12 April 2017

Spring





Check this face.  She lives for ice cream, netflix and sleeping in my bed.  Hates brushing hair, teeth and fruit and vegetables rarely pass her lips.  She is courageous, funny and outgoing.  Constantly talks.  Loves nature and animals and could be a vegetarian if only she liked vegetables.  I love her.  She is mine.



14 February 2017

The Valentine's Poem

Now a slightly different style of creative writing for me.  I knocked up, (excuse the pun) this over the past two days.  It's a fingers up to the sweep it under the carpet brigade, the ones who call you dramatic for voicing your opinions.  Society can have us feeling gagged.  We cannot express feelings for fear of looking desperate.  It takes guts to speak out.  Do not fear the people that want to verbally gag you, for they are the fearful ones.  Your thoughts?


♡ My valentine's Poem 


Fuck you for being the poison that broke me
I screamed like a banshee when I learned of the new family
Words failed me
Fuck you for making me feel completely worthless
For thinking only of yourself
Isn't it sad you were so jealous

I was lied to and disrespected
The anger was not as you expected
Fuck you for turning a blind eye
Fuck you for being disconnected
And thinking your child is bloody perfect

Fuck you for repeating history; breaking up our family
For having some fun
For thinking you can just make another one
Fuck you for looking me in the eye, and saying I'm imagining it
For insinuating I'm a lunatic

Fuck your ability to move on from the trouble and strife
While I try to hold together the old life
Fuck you for not thinking about our feelings
Fuck you for the abrupt ending
And for your pretending
Fuck you for taunting me with your future
Shared hopes and dreams of the past
How long will it last

I felt pain for your happiness
I had to endure misfortune for your perfectness
I suffered the mistakes to spare you the headaches
Now I feel an imminent proposal
Salt in the wounds it's completely delusional
How many times is that now?
What why and how
But the cruelest thing of all,
Is being made to believe I,
Was the Belle of the ball.




I will be spending my Valentines day with this little lady.  She's had her eye on a bouquet of Red Roses for a few weeks, so that's what I got her, along with the cooked breakfast and the mornings papers (kids mags).  She will be a happy kiddo!  Me? Pass the Lucozade. x



©Sarah Ferry Photography



14 December 2016

Sarah





Last year I decided to get some photos of Daisy since I hadn't really done any after leaving college.  I thought it would also be a good opportunity to get a few of us together as we don't have any.  

I met Sarah online in the my love my life blogging circle I was part of a few years ago.  We would all write a blog about our children each month, usually covering a particular topic.  It was good to see how everyone interpreted it.  Then we linked our posts to each other so readers would see all the posts one after the other.   The stories were great and you got to admire the different styles of photography each person contributed.  I always thought Sarah's pictures were cool; such artistic shots of everyday life.  I was particularly interested in her black and white photography, something I felt I rarely got right. 

I booked a session in October last year and then started shopping for some clothes for the photos.  Trying to think what would look best in monochrome is tricky.  I wanted a classic look, so didn't go for any crazy patterns.  I was also worried that having a bit of photography experience if I showed up in something wrong she would be thinking, "what the hell".  Of course she wouldn't have because she's lovely.  Saying that, you have to put some thought in if you are going to invest in good portraiture. Classic looks are timeless. 

I later regretted booking a 10am slot as I set my alarm for 6am. You see I take ages to get ready.  I'm slow due to energy levels and I have medical treatments to do in the morning.  The studio is in Banchory so you've got to allow for driving there. PLUS, I have the slowest kid in the world who takes about 40 minutes to eat cereal! Seriously. 


The session was good.  I felt relaxed, Daisy played along for the most part.  When Sarah got her to make funny faces I thought oh my god, she's going do this for the whole session now.  Afterwards we had a nice lunch in Mains of Drum and like everyone else I wondered, when will I get the photos! 


I waited patiently for my gallery.  I didn't email asking when my photos were going to be ready, which is so not cool in Photography land.  There was definitely some anticipation brewing.  I wondered if I'd have a double chin or my dodgy eye would be obvious or if I'd look knackered since I was up so early.  And yes, I had all these things but I wasn't even bothered.  It’s difficult to describe that feeling when your gallery notification pings into your email.  It’s a bit like waking up on your birthday realising, it’s presents day! You make a dive for the desktop and get ready to do some happy claps…..or is that just me?

I looked over and over my gallery trying to narrow the images down.  I always wanted one or two more than was in every package. There was a different favourite each time I looked, a different one I imagined as a large wall print.  The only way forward for me was to purchase my whole gallery of images and I'm glad I did.  

