Janet Broughton: Blog https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog en-us (C) Janet Broughton (Janet Broughton) Thu, 08 Apr 2021 13:06:00 GMT Thu, 08 Apr 2021 13:06:00 GMT https://www.definitelydreaming.com/img/s/v-12/u537591342-o916451495-50.jpg Janet Broughton: Blog https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog 120 28 Project 52 - April 2021 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2021/3/project-52-april-2021 Project 52 - weekly photo project prompts for weeks 13 to 17Project 52 - weekly photo project prompts for weeks 13 to 17

It’s time for the next set of weekly photo prompts and it's not too late to join in if you are finding the project for the first time. All you need to do is take a photo inspired by the prompt and share in the Facebook group. When you share your image please take a few minutes to visit some of the other posts in the group, a few kind words or a like might just brighten someone’s day.

All skill levels are more than welcome in the group, you can use a phone or a camera and you can edit your images as much or as little as you like.

If you are not a Facebook user you can also join in on Instagram using #dd_project52.

The project is completely free to join but if you enjoy the community and would like to help support my time in running this project you can donate the cost of a cup of coffee (or more, or less!) on Ko-fi. You can find me here: https://ko-fi.com/janetb

 

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(Janet Broughton) 2021 photo project https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2021/3/project-52-april-2021 Mon, 22 Mar 2021 10:46:19 GMT
Project 52 - March 2021 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2021/3/project-52-march-2021 Weekly Photo Project Prompts - Week 9-12Prompts - Week 9-12

It’s not too late to join in with the weekly photo project, all you need to do is take a photo inspired by the prompt and share in the Facebook group. When you share your image please take a few minutes to visit some of the other posts in the group, a few kind words or a like might just brighten someone’s day.

All skill levels are more than welcome in the group, you can use a phone or a camera and you can edit your images as much or as little as you like.

If you are not a Facebook user you can also join in on Instagram using #dd_project52.

The project is completely free to join but if you enjoy the community and would like to help support my time in running this project you can donate the cost of a cup of coffee (or more, or less!) on Ko-fi. You can find me here: https://ko-fi.com/janetb

 

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(Janet Broughton) 2021 photo project https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2021/3/project-52-march-2021 Fri, 19 Mar 2021 14:10:11 GMT
First Textures of 2021 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2021/2/First-Textures-of-2021 The first two new texture collections of the year are now available in The Texture Shop. Click the link below each image to view more info and sample images.

Daydream-Photoshop-textures-by-Janet-BroughtonDaydream-Photoshop-textures-by-Janet-Broughton

{Click here to view on Etsy}

Watercolour-textures-by-Janet-BroughtonWatercolour-textures-by-Janet-Broughton

 

 

{Click here to view on Etsy}

 

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(Janet Broughton) textures https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2021/2/First-Textures-of-2021 Mon, 15 Feb 2021 03:27:54 GMT
Project 52 – February 2021 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2021/1/Project-52-February-2021

Prompts-Week-5-8Prompts-Week-5-8

 

It’s time for the next set of prompts but it’s definitely not too late to join the Project 52 if you haven’t already. Simply take a photo inspired by the prompt and share in the Facebook group. When you share your image please take a few minutes to visit some of the other posts in the group, a few kind words or a like might just brighten someone’s day.

You can use a phone or a camera, you can join in every week or just the ones that inspire you, if you fall behind you can catch up and still share with the group even if its a previous week. You DO NOT need to be an amazing photographer, all skill levels are welcome.

If you are not a Facebook user you can also join in on Instagram using #dd_project52.

The project is completely free to join but if you enjoy the community and would like to help support my time in running this project you can donate the cost of a cup of coffee (or more, or less!) on Ko-fi. You can find me here: https://ko-fi.com/janetb

 

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(Janet Broughton) 2021 photo project https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2021/1/Project-52-February-2021 Tue, 26 Jan 2021 04:16:23 GMT
2021 Weekly Photo Project https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/12/2021-Weekly-Photo-Project Happy New Year!

Well we are almost in a new year and it’s time to start all over again with another weekly photo project, I might even join in myself this year for a change.

Here are the prompts for January…

Prompts-Week-1-4Prompts-Week-1-4

 

If you are new to the project there are very few rules, simply take a photo inspired by the prompt and share in the Facebook group. When you share your image please take a few minutes to visit some of the other posts in the group, a few kind words or a like might just brighten someone’s day.

You can use a phone or a camera, you can join in every week or just the ones that inspire you, if you fall behind you can catch up and still share with the group even if its a previous week. You DO NOT need to be an amazing photographer, all skill levels are welcome.

If you are not a Facebook user you can also join in on Instagram using #dd_project52.

The project is completely free to join but if you enjoy the community and would like to help support my time in running this project you can donate the cost of a cup of coffee (or more, or less!) on Ko-fi. You can find me here: https://ko-fi.com/janetb

 

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(Janet Broughton) 2021 photo project https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/12/2021-Weekly-Photo-Project Tue, 29 Dec 2020 08:44:21 GMT
Rediscovered… https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/12/Rediscovered Do you ever take a set of photos, dismiss them immediately because they somehow aren’t quite what you had in mind then stumble across them months later and wonder why on earth you were so dismissive of them?
Yes, me too!

I few months ago I discovered my old Lensbaby mobile lens lurking deep in the recesses of a handbag along with a dusty old packet of mints. The mints went straight in the bin but the little lens had me quite excited. I charged up an old phone, dusted off the lens and was pleasantly surprised to find the combination still worked.

A day or two later a misty morning saw me rushing around the corner to the park with an idea in my mind for something quite dark and mysterious. A quick edit later and for some reason I’m feeling completely indifferent about the results. I enjoyed shooting them, sometimes that’s all that matters, so I moved on and forgot all about them

This week I came across the folder of images while looking for something else. I opened the folder and it hit me straight away, all they needed was a square crop and a hint of texture and they were exactly what I had in mind! It’s strange how the passing of time allows us to see more clearly.

black and white fine art landscapes by Janet BroughtonBlack-White-fine-art-photography-by-Janet-BroughtonBlack and photos with the Lensbaby LM-10 black and white fine art landscapes by Janet BroughtonBlack-White-fine-art-photography-by-Janet-BroughtonBlack and photos with the Lensbaby LM-10 black and white fine art landscapes by Janet BroughtonBlack-White-fine-art-photography-by-Janet-BroughtonBlack and photos with the Lensbaby LM-10 black and white fine art landscapes by Janet BroughtonBlack-White-fine-art-photography-by-Janet-BroughtonBlack and photos with the Lensbaby LM-10 black and white fine art landscapes by Janet BroughtonBlack-White-fine-art-photography-by-Janet-BroughtonBlack and photos with the Lensbaby LM-10 black and white fine art landscapes by Janet BroughtonBlack-White-fine-art-photography-by-Janet-BroughtonBlack and photos with the Lensbaby LM-10

 

Now I need to rediscover that little lens once more and see what else I can create with it. I think it’s lost to depths of a bag all over again!

{All textures used are from The Wilderness Collection available here}

 

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(Janet Broughton) black and white lensbaby phone photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/12/Rediscovered Fri, 04 Dec 2020 04:03:32 GMT
A Busy Month – Three New Photoshop Texture Sets https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/11/A-Busy-Month-Three-New-Photoshop-Texture-Sets I’m not quite sure what happened this month but as lockdown started I felt more inspired than ever and I’ve been busy creating new textures. There has been a lot of playing around with paints, inks and print making techniques which has been messy and great fun. So much fun that I’ve ended up creating three lovely grungy new texture collections.

Below each image you can find a clickable link to the Etsy shop.

Resolution-Fine-Art-Grunge-TexturesResolution-Fine-Art-Grunge-Texturesfine art photoshop textures by Janet Broughton

{Click here to view on Etsy}

 

 

painterly texture overlays for photoshoppainterly texture overlays for photoshop

 

{Click here to view on Etsy}

 

Photoshop-Grunge-TexturesPhotoshop-Grunge-Textures

 

{Click here to view on Etsy}

You can find more sample images using these new textures in the product listings and I’ll be sharing lots of examples over the coming days on my Instagram and Facebook accounts.

As always these are available with a special launch discount of 20% until the end of Thursday (26th November). If you can’t choose you can save an extra 10% when you buy all three using the code 3SAVE.

 

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(Janet Broughton) textures https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/11/A-Busy-Month-Three-New-Photoshop-Texture-Sets Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:30:00 GMT
A Brand New Texture Set – The Watercolour Collection https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/10/A-Brand-New-Texture-Set-The-Watercolour-Collection  

I’m really pleased to share the latest addition to The Texture Shop. The Watercolour Collection is based on hand painted watercolours and is combined with lots of digital layers to create a painterly set of textures that are suitable for all genres of photography.

For more details, or to buy a set, please click here.

 

Watercolour Collection - fine art painterly textures for photoshopWatercolour Collection - fine art painterly textures for photoshop Watercolour Collection - fine art painterly textures for photoshopWatercolour Collection - fine art painterly textures for photoshop

 

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(Janet Broughton) textures https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/10/A-Brand-New-Texture-Set-The-Watercolour-Collection Thu, 15 Oct 2020 02:41:40 GMT
Embracing the Blur – Shooting Wide Open with the Lensbaby Velvet 85 (or 56) https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/9/Embracing-the-Blur-Shooting-Wide-Open-with-the-Lensbaby-Velvet-85-or-56 If you are connected with me on any of my social media you probably know how much I love my Lensbaby Velvet 85. But I have a confession to make, for a very long time I didn’t like the look of the Velvet 56 (first Velvet on the market) and I never intended to own one. But then the 85 was launched and Lensbaby kindly offered to send me one and I was hooked from the first time I used it.

I mostly shoot around f4 when I’m using either of the Velvet lenses, there’s a lovely softness around the edges of the frame but none of the glow that comes from shooting at a wider aperture. I often try to avoid the glow since it doesn’t always suit the subject or scene and focusing can be challenging. But now and again I’ll embrace the effect and open up the aperture to f2 or f1.8.

Still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 85Still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 85 Still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 85Still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 85

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Sort focus still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 85Sort focus still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 85 Sort focus still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 85Sort focus still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 85 Sort focus still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 85Sort focus still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 85

 

 

 

 

 





                                                                                                                                       









































































































 

   
I don’t keep a note of apertures but all the above were taken between f2.8 and f1.8, I’m pretty sure the final image was at f1.8.



How to focus your Lensbaby Velvet lens at wider apertures:

If you’ve ever tried to shoot wide open with your Lensbaby you’ve probably realised that focusing can be very difficult. Even if you have focus peaking the glow of wide apertures means it’s not accurate. I’ve found from experience that it’s better to compose your image and focus the shot with an aperture of f4 or f5.6 and then change the aperture (don’t forget to adjust the exposure too!) before shooting. You’ll need to ensure that you don’t move at all between setting focus and taking the shot, at a wide aperture it doesn’t take much movement to throw the focus off, and the best way to do this is by using a tripod. I’m really not a tripod fan so for images like these I wedge my elbows firmly on the table and take notice of the position of major elements in relation to the edge of the frame in case I move slightly. I also take a series of 3 or 4 images with just the smallest movement of the focus ring and generally find if the focus in the first image is slightly off one of the others will work.

Do you have any other tips for focus at wider apertures? If you have why not share them in the comments…

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby photography tips & advice still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/9/Embracing-the-Blur-Shooting-Wide-Open-with-the-Lensbaby-Velvet-85-or-56 Tue, 01 Sep 2020 11:40:50 GMT
Exciting News! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/7/Exciting-News JAnet Broughton Lensbaby AmbassadorJAnet Broughton Lensbaby Ambassador

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm really excited to share the news that I have recently been invited to become a Lensbaby Ambassador. If you follow my blog or are connected with me on social media I’m sure you will already know how much I love my Lensbaby lenses so it really is an honour to be invited to be an ambassador.

So what does it actually mean? Well I’m really excited that I get to be part of a group of talented and creative photographers who are all around the world. They shoot a whole range of subjects and I feel really inspired just to be a part of the group. The Ambassador Program is brand new and the team at Lensbaby are currently working away on ideas. I have an affiliate link which allows me a small commission on any purchases made through it (if you click here to visit the Lensbaby website you will be using my link). As always I’m happy to answer any questions about Lensbabies, whether that’s choosing your first lens or getting to grips with ones you already own. Any advice I give or posts I write will always be my genuine unbiased opinion.

If you do want to get in touch you can find me on social media via the little icons at the top and bottom of each page or you can email me at janet @ definitelydreaming.com

PS – if you are purchasing from the Lensbaby site feel free to use my discount code – wBroughton – to save 10% off your order (excludes sale items and newly launched products).

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/7/Exciting-News Thu, 16 Jul 2020 09:33:36 GMT
I’m Still Here! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/6/I-m-Still-Here Every month when I post the next prompts I notice how I’ve neglected the blog recently and feel guilty. But not for long!

Just before we headed into lockdown I’d been feeling a little restless and uninspired – photography wise, not life in general. I wasn’t worried, I get that feeling every so often and usually it’s a sign of evolving and changing as a photographer. I couldn’t work up any enthusiasm for my indoor still life photography, every time I thought about setting up a little voice said ‘What’s the point, you’ve done all that before.’ And it’s true, I had. I have a lot of admiration for photographers who just shoot one genre and have a really cohesive body of work but that’s just not me. I need variety.

So lockdown came, a perfect time for indoor still life and I had no enthusiasm to shoot! So I put to my camera to one side, enjoyed lots of local walks, spent time on some other creative pursuits, avoided people, did plenty of copy writing for clients, and decided to take a bit of a social media break. I’ve enjoyed the other creative areas and I certainly haven’t missed constantly being on social media. A week or two ago the urge to be shooting showed signs of returning as I noticed little things on my walks, the way the long grass swayed in the breeze, the way the light filtered through the trees. Yesterday I picked up the camera and spent a quick 10 minutes shooting details in the garden.

 

Vintage lens flower and garden photographyVintage lens flower and garden photography Vintage lens flower and garden photographyVintage lens flower and garden photography Vintage lens flower and garden photographyVintage lens flower and garden photography Vintage lens flower and garden photographyVintage lens flower and garden photography Vintage lens flower and garden photographyVintage lens flower and garden photography Vintage lens flower and garden photographyVintage lens flower and garden photography Vintage lens flower and garden photographyVintage lens flower and garden photography Vintage lens flower and garden photographyVintage lens flower and garden photography

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

All images taken with Helios 44-2 on Fuji X-T20.

 

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(Janet Broughton) garden photography vintage lenses https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/6/I-m-Still-Here Thu, 25 Jun 2020 08:37:20 GMT
Wonky Cherries – Lensbaby Blog Circle https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/2/Wonky-Cherries-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle I must confess I’ve been feeling a little stuck in a rut with my photography recently. Every time I think of getting out the camera I hear a little voice saying ‘you’ve shot that before’ and I lose motivation. Which is nonsense really, every time we shoot something we do so through fresh eyes so yes, I may have shot something before, but that doesn’t mean I’ll shoot it exactly the same the next time round.

So to get myself out of the rut I decided that whatever I shot next it would be bright and airy rather than my usual darker tones. Feeling inspired I headed off for my food shop and discovered some rather lovely ‘wonky’ cherries – if you aren’t in the UK you may not understand the concept of wonky fruit and veg, basically they are the ones that aren’t a perfect shape and size. Supermarkets used to reject them since shoppers don’t like them (which I find hard to believe), now they package them as ‘wonky’ and sell them cheaper. I always buy wonky if possible and as an added bonus wonky cherries are often heart shaped!

Since I’ve missed the last few Lensbaby Blog Circle posts I decided I’d share a selection of my light and airy cherries for this month’s post….

 

Still life food photography with cherriesStill life food photography with cherries Still life food photography with cherriesStill life food photography with cherries Still life food photography with cherriesStill life food photography with cherries Still life food photography with cherriesStill life food photography with cherries Still life food photography with cherriesStill life food photography with cherries
Texture from The Stone Collec DSC09168DSC09168 tion
Still life food photography with cherriesStill life food photography with cherries Still life food photography with cherriesStill life food photography with cherries Still life food photography with cherriesStill life food photography with cherries
Texture from The Stone Collection
Still life with lensbaby double glass opticStill life with lensbaby double glass optic

As you can see the lightness didn’t last! I soon turned to darker images but really enjoyed shooting the brighter ones for a change. All of this month’s images were taken using the Lensbaby Velvet 56 except the last one where I used the old double glass optic with a heart shaped aperture disc.

Next up in the circle is Jessica who has taken her Lensbaby for a walk. Click here to visit her blog and please continue around the circle for more Lensbaby inspiration.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2020/2/Wonky-Cherries-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle Sat, 01 Feb 2020 00:48:04 GMT
Serenity Blog Circle – Blueberries https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/11/Serenity-Blog-Circle-Blueberries Recently I’ve been struggling for motivation with my photography. I sometimes feel like I’m shooting purely to feed my social media and once that feeling kicks in I find myself totally uninspired. So this month I didn’t expect to be sharing anything for the Serenity Circle but inspiration suddenly struck while I was doing my food shopping! I spotted a small pack of blueberries that were about to go out of date and were half price and I remembered a little project I started to shoot a while ago but never came back to. ‘Past It’s Best’ is a photographic celebration of fresh items that supermarkets are selling as out of date but still have plenty life in them.

Once inspiration strikes I can easily lose an hour or two shooting still, I get so engrossed that time flies by. Still life photography is my way of completely switching off to all the endless things that need to be done and simply enjoying the process of creating.

