't blame her. Wish now I'd said to heck with Christmas shopping, I'm staying in bed with Sarah! :-D

One day when Alyssa was working and Sarah was feeling good, I took Sarah shopping and to meet some friends of mine in Gloucester. Damon and Jen run an animal rescue and dog walking service and we met them in the park. Sarah absolutely loved playing with the dogs and we all had a good time. Here are a couple of photos from that day that I took of my lovely daughter Sarah.

Not sure if I like the Colour version or the Mono version of this photo, I think I'm leaning more towards the Colour version.
Definately liked the Mono version of the photo below so I only posted the one.
Sarah absolutely loves animals and really enjoyed herself with the dogs. We had lots of shopping planned but Sarah was having such a good time that I just let her have fun. I was really enjoying watching her as well. :-)

Just before Christmas I decided to show off some kick boxing moves that I had learned years and years ago. Unfortunately I'm not as young as I used to be and my body let me know it the next morning! I spent the rest of the Christmas holidays with quite a bit of pain in my shoulder. I didn't let it totally ruin things though and I was determined for everyone to have a good time. I still managed to cook a huge Christmas meal with the girls help and we all still had a lovely time. I just didn't take any photos, which I'm sure everyone was actually happy about! :-D I did manage one batch of Christmas fudge, which didn't last long! But I didn't manage any of my Christmas Divinity this year. I was just too busy enjoying my family. :-)

This year for the Christmas Crackers we got the kind that you filled up yourself, and I had fun finding little gifts to fit inside for everyone. Those were the best crackers we've ever had! We must do this again next year! :-D

My highlights for Christmas day were....watching the girls open their presents. I love making them smile. The presents weren't much, just cheap stuff as I didn't have much to spend on them, but their faces just lit up and they were full of hugs for me. Their best present came from Peter who gave them each an £80 clothes shopping spree! That was just as much a gift for me as well as them as I like nothing better than taking the girls clothes shopping! :-D He did say there was a condition that went along with this shopping spree though, and that was that we didn't make him go with us!! :-D

My Mom and Dad sent us each a lovely sweater and lots of our favourite chocolate treats from the States that we can't get over here. These included Turtles, Butterfingers, Chocolate Covered Cherries and Kisses! Thank You Thank You Mom and Dad!! XOXOXOXOXOX

Peter got a new bike helmet, a Dr. Who poster and a coffee maker from the girls. Lots of lego, a fun new aprin, magnetic spice rack...and I can't remember what else.... a bunch of little stuff from me. :-D

Sarah got me some books from one of my favourite Authors and a lovely new bike helmet and Alyssa got me a much needed tripod bag. I wasn't expecting much from Peter as I thought we had decieded not to spend much on Christmas presents for each other, and we usualy don't anyway. So when I opened my present from him, I started crying before I fully unwrapped it. He got me a new flash gun for my Olympus camera, the FL-50R. He couldn't have gotten me a better gift or suprised me any more. He just totaly blew me away. He's good at doing that. ;-)

We spent the rest of the holidays just enjoying each other, watching movies and playing games at the dinning table. I wish it all didn't have to end.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Sugar Cubes & Spud Guns

Yesterday I received a request for a photo of a couple of sugar cubes to be used in an article of some kind. This is a paying job! I was like, 'OH WoW, this is going to be the easiest money I've ever earned!' Oh Boy I was so excited! Oh BOY was I ever wrong!!! You see, the sugar cubes had to be on a white background, and they had to stand out. The sugar cubes are white as well. This was not an easy task and it took me all day to get a shot, and then I had to do some Photoshop trickery on it to make them stand out. I should have done that to begin with I reckon, but I wanted to get it right in the camera. I can be so stubborn sometimes. :-D I tell ya, I learned a lot about lighting today!

My set up was a light cube tent on a small table. I used two different cameras with different lenses, a Canon 30D and an Olympus E-3. Two studio lights on either side at different angles. A Canon 580ex Flashgun inside the tent with a slave eye attached and aimed at the background to make it white. I can't tell you the exact set up of all the lights as I took so many photos and rearanged the lights so much that I don't really know what the set up was on the shot that worked the best. I'm pretty sure that I had one light from direct left and the light on the background from the right and slightly behind the cubes. I gave up on the second studio light as there just wasn't enough contrast and definition in my shots with it. The biggest problem was the light shinning through the cubes making them as bright and white as the background. This has been my most difficult assignment or project to date! But it was fun and I learned a lot.

