Sunday, 29 April 2012



I was lucky enough to fly to Chicago last week.

Along with London, it is my most favourite city in the World.


                                          I spent breakfast everyday in Panera. Always with a cinnamon scone on order and a Pepsi to undo my sleeping tablets.



Hubby was working all week, so we had just Sunday to spend together. We caught up with a work colleague of his, Mirela and her family.


We got to watch Cerasela at her ice skating practice and then had a little photo-shoot outside. It was very cold and I made them undo their jackets to make it look a bit warmer.

This was my favourite image of Cerasela that I took. Her mum, had told me she hates having her photo taken, but after the shoot she said, to her mum,“ that was cool !”IMG_6770

Then we headed downtown to Molly’s cupcakes.


Chris said his peach concoction was the best cupcake he had ever tasted.

Then we headed to Lincoln Park, to check out the Conservatory.

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I mean that’s what old people do isn’t it ?

Then we had a walk around the zoo and I caught this funny shot.


He was a right show off……..

And here was another one.


and she didn’t have any knickers on !!!!!!!!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Hertfordshire bikers

In-between the rain this week, my son and I went for a walk in a local bluebell wood here in Hertfordshire.

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There deep in the wood were a group of bikers. They vastly differed in age and you could see they were really passionate about their sport and the spot they had found.

There was some competition on the photography front there. Two of them were taking photos of the jumps to put on the web.



Their jumping was amazing and they were fearless.





When I returned the next day I was amazed to see they had built a log den. I would like to think they built it just for me, as they knew I was returning. But I am sure it was as shelter from the rain that poured all day.


But it sure came in useful for my next two shoots.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Hertfordshire bluebells

I have been keeping a check on a local bluebell wood for some weeks.

I dragged my son, Ryan there with me on one of my checks. It meant I could fully explore the woods without feeling threatened on my own.

Even he had to admit the wood looked stunning. Both of us couldn’t believe we had lived so close to it for years and had never been inside. We had just admired them from the car.

IMG_5017 On the way I made him jump out of the car, dodging the rain to stand for me in a rapeseed field.




As was walked deeper into the woods, we were amazed to come across a group of bikers practicing stunts in a massive dip in the wood. They have been digging out jumps for weeks.


We stood chatting to them for over an hour. Ryan said he wished he had known it was there when he was younger.

I’ll share some of the amazing photos I managed to get of them attempting the jumps in another blog post.

Hertfordshire photographer in the making

I have been so busy lately organising shoots and trying to come up with interesting ways to capture people.

Little Zara was just a babe in arms when I last saw her, here.

I luckily was asked to shoot her 7 month chubbiness again. Easter was on its way. So I threw in some bunny ears, to add to her photo mix.

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I used the nature reserve opposite my home again. Daffodils were coming up in small batches, and I thought they could be a perfect backdrop for her.

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Zara was a star model, but she would never look at the camera. She liked to ignore me and her mum. It didn’t matter what we did.

We had a little audience watching our shenanigans.  A group of volunteers working on the reserve and an elderly lady who sat on a bench to watch us.


As Zara's mum had to run off to pick up her son Leo from nursery. We snatched a few minutes indoors.  After a nappy change Zara was raring to go.

2012 Zara edits

Farayi loves the enlargement I have had printed of Zara's collage and wants to invest in one for her new home. She thinks it is time for me to start charging for all my hard work. She has friends making enquiries about me and wanting me to photograph their families.

So I am making tentative steps to dip my toes into the business world. I know I can come up with the goods when it comes to photography, but I don’t have a business bone in my body.  My years of working in schools with children and as a carer, mean I have umpteen patience and an ability to engage people of all ages.

The problem is I don’t like to put myself “out there ”. I prefer a low key way of doing things. I’m not about shouting from the roof tops, that you should have me photograph your family. I would prefer people come to me by word of mouth or after seeing my work.

I have finally found a brilliant professional photo printers and I love the work I have had printed by them. I will be sharing more in a future blog.

