Photographer of weddings and people around Birmingham and the Midlands

365 project: days 111 – 116

As we approach the end of April, we look at heading into my birthday month and the imminent arrival of my 40th birthday, which continues to approach like a speeding train heading towards a car stranded on a level crossing! Still, on a plus note we are looking at Chloe finally having the harness off her legs, providing her hips are now as they should be, although the consultant, as nice as he is, seems very wishy washy in his diagnosis. I want to hear things like “Yes, this isn’t right, lets fix it with this” not things like “well, I’m not sure, would you like to try this just to be on the safe side?” The onus should not be on the parents to make a decision when you have been referred to, waited weeks for, and travelled to the childrens hospital for a specialist consultant to assess and diagnose. Still, if its coming off then the appointment is on my actual birthday, what a present that would be!

111: Its time for a change in the kitchen and the red that the wife initially thought was a terrible idea is now up and she loves it, and so do I. Sometimes you have to take a bit of a gamble!

Day 111 - Apr 26th

Day 111 – Apr 26th

112: An unscheduled Ofsted inspection at work causes the day to be a little stressful, but at least I have my girls to come home to. I loved this shot, our little angel is now 3 months old and growing at quite a rate, and getting noticeably heavier by the day too! All too soon those little hands won’t be so little any more!

Day 112 - Apr 27th

Day 112 – Apr 27th

113: The term April showers was part of the proverb “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers”, first recorded in 1886. This year it has been more evident than ever, as most days have featured at least one or more showers. It makes taking the little ones out to the park a bit of a gamble!

Day 113 - Apr 28th

Day 113 – Apr 28th

114: April showers, as it suggests often means that between these rain showers there can be periods of beautiful sunshine, and with bluebells popping up all over the place its starting to get very colourful outside. The upcoming bank holiday weekend is the annual bluebell walk at a local farm, which we’re sadly unlikely to make.

Day 114 - Apr 29th

Day 114 – Apr 29th

115: Staying on the weather theme, we decided to stretch our legs and get some fresh air by taking a walk to the local supermarket. As Olivia decided she also wanted to head to the park, we opted to take the car instead. We hadn’t even finished strapping the girls into the car when some black, end-of-the-world type clouds drifted over, it started to go very dark and a giant rumble of thunder unleashed a 15 minute hail storm, making it look like it had been snowing outside. In my 39 years on this planet I’d never seen anything like this before. As quickly as it started, it was over, and out came the blue sky and sunshine!

Day 115 - Apr 30th

Day 115 – Apr 30th

116: Our quiet weekend at home was continuing, which suited me around lunchtime as it was the Russian F1 GP today. We did at least manage to make it out to the park today, although Olivia wasn’t really herself and so we didn’t stay long. After a film and a few drinks in the evening with the wife, we were both ready for bed, as those early mornings can take their toll, but we still had to stay up and make sure Chloe had her last bottle of the day. Its definitely worth leaving it as late as possible as she is starting to do really well at sleeping through until the morning now. We have been really lucky with these two, and we are so grateful for it.

Day 116 - May 1st

Day 116 – May 1st

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More of the 365 project: days 102-110

A damp and windy April is beginning to draw to an end, and my birthday month is almost here, the big 4-0 is creeping closer and we have actually begun making plans for a party to celebrate it. I don’t know why i’m bothered about leaving my 30s behind and entering into my 40s, I didn’t have this concern on the transition from 29 to 30. I do have to put things into persepctive and appreciate that I have everything I could possibly hope for by the time I’d reached this age… a wonderful wife, two beautiful daughters, a house, a nice car a great circle of friends. I guess its just getting used to the mentality that for most of my life, like most people I guess, I have considered 40somethings to be “a bit old”. Yeah let’s face it, I am not 21 any more. While I can’t fool myself into believing I am still some kind of spring chicken or peter pan, the grey hair certainly removes any doubt about that!

So on with the 365 anyway, what have the last few days been about…?

102: The day after an unexpected mid-April snowfall, and I find myself out walking in the sun in just a t-shirt. The wife had suggested abandoning the idea a cooked Sunday lunch, and heading out for a carvery. Thankfully the closest is within walking distance, and so we took advantage of the sun, and left the car at home. One of the big attractions of living where we do, was the lines of cherry blossom trees running along the local roads, which look amazing for a few weeks each year.

