365 project, Photography

Day 060 – I don’t want it to always be like this

Day 60 – May 16th

Another year has rolled around again, and with my birthday almost here, I sit here and wonder where a whole 12 months has gone, and wonder what I did with my time… and how the hell it made 12 months vanish in a flash!

This time last year I was about to turn forty, it was the last couple of days of my thirties, and I guess I was feeling a little reflective. My thirties had been far better to me that I had ever imagined, especially when I consider where I was, and what was happening when I actually turned thirty. It wasn’t a great place, I jumped into a job that I hated and was dating a girl who was totally not suited to me. She was a party girl who gave no thought to the future, and was all about pleasing herself, I didn’t even get a present for my thirtieth birthday. Forget surprise trips to Vegas or New York like some of my friends seemed to be enjoying, I just had to be grateful she’d bothered to get me a card, seriously!

Anyway, without going into too much detail about that, roughly about 18 months later I met my wonderful wife, who has changed my life in so many wonderful ways, and given me two beautiful girls. So as I sit here looking back on what has been, I can’t be too regretful for the choices I’ve made, as they’ve brought me here to where I am today.

My only real regret is that we don’t make enough time for each other at the moment. Its all part and parcel of being parents, the girls are young, and they come before everything else. They are our world and we both put them above ourselves and each other. We had no idea what being a parent would actually be like beforehand, regardless of what people told us, so this overwhelming love for our children that has made absolutely everything else less of a priority has kind of created an unwritten understanding between me and the wife, in that I am no longer her number one any more, and vice versa… the girls come first. We happily accept this, and know that one day they will become independent young ladies, and we will be left with little option but to turn the focus back to ourselves again.

It would be nice, however, to make sure that me and the wife still have a bit of time together, as a couple, to enjoy each others company. To remember what makes the other one smile, and enjoy all the reasons we got together in the first place. We just need to show a little more patience first, our time will come!

Moving onto todays photo, this particular evening I had invited over an old school friend, back from when I was at infant and junior school, so it has been a good few years since we not only knew each other, but actually last saw each other, up until we’d started meeting just before Christmas. She had enquired about photography training courses on facebook, and I replied that I had been thinking of putting some together. If she was willing to be my guinea pig, then I’d happily share my knowledge for free. We both got something out of it, and it was great to catch up too, especially as she wasn’t living far away. She may well be reading this, and I hope she doesn’t mind me using this photo for the day, it was only taken to demonstrate a lighting technique, but I think it turned out well!

Canon 50D – Canon 24-70mm @ 31mm – F/3.5 – ISO400 – 1/160s – Canon 430EX speedlite off-camera w/radio trigger

365 project, Photography

Day 041 – never forget the details

Day 41 – Apr 27th
Today I decided to have a little play with my macro lens and go for a slightly different close up shot, without resorting to flowers again, as they’re always such an easy target. After getting home from work, I had been to collect Olivia from nursery when she spotted one of these dandelion seed heads close to home on the way back, like most kids would be, she was straight in there, grabbing it from the ground and blowing the seeds into the air. I asked her if I could take a quick photo before she finished it off, and being as polite and obliging as she is, she said yes! She’s such a well mannered little girl, it makes me very proud. 

I picked up a macro lens shortly after getting into photographing weddings, for things like ring shots, and close ups of the flowers and dress details. It has been used far more then I ever imagined outside of weddings as well, especially on previous 365 projects, and on the girls too, as it makes a wonderful portrait lens. 

365 project, Photography

Day 031 – What you’re looking for isn’t aways what you find

Day 31 – Apr 17th

Catching up with pregnant friends always feels like such precious time. A time where distractions are minimal and you can talk about things other than how much sleep they’ve had or how many times they’ve been puked on that morning. There’s the excitement of preparation, the uncertainty of how life will change for them, their thoughts on how they’re going to cope once this pandora’s box of mystery arrives. Inevitably your relationships will suffer a bit as well, as much as we don’t want to.

The fact is, when those little people arrive, they turn everything on its head, and suddenly become the absolute and complete centre of attention for the mother and father, and rightly so, especially when its the parents first ever baby, and they are now entering a new and very foreign world. With the first baby you are constantly questioning if you’re doing the right thing, if you’re even qualified for the job at all, how you’re going to keep them alive again for yet another 24hrs, do they have a cold/temperature/ plague, how you’d recognise if you weren’t doing it right, realising the fact that everyone’s suddenly an expert on parenting and babies and happy to share their “wisdom and knowledge” and tell you how you should be doing things, when in reality they should probably keep their nose out as they’ll never know your baby like you do, and besides you’re not an idiot anyway, you can figure this stuff out. Its no wonder new parents don’t get enough sleep.

Our friends have this all to come, and we are still going through it now, little Chloe is happy as anything during the day, but keeps waking up in tears during the night. Problem solving it is actually harder than it looks. For the moment anyway, they have no baby and ours are fairly well behaved, enough for us all to enjoy a walk and pub lunch together. After lunch we drifted in the direction of the park, passing Warwick Castle, which I did get a fairly nice photo of, but I’ve already used a castle photo this week, so I walk on and find this little doorway, knowing its almost certainly my shot for the day!