Here is my final result: (Camera: Canon 30D, Lens: Canon 28-135mm IS macro lens)
Here are my sugar cubes in action, on the Contents page:
And again in an article on page 34:
Now I need to send them an invoice and get paid! :-D

Tonight was MRG's anual Christmas Dinner. My husband works for MRG and they always treat us to a lovely meal and a bit of fun. We all bring a £5 gift and then later draw numbers to see which gift we get. One year I got my own gift which was funny. I would have been happy with my own gift this year as well as it was chocolates! Everyone loves chocolates. Well except my Mom, and I never understood that. Most people try to bring funny or embaressing gifts for people to open. This year I got a nice keyring, which I don't need so I'll probably give it away. Peter (my husband) and this other guy got a spud gun!! With a potato attached! This lovely pub restraunt will never have us back! These two grown men spent the rest of the evening loading their spud guns with bits of potato and shooting them accross the room! I so wish I'd brought my camera now. I usualy do, don't know what possessed me! Maybe it was shooting sugar cubes all day. hhmm.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Happy Birthday Peter Baby!

Today was my husband Peter's birthday. We celebrated by going to a local pub for lunch together. I then surprised him with a card, present and a cake after work. What I got him was a very nice radio controlled helicopter. Yes he's just a big kid at heart. :-)

Wish I'd thought to get my camera out earlier when he was flying it. Well attempting to fly it. It's quite a complicated thing and he's going to have to practice lots and lots. Should keep him out of trouble for a while. :-D Anyway, wish I'd photographed him with it in the air. He's run the battery down now so it's busy charging. I'll try to get a shot of it and him tomorrow and post it.

A good bit of the time that he was practicing with it I was out playing Taxi with Alyssa and two of her friends. They've started up a band and need transportation to and from each other's houses for practice. It's quite difficult with all the instruments and amps and kit they all have. They have their first gig this Saturday and I'm going to miss it!!! They promise to video record it though so I'm looking forward to seeing that. Peter and I will be traveling to London to pick up Sarah from the airport. She doesn't land until o-dark-thirty Sunday morning but we need to travel up the day before to make the trip easier and we thought we'd get some Christmas shopping in along the way.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Mag request & Chirstmas Cheer

Today I was asked to write an itsy bitsy teeny little piece for a magazine on my involvement with the BBC Gloucestershire 24 Hour Project. Well first Chris from the BBC contacted me and said that he'd been contacted by this magazine about the project and that they wanted to do a piece on it. He asked if I might be interested in having the magazine contact me. I said sure and then they did. How cool is that?!! :-D So I wrote a little piece and sent them some screen shots and offered the originals. All of this is in relation to a new Camera Club section in the mag. I've not heard back but Should be out first of the year. I'll keep you posted on the publication. ;-)

Here is another screen shot from the BBC Gloucestershire 24 Hour Project


I made this Christmas greeting for everyone today, even trying to make cards out of it. I took the photos in a local church in Stroud. I hope everyone has a lovely Holiday with family and friends.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

A Christmas Lunch with Cyclist

Yesterday, Saturday, we went to visit a friend to collect a couple of free standing book shelves. We wound up staying the afternoon and Peter built three free standing book shelves for her then we collected the two we came to collect. We also came away with a small bedside lamp and a keyboard with stand. We are going to pay her for the keyboard even though she tried to give it to us for all the help with the book shelves. Peter didn't want payment for building the shelves, what else are friends for? :-)

Today was the joint Christmas Lunch with the Stonehouse Wheelers and the Stroud Valleys Cycling Club. I got up a bit late and had so much to do that I missed the start of the ride, so I stayed behind and finished up what I was doing then drove to the Pub for lunch with the clubs. Was best anyway as I had so much to carry. Lots of people were expecting me to show up with the Club Calendars for them to buy. We had a lovely meal and a lovely time. Sadly I didn't take my camera so I have no photos to show. I should have taken it though, there were several others there with cameras, two even had DSLRs. Oh well, next time. :-p

Tomorrow Peter will be off working in London again. I'm so tempted to try and tag along. I'd like a day Christmas shopping in London, but it would cost around £50 for a train ticket for me. Why does everything have to be so expensive?!! Never mind, we will be traveling up to London on Saturday so we can be at the airport early Sunday morning to pick up my daughter Sarah. YaY!!! I can't wait to see her. My baby is 16 now, so hard to believe!

