A family man and his camera

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More of the 365 project: days 221 – 229

I started this post ages ago, and never quite got around to adding the text and being able to upload it. Time demands have made my days, and in particular the evenings (where I usually find time to write on here) very limited, largely due to the recent weddings I have photographed leaving me with many photos to edit, and also the rare chance at a number of nights out catching up with some friends.

221: Sunday afternoon and a chance to duplicate a photo taken a couple of years ago when this girls big sister was much smaller and wearing the same cap. The evening was a chance to catch up with a couple to discuss their wedding plans.

Day 221 - Aug 14th

Day 221 – Aug 14th

222: The day before another wedding and time to prepare batteries and memory cards. One thing we have started getting into today is the whole weaning process with Chloe. The fruit purees haven’t got much of a response, but the little lady shows a certain fondness for the age old favourite of rusks! They get a bit messy, but thats half the fun!

Day 222 - Aug 15th

Day 222 – Aug 15th

223: The wedding of a friend, and what a beautiful day for it! I love being involved in the entire day, from hair and make up with the bride, through to the first dance. The photos then begin to unfold like a story book. I can’t wait to get these photos edited and ready for them to view! This was the beautiful house of the reception lit up as the sun started to set.

Day 223 - Aug 16th

Day 223 – Aug 16th

224: Another beautiful day, this summer has been blessed with some sunshine and warm weather, and sometimes this is no better way than to enjoy this by relaxing at home with the family in the garden. One thing I have tried to do in the garden is encourage the bees with some of the flowers I have grown, and the Hollyhocks seem quite popular!

Day 224 - Aug 17th

Day 224 – Aug 17th

225: Dressing up day at nursery, and the theme is “what I’d like to be when I grow up”. Its a bit of a tricky one for someone to comprehend who isn’t even three yet, but the girl does love to show off her ballet dancing!

Day 225 - Aug 18th

Day 225 – Aug 18th

226: Back to the childrens hospital for Chloe’s check up on her hips since the harness came off 8 weeks ago. Thankfully all is good and it certainly doesn’t seem to have slowed down her desire to get about!

Day 226 - Aug 19th

Day 226 – Aug 19th

227: Okay, so I can’t lie, its quite obvious by the fact I am in this photo that I didn’t take it. It was a school reunion where yet again most of those invited had a reason for not being able to be make it. Its disappointing and frustrating, so many times I have tried to arrange nights like this, but its always the same people who turn up. It was still a great night, with three friends I have known for almost 30 years. A friendly member of bar staff offered to take our photo, which was at least, for the sake of this project, taken on my phone and edited by me afterwards.

Day 227 - Aug 20th

Day 227 – Aug 20th

228: Sunday again, and visiting the grandparents, where Chloe gets to show off her new skills, sitting up for long periods with no support and just a couple of cushions around her.

Day 228 - Aug 21st

Day 228 – Aug 21st

229: What to do to entertain a child… I hate relying on the tv, and we’ve done painting and play-doh, so lets head out to the shops and get some cornflakes and chocolate and make some chocolate cornflake cakes. That is until Olivia starts to eat the mix instead of mixing it and putting it into cake trays.

Day 229 - Aug 22nd

Day 229 – Aug 22nd

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World Photography Day

There are so many World This Day’s and World That Day’s that I tend to ignore mostly as everyone and his dog have put some cause forward for a “world day” of some kind, but I couldn’t let World Photography Day without jumping on board. Considering how many photos I must have taken in the last 8 years alone since I brought my first DSLR camera, it is so hard to pin it down to just one favourite photo. Two of my absolute photos are of my wife in hospital holding each of our daughters just after they were born, but as beautiful and significant to me as these images are, they are not something that would jump out at most people, to the passer by they’re “just another baby photo”.

So I decided to throw this image up for today…


This one I took a couple of years back for my first 365 project, and as I left for work as the sun was coming up, I noticed that the sky had gone a crazy colour, reds, oranges and yellows… it literally looked like the sky was on fire, and to add some perspective to the shot, a bird fly into scene just as I was about to shoot. I won’t pretend I didn’t edit this photo, as I edit ALL my photos, but this was a bit of minor tweaking of contrast and saturation as the camera sensor doesn’t always capture the colours very well. What you see here is pretty much what I saw when I looked up that morning.

What about you? Have you got one image that you’re especially proud of?