So people, go get yourself some family photos.  Yes it can feel weird.  You worry what you'll look like, but your family won't see the insecurities that you do.  They'll see the people they love.

All images © Sarah Ferry Photography









08 December 2016

Christmas


I’m finding that more and more people are following the trend of giving money to charity in lieu of sending Christmas cards.  Even Daisy’s school has changed their views on exchanging cards.  I used to love getting cards from my friends at school. It was really exciting posting cards into the red school post box. Then waiting eagerly for your card delivery; it was fun.  I personally love designing and sending my cards, which gives me that same feeling I did as a child.  

Since Daisy arrived I started making photo cards, which seems to be another American tradition that has crossed the pond.  The first year my photo cards weren’t so great, I thought they were good at the time, but knew there was room for improvement.  The year I felt I nailed it was 2013.  It was a cold morning down at the local beach.  Dog walkers kept getting in the way and making the steps all wet with paw prints, but we got there in the end.

I’ve already posted out our family cards for this year and it’s surprisingly really easy to do!  I use a company called SNAPFISH and mostly use the lay flat design.  On the run up to the festive period you can find lots of discount codes available online, so you can get a really good deal.  When I started making photo cards I would aim to take my photos in November.  However, over the years with the unpredictable Scottish weather I soon realised I should actually take these photos in the October school holidays to avoid getting stressed over lack of time and crappy weather.  It’s hard to fit photo shoots in with Daisy’s busy schedule.  I don’t even have all weekends these days as she goes to stay with her dad.  I felt stuck this year and was worried I wouldn’t get my photos and it’s become a bit of a family tradition, so I want to keep it going.  Daisy features on the front of the card which is a good idea because it lets people keep up to date with how she's growing, not everyone sees her regularly.   

This year I wanted cute outdoor shots like previous years.  I shopped for an outfit, a fawn leopard print coat from Monsoon with woollen poncho and skinny jeans, but the weather was not on my side and I found I was constantly washing and scrubbing her skinny jeans. I decided I needed to prepare a studio set up with an alternative outfit as a back up in case I couldn’t get outside.  I had been hoping to get photos of Daisy and I together like I did last year with Sarah Ferry since I never seem to be in any photos with Daisy.  This year I had the perfect photography prop at my disposal; my 1974 Bay Window camper van called Gaston.  Luckily Sarah had some space in her diary and agreed to take the photos I had been thinking about.  With two possible lots of images for our family card I had to decide what one to go with.  Daisy decided she wanted my indoor shots and I really liked Sarah’s ones, so we compromised and printed some of both. 

Daisy also made a snowman card at school from a drawing.  You can see it at the top of the page.  The school use a company to turn the drawings into cards, dishtowels, mugs and gift tags etc.  The money raised though the sale of the items goes towards school funds.  

Lots of people love cards, just yesterday I saw an old lady at the checkout in the local supermarket.  She joked that she must have left over cards in the house for every year she's bought them, this was as she was picking up another pack.  She said she loves sending and receiving cards, hear that people, she loves it. People still love getting Christmas cards from family and friends.  For some elderly people, they may even look forward to it. 

Here's some of our past and present photo cards to look at.






© Sarah Ferry Photography

14 August 2015

Assisted Dying

Assisted Dying has been on the news again.  What do you think about it?  Is it wrong, should we let nature take its course.  I think in the world we live in we intervene in most things anyway.  Would we let nature take its course if a pregnant woman was unable to give birth naturally?  No, we wouldn’t, because we are a developed and modern country.  We don’t let animals suffer.  If the Vet said, “look it would be kinder to let them go”, we would usually take that advice.  So why are we comfortable to let our loved ones suffer when there’s another way.  Why should our loved ones have to travel to Dignitas in Switzerland ahead of time because of fear they will be too sick to travel.  It’s a very big debate.

I’ve spoken about this before with some close friends, friends that would choose this because of degenerative disease.  I fully support them in their decision. 

When I was younger, I used to think about my own situation and what route I would take.  This is before I knew about places like Dignitas.  You see, there will probably come a time in my life where I would need a double lung transplant and when I was younger the odds wasn’t that great on you surviving the operation.  I used to think, that’s not for me.  Waiting for a call to get new lungs, living your life waiting, to die on the operating table anyway.  Success rates are a bit better nowadays, but it’s still not great.  50% of people die waiting for a pair of lungs and 50% die afterwards due to complications.