Day 102 - April 17th

Day 102 – April 17th

103: After climbing off my bike at the end of a Monday, the thought of putting my feet up is a very tempting one, that is until my daughter runs at me with her arms open shouting “I do painting, I do painting!”. Its hard to say no, she loves it so much, its easy to clean up, and she’s usually done within 20 minutes. I like her to get her hands messy and feel the paint, and make the marks that can’t be undone with a delete button. There are so many apps for my iPad where she can paint, colour in, make pictures and not get in any mess, but its no subsitute for the real thing!

Day 103 - April 18th

Day 103 – April 18th

104: Charging up the helmet camera that has been a useful addition to my cycling. What I don’t want to become is part of the helmetcam vigilante brigade, a few who take it too far, and what most drivers think cyclists who wear cameras are! There are so many idiots on the road though, and so many who hold no regard whatsoever for the life of anyone who decides to climb onto two wheels instead of start the engine of four. Our lives seem to be worth significantly less when we climb onto our bikes, but this helmet camera has helped to give me a better chance of getting home alive to see my family. It has been useful in capturing bad and dangerous driving where a van driver was reported to their company, but primarily I want it to act as a deterrent. I’d rather people see it, and think better of a close pass, giving me more room to continue my journey safely.

Day 104 - April 19th

Day 104 – April 19th

105: There is something especially satisfying about riding home in the sunshine, knowing that the winter is well behind you and the weather can only get better. When I got home, I noticed how beautiful everything looked at the clouds parted once more and everything was covered in the light of the setting sun.

Day 105 - April 20th

Day 105 – April 20th

106: On returning from work, I find that the wife has been busy in the daughters room, with a new set of wall stickers, to which the daughter is delighted. Gone are the unisex animals and leaves, now replaced with fairy princesses and a castle. Even better than the satisfaction she gets from it is the beautiful portrait it makes.

Day 106 - April 21st

Day 106 – April 21st

107: Gotta love that Friday feeling, the end of the working week. Its even nicer when you can spend it with family, and so I had my two sisters and their partners over for dinner and drinks. A lovely way to spend an evening, and something we don’t do often enough. I managed to cook up my signature risotto and it went down a treat, and no meal is complete without wine and a candle on the table!

Day 107 - April 22nd

Day 107 – April 22nd

108: Saturday is one of those elusive days that can disappear in the blink of an eye if you don’t have a plan. Its sometimes nice to slow down after a week at work and do very little, so we spent the morning having a little fun around the house, before the wife thought it was a good idea head out to the shopping mall at the busiest time during the week! We had to go toy shopping for birthday presents, but at least got to treat ourselves to a little lunch while we were out, I guess I can cope with a few crowds for a tasty lunch.

Day 108 - April 23rd

Day 108 – April 23rd

109: Sunday morning and time to go swimming, the bonus is meeting our friend with her little girl, and the double bonus is Clare coming along with Chloe to watch Olivia in the pool, as previous swimming sessions have been a bit of father/daughter time and Clare has missed out on how well Olivia is getting on in the water. Swimming is followed up with a visit to Boo Boo Coffee shop across the road, as they have a fantastic menu and even a childrens area. We missed out on soft play with some more friends because of Olivia’s need to nap after a busy morning swimming, but at least we caught up with them later on. All in all a weekend well spent!

Day 109 - April 24th

Day 109 – April 24th

110: The joy of being back to work on a Monday, but at least the nights are getting lighter, although a confused two year old is still questioning why she has to go to bed when “its daytime”. Once she was asleep in bed it was time to grab myself some dessert, as dinner had left a spot needing to be filled by something sweet!

Day 110 - April 25th

Day 110 – April 25th

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365 project update: days 95 – 101

So its back on the myfitnesspal app again for me, and today was all going so well… cycling into work, followed by a 2 mile run on the treadmill as soon as I get to work, before I hit the shower. I even pack a sensible lunch, and all is going well… until that is, I get home and discover the daughters home made biscuits and weaken!

Its no secret, my 40th birthday is edging closer and closer and there is simply no hiding from it. I was really hoping that when it finally landed I could at least feel slightly better about things by being at least a few pounds lighter, but that has really not worked out very well so far. I was doing especially well with the half stone head start after my recent bout of gastroenteritis, but think I’ve probably put all that back on now. My failing is not in my lack of exercise, its clearly my weakness for food! Still, at least I am back into the running again now, and there is still hope, one slip up does not mean the war has been lost!

At least one thing I have been able to keep up successfully is the 365 project, and I have even managed to break through the 100 days barrier, which feels like quite a landmark event.