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Nope… I haven’t forgotten the 365 project! Day: 211 – 220

Working in a school, like any other jobs, has its pit falls and its benefits. One of the massive benefits is obviously the six weeks off work during the summer, and each and every year everyone who works in a school treasures those six weeks like its the first time they’ve ever had that long off! Its not that you get used to having six weeks of every summer and don’t appreciate it, but you definitely get used to filling the days and making plans to start/finish those things you’ve put off until you’ve finally got all this time to do it in. So far we have finished three full weeks and my to-do list is not looking much different to how it was in July when we finished the school term!

I look back and can’t even remember some of the days, and I was hoping that this 365 project would provide a little insight as to where the time went, but sadly I keep falling behind and forget what I did with the time, and why I took that particular photo for the day.

211: Kicking off with day 211, and this is one I have struggled with as I can’t seem to find any picture on any of my cameras or memory cards. Almost like I had not only totally failed to take a picture this day, but was completely oblivious to the fact! That was until I discovered this one particular image on my phone, and remembered how Chloe is starting, not only to sit up so much, but also reach out to grab things, and shows a particular fondness for chewing on the remote control.

Day 211- Aug 4th

Day 211- Aug 4th

212: I always feel lucky when I am asked to photograph the weddings of friends, and today I was photographing the very laid back and relaxed wedding of two lovely people. THey had put a lot of thought into all the little details of the day and didn’t seem to be particularly nervous or anxious about any part of the day… that was until the bride walked down the aisle and her emotions almost got the better of her. It was a beautiful moment!

Day 212 - Aug 5th

Day 212 – Aug 5th

213: Summer really does seem to have landed, and rather than just having a nice couple of days and calling it summer, we actually seem to be having a run of nice weather, August has turned out okay. We had a day without any plans today, and after spending all day yesterday at a wedding and not being able to see the girls before they went to bed, I wanted to get out and go for a walk up Clent Hills as a family. Its free, its simple, and kids just love getting outdoors and running around. A bit of sun on the skin and fresh air in the lungs, you can’t beat it!

Day 213 - Aug 6th

Day 213 – Aug 6th

214: A simple day at home with the mother and stepdad coming over for a bbq and to spend some time with the girls, who love seeing their grandparents.

Day 214 - Aug 7th

Day 214 – Aug 7th

215: At six months old we decided to try Olivia in this hanging door frame bouncer that had been donated to us from a friend, it went down really well and she loved it. So after being in the loft ever since, it was time to bring it down and dust it down so that we could now get Chloe in it too, now that she has just turned 6 months old. She doesn’t seem to have quite the same strength in her legs at the moment, but it seems to have gone down just as well.

Day 215 - Aug 8th

Day 215 – Aug 8th

216: After waiting a number of weeks, I decided to dig out the birthday present I had been given by one of my sisters, a wine making kit. I’ve never tried anything like this before, and it sounds particularly simple, but I guess without preparing it properly I could just as easily be making vinegar, as wine! Oh well, only one way to find out!

Day 216 - 9th

Day 216 – Aug 9th

217: I finally gave in to the wife’s relentless and repeated requests to take the girls to West Midlands Safari Park. I’m sure it was for her benefit more than the girls! Oh well, I hadn’t been in decades and it was a lovely way to spend a few hours, if not a bit pricey to get in. The free return ticket softened the blow, but not being allowed on any of the park rides without paying even more on top of the already inflated ticket price was a bit of an insult. Still, there were lots of animals to see, Olivia was loving it, and with the dangerous animal enclosures we got to see plenty of lions and tigers pretty close up as we drove through.

Day 217 - Aug 10th

Day 217 – Aug 10th

218: It was that time of year again, the perseids meteor shower graced our skies in the wee small hours. I went up Clent Hills quite late for a better view, and met a friend up there who’d never really witnessed it before. I got a nice star shot photo, but loved this one I’d taken of Olivia and so much that I went with that as my photo for the day.

Day 218 - Aug 11th

Day 218 – Aug 11th

219: One thing I was keen to do while I was off for six weeks was to head back over to Sheldon Country Park, as we have the advantage of a play area, the farm animals, a sausage and bacon sandwich at the cafe where I also had the pleasure of bumping into a work colleague, and then the walk up the playing fields to the end of the runway at Birmingham International Airport. We’d gone with the in-laws and Chloe and Olivia’s cousin too, and I’d worked the day out so that we would be there in time to see the magnificent Emirates Airbus A380 taking off.

