365~June 6th ~ 12th

We are in another ‘colour’ week, although black & white are not so much colours in my mind, but no matter, I like doing B&W stuff. I was quite looking forward to it but it turned out to have an annoyance factor of at least 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. So I’m not all that happy with some of my shots, but, every day’s a school day so onwards ever onwards.

Day 157 ~ Quality. ~ The definition of quality is “the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.” Or, “a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something.” Today, I strongly encourage you to use the second idea of just focusing on a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by your subject. This prompt is not a requirement to post your best quality image.  I challenge you to really think about what quality says to you today. 

Straight in with an AFAC (airy fairy abstract concept) prompt so that wasn’t the best start for me. I’d rather have done the first definition, plenty of quality gear in our gaff, like extra-virgin olive oil, or lindt chocolates, but no, she wanted the quality of a subject. I just could not get my head around it so instead focussed on ‘quality time’ which is kind of AFAC, so this is me and Phil having quality time. 🙄

Day 158 ~ Roadside. ~ One of the things I really like about a 365 project is that it gets me out exploring the beautiful city of Ottawa that I’ve called home for the last 4 years.  I’ve also found myself on countless roadtrips exploring the surrounding countryside, villages, and towns, as well.  It’s been an awesome way for me to learn more about my new home. When I go out exploring, I’m often surprised by what I find along the roadside.  We were out touring around downtown recently and I saw the unique bike structure near the parliament buildings.  It was being used for advertising.  I had to grab a photo of it as I thought it was kind of cool.  When processing, I converted it to black and white to fit in with this week’s theme. Show us what crazy, unique, or interesting things you find on the roadside as you go about your travels today.

Sigh. Well at least it was specific, but no-one round here leaves crazy, cool interesting things on the roadside, though there are some dodgy looking motors on the wrong side of the tracks area of Wardley. I remembered Wardley has one of the announcement-of-where-you-are stones places tend to have up here, so I walked up to photograph that instead. In days of yore Wardley was a mining village, so it’s stone has a carved miner’s lamp decoration, though the lamp portrayed looks like a Marsault lamp invented by Jean Marsaut, a French mining engineer. Wouldn’t have been used here in the North East as they used a Geordie lamp- invented by George Stephenson. Oh well.

Day 159 ~ Plenty. ~ Have you noticed that converting a photo to B&W can really make the details pop? Past their prime flowers are a favorite subject for me to photograph. Part of the charm is the fading color… but, when you convert to B&W your eye really goes to the tiniest of details. This faded daisy has plenty of delightful details. Each individual petal has a charm of its own. The withering center with delicate puff is spectacular. Find a subject today that represents plenty and convert it to B&W. It can have a lot of detail, represent a feeling of plenty, or any other way the word speaks to you.

Another AFAC although you’d think there were plenty of ‘plenties’ in the world. Another thing that annoys me is having too much to choose from, and it’s hard to make up my mind. I have plenty of clothes/flowers/boots/CD’s etc etc etc, but in the end I went with a dandelion. Plenty of seeds, I thought, though Connie tells me each seed represents a dream, so plenty of those too.

Day 160 ~ Paper. ~ White can be a difficult color to photograph.  Doing so requires careful attention to the “temperature” of your image by adjusting the white balance setting.  Today is a good day to play with adjusting your white balance manually.  I generally have my WB set to 5000K, a good right in the middle setting.  To determine the white balance setting in a particular image, photograph something in your scene that is white.  Since today’s prompt is paper, you can also place a white piece of paper in the scene for a test shot.  You want that piece of paper to be a true white in your photo.  Adjust your white balance either up or down to achieve the white you want.  Temperature can be edited in post-processing, but it sure is nice to get it as close as possble in camera!  To understand light color and Kelvin, take a trip to the lightbulb aisle at your local home improvement store.  That is the quickest way to see what is meant by the various numbers! See what you can do with shooting a black and white image in color.

Well today was a work day and this afternoon a dental appointment so I didn’t have time to fanny on. Ergo I ignored most of that, the prompt was Paper, not white paper and I certainly was not going to traipse off to B&Q’s lighting section, still not sure how that would help matters at all. I used my origami skill set instead.