Here is a photo of my two beautiful daughters from last Christmas:

Friday, 12 December 2008

Photo Shoot with Lorca Simons

Today I had a fantastic time on a photo shoot with Lorca Simons. She's an actress living here in the Gloucestershire area and she's from Texas! :-D It's nice to have an American friend living near by. Anyway, I went to her house today and took all my studio equipment and we had a photo shoot. We had lots of fun and I think it went pretty well, but of course I thought of lots of ways I wish I'd asked her to pose after I got back home. Oh well, save it for next time. :-) Here are a few of my favourite shots from today of Lorca:

I really enjoyed this photos shoot with Lorca and I hope she will do another one with me again soon. I need more practice talking with and encouraging models in front of my camera. :-)

For the photographers out there this shoot was done with two studio lights, a reflector and natural light through a window. I set one light with a light box in front of her and slightly to my left. The other light, in the back and to my right, I aimed close to the ceiling near the back wall so that the light would bounce onto the back of her head and separate her from the background. I know a snoot would be better but I don't have one and this worked fine I think. There was a large window to my left so I placed a large silver reflector to my right and down low aiming the natural light towards Lorca. The black background is a large piece of black velvet and the white/grayish background is Lorca's bright white walls. I used a light meter to adjust the lighting to around an f stop of around 8. I say around 8 because I changed it a couple of times. With this set up I had to do very little post processing on the photos which saves me loads of time. It's so much better getting it right in the camera. :-)

Thursday, 11 December 2008

More Glos 24 & Carols at Teckels

This morning I got up and took one last photo for the Gloucestershire 24 project. It ended at 8am this morning. Here is a screen shot of my last image up on the BBC website:

I had the radio on this morning listening to the local radio station, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, and I heard them say that later they were going to talk to Chris about the 24 Gloucestershire Hours project, so I tuned in. What did I hear? Well it started off like this: "Chris Sandy's here from BBC's Gloucestershires website to tell us more, hello Chris." "Yes I am here to tell you more, I'm here to tell you about Tammy from Rodborough in Stroud. Because she was one of our devoted online users yesterday who literally played the game 100% and sent in a picture every hour that she was awake." I was stunned to hear my name! WoW! They talked about the project for a minute then continued talking about the shots I sent in. They talked about every one of them and followed my day. :-D You can listen to it for the next few days on the BBC Gloucestershire's Click of the Day webpage here: Wednesday 10th December and looking for the 'listen: 24 >' link. Here is a screen shot of the page:

How cool is that?! I'm Click of the Day! :-D (Yes that's a photo of me up there!)I have a copy of the radio program that my husband Peter copied while at work. I'll try and put that on the web somewhere to listen to when the link above becomes inactive.


In the evening was Teckels Animal Sanctuaries Annual Christmas Fair. Damon Cannard Pet Photographer and Jenny Cole both of Noah's Ark Pet Care and Animal Rescue said Teckels were in need of carollers so I volunteered to round up a few carollers for the event again this year. I put the word out but wasn't able to round up many and the people that did say they'd come all backed out at the last minute. So kudos go to my daughter Alyssa and her friend Merry for putting together some songs and music for the event and getting up there and singing for everyone. Way to go girls! I even heard they gave Santa a personal serenade of 'Santa Baby'!! Oh man wish I'd seen that!! Peter also came along and brought his keyboard and played a few Christmas tunes for us. We all had lots of fun, even though we were nearly frozen solid by the end of it! :-D

Above is Alyssa and Merry singing Christmas Carols with Peter in the background on his keyboard.

Above is Jenny and Damon with Noah's Ark Pet Care and Animal Rescue. Beautiful people with big hearts.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

BBC Gloucestershire's 24 Project

Today I participated in the BBC Gloucestershire's 24 Photos project where the public was asked to take a photograph of what they are doing for ever hour of the day that we were awake and send it in. They divided the photos up by the hour and put them in galleries. I sent in a total of 15 photos for this. Was much harder than I thought it would be! But it was loads of fun and I'm glad I did it. It started at 8am this morning and went until 8am Wednesday morning. It didn't really show what my typical day was like as I was busy most of the time processing and sending the photos in! But it is a random snap shot of my life.