All images are taken with the Lensbaby Velvet 56, some have textures added which can be found in The Texture Shop.

Dark food photography with textures by Janet BroughtonDark food photography with textures by Janet Broughton
Texture from Inky Papers 2
Dark food photography with textures by Janet BroughtonDark food photography with textures by Janet Broughton
Texture from Glorious Grunge
Dark food photography with textures by Janet BroughtonDark food photography with textures by Janet Broughton Dark food photography with textures by Janet BroughtonDark food photography with textures by Janet Broughton
(Texture from Inky Papers 2)
Dark food photography with textures by Janet BroughtonDark food photography with textures by Janet Broughton
(Texture from The Hapton Collection)
moody food photography moody food photography moody food photography moody food photography

Next up in the Serenity Circle is Lori McLellan, a fine art photographer in Calgary AB. You can find Lori’s post here, please continue around the circle for more inspiration.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/11/Serenity-Blog-Circle-Blueberries Wed, 20 Nov 2019 08:00:05 GMT
Halloween Still Life – Lensbaby Blog Circle https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/10/Halloween-Still-Life-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle For some reason I’ve managed to be away from home at the last two month ends so I’ve missed out on the Lensbaby Blog Circle. Obviously I can post from anywhere but this year I’ve been making the effort to be offline as much as possible if I’m away from home. Social media can feel a little relentless when you are self employed so it’s healthy to take short breaks from it, even if its only two or three days.

So I didn’t want to miss a third month in a row but I must confess I’ve been struggling for inspiration. I tried an autumn walk but, beautiful as my surroundings were, I only took a handful of boring images! I’m sure we all have outings like that but they can feel frustrating. The other day I’d picked up a cheap plastic Halloween skull from the supermarket so I decided to shoot some dark still life images for this month’s post.

Halloween still life photographyHalloween still life photography
{texture from The Hapton Collection}
Halloween still life photographyHalloween still life photography Halloween still life photographyHalloween still life photography Halloween still life photographyHalloween still life photography
{texture from Glorious Grunge}
Halloween still life photographyHalloween still life photography
{texture from Glorious Grunge}

All were shot with the Lensbaby Velvet 85 using natural light, the top image was shot wide open to add extra glow and softness.

Next up in the blog circle is Carol Vipperman, please click here to hop over to her post and continue around the circle.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/10/Halloween-Still-Life-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle Thu, 31 Oct 2019 21:49:55 GMT
My Top Five Photography Podcasts https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/9/My-Top-Five-Photography-Podcasts Are you a podcast fan?

I must admit that for a long while I couldn’t see the point of podcasts but when I started to work from home I soon realised it would be easy to become very sedentary so I started to make the effort to have a daily walk. And that’s when the podcast listening started.

I started with business podcasts so I could pretend I was working while I walked and then moved on to creativity and photography podcasts. And as I discovered more interesting podcasts my walking time didn’t give me enough listening time so now I listen in the bath too!

One of my favourite walking & listening locations...

Rural landscape with Lensbaby Edge 50Rural landscape with Lensbaby Edge 50

 

Below I’m sharing my favourite photography podcasts, the first three are all UK based and not in any particular order. It’s worth pointing out that none of them are about photography gear, there are plenty gear based shows but they don’t really interest me.

  1. The Togcast – this one is a landscape photography podcast and although I don’t often shoot landscapes I always enjoy the conversations and have discovered some really inspiring photographers through listening.
     
  2. The Fuji Cast – this weekly podcast is presented by Kevin Mullins and Neale James and is not just for Fuji shooters. It’s very conversational and often has guest photographers, there’s also a great community around this podcast and each episode has time for answering listener’s questions.
     
  3. A Small Voice – this is a fortnightly podcast with in depth conversations with photographers shooting various genres. It’s been going for quite some time now so lots to catch up on for podcast bingers.
     
  4. Process Driven – this one is hosted by Jeffery Saddoris, there only seems to be a new episode once every few months but I always enjoy the thoughtful conversations.
     
  5. The Candid Frame – there are almost 500 episodes of the Candid Frame available. I only discovered it a few months ago so I have lots still to listen to but I’ve really enjoyed the conversations I’ve heard so far.

When I’m looking for something other than photography my next go to podcasts are Hashtag Authentic and Conversations of Inspiration, both UK based and talking about creativity and business.

Are you a podcast listener too? Why not share your favourites in the comments, I’m always looking for new and inspiring listens.
 

 

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(Janet Broughton) random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/9/My-Top-Five-Photography-Podcasts Tue, 24 Sep 2019 05:05:44 GMT
Beyond The Flowers ~ The Serenity Blog Circle https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/9/Beyond-The-Flowers-The-Serenity-Blog-Circle I was determined not to miss another Serenity Circle blog post but at the same time I was feeling a little uninspired. The local children had all returned to school so I knew it would be lovely and quiet if I was to visit a garden but I was struggling to get excited by the idea of shooting more flowers. Don’t get me wrong I love my flowers but there are days when I just don’t feel inclined to shoot them.

So with just one free day in the week and the weather looking promising I decided to head off for a garden and see what I could create if looked beyond the flowers. With my trusty Helios 44-2 and shooting wide open for some lovely bokeh I decided to see if I could find some beauty and interesting in the more ordinary details of a garden.

Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens Dark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lensDark and moody nature photography with Helios 44-2 vintage lens

 

 

The promising weather didn’t last but luckily the rain was short lived and added interest to some of the images. And it turns out that slowing down to really search for something beyond the flowers is a very relaxing and therapeutic experience.

The Serenity Circle is a group of inspiring female photographers around the world who each month share some of their moments of serenity.

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(Janet Broughton) vintage lens photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/9/Beyond-The-Flowers-The-Serenity-Blog-Circle Wed, 18 Sep 2019 08:00:21 GMT
How To Find A Missing Mojo https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/8/How-To-Find-A-Missing-Mojo old film camera in black and whiteold film camera in black and white

 

From time to time we all find ourselves struggling to work up enthusiasm for our photography. Part of us thinks we really should go and shoot something but a bigger part just can’t be bothered. That voice in our head will be asking what’s the point, my voice of doubt often says that I’ve shot flowers/still life/a location before so why do it again. But for most of us we simply can’t imagine not taking photographs, it’s something that defines us so when we lose our mojo it can be a really worrying time.

In this post I’m sharing my top ten tips to help get your motivation back, most of them I’ve used at some time or other and some are things I do regularly even if I’m not feeling stuck in a rut.

1 – Take a walk, leave your camera at home…

Yes really, go out for a walk in the sort of place that inspires you, it might be a city, a beach or in the countryside, doesn’t matter as long as it’s the sort of place that really makes you happy. Make sure it’s somewhere you can easily revisit and leave your camera behind. I’ve no doubt that the voice in your head will be telling you to take your camera “just in case” but when you’re in a rut leaving it behind can take off the pressure to create. I do this often when I’m feeling a bit stuck and I can guarantee that when I don’t have my camera I’ll see so many perfect photo opportunities that I’ll go home feeling full of inspiration. And if this one doesn’t work for you at least you’ll had got some fresh air and exercise!

2. Browse through some photography or art books…

This is another one that never fails to leave me feeling inspired. There’s nothing like setting aside a little time and randomly selecting books to browse. It doesn’t need to be Photography books, you may find inspiration in art or cookery books. And if you do choose photography books to browse look beyond your usual genres, if you’re a portrait photographer why not look at some landscapes, you may never intend to shoot them but they can still give that spark of inspiration that you need to get back to shooting your portraits. Don’t have many books of your own? Why not go and lurk in a bookshop, you are likely to discover something new and inspirational.

3. Plan a photo outing with a creative friend…

Even if your friends aren’t photographers you can arrange to meet up and shoot with phones. This isn’t so much about the photographs you’ll take but more about spending time in the company of another creative, it’s always a good way to feel uplifted and inspired.

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An unexpected photo opportunity on a walk with one of my creative friends.

4. Shoot with a lens you don’t normally use…

I’m sure most of us will admit to having at least one lens that for whatever reason we just don’t use. Dig it out, brush off the dust and stick it on the camera. Now it’s time to start thinking, what it is it about that lens that keeps you from using it? How can you use that lens to shoot something new/different/interesting?

5. Visit an exhibition or gallery….

A photography exhibition would be perfect, there’s nothing like wandering through a curated collection of powerful images to make you want to pick up your own camera and shot. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have an accessible photo exhibition why not visit an art gallery instead, there’s lots of inspiration to be gained from studying other types of art and seeing how light, colour, texture, composition etc are being used by other creatives.

6. Take your camera and visit somewhere new…

Now I know your first thought will be “but there’s nowhere photogenic near me”. It doesn’t matter. Just go somewhere you haven’t been and search for something to shoot, it might just be the way the light casts a shadow, or a small detail you might normally walk by, I guarantee if you look closely enough you’ll find something.

abstract reflections with Lensbaby Burnside 35abstract reflections with Lensbaby Burnside 35

Visiting somewhere new and not very photogenic, I was drawn to the way the reflections blended the outside and inside.

7. Learn a new editing technique…

YouTube is your friend here, have a search for some editing techniques you haven’t tried before and experiment with some of the images from your archives. Maybe you’ll end up with something you love and want to use more often, maybe you won’t discover anything you enjoy doing but taking a different creative approach to your images may just trigger that urge to start shooting again.

8. Shoot a mini project or theme….

A few ideas to get you started – lines, shapes, a specific colour, doorways, windows, shadows, 10 different images of the same subject. View the images as a set rather than individual pictures, share them as a collage or in a blog post rather as single images on social media.

9. Plan a long term personal project…

Having something that you will shoot over months, or maybe even years, will give you a reason to pick up your camera when you feel less inspired. Grab a notebook and see if you can come up with ten possible ideas for projects, then pick one or two that really excite you and start to plan out how you could approach them. Then start on just one.

10. Shoot something different….

Try a genre you don’t normally shoot, or maybe a different way of approaching something you normally photograph. If you are a landscape photographer who shoots wide views why not try using a longer zoom and just shooting parts of the landscape. Or if you shoot studio portraits why not head out and try some environmental portraits instead. If you like to shoot flowers in gardens how about searching out other elements of gardens to shoot. Or maybe a creative camera technique such as ICM or double exposures.

Double exposure on Crosby BeachDouble exposure on Crosby Beach

A recent experiment with in camera double exposures, a new technique to me and one I want to explore more.

Do you have any techniques that you use to kick start your creativity when you feel in a bit of a slump?

If you know someone who needs help to find their mojo please send them this post!

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/8/How-To-Find-A-Missing-Mojo Mon, 12 Aug 2019 12:00:07 GMT
Lensbaby Blog Circle – Sunflower Studies https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/7/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-Sunflower-Studies I’ve been eyeing up the cut sunflowers for sale in my local supermarket for the last few weeks and hoping the day that I have both the inspiration to do something with them and time to spare is also the day they have some for sale!

My luck was in I decided to use them for this month’s Lensbaby Blog Circle, I knew that I wanted some close up detail shots as well as some that would be a little more abstract and soft so I used the Velvet 85 and the Sweet 80 with macro filters. I haven’t used the Sweet 80 in ages and I enjoyed using it for a change.

A few of the images I shot, some with textures, some without….

Sunflowers with bokeh overlaySunflowers with bokeh overlay

Velvet 85 – Overlay from Floral Bokeh 2

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Velvet 85

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Sweet 80, Texture from Glorious Grunge

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Velvet 85, Texture from Glorious Grunge

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Velvet 85

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Velvet 85, Texture from Glorious Grunge

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Sweet 80

 

All of the textures used are available in my newly relaunched Texture Shop. {I’m celebrating the relaunch with a sale until 5th August.}

The Lensbaby Blog Circle is a group of passionate Lensbaby photographers around the world, next up in this month’s circle is Jessica with a visit to Magdeburg Cathedral. Please click here to visit her blog and follow the links around the circle.

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/7/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-Sunflower-Studies Wed, 31 Jul 2019 22:42:08 GMT
Lensbaby Blog Circle – Experimenting with Double Exposures https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/7/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-Experimenting-with-Double-Exposures I’m cheating a little this month by only sharing three images for the Lensbaby Blog Circle. Ideally I like to share between 5 and 10 but I missed last month so I really didn’t want to miss another!

Recently I joined David DuChemin’s online course Making The Image. I was feeling in a bit of a creative rut when the course popped into my inbox so decided to join. An unexpected bonus of the course is a monthly theme or project and June’s project is double exposures.

My Fuji has the ability to shoot double exposures but it’s a function that I keep forgetting about but early this month I was at Crosby beach with the Sol 45 and decided to give it a try.

Double exposure, Crosby Beach, Another PlaceDouble exposure, Crosby Beach, Another Place Double exposure, Crosby Beach, Another PlaceDouble exposure, Crosby Beach, Another Place Double exposure, Crosby Beach, Another PlaceDouble exposure, Crosby Beach, Another Place

I learned two lessons…..

First of all it’s not easy. It’s easy to create a pointless jumbled image, harder to create something that looks appealing.

And second, the images look flat and could be easily dismissed but with a bit of processing in Lightroom they can really come to life.

Next up in this month’s Lensbaby Blog Circle is Gizella who is taking us on a river walk in San Antonio, Texas. Please click here to see her post and then follow the circle for some more Lensbaby inspiration.

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/7/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-Experimenting-with-Double-Exposures Mon, 01 Jul 2019 03:00:08 GMT
Serenity Project June – A Graveyard Wander https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/6/Serenity-Project-June-A-Graveyard-Wander Now I may be alone in this opinion but I don’t think that there is anywhere more tranquil and serene than a graveyard on a warm and sunny day and that’s exactly where I headed a couple of weeks ago with my camera.

This particular graveyard sits in the grounds of a ruined church, nature is taking over and on this particular visit I was drawn to the long grasses blowing in the wind and the flowers that are growing wild.

Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2 Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2Graveyard photos with vintage lens - helios 44-2

All of this month’s images were taken with the vintage Helios 44-2 on my Fuji X-T20, I know I keep saying this but I’m really enjoying this combination!
 

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(Janet Broughton) vintage lens photography wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/6/Serenity-Project-June-A-Graveyard-Wander Wed, 19 Jun 2019 09:00:27 GMT
Thoughts On New Cameras https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/6/Thoughts-On-New-Cameras I make no secret of the fact that I have very little interest in photography equipment. I’ve been shooting with a full frame Sony A99 for around five years, with the speed technology evolves that makes it quite outdated as a camera. It was a major expense when I bought it, a huge step up from my previous little crop sensor.

Did it make me a better photographer? No, not all. But it did make me a different photographer.

Changing to an electronic viewfinder meant that I could see exactly what I was shooting and that helped me see and use light differently. Having focus peaking helped me fall in love with manual focus lenses, to the point where I rarely use standard lenses.

Five years on and the camera is still going strong and as someone with no interest in cameras I had zero plans to change it. Until my body told me otherwise! Shoulder problems meant that the weight of this body and lenses were becoming an issue and I made an impulsive purchase of a Fuji X-T20. Chosen purely for it’s (lack of) weight in many ways it’s a backward step from my full frame Sony.

Is it making me a worse photographer? No not at all, but it’s making me a different photographer.

Now that sounds familiar!

There’s something quite special about the combination of the Fuji and my Helios vintage lens, I liked it on the Sony but there’s something different about this combination. I’ve been enjoying wandering around gardens with it and often find it can create a painterly look to backgrounds.

And just look at the amazing background here, no editing other than a slight contrast tweak and a crop!

And a couple with textures from my new Floral Bokeh Collection….

And of course I’m still loving shooting with all my Lensbabies. In some cases the effects are just a little less noticeable and I’m adjusting to the fact that they all effectively become longer focal lengths. Although as someone who isn’t a natural wide shooter I’m quite happy with my Burnside becoming closer to a 52mm focal length!

I’m also really enjoying getting creative with in camera double exposures, but more on those some other time….

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography garden photography random thoughts & musings vintage lens photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/6/Thoughts-On-New-Cameras Tue, 11 Jun 2019 09:59:06 GMT
Lensbaby Blog Circle – Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/5/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-Stepping-Out-Of-My-Comfort-Zone For this month’s blog circle I’m sharing something very different for me, something that’s way out of my comfort zone…

Over the last year or so I’ve found myself slipping into only shooting the sorts of things that I find easy and people have come to expect that I’ll be shooting still life or outdoor flowers in summer with maybe the odd landscape from time to time. And mostly I’m happy with that but now and again I feel a restless sort of urge to shoot something different.

I’ve recently bought a Fuji X-T20 so that I don’t always need to carry the weight of my full frame DSLR. I’ve never been comfortable carrying a large camera around a city centre on my own but the Fuji is so small that I decided to head into Manchester for some street photography.

I must confess that I’m not a natural street photographer but I do believe it’s important to step out of your comfort zone from time to time. However I was happy to find a bit of nature as soon as I arrived in the Northern Quarter!

Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-DSCF3342Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-DSCF3342

 

Moving on from the little pocket of nature I wandered the streets of the Northern Quarter admiring the fantastic street art and quirky details. As I became more comfortable shooting on the streets I also ventured into other parts of the city.

Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45 Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Lensbaby-Street-Photography-Manchester-Manchester Street Photography with the Lensbaby Sol 45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used the Sol 45 for all of these images and learned that it takes a while to get used to difference in focal length due to the crop sensor. I also found out it wasn’t easy shooting with a Lensbaby in situations where I didn’t feel that I could take my time and focus. But I also realised that no one takes the slightest bit of notice of a woman my age with a small camera so I actually could have taken all the time I wanted to get the focus!