Day 219 - Aug 12th

Day 219 – Aug 12th

220: How does three years fly by so fast? Back in July 2013 we met six other wonderful couples all expecting their first child, just like us, and became really good friends with them. Since then we meet up in smaller groups, or as dads for a few beers, or as moms for afternoon coffee, and at least twice a year we always try to get together as a whole group, one time is christmas where we have a meal together early December, and the other time is mid August to have joint birthday celebration for all the little ones. The first year we met at Pizza Express and I managed to get a headshot of each of the kids, the second year was a garden party and so I made the effort to get another headshot, this year the headshot was kinda compulsory for me. I am hoping to do it again next year too!

Day 220 - Aug 13th

Day 220 – Aug 13th

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Catching up on the 365 project

So here it is, part two of the delayed updates, bringing us back up to date with the photos.

204: A quiet day, Olivia in nursery and the rest of us staying at home. One thing I did manage to finish was some fancy invites for Olivia’s third birthday party, not far away now!

Day 204 - Jul 28th

Day 204 – Jul 28th

205: I should have been out taking photos today, but due to a clash of calendars with the wife, I had to scrap my plans as she was going to be out all day. So it was just me and the girls all day. It was good fun and the day went quickly without any problems, although it didn’t leave me much time to pick up the camera and get any nice shots.

Day 205 - Jul 29th

Day 205 – Jul 29th

206: A visit from our friends and their two boys, who play lovely with Olivia, and she really enjoys seeing them. Weather was good and it was time to get the BBQ out!

Day 206 - Jul 30th

Day 206 – Jul 30th

207: A nice quiet day, and a chance to sit down and watch the Hungarian Grand prix, the only bit of time I take for me during the week when it comes to the tv. Otherwise the remote control generally sits firmly in the hand of my wife.

Day 207 - Jul 31st

Day 207 – Jul 31st

208: Okay, I have a confession to make… this is my first cheat photo of the project. I totally didn’t pick my camera up or take any photos today. This photo was actually taken the following day, first thing in the morning as soon as I realised! Oops! At least I managed to get out and take Olivia swimming this day, and as a bonus the pool was virtually empty!

Fay 208 - Aug 1st

Fay 208 – Aug 1st

209: Three years ago today we had done enough renovation work on our new house to officially call it moving in day, and after hiring a van and drafting in the help of a couple of mates, we started the task of moving all our belongings from the flat to the house. We’d totally transformed the inside, and it was slow and painful and exactly the kind of project that my very pregnant wife had said that she didn’t want! It was worth it in the end though!

Day 209 - Aug 2nd

Day 209 – Aug 2nd

210: Six months ago today and this little lady made her grand entrance into the big wide world. I can’t believe that six months has gone so fast, and what makes it even worse is that in just another four weeks time, her big sister turns three years old!! Where is all the time going? She’s changing every day and learning to do new things all the time, it is so lovely to watch. The wife had taken Olivia out to the cinema to watch the new Finding Dory film, and so I grabbed my lights and set up a mini studio in the living room!

Day 210 - Aug 3rd

Day 210 – Aug 3rd

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365 project continues: Days 197 – 203

I seem to fall further and further behind with this, and now I have photos backing up. Rather than post all, I am going to put up a week of photos tonight, and the rest tomorrow. So here are days from 197 through the 200 mark and up to day 203.

197: Its a Thursday night and I feel like I have earned myself a beer as it is almost the end of term, and the last day of kids at work as the following day is a training day. This academic year has had its ups and downs, and I am not even thinking about next term, I have whole summer break to go yet! I thought I’d treat myself to a bottle of Sam Adams that was on offer this week, taking me back to memories of my honeymoon in California!

Day 197 - Jul 21st

Day 197 – Jul 21st

198: End of term, and I left the bike and car at home today so that I could catch up with some work colleagues for a few drinks at the end of the day, in particular this guy, Tim, who leaves in just a few days for a position in Abu Dhabi. It sounds like an amazing opportunity, and he will be missed, so we made the most of seeing him off. It was a long night and I barely remember the journey home, it didn’t feel quite so big and clever the next morning!

Day 198 - Jul 22nd

Day 198 – Jul 22nd

199: This was mostly a day of being hungover and not achieving much at all. Painkillers were the order of the day, but I did get out into the garden to enjoy a little sunshine and the beautiful flowers that are growing with some amazing colours on show!

Day 199 - Jul 23rd

Day 199 – Jul 23rd

200: The Hungarian GP race, and a bbq with the in-laws, its almost a perfect Sunday. This little lady was in a fantastic mood and has been for a while now, most of the whinging and complaining seems to have faded away, and we’re literally only getting any crying when she’s either tired or hungry, even the teething seems to have subsided a bit!