You can see the project here: 24 Gloucestershire Hours
You will see my photographs in the various galleries through out the day. If you like you can view the photos that I sent in along with my comments on my flickr account here: BBC 24 Hour Project

Here are a couple of screen shots of my entries to give you an idea what it is like:

Monday, 8 December 2008

Annual Cycle Carol Service in Cam

Today was the annual Cycle Carol Service at St. George's Church in Cam. I didn't take my camera so I don't have any photos from the day. **kicking self** We did have a lovely day though, starting with an early bike ride to the Cam Memorial Hall for hot water and then on to the Church to practice before the Service started. Sue and I cycled with Peter so that we'd get their ahead of our cycle club which was cycling a bit later. It was a freezing cold day and we had to watch out for ice on the roads. It was a lovely bright crisp morning though and I was very tempted to skip out on the service and run away with my camera for the day! But I didn't, I stuck with my husband Peter and the club. :-)

The church was packed full of Cyclist from all over the area. Cycle Clubs that I know were there were The Stonehouse Wheelers, Stroud Valleys CC (CTC), Bristol CTC, Cheltenham CTC, Gloucester City and Swindon CTC. It was a lovely service with our club President Eric Lewis doing a reading on behalf of our club. Also on behalf of our club Peter played the organ for each of the 6 carols and Sue sang a solo. Also there was Nicki on her trumpet from the Stroud Valleys accompanying Peter on the organ. I sat by Peter on his bench at the organ and helped him keep count versus and pulled a few stops for him. It was a lovely service and I enjoyed it.

After the service we all went back to the Cam Memorial Hall for snacks and hot drinks before setting off on our bikes back home. While there I sold a few Stonehouse Wheelers Calendars which we have produced for the past few years. Malcolm Jackson designs the calendars using photos from the club members of the club out cycling. This year, Peter and I were the only ones to submit photos. Here are a few screen shots of the calendar to give you an idea what it's like:

Peter took the above photo, I'm the one in red. :-)

I took the above photo, Peter is the second rider in this shot.

I took the above shot, Peter is second from the left. This was taken at the Clubs 60th Anniversary ride. Inset is a photo that was in the paper from the day.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Andy Rouse Seminar

Today was the Andy Rouse 'Visions of Light' Seminar out at Slimbridge WWT from 10am to 5:30pm. I met up with several of my photography friends that I know from the area who went as well. There was Damon the Gloucester Pet Photographer, Stephen founder of the Southern Softies from the DSLR User Forum, Derick (vice Chairman) from the Stroud Camera Club and Liz who is also from the Stroud Camera Club.

What a fantastic day! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and learned loads. Andy Rouse is a great speaker, down to earth and honest. He showed us how he does things and worked on a few of his photos as examples of what he does and explained why he does it. He was a joy and an inspiration to listen too. During the seminar we had a 2 hour break to go out and take photos in the park. Here are a few of my favourite photos from the day that I took:

Friday, 5 December 2008

Stroud Camera Club Christmas Social

Tonight was the Stroud Camera Club Christmas Social. I baked a chocolate cake and took in which everyone enjoyed. Well they said they enjoyed it anyway. :-D Wish I took a photo of it as I think it looked better than it actually was. ;-) I really enjoyed the evening and there were two fun contest. The first was a Humour photo comp and I entered this shot:
I didn't win but it got a few chuckles. :-) In the photo above are my Mom and Dad and my daughter Alyssa.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Look at me!!! Typing in my blog for the third day in a row! :-D

Anyone else thinking about next year already? I am. What am I going to do next year? What do I want to do differently next year? What do I want to accomplish? What do I want to change about myself? So many things to think about. Lord knows there's lots to improve upon! So many things to do! Could be an exciting year. :-D <---there I go again, with those dang smiley faces. :-D

New Year's Resolution in progress...
  1. Must not be late any more! I'm always late. I think it's in my genes. :-p
  2. Must loose weight. I really must. Not because I'm vain, but because I want to be healthy and mobile. I'm no spring chicken anymore! :-)
  3. Must finish projects that I start. I've got several in the works now.
  4. Must work on Photography Portfolio. Maybe even make a book of my work. That would be cool to have.
  5. Must work on new Tutorials for my Tutorial pages. I've only made one and from that received several request for more! So I'd really like to do more. I really enjoyed making it.
  6. Must get out with my camera more.
  7. Must get out with both cycle clubs more, would help with number 2 above. :-D
  8. Must do more with my photographs.
  9. Must work on this list later, work to get done today!

Stroud Camera Club Christmas Social tonight, and I'm baking a cake for it. I have some photographs to get ready for the club for upcoming competitions that need to be turned in tonight. I'm sure there is lots of other stuff I need to do as well, better go find out what they are. :-D

Until next time...