Next month I’m sure I’ll be back to flowers but I did really enjoy moving out of my comfort zone for this month’s post. Next up in the blog circle is Gizella, please click here to visit her blog and don’t forget to keep following the links around the circle for lots of Lensbaby inspiration.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby lensbaby blog circle wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/5/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-Stepping-Out-Of-My-Comfort-Zone Wed, 01 May 2019 03:14:02 GMT
Lensbaby Blog Circle – Tulips in Black & White https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/4/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-Tulips-in-Black-White This month I’ve been finding myself drawn to black and white photography and questioning why I don’t shoot and share more images in black and white. If I look through my bookcase I most of my photography books are black and white, if I buy a photo magazine it’s always Black + White Photography. There was even a time, a few years ago, when I considered only shooting in black and white, so why do I do so little of it now?

As I’ve started to shoot more and more still life I’ve started to love colour more and that’s certainly contributed to me producing less black and white work. But there’s a part of me that wonders if I’ve allowed myself to be subconsciously influenced by social media. Black and white images are never as popular as colour, which is completely understandable, a quick scroll on your phone and a colourful image screams for your attention. And while I know that the popularity of an image is in the hands of an algorithm and no reflection on image quality it’s easy to slip into a habit of sharing the images you know are likely to perform better.

One of my goals for this year is grow as a photographer and paying too much attention to social media doesn’t really help with growth. So I’m aiming to create and share more black and white and I’m starting with this blog post!

This month’s images were all taken on my new Fuji camera, it’s the first time in a long time that I’ve used my Lensbabies on a crop sensor and I have to say I’m very happy with the results.

Black and white flower photography, Lensbaby Velvet 56

Black and white flower photography, Lensbaby Velvet 56

Black and white flower photography, Lensbaby Velvet 56

Black and white flower photography, Lensbaby Velvet 56

Black and white flower photography, Lensbaby Velvet 56

Black and white flower photography, Lensbaby Velvet 56

All images are taken with the Velvet 56 apart from the fourth one which is the Burnside 35. Textures used are from my Glorious Greys and the new Collection No 3, both available from The Texture Shop.

Next up in this month’s blog circle is Ute with some fantastic portraits, please click here & then follow the links around the circle for some Lensbaby inspiration!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography flower photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/4/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-Tulips-in-Black-White Mon, 01 Apr 2019 03:00:18 GMT
Finding Serenity in Creativity https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/3/Finding-Serenity-in-Creativity I would love to be able to paint. Not in a photo-realistic way, although I massively admire the enormous level of skill and talent those painters possess, but I would love to able to paint in loose, more impressionistic or abstract style. I imagine that process of adding paint to paper or canvas and becoming lost in the process of creating something is both relaxing and energising at the same time. Knowing that you’ve created something unique, fuelled by your imagination must be incredibly rewarding.

I can’t paint, although perhaps I’ll try to learn at some point, but I can take photos. And I can take those photos and create something unique from them. I light a candle, perhaps put the radio on quietly in the background, and allow myself time to simply create with no expectations for the end result. I find this process incredibly relaxing, time flies as I lose myself in the process in the same as I imagine it must do for a painter.

For this month’s Serenity Project I thought I’d share three of my latest creations, I’ve found my serenity in the process of creating and hopefully there’s also a sense of serenity within the images.

Creative landscape photography with Lensbaby Edge 35

Digital art, urban

Creative forest photo

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) photoshop the serenity project https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/3/Finding-Serenity-in-Creativity Wed, 20 Mar 2019 09:00:00 GMT
Lensbaby Edge 35, A Quick Trial https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/3/Lensbaby-Edge-35-A-Quick-Trial I’ve been really lucky to have had a loan of  a beta version of the brand new Lensbaby Edge 35 for the last couple of weeks and although the weather has meant that I’ve not managed to use it as much as I would have liked I’ve really enjoyed shooting with it.

If you aren’t familiar with the Edge optics they are very different to the rest of the Lensbaby range and totally different to shooting with a standard lens! The Edge optics have a slice of focus that can be manipulated by tilting the composer, it can be a horizontal, vertical or even a diagonal slice. You can manipulate the blurred areas in a way that’s just not possible with anything else, you can have parts of the foreground and background in focus and out of focus at the same time.

Not the greatest of pictures but it does show how the slice of focus works with the boats & buildings on the right in focus and the left a lovely blur ….

Lensbaby Edge 35 first impressions

And below is a series of images all shot at the same aperture (f4) but with the optic tilted in different directions to create subtle changes in the areas of focus and blur.

Lensbaby Edge 35 Lensbaby Edge 35 review Lensbaby Edge 35 review

It’s also possible, in the right circumstances, to create a miniature effect with the Edge 35 (and Edge 50). This is most effective shooting from a slightly raised position and unfortunately I’ve not had the opportunity to test this effect. I’d really hoped to head out again this week but we currently have the sort of weather that feels like it might blow you right of your feet, not ideal for photography!

So since I can’t head out I had a little play with a still life set up this morning. I shot this at the Edge 35’s widest aperture which is f3.5 and was reasonably close (the bottles are only about 2″ tall). By tilting the composer upwards I was able to focus on the flower and blur the bottles. With any other Lensbaby the bottles would be almost on the same focal plane as the flower, they may appear slightly soft but they certainly wouldn’t blur to this degree.

Still life photography with the Lensbaby Edge 35

A small selection of the places I’ve been shooting with the Edge 35, hopefully you can see the unique way this Lensbaby blurs things in these shots….

Lensbaby Edge 35 review

Lensbaby Edge 35 review

Lensbaby Edge 35 review

Lensbaby Edge 35 review

Lensbaby Edge 35 review

When I’m out and about with my camera I’m not aiming to create images that are an authentic document of a place, there are lots of photographers that do that really well but shooting that way just doesn’t appeal. I’m always trying to create my own interpretation of a scene, something that’s more unique and captures an element of how I feel. That process starts in camera, and although it sometimes ends in Photoshop with a creative edit, getting something individual and unique in the original image is really important to me. The Edge 35 gives me the freedom to play around with focus and blur to create something that feels like “me” – I’m not sure if that even makes sense to anyone else but some images just feel right, if I put a normal lens on my camera nothing really feels right!

Would I recommend the Edge 35?

Yes I would, but then again I’ve never tried a Lensbaby that I haven’t loved!

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/3/Lensbaby-Edge-35-A-Quick-Trial Thu, 14 Mar 2019 07:24:09 GMT
Lensbaby Blog Circle – Wabi Sabi Roses https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/3/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-Wabi-Sabi-Roses For this month’s Lensbaby Blog Circle post I’m sharing some images of my beautiful dead roses. Whenever I’m buying flowers to photograph I always look for the ones that have reached their sell by date and been reduced, I find their slight imperfections much more interesting than the perfect flowers. Plus I don’t need to wait quite so long for them to die, that’s usually my favourite time to shoot them!

These roses were a beautiful vibrant colour when they were fresh but I love the way the colours became more muted and the petals more textured as they faded away….

I used a few different Lensbaby lenses this month so they are listed under the image along with any textures used. All the textures in this post are available in my new Texture Shop.

 

Lensbaby Velvet 85 flower photography
{Velvet 85}

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet 85 flower photography
{Velvet 85, Glorious Greys texture}

 

 

Lensbaby Burnside 35 flower photography
{Burnside 35, textures from Glorious Greys and Collection No2}

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet 85 flower photography
{Velvet 85 & Warm+Cool Collection texture}

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet 85 flower photography
{Velvet 85, textures from Warm+Cool Collection}

 

 

Lensbaby Sol 45 flower photography
{Sol 45 + Glorious Greys texture}

 

 

Lensbaby Sol 45 flower photography
{Sol 45, textures from Glorious Greys and Collection No1}

 

 

Lensbaby Burnside 35 flower photography
{Burnside 35}

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet 85 flower photography
{Velvet 85, textures from Glorious Greys & Collection No1}

 

Next up in the blog circle is Gizella, please click here to visit her blog and follow the links around the rest of the circle for some lovely Lensbaby inspiration.

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/3/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-Wabi-Sabi-Roses Fri, 01 Mar 2019 02:30:53 GMT
In Fog and Snow ~ Serenity Project February https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/2/In-Fog-and-Snow-Serenity-Project-February What could possibly be more serene than a walk in snow and fog, each brings their own unique silence, put them together and you feel like you could be all alone in the world….

I woke up one morning at the end of January to a covering of snow, I’m usually keen to head out on foot when it snows but this particular morning I felt strangely disinterested. And then around lunchtime I spotted the first hints of a mist, before long the fog had rolled in and I couldn’t wait to head out.

I choose to take just the Lensbaby Sol45, I knew the trees were going to loom out of the fog and the wide aperture and the blur of the Sol were perfect to capture the quietness of the day.

Lensbaby b&W landcsapes by Janet Broughton

Lensbaby b&W landcsapes by Janet Broughton

Lensbaby b&W landcsapes by Janet Broughton

Lensbaby b&W landcsapes by Janet Broughton

Lensbaby b&W landcsapes by Janet Broughton

Next up in the circle is Jillian Baudry, south of France photographer. Follow the link to see her interpretation of serenity and continue around the circle, I’m sure you’ll find lots to inspire!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby the serenity project wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/2/In-Fog-and-Snow-Serenity-Project-February Wed, 20 Feb 2019 08:00:00 GMT
Well This Is Embarrassing!! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/2/Well-This-Is-Embarrassing Last week an interesting email popped into my inbox from the lovely Keri at Lensbaby. It was an invitation to join a select group of Lensbaby Artists and be part of Lensbaby’s Challenge Playbook, a series of photographic projects for us to pick and choose from and shoot at our leisure.

The challenges are all quite flexible and as I read through the Playbook I realised that most of them inspire me. Some of them will certainly challenge me but that’s a good thing, it’s easy to slip into a habit of shooting the same things with same lenses and I don’t feel like I’ve pushed myself much recently.

Challenge 1 seemed a good place to start but it’s a good job that I’m able to laugh at myself….

The first challenge is all about sharing our journey, from our first Lensbaby shots to our more recent work, so that newer Lensbaby photographers can see the progression and realise that it’s OK to not be great in the beginning and that perseverance, trial and error and lots of failures make us much stronger photographers.

Looking back I realised that I got my first Lensbaby in May 2010, a composer with a double glass optic. All of the older images I share were taken within the first two months of Lensbaby ownership.

In May 2010 I was a very different person to who I am now, I worked as a Financial Controller (although I’d always had a feeling I was supposed to be doing something different) and I wasn’t in the tiniest bit creative. I’d only been interested in photography for around 12 months, I was keen to learn but I think it’s safe to say my lack of creativity really showed in my photos!

The very first Lensbaby image I have stored on my computer is definitely one of the first I took, I remember standing in the kitchen with my new toy and looking around for something to try it out on….

The focus is a little odd, I’m not sure I intended to focus on the furthest shoe, but this isn’t as terrible as I expected. As a contrast below is one of my images shot this week with the Velvet 85.

Still life photography by Janet Broughton

And if that very first image wasn’t as bad as I expected it was followed by some absolute shockers…

And this one, why on earth? I mean really, why did I take this, what on earth appealed about this scene!! I’d like to say it was just focus practice but I went to the trouble of giving it a title and saving it all these years. “Bucket and Sponge” if you were wondering. Remember I explained I was an accountant and not creative?

I really can’t stop laughing at that.

Or this one, taking at Salford Quays which is such a fantastic area for photography.

I went soon after I got my Lensbaby and was somehow strangely drawn to the concrete steps and managed somehow to take a terrible photo of bridge that is really difficult to take a terrible photo of!

And the same bridge taken in 2017 when I was trying out the Velvet 56. In the interim I’ve obviously learned a lot about composition, I can’t imagine why I didn’t think to change my position back in 2010.

And a couple more embarrassingly boring shots from May 2010.

Do you remember slider phones? At least I can claim that one has some historical significance! Although my approach to photographing cups with objects has definitely become much more creative, this one was taken with the Sol 45 in January 2019.

Photography by Janet Broughton

Later in May of 2010 I took my new Lensbaby off to Morecambe for some more practice and some of the shots I took on that visit aren’t quite as embarrassing as the ones from Salford Quays.

I shot the same building again in 2017 with the Edge 50, it’s interesting to see how differently I now compose an image.

Lensbaby Edge 50 landscape by Janet Broughton

I found a few other subjects from those first weeks with my Lensbaby that I’ve repeated more recently:

Bleeding Hearts, May 2010 and then two from April 2017 with the Twist 60:

Bleeding Hearts, Lensbaby Twist 60

Bleeding Hearts, Lensbaby Twist 60

Cow Parsley, June 2010 then 2017 with the Velvet 85

Cow parsley, Lensbaby Velvet 85

And flowers indoors, May 2010 followed by the Sweet 80 with macro filters in 2018.

Lensbaby Sweet 80 flower photography by Janet Broughton

I’ve missed out a great chunk of my own journey in this post, I used my Lensbaby very little between 2012 and 2015 (a period when I was shooting little other than portraits). I started to use them a little more often in 2016 and then by 2017 the Lensbaby bug had well and truly bitten!

Whenever I talk to people about using Lensbaby optics and lenses I always stress that simply putting a Lensbaby on your camera will not instantly transform you into a better photographer. A boring picture will still be boring with a Lensbaby, it’ll just have a bit of blur added. I think it’s safe to say that I proved that point with some of my first images!

Becoming a better Lensbaby photographer requires more than just mastering the skills specific to a Lensbaby (manual focus, placing the sweet spot etc) you also need to understand exposure and light and work on your composition and editing skills. And then you need to let go of the rules you’ve learned, as well as the need for technical perfection, and that’s when you’ll really start to become a better Lensbaby photographer.

The best piece of advice I would give anyone new to shooting with Lensbaby is to expect a steep learning curve and lots of shots that you will be deleting in the beginning. Know that this is normal and don’t let it put you off, the magic is just around the corner!

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/2/Well-This-Is-Embarrassing Tue, 19 Feb 2019 04:04:00 GMT
Buddhist Centre Visit – Serenity Project https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/2/Buddhist-Centre-Visit-Serenity-Project I honestly don’t think there can be anywhere that feels more serene than the Samye Ling Buddhist Centre in Eskdalemuir, Scotland. I’ve visited here a number of times over the years and have seen many changes as the centre has grown and extended around the central temple.

It’s hard to explain the feelings of calm and tranquillity that can be felt throughout grounds, there are prayer flags, lanterns and offerings scattered around and if you are lucky enough to be there when the monks are praying in the temple it’s an experience not to be missed. I know little about Buddhism but I love how welcoming this place is, it’s perfectly acceptable to go sit in the temple during prayers as long as you remove your shoes. The prayers consist of chanting and bang of drums and large gongs, I don’t understand a word but somehow the experience is both relaxing and uplifting.

It’s not really possible to capture the feeling of this place in images, I’ve tried but I don’t think I’ve done it justice…

For the first time in a long time I haven’t shot with a Lensbaby! I’ve recently purchased a Fuji X-T20 so that I can carry much less weight around with me and I’m experimenting with different lenses. I’ll be back to Lensbabies very soon though!

Next up in this month’s Serenity Circle is Eileen Critchley, an Ohio photographer. Please click here to head over and pay her a visit and be sure to click through the links for lots of inspiring images.

 

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(Janet Broughton) the serenity project wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/2/Buddhist-Centre-Visit-Serenity-Project Fri, 15 Feb 2019 19:45:00 GMT
Lensbaby Blog Circle – A Wander Along Manchester’s Canals https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/2/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-A-Wander-Along-Manchester-s-Canals It’s very rare that I do any urban photography, partly because I’m happiest in the countryside or by the sea but I’m also a little uncomfortable wandering a city centre alone with a large and conspicuous camera.

So when I spotted that the lovely Katya from Easy Insta Manchester was organising an Instacake meetup I thought it would be a great opportunity to take some city centre photos in the comfort of a group, and what a lovely group it turned out to be.

In case you are wondering, an Instacake meetup is exactly what it sounds like, an opportunity to meet up with Instagram users and eat cake (although in my case the cake was actually a croissant), drink coffee, talk about Instagram, creativity and business and then have a wander to take some pictures. A perfect way to spend a morning!

After our cake, coffee and chat we headed long the canal for a spot of photography and were very lucky with the light and the weather…

Urban photography with Lensbaby Edge 50

Urban photography with Lensbaby Edge 50

Urban photography with Lensbaby Edge 50

Urban photography with Lensbaby Edge 50

Urban photography with Lensbaby Edge 50

Urban photography with Lensbaby Edge 50

Urban photography with Lensbaby Edge 50

Urban photography with Lensbaby Edge 50

Urban photography with Lensbaby Edge 50

All of the images are taken with the Edge 50, I love this optic but don’t use it enough!

Most have textures added from my new Glorious Greys collection.

Next up in the blog circle is Birgit one of newest members, please click here to head over and pay her a visit and then follow the links around the circle.

The post Lensbaby Blog Circle – A Wander Along Manchester’s Canals appeared first on Definitely Dreaming.

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/2/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-A-Wander-Along-Manchester-s-Canals Fri, 01 Feb 2019 03:35:58 GMT
A Frosty Morning – Serenity Project January https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/1/A-Frosty-Morning-Serenity-Project-January 2nd January, the first “real” day of 2019 (don’t know about you but New Year’s Day never feels like a real day somehow) and I woke to the most beautiful frosty morning. A glorious winter day, bright but bitterly cold.

I argued with myself, part of me wanted to go out and capture the beauty and tranquillity of the morning, part of me wanted to stay warm and cosy. Warm and cosy won for a little while but the need to create shouted louder and louder until I felt compelled to wrap myself up warm and venture out for a wander.