Day 161 ~ Capable. ~ Capable – having the ability, fitness, or quality necessary to do or achieve a specified thing. I think I am capable, but I am move (I think she means ‘more’ not ‘move’) capable with my husband by my side;  together we make a good team.  We have been together for 42 years, have four grown children, and have weathered life together as you can see by the wrinkles. How do you manage to be capable?  Remember it is black and white week!

Seriously??? Can you hear me groaning as I am just thinking about how much this one annoyed me. This is the Mother of all AFACs. How do I manage to be capable of what?? You can’t just be capable without an of something attached. Pfft. If I list all the things that a human being is capable of, and me in particular, we will be here until forever. Well you won’t no doubt, you’ll step aside from the vehicle and move on the next blog. I had smoke coming out of my facial orifices for this one. Phil couldn’t help either as he knows I’m multi-capable and so is he. I checked out other peoples offerings on instagram, not much inspiration, an out of focus cat, someone’s daughter (badly composed) a chopped down tree stump. Sigh. Anyway I got on with the laundry whilst racking my brain (no it DOESN’T have a W in front of it in real life grammar) and hung out some clothes on my dryer, which promptly collapsed when one of the side supports snapped. Phil and I propped it up on garden chairs and I concluded that it’s good to be capable of improvisation in a crisis. Sorted.

Day 162 ~ Ink. ~ Ink day!  Who wants to try a new trick?  Don’t worry, “Ink in Water Photography” is very simple and fun although it can be a bit messy! Honestly, you don’t need any special equipment and this can be done with a cell phone. I took this picture using a large vase, some white foam core, a desk lamp, some ink from a fountain pen, an eye dropper, my camera, and a tripod. If this does not tickle your fancy, no problem!  Show us ink!  Pens, tattoos, books, typewriters……..Have fun!

Well thank the deity of your choice that Mrs. Cocktail Dress came up with a bonafide specific task! She is my new fave prompt giver. I’d done the old ink in water shots in the past, so decided to go with tattoos as Phil has a couple of artistic ones, but they just didn’t work in black and white, so I got out my fountain pen and did one of my calligraphy shots instead. Sorry to say my calligraphy skills are a bit ropey as I haven’t done any proper work in calligraphy for years, but it’s inspired me to get a special pen for it for future and I’ll be practicing my alphabets, so next time I need to do it I can impress you with it’s gorgeousness.

Day 163 ~ Richness. ~ I hope you have enjoyed color week! I always hate to see it end! We sure have explored Black and White photography in a variety of fun ways!  As you go through your day think about the richness your image will hold without the distraction of color. Consider highlighting patterns and textures, light and shadows, people and things.  You can shoot in color and then convert to B&W or if your camera has a B&W mode give this feature a try. It is a great way to train your eye. There is much richness in the details, so let’s show them off today! 

Another AFAC but one that I didn’t have trouble with. Winnie has great patterns and textures and I caught her sitting in a box with the light on her face and her body in shade, and she lends herself beautifully to black and white, being a grey/black/white cat. Also she enriches our lives immeasurably as does Lord Vincent, it’s my fave shot this week. Finally winning at black and white! 😃

So there ends the black and white week. Starting today we’re on another composition technique week, and this time we are ‘isolating our subjects’. I’ve had a look through the prompts, 🥴 Stay tooned!

365 ~ May 2nd ~ May 8th

This week is portrait week. This week we will be working on Portrait Photography for our Picture Style Week. Portrait photography is all about capturing the essence of someone. If you know the person, it makes it a lot easier. But what do you do if you don’t know the person? If you don’t have any willing subjects this week, take portraits of yourself. 

Pfft. Not doing any self portraits no siree! One week a month is quite enough of that malarkey thank you. Taking portraits of people I don’t know isn’t really an option so this is going to be a Phil and Winnie week.