95: A birthday party to go to, and Olivia is ready in her pretty dress. She still needs her afternoon nap, and this particular party was right in the middle of nap time, so we had to push through, but she made it, and had a wonderful time dancing!

Day 95 - Apr 10th

Day 95 – Apr 10th

96: Practising with a little off camera flash, which I always think makes for a more pleasing portrait, and this little lady is changing daily. The endless screaming everytime she is awake has virtually disappeared now, unless of course she is either hungry or super tired, and she is making some lovely faces and cooing noises, but even better is her tracking and the way she actually watches you and turns to look at you.

Day 96 - Apr 11th

Day 96 – Apr 11th

97: A black and white abstract perspective shot, something a bit different. Sometimes you need to be stuck for a photo at the end of the day to force you to see something normal in a different way.

Day 97 - Apr 12th

Day 97 – Apr 12th

98: A little bit of warm weather and Olivia can’t wait to get into the garden, she loves being outdoors. Part of todays excitement was the watering can and the plant spray, any excuse to play with water. After repeatedly watering the weeds for me, she discovered the joy of spraying everything, including herself!

Day 98 - Apr 13th

Day 98 – Apr 13th

99: Nothing is cuter than a sleeping baby shot, and even though she is spending longer and longer awake, Chloe is still sleeping for huge portions of the day. I went for a slightly desaturated look in this shot, taking some, but not all of the colour out of it. She is growing at a rate of knots at the moment, and I don’t think this moses basket will be big enough for much longer. Best get that spare room sorted asap!

Day 99 - Apr 14th

Day 99 – Apr 14th

100: Yes! 100 days of not missing a shot, even if some of them have been a bit rubbish along the way. I love this close up shot of Chloe the focus was more on the hand, but it hasn’t made the eye look especially out of focus. When doing portraits, usually it is a priority to get the eyes, if nothing else, in focus. Typically it is one of the rules of photography, but once you have learnt the rules, you can start to break them.

Day 100 - Apr 15th

Day 100 – Apr 15th

101: The middle of April, and all we want is a bit of sunshine to break up the rainy days… so what on earth is happening when we throw open the curtains on Saturday morning to see snow everywhere? I spotted on the video monitor that Olivia was awake, and as soon as she was up and saw outside, she wanted to be out in the snow. So we got dressed and headed straight out and got some snowballs on the go! I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed when the whole lot had melted by midday! It was fun while it lasted!

Day 101 - Apr 16th

Day 101 – Apr 16th


To Facebook, or not to Facebook…

Like several hundred million others around the globe, I am well connected to social media, including the most famous of them, Facebook.

Recently, after some chronic battery issues with my iPhone which I have thankfully managed to fix, I was left in a position where I had no choice but to erase everything on my phone and frustratingly set it up as new again. When I began looking into the battery issue, it made me realise what a battery drain the Facebook app was on my phone, and when it came to reinstalling all my apps, I was left with the dilemma of whether or not to bother putting the Facebook app back on my phone.

It does seem a little silly that such a simple app has even become the subject of such dilemma for me, and that my thoughts about whether or not I should even have it on my phone have even become a talking point. I have a couple issues stopping me from putting the Facebook app back on my phone just yet, the first one being the issue with the battery usage, due to the app itself being open and the huge screen using power. The second and most important one being the massive distraction that Facebook can be. I find myself picking up the phone far too frequently, to literally check that nothing amazing and life changing has happened in the last five minutes that I might have missed. Its almost akin to smoking, the act of just doing it without thinking and subsequent cravings when its gone.

So how am I finding this Facebook free period of the day? Well I now have no way to access it while I am at work, and yes, the practical upshot is that my battery life has improved massively, and I am not picking up my phone just for the sake of it any more, like it is some kind of comfort blanket… but I can’t help feeling a little annoyed at what feels like a huge inconvenience.  I have always said that facebook, far from being a place to whinge, air your dirty laundry, or just show off about how great your life/children/partner is, is actually a really useful tool for staying in touch with your friends and family, its why so many of us are literally hooked on it, and likewise one of my old college friends who still refuses to sign up to any kind of social media misses out on so much of what is happening with everyones lives.

So is it just withdrawal symptoms? I know in reality that I am probably not missing out on that much during the day, especially when I get home from work and pick up my iPad, only to find just a couple of notifications for something I am really not that interested in anyway. Will it just get easier if I just try and push through it and leave facebook at home solely on my iPad, or will I continue to become annoyed with what feels like a huge inconvenience and crack? 

