Palais des Papes

France 2007

I think I visited France twice in 2007, once with a friend in the summer for a week to Brittany, it looks like I didn’t take any photos on that trip, so that means I can’t actually remember when it was.

My parents were visiting France in November 2007 for three weeks, and in the middle of this they had booked a holiday cottage in Arles. I decided the night before they were due to arrive there that I was going to fly out to meet them, so I asked them to pick me up from Avignon airport the next day. As they had their car out there it was easy enough, and it was easy for us all to go and visit various places.

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Broad Street, Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis

I have ‘Lyme Regis’ as a saved search in my wordpress app, so I check it once every couple of days to look for any inspiring photos etc, especially now I’ve moved away and have lived in Sussex for about 16 months. I thought I’d use this to see if anyone actually uses saved searches, I know the post may be found in other ways but do people actually use saved searches?

So for anyone that has ‘Lyme Regis’ as a saved search, here’s a short pick of my photos and if you do, post a comment and let me know your thoughts .

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France 2005

La Mairie de Vannes

I haven’t been updating this blog as often as I’d like, so I had this little idea that once in a while I’d take a little look back at something I’ve done, or somewhere I’ve been somewhere in the past.

Today, I’m going to share some of my experiences of a 16 day trip to France in 2005; just me and my car. The main reason for going was because I fancied touring abroad in my new (to me) Audi Cabiolet. I didn’t plan a lot in advance. In fact all I did plan ahead were the Channel Tunnel crossings there and back. I booked them the day before I left. Another day before that was when I decided I was going to go on holiday. Sorry folks, it’s a long post, so I’ve had to add just the first snippet to the homepage.

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The Church Cat

The night before the recent wedding I photographed, I attended the wedding rehearsal, and when leaving the church, we were greeted with this beautiful and quite striking cat. It was big…very big. I believe it is a Maine Coon, and it was probably nearly 3 feet long, excluding its tail. It has a beautiful black and grey coat, and was very friendly. In the graveyard environment I thought these images would work well in black and white.

A few more pictures are below:

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Wedding Photography

20120826-132255.jpg

Last weekend I photographed a wedding. In due course I will post a few more pictures and perhaps talk a bit more about it, but for the moment I thought I would just pick out this image. If you’re ever photographing a wedding, whether it’s for friends, family or commercially, get lots of abstract shots. Make sure you notice the details; close p shots can make great space fillers if you are creating an album or self-publishing a book to give to the happy couple. The flowers, the lapels, the cravats, the stitching of the dress, every little detail will help remind the bride and groom of all that happened on the day

Get Inspired for Instagram

Horsham Park
Horsham Park – look for symmetry and vanishing points to draw the eye in

Previously I wrote a piece about why I like Instragram, and why I think it has had such a great impact on smartphone users around the world.

This time I thought I’d write a bit to help you get inspired. Obviously Instagram gives you plenty of flexibility, you are only limited by your imagination and creativity.

Either choose a theme or pick random things, but a great advantage is that you always have your phone with you, so you can take pictures of anything any time. Look out for bright colours, unusual patterns or objects, cloud formations or reflections in water.

Instagram has plenty of filters available, and this is perhaps one of its key features. While preparing an image, experiment with the different filters available. I find it’s always worth trying the filters on each image, because they affect every image very differently. Don’t disregard images that might not be perfect, as the filters might just hide some of those imperfections.

Mantelpiece
Ilford HP5

Think in the square format when taking pictures; when I look through my Instagram timeline, I tend to disregard images that aren’t square…especially those that have the horrible black bars top and bottom or on the sides. To me, these images particularly detract from the image (there are free apps available that let you prepare images for the 1:1 ratio and apply a coloured or white background). I always use my iPhone’s built in camera app to take pictures, then I choose it from the album in Instagram to upload it, mainly because I don’t know how else I might want to use the image in the future.

Stream on the Isle of Wight

There are several ideas for inspiration that might help you if you are struggling. Why not try a ‘365 project’; a bit of discipline is needed, but take one photo per day, every day for a year. Use Instagram as the medium to publish your results. It could be a photo of where you are, a self portrait, or an image representative of the highlight of your day.

Create a ‘bucket list’ of things to capture and upload, and set yourself a deadline. Why not try the list below, and upload one picture to represent each item:

  • drain cover
  • leaf
  • bark
  • cloud
  • insect
  • tower
  • smile
  • jewellery
  • glasses
  • vegetable
  • wheel
  • rust
  • letterbox
  • bottles

Take one per day over two weeks. When uploading the images, add the tag #convexum to the caption.

If you’ve been inspired by my this post for any of your Instagram images, add a hashtag to them and then add a comment to this post, mentioning the hashtag so I can see your results.

My Instragram username is @laurencemadill

Whatever’s This Weather?

Cloud Front over Lyme Bay

What is it with this weather? Am I the only person noticing significant changes in the British weather pattern? I’ve done some research on monthly rainfall figures; but there’s no real trend to show that it’s getting much wetter, and, as shown on the chart below, the trendline for annual rainfall over the last 100 years shows only about a 2.5% increase over the period, which isn’t significant, and the recordings don’t go back far enough historically to identify whether there is actually any trend at all. The other issue is that these recordings can only be either averages for a very large geographical area, or recordings for one specific place. The reality is that conditions vary dramatically, even over short distances.

The Met Office has reported that some parts of the UK has already had 250% of its average July rainfall in the first 10 days of the month, but this in no way says either way whether it will stop raining now for the rest of the month or whether it will continue with more extremes. In fact, a trend line plotted over the July rainfall totals since 1948  shows that July rainfall has actually gone down by 25%. Additionally, data since 1948 shows that the rainfall trend for May, June, July, August, September and November has actually gone down since 1948.

It feels as though the country doesn’t get a summer any more. Perhaps it doesn’t, or not in the traditional sense that we perceive Summer as between Spring and Autumn, and coinciding with schools’ Summer Holidays.  The weather conditions we get depend on the Jet Stream, a stream of air that moves above the Atlantic, west to east, at between 11 and 17 kilometres above sea level, travelling at around 160kph. The direction of the Jet Stream shifts, sometimes it flows north of the UK, sometimes south of it, and sometimes over the top of it. At the moment, it is passing to the south of us and is allowing the unsettled conditions to its north to spread over our country. It’s not really understood why the shift happens, but it really a significant impact on our country’s weather.

The extreme weather we are getting, then, isn’t so much the large volumes of rain overall, but the intensity of the rainstorms that we appear to be getting. I think the Met Office has had warnings for heavy rain in place over some part of the UK nearly every day for several weeks, and the sight of locally torrential downpours appears, at least to me, to be something that we will see more of in the future.

Your comments would be appreciated.

UK Rainfall Chart
Annual UK Rainfall Totals since 1910

[For more information on the Jet Stream, this BBC article provides an excellent explanation: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18783422].