Gathering up my camera and my Lensbaby Velvet 85 I headed out into the quiet, still morning, a perfect Serenity Project setting…

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

frosty morning with Lensbaby Velvet 85 - photography by Janet Broughton

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby the serenity project wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/1/A-Frosty-Morning-Serenity-Project-January Wed, 16 Jan 2019 08:00:44 GMT
Graveyard Wanderings – Lensbaby Blog Circle https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/1/Graveyard-Wanderings-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle Maybe it’s not the most cheerful of photographic subjects for my first blog post of the new year but I do love a good graveyard!

I did very little photography during December and what I did shoot was with my phone, the end of the month was rapidly approaching and I’d nothing to share for the blog circle so I decided to take advantage of a beautiful day and the low winter sun and take a walk to a ruined church with a wonderful old graveyard.

I decided to leave behind everything except the Burnside 35 and Sol 45, both lenses that I love but haven’t used anywhere near as much as I’d like to.
lensbaby Burnside 35 - graveyard photo

lensbaby Burnside 35 - graveyard photo

lensbaby Burnside 35 - graveyard photo

lensbaby Burnside 35 - graveyard photo

lensbaby Burnside 35 - graveyard photo

lensbaby Sol 45 - graveyard photo

lensbaby Sol 45 - graveyard photo

lensbaby Sol 45 - graveyard photo

Next up in this month’s blog circle is Katrin, click here to join her in San Diego and then follow the links around the circle.

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2019/1/Graveyard-Wanderings-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle Mon, 07 Jan 2019 02:00:41 GMT
The Essence of a Forest – Serenity Project December https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/12/The-Essence-of-a-Forest-Serenity-Project-December December has passed in it’s usual blur with little time made for photography. We always take some time away from home in December which means that Christmas preparations are rushed and the month seems swing backwards and forwards between being busy and being totally relaxed!

For this month’s Serenity Project I decided to use my phone to try to capture the essence of a Scottish pine forest where I often walk. I love the birch trees with their silvery trunks that nestle among the pines, I love the fact that at times the forest is so dense that it’s pitch black just a few feet off the path but at other points the sun shines through the trees and looks quite magical. I love that it’s always so peaceful with only the sounds of birds to be heard….

Serenity project blog circle

Serenity project blog circle

Serenity project blog circle

Serenity project blog circle

Next up in the Serentity Project circle is Amy with her beautiful baking, please head over and take a look then wander your way around the rest of the circle where you are sure to be inspired!

 

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(Janet Broughton) phone photography the serenity project wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/12/The-Essence-of-a-Forest-Serenity-Project-December Wed, 19 Dec 2018 08:00:59 GMT
Lensbaby Blog Circle November – By The Sea https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/12/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-November-By-The-Sea I was so organised this month and shot the blog circle images right at the beginning of the month, it seems like ages ago now! I actually had a little panic the other day when I realised we were almost at the end of the month, I’d been so organised that I’d forgotten I already had shot something for the circle.

I very nearly didn’t bother driving out to the coast, the weather was a bit grey, I hadn’t been sleeping due to a shoulder problem and I didn’t feel all that inspired. But I gave myself a good talking to, got in the car and headed off to Formby, and I was so glad I did. When I arrived the light was soft and hazy, it was almost misty but not quite, there was hardly anyone around and it was lovely to just walk along the beach for a couple of miles enjoying the fresh air and open space. Winter is my absolute favourite time to be by the sea.

I’ve very much fallen into a habit of reaching for one of the Velvet lenses as soon as I get my camera out, I keep telling myself I should shoot with the others more often but the Velvets always win.

Not this time though…

Due to my shoulder problems I really wanted to keep the weight at a minimum (my camera is already heavy) so I took just the Edge 50 and Sweet 80. I was constantly swapping optics and I do have one or two images where I wasn’t quite sure which one I’d used but most of the ones below are the Edge 50. The three textured images use textures from my own collections.

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Lensbaby Edge 50, Sweet 80 landscapes

Next up in the blog circle is Carol with her wonderful Seattle skies – please head over there and follow the links through the rest of the circle, it’s a little smaller this month but definitely worth visiting them all!

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/12/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-November-By-The-Sea Sat, 01 Dec 2018 01:12:19 GMT
Guild Of Photographers Qualification Panel https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/11/Guild-Of-Photographers-Qualification-Panel I did it! I’m really pleased to have finally submitted my Qualification Panel and passed!

I’ve been a member of The Guild of Photographers for around five years, initially I was  shooting portraits but my photography and business evolved over time into something very different. For quite some time I’ve been feeling the need to push myself more with my photography, I’ve slipped into a comfort zone that I don’t often leave, much as I know a lot of people enjoy what I do I really don’t want to stop growing creatively.

I probably should have done this a while ago but I’ve been conscious that my work is quite different to most of the Guild members. Much as I’m happy to be different I wasn’t sure how the judges would react but it turns out they like different too!

So what does it all mean?

The Guild defines its Qualified status as “indicating professional competence to a level where the Guild is willing to recognise the photographer as an ambassador of the association.” A panel of 21 images is submitted and reviewed individually by five judges, happily all five judges passed my panel.

Below are my 21 images, all taken with Lensbaby lenses, mostly with the Velvet 56 or 85 but there’s also a Burnside and a Sol thrown in too. As far as I can be aware this is the first time anyone has achieved Qualified status with a set of Lensbaby images…

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

Guild of Photographers Qualification Panel

My next challenge will be to create a new body of work and pass the Craftsman level, and that really will be a challenge that pushes me way out of my comfort zone in lots of ways!

For more info about the Guild of Photographers please visit their website

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby news & updates still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/11/Guild-Of-Photographers-Qualification-Panel Wed, 28 Nov 2018 04:29:33 GMT
Last Leaves of Autumn ~ Serenity Project November 2018 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/11/Last-Leaves-of-Autumn-Serenity-Project-November-2018 Earlier this month I received a message on Facebook asking if I would like to be part of the Serenity Project Blog Circle. I do love a blog circle so I off I popped to have a look through some of the posts in the circle and see what it was all about. And what a treat it was. I discovered a group of talented female photographers sharing some beautiful images that all have a sense of serenity. And of course that’s right up my street!

For my first Serenity Project post I’m sharing some images of an acer in my back garden that turns the most glorious deep red just before it loses it’s leaves. I’d been watching the colours grow deeper and richer and then one overcast morning as I admired them I also realised they would be perfect for the Serenity Project…

still life photography by Janet Broughton

still life photography by Janet Broughton

still life photography by Janet Broughton

I grabbed my camera and my Lensbaby Velvet 85 and took a few shots wide open to give a lovely softness and glow.

Two days later all the leaves had dropped!

Next up in the circle is Eileen Critchley with some frosty mornings, please head over and take a look….

 

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(Janet Broughton) garden photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/11/Last-Leaves-of-Autumn-Serenity-Project-November-2018 Wed, 21 Nov 2018 01:00:07 GMT
Lensbaby Blog Circle – October https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/11/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-October Despite being determined not to miss another month’s blog circle September somehow disappeared without me managing a post. I was actually shocked to realise that I only picked up my camera once in the whole month! That really isn’t like me, I’ll generally shoot something once a week at the very least. I have been getting creative in other ways though so I think I’ll blame that for my lack of photography.

This month I’m sharing a few still life images inspired by a bunch of greenery I bought (just like a bunch of flowers except there are no flowers!), I couldn’t wait for the poppy heads to die and dry out and for the rest to wilt a little. I’m always more inspired by things that have past their best. I love the shapes, tones and textures of the poppy heads now that they have dried out and think they will be featuring a lot in my still lifes.

textures for photographers

photography by Janet Broughton

Photography by Janet Broughton

photography by Janet Broughton

photography by Janet Broughton

Textured photography

photography by Janet Broughton

digiatl textures still life photo

Most of these were taken with the Velvet 56 apart from the third and fourth which were taken with the Sol 45. For the textured images I’ve used various textures from my latest collection, in the third image I’ve blended one of my own with one from Flypaper Textures.

Next up in the circle is Gizella with her beautiful pink dahlias, please click here and head over to her post and then have a wander around the rest of the circle.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/11/Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-October Thu, 01 Nov 2018 03:21:03 GMT
Broken String – Lensbaby Blog Circle August https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/9/Broken-String-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-August I was really disappointed to miss the July posting for the Lensbaby Blog Circle, I got close to end of the month and realised that anything I’d shot that worked as a set of images was taken on the Sol 45 and I wasn’t able to share until the official release!

Looking at my diary and plans for the rest of this month and I realised that I was in danger of running out of time unless I found something I could shoot at home. So I was on the hunt for something different to my usual still life and flowers when I remembered the old ukulele that sits gathering dust in a corner of the spare room, no-one plays it but for some reason I’ve never felt inclined to get of it.

The old ukulele has a broken string that has formed a rather lovely curve and hooked itself back around another string. I’m really drawn to this string so for this month’s blog circle I added a macro filter to the Sol 45 and embraced the imperfection of the ukulele with lots of blur, black and white and some textures.

Lensbaby Sol 45 still life photography

Lensbaby Sol 45 still life photography

Lensbaby Sol 45 still life photography

Lensbaby Sol 45 still life photography

Lensbaby Sol 45 still life photography

Lensbaby Sol 45 still life photography

Lensbaby Sol 45 still life photography

Lensbaby Sol 45 still life photography

Next up in the blog circle is Stephanie DeFranco, please click the link to see her post and keep following the circle!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/9/Broken-String-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-August Sat, 01 Sep 2018 02:34:24 GMT
More Wanderings With The Lensbaby Sol 45 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/8/More-Wanderings-With-The-Lensbaby-Sol-45 If you’ve seen my recent post you’ll already know that for the last few weeks I’ve been shooting with the Lensbaby Sol 45 ahead of it’s recent launch. I shared my first impressions in the post which you can find here. Today I’m sharing a few more images from my wanderings with this lens, some urban and some rural….

Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes Lensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapesLensbaby Sol 45 urban landscapes

 

I don’t think anything will ever replace the Velvets as my favourite flower photography lens but the Sol is a good second choice, I do love the textured background detail created by the bokeh blades in the fern and pine tree images!

DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45 DSC06829Lensbaby Sol 45

I don’t the Sol 45 is going to be leaving my camera bag any time soon!

(All images taken on a full frame Sony A99)

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/8/More-Wanderings-With-The-Lensbaby-Sol-45 Wed, 15 Aug 2018 06:26:29 GMT
Lensbaby Sol 45 – First Impressions, A Black & White Walk and More… https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/8/Lensbaby-Sol-45-First-Impressions Very first impression of the Lensbaby Sol 45?

I laughed! I unwrapped the packaging, took out the lens and laughed. I laughed because straight away I knew it was going to be fun to shoot with. And I laughed because I couldn’t imagine what sort of a mind would come up with an idea for a lens like this one.

So what is the Sol 45?

Its a small and lightweight lens that feels like it goes back to Lensbaby’s roots. It has a focal length of 45mm and a fixed aperture of f3.5. As with most Lensbaby lenses it has a circular sweet spot of focus that falls off into a lovely blur with smooth bokeh. And as you might expect you can bend it to change the area of focus (see the first two images for an example).

What you will be surprised by are the “bokeh blades” two slotted plastic blades that can be pulled in front of the lens to add some texture and and interest to the bokeh. To quote the press release “The Sol 45 also features bokeh blades to give users even more control over their in-the-moment creative experience. Situated on hinged arms that hide at the edges of the lens, these blades add subtle lines and texture to the bokeh. To use them, simply bring the blades into the lens’s field of view and then rotate them in any direction – horizontal, vertical or diagonal.”

I’ve had the Sol 45 for a few weeks now and have had the chance to use it quite a few times. The first outing was a wander around an old boatyard and I found that the Sol really suits black and white.

Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45 Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45 Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45 Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45 Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45 Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45 Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45 Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45Black and white photography with Lensbaby Sol 45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since that first outing I’ve also used it for still life and been very impressed with the results, I love the soft blur in these images! DSC05865DSC05865

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC05864DSC05864

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what about those bokeh blades?

I’ve found that a lot of the time I’ve just left them over the lens, either partly or pulled further over. Depending on the subject and the light the effect can be very subtle, there’s just a little bit of texture evident in the grass here:

landscape with Lensbaby Sol 45landscape with Lensbaby Sol 45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I love the edge distortion in this scene!)

And here I had the blades pulled quite a way across and you can really see the effect with all the lines in the background bokeh!

Lensbaby Sol45 bokehLensbaby Sol45 bokeh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It flares rather nicely too!

DSC06124DSC06124

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m very lucky that Lensbaby send me lenses to try out but what is most important to me is that I have absolutely no obligation in return. I don’t have to share these blog posts or any images and I’m certainly under no pressure to voice a positive opinion about the lenses (if I was I wouldn’t accept them).

But honestly, I have yet to find a Lensbaby that I don’t love! The Sol for me is a really liberating lens, I can’t change the aperture so all I need to think about is what goes in the frame and whether I want to bend it or pull out the blades, it really is that simple! It’s plastic so it’s very lightweight, and although it has some similarities to the Sweet optics I find it much easier to use. It’s a perfect walkabout lens and very affordable so would be a great introduction to anyone that is new to Lensbaby. It’s definitely going to be a regular in my camera bag.

Click here to visit the Lensbaby website.

(Affiliate Link)

(All images taken on a full frame Sony A99).

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/8/Lensbaby-Sol-45-First-Impressions Tue, 07 Aug 2018 03:55:07 GMT
Inspiring Creatives Interview – 2 Lil Owls https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/7/Inspiring-Creatives-Interview-2-Lil-Owls I was really excited when Denise Love of 2 Lil Owls got in touch to ask if I would be interested in being a part of her brand new blog series “Inspiring Creatives”. I love the texture sets that Denise creates and often use them in my work so of course I agreed straight away!

If you would to read the full interview please click here and head over to the 2 Lil Owls blog.

 

Creative landscape photography
“The trees leaned in and whispered words of encouragement as she stumbled along the path towards the bridge of hope….”

 

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) news & updates https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/7/Inspiring-Creatives-Interview-2-Lil-Owls Fri, 13 Jul 2018 01:52:26 GMT
Calla Lily Study – Lensbaby Blog Circle (June) https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/6/Calla-Lily-Study-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-June What do you do when you wake up on the morning of a planned garden photography outing to hear the travel news announcing major hold ups on the two motorways you could take and then look out the window and find it’s raining despite that not being the weather forecast?

My solution was to pop to the supermarket and buy a calla lily plant and then to remind myself of my theme for the year “embracing the blur”. Armed with the Velvet 85, Sweet 80 and 50, macro converters and filters I set about creating a set of images to celebrate the lines, curves and colour of the flowers and at the same time embracing the blur and letting go of any urges to produce a conventional set of images.

Black & White Lensbaby Flower Photography

Lensbaby Sweet 50 macro

Lensbaby Sweet 50 flower macro

Lensbaby Sweet 50 macro flowers

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Flower Photography

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Flower Photography

This post is part of the Lensbaby Blog Circle, a group of photographers sharing a monthly post of Lensbaby images shot in the previous month. Next up in the circle is Katrin who has been taking part in the travelling Burnside project, please click here to have a look and follow the circle!

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/6/Calla-Lily-Study-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-June Mon, 25 Jun 2018 08:58:26 GMT
Supermarket Inspiration ~ Lensbaby Blog Circle (May) https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/5/Supermarket-Inspiration-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-May I would love to be able to say that I’m super organised and have ideas planned well in advance for the Lensbaby blog circle posts but the reality is that I’m usually at least a week into the month before I even start to think about it.

May was no exception and I had no idea what to shoot for the post until I was wandering around my local supermarket and saw a bunch of British Allium for sale. They took me a little by surprise, I don’t think I’ve seen allium for sale as a cut flower before but I knew they would be great for some still life images with the Velvet lenses. I’d also just bought some new textures from Flypaper Textures so some of this months images have textures added.

still life photography, lensbaby Velvet

still life photography, lensbaby Velvet

still life photography, lensbaby Velvet

still life photography, lensbaby Velvet

still life photography, lensbaby Velvet

still life photography, lensbaby Velvet

Next up in the blog circle is Keri, please click here to read her post & keep following the links around the circle.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/5/Supermarket-Inspiration-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-May Wed, 30 May 2018 09:49:56 GMT
A Moorland Wander ~ Lensbaby Blog Circle (April) https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/4/A-Moorland-Wander-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-April For April’s Lensbaby blog circle post I had a lovely wander on the moors above Bolton with my Dad. I had taken the Burnside 35 and both of Velvet lenses with me, I still feel more naturally drawn to the longer focal length of the Velvet 85 but the wider view of the Burnside came in really useful for some of the landscapes.

I’ve got two surprising facts relating to my walk to share in this blog post:

1: That this actually happened….

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

It’s so hard to believe that 10,000 people would have marched along this path in 1896. It’s not the easiest place to access even now, in 1896 it would have been a long walk from anywhere. It’s hard to imagine that so many people cared enough about a public right of way when their lives probably weren’t easy.

UPDATE I decided to Google this while I was typing this post, apparently the local landowner decided to close the path so it wouldn’t interfere with his grouse shooting. Many of the protesters would have been spinners, miners, weavers and bleachworkers and their protest was aimed at the tyranny of landowner who was a local employer and anti socialism and trade unions. So now I understand why so many people cared!