The truth is, yes, I will most likely end up putting it back on my phone at some point. The battery on my phone is good enough to not suffer too much, and I just have to learn that all things are good in moderation, including facebook!

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Keeping up with the 365 project: days 84 – 94

Oops! I think this is the longest I have left it between updates. I certainly can’t be doing that again, it has made keeping track of things and finding all the photos quite tricky and time consuming! I had to make notes to remind myself and everything!

What a week and a half it has been! Obviously I have been off work as it has been the easter holidays, but it hasn’t all been straight forward. There were many chores to do, as well as people we wanted to see, and it hasn’t all been possible, even with two weeks off work. A house full of germs in the second week has really put the brakes on a lot of our plans.

84: On the Wednesday I was out in the morning, looking after my friends son before heading home to see our friend who was visiting with her son, and heading out with them and the kids to the park.

Day 84 - March 30th

Day 84 – March 30th

85: With Olivia in nursery we decided to treat ourselves to a fancy lunch with the in-laws and visited the new Miller & Carter restaurant up the road from us. It was a new experience as we’d never been to a Miller & Carter before, and it did not disappoint! We were lucky that Chloe slept through the entire thing so we could eat lunch uninterrupted, although the crying is starting to be replaced with smiles more lately anyway. Straight after lunch we shot off to nursery to see Olivia’s easter bonnet parade.

Day 85 - March 31st

Day 85 – March 31st

86: Off the the Birmingham Childrens Hospital today for Chloe to have her harness looked at. It has been on for two weeks now, although it feels more like two months! Olivia came with us, all dressed up in bright colours, and behaved so well even though we had to wait a while. The Childrens hospital is quite a sad place sometimes, to see parents in tears, standing in corridors consoling each other is just heart breaking. As lovely as the staff are, I’ll be glad when the harness is off and we don’t have to go there again.

Day 86 - April 1st

Day 86 – April 1st

87: Saturday was a much more cheerful day. After a very early start to head into town and visit the Apple Store about the battery issue on my phone, we were off the the Birmingham Nature Centre to meet some friends for a spot of lunch and a wander round the park with the little ones looking at the various animals. Thankfully it stayed dry, and the kids had a lovely time.

Day 87 - April 2nd

Day 87 – April 2nd

88: What better way to start a Sunday than with a trip to the swimming pool to meet friends. Olivia got to swim and play with her friend Amber before we headed off to the cafe for a drink and a biscuit.

Day 88 - April 3rd

Day 88 – April 3rd

89: Monday we couldn’t go far as we were waiting for the men to turn up and put up the scaffolding outside our house, ready for the window to be replaced in a few days time. Olivia decided to set up camp with her lunch and watch the men, make sure they do a proper job!

Day 89 - April 4th

Day 89 – April 4th

90: The germs decide to settle into the Vokes household and bother all of us. Olivia had a bad nights sleep with what we suspected might be whooping cough, so we kept her off nursery for the day. A trip to the doctors ruled out whooping cough, although it was an hour and ten minutes of waiting in the surgery waiting room beyond our appointment time to find it out. So we milked the appointment while we were there, getting both Olivia and Chloe checked out in one go, with Chloe needing two separate checks. Getting 3 for 1 value almost made the wait worthwhile. As we didn’t go far, I decided to take Olivia out for a little walk, where I snapped todays shot with my phone. The blossom is starting to come out early on all the trees running down the roads around where we live. Beautiful while it lasts, but in a couple of weeks it will all be gone and the trees will be empty again for another year!

Day 90 - April 5th

Day 90 – April 5th

91: A slow start to the day, and all three of my ladies in bed snuggling. Not much room for me though! Olivia had another unsettled nights sleep, so we only got as far as visiting a friend for the afternoon.

Day 91 - April 6th

Day 91 – April 6th

92: After looking after my friends son in the morning, it was home to tidy up and prepare dinner as we had a friend joining us for food that evening. I took a snap of Chloe as she is starting to smile so much lately, it really is lovely to see. We’re also getting a few babbling noises as well, she seems to be changing so much.

Day 92 - April 7th

Day 92 – April 7th

93: The weather forecast was wet, but our plans were fixed… we were off to the zoo to meet friends. I think the weather made the parking easier and kept the queues down, but thankfully it was only showers so we got around to see all the animals and even when it did pour, the kids enjoyed it!

