across the frozen field - a photograph of a frosty field, early one morning. The sky is tinged with pink from the rising sun.

My Love of Photography

Hey there! It’s good to see you here. My name is Lizzie, and I am the redhead who is always wondering! Wondering about life, about this beautiful world, about words and light and colour and form. And mostly about how I can be the best me that I can possibly be.

I am a creator of hand bound books and of art, in the form of cyanotypes and photographs. I am also an avid journal-keeper and I’d like to share some of my journal wonderings with you today ….

I Have Always Wanted to be Creative

I have always wanted to be creative and artistic, rather than just brainy! But I can’t draw or paint, and I always thought that to be “creative” one had to be talented at “artistic” things like that. (I do make rather lovely pots, it must be said!)

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that creativity is about so much more than being able to draw (or paint!). It’s about how you live your life. For me, it’s about creating things that I feel are beautiful or lovely or good, whether those things are made of words or images, paper or flowers, whether I make them with my hands or with my camera. This last … the camera bit … is what I’d like to tell you about today.

Hooked on Photography

A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to do a short photography course, and from Day One, when they gave us disposable cameras to mess around with and find our feet, I was hooked! Here was a way to create pictures.

It was a part-time vocational course being offered for free to single parents … naturally, I jumped at the chance. If you’ve ever done the Working Single Mum dance, then you’ll know that opportunities to do things just for you don’t come along that often! Anyway, like I said, hooked from day one!

I have always wished that I could draw or paint, that I could capture images and get them down on paper, but that is not my thing. Imagine my pleasure then, when I got that first set of prints back and my photography tutor told me I had a “good eye”!!

A photograph of pastel coloured houses on a hillside
all the pretty houses

I took this shot of the pastel coloured housed above Brixham harbour, from the vantage point of the breakwater. Devon is one of my favourite places to photograph.

That was the beginning of a passion that has just grown and grown.

And the amazing thing is, I am now married to a fabulous photographer, so my home is filled with cameras and lenses.

I mean, seriously … does it get any better than this?!

Camera Evolution

I started out with a Canon SLR (paid for from the proceeds of me and my fellow photography students actually selling our work! We had a calendar published with black and white shots, and we gave half the money to the Mind charity and split the other half between the group). But I found that I simply couldn’t afford the processing. (I still have a shoe box full of wet film, which one day, when I have more money, I may splash out and develop!)

In 2011, my best friend, my inspiration, and the man who is now my husband, persuaded me to “go digital”. He also persuaded me to join Flickr and get my photos out there!

I have never looked back, and I just can’t stop taking photographs! I currently have over 5000 photographs uploaded to my Flickr page!

A photograph of Seaton beach in Devon. The sun is rising above the cliffs and there is mist on the sea.
what a perfect way to start the day

A very minimal photograph of Seaton beach showing a strip of sky, a strip of sea and a strip of pebbly beach. There is a lone figure standing up on a paddle board.
the simple life
A photograph of Loch Etive in Scotland. the hills and the clouds are reflected in the loch's surface.
Etive reflections

Shots of water … Devon and Scotland. Being by the sea or by a sea loch … these are times when I am so glad that I “went digital”, because I just can’t stop taking photographs … something I would never be able to afford to do if I were still shooting wet film!

In 2013, I married my best friend, and he bought me a Sony A58 as a wedding present. That made us both Sony-heads, and it opened up a whole new world of different lenses to me … Sigma, Vivitar, Minolta, Zeiss, Autochinon, Lensbaby … even the names are fab!

And I am learning more and more about photography all the time, with his patient help … he gives me lectures on apertures and depth of field, shutter speed and light! He has infinite patience with his impatient wife!

Landscapes and Lines and Light

I am lucky enough to live in a most beautiful place. Wiltshire is a very rural county … there are undulating Downs and winding country lanes, picturesque villages and meandering rivers. And there is Salisbury Plain, our favourite haunt for photography!

The Chisbury tree … I have taken a gazillion photographs of this lone tree on a ridge near the tiny hamlet of Chisbury.

I used to detour on my drive to work when we lived in Marlborough, just so that I could photograph this tree!

I rather liked the crazy clouds on this particular day!

A photograph of a lone tree on a ridge, with piles of cumulous clouds in the sky.
Chisbury tree and clouds

Wiltshire is also full of byways which you’re allowed to drive on, so with the help of our trusty 4-wheel drive SUVs (there have been many of these workhorses!), we are able to get to out-of-the-way places and find landscapes that are empty of people. (There’s actually nothing worse than a dog-owner, walking their pooch across your lovely shot! Well, there is, of course, but people can be most annoying when you’re trying to capture the beauty of the countryside!).