2. That anyone would buy a 5.5 acre difficult to access reservoir…..

High up on the moors in a beautiful but remote and windswept location is Dean Mills reservoir. The reservoir was built in the 1800’s and is only accessible on foot. It’s not close to the nearest road and the path is steep and uneven but someone chose to buy it at a recent auction.

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

lensbaby landscape photography in Bolton

The Lensbaby Blog Circle is a small group of Lensbaby loving photographers scattered around the world so you might just go from my Lancashire moors to California in a few mouse clicks!

Click here to visit Katrin’s post which is the next in the circle, if you keep following the links you will eventually find your way back here!

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/4/A-Moorland-Wander-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-April Tue, 24 Apr 2018 08:06:36 GMT
Making Life Simple – An Ikea Hack for Still Life Photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/4/Making-Life-Simple-An-Ikea-Hack-for-Still-Life-Photography This year I’ve found myself shooting less and less indoor still life, not because I’ve lost interest or feel uninspired but simply because it requires a lot of effort! My usual shooting space is in the living room, I’ve a large window and great light but each time I want to shoot something I need to start moving around furniture and carrying a whole array of props and backdrops up and down the stairs. And honestly, sometimes I just can’t be bothered….

So something needed to change and I set off to Ikea filled with my usual mixed feelings of dread and excitement (anyone else feel the same way about visiting Ikea or is that just me?) and came home with a great new still life set up that cost just £11 and the cutest little espresso cup.

Disclaimer: I did obviously buy more things, things that my life just wouldn’t be complete without, but they aren’t that relevant to my photography…..

Still life photography online workshop

Still life photography, simple Ikea set up by Janet Broughton

So what did I buy for the great sum of £11?

A Lack coffee table for £5 and a Linnmon table top for £6 – the coffee table works as a base, it’s a perfect height for sitting on the floor and shooting straight on or at angle but isn’t too high for standing up and shooting top down.

Still life photography online workshop

The table top stands on its end leaning against the table and can either be a white background or can be used to tape wallpaper onto or lean photo boards against. Alternatively, when I need a wider background, it can be turned around and propped on top something (in my case the open drawers of the wardrobe) and it’s then perfect for draping fabric over.

And the best thing of all is that its all very lightweight (you can’t really expect anything else for £5!) making it much easier to move around than my living room furniture. It’s stored in a corner of my spare bedroom, the same room I keep all my props in, which also has great light, so it’s now effortless to pull everything out and start shooting.

No more excuses!

Still life photography, simple Ikea set up by Janet Broughton

Still life photography online workshop

Still life photography online workshop

An unexpected bonus is that when the table is tucked away in the corner I can store much of the accumulated boxes and bits and pieces that go alongside a home based business underneath or on top of it and make the room look a little tidier.

Here’s a little behind the scenes phone shot, it looks a bit like a chair but the back is actually the table top, it’s standing on the floor but I can also pull out the drawers behind, turn it around and pop it on there to make a wider background.

ikea still life photography hack

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/4/Making-Life-Simple-An-Ikea-Hack-for-Still-Life-Photography Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:03:53 GMT
Snow With The Lensbaby Edge 50 – Lensbaby Blog Circle (March) https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/3/Snow-With-The-Lensbaby-Edge-50-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-March What a difference a month makes!

For February’s Lensbaby Blog Circle Post the end of the month was fast approaching and I was in a bit of flap that I’d had shot nothing for the post and didn’t have much time. For the March post I shot my images on the first day of the month!! I would love to say that I was being efficient and organised but the reality was that the “Beast From The East” landed and brought with bitterly cold weather and a good covering of dry powdery snow.

Driving was out of the question but luckily I have lots of lovely places in walking distance so I set off for the local park. I always feel the the Edge 50 adds a little bit of dreamy magic to a landscape so it seemed the obvious choice for snow.

Lensbaby Blog Circle

Lensbaby Blog Circle

Lensbaby Blog Circle

Lensbaby Blog Circle

Lensbaby Blog Circle

Lensbaby Blog Circle

Lensbaby Blog Circle

Lensbaby Blog Circle

Lensbaby Blog Circle

Lensbaby Blog Circle

Next up in the blog circle is Martina, click here to enjoy spring in Germany through a Lensbaby. Why not grab yourself a cuppa and click your way around the circle, you’ll find a whole group of talented Lensbaby shooters around the world and I’m sure there will be a great variety of images.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/3/Snow-With-The-Lensbaby-Edge-50-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle-March Tue, 27 Mar 2018 07:15:56 GMT
Garden Photography – What to Shoot in Early Spring https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/3/Garden-Photography-What-to-Shoot-in-Early-Spring If you are anything like me once the first signs of spring arrive you can’t wait to get out with the camera and visit some gardens. But if daffodils aren’t your thing and it’s too early for tulips you may well find yourself thinking there won’t be anything to shoot.

There is always something interesting to be found on a visit to a garden, here are my top five tips for what to shoot on a garden visit in late March.

1. New Growth – nothing says spring like new growth, look for tiny buds, flowers about to unfurl, the earliest of early blossoms. Some might take a little hunting to spot and you may attract some strange looks as you try to get a close up of a little bud that most people won’t have spotted but it’s worth taking some time to hunt out the first signs of growth.

Spring garden photography tips

Spring garden photography tips

Spring garden photography tips

Spring garden photography tips

2. Old Growth – yes it may be very dead but that doesn’t mean that some of last years growth won’t have a beauty all of it’s own! (Tip – changing your shooting angle in a garden can drastically change the background and allow you to create very different images in one location.)

Spring garden photography tips

Spring garden photography tips

3. Indoor Spaces – Many larger gardens often have an orangery or greenhouse that you can shoot inside, they may only have greenery inside but you can play around with the light and warm up a little at the same time.

Spring garden photography tips

4. Details – signposts, plant labels, tree trunks, natural patterns, leaves, shadows….. Think beyond the obvious and there are endless possibilities.

Spring garden photography tips

Spring garden photography tips

Spring garden photography tips

5. Early spring flowers – It’s not all daffodils in spring….. Camellia, Hellebore and Anemone are amongst other early flowers, it’s worth checking with any gardens you plan to visit whether they have anything that flowers in spring, but don’t worry if they don’t, the other four suggestions will give you plenty to be shooting.

Spring garden photography tips

And of course there’s no reason you can’t photograph the daffodils if you feel inspired by them, I love a vase of daffs on my kitchen windowsill but they aren’t a flower that I feel the urge to photograph every spring.

All of the images in this post were taken with the Lensbaby Velvet 85.

 

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(Janet Broughton) garden photography lensbaby photography tips & advice https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/3/Garden-Photography-What-to-Shoot-in-Early-Spring Tue, 27 Mar 2018 03:10:06 GMT
Flowers with the Sweet 80 – Lensbaby Blog Circle https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/2/Flowers-with-the-Sweet-80-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle Anyone else struggling to accept that we are already at the end of February? I honestly can’t believe how quickly this month has flown by, yesterday saw me in a panic that we only had two days left of the month and it seemed highly likely that I wouldn’t have a post ready for the Lensbaby Blog Circle. Then major guilt set in, no way could I set up the blog circle with such a great group of photographers and then miss the second month!

So it was on with the thinking cap, what could I do quickly that I would be happy to share in a blog post….

Well I have the Sweet 80 that I haven’t used anywhere near enough, a set of the new macro filters that I haven’t used at all and a bouquet of flowers from my wedding anniversary so a session of creative flower photography seemed the logical answer.

Lensbaby Sweet 80 macro flower photo

Lensbaby Sweet 80 macro flower photo

Lensbaby Sweet 80 macro flower photo

Lensbaby Sweet 80 macro flower photo

Lensbaby Sweet 80 macro flower photo

Lensbaby Sweet 80 macro flower photo

Lensbaby Sweet 80 macro flower photo

I must admit I’ve been missing my flower photography so it’s been fun to shoot some vibrant colour in the middle of winter!

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/2/Flowers-with-the-Sweet-80-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle Wed, 28 Feb 2018 11:06:55 GMT
Lensbaby Burnside 35 – First Impressions, By The Sea https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/2/Lensbaby-Burnside-35-First-Impressions-By-The-Sea Those lovely Lensbaby people kindly sent me a Burnside 35 lens to try out ahead of it’s official launch and I’m very excited to share my thoughts and first impressions, I’ve had the lens for a week or two and have been dying to share some of the images!

So what is the Burnside 35? Below is the description from Lensbaby themselves:

“The first ever wide angle adaptation of the Petzval lens design, this 35mm f/2.8 lens creates images with a large, bright central area of sharp focus and striking color rendition surrounded by variable, swirling bokeh and vignette. It also features an effect slider that operates as a second internal iris that changes the shape and amount of swirl in the bokeh; all while adding or removing vignette and center brightness.”

I know that there are lots of photographers that are going to be so excited at the launch of a 35mm Lensbaby art lens, for me 35mm takes a bit of adjustment since I’m naturally drawn to longer focal lengths. The Velvet 85 has been a firm favourite and is rarely off my camera.

My first opportunity to get out and about saw me heading off to the coast on a bitterly cold day. I decided to visit Crosby, a rather wonderful stretch of beach that is home to Anthony Gormley’s Another Place, 100 cast iron life sized figures spread along the beach and at different distances from the shore.

Before I share any images I must point out the drawbacks of the day and location I’d chosen for this lens – first of all it was cold, bitterly cold with an icy wind that blows right through you. Now I actually love a cold day by the sea so I’m not complaining BUT it did mean that I wasn’t able to take my gloves off. I’d planned to shoot different apertures with and without the vignette and take notes on my phone but that plan went out of the window! Then there was the light, it was beautifully soft and silvery, but not the best to show the wonderful colours of the Burnside. And the choice of location meant that there wasn’t always enough texture and detail in the background to show the swirl of the bokeh.

One of the first things that struck me about the Burnside is how beautifully it renders colours, most of the images in this post have been edited in Lightroom using the presets that I generally use BUT where there is colour in the scene there isn’t always a need for editing.

This image was taken to show the colours of the Burnside, I shoot in RAW and have only made a slight tweak to the contrast and clarity:

Lensbaby Burnside 35

This was shot at either f2.8 or f4 (I have a feeling it’s f2.8) with no in camera vignette added. There’s a lovely softness around the edges of the image and you can see the swirl in the bokeh, especially on the left where there is more detail in the background.

About that vignette slider….

What a great idea! I do like a bit of a vignette and often add them in Lightroom, if you do the same and have created presets with vignettes included you will need to remember to remove them when editing or you will end up with a vignette that’s too heavy. It’s worth remembering that the vignette slider doesn’t need to be on or off, it’s a four position slider so you can have a little or a lot of vignette. The first image below has a full vignette and with a contrast boost it’s turned out a little heavy for my liking, the second image has a slight in camera vignette.

 Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

 Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

It’s worth also noting that the full vignette isn’t as heavy when you aren’t shooting towards the light (below), you’ll need to experiment a little to find out what works for you.

And there’s something about that central sharpness/colour/brightness combination that really lends itself to central compositions, something I’ve never found in any other lens!

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

A further selection of images, some show that central bright area, others show the swirl of the bokeh and some just show what a great location Crosby is!

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

Lensbaby Burnside 35 landscape photography

(All images were taken on a full frame Sony A99.)

I started the post by saying that I’m not a natural wide shooter and that the Velvet 85 is my go to lens, after a few days with the Burnside I’m certainly going to be shooting wide a lot more than I have previously. I’m not sure that it will replace the Velvet 85 as my favourite but it’s certainly got a permanent place in my camera bag and I can’t wait until we have some floral colour around to get out into some gardens with it!

I’ve also been trying out the Burnside 35 for still life photography, you can read that post here

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/2/Lensbaby-Burnside-35-First-Impressions-By-The-Sea Thu, 15 Feb 2018 03:09:56 GMT
Lensbaby Burnside 35 – First Impressions, Still Life https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/2/Lensbaby-Burnside-35-First-Impressions-Still-Life If you’ve read this post you will already know that the guys at Lensbaby sent me a Lensbaby Burnside 35 to try out ahead of it’s launch. I’ve had it for a week or two but it’s co-incided with a busy period so I’ve only had a couple of opportunities to shoot with it.

Here is how Lensbaby describe the Burnside 35:

“The first ever wide angle adaptation of the Petzval lens design, this 35mm f/2.8 lens creates images with a large, bright central area of sharp focus and striking color rendition surrounded by variable, swirling bokeh and vignette. It also features an effect slider that operates as a second internal iris that changes the shape and amount of swirl in the bokeh; all while adding or removing vignette and center brightness.”

You’ll also know if you read the previous post that I’m not a natural wide shooter, this is especially true for my still life photography where I rarely shoot with anything wider than the Velvet 56. The obvious drawback of shooting still life at 35mm is that you need wide backgrounds too, my backdrop is wide enough but the board I was using as a base really could have done with being a few inches wider, a bit of cloning to fill in the gaps is required.

I was really impressed with the colour rendition of the Burnside 35 for still life, I have a few favourite presets that give me film like tones that I love but I could really use these images straight from the camera. In these four comparison images below I’ve done nothing other than open the Raw file and save as a Jpeg!

Images 1 and 2 are shot at f4 and then f2.8. Images 3 and 4 are both shot at f2.8, 3 has no vignette and 4 has a full vignette added in camera.

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

And these three, comparing the effect of the vignette slider have only had the slightest tone curve tweak. All are shot at f2.8, the first has a full vignette, the second no vignette and the third had half vignette (technically there isn’t a half since there are four notches on the slider but I’d forgotten and positioned it halfway!).

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

Below is another image that has no adjustments other than converting the Raw file. I’ve included this one as it shows the bright sharp centre, the swirl in the bokeh and how the image softens at the edges (note the feet compared to the body).

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

A couple more images that again have just a slight tweak to the tone curve:

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

And finally a few more that I have edited further in Lightroom with colour toning (but no added vignettes!):

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

(All images taken on a full frame Sony A99.)

Final thoughts…..

Any 35mm lens on a full frame camera will have some drawbacks for still life photography, as I mentioned above you can’t get away with narrow backgrounds and there will also be some distortion due to the wider angle. If you look at the right side of the background in the last image above you can see a curve that needs straightening but if I adjust it the cup becomes wonky, that’s the distortion of a wide angle lens.

Despite those drawbacks this is still a lens that I would use in my still life photography, I love the colours and the way the sharpness drops off as you move away from the centre of the screen.

To find out more about the Burnside 35 please visit the Lensbaby website, if you are in the north west of England and would like to try out a range of Lensbaby lenses and optics please use the Contact Page to enquire about my Lensbaby Training Days.

And if you’ve missed my other “first impressions” post you can find it here.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/2/Lensbaby-Burnside-35-First-Impressions-Still-Life Thu, 15 Feb 2018 03:09:11 GMT
Little Bits of Blackpool – Lensbaby Blog Circle https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/1/Little-Bits-of-Blackpool-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle Welcome to the first of my Lensbaby Blog Circle posts. The blog circle brings together a group of Lensbaby enthusiasts from around the world and each month the members will share a blog post of Lensbaby images that were taken on one day (not the same day for all of us, that would be way too difficult to organise!).  Each post in the circle will end with a link to another member and I’m really excited about the wonderfully diverse range of images that I’m sure we will be seeing.

For my own post I decided to go with my theme of “embracing the blur” and I headed off to Blackpool for my once a year, only in winter, visit. For anyone not from the UK Blackpool is a traditional seaside resort, it’s vibrant and very busy during the summer and a little sad and tired in the winter. Winter always appeals to me much more and I had a wonderful bracing walk up and down the prom with the waves crashing at the side of me. The wind was icy cold and my hair resembled a scarecrow’s when I finished, but it was great to spend some time by the sea capturing little bits of Blackpool with the plastic optic.

Lensbaby plastic optic, landscape photography

Lensbaby plastic optic, landscape photography

Lensbaby plastic optic, landscape photography

Lensbaby plastic optic, landscape photography

Lensbaby plastic optic, landscape photography

Lensbaby plastic optic, landscape photography

Lensbaby plastic optic, landscape photography

Lensbaby plastic optic, landscape photography

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/1/Little-Bits-of-Blackpool-Lensbaby-Blog-Circle Tue, 30 Jan 2018 02:32:15 GMT
2018 – Embracing The Blur https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/1/2018-Embracing-The-Blur If you follow my blog you’ll know that each year I like to set myself a theme. I’m not good at sticking to projects that need a certain sort of image in a set time frame, but a loose theme for a year really helps my creativity and if ever I’m stuck for ideas it gives me something to come back to.

I started in 2016 with 52 Weeks of Quiet and through that discovered an unexpected love of still life photography.

2017 was my Year of Unconventional Lenses when I aimed to shoot more with my neglected Lensbabies and vintage lenses and that had even more unexpected outcomes. I was published on PetaPixel twice and DigitalRev, the lovely Lenbaby people got in touch and sent me various lenses to try, I had an article in The Big Photo magazine and I was one of the photographers featured in the Lensbaby Makers series. I fell in love with the Lensbaby Velvet lenses and my camera now rarely has an autofocus lens attached!

So what’s to come for 2018?

I’ve been thinking about this for such a long time and I’ve decided that this year I’m “Embracing The Blur”. It was the blurriness that first drew me to Lensbabies (many years ago) but I’ve gradually slipped away from creating images with a lot of blur.

So I’m kicking off my year of Embracing The Blur with a set of “still life self portraits”….

Janet Broughton, Self Portraits, Embrace The Blur

I’ve been toying with the idea of “still life selfies” for a little and since I’d much rather be blurred if I most be in a photo so the theme gives me the perfect excuse to experiment!

