Duxbury Designs Strikes Again!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post, but even longer since a new Duxbury Designs creation has ventured into my path for photographing. Having met up for a bit of exercise in the Lake District, Katie (of Duxbury Designs) and I didn’t know if we’d have the ideal opportunity for photographing this new costume or not. However when we found ourselves on the shores of Coniston water with an unusually deserted beach, the creature decided it was brave enough to venture out!

The costume is made from hundreds of green plastic strips from self seal envelopes which have been rescued by Katie to find a second life. It’s not the first time Katie has repurposed items that were otherwise on their way to the bin. Former creations have been made from bottle tops, tents and sails that have surpassed their usual lifespan.

We’ve enjoyed hunting down all sorts of unusual locations to photograph the costumes over the years, but more often than not they find themselves out in the wild. Whilst I enjoy taking photographs indoors for various reasons, I often find outdoor spaces can be a lot more inspiring and can create really interesting backgrounds.

Just for fun I dug out the fish-eye attachment for my lens. It’s not a super high quality piece of kit so the edges of the photos are rather blurry and distorted, but I rather like the impression that this gives to these photos (although I find my eyes start to feel funny if I look at too many pictures like this for too long!).

After all that excitement the sleepy creature evidently decided it was time for a snooze, and so here it is washed up on the shore, rather like the unfortunate amount of plastic waste that can be found littering unlikely places after floating around in the world’s waterways. Since the idea of the costume was to turn something that is otherwise rubbish into something magnificent, we were very careful ourselves not to leave any snagged green tendrils behind on the beach!

It’s been wonderful to have the chance to explore a bit more in recent weeks as the lockdown eases, so hopefully it won’t be too long before I have more photography projects to report back on! Toodle pip for now!

Winter Wonderland

As we find ourselves well into the swing of another lockdown it can feel like there’s little to look forward to, and little out of the ordinary to discuss. ‘What are you doing this weekend’ seems hardly worth asking! However for the people of Ulverston, a snowy surprise lay in store to cheer up everyone’s spirits.

I set out on Saturday morning with my hiking boots and camera in order to get my fill of the snow. After initially planning to walk to Birkrigg Common, I made a swift detour when I got enough of a view to see that Hoad Hill looked much snowier. As I set out along the roads to cross town I was amazed at how many cars seems to be struggling with the conditions, and saw two police vans stopping traffic proceeding. One of these locations wasn’t somewhere I’d normally consider to be a hill, but evidently it was enough that some cars couldn’t make it up!

Having negotiated the roads, I soon arrived at much more inviting terrain. Snow covered paths and fields were what I’d really been in search of. The views were lovely as I started climbing above the town. All of a sudden another fresh burst of snow arrived, and for me this was the icing on the cake.

My path carried on round to the back of Hoad Hill and eventually to the summit. By the time I got here it appeared that a large number of people from the town had also had the same plan! There were lots of families out sledging, and people walking their dogs, and the scene was reminiscent of a Christmas Card. It was so lovely to see people smiling and laughing and it felt like just what was needed in the lockdown monotony.

The views from the top were of course magnificent, with banks of fog in the distance and even some snow out on the sands. Certainly a walk to remember for me, and I suspect a day to remember for many others too!

Finally one more picture from Sunday, as I decided to head out again while the snow was still around. This time I veered in the direction of Kirkby Moor where there were lots of beautiful snow covered lanes to enjoy. Only quad bikes, 4×4 vehicles and pedestrians were tackling these lanes. It was nice to head away from the busier areas I walked in yesterday and enjoy having the snow a bit more to myself. This last photo was only taken on my phone since I had decided to travel light on Sunday, but the view was just too lovely for me to not share it.

Autumn Adventures

Autumn is a great season to head out with a camera, so on some recent walks I decided to see if I could capture some interesting seasonal shots. The first collection here was taken on a recent walk up some of the Wainwright fells in the Northern Lake District. The walk took me through a short section of Whinlatter forest (on my way up Whinlatter fell of course!). It was a bright sunny day, but for a short while I plunged into a cool misty woodland track. There were water droplets hanging on to the ends of all the separate branches and I loved the way the droplets were catching the light.