Unfortunately, Zara’s brother Leo, shoot had to be cancelled as he came down with tonsillitis and then chicken pox. But I managed to catch up with him one evening last week.

Leo’s fun adventures in the woods are to follow in a future blog.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Frida Kahlo inspired

I can’t remember if I have shared any of these  upcoming shots on my blog before.

My friends daughter Phoebe is really in to photography. She has a real natural talent for capturing interesting views of the World. She has already entered a competition, hoping to win a shoot with David Beckham !

In February when she was home from boarding school, she came to stay with me for a couple of days, so that I could teach her a few things.

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I’ve just had this one printed at a professional photo printers. It’s been blown up and it looks stunning.

Well, Phoebe came to stay with me again this week. The weather was a bit iffy. But I had a couple of styled shoots in mind.

I had seen some amazing shots of a child's, Frida Kahlo inspired shoot. I LOVE Frida Kahlos eclectic, personal style.  I knew I had the perfect backdrop in my bedroom wallpaper. So I suggested it to Phoebe and she jumped at the chance.


I have been lucky enough to have seen some of Fridas original paintings at The National Museum of Mexican Art  in Chicago. I dragged Hubby there once when I heard they had a picture on loan. Madonna is a serious collector of Fridas art.

When I was looking for clothes and jewellery to use in the shoot. It would seem I have been channelling Frida for quite a while. I had an abundance of my own clothes to choose from. I think I may be her reincarnated. Hopefully without the unibrow and moustache!

I made some tissue paper pom poms and put together a head dress from flowers I had to hand. We also settled down the night before the shoot to watch a Salma Hayek film on Fridas life. Phoebe said it was a total waste of two hours of her life!

The film was a bit bizarre, I must admit.


Phoebe HATES this shot, but weirdly I choose it to edit as she hates it when I make her smile !  I have about another 300+ to choose from , thank goodness.


Would you believe it was dark as anything in my bedroom. It was dull, grey and pouring with rain outside. I had to bounce as much light as I could around the small corner we were working in. I still had to shoot with a fast lens, a high ISO and use a tripod.

I did all the make up and styling for this Kahlo inspired shoot. Phoebe was glad to have the flowers unclipped from her hair. I heard she had a headache later that night !


Lots more to come of my time shooting Phoebe and a bit of Tasmin thrown in.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Cambridge Croppers-Scrapbooking


For the second time I joined some of my friends at Ifa’s Cambridge croppers in Trumpington, Cambridge.

I actually should have been enjoying myself in Chicago, but my trip had been moved to another date. So not everyone knew I was going to be joining the group. It was great to see how excited some of them where, that I was able to join them.


Antonia was thrilled to see me !

Ifa had two layouts for us to get working on.



I am so rusty at scrapbooking now. I find it hard to get my brain in scrapping gear. But I did my own thing for one of the layouts, purely and simply because I didn’t have an appropriate photos to use on Ifas design.


I used a texturized picture of Teddy. Tasmin calls him “ Little man” so when I saw the embellishment I used above, in the States, I grabbed it.

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close up of the ribbon flowers


Hubby cannot be trusted when I am not there. When I left in the morning the front garden looked like this.


and when I returned it looked like this.


No tree. Nada.

Chris laid some grass seed where the tree used to be. He had me in hysterics the other day. He said the pigeons that sit on the fence all day tucking into his grass seed, say, “ I love these big houses. Their bird tables are massive !!”

Erin Cobb


I am very sorry for neglecting my blog lately. I have been so busy with Karen Russell's photographers workshop. It originally was supposed to run from 9th January to the 1st April . But we are still going !! Karen's husband retuned from duty in Afghanistan so we ended up having two midway breaks.

I decided to retake the workshop when I heard the super talented photographer Erin Cobb was going to join us for the last week to talk about editing. I have her Clean Colour video and use a lot of her editing tips.

