Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

So you know I was thinking....

that I needed to find another place to share more photos, well I got myself a photoblog which wasn't too difficult and then I bought the domain last night so you can now veiw a photo a day at Don't Pose

Don't expect too much at first as I'm only going to be posting 1 photograph a day so obviously there are only 2 there at the moment but if you get a spare moment during the day it's always there for browsing!!
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Monday, February 26, 2007

I was thinking....


Should I turn my blog into a photoblog or should I start an additional photoblog, hmmm, haven't decided yet but there's definetly some thinking going on!!

Todays photos of the day are gorgeous Looby this afternoon and gorgeous hubby whom I caught as he came in the garden, photo taken from above out of the sittingroom window which BTW is becoming one of my favourite angles with the Sigma 70-300mm.



Apart from the photos nothing else is really going on, just cost us £160 to fix the darned car again and I'm beginning to feel like kicking it every time I see the blasted thing, if I didn't enjoy our days out quite so much I would have dumped it in the river Tyne by now LOL!

Ooh and just bought a new printer, I'm reverting back to Canon as the Epson really didn't suit me and I want to print Canon photos on Canon paper with Canon inks and have them last 100 years, I really couldn't get away with Epson photo paper, don't quite know why but hey ho, such is life and all that Jazz!
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Sunday, February 25, 2007

An argument....



has broken out at Chez Charlton this afternoon over whether any photoshoppery should be used in portraiture, it was actually this photograph which sparked the debate, it's a self portrait and to be honest it hasn't had loads done to it, I removed a couple of red spots, twinkled my eyes, trimmed my bushy eyebrow and then desaturated and finally a total unsharp mask, couple of other tweaks but I think I really love this photo, Paul says it's not me and yet usually when I edit photos of him I perform the same things and he never complains when he looks amazing, does he think that the world should see me as a spotty mess or is it the case that he really thinks he's all that anyway and already looks amazing, I would kind of go with that as my husband is quite the narcascist, he spends far longer preening in the mirror than I do and he has self esteem by the bagful and when were talking football he becomes positively arrogant, I know that to get ahead in life we all need a little self loving, I just wish that I could tap into some of it, then again when I happily reveal myself to the world which doesn't happen very often why does he make me feel like a fraud just because I removed my spots and a nobble from my nose which I particularly hate.

I know that it's answers on a postcard please with this one and perhaps we'll never really agree and the funny thing is that when I perform my magic on photos of the children he doesn't say a word. I do love this photo of himself from this afternoon and actually it's the way I see him anyway, I do see the twinkliest eyes and pretty much utter perfection. Perhaps I, myself am partly to blame for his high opinion of himself but I just wish that I could tap into it and have some for myself!

Anyway I don't really want to dwell because we both agree that when it comes to photos of the children I do a fabulous job and i have been out in action again today grabbing every last second of brighter light which if I am right in thinking must have happened for all of half an hour this evening. You could tell the rain had finally stopped after 7 days because the children could get out the house quick enough and it wasn't long before Abigail and Looby were making mud pies in the back garden, isn't it great that the children have such optimistic spirits, soggy no problem lets make mud pies. So anyway this last photograph I took with my Sigma 70-300 out of the livingroom and I got the children to look up as I pointed down into the garden, got this cracking candid of Looby and I totally love it!
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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Here's what I did with those gorgeous photos



don't think I need to say anything further, ooh apart from this was the most fun I've had scrapping for ages, oh and can someone send me a new printer, Mr Canon if you are looking in, I would love an A3 one, I'll even confirm Epson printers to be a big pile of pants!! Mwahahahaha
Oh and streamlined my WEBSITE today, need a photographer thats your place to go!
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Friday, February 23, 2007

Even the Worst Days....



Have some good things in when you're a Charlton, today these are my good things!! Taken in the whole 15 mins of good light we had today and then fiddled about in with photoshop CS2, today I played with the channel mixer, curves and a little desaturation
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Aarghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Horrible horrible day!!