This year I’ll also be working on a portfolio of landscape images that are very different to anything I’ve done before, they will be for sale as fine art prints and art cards but I’m not sure I’m ready to share any of those just yet!

If you have a new project of your own for 2018 I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/1/2018-Embracing-The-Blur Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:01:47 GMT
A Scottish Forest Walk with the Lensbaby Sweet 80 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/1/A-Scottish-Forest-Walk-with-the-Lensbaby-Sweet-80 A few weeks before Christmas those lovely people at Lensbaby sent me the Sweet 80 to try. Unfortunately life, Christmas, and the British winter weather have all got in the way and conspired to make sure I’ve had little opportunity to use it! I certainly haven’t used it enough to be able to give any real feedback on it but I’m happy to share my first, but rather limited, impressions.

After using the Velvet lenses for so long I found focus using the composer more of challenge. I also found that sometimes the blur from the Sweet 80 can be a little overwhelming so there’s certainly more thought needs to go into using this optic. It definitely made me slower and more considered in my approach and that’s no bad thing! I was really excited to find the pull out macro thingy (I’m sure there’s a more technical name but I’ve no idea what it is!) and found I’ve used it a lot, almost all the time in fact.

I was lucky enough to spend a lot of December in Scotland and took the Sweet 80 for a wander around my favourite forest….

Lensbaby Sweet 80 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Sweet 80 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Sweet 80 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Sweet 80 Landscape Photography

Can anyone else see a tree trunk with a face or is that just me?

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2018/1/A-Scottish-Forest-Walk-with-the-Lensbaby-Sweet-80 Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:22:20 GMT
A Frosty Morning Walk with the Lensbaby Velvet 85 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/12/A-Frosty-Morning-Walk-with-the-Lensbaby-Velvet-85 It was such a bitterly cold morning that even though the sun was peeping over the top of the forest on the hillside there was no sign of the frost melting. I sat drinking my morning coffee and trying to decide if it would be worthwhile braving the cold and heading out.

But there’s something rather magical about those first frosty mornings of winter and it wasn’t long before the yearning to create became stronger than the desire to keep warm. Bundled up in woolly hat and scarf and wearing my warmest coat and gloves I ventured out with the Lensbaby Velvet 85.

With the landscape transformed with icy crystals the most mundane subjects suddenly look so much more appealing.

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Landscape Photography

Lensbaby Velvet 85 Landscape Photography

It’s almost the end of my Year of Unconventional Lenses project and Lensbabies have become my first choice of lens. Somehow I can’t see that changing as we move into next year!

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby my year with unconventional lenses wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/12/A-Frosty-Morning-Walk-with-the-Lensbaby-Velvet-85 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:48:59 GMT
Big Photo Magazine Feature https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/12/Big-Photo-Magazine-Feature Lensbaby comparison Velvet 85, Velvet 56

I’m very excited to have an article in the latest edition of The Big Photo magazine!

I was asked few weeks ago if I would be happy to combine my blog posts comparing the Lensbaby Velvet 56 and 85 into an article for the magazine, which of course I was. Even though I’ve known for a while that the magazine was coming I wasn’t expecting to see my name on the cover alongside some very well respected photographers!

The Big Photo is a free digital magazine and you can access the copy above by clicking here.

 

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(Janet Broughton) news & updates https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/12/Big-Photo-Magazine-Feature Mon, 11 Dec 2017 03:35:05 GMT
Portrait Of A Man I Never Met https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/11/Portrait-Of-A-Man-I-Never-Met I never met Ian but I know I would have really liked him.

Ian was a gentleman and a wonderful eccentric with a warm personality.

He wore a monocle for many years (to the embarrassment of his kids) because he had poor eyesight in just one eye. He only replaced it with glasses when both eyes needed a little help. He was one of life’s real characters and I don’t think we have enough people like Ian around any more.

He was a lover of music and poetry and words, eloquent in writing but sadly like many men of his age not one for talking about his feelings. So when he took his life last year his family were shocked and devastated.

Ian’s daughter contacted me to tell me all about him and her difficult grief after the nature of his death. She had his remaining possessions and hoped that a still life photograph would restore some dignity to them, help with her grief and leave her with a keepsake that she really could treasure.

So here are my portraits of Ian, a man I never met but wish I had:

still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 56

still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 56

still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 56

still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 56

still life photography with Lensbaby Velvet 56

I had very mixed feelings about this commission, I went from excitement at the creative challenge, to a worry that I may not do justice to the memory of Ian to a great sadness when I sat and looked through the box of belongings that had just arrived.

When I’d finished, I actually felt emotional looking at the images, I felt as if I’d really had known Ian so I had to trust that I had created what his daughter had hoped for. I needn’t have worried, in her own words: “The results have left me speechless. It’s as if he’s just walked past and put his glasses down, or hung his jacket up. She has captured not only his dignity but his character so perfectly – his love of music, his intelligence, his warmth, gentlemanliness, and his eccentricity.”

I chose to use the Lensbaby Velvet 56 for these portraits, I felt the softness perfectly complimented the sensitive approach that the images deserved.

If you would like to discuss commissioning your own still life photographs please head over to the Contact Page to get in touch.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/11/Portrait-Of-A-Man-I-Never-Met Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:49:53 GMT
My Year With Unconventional Lenses – An Update https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/10/My-Year-With-Unconventional-Lenses-An-Update It’s rather ironic that having a creative business sometimes means that we have so little time to follow that creative pursuit that lies at the very heart of our business. I’m currently on a business accelerator program that sees me heading into Manchester once or twice each week. Not only does that take a great chunk of time but the business related ideas that sprout from it lead to an ever growing “to-do” list and a mind that’s forever whirling with ideas. Between that and the writing I do for other photographers I’ve found myself more and more frustrated at a lack of photography time.

So last week I put photography as priority on my to-do list and actually planned it into my schedule. Thursday, PM, starting at 2pm. So of course it turned out to be a gloomy day with rubbish light and I nearly put it off. But I was determined to treat it like any other item planned into my day and just get on with it, so the studio light came out and my favourite bottles and books and I headed into the garden with scissors to gather in some signs of autumn.

For the next couple of hours I switched off from all the things that needed to be done and simply lost myself in photography…….

Online photography traing by Janet Broughton

Online photography traing by Janet Broughton

Online photography traing by Janet Broughton

Online photography traing by Janet Broughton

Online photography traing by Janet Broughton

Online photography traing by Janet Broughton

Online photography traing by Janet Broughton

Online photography traing by Janet Broughton

Online photography traing by Janet Broughton

I’m still dipping in and out of editing them and I’m using my own textures since I’ve just created my first set. One of the things on my growing list of things to do is to make some more, I had much more fun than I expected making this first set!

I’m finally getting around to the point of this post, an update on my Year With Unconventional Lenses. If you’re new to the blog you may not know that I started this year on a mission to shoot more often with my Lensbabies and vintage lenses, using them had become almost an afterthought and I really wanted to try to use them more often. I’ll share my in depth thoughts towards the end of the year but it struck me while I was taking these photos that my Lensbaby optics and lenses have become my default lenses. All of these were taken with the Lensbaby Velvet 56 and I didn’t even contemplate getting out my 50mm macro which used to be my default still life lens.

So it seems like unconventional has become my normal!

PS If you are a creative business owner too and struggling for time to create, follow my tip and schedule that time into your working week. It’s at least as important as all the other stuff and it’ll leave you recharged and revitalized!!

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby random thoughts & musings still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/10/My-Year-With-Unconventional-Lenses-An-Update Tue, 24 Oct 2017 12:33:00 GMT
Start Where You Are https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/10/Start-Where-You-Are Start Where you are……

It’s a rather well known phrase and I seem to keep stumbling across it recently. I usually see it used as business advice, and excellent advice it is too. If we keep telling ourselves we need to do one more training course, get a better logo, redesign our website, write at least a dozen blog posts etc., before we can start our business we will never actually take those first steps. So just “start where you are”, start that business with whatever you have and the rest will fall into place along the way.

But this isn’t really a blog for business advise, even though it is a topic I could talk all day about! I can’t help thinking though that the exact same advice can be applied to our photography, that we often put the same obstacles in the way of creating images.

You know the sort of excuse, I would take great landscape photos if only I could afford to travel to exotic locations, I would be an amazing still life photographer if only I had more space to shoot and store more props, I’d be great at portraits if only I could afford a studio, I’d be a much better photographer if only I could find something interesting to shoot.

And I’m sure there are many more excuses that we use to hold ourselves back.

But here’s the thing, if you start where you are, literally right where you are, with the ordinary everyday objects that are around you, if you learn to see light and find beauty in the everyday you’ll be ready to make the most of those amazing opportunities when they do arise.

You may not have lots of space for still life but you only need a tiny corner or a small table top as long as you keep your props small. Raid your kitchen and search the rest of your house for potential subjects. Fabric or free wallpaper samples can make great backdrops so you can be ready to shoot with minimal cost. Experiment, have fun and see what you can create with a tiny budget, a small space and window light.

Black and white still life photography,

If you want to shoot portraits don’t let the lack of a studio stop you. Why not try lifestyle or environmental portraits, if you can master natural light and learn to make interesting portraits whatever the location you’ll develop a really strong skill set and become a natural storyteller.

online photography courses

And you may not have the most fantastic landscapes on your doorstep but there’s nothing to stop you bringing your own unique vision and style to your immediate area to create something interesting. Or look for the small details within the landscape that are often ignored.  And don’t forget a location might seem uninspiring to you if you see it on a daily basis but to many people it will be somewhere new.

online photography learning

 

So what’s holding you back from creating?

And what can you do to start where you are?

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby photography tips & advice portraits random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/10/Start-Where-You-Are Thu, 05 Oct 2017 12:28:50 GMT
Traditional Crafts Project – Spinning & Weaving https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/9/Traditional-Crafts-Project-Spinning-Weaving A few weeks ago I headed into Derbyshire to visit Wiseheart Studio and meet Kate, a lovely lady who is brimming with passion for spinning, weaving, dying, knitting and basically anything related to wool and as local as possible.

Kate’s studio is a lovely space full of colours and textures and some of the most beautiful hand dyed yarns, I found myself yearning to knit socks and wondering how easy it would be to learn. And then reminding myself that I really don’t have the time and spend most of my time not wearing socks anyway!!

I’m still unsure as to where & how I want to share images as this project evolves. Social media is so geared towards single images and many of the images I have don’t make so much sense alone and out of context. So for now I’m sharing a small selection here and perhaps just one or two in other places.

Heritage Crafts photo projectHeritage Crafts photo projectBlack and white photography with the Lensbaby Velvet 56 and 85

Heritage Crafts photo projectHeritage Crafts photo projectblack and white portrait with the Lensbaby Velvet 56

Heritage Crafts photo projectHeritage Crafts photo project

 

 

I’m looking for volunteers to be a part of the project, the idea is to photograph traditional craftspeople and their workspaces and to document their skills and dedication in keeping these old crafts alive. I’m looking for people who are involved in traditional crafts in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, North Cheshire, Merseyside and nearby areas. I may venture further afield next year if I can find of way of securing some funding to help with costs.

I’m only shooting on weekdays and I will need a release form signing. I’d like to think that one day this project could be a book or an exhibition, you’ll need to be OK with that idea.

If you are interested or know someone who might be please get in touch via the Contact Page.

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(Janet Broughton) black and white photography lensbaby portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/9/Traditional-Crafts-Project-Spinning-Weaving Tue, 19 Sep 2017 06:49:15 GMT
Lensbaby Comparison Part 3 – Velvet 56 vs Velvet 85 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/9/Lensbaby-Comparison-Part-3-Velvet-56-vs-Velvet-85 This is the last in my little series of posts comparing the Lensbaby Velvet 56 and Velvet 85 and it’s not a comparison as such, more of a revisit.

I was very fortunate to get my hands on the Velvet 85 a couple of weeks before it launched and I visited a couple of gardens to try it out, for this post I revisited one of those gardens with the Velvet 56 and tried to take some similar images. Of course in a few weeks a lot of things change in a garden so some images are fairly similar, some aren’t!

You can find the Velvet 85 post here and if you scroll down to the bottom of this post you can read more of my thoughts on how the two compare.

Lensbaby Velvet 56 flower & garden photography

Lensbaby Velvet 56 flower & garden photography

Lensbaby Velvet 56 flower & garden photography

Lensbaby Velvet 56 flower & garden photography

Lensbaby Velvet 56 flower & garden photography

Lensbaby Velvet 56 flower & garden photography

Lensbaby Velvet 56 flower & garden photography

Lensbaby Velvet 56 flower & garden photography

I never fail to be surprised by the images from both of the Velvet lenses when I get them on my computer. That beautiful dreamy edge blur is what makes the Velvet lenses so special for me. It’s not so obvious on a camera screen but it adds that little bit of Lensbaby magic once you see the images larger. So my number 1 tip when using the Velvets is not to shoot with the aim of cropping later, you’ll just be cropping out the magic….

Obviously the wider view of the Velvet 56 has some advantages in the indoor spaces, at times I’d struggled for the composition I wanted with the Velvet 85 but didn’t face the same problems with the 56. On the other hand there are times when the extra focal length of the Velvet 85 is a distinct advantage, the prettiest flowers never seem to be at the front of a flower bed and that fern with the best curve is never the easiest to reach!

Do I have a favourite? Well honestly, I love them both but at the moment I feel more drawn to the Velvet 85, I took it around this garden with me “just in case” and found myself swapping lenses a few times! But mostly I think it’s down to your own personal preference and shooting style, I’ve always been drawn to a narrower simplified view and lots of blur in my backgrounds so the 85 just slightly has the edge.

Would I recommend owning both? Maybe….. If you are a Velvet owner and have the Lensbaby bug and want to buy another lens you need to stop and ask yourself what you want from your next Lensbaby. If you want something that is going to give you a very different look to your current Velvet then I would suggest looking at one of the other optics/lenses. But if you want to keep that Velvet look over a wide range of focal lengths then yes, get the other one! I’m currently shooting this project using Velvet lenses so having both is a massive advantage.

If you are looking for a side by side comparison of the Velvet 56 and Velvet 85 head over to this blog post where I explain the differences and similarities between the two.

If you are based in the north west of England and need Lensbaby help make sure you check out my Lensbaby Training Days.

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography garden photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/9/Lensbaby-Comparison-Part-3-Velvet-56-vs-Velvet-85 Thu, 07 Sep 2017 09:25:54 GMT
Lensbaby Comparison Part 2 – Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/8/Lensbaby-Comparison-Part-2-Velvet-85-vs-Velvet-56 A couple of weeks ago I posted my first comparison of the two Lensbaby Velvet lenses, I covered the more obvious differences in that post so do click here and have a read if you haven’t already.

Last week I headed out with the Velvet 56 and Velvet 85 to compare them as general walkabout lenses. It’s probably worth noting that I’ll often head out with just one lens knowing that I’m going to miss out on some images but I enjoy the challenge of working with the restriction of a single lens. If you are the sort of person who hates to miss an image and you already have the Velvet 56 then you should probably just get the 85 anyway!

If I only had the Velvet 56 I wouldn’t have been able to photograph the window cleaner (or at least you wouldn’t really have seen him!) or get close enough to the actors who were being filmed outside the TV studios.

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

But if I’d only had the Velvet 85 I wouldn’t have been able to photograph the bridge or the buildings, they simply wouldn’t fit in the frame!

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

All the images shown were taken with an aperture of f4 for two reasons, firstly to be able to consistently compare the effect of the different lenses. And secondly I just love how the Velvet performs at f4 with it’s sharper centre and soft blur around the edges of the frame. I shot the two images below purely to compare the effect of changing the aperture, the first image is f4 and the second is f8 and although they are shot on the 85 the 56 shows the same differences.

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85 – f4

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85 – f8

 

Notice the blur in the bridge upright on the left of the frame in the top image, that’s what I love about both of the Velvet lenses!

All the images were taken at Salford Quays, near Manchester. Rather than keep swapping lenses I decided I would walk around shooting with the Velvet 56 and then retrace my steps and attempt to create similar images with the Velvet 85. I didn’t always manage the exact same framing, sometimes because the different lenses didn’t allow it and other times I just didn’t remember correctly!

The lens used is noted underneath each image and all are taken on a full frame Sony A99.

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

I really struggled with the 85 for this next pair, I wanted to include the entrance and some of the building name in the image but I couldn’t do it with the 85 without getting the post in the middle! Although the greater distance did allow me to get some people in the frame.

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

This next pair really illustrates how the 85mm lens compresses the background, look how much longer the building appears with the 56! This compression obviously isn’t unique to the Lensbaby Velvet lenses, you would see the same sort of difference if you compared a “normal” 85mm prime lens with a 50mm.

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

And finally, some flowers, a little past their best admittedly but I can’t resist flowers! And again this pair shows the difference the two lenses really well, you can see the wider field of view with the 56 but notice how the background is slightly more blurred with the 85.

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 56

 

 

Lensbaby Velvet comparison
Velvet 85

 

And to end with the same question as the previous post…..

Do you need both?

Possibly, if you want to have the same velvety look and don’t want to run the risk of missing images there is definitely an advantage to having both. I posted about a traditional crafts people project that I’ll be shooting with the Velvet lenses. For the test shoot I only had the 85mm and I found there were a small number of shots that I couldn’t frame in the way I wanted due to lack of space, to complete that project with Velvet lenses I definitely need the 56 as well.

Do I have a favourite?