365 project, Photography

Day 029 – Lets not waste the day

Day 29 – Apr 15th

So with our Saturday plans cancelled at the last minute, we now have a day free as a family, and what to do with it? The weather is dry, and the world is at our disposal (within the usual confines of toddler naps and lunchtimes!) all we have to take into consideration is our budget and travelling times. We’d left it too late for a road trip down to the beach, and didn’t want to blow a small fortune on theme parks, especially as Chloe wouldn’t get much out of them. In the end we agreed on the local zoo, good old Dudley Zoo and Castle. I’d heard that it was looking a little dated and tired, but in its favour, its just up the road, and we had a voucher allowing one adult free admission.

Getting ready to go out with children is always painfully slow when you are in a hurry, so many things to remember, and forgetting any one of them can make it an awkward day out. Getting the girls ready, getting ourselves ready, Chloe needing her nap, making lunch, loading the car… it all seemed to be dragging on, and at one point I was ready to give up and go to the park instead, and I could see Clare was also losing interest in the idea. In the end we made the decision to press on, we were doing this! Off to the zoo we go!

It was a really nice day out, lots of fresh air and walking, plus a fair few hills to get up and down as anyone who has been to Dudley Zoo will know, made all the more fun by carrying/pushing children. Yes, the zoo itself was looking a little dated and tired, as I’d heard friends describe it, but there was a good selection of animals, plus access to the castle was included, and lots of information on the animals and history of the area.

So todays photo was a shot of the castle as we left it and headed back to the car. Yeah, we’ll be back again!

365 project, Photography

Day 024 – A little effort can go a long way

Day 24 – Apr 10th

T’was the first day of the holidays, and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a… oh wait, we have children, we were up at the crack of dawn as usual!

With two weeks to spend together as a family, we made a few plans, mostly around who we were going to see on the days that Olivia wasn’t at nursery, as we don’t like to leave her out where we can avoid it. Today was one of the days where we had no plans, so I decided to text a friend and see if she was free. With her newborn baby, she was also off work, and it was a nice chance to catch up, plus her older son and Olivia always play well together.

A few hours always seem to flash by in the blink of an eye when you are in the company of good friends, and today was no exception, but I at least managed to grab a few photos while they were here. This one for todays shot was set up in less than five minutes, and the result of only a dozen shots. After briefly touching up a few aspects in photoshop a pretty standard procedure for all photos, I was happy that this was the sort of shot that would probably end up displayed on a wall. Its nice to be able to do this for friends.

365 project, Photography

Day 005 – After the darkness comes the light

Day 5 – Mar 22nd
In a dark day for the UK, terror has hit the streets of London. A lone lunatic caused death, injury and panic in the heart of the capital. The news channels have been analysing every single movement in painstaking detail. The attack was brutal, quick and ruthless, and in reality its just lucky that in the largest city in the UK on a busy afternoon there weren’t more deaths.

People did die though, including a police officer whose only crime was turning up for work to protect people. These people never went home to their families that night, their light extinguished like a candle. It made me even more grateful to walk through the door and pick up my two girls. There is never any logic to attacks like these, we will never be able to understand what goes through the mind of someone who wants to hurt and kill people, and then loosely blames it on religion. I know this is oversimplifying it, but the bottom line is that someone wanting to maim and kill can’t be right in the head!

Its impossible to stick your head in the sand and pretend that this isn’t happening, I feel nothing but sadness for the poor families who are suffering as a result.

Yet life goes on.

When I am home with my girls, that is my focus. Today I came home to another Amazon delivery, hardly a surprise as they seem to arrive most days, only this time it is an early mothers day for the wife, and is promptly delivered to her by Olivia (who then dismisses it and goes back to watching Paw Patrol!). I took a gamble on some perfume, which I was fairly confident with and thankfully paid off, but was especially impressed by, not only by the smell, but also by the design and colours. A little something, bright and pleasant, to take our mind off the crazy world outside.

365 project

Day 004 – Its not always black and white

Day 4 – Mar 21st

Day 4, and a day like many other, except for now with the added pressure of finding a daily photo again.

It is lovely that even though the weather is still a bit unsettled, that it is obvious spring is on the way. We are starting to see a few more sunny days, and it is so nice riding home in the daylight. Being on two wheels you always feel a little more vulnerable, and knowing that daylight gives drivers the best chance of seeing you adds a little reassurance to my journey.

Some people see two wheels as a menace, and some drivers show an unhealthy level of arrogance about who should or shouldn’t be using the road, to the point that you just cannot reason with them, as logic seems to have gone completely out of the window. They seem to forget that the person sitting on those two wheels is actually a human being, just like them, who is going to or from a place of work, just like them, and just wants to get home to see their family at the end of the day, just like them. As much as I love being on two wheels, I am very mindful of the fact that my primary goal is getting home alive to see my girls.

So when I walk in through the door, my first thought is always of seeing my two daughters, and nothing makes me happier than cuddles from both of them. I can’t neglect my wonderful wife of course, but she knows the girls come first, as they do for her ahead of me, obviously.

But, as the wife said to me when I started this project, try not to make the 365 project just about photos of the girls, try and get something different. So here is a lovely mugshot of me… black and white to make it arty!