Friday, 22 June 2012

World Pinhole Photography Day 2012

St Peter's Church - WPD 2012

Now, when I tell you that World Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD) 2012 was over a month ago, you'd be forgiven for thinking that I should really have got my act, and this post, out sooner; but please, let me explain...

To begin at the beginning (always a good place to start) pinhole photography is, by nature, a slow process - literally! (Slow 'process'? 'Photography'?!... Oh, never mind.) In my particular case it's really slow, chiefly because of the following:
  • I use old-school 120mm, medium format film for my pinhole work and, as I'm not yet lucky enough to have my own darkroom at home, I have to wait for the film(s) to be developed and processed commercially.
  • Places which competently develop and process 120mm film are getting thin on the ground nowadays.
  • Commercial processing and developing 120mm films takes time, at least a week, especially as films usually have to be sent away to a darkroom. It's obviously more economical to send several films together, so I also sent films shot throughout the week before and after Pinhole Day, not just the ones from the day itself.
  • Once the negatives and test shots come back, they have to be digitally scanned in and uploaded to a computer, so the photos can be shared on the internet and back-up copies stored on a hard drive and/or memory stick, etc. (Pinhole photos aren't usually post-processed with software such as Adobe Photoshop, as the whole point of the shot is that you get what you get and the entire process is low tech and antiquated, but some people do it. I, myself, have been known to on the odd occasion!
So, that's the first 2 1/2 weeks accounted for. The rest of the time has been spent researching and planning what I was going to write in this post - and being ill!

P...P...P... Pinhole a Penguin! 2010

Now if you don't know or aren't 100% sure what pinhole photography is; the following should be of interest. (If you already know, then please skip this bit with my blessing!)

A pinhole camera is basically a light-tight box without a lens. It has a tiny hole which, when uncovered, lets the light in. Pinhole cameras can be made from almost anything, although they usually resemble old-fashioned 'Box Brownie' or bellows type cameras, but circular biscuit tins and food cans are often also used. Pinhole 'purists' often make their own cameras, either from scratch or a kit, but I personally use a plastic Diana F+ Lomography camera, with the lens removed and set to 'true pinhole'. Recently, people have been experimenting wildly with making pinhole cameras out of the most unlikely things - just check out this page of amazing creations on Photojojo!

The Bench (WPD 2010)

Three more things:
As you may have noticed, my pinhole photographs so far have been in black and white, but there's no reason you can't use colour.
Pinhole takes photography right back to basics, so try it, learn from it and have fun with it. Experiment and feel free to share your results with me - I'd love to see them! (World Pinhole Day is always held on the last Sunday in April, so you've got time to get some good practice in!

Until next time!
Emma ♥

Monday, 19 March 2012

A Little Retrospective...

I sometimes find it useful go back through all my work of the last few years and compare the changes, improvements and influences on my photography.

Oriental Lily

Rainbow Afternoon

I've mainly been looking through my more recent work, up to about a year ago and it's made for some quite interesting viewing! Since New Year 2011 I've tried various new things, the most obvious being my Everyday for Lent project (very topical right now!) which allowed me to not only use my photography to spread the Good News, but also put me into the difficult position of having to meet the daily challenges of taking a good photo, matching it with a relevant Bible verse, processing the final image with the text, and finally uploading the whole thing on the internet every day! Not easy, especially when for 2 weeks of the 40-day period I was away and had no internet access! Still - it opened my eyes to new photo opportunities, which was a huge plus and I connected so positively with so many people through the project, both Christians and non-Christians alike, all over the world. As a form of outreach, it certainly did its job! Once again, I thank God for giving me the gift of photography and I feel therefore it's only right to use it to serve His church.