A photograph of a track cutting between fields of golden grass.
old road across the Plain

Salisbury Plain is crisscrossed with byways, some of them pretty rough, and it’s the potholes and ruts in these that have put paid to most of our off-road vehicles over the years!

But it’s not just the landscape vistas that I like to photograph. I love finding lines and patterns in nature. I love fences! I love textures. I love colour.

And I love the way that light can change a shot. There are places I’ve photographed again and again, yet every shot feels different to me, because the light is never the same.

How could I resist these autumn colours at Stour Head? I know that thousands of other photographers have taken this shot, but we all see something different. This was an early morning autumn shot a few years ago, and it’s still one of my favourites. I got up early and travelled to deepest West Wiltshire, hoping that if I arrived for the opening of the gardens, it’d just be me and the trees … no such luck! It was me and the trees and about a hundred other photographers, all wanting to capture those autumn colours.

A photograph of the autumn colours of the woods at Stourhead. The trees are reflected in a lake. There is also a folly with Romanesque columns.
life is golden

Exhibitions and Competitions

I’ve entered my photographs in a couple of exhibitions, and I’ve even sold some! That was utterly thrilling for me … I felt like a “real” artist when I saw the little red “sold” sticker on my prints!

This year, I entered the Wellcome Photography Prize, and although I didn’t win anything, it was a great experience to be brave enough to enter. The theme for the competition was exploring the human side of three urgent health challenges: mental health problems, infectious diseases, and global heating …

“All of our minds work differently, and sometimes in ways that can negatively affect us.

There are many ways of managing our mental health – sometimes we can do it by ourselves, and sometimes we benefit from more support to understand our mental health problems or prevent episodes of an illness that could otherwise hold us back from living the life we want.

Show us new ways to think about mental health problems and how to manage them.”

Being restricted to home and feeling cut off from the rest of the world during the lockdown of 2020, my garden was my refuge, a balm to those parts of my psyche that were rubbed sore by the pandemic. It’s where I “escaped to” during the spring and summer lockdown, and this little bit of nature’s paradise helped me cope with my anxiety.

A black and white photograph of a dandelion seed head in a tiny bottle. The shadow of the dandelion.
back garden still life

This black and white shot, for me, perfectly illustrated the calmness I felt when I spent time in my garden.

I could be still and peaceful there, like the seed head, while all around me the world was going kind of crazy, like the blurred riot of flowers in the background of the shot. The title was a play on words … there is still life so there is still hope, and there is hope in being still, while life goes on around you.

This action shot is of the seeds, which we called fairies when I was a child, taking to the air on a breath of wind.

For me, it is the perfect next shot in the series, because it is the hope of new life, taking flight.

Who knows where the seeds will land?

Who knows where next year’s flowers will grow?

A photograph of the seeds blowing off of a dandelion seed head.
we used to call them fairies
A photo of a man's face, lips puckered, about to blow on a dandelion seed head.
my helpmeet and companion

There is nothing better than being married to someone who shares your interests, someone who will accompany you to the garden and who will happily blow on the dandelion clocks so that you can get shots of the seeds flying off.

Not only did my husband help me get my seed head action shot, but he also helped me get through the long spring and summer of lock down, by listening to my fears, by assuaging my worries and anxieties, and by keeping me laughing!

Looking down on a dandelion seed head and it’s shadow, a moment of pure stillness and calm, and antidote to fear of COVID.

A photo taken from above of a dandelion seed head in a tiny bottle along with its shadow.
clock and shadow
A photograph of two woodpeckers on a bird-feeding station. One is looking straight at the camera with a comical expression.
what are you looking at?

My final shot in the series …

“what are you looking at?” … We had a family of woodpeckers visiting our garden during the long lockdown summer, and my final shot is my favourite woodpecker photograph … I mean, look at that expression!

How could I not smile?

How could I not feel my spirits rise, even in the midst of all the fear and worry of COVID?

Flickr for Photographs

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little tour of my photography world. It’s always such a pleasure to share all the beauty I see around me. If you’d like to see more of my photographs, why not pop over to my Flickr page and check them out?!

A photograph of a field of ox-eye daisies
daisies and bokeh
A photograph of wildflowers - purple pyramidal orchids and ox-eye daisies
purple pops

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