Day 93 - April 8th

Day 93 – April 8th

94: Another morning looking after my friends son, and a walk around the Lickey Hills. It is so beautiful here when the sun comes out, and I always wish I’d remember to take the family when I am there!

Day 94 - April 9th

Day 94 – April 9th

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365 update: days 76 – 83

Blimey! How quickly do the days fly by when you get a little bit distracted? I have fallen way behind with these updates now, as it has been a busy few days, and I need to get caught up. At home there are many distractions, a toddler and a baby can easily keep your hands full, and by the time we have a couple of hours to ourselves in the evening, I am usually too tired to type anything coherent! At work the term has finally ended and Easter has now been and gone, leaving a trail of chocolate behind, and the temptation to be a terrible parent and eat all the kids chocolate, making promises to replace it at a later date, or justifying it by saying that “they really don’t need that much chocolate” is tough. Well it is if you’re a chocoholic like me!

76: With just a couple of days left of the term, its still hectic at work and not much quieter at home. There are days when getting a photo every single day can be tricky and completing a 365 project can seem like a mission impossible, but this is the work horse I have already completed two of them on. I just need to get a bit more creative over the remaining 9 months.

Day 76 - Mar 22nd

Day 76 – Mar 22nd

77: I came home from work feeling relieved, the last day with the kids, as the following day was a staff training day. The wife was at home with the girls, and I was looking forward to seeing them all. I was soon aware that the wife was ushering Olivia into the living room to show off the easter bonnet that her nanny had made for her, and when I picked up the camera to take a quick photo, as I so often do, I didn’t expect what happened next. As I raised the camera and asked her to look at it, she suddenly, out of nowhere and without prompting gave us jazz hands and said “ta-daaaah!!”. Where on earth has she got ta-dah from?? It kept us laughing for a while!

Day 77 - Mar 23rd

Day 77 – Mar 23rd

78: Time to do something a little different, I’m feeling inspired! I had picked one of the chillies I’d grown last year, and after being sat on the window sill, it had begun to turn see through. I wanted to shoot it against a plain white background, with the flash behind it to emphasize this, and I think the effect worked. Which reminds me, I need to get this years chilli seeds planted pronto!!

Day 78 - Mar 24th

Day 78 – Mar 24th

79: The milk feeding process seems to have fallen into a bit of a routine now, and its making the day easier to plan and it means we can work out a system for bedtime. Although Chloe is still being sick a lot. How much is too much, and when do they stop being sick all the time? I didn’t get involved in the feeds much today as I’d been given a pass out for the release date of Batman vs Superman at the cinema where I was joining some friends to see the film following a five guys burger. A whole day of not cooking as we’d also been out for lunch with friends and tried Wagamamas for the first time too. How have we not been there before?

Day 79 - Mar 25th

Day 79 – Mar 25th

80: Saturday, and again we weren’t cooking as we were heading over to a friends for lunch. A very pleasant couple of hours, but we had to rush home as the wife had a friend heading over to spend couple of hours at our house. She’d brought with her some eggs for the girls, and Olivia had her own personalised chocolate egg.

Day 80 - Mar 26th

Day 80 – Mar 26th

81: Easter Sunday, and the only plan for the day is heading over to the in-laws for lunch to join with the brother in law and his family joining us too. Olivia loves playing with her cousins and needed no entertaining from us at all. She’d dressed up lovely for the day, and I was betting on her not looking like that when we got home! It wasn’t psrticularly easy getting a photo today as it was surprisingly windy when we stepped outside, but I persevered.

Day 81 - Mar 27th

Day 81 – Mar 27th

82: Bank holiday monday, and its off to the swimming baths with Olivia for a quick splash with some friends and their daughter. One thing I am conscious of, is making sure that after getting trigger happy on the camera with the first born, there wasn’t just 5 photos of baby number 2 because of the age old concept that you don’t put quite as much effort in for the second one. I want to make sure I capture all of Chloe growing up, just like I did with Olivia. She doesn’t seem very excited about the fact though.

Day 82 - Mar 28th

Day 82 – Mar 28th

83: Trainers, shorts, running top and gps… check! All set to join my friend for a run around the reservoir. We used to go almost every weekend, but haven’t run for a few months. I have been keen to get back into it, but keep putting it off, as it never seems like the right time. The weather was glorious, sunshine and blue sky, and we did 6.1 miles before heading back to the car. Not long after getting home and enjoying a nice soak in a hot bath to relax my leg muscles, I watched the grey clouds head over and the downpour started. It suddenly wasn’t a day for a picnic blanket in the park any more!

