Hello and thank you for calling in...

My name is Helen and I am a Photographer living in England. I started this Blog on the day that my Grandma died, three months after my Father died and several weeks before a third funeral. Initially it was a very personal way to stay connected to the people I'd lost and it helped, it really did. But writing and taking pictures everyday has opened back up a creative side that I had lost during the everyday. A big thank you to my followers, to those who take the time to comment and to new visitors, I hope we will become Blog friends too...

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

frost at last!

What a glorious frost we had this morning! I was straight out into mums garden in my jamas and dressing gown!

I have a lot of frosty leaf and berry pictures from last year so I was looking for something different to add to my portfolio.
There are a lot of balls in the garden, Madge is still pretty much a puppy and I just love the frost on this yellow one!

There are a lot of stones too, I wish I'd seen these a little earlier as the frost was starting to melt by the time I got to them. Perhaps we'll have another frost, its still January after all!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

full moon frolics

My mothers house is surrounded by countryside and it has been lovely to be in a rural location again after living in a town for years. We all trudged up to the top of a nearby hill the other night as my brother (26) wanted to let of Chinese Lanterns and take photographs of them against the full moon. Myself, my son and my mother were in charge of the lighting and release with a little help from Madge the dog!

It was actually quite fun and the sky was gorgeous with wispy clouds, followed by clear star scattered black with glowing orange from the city of Leicester in the distance. The lantern lighting wasn't hugely successful as we were trying to let off all 8 at once and so had unfolded them all and laid them all on the ground. In hindsight we think this had made them damp but we did manage to get a couple up in the sky. I hadn't taken a tripod and only grabbed my camera at the last minute as it was my brothers show really but I do like the effects that I got all the same with my camera set on night shooting and just the built in flash. As my laptop is still in hospital, i don't have any editing facilities so what you see is what you get. There are no special effects or editing done on Madge's portrait, it just came out that way!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

alan rickman and the packmen

I've had a bit of a disaster in that my laptop has crashed, lots of little pack-man like creatures appeared on the screen followed by a lovely message saying 'beginning system dump'. I switched it off quick but alas tis no more and won't even boot up. A trip to the laptop hospital is scheduled for the morning but it means I am having to borrow my sons laptop. I was loading a video off You Tube of Alan Rickman, one of my favourite actors as my friend and I were having a Saturday evening Facebook conversation about the joys of watching Alan. The clip in question was of him in 'Die Hard' but as soon as I opened it boom, meltdown. I'm sorry Alan but I will never see you in the same light again!
Now I was sure I had my USB stick in the handbag I have brought to mums whilst I live here temporarily but its not in there so I don't have any photographs to put on here! I have a few on another stick that I did bring, which are actually quite lovely to look at as they were taken mid summer last year, a world away from the grey days were having at the moment. Mum has a long hedge running the length of her driveway which is a magnet for Bees. Legs full of pollen they were buzzing furiously from flower to flower oblivious to my camera lens beside them. ooh I can feel the warmth of the sun on me now!

Yesterday I began the task of packing up my belongings at my former home. If all goes well I should be in the new house in 3-4 weeks so I began with my studio room outside and the garage. It wasn't too bad actually, I would think the hard part will be the things inside the house but I am able to leave that until I have the new one so I'm hoping excitement will keep tears at bay. It was strange to pack away our Christmas decorations, dividing them up between us so that we each had a tree and baubles for next year. Each year previously I had wondered to myself if my partner and I would make it to another Christmas, such was the precarious situation I had lived in. There was always the dark cloud hanging over me, the insecurity of why he wouldn't marry, why he still wanted everything to be separate even after all those years and worryingly his history of failed relationships. Although I had hoped and tried to make something more of us than my partner had wanted to be and I felt I had made a family despite of that, I knew in my heart that I was still on trial and would probably never make the grade. So this Christmas it was time to stop trying, to pack up the decorations for the last time in the way I had feared I would have to one day. Yesterday was that day.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

get into the groove

A very windy, cold day found my friend and I at Syston's Watermead Park, a series of man made lakes which are home to many species of birds, types of grasses and a few interesting sculptures.

One of my Father's favourite songs was Noel Harrison's Windmills Of Your Mind and the photograph above reminds me of the opening line 'Round like a circle in a spiral ' I had saved quite a few of dad's old favourites on my ipod to play over Christmas dinner when all the family came round as a way of having him with us. That didn't happen of course but I have been listening to the playlist quite a lot over the last three weeks and it has been a comfort. No music in there to remind my of my partner or my former life, just ones that bring back happy memories of childhood and dad dancing around the living room. My parents loved music, Elton John's 'Crocodile Rock' would always have them jiving together whatever the time of day and of course as a child I loved to see them so happy.
I had to have a MRI scan a few years ago which before hand was met with worried faces by some and "its awful inside inside there" warnings by others. You could choose the music to be played inside the machine and I chose 80's music to bring back happy memories and hopefully let me drift away in thoughts whilst I was scanned. It worked and it was that day I really understood the power of music, it transports you right back to the time when you were happy, to what you were doing and to how you felt. Music Therapy is fascinating, live music was used as a therapy for injured soldiers in both world wars and is used to treat all manner of mental illness' and disabilities today and if you have a chance, read about the

Nordoff-Robbins School of Music.

I used to watch the TV programme 'Ally McBeal' written by David E Kelley, an American legal series. One of the quirky lawyers, John Cage, had a theme tune (Barry White) that he would switch on and play inside his head whenever he needed a confidence boost. As the programme was essentially a comedy drama of course we would hear the music as he started to jig around to it, despite the bewildered looks of all around him but it worked for him and soon the co-stars were joining in and I liked the idea!

I adopted Madonna's 'Get into the Grove' as my theme tune, not the best song ever but as a teenager, I always felt incredibly confident when I danced to it at clubs and it worked! Whenever I needed a bit of umph I would hear it in my head or even put it on and dance around to it. I haven't used it for a few years but I think I will begin again now.

As I was just typing that and humming my theme song in my head I received a phone call and I've just bought a house! Positive thoughts - blimey!!

I think 2012 will be a year filled with music for me, I don't hear so well, my right ear isn't the best (thickening of the bones in my ear) and I have tinnitus (too much time around rock bands as a teenager) so I can only cope well with one, maybe two noises at a time. This means I generally put music on when no-ones around as anyone trying to talk to me or making other noises and I get a headache pretty quickly. With someone always around at home I had got out of the habit of playing my music so its something I'm going to bring back into my life. My partner never liked live music and concerts so hopefully this year I will be able to go to some of those as well! I intend to surround myself with positive things after the negativity of recent times, things that make me happy and feed my injured soul. Music is the first!