Day 200 - Jul 24th

Day 200 – Jul 24th

201: The first day of the holidays, and we are off to Jitterbugs soft play centre to check out whether its suitable for Olivia’s 3rd birthday party. We met up with a friend there and his little boy and had a nice few hours while the kids wore themselves out. Olivia took a few minutes to recharge her batteries on the driving machine, even though we hadn’t put any money in it!

Day 201 - Jul 25th

Day 201 – Jul 25th

202: Sometimes you have jobs to do that you put off for so long you become blind to them. We’ve had a door to get rid of for longer than I’d like to admit to, just sitting around in the back garden. Finally I got round to sawing it into small pieces and burning it! Nothing like fire and a beer in your hand to make you feel like a man!

Day 202 - Jul 26th

Day 202 – Jul 26th

203: Today is our 4th wedding anniversary. FOUR YEARS!! How did that happen? We’ve never been able to do much on our anniversary because of the kids, the wife was pregnant on our first anniversary and since then they’ve been too little for us to leave with anyone. So, after palming them off on the in-laws while we at least tucked into some Miller & Carter steaks for lunch, we took them out to the park for a walk and an ice cream. I took the opportunity to grab a portrait of my three fantastic ladies while we were out and enjoying the sunshine on our special day.

Day 203 - Jul 27th

Day 203 – Jul 27th

And so thats it for tonight as the 365 approaches the end of July and the summer holidays have finally kicked off! More to follow tomorrow!

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Project 365 over half way there: Day 187 – 196

Catch up time on the photos, one a day for a whole year, and here is another batch.

187: Time to cut out a few of the snacks and start eating sensibly, and I come home to find the wife being a bit creative and cooking something a bit different. Its easy to get into a bit of a routine and end up cooking the same things week in, week out, so its nice to try something new once in a while!

Day 187 - Jul 11th

Day 187 – Jul 11th

188: There is something that I find quite poetic about the sight of a wilting flower. This wasn;t my best shot, as the light was beginning to fade, but I still think its a nice shot. This week proves to be a bit of a busy one, and so its nice to slow down and take a moment to appreciate whats around you.

Day 188 - Jul 12th

Day 188 – Jul 12th

189: The first event that I had to photograph this week was the leavers prom at work. Some of the pupils have been at our school since a very young age, so its always sad to see them go. Whilst I was setting up my lights and backdrop I asked a colleague to step in for a test shot, but it was so good I decided to keep it!

Day 189 - Jul 13th

Day 189 – Jul 13th

190: The weather is starting to look up, and everything in the garden is growing at a real pace. last year I planted some onion seeds, and now we have some onions in their place, although I believe that they may not be any good once they’ve flowered. Oh well, we’ll find out soon enough!

Day 190 - Jul 14th

Day 190 – Jul 14th

191: Friday night is not exactly an early finish for me, as I have to race home from work, collect my photography gear and head off to cover another school leavers prom. I’m loving my new white vinyl backdrop, which I’ve had for months, now I’ve finally got some clamps big enough to hold it up. After the shoot its straight off to Solihull to catch up with some friends for yet another 40th birthday celebration.

Day 191 - Jul 15th

Day 191 – Jul 15th

192: And the birthdays continue, this time a 4th birthday for a friends boy at a local play activity centre that I had no idea even existed! It was a lovely place, and Olivia loved it, and even managed to get her face painted.

Day 192 - Jul 16th

Day 192 – Jul 16th

193: Yet more parties, this time a princess themed 5th birthday party for some friends that we don’t see very often. Olivia was in her element dressed up like a princess, and was over the moon to have her picture taken with some real princesses!

Day 193 - Jul 17th

Day 193 – Jul 17th

194: Bath time becomes family time now that we have a seat to help Chloe sit up, and the two sisters can bath together. Of course this means both me and the wife have to get involved to bath them both at the same time, as the little one can be a bit of a wriggler.

Day 194 - Jul 18th

Day 194 – Jul 18th

195: The summer sun has been blessing us for a few days now (unless you have hayfever, like me!) and I wanted to get a photo of Chloe, on her front, as she is spending so much of her time at the moment, and then figured I would try something different with the editing. Not sure I like it, it makes my baby look quite angry!

Day 195 - Jul 19th

Day 195 – Jul 19th

196: I’ve really not got on top of my growing this year, I do have some flowers in the garden and some tomatoes in the greenhouse, but its otherwise been a quiet year. The wife did buy a special flowerpot for olivia, shaped as some boots, and so we set about filling the pot up with compost and planting some seeds together. She may not even remember it when she’s older, but its time spent together like this that makes me happy!