Lent - Day 15

Lent - Day 27

Lent - Day 14

In June, on my birthday, hubby and I spent a wonderful day wandering around Tri-Lakes Animal Park at Sandhurst in the Blackwater Valley. It has beautiful lakes to walk around, with weeping willow trees and a whole host of animals and birds to spot, pet and feed. Technically it's a children's petting zoo, but it's so much more than that, which I hope my photos prove! (A short while before, a good friend and her son had taken me and my boy over there and I was simply enchanted by the doves which sit on your hands to feed! Then our boys took a goat for a walk on a lead... a magical day!)

Elemental #3

Elemental #4 

Elemental #1

Recently I've been photographing vintage items for our new venture: a vintage shop on We aim to sell good quality, genuine, vintage collectibles and curios, with a British flavour, but more about that nearer the time!
Product photography is yet another discipline with it's own set of rules and regs. Clear, uncluttered backgrounds which don't distract from the item; good lighting, whether its natural daylight or studio lighting; shots from various angles, highlighting any damage, maker's marks/design labels and any interesting details and keeping some form of perspective to show how big or small the item is. A really good, well-thought out product incorporates most if not all of these 'rules' and still results in an eye-catching image which will draw possible customers in. I simply think of it as commercial still life!

Cocktail/Canape Forks in Antler Horn Pot, c.1970-80s

Cute Little Whimsical Mouse, c.1980-90s

Red Shoe Trees/Formers, c.1960s

Shabby Chic Floral Vase by Axe Vale Pottery, c.1980s

I hope you've enjoyed this short trip down (recent) memory lane?
If you have any questions, comments or good jokes, please leave them in the comments box below!

Take care, until next time,
Emma ♥

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A New Year's Revolution!

I'm so chuffed; it's still only January and I'm in my first exhibition of the year! Also, it's being curated and run by my lovely friend Ross Atkin, who works at the Bricks & Bread Sustainable Living Centre when he's not commuting to work and back to his regular 9-5, so I'm doubly-chuffed.

Actually, I'm trebly (is that a word?) chuffed because Bricks & Bread is an amazing, forward-thinking social enterprise, encouraging and assisting people to live, work and build sustainably. The brainchild of Trudy Thompson in 2009, B&B is a place for experts and enthusiasts alike to share ideas, offer free advice and promote sustainable living and self-sufficiancy. To find out exactly what they do and how you can get involved, CLICK HERE.

Until the end of March they're running an exhibition called 'A New Year's Revolution', showcasing the work of various craftspeople and artists, with a little background on each. The idea is to promote, share and inspire creativity and new skills. All the exhibits are displayed with a short bio about each maker, with contact details and a photo. I love finding out about the 'person behind the product' - I believe when you buy something handmade, you're investing in that person and their work. I also love finding out about what makes other people tick and why they do what they do, or make what they make. (I'm also a bit of a nosy parker, quite frankly!) Look out for work by Ali Haydon and Kate Atkin, two very talented ladies who also happen to be gorgeous friends. Check out Vicky Lloyd from NEDay Crafts, too; who have selected B&B as their Eco-Business of the Month!

A variety of free workshops are also on throughout the exhibition, including Extreme Knitting, which is one I may just have to do. (I just need to relearn how to cast on... again!)

So, if you're in the Aldershot area between now and March 31st, get yourself down to Bricks & Bread. I've just spent a happy lunchtime looking around at all the wonderful crafts on display and chatting to Ross and Trudy, so I can personally recommend it! We also had a look around the reclamation store downstairs... an Aladdin's Cave which really brought out the eco-friendly interior designer in me!

So that's my latest news; until next time; take care
(and 'trebly' is indeed a word - I just checked!)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Happy New Year!

After quite a lull... oh, let's be honest; I fell completely off the radar for a while there... I've decided to give my blog -and my photography - a bit of a much-needed kickstart.

I've got big plans for upcoming blog posts, including an interview or two with other photographers who have inspired me and some instructive articles which, hopefully, will give aspiring and improving photographers a few useful pointers. Should be useful for those selling online and needing product-photography tips, too! I get asked questions all the time about many different aspects of photography so what better place than my blog to share some tips and techniques?!