Paul broke down this afternoon leaving me outside of therapy with no phone, no money and no coat, it's February, it's raining, it's winter and it was a very long 3 mile walk home during most of which I was only slightly terrified and remembering that those agoraphobic feelings are still there at times.

Back tommorrow, hopefully having a far better day!
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

And now for something a little different...


We went off to Seahouses for some real traditional fish and chips for tea this evening, by the time we had finished dusk had fallen and I had a quick wander to the harbour whilst hubby and kids finished their teas, to be honest all was quiet and there wasn't really a lot going on but I spied this pretty boat next to the lobster pots and had to photograph it, To be honest I only had my 5omm f1.8 on the camera but I have to say that I'm really pretty pleased with the end result, for some reason it just looks better in black and white, oh and if you're wondering the steps between the shooting in raw and the black and white end, it's basically, curves, levels, channel mixer, Unsharp mask with a couple of tweaks in between, all of course done in Adobe Camera Raw and then CS2. This is a removal from my normal portrait stuff but I do actually enjoy taking photographs of anything and everything, thing is though and here we go back to a previous posts about whether your work is good or not, because I don't take loads of this kind of thing who knows whether it's fabulous or not, it may be laughed at in certain circles but I can tell you from my perspective, I love it and dear reader I hope you love this little snapshot from gorgeous Northumbria too!
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Sunday, February 18, 2007

My Signature!


Every artist should have a signature style, something they do that no one else does or something which really can sum them up without words and this photo is mine, I took this one today but I have several similar ones in my collection, I love jumping photos and happy photos and this really sums up both emotions. I guess if you have a photoshoot booked with me then this might just be one of the things I'm going to ask you to do and I can guarantee that every time you look at the photo you'll smile a quiet smile.

So as you've probably guessed dear reader we have been out and about this afternoon, a couple of hours spent rambling at the Wallington Hall Property near Morpeth in Northumberland helped to blow the cobwebs away and we enjoyed the late winter sunshine to the maximum, I also really got to grips with my Sigma 70-300 mm lens, I didn't take my tripod so I tried it to it's max with just myself to steady the lens and I have to say that it performs pretty well! All the children once again enjoyed the ramble though we did have several moments with Abigail and her tantrums again, I'm not entirely sure what to do about her at the moment but she seems to think that she can get whatever she want by throwing strops and when she doesn't there are further strops and tantrums, it's funny because we don't seem to encounter any of these things with Iain or Looby though they have both been brought up under similar conditions. I'm guessing that middle child syndrome has a lot to do with it but we shall try a reward chart to go with the normal naughty stair extravaganza and see where that gets us, if anyone has any better ideas then feel free to suggest them on the back of a sheet of Hambly and sent post haste to Stressed parents in Newcastle!

Tonight we're having a couple of glasses of a gorgeous South African Grenache, I don't usually do Grenache but I bought Paul a case of red wine for Valentines day so I thought I better join in, oh and in case you're wondering he bought me a gift wrapped packet of Love Hearts and a bottle of my favourite Gucci perfume! Ooh yes much love in the Charlton house, but then again isn't there always!!

I'll leave you today with this photo of my hubby which just goes to show one of the many reasons we're still so blissfully happy, I mean after all with this much laughter and silliness every day you wouldn't want to give that up in a hurry would you?!
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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Still Having doubts...


Is it just me or does everyone go throug moments where they really doubt their own ability?

Just lately I have some things going on which strangely enough I can't even mention on my blog, anyway this has really forced me into a make or break situation with my photography and I have decided to go for it, I get great feedback, I've had work and I have bookings for the future and yet this teeny voice at the back of my head still says "Are you having a laugh"

I think it probably is a common feeling for most of us in creative roles as all art is subjective and selling your own personal style of photography is key to getting repeat work, after all, if you love it but others can't see why, it doesn't mean it's bad but at the same time it's not going to make money.

Once again, just my random thoughts and feelings but hey isn't that what having a blog is all about?