Day 122 ~ Hidden. ~ if you do not know your subject well or at all, it is important to interact with them during the session to bring their personality to the forefront. You can ask questions and get them talking about themselves, this normally opens them up and relaxes them, allowing you to snap a photo that captures their personality. For my example, I have placed my granddaughter behind the Goldenrod instead of in front of it. The light is reflecting off of the gold and onto her. You don’t have to completely “hide” your subject but often placing something in front of them creates a great depth in the photo.

My first thought was to pin a note up on the door of my pantry saying ‘I’m in here’ and take a picture of it, as that’s where I’d hide if we had burglars break in, but Phil said that wasn’t in the spirit of things, so I asked Winnie to be my model and sit behind some flowers. She put her ‘Queen of the Castle’ face on.

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Day 123 ~ Generous. ~Technically this is not a portrait, which is a posed photo of a person most often from the shoulders up.  I don’t take true portraits because I don’t enjoy the process and most of the time I don’t appreciate the product even when the result is a “good portrait.”  I much prefer candid shots.  In the case of today’s sub-prompt of generous, I’m not even sure how one would go about capturing that idea in a traditional portrait.  So instead, I give you a photo of my husband being generous with dog treats while we were dog sitting for our best friends’ pups. As you look through your lens today, capture a “portrait” of someone being generous; or, focus on your idea of what generous looks like. 

So here we go, there’s the prompt, that this lady has put up, and then completely ignored it herself because she doesn’t like it. That made me laugh though, which is always good. I asked Phil to be my victim model for this one, so here he is having a ‘generous’ glass of whisky.

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Day 124 ~ Round. ~ Let us not forget Pet Portraits, you knew that was coming didn’t you! As I have no available victims, I mean volunteers, to get in front of the camera, I can always call on Jasper and his best friend, Kaya, to sit for me for a treat.  Using the old pipes that are lying around in the forest, makes for good props.  I also like taking my photos in the forest because I love using dappled light. Find a prop that is round and use it in taking your photo today.

Winnie was up for this one, being a pet an’all, and she loves the cat tunnel I got for her. It took a fair few dreamies (treats that cats are addicted to) to get her in position and sitting still, but got there in the end.

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Day 125 ~ Action. ~ Take action!  It is portrait week!  Today take a portrait of someone ‘in action’ or doing an activity they love!  If you cannot find a willing subject or model, use yourself!  I love almost all outdoor activities. I chose to show myself in hiking mode.If you so choose, you can also jazz it up a bit by using Rembrandt Lighting for added drama. 

That’s a lot of exclamation marks. I read it in a Sergeant Major’s voice in my head. This from the slightly bonkers lady who posted a picture of herself rock climbing in a cocktail dress. She had leggings and climbing boots on though so there’s that. I chose not to fanny on with Rembrandt lighting, and asked Phil to play his guitar for me. I used a slowish shutter speed to show the movement of his hands, but his head was a bit noddy so it’s slightly out of focus.

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Day 126 ~ Illuminate. ~ As we work our way through Portrait week lets give Low-Key Photography a try. Low-Key is a way of manipulating the light to illuminate a particular part of a subject. The use of light and darkness creates a dramatic portrait with little equipment. All you need is a single light source and the shadows will help do the rest. The mood and tone will depend on the lights intensity. Here’s how: Position your light source (natural or artificial) so that it falls on part of your subject. Light the part of your subject closest to the camera so that the shadows will fall towards the back of your image. Use a low ISO (less than 400) and a low aperture (f/4 or lower).  You can also process in B&W to increase the dramatic effect. 

Yep, off to my shed studio, where I arranged the black out curtains ( a black double bed size cotton sheet and a fancy dress witches cape) and had Phil sit so the light from one window illuminated him. I also did the B&W as suggested. I really like how this turned out.

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Day 127 ~ Upbeat. Today, while capturing your “upbeat” photo, play around with rim lighting!  This was MUCH easier than I had thought it would be. We did this in our dark basement where I hung a black sheet behind my subject and propped up a flashlight. Then I put my little girl in front of the flashlight and voila, I captured my upbeat girl with rim lighting!  I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy this technique can be and I can’t wait to see how creative you all get with this idea today too!  My only frustration with my photo is that I didn’t get as much of a profile of her face as I had imagined but, maybe next time, I’ll play around with a couple (or three) flashlights to help with that lovely rim lighting behind her.  Portrait lighting can take a bit of practice so be patient, have fun, and enjoy the process! 