New Project for 2012 - Photography Group
One of the most exciting, secret and, for me, terrifying events of 2012 will be the setting-up of a photography group for adults with mental health problems. I can't say too much, as it's a bit hush-hush at the moment, but once all the logistical and practical considerations have been worked out we should be ready to roll. (Remember, you didn't hear it from me, ok?!)

New Work
I've also got some work from 2011 which will be available for sale over the next few weeks alongside some brand new photographs. I hope you'll like them. As ever, your comments and constructive criticisms are always welcome!

Finally, I want to wish all you lovely blog followers and customers a very happy and healthy 2012!

Until next time,
Emma ♥

Monday, 6 June 2011

Yes, I'm Still Alive!!!

HUGE apologies for being away so long. A combination of things have kept me away from my blog. Firstly; I'm willing to bet that I have one of, if not the slowest computers in the UK, if not the world! Seriously - I do not exaggerate. It takes 5 to 10 seconds just for a box to appear when I click on an icon, then anything up to 3 minutes for a new page to load. That's if it loads at all. Sometimes I get timed-out just trying to log in somewhere! I know - I need a new laptop. Well, one is forthcoming. Hubby and I celebrated (in a very low key and modest fashion: Pizza Hut with our son) our 11 year anniversary on the 8th of July and, being at a total loss for what on earth to get each other (what do you get the man who has nothing?!) we decided to pool our resources and buy a new laptop to share. Romantic or what?!! Posh 'n Becks have nothing on us!

Secondly; we've had one ridiculous crisis/near-death experience after another. In January we had to replace our fridge freezer, which suddenly gave up the ghost. We then had problems with our (ancient) boiler, which started when the pilot light kept going out, due apparently to a build-up of... wait for it... carbon monoxide residue!!! Nice, huh? After it was cleaned-up and reignited it worked for a bit then conked out completely. At the same time the electric timer fizzed, sparked and died, in sympathy I assumed. Turns out water from our tank upstairs had been seeping into the wires and shorting them (!) British Gas then condemed our boiler officially, hanging a warning notice on the front, presumably in case anyone decided to try and relight it. Not likely, matey, when we'd been told that the flue going through our loft and out the roof had 3 large holes in it, which had been leaking noxious fumes into our home for goodness knows how long!!!

Since then there have been a few more 'interesting' episodes, including illhealth and financial problems, but as none of those tales are particularly exciting when compared to the above, I shan't bore you with them.

Anyway, somewhere in the midst of all this I have managed to actually do some photography! I finished my Lent project, which you can view HERE and I'm glad to say it has been a big success in many respects. It got me back in touch with my Christian faith, has opened up conversations with people who I wouldn't otherwise discuss God with, both online and in 'real life' and images from the set have been used in our church's 24-7 Prayer Room, on websites such as and the St Peter's Lent pages.

Several people have asked me to put all the images together in a book and as I already have customers lined up I'd better get that sorted soon!

We (hubby, son and me... or should that be hubby, son and I?) went to Cornwall with my parents for a week in April. The odd hiccup, but overall a lovely break and it gave me the chance to stretch my landscape photography wings again. They'd been almost completely tucked away while I hibernated during a particularly long, frozen winter! I was working on my Lent project at the time, so I was duty-bound to take good, considered shots every day. I'm still sorting thorough those photographs, but will upload them to Flickr asap. At the moment I have quite a backlog of personal photos to wade through: several school events including sports day, a church camping weekend, a church sports day, Royal Wedding Day (sorry, no pics of the Wills and Kate, only my Wills!) Father's Day, hubby's morris dancing events, etc. I also have the usual fine art photos to process and print. I'm sure I'll find the time... somehow!

So, that's me up to date then. Better go now and feed my son, I suppose.

Take care!


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Lent - the 1st project of the year!