Day 196 - Jul 20th

Day 196 – Jul 20th

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More 365 photos: days 180 – 186

Right, not letting the 365 slip away from me quite as much as it has recently! Must get stricter with myself and post this at least once a week, or I end up forgetting why I took some of the photos in the first place!

We now move into July, the longest day of the year has been and gone, and we have to start looking ahead. We have a 3rd birthday party to plan, a christening that clearly isn’t going to organise itself, and well… we’ve already got new years eve sorted!! Do I even mention Christmas yet??

At the moment life is fairly quiet, we have to start tightening the purse strings now we only have one regular income coming in, as the wife’s new official job title is “housewife”! A redundancy can seem terrifying at first, and it is very sad when people who have worked together for so long know that they will never get to again, so the wife has been attending various nights out and leaving parties. If a redundancy has to happen though, for us it has happened at possibly the best time it could. With the wife currently on maternity leave and due to be going back in a couple of months, at least now she can stay at home with the girls and a healthy payout will at least take care of the bills for a while, allowing us to spend more time together as a family, and give the wife a lot longer off than she could ever have hoped for! Obviously it won’t last forever, but we have a while before we have to start panicking about CVs and interviews!

In the meantime, the 365 isn’t going to reflect on a wild lifestyle and holidays in the sun, its going to be an honest look at life with one income!

180: Work doesn’t seem so bad when you realise how close you are to the summer holidays, even if your day does end up being a bit rough. Yes, working with children with special needs can be rewarding, but at the same time, coming home with scratches, bite marks and torn clothing, you don’t always appreciate it! Thankfully on Monday I was able to take to the streets with my friend and go for a bit of a run to forget all about it!

Day 180 - Jul 4th

Day 180 – Jul 4th

181: “Long day at work Daddy? Just cycled home Daddy? Most of it was uphill and cycling into the wind Daddy? Oh well, don’t sit down just yet, I want to play outside!”. No, my daughter isn’t quite that fluent in her language skills yet, but it feels like this is what must be going through her mind sometimes! I love that the girls love to be outdoors though, and want to do all I can to encourage it. Yes, they will become teenagers, and yes they will discover mobile phones and social media, but I don’t want that to be all that life is about. Learning to “unplug” and not rely on devices almost seems to be a skill in itself these days! “Yes, you’re right honey, Daddy is tired, but lets go outside and play anyway!”

Day 181 - Jul 5th

Day 181 – Jul 5th

182: Siblings don’t always get along, me and my sister were proof enough of that as we were growing up. I was already a teenager when my second sister arrived, so thankfully we had none of the fighting that I had with my other sister! One thing I do hope for though, is the fact that these two are going to get along and be fantastic friends to each other. Creating life is amazing, but creating two little beings that become friends seems like the ultimate blessing!

Day 182 - Jul 6th

Day 182 – Jul 6th

183: I guess everyone expects the photographer to have thousands of images of his children, its a bit of a cliche really. While I wouldn’t say I have thousands, I sure do have a few. Every now and again though, one jumps out at me, and I think to myself “you’ve just nailed it on that shot!”. There aren’t quite so many of those, and that’s what makes them that bit more special!

Day 183 - Jul 7th

Day 183 – Jul 7th

184: The wife does her best to entertain the girls on wet days, and on Friday afternoon I came home to find that there had been some baking going on, and Olivia was now in the process of decorating some home made biscuits. I have to say, they tasted GOOOOOD!

Day 184 - Jul 8th

Day 184 – Jul 8th

185: This was a day of several parts, it started with a 3 mile run in the rain. Usually I run much further than 3 miles, but I am helping a friend prepare for a 5km charity run, so there was no opportunity to duck out because of poor weather! After the run we were off to the shops to get feet measured and buy some new shoes for the little lady. The Mothercare shop we visit has its very own soft play area, where the kids can burn off a bit of steam. It came as no surprise that this little lady was asleep in the car before we even got home! The day ended with my sisters coming over for pizza and deadpool. Sadly it wasn’t the night I’d hoped for as a really bad stomach ache became a huge distraction, and Chloe’s teething kicked in and left us with a screaming baby that we couldn’t ignore!

Day 185 - Jul 9th

Day 185 – Jul 9th

186: Our only commitment for Sunday was to visit my mother, and for me to meet some friends in the evening to discuss their wedding plans. Sadly after a pretty rough nights sleep, my brain was unconcerned with decisions I needed to be making or conversations I needed to be having, and even simple questions resulted in my brain doing this… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsNaR6FRuO0

Day 186 - Jul 10th

Day 186 – Jul 10th


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