Day 83 - Mar 29th

Day 83 – Mar 29th

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The 365 Project And The Next Stage Of Growing Up

if there is one thing that never changes, its that everything changes. Nothing stays the same. Life, priorities, friends, taste and sometimes we notice it, sometimes we don’t.

Life has been on a massive upward spiral, constantly evolving, ever since I met my wife, from moving in together, marriage, having a baby, baby starts to walk and talk, then along comes the second baby. You have to learn to be flexible and put a lot of things on hold.  When we had our first, we were somewhat prepared for some of the changes because of our antenatal classes, although they don’t tell you everything. When our second came along we were almost a little complacent about it, thinking we knew it all, but we really didn’t appreciate what a juggling act having two was going to be. 

At two and a half years old, our eldest is no longer a baby, or even a toddler, but a proper little girl. One of the biggest changes was when she learnt to walk, then along came talking, now she is toilet trained and to top it off we have just disassembled her cot and put her in a bed. Apart from working on her language, there aren’t many steps to her becoming a fully fledged little person now! 

70: And this is where we continue with the 365 project, on day 70, Olivia gets her new “big girl” bed and is very excited to try it out. We have a new stair gate in place at the top of the stairs in case she gets out of bed in the middle of the night, now there is nothing to stop her, but she doesn’t, and sleeps straight through as usual.

Day 70 - Mar 16th

Day 70 – Mar 16th

71: A rare trip out to the Lickey hills with work, and although not the warmest of days, at least mild and dry. Just a shame we couldn’t stay out there a little longer, although after the visit was a success, it looks like we may be able to repeat it. I certainly need to bring the family up here soon!

Day 71 - Mar 17th

Day 71 – Mar 17th

72: Friday nights aren’t the same any more, instead of feet up, snack, movie and a beer… I am usually fighting sleep and heading to bed early, except for tonight, where I am watching the clock trying to settle the little one so that the wife can at least get a few uninterrupted hours in bed, before I cave in, join her, and see how long the little one will stay asleep for.

Day 72 - Mar 18th

Day 72 – Mar 18th

73: Saturday morning and sometimes there is nothing better than having a slow tea and toast type start to the day with your family around you. Olivia makes us chuckle by putting lip balm on mommy, but is unable to do it without pouting herself! 

Day 73 - Mar 19th

Day 73 – Mar 19th

74: Running on empty is how I started my Sunday. After getting up at 4am for the first F1 race of the season (after a few beers on Saturday night!) we are off to a birthday party for our two year old niece in the morning, followed immediately by a christening at midday where we spend most of the afternoon. My brain is literally fried by the end of the day.

Day 74 - Mar 20th

Day 74 – Mar 20th

75: After an exhausting Sunday, Chloe decides that tonight is the night she isn’t going to sleep or settle properly, consequently we’re all shatterd on Monday… apart from Chloe who has the luxury of sleeping it all off.

Day 75 - Mar 21st

Day 75 – Mar 21st

So, 75 days out of 365 already. I’m hoping to get out and get a few more exciting shots than I’ve taken recently, as the spring and summer roll on. Time is the evil monster that seems to be against me all the time lately, and the luxury of having free time, or being able to make the same free choices we could before we had children have all but disappeared. Things will get easier over the coming months as Chloe gets into better sleep patterns and can spend a bit longer awake, the days get warmer and we can get out more. 

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The 365 project: days 64 – 69

The project continues, and as recent parenting would dictate, I am behind by a few days yet again. So now I am trying to catch up before bed whilst watching the very funny Celebrity Juice Live Special on tv after just watching Speed with Guy Martin: F1 Special in the run up to the start of the Formula 1 season, which starts with Free Practice on Friday ahead of the first race in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday morning. Its fair to say that I am more than just a little excited, although setting the alarm for 4am doesn’t appeal great, but the bacon sandwiches and cups of tea will make up for it!

Its not often I actually sit down and watch much tv, in fact most evenings I’d be just as happy to turn the tv off altogether. The evenings viewing is usually dictated by the wife, and we clearly have very different ideas about what makes good tv, but tonight has proved to be entertaining viewing for a change. The only frustrating aspect is that this has all been on terrestrial tv and the small fortune that I am paying Sky each month really doesn’t seem to have been great value for money this evening! Alas, such is life!