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Carols and a Photo Competiton

Last night was practice for the up coming annual Cycle Carol Service in Cam. Peter is playing the organ this year with Nicki accompanying him on her trumpet and Sue leading the chorus and singing a solo. They came over last night to practice and it was great fun. Mark also came by and stayed for the singing and my daughter couldn't resist joining in as well. She even got her drum kit out and played along. I can't sing so I provided the cakes and mulled wine and coffee for everyone. Was loads of fun, we should do this more often. :-D

This Saturday I'm going to a Visions of Light Seminar with Andy Rouse at Slimbridge WWT. Should be very interesting and loads of fun so I'm looking forward to it. Before the day there is a photo competition we can enter with the winner being announced on the day. Today was the last day to enter and I really struggled with finding an entry. The topic was 'Visions of Light' so the main subject had to be light. It also had to be a photo with very little done to it, no fancy editing in other words. I wanted to take a fresh photo for this but the weather and my spare time did not cooperate, so I wound up trudging through past photos and came up with this one.

You can see it larger on my flickr page by clicking HERE. It was really late last night when I entered it and this morning I'm thinking why?!! I wish I kept looking a bit further. It's a nice photo of a rainbow, but it doesn't say WoW to me. So it most likely won't say WoW to the judge either, especially with all the other great awe inspiring photos that have been entered so far. Oh well, it's just a bit of fun. I'm still looking forward to the seminar. :-)

Hey got our first Christmas Card today!!! All the way from Texas to Stroud England! :-D But now I feel bad because I've not got our Christmas cards sorted yet! I'd better get on that ASAP! But first I've got a bunch of other things to get done today so I'd better get to it. Laterz! :-D

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Must Try Harder :-D

I'd really like to make a go at this blog thing and have it be apart of my website. I must try harder. :-D

The thing is I have so much on my plate right now, and I make it worse by avoiding things. I guess you could say I'm making it worse now by typing this. Or maybe it's just because I know I do my best work under pressure. Or maybe it's just because I've got Adult Attention Deficit Disorder and I'm easily side tracked. :-D <---I also type way too many of these! I've deleted 3 or 4 since I started typing this. You'd think I was some over enthusiastic teenage cheerleader or something. :-D

What am I up to today? Let's see...
  • Tonight we have friends from the cycle clubs coming around to sing carols around the organ. It's a warm up for this Sunday's Annual Cycle Club Service where Cycle Clubs from all over the region gather for this event. Peter, my husband, will be playing the organ again this year for this. I usually sit with him and help count verses and pull a few stops for him. Mainly it's an excuse for me not to have to sing. Trust me, you don't want to hear me sing. :-D Anyway, tonight people are coming around so I must tidy up the house and go shopping because they will want tea and coffee and mulled wine and cakes and so on. I actually enjoy all this and love it when people come around. Peter enjoys it too as the house gets cleaned up. :-D
  • I've got some Wheelers business to take care of. I'm the secretary of the Stonehouse Wheelers Cycle Club, in case you didn't know or didn't remember. I've got to get some stuff in the post for them and errands to run as well.
  • I've got a deadline to meet for a Photographic Competition. This one is part of Andy Rouse's 'Visions of Light' seminar that I'm attending next Sunday. I'm really excited about it and looking forward to it. I've got one more day to enter something in the competition. Hopefully I'll have something to enter before I go to bed tonight. Wish me luck!
  • I've also got to get ready for Thursday's Stroud Camera Club meeting. It's their annual Christmas gathering and I've got to bring a cake and get some images ready to enter in a fun competition. Probably some other stuff too that I can't think of right now.
  • TAXES!!! **deep breaths now** I will do my taxes; I will do my taxes...soon. I promise.
  • Stonehouse Wheelers Calendars...I must make some more for tonight. Malcolm, our Runs Secretary designs the calendars, using photos submitted to him by the club, and me and Peter produce them. Peter is responsible for printing and I'm responsible for binding them. YaY fun! :-D This year Peter and I were the only ones who turned in any photos. Poor Malcolm.

Well my coffee is cold now, time to nuke it and get some work done. **looks outside** Darn it's another grey day. I was hoping to take a walk down to the river and maybe get some lovely shots of the sunlight coming through the trees and reflecting on the water for my 'Visions of Light' photo. Guess I'll be looking through my archives tonight.

Now, where did I hide the envelopes?