My next Autumn walk was on a rather more soggy day, so instead of heading to the mountains I took shelter in the woodlands of Grizedale Forest. It seemed to be the perfect weekend for Autumn Leaf spotting with the trees in prime colourful condition. I suspect the forest is somewhat depleated of it’s leaves following the miserable wet and windy weather we’ve had since!

In Search of Ducks and Small Things

On such a lovely afternoon it seemed a shame to not get out for a walk. I decided to take my camera, and go in pursuit of two things: ducks and macro-photography opportunities! I’ve had some nice feedback about my ‘Derwent Water Duck’ photo which I shared recently on facebook, so wondered if I might find another feathered friend to photograph. My husband and I parked up for a walk beside Coniston water. We picked a spot that we thought might have fewer people. In fact we saw plenty of people, but it was 2 and a half kilometers before we came in sight of a duck! I was beginning to give up hope of seeing any at all when we heard her quacking!

This little lady was quite shy, so I couldn’t get as close as I wanted without her swimming on to a new spot, but she certainly has some glorious scenery to swim about in. I must say I hadn’t noticed the cloud of flies following her around until I looked back at the photographs later, how delightful for her!

We decided not to go any further as there was evidence of further ducks anywhere near us, so I decided to use the return journey to try out my macro lens in the wild!

I do enjoy looking for interesting things out and about in nature, and I’ve already been surprised by some of the details I have been able to capture with my new lens. Everything looks different when you can zoom right in! I love these tiny little tendrils growing out of the moss on a tree trunk, there must be thousands of them across the lake district but I can’t say I’ve paid them much attention until today. I’m looking forward to exploring this area of photography more and seeing what other tiny surprises I can find.

A Seaside Surprise

Here is a collection of pictures from a photoshoot of this splendid Duxbury Designs creation. The dress was inspired by colours of the seaside (though is somewhat brighter!), hence the coastal location for the photographs. It’s a great dress for capturing movement as each colourful scale flutters independently when the dress is twirled around. We didn’t see many people that day, just one or two who indeed had a seaside surprise!

We came across an old wooden structure that formed an interesting background, with many years of seaside debris clinging on to it.

The Tree with the Windy Hair

This week led me on an unexpected mission to seek out trees in windy places. It all began last weekend on a walk on Birkrigg Common, a popular walking spot near my house. My husband remarked that a tree in front of us had ‘windy hair’. As Brikrigg Common is an area of high ground with nothing between itself and Morecambe Bay, it’s rather at the mercy of the elements. Many of the trees there have grown in a leaning fashion, as though sculpted by the wind. The tree which my husband was remarking on is the large one pictured below. Inspired by the tree with the windy hair, I decided, as a lockdown mission, that I’d take opportunities this week to search for other such trees, in order to photograph them for my blog.

The next set of photographs is from a footpath that I only discovered a few weeks ago. It lies between Ulverston and Urswick, and skirts past a section of high ground that is labelled rather curiously on the map ‘hillfort’. There’s little evidence of a hillfort visible form the footpath, just a natural outcrop of limestone, and a small collapsed section of what could have been a wall or building, but this from a more recent era. Sadly the field doesn’t have the right of access, and far too many curious sheep, to go exploring further! There were however, some windswept trees perfectly positioned for my project.

It wouldn’t be Ulverston if my quest did not take me up Hoad Hill. While the top of the hill with the monument is rather bare of trees, this fine bunch lies in a field just beyond. These had caught my eye before, and I was really pleased I went back for another look as I arrived just as the sun as beginning to make it’s descent behind them. I love the shapes of light and shade that have formed on the grass.

I delved back into my photo collections to find this one, a blustery cluster of trees near the summit of Scout Scar which is close to Kendal. It was so windy that day that when the lady sitting a couple of meters away from me at the top decided to empty the remains of her coffee onto the floor, the wind took the entire lot sideways and splattered me instead. She was terribly embarrassed and I was sorry to get coffee on my best waterproof coat, but it does make for a good story! You can certainly see how the trees living there might end up leaning.