This class has been a lot quieter in some ways to the one I took in 2010. I don’t think I have really learnt anything new in the photography department. But as I am asking Erin lots of questions I have learnt lots of things from her. Our photo taking views are very similar. She keeps things very simple in her editing and photo taking. She’s like me in that she prefers to shoot Jpegs, in natural light only. A lot of photographers shoot in RAW, so that they can manipulate things in editing. Erin like me, likes to get it right in camera and not use the cheats way. She uses her camera skills, not her computer knowledge to take great photos. She’s also like me, in that she knows her area of expertise and doesn’t pretend to be a do it all photographer. Or use fancy bought actions to stylise her photos. Like this comical over edit !!


The one thing retaking the class has made me notice, is how far my photography skills have come on. I have been able to answer peoples questions  and give them tips of my own. The comments have been amazing that I received from fellow students on my photo assignments and on our Facebook page. and it’s been great to get feedback from people who realise that it’s not because I have a “great camera” but that they realise the hard work that went into each and every shot.

“Wow, thanks for sharing these Karen!” (from Karen Russell )

Karen i can honestly say you make me sick LOL Your work is awesome! You can really tell you put effort into it.”

“Great shot Karen I want to live where you live. It is so beautiful there!!!!”


But the icing on the cake has been all the amazing feedback Erin Cobb has given me on my portraits and editing.

KAREN ALDRIN - Gorgeous shot! Wow....I'm impressed.”


“KAREN - That edited shot looks awesome! I think it's beautiful how you kept that nice golden glow to her skin but were able to keep it from going orange-y. Great job! ”


“First of all, Karen gave you some really great advice regarding skin softening and skin retouching. “

“Oh what a GORGEOUS image! I'm so impressed!”

I don't find that last shot so "atomic" as you described it, but it's definitely warmer than the others. Her skin might need a little midtones boost but other than that I think it's a great shot!”


I wrote a post on the forum about scrapbooking and me and Karen Russell ended up posting lots of our past work. It was a scrapbookers fest.

“Love all of these! Such great designs! thanks for sharing both Karen A and Karen R!!!”

Well. I had better stop there or my head won’t fit out the scraproom door !

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Parched dry

Parts of England have bought in measures to help the drought at the moment. I live in the South East, which is one of the worst effected area.

During Karen Russell's photography workshop, she commented on one of my photos that the lichen moss looked lovely. She said, I suppose that is the price you pay for all the rain you receive.


I think a lot of people have a false view of Britain as a foggy, damp Country. For the last few years things couldn’t be further from the truth. My friend Linda bought me a fab umbrella for my birthday last year. I have only had to use it a few times, as it NEVER rains anymore.

I am sure all of us here in the UK have noticed our gardens struggling. We are a nation of gardeners. We all take a lot of pride in our beautifully, cultivated gardens.

From this week there is a hose pipe ban in my area, to try and preserve what little water we have. The lack of water can really be seen, right outside my house. I have a beautiful nature reserve on my doorstep. It has a natural spring running through it, or should I say, it used to have.

We went for a walk during the beautiful weather at the weekend. I wanted to walk into the wooded part I am always too scared to do on my own. We were both shocked how many trees had died, and how dry the river bed was.


This was Teddy is February, 2010 in the natural spring. There has been no water in it ever since.

Remember this beautiful garden I visited during Baldock’s open gardens day last May, Here



This lake is gone !! It’s totally dry now. I wonder what happened to all the fish and the poor water fowl that lived there. All the beautiful homes along that patch of the springs have dry river beds in their gardens.


We have a huge ornamental fir tree in our front garden. Our plants suffer because of it. Since we moved here it has more than doubled in size. We planted over £200 worth of plants at the front last year and they have all died. So drastic measure had to be taken.  As the lack of water is only going to get worse.

As I left for a crop, Hubby was preparing to start cutting the tree down. I warned him to take it slowly and to wait until someone was around to help him. But of course when I returned home it was GONE !


So hopefully, now all the plants that are left will start to thrive.

Now our house gets even more light streaming through it’s huge windows. In the summer it will be a big problem, as the rooms get so hot. So I am off to Ikea today, to buy some diffusing blinds to hopefully help with the problem. Hopefully, this will also give me the perfect diffused light to shoot portraits in. in the future.


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