To be honest the picture she used wasn’t a great example, and proved that the technique isn’t as easy as she would have us believe. I knew I wanted Winnie for this, and it was just a matter of waiting for her to sit in her favourite spot in the conservatory, which she did but then proceeded to give herself an all over lick-bath which took forever 🙄. I kept my fingers crossed for some sunshine to happen in between the showers, which it did. Upbeat? well Winnie is the most upbeat cat I’ve ever known, always up for tickles playing ball and chasing stuff, she’s such a fun cat to know.

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Day 128 ~ Background. Today, see if you can take your portrait using natural light.  Window light, doorway light, shade and direct sunlight are just some of the options.  How does placement of your subject effect the light falling on them?  What modifiers, if any (flash, diffuser, white board) could you use to eliminate or minimize these shadows if you needed to?  Also be aware of the background of your photo.  What do you want it to say about your subject?

I knew we’d be back in the conservatory for this one, and a final portrait of Phil. I don’t need any diffusers or flash or white boards as the conservatory works like a giant soft- box, and has some great soft light in there on dull days. I had him sat in front of the window and used that as the background which, as you can see shows the interminable rain we’ve been having the past few days.

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And that’s the end of portrait week! I really enjoyed this week and love all the pictures I took. BIG HUGE thanks to Phil and Winnie.

I also read one of the 365 Picture Today website’s blog articles on responding to prompts. I liked this bit..

The only real “rule” that comes with this daily photo project is to make it your own.  Your photos should reflect your day, your year, your life, YOU.  That means that if the prompt doesn’t work for your day, don’t follow it.  It’s as simple as that.  There will be days when things happen that you need to document for which no prompt will ever be appropriate.  Take that photo.  Call it your picture of the day.  Don’t worry about what the prompt says.

See I got all hung up at the start with doing it as prescribed, and I still mostly am trying to do that, but I might go easier on myself (and the ladies) now I’m in the swing of it.

Also this:-

When we undertake a project that asks us to engage in a daily discipline, we will have good days and bad days, creative days and not-so-creative days, beautiful days and dark days, inspired days and boring days, challenging days and easy days.  That’s the rhythm of life.   Each time we take a photo, no matter our thinking at the time we press that shutter button, something positive can be gained.  If nothing else, we have practiced our skills.  We have perhaps learned patience.  And, every now and then we can revel in the realization that we are seeing progress in our technical skills as a photographer and our creative skills as an artist.

🥂 to that! Stay tooned for next week, adventures in Orange!

365 ~ 21st ~ 27th March

The briefs for this week-

Day 80 ~ Perceptive.This week we will be exploring the many angles from which we can photograph the same subject.  The angle we choose depends on which details of the story we want to be most prominent in our image.  What do we want the viewer to notice first?  What feeling do we want to evoke?  Are there details we wish to downplay?  Do we want to tell the whole story?  Do we want the viewer to figure out what is going on?  As you choose the subject of your photo today, think about the story you wish to tell.  Shoot from several different angles.  Which angle best conveys your perception of the scene?

I kind of think perceptive wasn’t quite the right word, and perspective would have fit better for ‘different angles’, but I’m not the boss so I ignored that bit and shot my plant here from different angles, then chose the one I like best. This little plant is amazing,  drosera capensis secretes a sticky ball of fluid at the end of each spine on it’s leaves, which attracts little insects. The insects come to drink, get stuck, and the leaf slowly curls over the fly and absorbs it. I have one next to my orchid, as orchids tend to attract tiny flies, and it works a treat.

Perceptive

Day 81 ~ Sidewalk. I had to look up the word ‘sidewalk’ to make sure I understood what it was, as we don’t have sidewalks here in Europe.  We have pavements. Whilst out and about today, try to look down and see what you find.  You will be surprised by what you can find to photograph.