My final pictures today are from a walk up Gummer’s How in South Cumbria. Since I was passing anyway to collect some things from work, and it’s a route I know well, I decided I’d stop on my way for a quick walk. I knew it was forecast to be a stunning day, but I had not expected the cloud inversion which made for even more dramatic scenery. Well worth the (relatively) early start.

As well as taking the photographs I’ve been embarking on a spot of video editing of my tree hunting project too. This is something that’s very new to me but I am enjoying the challenge. Not sure my skills in that department are quite ready to share with the world yet though.

Have a good week everybody and I’ll be back with another blog post soon.

Creatures Collective

Today I’m looking back at some of my photographs of the of the wonderful Creatures Collective. My sister Katie is a creative costume maker who has always followed her instincts to invent some unique and exciting creations. When thinking about how to describe the costumes to somebody, one can find that the only way to summarise them is to describe them as ‘creatures’. The creatures have a bit of a life of their own and are often to be found in the most unexpected places. First up here is the Snoctopus, whose sleeping bag like tendrils enable it to enjoy the coldest of environments.

This next curious group, known as the Purfles, were spotted here making a guest appearance at Make My Day festival in Morecambe, with a brief excursion onto the prom to the surprise of many!

There are many other curious creatures including these two mysteries. I can take a small amount of credit for helping to crochet some of the pom poms, though the rest of the artistic work was all of Katie’s doing.

To finish off with today here are some photographs of the much loved Jellyfish, who have been spotted at various events including Make My Day, Blackburn Festival of Light and Light up Lancaster. They are another quirky trio who love to dance and shimmer along, entertaining audiences as they go.

Have a good week everybody!

VE Day

To mark the 75th Anniversary of VE day yesterday I decided to head out on a nice walk to Ulverston’s most prominent viewpoint Hoad Hill. Usually I head in the opposite direction, but I thought this would make a nice change and would make the day more memorable. I decided to head out in the morning while the weather was overcast, expecting it to get busier later on in the sunshine. My choice paid off, while there were a few dog walkers out I had far more sheep for company than people!

It was really nice to have a different view of Ulverston than I’ve seen for the last couple of months. Everything seemed remarkably green and summery, since the last time I’d been out this way would have been before the leaves were on the trees.

On my way to the Hoad I enjoyed spotting bunting and rainbows in people’s windows. There were some excellent efforts to be seen! Back at home I put a bit of my own bunting up and baked some celebratory cakes. While we might have been denied certain freedoms that we’re used to in the last few weeks, I found that today was an excellent opportunity to reflect on all the things I have to be thankful for.

Incarnage

Something a bit different on the blog this week! Today’s photographs are from a photoshoot I did last year with local metal band Incarnage (formerly Memento Mori). My husband T-J plays lead guitar in the band, and he recruited me to take some photographs as they were looking to improve their promotional material to use on social media etc.

Rather than just taking photographs in a studio we decided to head out into the Lake District to capture some more unique and dramatic photographs. We found some interesting spots amongst some old quarry workings and tried a spot of colourful back lighting in some of the images to make them more eye catching.

It was quite a blustery day which made for some exciting hair moments!

You can find Incarnage on facebook here https://www.facebook.com/IncarnageUK/ to hear some of their music and to find out what they’ve been up to recently.

Have a good week everybody and I’ll be back with some more photographs soon!

Spring Wedding

Today I’m looking back at some photographs from a wedding I was asked to take photographs for last spring. It was a lovely day filled with much happiness and laughter.

The unpredictable British weather stayed fine for the outdoor photographs following the ceremony, I do love a good confetti moment!

The day began with a fairly small ceremony for close friends and family, followed by a larger reception party in the evening , so I was I was delighted to be there to photograph the whole day. Some of my favourite finishing touches included the bride’s amazing bright pink shoes, the Colin and Connie Caterpillar cakes, and the fabulous vintage car that whisked the happy couple away to the reception.