So where did we get to with the 365 project, well its hardly been ground breaking photography, but it is a documentary of recent events. Many people undertake 365 projects all the time, but there are no rules apart from taking a photo every day. Your project is your own and any rules around it are those you impose yourself. I want my project to be a mix of documentary photos, to be able to look back on the whole year and see my girls growing up, mixed in with some more tricky photos that will take a bit more thought and effort where I have to push myself a bit and try something new.

64: A day where not many photos end up getting taken, but it is bin night, so while I am out there I grab my camera and wide angle lens and grab this. I like the way the lens distortion creates the converging lines, and the black and white aspect removes the distracting orange glow from the street lights allowing your eyes to follow the road.

Day 64 - March 10th

Day 64 – March 10th

65: As our newest little lady turns five weeks old, she is becoming more alert and aware of what and who is around her. I think there is something really lovely about a photo with a real small depth of focus to bring attention to the eyes, and even more so when you remove the colour and therefore remove any distractions. Black and white really allows you to see what is going on in a photo, colour can take some of the focus away from a scene.

Day 65 - March 11th

Day 65 – March 11th

66: Saturday we were meeting our antenatal friends so that the little ones could enjoy a morning of soft play. It was nice to see them playing together and burning off a bit of energy, although it was a little dark and rather chaotic in there, so I didn’t take many photos. The session was over before we knew it so I suggested we head out for a walk in the park. Whilst most of the couples were busy afterwards, one of them came with us so our girls could play together and a lovely afternoon in the sunshine was had by all!

Day 66 - March 12th

Day 66 – March 12th

67: Another fine day, the weather was mild and pleasant. After taking Olivia swimming in the morning I had arranged to meet some friends at the local park with their little ones in the afternoon. I hate to waste good weather by staying indoors, especially when we haven’t been getting out enough lately. At the park it was a chance to take advantage of some natural light and get a nice shot of Olivia. In her first year I tried to get a photo most days, as they change so much in the first 12 months, but now I am trying to take less “snaps”, and more portraits that are worth framing.

Day 67 - March 13th

Day 67 – March 13th

68: The new bouncer chair that we bought for Chloe turned out to a bit of a disappointment, as she always looked uncomfortable in it and it never seemed to relax her. So I went into the loft and dug out Olivia’s old bouncer chair, and after dusting it down and putting the cover through the wash, it was as good as new. Chloe was instantly much happier in it!

Day 68 - March 14th

Day 68 – March 14th

69: A similar image to yesterday, but less of a snapshot. With my 85mm portrait lens still fixed on my camera, I want to get a nice portrait shot of Chloe while she is sat in the bouncer again and happy. The screaming, although still regular, is becoming less frequent, and we are starting to see the beginning of some smiles here and there. This makes it far easier to take nice photos of her, as I don’t really want to capture all the screaming red faces. We had so many early photos of Olivia, particularly in the first three months, she was a placid baby which made it easy, but with Chloe being upset so frequently . 

Day 69 - March 15th

Day 69 – March 15th

So thats the project up to day 69, more to follow soon. What have you been photographing recently?

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The 365 project: days 62 & 63

Onwards into the 60s with days 62 & 63 from the 365, and on a positive start to the blog, I am feeling much better than this time than I was last week. Its amazing how something so small that you can’t even see it can make you feel so rough and take you out of action for several days. Not a pleasant experience, and made me wonder if there was anything I could have done to avoid it, such washing my hands more considering the environment I work in? Autistic teenagers can have some rather bizarre habits and can often seem a little less concerned with hygiene, you never know what to expect sometimes!

The one benefit of the job is that the easter holidays are just a couple of weeks away, and with the wife on maternity leave, that means two weeks of full-on family time. The only question now is what will the weather do for us? Wet walks in wellies, or the possibility of a picnic with friends?

I have another reason to look forward to the easter holidays now too, as I have just booked my ticket for the opening night of Batman Vs Superman in IMAX 3D at the cinema with some work friends, a similar group that I went with to see the opening of Star Wars, only this time at a more sensible time during the day, also taking in what has now come to be known as a “cheeky Nando’s” before the showing, although I am yet to discover what specifically is cheeky about it. Still, can’t beat some spicy grilled chicken with friends!