I guess the main difference with my condition and someone that has something like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is that MS is never going to get better and there’s nothing that can be done to buy time once you are too sick to look after yourself.  This is the point where people want to press the ejection button before it gets too much to bare.  The people making these decisions are fully aware of what is to come.  Otherwise you slowly go downhill and that’s it, to the bitter end.  I think the people that disagree with Assisted Dying have never experienced what its like to be sick every day.  It’s hard going.  You have to fight for every thing.  Basic things that most take for granted.  It’s physically exhausting.  Life doesn’t give you an easy time because you are sick and people still hurt you.

However, Cystic Fibrosis is a different fish.  You may want to push the ejection button, but you need to hang on until the bitter end for a second chance at the controls.  I’m not saying CF sufferers have a harder time, but the rules of the game are different.  Some decide to eject.  It’s a very personal decision, one I think the person should have and be able to action, at home.

What are my personal thoughts, well, I have Daisy to think about now and I will hang on for as long as I can.  And it's not a cure, it just buys some time.  I’m trying to get better with remembering all my treatments and medication but it’s not easy on your own, especially with a life limiting condition like CF.  
If you would like to give people a second chance at the controls, if you feel that some people could be saved, why not think about joining the organ donor register.  You can do your bit, I’m even on it and I didn’t think they’d want anything of mine.  I think my eyes and my skin are the only bits worth having.  



21 June 2015

Burlesque - The Graded Unit



Let me explain the Graded Unit. 

First rule about Graded Unit, you don’t talk about graded unit.
It takes over your life. 
It takes over all other classes.

It’s a personal project of your own choosing, that needs to fit into one of six categories, dictated from the college.  Each student gets four, twenty-minute mentoring sessions to discuss their ideas and progress on their project.  Each meeting the student is awarded points on their progress.  It’s a bit like a game show because you need to get the maximum amounts of points as once the meeting is over any points you didn’t achieve are lost.  The points are converted into a percentage and that dictates whether you leave with an A, B or C final grade for the year.  You must juggle this project and its deadlines while still handing in the work for all other classes.

The meetings are held at three-week intervals and when I said you get twenty minutes, I mean there’s a timer ticking away just to add to the anxiety of it.  The whole year had to attend a seminar to get an explanation of the points system.  You were actively encouraged to pay close attention to the marking schedule when planning and producing the work.  One lecturer said, “we know already who won’t pull their socks up”, meaning they knew which students wouldn’t be able to step it up a gear for the graded unit, which is totally self directed.

Students had staggered start dates and I was one of the last group so I had 5 weeks to think of a project and my mind went blank.  I knew I wasn’t going to complete second year and I just wanted to make my life as easy as possible.  I was into week four and still had nothing lined up.

Then I went to a Burlesque show with some friends.  I never usually take my camera to events, as it’s so heavy.  It’s also usually really dark and my off camera flash skills wasn’t the greatest.  I arrived a bit early, the dancers came on stage for a rehearsal and I took my camera out just to confirm to myself that yes it was too dark and I wasn’t going to get anything worth keeping.  Just as I put the camera up to my face someone spotted me and starting asking questions.  Did I have permission to take photographs?  I explained I was a student and without a flash I’d get nothing of any interest, which I sort of knew before it left my bag.  Turned out the guy that was chatting to me was the tour manager!  Oops.  He said he tried to get someone to volunteer to take photographs but had no luck.  He said the tour was back next month.  I was trying to dig myself out of my awkward hole and said if he wanted I could put a notice up in the college to see if anyone was interested.  Then he said, "you could come back'.  And, there you have it, that’s how my project was born.

I started doing my research and printed out images from the internet that I wanted to try out.  I was crapping myself about the actual event because I’ve never really learnt anything about using my off camera flash, so I booked a course.  I really thought I’d done so much work and that I would get a fair amount of points.  I was back on IV antibiotics again and my head was a bit up my arse with remembering things and I missed my first mentoring session.  I was not popular. 

I explained the situation and how my medication exhausts me and managed to re arrange my meeting, but this is something they don’t usually do and I felt my card had been marked.  I got four points for my first meeting and was totally deflated.  I needed 51 points just to pass with a C.  I was okay with that, I just wanted a pass but was beginning to think I wouldn’t get there. 

My mentor said I would need to photograph some other shows and not just the Burlesque.  I couldn’t understand at that point why I needed to do more.  He suggested 3-4 other shows and here’s me thinking I was going to make this as easy as possible.  By the next meeting he said do 3-4 other shows.  I was a bit annoyed and said 3-4 you mentioned the first time around or 3-4 plus the 3-4 you said at the first meeting.  He was a bit pissed off with me, but I think there wasn’t really a clear understanding of my situation.  I didn’t get the whole SQA rules (Scottish Qualifications Authority) on how things were marked.