I did know what a sidewalk was as I am a world traveller and watch American movies. Anyway, this day was a Monday and me at work all day. We don’t have pavements where I work, but on my way home I drive through a little villagey place called Earsden, and they decorate their pavements with big tubs of flowers. I think they are quite posh in Earsden. They also put flowers around the bus stops next to the pavements, so I pulled up the car and took a shot from low down.

Sidewalk

Day 82 ~ Prompt free day. Prompt Free Days often bring to mind the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”  Some days, we feel restricted by the prompt, but on other days, no specific prompt makes us feel lost by having no point of departure.Think about these prompt free days as a check-in as to how this project is changing you. What do you notice that you would have overlooked previously? What small moments in you day now feel bigger and call to be documented?Today is a blank canvas for which all of the other prompts have prepared you.

I am quite glad when prompt free day falls on a work day as it was this Tuesday. It means I can just apply my default position ~ ‘when all else fails, shoot the cat’. This is Vincent, or Vinnie as we call him. He’s a very big but very placid boy, which is just as well considering his lunatic sister is a handful.

Lord Vincent.

Day 83 ~ Marble. I once read that to boost your creativity, instead of buying new equipment you should buy a step ladder and knee pads…reminding us sometimes it is not about the equipment but the placement of it. So today, let’s place our camera on the ground and take a photograph from the Ant’s Point of View! I promise you will gain a whole new perspective from this angle! p.s. this is where those kneepads come into play! 

Of course I already did the ground placement thing with Vinnie, but I don’t think it matters. The marble bit confused me, but my pal Connie who is also on this journey (and the inspiration for me doing it ~ I still haven’t forgiven her 🤣) thought it’s because you get down on your knees to play marbles. This reminded me that I have some marbles in a jar in the kitchen, so I got them outside and had a little play and shoot session in the garden.

marble

Day 84 ~ 3 o’clock.We are going to use a “normal” angle today because most of us find ourselves in a sitting position around 3:00 in the afternoon. Where are you sitting at 3:00 today? If it helps you to remember to take a photo at this time, set an alarm in your phone when you read your email. It doesn’t have to be exactly 3:00 on the dot – capturing your 3:00 could be anytime within the 3:00 hour. If you have a clock to show the time, that’s even better. 

Can’t see the point of it being 3 o’clock and then not being exactly 3 o’clock. I suppose it lets off all the numpties who don’t set an alarm and forget ~ really? You’re doing a project everyday, how can you forget??? Anyway I wasn’t a numpty and took my shot on the dot of 3. I was watching a video by photographer Sean Tucker who has an amazing perspective on photography and life in general.

3 o’clock

Day 85 ~ Depth. Depth can be defined as the distance from top to bottom or the quality of being intense or extreme.  We use depth a lot in our photos.  It makes them come to life and adds interest to them.  Using a different angle when you shoot is also a great way to add interest to your photo. Depth can be interpreted in many ways; the depth of a colour; the depth of an emotion or depth through distance.  Show us how you choose to interpret depth in your photo today.  Remember to look up, you never know what you might find!  

Well y’all know how literal minded I am, I hear ‘depth’ I see a lake/sea/ocean. Also looking up doesn’t give you depth so much as height I think, but hey-ho, each to his/her own. So I toddled off on a windy day to the secret lake. It’s been a couple of years since I went there. It’s on the way to my usual nature reserve, you can just see it through the hedgrows if you know it’s there, and it’s fenced off as it was once an old mining quarry and presumably not safe. But you can’t keep kids from finding a way in, nor pesky photographers 😊. It was cool to see a swan has taken up residence there, probably one of the offspring from the pair in the nature reserve. He came all the way across the lake to see what I was up to, and allowed me to take his photo.

depth

Day 86 ~ Vibrant. When I think of vibrant, I think of bright and striking color. Color with a lot of depth. This week has been about angles and perspective. Think about what you can photograph from the back that might make it more interesting. When you photograph a subject, think about exercising your creative muscle.How can you photograph something from the back that will really make it interesting. What details do you want to capture. Don’t forget to look for vibrant colors.

This is the embroidery on the back of a kimono I got from somewhere back in the day. Works for me.

