I may no longer be office manager for Demuths Cookery School (having handed over to the frankly quite wonderful Georgia), but it is still one of my favourite places to be. I jumped at the chance to attend the Food Photography Workshop on Sunday, run by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures. I do sometimes Instagram my food and the celebration cakes I make, and I thought the principles would also apply to photographing my textile work…which turned out to be the case.
We started with introductions and Rob talked to us about light and then we were let loose in the Demuths kitchen with lots of fresh ingredients to photograph.
I was a little obsessive about the globe artichokes…
…but wanted to try everything.
I was a little disappointed that the only half way decent photo of asparagus I had was of the wrong end!
We then went back to the dining room to upload our photos, discuss the results and for Rob to talk to us a little about composition. I can’t begin to tell you the difference Rob’s talk made. Everyone agreed their second set of photos was better than their first. This time we got to photograph food prep, and I must praise the patience of Beth, who helped prep as well as doing all the washing up.
Rachel made vegetarian sushi rolls for us and we took turns to take close-ups (far more polite than your usual run of the mill paparazzi!).
We then went off to look at and discuss out photos while Rachel and Beth cooked the food, ready for us to scoff. It was delicious!!
We were given the opportunity to photograph our pudding – strawberries and dragonfruit – before it was washed and served up with yoghurt. I always thought coconut yoghurt was a poor substitute for dairy, but actually it’s totally yummy! I added a pot to our Ocado order there and then. For this part of the course we were encouraged to use our phones as well as our ‘proper’ cameras.
The watermelon wasn’t perfectly ripe (and Rachel will only ever serve up perfect food) but it still made a lovely photographic subject.
We talked about photo editing on Instagram before tucking in to the fruit and yoghurt – so that’s what ‘structure’ and ’tilt shift’ mean! I rather suspect we were all sitting there thinking we knew all there was to know about Instagram, but we were so wrong!
I hardly think I need to tell you that I enjoy photography as well as needlework – every holiday and day trip results in a mass of photos that sneak in to my craft posts! This morning the sun was breaking through the early morning mist and I decided to try out a set of macro filters I treated myself to…so much cheaper than a proper macro lens (as in less than £10 rather than over £400).
I mentioned before that I entered my Dalek pincushions in the Monday Make competition run by Making magazine’s Facebook page and won – I received a lovely book and was asked if they could include my pincushions in a column in the magazine. However, I realised I didn’t share with you what was printed in the current issue!
I had already taken out a subscription to the magazine. Having decided only to allow myself one crafting magazine, I checked out as many as I could find before committing to a subscription and liked Making best.
As if having my work in print were not enough, lovely Tessa at Life and Loveliness nominated my blog for a Liebster award! now this is not without work as it comes with tasks:
The liebster award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers who are up-and-coming in the blogosphere and involves answering 10 questions from the person who nominated you, nominating 10 blogs yourself and setting them 10 questions.
1. why do you blog?
This ought to be an easy question, but it is actually a bit complicated. I started my old blog when I decided that when I eventually got my redundancy I would have a go at working for myself, and everyone said you need a blog to get yourself known. However, when I started writing I found it really therapeutic and thoroughly enjoyed writing and sharing photos. I found myself wittering away about not only crafts, but lots of National Trust gardens and tea shops and the cats and the birds in the garden. To the point that when I actually started my business, I felt the crafting side was overshadowed by witter and photos and thought I should make it more professional. I now find it very hard to find the right balance. I allowed myself Deere Diary to witter away and bore people with my photos and try to make this blog more about about my sewing and other crafts. I find I write less, and I miss the writing/wittering.
2. what is your favorite song and why?
I think probably Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You’, but tomorrow I might give a different answer.
3. describe yourself in three words.
I have pondered this all day, so asked Mark what he would say and he said ‘caring. creative. knackered’ – actually I think that’s about right.
4. who is the one person that can always make you smile?
5. describe your idea of a perfect day.
Breakfast out (Bea’s Vintage Tearooms, the Pump Room or the Roscoff Deli in Bath or the Watch House cafe in West Bay), a long lazy walk around a garden or woodland (perhaps Lytes Cary, Westonbirt Arboretum or the Abbotsbury sub-tropical gardens), afternoon tea, then home to snuggle up on the sofa and watch a film…oh yes, I am a real wild child!
6. if you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
I would like to travel around Scandinavia and visit friends in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
7. where do you find inspiration in life?
Everywhere. Really, I am inspired by people I meet, flora and fauna around me, patches of sunlight, pieces of music, scents, textures – most of the time I think life and the world around me is amazing.
8. if you could spend a day with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
My dad. I miss him.
9. what would you like to be remembered for?
10. have you ever experienced a turning point in your life? if so, what caused it, and what have you learned from it?
I guess being made redundant last year. It was very welcome and allowed me to try something entirely new without having to panic about money (of course Mark helps with that too). I think I have learnt that sometimes you just have to have a go and see what happens; not everything can be controlled and the things you didn’t expect/plan could well be the best things.
Is that ok Tessa? Now for my nominations. I have to be honest, quite a few of my favourite blogs have more than 200 followers and some I am struggling to see how many followers they have, but here are my less well known favourites (apologies if some have more than 200 followers – they all deserve thousands of followers):
Here is where I ran out of blogs that I already follow and that I think do not have too many followers (although I am not sure about a couple of them as they are just so good, they may well have more than 200 – but I can’t see a number on their blogs). I decided that, as this award is intended to help people discover new blogs, I should go looking. I found these I liked so much I will follow them:
I almost forgot my questions for the bloggers I nominated!
1. why do you blog?
2. what is your greatest ambition?
3. who inspires you?
4. if you could swap places with anyone, who would it be?
5. if the world was set to blow up three weeks on Tuesday, what would you want to do with your remaining time?
6. what is your greatest fear?
7. which five people (alive now or magically brought back to life) would you choose to join you for afternoon tea at the Ritz?
8. what advice would you give your younger self?
9. what do you want to be doing this time next year?
10. what is you favourite food?
On Tuesday, the forecast was for sunshine – a rare commodity these days – so I decided I would take it as an inspiration day, take my camera and walk in to town. It was the most beautiful morning, although the pavements were like ice-rinks with frost, and I got a little carried away. Here are a few of my favourite photos from the day and there are more in Deere Diary if you are interested.
After several weeks of grey skies and heavy rain and gale force winds, I woke today to blue skies and a strange glow in the sky that I seem to recall is called…sunshine…or something like that (it’s been a while since I have seen it). Miraculously Mark woke up at an almost reasonable hour and we headed to Westonbirt Arboretum. I have dithered about putting more photos here rather than on Deere Diary, as I have not sold any photo cards and had almost decided not to include any photos in my shop. However, I have received such nice comments about my calendars that I think I am going to take a chance that the comments are genuine (rather than just friends and family being kind) and will continue to make my photos available. However, I plan to open a second Etsy shop for photos and photo cards, so they do not get muddled up with the sewing and fabric stuff.
Mark was very patient as we walked through the arboretum and I kept stopping as I spotted patches of dappled sunlight tumbling through the leaves. Not only did he not complain as I stopped every few minutes, he also carried my camera bag in case I wanted to change lens…he’s a good chap that Mark!