I stressed over the 3 weeks after my second meeting and really thought if I go back for my third meeting and he’s not pleased I may as well give up.  I had barely done anything for my three other classes.  I think I had the attitude that if this graded unit was going nowhere then doing the work for the other classes was pointless.

By my third meeting I’d done so much work.  I’d listened to all the suggestions and I ticked all the boxes.  I pulled my socks up and thought “I’ve got this”!  I also managed to put my project across in a way that fitted the initial brief and he understood how it all fitted together.  He was very impressed and I got a hefty slice of points, which made up for my last two meetings.  By my third meeting I had my C pass in the net.  All I had to do now was complete all other classes, edit all my photos and return to my final meeting with an example of how I was going to present my work.  More points were up for grabs and I really went from strength to strength.  My final meeting was great and he seemed really impressed with how I managed to put everything together.

I eventually walked away with an A for the final year, which I was really proud of.  I know a lot of people probably got an A too, but I felt it was even more important for me as I really got next to no points in those first two meetings.  I really did pull my bloody socks up.  

 


I hope you all like the photos.  I was utterly exhausted getting these and it was a real struggle I'll tell you, because I basically had to bird watch with my camera and take the shot when the dancers stood in a certain place on the stage when the lighting guy had lit them up well.  This all had to be done at the same time, while they were moving.  I was constantly changing settings on my camera.  Thanks to my lovely tall friend Lisa for making sure I didn't fall off my stool.  I want to thank Burgerking for the best whopper with cheese I ever tasted at 11pm and finally a big congratulations to Betty D'Light who I didn't know at the time was expecting her very own Royal Baby.

06 June 2015

College - The HNC




College is finished, whoop whoop.  I’m so glad to be able to say that, as at times I thought I’d never get through it.  I don’t remember crying about the course but there have been tears, usually as a result of the cheeky buggers that manage the equipment store, accept the lovely Sean, he was brilliant.  I’m sure they deal with a lot of crap but c’mon.  I certainly recall having the weight of the world on my shoulders; maybe I was just overly sensitive.  I knew on applying for this course that I would be forced to do things I haven’t done before and how it would probably be a little awkward and uncomfortable.  However at the same time I think I thought it would be easy, how wrong was I!  My course was made up of the following subjects this term, Photography Theory, Darkroom and Creative Techniques, Portraiture, Image Editing, Creative Industries, Still Life, Applied Techniques, Social Photography, Corporate Photography, Stock Photography and the dreaded Graded Unit!

I started my course in September and realised by Christmas that I was struggling physically.  I made the decision over the Christmas holidays that I was not going to apply for my second year.  By the time I came to my annual review in February at hospital, my consultant said that my lung function had taken a nose dive since August and that confirmed that me being in close proximity to lots of people on a daily basis doesn’t help me, especially when we were in the basement of college with circulated air ventilation and no windows.  I can feel my CF followers instantly cringe. 

I struggled through that first 18 weeks of the course.  I was hospitalised with a chest infection and missed three weeks of class time.  But, I persevered and was in college full-time the last three weeks just to get through my work.  Luckily my deadlines were extended and I did manage to finish.  On my return after the Christmas break I was faced with a dilemma of, should I finish my course here after getting through that eighteen weeks or should I do it all again to leave with my HNC in Photography and not let all that hard work go to waste.  I’m not someone who gives up easily, but I do get easily over whelmed with mountains of work to get through.  I loved my class and I wanted to continue even though it was making me ill.  I knew that if I wasn’t going to go into second year I could effectively drop a class or two because the way the HNC works is that you need to obtain 12 credits for the group award and 15 to get into second year, which is all classes in first year.  Anyway, I took the decision to strip down my course and ditched my darkroom class, which you all know I can do anyway and stock photography, which I thought would be like watching paint dry to a portrait photographer. 

It’s not been all bad though, I’ve met a really great bunch of friends.  I’m sure we’re all going to keep in touch and I will go in and meet them for lunch now and again, even though the food in college is terrible and over priced.  The things we do for love……ah I feel a song coming on!  There’s so much more I could say.  I’ve laughed so much this past ten months being with these guys every week.  I’ll leave you all with a wee selection of some of the work I’ve done this term.  I will be back soon to tell you all about my Graded Unit and what sealed the deal to my overall grade A for the year.