62: Flat pack fun after the wife ordered a new cupboard for the bottom of the stairs to keep shoes and stuff in. Its certainly tidied the corner up, but I’d started putting it together expecting it to take me just an hour… although over two hours later and I am still on my hands and knees looking for a missing screw that I’m pretty sure was there when I started, which has the significance to either allow me to finish it, or deny me the satisfaction of calling it complete. Just one single screw can be that important. It was already late, my patience was short, but thankfully I remembered all the brackets and things I’d kept from the kitchen going in. Low and behold, I find the perfect screw to allow me to put the doors on and finish the job.

Day 62 - March 8th

Day 62 – March 8th

63: Mid week, edging closer to the weekend. Miserable weather today, plenty of wind and rain, but thankfully I am still going to work in the car today, although it is probably the last day as I want to get back on the bike tomorrow. I miss the cycling, I miss the exercise, and I hate the rush hour traffic. I frequently sit in it when I have to take the car, not moving and watching the other cyclists go tearing past me. I am hoping to cycle again tomorrow, but have spent today feeling like I haven’t had much energy, which I am putting down to the bug from last week taking its time to release its grasp on me. We’re just grateful that we’re not losing much sleep at night with our new little lady sleeping well between feeds.

Day 63 - March 9th

Day 63 – March 9th

Right, time for bed, one way or another I need to start getting earlier starts in the morning.

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The 365 project: days 54 – 61

Time to catch up with some photos that are well outstanding by now! Although trying to get things done in the last few days has been almost impossible for me as a nasty bug managed to invade Casa Vokes giving me a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, although thankfully it was only me that was infected by it.

On a plus note though… slimmer of the week! I managed to drop seven pounds in three days! Not exactly the way I’d like to drop weight, but it certainly gave the weight loss a boost, making it a total of 10lb in two weeks!

Monday, and the first day back to work after the arrival of Chloe. It sucks, as you’d guess, but it was soon over and I was on my way home to my ladies. It was good to be back on the bike and getting the heart pumping a bit. As soon as I was home, I was on painting duty, but I don’t mind, I’m not one to stem the flow of creativity!

Day 54 - Feb 29th

Day 54 – Feb 29th

This little lady is turning into a milk monster, and as such is becoming a lot less “little” than she used to be! That face is starting to fill out and she has rapidly become noticeably heavier. Cant wait for her to start smiling, cant be far away!

Day 55 - March 1st

Day 55 – March 1st

Rough day, ended even rougher! The bug took a grip today and the stomach pains started. I left the bike at work and got a lift home. No chance of putting my feet up at home, someone wanted to “wash her hands” ie spend 30 minutes splashing and pouring in the kitchen sink. Who am I to say no?

Day 56 - March 2nd

Day 56 – March 2nd

World book day and facebook is adorned with nursery and school children all dressed up as characters from their favourite books. It proved difficult to get a last minute gruffalo suit, so we went with the witch from the Room On The Broom story that she loves to read.

Day 57 - March 3rd

Day 57 – March 3rd

Bug has taken full grip by now, full scale gastroenteritis has kicked in and I’m feeling pretty awful. I manage to grab just one photo today as I go into the garage and notice the rain/sleet outside land on the garage roof. In my muddled, slightly dehydrated state I thought I could pull off something a little abstract… did I manage? you decide!

Day 58 - March 4th

Day 58 – March 4th

Bug subsiding slightly, feeling a little less like death. Olivia had yet again come into our room and made a beeline for her mothers make up, only for Clare to give in and put it on. It didn’t stay on long, but it did make us laugh!

Day 59 - March  5th

Day 59 – March 5th

Mothers Day in the UK and I am feeling a bit more human. A good job as we have the parents coming over, although I have to pick my mom and stepdad up. When I get to theirs I notice a pretty looking flower that I haven’t seen before. With driving, lunch, tidying up, bedtime etc there isn’t much of a chance to pick the camera up again.

Day 60 = March 6th

Day 60 = March 6th

Back to work after the bug, only running on 95% as the stomach cramps haven’t completely disappeared. This thing is taking a little longer to get over than I’d first thought. A cold day, but a lovely clear sky. As I sat in traffic at lights on the way home from work,  I looked up and spotted this single line of white high up in the sky, following a little silver dot taking a lucky bunch of people somewhere far warmer and sunnier than here. Oh how I miss holidays abroad! It’ll be a while before we can do it again, but I can’t wait to take the girls on a plane for the first time!

Day 61 - March 7th

Day 61 – March 7th

So thats it up to day 61 of the 365, glad I’ve managed to keep it up until now, even if some of the shots didn’t inspire much creativity. There are some days when you just cant do much about it!

What has been inspiring you to take photos lately?

Until next time…

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