Todays photos are more from Edinburgh zoo and really I suppose thats what set this whole thing off. I was just saying to hubby that I didn't end up with as many photos in my final cut and was this because either A, I was a great big pile of pants or B, because I'm just getting fussy and striving for perfection?



Of course I opted for the latter explanation because I kind of know that I'm a whole lot fussier than I used to be and again I think thats because the images I put on my blog are a direct representation of the person someone can hire and therefore it's unlikely that I'll put poor quality snapshots and of course even from my own personal point of veiw I love to see a good shot where as in the past I would have just been delighted at any shot containing my family etc, let me tell you I have atleast 20gb of photos of my family now, I'm not going to keep every single samey photo! LOL

So if you're reading this today and you're an artist of any description and I mean this from actual artists to photographers, scrapbookers, crafters.... What do you think, do we strive higher and higher for perfection the longer we practice our art or are we just setting ourselves up for a fall and should we try and veiw even the bad shots as good because intrinsicly they are part of our portfolio too?
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Friday, February 16, 2007

Edinburgh Zoo


Ediburgh Zoo was our location today an away day of low stress and high fun!

Edinburgh Zoo is on the outskirts of Ediburgh just north of the border in Scotland. (just popping that in for my US Buddies ;) ) It opened in 1912 and these little fellas have been there since 1914 and very happy little chaps they are too, Edinburgh Zoo is now a world leader in conservation and all of the animals are very well loved and looked after. We had a ball of a time and Loobys reaction to animals she had never encountered before was truly magical.

I have to say I have had an absolute whale of a time, I love animals and could have spent much more time there. It's one of our favourite places and quite well worth the 2 and a half hours it takes to get there.

I'll share some more photos over the weekend but for now my feet and my shoulders are aching, one thing about the Zoo was sll the walking we did, it's all built on a hill and I must recommend getting the safari bus to the top of the hill as it's a bit steep. Actually in all the times we've been visiting this was the first time we waited for the Hilltop safari bus and I feel all the better for it tonight.

I'm off to the bath now for a soak before bedtime, tommorrow is Saturday and you know what that means....

Well Iain thinks it means that we're off to our usual weekend jaunts in Yorkshire, You never know!!!












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Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's finally arrived....


My portrait lens finally turned up after the longest 9 day wait which seemed like 9 weeks, I'm now fully kitted out and available for photoshoots, I took this of Paul in the kitchen this morning and this was in the first 30 seconds of use with no flash at 400 asa in my dark kitchen so if I can do this without optimum conditions, imagine how good I can be when doing it professionally. Yay I feel ready now, I've already had some enquiries so I think Mandy Charlton Designs is far more of a reality with each day that passes! Just click that link to book me, Paul who is my driver as well as my husband informs me that we travel as far as Leeds in a southern direction and as for northwards, well no real boundaries as any excuse for a day or two in bonnie Scotland!!
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

From Quiche to Scones and everything in between



My darling hubby is off work this week and mainly making his presence felt by irritating the life out of me and spending money like it's water to try and stave off any boredom!!

Today he decided that baking was the order of the day and so commenced to bake from after he dropped the children off at school until teatime this evening and boy oh boy thats a whole lot of baking. Today he has baked:-

Quiche, Muffins, Chocolate fudge cake, Millionaires shortbread, butterfly cakes and cherry scones! Kill me I'm in sugar shock!!


Actually by the time it was teatime the effects of being surrounded by so much baked produce all day actually worked against hubby and I and I had to stop after that very delicious Bacon and Cheese quiche you see above.

Thing is though, Yesterday was DIY day, Today was Baking day, Friday is an Away day, what does that leave for Tommorrow and Thursday and should I be scared??????