At the moment I’d be inclined to say that if I could only have one Lensbaby Velvet it would be the 85mm but it’s very much a matter of personal shooting style, I’ve always been more drawn to working with longer lenses so it makes sense that I’d lean more towards the 85.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby photography tips & advice wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/8/Lensbaby-Comparison-Part-2-Velvet-85-vs-Velvet-56 Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:46:48 GMT
Traditional Crafts – A Lensbaby Project https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/8/Traditional-Crafts-A-Lensbaby-Project 15th April 2015, a note added to Evernote, an idea for a photography project. An idea that lingered in the back of my mind but went no further.

Summer 2017, more than two years later and three things happened that made me drag that idea from the back of my mind and start to explore it further.

First I stumbled across a Kickstarter campaign for a photo book called Tanera (Ar Duthaich), a black and white photo book about life on a Scottish island. This project in no way resembles my own idea but something about both the photography and funding campaign made me think it was about time I acted on my idea.

And then the Lensbaby Velvet 85 arrived, the second time I took it out I came home with a handful of images that got me thinking that the lens was just made to do something more interesting.

And finally, I already had plans to photograph a blacksmith which gave me a perfect opportunity to take some test shots with the Velvet 85 and see if it lived up to my expectations. Which it did!

Traditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithTraditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithBlack and white photography with the Lensbaby Velvet 85 Traditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithTraditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithBlack and white photography with the Lensbaby Velvet 85 Traditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithTraditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithBlack and white photography with the Lensbaby Velvet 85 Traditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithTraditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithBlack and white photography with the Lensbaby Velvet 85 Traditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithTraditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithBlack and white photography with the Lensbaby Velvet 85 Traditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithTraditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithBlack and white photography with the Lensbaby Velvet 85 Traditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithTraditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithBlack and white photography with the Lensbaby Velvet 85 Traditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithTraditional Crafts photo project - the BlacksmithBlack and white photography with the Lensbaby Velvet 85

 

In brief the idea was to photograph traditional craftspeople and their workspaces documenting their skills and dedication in keeping these old crafts alive. I don’t yet know how many people will be involved or what their crafts might be, basket weaving, blacksmithing, book binding and walking stick making were a few that immediately sprung to mind but there are many, many more!

I’m going to be shooting the whole project with Lensbaby lenses, possibly all with the Velvet 56 and 85 although maybe I’ll use some of the others too.

There’s a few things I’m not yet decided on, will it all be black & white, how do I want to share as I go along, do I want to write a little or a lot, how will I know when I’m finished??  So many questions keep going through my mind but I’m trusting that now is the right time to start and everything will come clear as I progress.

So now I’m looking for volunteers!!

I’m looking for people involved in traditional crafts in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, North Cheshire, Merseyside and nearby areas. I may venture further afield next year if I can find of way of securing some funding to help with costs.

I’m only shooting on weekdays and I will need a release form signing. I’d like to think that one day this project could be a book or an exhibition, you’ll need to be OK with that idea.

If you are interested or know someone who might be please get in touch through the Contact Page.

 

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(Janet Broughton) black and white photography lensbaby portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/8/Traditional-Crafts-A-Lensbaby-Project Thu, 03 Aug 2017 12:12:54 GMT
Lensbaby Comparison – Velvet 56 vs Velvet 85 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/8/Lensbaby-Comparison-Velvet-56-vs-Velvet-85 This week saw the arrival of a new Lensbaby, the Velvet 56! I’ve been sharing a lot of Velvet 85 images recently and so many people have asked how it compares to the 56 and whether it’s worth having both but until now I haven’t been able to offer any advice.

I’m going to be sharing a few blog posts comparing the lenses for different types of photography, and since it’s currently raining and miserable I’m starting indoors with some food and still life.

First and most obvious difference is the size and weight of the two lenses – and they are both lenses rather than optics – the Velvet 85 is larger and heavier than the 56, not to the point of feeling too heavy but for anyone who struggles with weight there is a noticeable difference.

Secondly both lenses have a different widest apertures and closest focusing distances. The Velvet 85 has a widest aperture of f1.8 and can focus at 9.5″, the Velvet 56 is f1.6 and 5″. Both lenses go to f16 and have macro capabilities of 1:2.

Initially the closest focus distances seem quite different, however the reality is that the difference in focal length means that there isn’t much visible difference in the images. In these images I focused as close as I could on the sticking out petals, the top image is the Velvet 56 and the bottom the 85.

You can see that being able to focus closer with the 56 makes very little difference to the size of the subject in the frame due to the longer focal length of the Velvet 85. Being further away from the subject can have it’s advantages, particularly in outdoor flower photography where it’s not always possible to get closer.

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

So what about the difference in widest aperture?

The first image below is taken with the 56 at f1.6, it should be focused on the cherries but I think I missed a little! The second is the 85 at f1.8. There’s very little difference in the backgrounds, if anything there is a little more detail in the edges of the tins with 56 but that may be due to my focus not being as accurate.

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

Below are a few more for comparison, the top pair are the Velvet 85 and the bottom are the Velvet 56.  In these it’s noticeable that there is more glow in the Velvet 56 images and although I’m still a little undecided about the glow effect it works quite well here and adds a painterly look to the images. There’s also a very slight swirl around the edges of the frame which is just a little more noticeable in the images from the Velvet 56.

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

Apart from the above differences between the two the lenses can be compared very much in the same way as standard (ie non Lensbaby) 50mm and 85mm lenses.

The Velvet 56 has a wider field of view than the 85 and objects will appear larger in the frame in the 85, for all the comparison images I’ve had to move backwards with the 85 to get a similar framing.

A longer focal length compresses the background making the distances between subject and background seem less, a longer focal length also adds more background blur than a shorter focal length.

All the comparisons below have been shot at f4 and each pair of images has been edited for consistency, in each pair the Velvet 56 image appears first.

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

In the top pair of images the compression of the 85mm lens can be seen if you study the tins in the background, in the second image they appear to be closer to the cherries and are larger in the frame. In the second pair you can spot a subtle difference in the pattern of the background, although both are shot at f4 the backdrop is more blurred in the Velvet 85 shot.

And finally, a set of images to show the difference in framing as well as compression. The top image is the Velvet 85, the second is the Velvet 56 without changing my position and we have things in the frame that we don’t want! The third is again with the 56 but moving so that I have a similar composition, notice how all the main elements appear to have slightly more space between them.

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

Lensbaby comparison, Velvet 85 vs Velvet 56

So which is better for still life photography?

Well that really depends on your own style of shooting and the space you are working in. I personally like the extra softness in the backgrounds from the Velvet 85 but you do need to have the space to move back from your subject, although I’m not working in a large space and I had enough room**.

The Velvet 56 is ideal if you want to fit more into your composition although if you are working with fairly narrow backdrops (I sometimes use wallpaper samples) they may not fill your frame. Of course you can crop the edges of your images but then you lose that lovely softness around edges.

Do you need both?

For still life I would say not, I could happily choose either one and work only with that but since I have them I will definitely be using both in future. I have however come across situations where I have felt it’s essential to have both but more of that in a future post!

**All of my images are taken on a full frame Sony A99, space would be even more of an issue using a crop sensor camera**

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby photography tips & advice still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/8/Lensbaby-Comparison-Velvet-56-vs-Velvet-85 Wed, 02 Aug 2017 12:06:27 GMT
On The Edges – My Year With Unconventional Lenses https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/7/On-The-Edges-My-Year-With-Unconventional-Lenses Last week I was lucky enough to spend a few days on Anglesey with my daughter. I was even luckier that the weather was kind and the sun shone, it might officially be summer here in the UK but that doesn’t guarantee that it won’t be bitter cold and raining!

I decided to fully embrace my “Year With Unconventional Lenses” and only take Lensbabies away with me. That’s probably not a great surprise to anyone but usually I do have at least one normal lens tucked away in my bag.

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about collections of images vs single images – so often online we share single images but not every photo works on its own, many can be powerful as part of a group of themed images but appear meaningless alone. With this in mind I set myself a mini project while I was away, to capture the essence of being beside the sea by photographing the things seen on the edges.

A couple of images are taken with the Edge 50 and the others are either the Velvet 85 (yes, I’m still loving it!) or the Twist 60.

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby random thoughts & musings wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/7/On-The-Edges-My-Year-With-Unconventional-Lenses Tue, 18 Jul 2017 11:59:29 GMT
Lensbaby Velvet 85 – First Impressions https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/6/Lensbaby-Velvet-85-First-Impressions First of all I have to say I’m massively grateful to the lovely Lensbaby people for giving me the opportunity to try this lens out before it launched. But’s it’s been sooooo frustrating not being able to share any images!!

I will confess that I’ve never been quite sure about the Velvet 56, it’s one of the very few Lensbaby products I don’t own and I’ve always had mixed feelings about the images I’ve seen from it, I’ve never been able to make my mind up whether the glow that it sometimes produces appealed or not. But still, I jumped at the chance to try out the Velvet 85.

First impressions….

I was ridiculously excited to see that glimpse of brown through the front door as the UPS driver pulled up with my delivery, and I couldn’t wait to open the package. My first two thoughts were that it looks like a “real” lens and that it’s heavy! It’s no heavier than something like a 24-70mm f2.8 lens so in reality it’s not heavy at all, but in comparison to one of the optics in the composer it seems heavy.

I promptly wandered around the house taking boring pictures of things that aren’t in the slightest interesting and I discovered that wide open (which is f1.8) focus peaking on my Sony A99 doesn’t work. I’m guessing this is because of the glow and softness, nothing is really focused enough for the indicators to flash, but it does make focusing tricky when you’ve come to rely on them.

Undeterred I headed out to a local garden to really test out the lens.

I probably should point out that I was recovering from iritis and my left eye had been dilated for five days, the drops were wearing off but my sight was still affected. And I’m left eyed, and even if I swapped to my right eye (have you ever tried that? It’s not easy!) I couldn’t see my screen clearly so I didn’t have much idea if things were in focus or not!

Needless to say I had far less “keepers” than I would normally have, I blame a combination of not knowing the lens and my poor eyesight. But I enjoyed using the lens, I liked that it focuses as close as 9.5″ but still focuses well on more distant subjects. But honestly, at this point I can’t really say that I was bowled over with it although I was happy with some of the results.

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

A few days later I was off wandering to an old graveyard and decided to take it with me.

My eye was fully recovered and I’m sure it made a massive difference, all of a sudden I got it, the lens made sense.

Focusing will always be a bit of a challenge at the widest apertures but I realised that the glow can indeed look beautiful in the right images, it can be sharp when it needs to but sometimes it doesn’t matter if it isn’t, there’s a lovely blur around the edges of the frame with more distant subjects and just look at those little bokeh sparkles on the grass in front of the gravestone!

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Third outing, and it’s off to another garden but one with a lot more variety to shoot and I completely fell in love with the Velvet 85 this time out. I love the focal length but I’ve always been drawn to a longer rather than a wider lens. I don’t always love the glow, it suits some shots but not others, but a less wide aperture eliminates it anyway.

Mostly I’m just amazed by how versatile this lens is, you can have a lovely blur around the edges if you aren’t too close to your subject but you can shoot up close and have no edge blur. It can be perfectly sharp or soft and glowing. I’ve felt drawn to black and white with it but the colours it renders straight out of camera are amazing, take a look at the last flower, I’ve done nothing other than convert the raw file to a jpeg!

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

Lensbaby Velvet 85 test shots

So far I haven’t had chance to shoot any portraits but I have a feeling it will be a perfect portrait lens, in fact I’m feeling quite inspired to start a portrait project that’s been on my mind for a while and just use the Velvet 85. I’m going to mull that idea over for a little while….

So would I recommend the Velvet 85?

Yes! Without hesitation. Although I had reservations about any Velvet lens its only taken me just over a week to decide that it might well be my favourite Lensbaby. Now I’ve got used to it I feel that the fact it doesn’t bend makes it an easier lens to use than any that go in the composer.

I’ve lots of Velvet 85 images to share, if you want to see more you can either follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography garden photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/6/Lensbaby-Velvet-85-First-Impressions Tue, 27 Jun 2017 06:21:35 GMT
On Making Time To Create https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/6/On-Making-Time-To-Create I’m sure that every creative business owner sets off on their business journey thinking they will spend much of their days happily creating or hanging around coffee shops with other creative people.

It doesn’t take long before reality strikes and you realise that the time spent creating is much, much less than you ever imagined and whilst you might get to hang out in coffee shops with friends now and again there’s always that little nagging voice telling you that there’s something important you must go and do!

But it’s so important to take some time out to create, and not create for someone else but to create purely for the pleasure of the process. I’d been feeling like I was sinking under an ever growing to-do list, much of it writing for other photographers so I was hardly leaving my computer screen, so last week I put time in my diary for photography. And I could have skipped it but I made myself take the time out with a few simple props, a bit of moody light and dark editing and of course a Lensbaby.

lensbaby twist 60 still life photography

lensbaby twist 60 still life photography

lensbaby twist 60 still life photography

lensbaby twist 60 still life photography

lensbaby twist 60 still life photography

I always find shooting with a Lensbaby makes me slow down and be a little more contemplative about whatever I’m shooting, it’s an ideal de-stressing lens and that slower process somehow makes me feel more creative. And then I’m back to the rest of my work re-charged and full of enthusiasm. There’s a date with photography going in my diary every week from now on.

Shot as part of My Year With Unconventional Lenses.

This is the first time I’ve properly used the Twist 60 for still life but it works well, it seemed to give just the right amount of twisty blur and the natural vignetting is perfect for contrasty light and a moody edit! You can find more info re the Twist 60 here on the Lensbaby site (please note, this is an affiliate link, I receive a small commission on any sales but all opinions are freely expressed!)

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby random thoughts & musings still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/6/On-Making-Time-To-Create Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:29:32 GMT
In Pine Forests and Barley Fields https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/6/In-Pine-Forests-and-Barley-Fields I very rarely share any of my shoots for portrait clients, in fact it’s so rare that lots of people who follow the blog may not even know that I’m also a lifestyle portrait photographer!

Every so often a shoot comes along that’s so different that the images just have to be shared and this equine lifestyle session is one of those shoots. For various reasons it took almost two years to get this shoot in the diary, I’d donated it for a charity auction and for a while fate conspired against us and we just couldn’t get a date sorted.

But it was so worth the wait, what an amazing location it was with it’s pine forests, barley fields, winding lanes and so much more. I often arrive at a stable yard and need to go scouting around, finding the best light and locations, and sometimes it’s a challenge. Not so here, everywhere was so scenic and the weather was perfect too.

So here we are, two dogs, one horse, two people and a perfect location!

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

Equine lifestyle photography Lancashire and Cheshire

(I only have permission to share images that are more distant so these aren’t fully representative of a session but I value and respect my clients right to privacy.)

If you’d like more info about lifestyle portrait photography please feel free to get in touch – stunning locations are not compulsory!

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/6/In-Pine-Forests-and-Barley-Fields Fri, 09 Jun 2017 07:05:25 GMT
Why Lensbaby? https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/5/Why-Lensbaby Lensbaby Journey

2017 is my “Year of Unconventional Lenses” and it’s turned out to be the year that I’ve fallen back in love with my Lensbaby.

Not that I ever really fell out of love with it, it’s just that I fell out of the habit of using it. In fact for a long while I fell out of the habit of shooting anything that wasn’t for a client and although my portrait photography went from strength to strength I started to feel creatively stifled. Which is the whole reason for the Unconventional Lenses project, to push myself creatively.

The more I’ve been sharing my Lensbaby images the more I’ve found myself being asked why I like Lensbabies so much. It’s a question that I’ve pondered a lot and I’ve realised there are two very separate answers, there’s the why I was first drawn to them and there’s the why I enjoy them so much now.

Lensbaby photography

I don’t usually share health problems on my blog or social media but my reasons for first being drawn to the Lensbaby are very closely linked to the fact that I suffer from recurring iritis. Without going into lots of detail it’s a very painful eye condition and the treatment involves several hospital visits and (amongst other things) dilating the pupil for a week or two, which results in blurred vision.

When I first came across Lensbabies in 2010 I’d reached the stage where I had to accept that iritis would not be the once in a lifetime problem that it was expected to be, but would in fact be something I would have to live with once or twice a year. I stumbled across some Lensbaby photos on Flickr and my first thought was that the Lensbaby blur (in the days of the Composer and double glass optic) was very much how I saw the world while I was being treated for iritis! I found it somehow comforting that there was a lens that made blurriness ok and I just had to have one.

Back in 2010 I was very new to photography, using the Composer helped me learn a lot about camera settings but my Lensbaby photos weren’t great. I didn’t take me long to work out that if a photo was pretty unremarkable using a standard lens using a Lensbaby would only make it an unremarkable image with a bit of blur! I did have a look to see if I had any old images that I would be happy to share. I didn’t, they were mostly awful but I did enjoy taking them!!

And so my Lensbaby journey began….

Fast forward seven years, my collection of Lensbaby optics has grown as have my skills in using them. I still suffer recurring bouts of iritis, I still find the blurred vision difficult to cope with and so I still find the Lensbaby blur reassuring but it’s no longer the real reason that I love to shoot with a Lensbaby.

lensbaby sweet 50

Now I love to shoot with a Lensbaby because it allows me to create unique images that reflect my own view of the world around me. My Lensbabies really allow me to harness my imagination and the way I feel about a subject to create photographs that show how I see the world around me. If I could draw or paint I probably would but since I can’t I use Lensbabies to create photographs that are more like an artist’s view of the world.

lensbaby edge 50

So what’s next on my Lensbaby journey?

Who knows! That’s the beauty of personal photography projects, you can just go wherever the inspiration takes you.