That’s the end of the different angles week, and next week is the first week of a new month so we are back to doing sodding selfies self ~ portraits, deep joy. 🥴

Day 356~366

Countdown at 10 now 🙂

Tonight I’ve been trying to shoot my fibre optic lamp, which is not as easy as I thought it would be,

first I tried with the macro lens

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then with the 35mm

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and then I thought I’d move into the lounge and shoot it with some Christmas tree bokeh behind it, but that didn’t quite go to plan! 🙂

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I think  the middle one will be my shot of the day, but the bottom one is my favourite 🙂

Day 352~366

Something a bit different to my night shots, the sun was shining today and low in the sky, Skye was sitting on the dining room table and shafts of sunlight came through and illuminated part of her. i tried to catch the light hitting her whiskers, and in her eyes too.

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this next is my shot of the day as the light hit her white tipped tail as well as her whiskers 🙂

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Day 330~366

Skye has had a better day today, we are on an emotional rollercoaster with her at the minute, she’s been eating, pooping, and is a bit more awake today. However she’s now living on the kitchen work benches and follows me about the kitchen tops getting in the way when I’m trying to cook, or as shown here, doing the ironing. She tried to get on the ironing board whilst I was doing it, but settled instead on my freshly ironed clothes. At least we have a respite, as tomorrow was going to be vet day if things had gone on as they were.  Very relieved, until the next time.

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So on with the ball shots.  Today was a very blue sky day, but cold of course, so I waited until nearly sundown before going up to the Angel of the North to catch some golden hour tones in the sky, and on the angel.

This I think is my fave and so my shot of the day,

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but also took some from different angles

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and also here’s the angel without the ball,

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Hope everyone has a good weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving to my USA followers!

 

 

 

 

 

Day 328 & 329~366

Yesterday was cold but at least wasn’t raining when I finished work, so as I was in South Shields seeing a client, I hopped over to Little Sandhaven beach and took some shots with the ball.

The Weebles
The Weebles

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Fences
Fences

Little Sandhaven beach
Little Sandhaven beach

Herd Groyne
Herd Groyne

Just as I was finishing up the beginnings of a rainbow appeared over the sea,

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and I took some non-ball shots

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full strength but couldn’t fit it all in my frame

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so got out the phone and did a quick video

I didn’t post last night as the cat hasn’t been all that well, and needed a  lot of cuddle time. We are thinking this might be the beginning of the end as she hasn’t been eating, or doing anything much but sitting or lying in front of the microwave, and I am quite down with it all.  Today she’s at least eating stuff now, but still a bit sedate, don’t think we’ve got much time left with her, and I don’t feel like taking photo’s. So this is today’s shot, such as it is.

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Day 322~366

Have been to work today, and the weather got steadily worse as the day went on, so thought I’d be having to do my shot indoors again this evening.  However, I was running early for an appointment, so stopped off at McDonalds for a drive through coffee, and whilst sitting in my car in the car park I had a visitor. As always my camera (and ball) bag ~ hmm think that sounds rude reading aloud in my head, never mind, you all know what I mean~were in the passenger seat, so I whipped them out and took a shot of him.

Then when Phil was cooking tea later I took some quick Iphone snaps of the cat being bonkers .She’s not allowed on there!

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Cat ‘n’ chips

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and my visitor in a ball

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it’s been a wildlife photography kinda day 😀

 

Day 317~366

I have a weekend home alone, as Phil is off to a scale model show in Telford, not back until Sunday night, and I have to cat~sit. Really the cat is doing the sitting, on my trackpad so that I can’t be on the computer, but she didn’t realise I have an emergency mouse, so on we go 🙂

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The weather, always with the weather, has been dull, has been raining and cold, so no going out with the camera, but I gathered some fallen leaves from the front garden and did my autumn in a crystal ball shot.

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This evening I’m having a chinese take away and going to find a movie or some trash TV to watch.  I’ll brush the cat, (she loves being brushed) and have a glass or 2 of my favourite wine.  I will sleep in a star shape and not get up in the morning if it’s still raining.