Todays photo of Looby was taken earlier with a lens not suitable for portrait but I'm in mass exhaspiration as the f1.8 lens i bought from Ebay last week still hasn't arrived and when I dared to enquire of it's wearabouts I was told off by the seller for being abrupt, I'll certainly not be shopping with that seller again and thats the last time I take notice of "In Scotland, Next day guaranteed delivery". Sorry needed to get that off my chest but what is a portrait photographer to do without a portrait lens, my shallowest depth of field I can create at the moment is at best 3.5 and not great, arghhhhh!
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Monday, February 12, 2007

The Monday Morning giggle

Yes it's monday again and if you're feeling like me this morning then no doubt you're in need of a giggle and so I want to share this video from You Tube, it's Shera princess of Power Vs Evil-Lynn and the transformers singing "What is this Feeling?" from Wicked the Musical, priceless, what do you think?!
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Saturday, February 10, 2007

When I'm feeling a little lost and low


I play with photos, well what else really? This afternoon, I did this, it's St Marys Church on the Fountains Abbey Estate in Yorkshire, I'm not sure why this was one of my favourite images of last weekend but I do love the light and shadows and now that I have a chance to use some new Raw conversion software and a little photoshop jiggery pokery, I'm quite pleased with it as I'm not a landscape photographer, I couldn't handle the early mornings LOL!!
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Looby again....


Yes I know, there have been many many Looby photos this week but considering Iain has been at school all week, Abigail has had Scarlet Fever and I've been stuck indoors, Looby just happened to be on hand whenever I had a "I need to take some photos" moment!

This week I have bought 3 lenses for my camera, a Sigma 70-300, a Canon EF 28-80 and a Canon 50mm f1.8, that last one I am still waiting for and getting ever more impatient as it's just the weather for large apertures.

To say that it's dull and grey outside is an understatement. It has rained and rained and rained for the last 12 hours without a break. I wouldn't mind but Saturday afternoons are our getting away from it all days, today it looks like we might make it as far as the book shop if we're lucky, certainly it's the worst weather for photographs this week. Here's hoping that all round we have a better week with lots of photos, sunshine and not so much illness!!
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Just watching!



Another Looby photo today, I was playing with my 70-300mm, not much else I can do as it's freezing cold outside though not enough snow to do anything with and Abigail has ulcerated tonsilitus and Scarlet Fever, my doctor hadn't seen Scarlet Fever for years and I've had to inform school so they can send letters out to everyone seeing as it's very contagious, not a nice thing to have so I'm hoping that we don't all end up with it.

Anyway back to the photo, as I was testing out my lens I managed to get a few without Looby even noticing, my favourite sort of photography, it was shot at 800iso as it's so dark indoors today, after taking it in raw I processed it in photoshop, first applying a sepia filter, then adding a layer of gaussian blur, then using the channel mixer to turn to black and white and finally adjusting the opacity of the top layer to around 50% to get a really soft muted sepia ish photo which I think adds to the dreamy feel of the photo. What do you think, I would love to hear!
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Kitty Love



Poppy is our most aloof cat, she really doesn't like people and for the most part avoids us, sometimes you go to try and stroke her and she'll snap to bite you, she really isn't all that friendly. Funny thing is though Looby gets away with all sorts with her, Poppy really must seriously like her as I can't imagine us being allowed to hold her like that, I'll often be walking around the house and see Looby carrying Poppy off for cuddles and mostly without any complaints where as the scrates on my feet are still healing from the last time I went near her to play!!

Well done Looby for being such a great animal person, I thought I was good but you obviously have Dr Dolittle qualities!
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Monday, February 05, 2007

Horrible day so here's some lovely photos



Truly, Truly, Truky awful day today, I've only just finished working and I would have been done by lunchtime had it not been for Norton anti virus who's firewall today decided that it was no longer going to let IE7 work anymore, in the end I removed it and put in it's place another firewall but that one was so secure that it wouldn't even let me read my mail or log into Napster, that one has also been removed and replaced as has Norton anti-virus, I think I may have found an amicable solution and I now feel secure but not so secure I'm in a panic room without an exit!!

These photos are more from yesterday including the one of Paul which was pure guess work, that will touch him to be beastly and refuse to have his photo taken.