Hello again, friends! Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I had a big creative block during the winter, which has been particularly long and especially cold in the UK this year. I'm a complete wimp when it comes to cold weather and the combination of that and the grey skies, while being fantastic to photograph, affect me negatively and I pretty much just hibernate 'til Spring!

Anyway; I'm back with a new personal challenge! Here's the details:

As some of you know, I'm a committed Christian and so for Lent this year I've decided to incorporate my photography into my Lent vow. I've made cursory attempts to give things up during past Lents, but I always either forget or simply give up. Also, giving up chocolate is a very good idea and very beneficial for my health, but it doesn't really get me any closer to God, which is the point after all! So... my vow for Lent 2011 is this:

Every day I shall take a photograph and upload it to Facebook and Flickr, with a relevant verse from the Bible. By Easter I should have 40 uplifting and inspiring images, which I will give to my church, St Peter's, to put in their photo library.

The tasks and aims will be:

* To break my creative block and get 'out there' with my camera.
* To read my Bible each day of Lent and get into the habit of picking up my Bible every single day.
* To inspire and encourage others with the resulting images and verses.
* To spend some time every day with God and to get into the habit of setting time aside to just 'be' with God.
* To spread the Good News!

The challenges:

* Making and finding time to take the photographs.
* Taking good shots, no matter where I happen to find myself and despite my personal limitations.
* Travelling to and staying in Cornwall then Wales for two weeks of Lent, including 4 days on the road and having to find an internet connection!

Jesus went into the desert for forty days, ate nothing and faced down the devil. I think I can manage to take some photos..!

If you want to follow the daily uploads; you'll find them on my Facebook page in THIS ALBUM and in my FLICKR ALBUM. (I usually post the photos in the evening, by 8pm GMT.)

I'll also do a weekly round up here on my blog, too, although the images will be a bit smaller.

Here's the first five:
1 Peter 1:23

Luke 19:10

Isaiah 40:8

Matthew 16:19

John 13:34

So far the response has been amazing, from both Christians and non-Christians alike and I'm so grateful for all the support and encouragement. It's also wonderful to know that people are comforted and inspired by these little daily offerings!

So, until next time, take care!

Emma ♥

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Urban Decay - Some Thoughts...

Nok Woz 'Ere
I have a love/hate relationship with urban decay. On the one hand it's terrible - a blight on our cities and towns. A lack of respect for public and private property and our communities. On the other hand it makes for great photography! Am I saying let's keep trashing our towns in order to give me something to photograph? No. I hope that by taking these photos I will both offer a kind of beauty and inspire people to clean up their act. I'm making a statement - a commentary on urban decay. Sometimes I simply take the photo because I can't physically or safely remove or fix the offending item. But I won't lie, a dumped trolley in a frozen pond is like catnip to me and my camera..!
The Ditch
Dog Ends
The Boot
The Skip
Until next time,

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Free Giveaway Winner!!!

...And the winner is... MySaviour!

Congratulations on your win! I'll be in touch.

A massive thank you to everyone who entered - you will all recieve 10% off any print from my Etsy or Folksy shops. Just mention it in the checkout and I'll refund the difference.

Emma ♥

Saturday, 18 September 2010

It's FREE GIVEAWAY time again!

As a thank you to all my loyal blog followers and to celebrate reaching over 100 (157 at the last count!) I'm going to offer a giveaway of prints to the first lucky winner 'out of the hat'!

The prizes: Any TWO large prints - 8"x8", 8x10", or A4 - (as available in my Folksy and Etsy shops) plus a goodie pack of postcards, sweeties and the much coveted 'Emma in Wonderland' fridge magnet! Woohoo :-D

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is simply leave a comment below. For extra chances, just Tweet, Facebook, blog or link the competition elsewhere. For every link you'll receive an extra free entry! (This is NOT compulsory and is completely up to you.)

Competition ends on Sunday 3rd October and the winner will be announced on Monday 4th.

Good luck!
Emma ♥