Aaaahhh onwards, payday tommorrow, shopping, tea out and muchos relaxation safe in the knowledge that I now get paid for the job I love so very much and after today the rest of the week should be a dream.
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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Spring is on it's way





Well atleast I'm hoping it is, the snowdrops were out in force when we were out walking in Jesmond Dene this afternoon. It was a little on the nippy side but no one seemed to mind as we enjoyed the afternoon sunshine. I'm trying to get new portraits of the children for the livingroom wall at the moment, I already have a plethora to choose from but I'm going to keep shooting for another week or so and then make the final choice.

I rather like this one of Iain, he's just had his haircut and so is looking particularly smart, even so he doesn't usually like posing for photos so I'm inwardly thanking him for the 5 or 6 great shots I got of him this afternoon.

Abigail is my most eager poser, she's always on hand for a plethora of shots and I got around 10 that I loved, I do like this one of her posing on a wooden pig, she's certainly providing me with lots of great poses of late!

Looby of course is always a joy to photograph if you can catch her inbetween all the bouncing, usually we have smiley happy Looby, but I do love the look of concentration on her face here!

Hubby was in an awkward mood and mostly refused to have his photo taken, even though it was he who announced we needed new portraits for the wall, I did get one which turned out not so bad and I'll share that one later in the week, I didn't want to upload so many photos that anyone got bored or blogger threw a huff!!

Can I just throw my arms up in glee for the wonders of the Canon 350D and RAW, love it, makes me want to take photo after photo after photo because I know each one is going to be fabulous, time for me to invest in a large external hard-drive quick!
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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fountains Abbey





We went to Fountains Abbey near ripon in north Yorkshire today, the first real test of my new camera, of course I still only have the kits lens, the 2 lenses I really want will be purchased on Tuesday and I suspect they will be the first of many! Don't think I did too badly though! I really loved Fountains Abbey, we only got to spend a couple of hours there today and the kids all thought it was brilliant, I suspect that come the warmer sunnier days of spring and summer we'll be having a lot more trips there, we never even got as far as exploring the large deer park so i think that will be first on the cards for next time.

Tonight I'm kicking off my heels a little and enjoying a lovely glas or two of some quality red wines and then tommorrow although hubby doesn't know it yet I'm dragging him out to the park for more photographic opportunities and then hopefully back fro a large Charlton Family Sunday Lunch.

I'm not sure whether you can tell in the photo but hubby has lost around 3 stone since he became a postman, he has a waist size of 29", something I would kill for, lets just say he's quite fit and deserves a lot of attention!!
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Friday, February 02, 2007

I've cracked it!



it was staring me right in the face, I need to convert to Jpeg instead of DNG, so these are the first photos from Cate the Canon Camera and yes I am quite pleased considering it was the first time ever I have used a DSLR!! Oh and before you ask, no it wasn't in automatic!!
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So I was blown away...


By the fabulous quality of the images I shot in Raw on my new camera yesterday, I didn't take many because the light was not good, even so though I think it did a pretty fabulous job, thing is though that I processed them using camera raw in photoshop and now I can't seem to convert them to Jpeg and so it's all got a little complicated, I managed to save this one for web as a gif though so atleast I can share. Only thing is that to me the colours now look a little off but thats probably more to do with blogger than me as obviously the colour profiles will differ. Yes ok I'll stop now I realise I am probably boring you half to death. I'm planning on shooting many many photos over the weekend and hopefully i'll be able to work out how to convert them, can't believe I didn't realise just what a difference RAW made. I think I may have to get a new laptop now though to compensate for the size of the images!

In other matters I had a lovely birthday, went out with hubby last night and it still amazes me just how deeply I love him and how he's the only company i need to make me glitter and sparkle!

I received a card yesterday with no greeting and inside all that was written "On your Birthday, From your Parents" and then a large line underneath, obviously this was sent with the purpose of ruining my birthday, luckily though I'm stronger than that now so I resealed the envelope and returned to sender!!! The evilness of someone actually sending malevolent greetings on your birthday, ah well I suppose it keeps her busy! LOL

Have a great weekend blogging world, I know I will and my new trusty DSLR Cate will too!!
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