I’m planning a lot of floral garden photography over the summer, weather permitting. I recently got a Twist 60 which I love for flowers and I’m still loving the Edge 50. I’m also feeling an increasing pull back to using some of the older optics, but who knows, maybe I’ll be tempted by something new instead!

 

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) black and white photography lensbaby random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/5/Why-Lensbaby Tue, 30 May 2017 12:31:46 GMT
A Time Between… https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/5/A-Time-Between It feels a strange time of year, spring has gone but summer hasn’t yet landed.

Like a pause between the seasons.

I’m trying to photograph gardens as part of my Year Of Unconventional Lenses but the daffodils have died, the tulips are past their best and the summer blooms haven’t started yet.

Although the bluebells are lovely, the forget-me-nots are blooming and some of the early summer flowers are in bud. There’s always something worth shooting in a garden, sometimes you just need to look a little harder….

Helios 44-2 flower photography Lensbaby Flower photography bluebells with a vintage lens forget me nots, vintage lens photo Lensbaby Twist 60 Lensbaby flower photo garden photography workshops

(Photographed with various lenses, the Helios 44-2, the lovely Lensbaby Twist 60 * and it was the first outing of an old 50mm Pentacon lens (stuck wide open at 1.8) with a 2x Cherry Phago converter.)

{*Affiliate link}

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography garden photography lensbaby vintage lenses https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/5/A-Time-Between Wed, 17 May 2017 12:14:02 GMT
Spring Garden Photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/4/Spring-Garden-Photography I’m a little shocked to realise that I haven’t blogged for over three weeks!

In my defence it’s been a very busy month, alongside writing websites for clients I finally managed to launch my online photography club, Afternoon Light. It’s been a dream of mine for a very long time now but it’s taken me such a long time to get beyond the dithering and procrastinating stages that seem to accompany anything new and just get on with it. Last Monday it went live and I’ve been so pleased with the response to it! 

Once everything was live and the first few members had joined I breathed a massive sigh of relief and decided that me and my camera were going to continue my Year With Unconventional Lenses with a day of garden photography instead of sitting in front of a computer screen.

Of course there’s not a lot in flower at the moment but there’s still plenty to photography with new leaves growing, ferns unfurling and some beautiful colours and light. And of course there are tulips!

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

online photography learning

Mostly taken using the Edge 50 and Twist 60 optics, it was the first outing of the Twist 60 and I was very impressed, even though I managed to get a macro converter stuck on it! Which of course wouldn’t shift no matter how much I tried while I was out but came off instantly once I got home!!

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography garden photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/4/Spring-Garden-Photography Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:15:32 GMT
Its Definitely Spring When….. https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/4/Its-Definitely-Spring-When There are three things that happen in my garden each yet that let me know spring has well and truly landed.

The pieris shrub sprouts beautiful red leaves alongside tiny white flowers, it looks really spectacular at the moment.

The bleeding heart plant that was just the tiniest shoot is suddenly two foot tall and full of flowers, its almost as if it grows overnight. Every spring it takes me by surprise.

The weeds. They appear just as suddenly as the the bleeding hearts, one day the garden looks acceptable, the next it’s an embarrassing mess of weeds.

The arrival of spring coincided with the arrival of a set of macro filters for my Lensbaby and since one of my aims for this year is to do a lot more garden and flower photography so I decided to start at home. Unfortunately everything that’s looking good in my garden can be captured in just two photographs!

painterly flower photography

painterly garden photography

I decided not to include the weeds!

Both taken with Lensbaby Sweet 50 and 16mm macro converter as part of my Year With Unconventional Lenses.

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography garden photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/4/Its-Definitely-Spring-When Mon, 03 Apr 2017 12:04:31 GMT
Making Pictures While The Rain Falls https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/3/Making-Pictures-While-The-Rain-Falls Last weekend saw yet another dreary, damp, grey, miserable, drizzly weekend here in the north of England. One of those weekends where any inclination to venture out and do something disappears as soon as you look out of the window.

Perfect weather for playing with flowers and bottles and experimenting with some new textures!

still life photography with lensbaby and sweet 50 optic

still life photography with lensbaby and sweet 50 optic

still life photography with lensbaby and sweet 50 optic

still life photography with lensbaby and sweet 50 optic

still life photography with lensbaby and sweet 50 optic

All pictures taken with the Lensbaby Composer and Sweet 50 optic.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/3/Making-Pictures-While-The-Rain-Falls Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:11:04 GMT
Lensbaby Edge 50 ~ This Is Not A Review https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/3/Lensbaby-Edge-50-This-Is-Not-A-Review Before I bought the Edge 50 optic earlier this year I did a bit of online searching to find out how people were using it, what their thoughts were and what sort of images they were creating with it. I found a few “proper” reviews but struggled to find any “this is what I’m doing and how I’m feeling about it” sort of posts.

If I’m honest “proper” lens reviews send me to sleep. Once I know the widest aperture and closest focus distance I just want to know what I might be able to create with it. Instead I find I’m reading phrases such as “eight elements in six groups” or “nine blade aperture diaphragm” and my attention rapidly starts to wander.

So if you are like me and just want to know about the experience of using the Edge 50 this post is for you but it’s not a review! I haven’t yet used it extensively but I don’t expect my initial thoughts are likely to change.

The bits that you might need to know are that it’s a 50mm focal length with a widest aperture of f3.2. There’s a pull out bit on the front that lets you focus closer when you need to, with that pulled out you can focus at about 8 inches away. It has a slice of focus rather than the more common Lensbaby sweet spot and it can create a miniature effect. And then there are the magical powers. They don’t seem to get a mention in other reviews but the Edge 50 definitely has magical powers that can transform the very ordinary into something a little different.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Landscape photography

I have to confess that I’m the sort of person that can find themselves in a beautifully scenic location but not feel photographically inspired. It’s almost as if that beauty has stifled me, all I can do is show that beauty exactly how it is and somehow that leaves me feeling unfulfilled.

The Edge 50 has totally changed that. The two pictures below are taken in a location I love and often visit but rarely photograph. I feel like I’ve finally been able to photograph it in a different way, in a way that feels more “me” than I can with a normal lens.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Landscape photography

Lensbaby Edge 50 Landscape photography

The miniaturisation effect can be really interesting, I haven’t yet had the chance to shoot somewhere busy and make lots of people look tiny so instead I’ve experimented with empty spaces. Below the effect isn’t so obvious but it has changed the feel of the scene completely, it’s a vast open space but the Edge 50 has sort of pulled the sky down and made it feel heavy and oppressive – or maybe that’s my imagination in overdrive!

Lensbaby Edge 50 seascape

And I love the effect on Blackpool Tower, even though I couldn’t fit it all in! I’m a big fan of 50mm as a focal length, I’m not naturally a wide shooter so this is the only time I might have found a wider lens useful.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Blackpool

So far I’ve been shooting mostly at f3.2 or f4.0, as I would with any lens. However tilting the composer allows the direction of the slice of focus to be changed, changing from a horizontal to an almost vertical slice of focus (below) transforms the image without changing the aperture.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Blackpool

Alternatively you can leave the direction of the slice of focus unchanged and simply shift the focus along to a different part of the image.

(Which is especially useful for giant plastic parrots)

Lensbaby Edge 50 Blackpool

Lensbaby Edge 50 Blackpool

Some things I’ve worked out and you should be aware of…..

If you bend the composer too far you can get a heavy vignette to one or two corners depending on the bend direction. You soon learn to avoid it but sometimes the dark shading in the blur just adds to the moodiness. I’m shooting on a full frame and I’m guessing it wont be as bad on a crop sensor.

You can get some distortion in horizons in the blur, this doesn’t bother me in the slightest but I can imagine some people might be frustrated by it.

Shooting into the sun can produce some interesting lens flares, if you are a fan of flare you will love it.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Landscape photography

In contrasty light there’s a sort of haziness that can make focusing a bit tricky, the portraits below were in a dark barn with light streaming in through a couple of openings. The haziness isn’t too obvious in the final images but it did make it difficult to focus and there is a softness about them.

Lensbaby Edge 50 portrait photography

You need to be really aware of where your slice of focus is falling in portraits, you might have focused on the face but because it’s a slice and it can be angled you might also have some unwanted background in focus. Like the hinge below!

Lensbaby Edge 50 portrait photography

The same problem arises with still life photography, it’s tricky to separate subject from background and so far I’ve only managed one or two images that I’ve been happy with. I’ll keep on experimenting but I might decide that it’s just not a still life lens.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Still life photography

 

And one final thing you must be aware of…

Those magical powers.

With the right light and a sprinkling of Lensbaby magic something that looks quite ordinary can suddenly look a little bit more special. So be prepared to shoot lots, and photograph things that you might normally ignore because you might just see it in a totally new way.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Blackpool

{For anyone that’s interested all the images were shot on a Sony A99}

 

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/3/Lensbaby-Edge-50-This-Is-Not-A-Review Thu, 16 Mar 2017 12:44:59 GMT
Happy World Book Day! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/3/Happy-World-Book-Day still life photography, vintage books and floral teacup, for world book day

I have to confess at being a little confused by World Book Day.

My own daughter has long since left school and I don’t think World Book Day was a thing when she was still in school, or if it was a thing it was all about books. And here’s where my confusion comes in, my social media feeds today are full of posts about World Book Day and they fall into two categories. Pictures of kids in fancy dress or posts by parents stressed about fancy dress outfits.

No books.

And yes I do completely understand that they are dressed as characters from books. But shouldn’t it be about the books? About actually reading books? About the magic of getting lost in a great story? Or perhaps that is what it’s all about but that part doesn’t reach social media? One thing I know for sure though, if I was a parent of a school age child I would much rather spend my money buying books for World Book Day than dressing up clothes!

There’s hardly a day goes by where I don’t find some time to read a book, I’ve a bookcase overflowing with books I’ve yet to read and then there are the photography books, cookery books and other books that I like to pick up and browse for inspiration.

And of course there are the books that I own purely to photograph. I can’t really imagine a world without books.

Happy World Book Day! I do hope you manage to find a little time to read today.

 

{Photo taken with Helios 44-2 vintage lens as part of my Year With Unconventional Lenses}

 

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(Janet Broughton) random thoughts & musings still life photography vintage lenses https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/3/Happy-World-Book-Day Thu, 02 Mar 2017 05:43:52 GMT
Perfectionism vs Creativity – On Letting Go Of The Need To Conform https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/3/Perfectionism-vs-Creativity-On-Letting-Go-Of-The-Need-To-Conform “Perfect photographs do not move the heart”

David DuChemin – The Vision Driven Photographer

One of my favourite photography quotes, in fact one of my favourite quotes generally.

Now I’m not for one moment saying that this photograph will move anyone’s heart. But I am saying that it’s not perfect. It’s hazy and it’s soft, I’m not sure that any of it is in focus. Technically it’s really not good.

black and white lensbaby portrait

Some people will hate it but I’m ok with that.

Or at least I’m fairly ok with that. I took this photo for no-one other than myself. There’s no paying client, no need for me to conform to any so called “rules” of photography. It’s more or less what I was aiming to create. I say more or less because I only ever have a vague idea in my mind so nothing can be exactly what I aimed for. But soft, hazy, blurred, haunting were all words carried in my mind at the time.

But still there’s a tiny doubt in my mind that stops me sharing this image on the day it was created. It needs to sit a while, I need to come back and look at it several times. I need to stop looking at it. Then I need to come back a few days later and look again. And maybe then I’ll be ready to share. Maybe then I will have decided that I’m happy enough with it not to really care whether it’s well received or not. Because I know some people will hate this photo. They won’t like that it’s not in focus, they will wonder why I’m happy to lose all the shadow detail, they’ll be dying to point out that there aren’t really any catch lights in the eyes and don’t I know that the light bit on the background wall is distracting.

So today I’m finally ready to say I don’t care. I know the rules. I know where I’ve broken the rules. But I don’t care. I can play by the rules but sometimes I just don’t want to.

How did a creative art form end up so bound up in its own rules that we all feel an ingrained need to comply with them? How did we come to value perfectionism above creative expression?

I have a question for you….

What if you let go of the need to conform, what if you didn’t worry about blown highlights, shadows that are too dark, images that aren’t pin sharp zoomed right in?

What if all the rules no longer applied and you were free to express yourself without constraint?

What would you create?

 

 

{Photo taken with Lensbaby Edge 50 as part of my Year Of Unconventional Lenses}

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby portrait photography random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/3/Perfectionism-vs-Creativity-On-Letting-Go-Of-The-Need-To-Conform Wed, 01 Mar 2017 07:33:17 GMT
Inspired By……..laminate flooring!! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/2/Inspired-By-laminate-flooring Inspiration, it’s a strange sort of thing isn’t it?

If I’m shooting for a client it’s never an issue, I have ideas to start with and they might evolve as we go along but I never feel completely uninspired.

But shooting for myself can be a whole different story for some reason! The other day I’d bought some tulips and planned some bright and airy spring photos but after a couple of shots I was struggling and just not “feeling it”.

And then inspiration hit me, in the form of a piece of laminate flooring!  I’d bought it that morning to use as a background but it needed sawing down the middle to make a square, so it was standing waiting in a corner of the kitchen. The minute I looked at it I was flooded with ideas for dead flower arrangements and tulips with the edges of the petals kissed by light.

Fine art flower photography, tulip photo on dark background

still life photography, floral still life photo, dying flowers on dark background

Black & white fine art flower photograph, tulips photo with beautiful light

And the moral of this story is….

When inspiration strikes, even if it’s come from the strangest of places, just roll with it!!

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography flower photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/2/Inspired-By-laminate-flooring Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:53:51 GMT
Three Intentions In One! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/2/Three-Intentions-In-One lensbaby with edge 50

Three of my new year intentions all wrapped up into one photograph. I’ve spent so long saying I’d love to have a go at crochet that I decided to go along with my two intentions “Embrace Creativity” and “Do More” and just actually get on with it. So I found a simple blanket pattern, got myself some wool and here goes….

I’m not sure everyone would class following a vey basic crochet pattern as creativity but as someone who is used to most creations being digital it feels good to be physically making something. It feels creative to me.

For a few minutes the sun was streaming through the window and it was just shouting out for a hazy back lit photo, and the Lensbaby Edge 50 means it’s also part of my Year Of Unconventional Lenses.

The Edge 50 is rapidly becoming a favourite!

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/2/Three-Intentions-In-One Fri, 10 Feb 2017 11:22:25 GMT
Vintage Lens Still Life Photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/2/Vintage-Lens-Still-Life-Photography Well the last few weeks have turned out much busier than expected with lots of copy writing work for lovely photographers. Obviously I’m not complaining, I love to write for photographers. But I have been neglecting my own blog, and Facebook, and Twitter and even Instagram!

So I decided to get out one of my vintage lenses and take a few pictures for my Year of Unconventional Lenses project.

still life photography with Helios 44-2 vintage Russian Lens still life photography with Helios 44-2 vintage Russian Lens still life photography with Helios 44-2 vintage Russian Lens still life photography with Helios 44-2 vintage Russian Lens

All the above are taken with the Helios 44-2 a 58mm vintage Russian lens from around 1969.

I’m currently pondering how best to collect together the images for the Year of Unconventional Lenses project, obviously I’ll be sharing some here on the blog but it seems a good idea to somehow display them altogether. I’ve been thinking about an Adobe Portfolio site, if anyone has any experience of them or ideas of a better way I’d love to hear from you!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography still life photography vintage lenses https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/2/Vintage-Lens-Still-Life-Photography Tue, 07 Feb 2017 12:07:48 GMT
A Lensbaby Walk with the Edge 50 Optic https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/1/A-Lensbaby-Walk-with-the-Edge-50-Optic On Monday I got an new toy, an Edge 50 optic for my Lensbaby, yesterday I took it out for a test run (walk). It wasn’t ideal weather for photography but I’d owned it for two whole days without trying it so I couldn’t wait any longer!

I’ve had a Lensbaby for quite a number of years now and although I don’t use it anywhere near as often as I’d like to – although that’s going to change this year – I’m used to how it works and I generally know what sort of shot it’s going to be suited to. Well the Edge 50 is a whole different thing, it’s like starting all over again.

So I walked, and I took pictures, some I’m fairly happy with but none are amazing. I found baubles hanging on pine trees on the edge of the woods which were lovely. And then I fell in the mud which was definitely less than lovely! Hopefully my shoes will dry out in a day or two.

And whilst the pictures aren’t fantastic they do represent the start of my “Year With Unconventional Lenses” so I’m sharing them anyway.

dreary winter landscapes with Lensbaby edge 50 Pine trees with Lensbaby with Edge 50 Lensnbaby Edge 50, black & white winter landscapes winter foliage - Lensbaby black & white landscape - Lensbaby Lensbaby with Edge 50 - image copyright Janet Broughton dreary winter landscape with Lensbaby Edge 50 black & white Lensbaby photography

I’m really pleased that I can combine my photography challenge with my #walk1000miles challenge, I feel like I’m making extra efficient use of my time and still enjoying myself!

And I’ve only another 958 miles to go….

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/1/A-Lensbaby-Walk-with-the-Edge-50-Optic Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:48:40 GMT
My Personal Photography Challenge for 2017 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/1/My-Personal-Photography-Challenge-for-2017 So last year’s personal challenge was “52 Weeks Of Quiet” and I gained so much from it that there was no way I wasn’t going to set myself another theme/challenge (I’m never sure of the best way to describe it!) for 2017.

If you follow the blog, or if you follow me anywhere else online, you will probably know that last year I discovered a love of vintage lenses. I shared my excitement at how wonderful the Helios lens turned out to be and also my slight disappointment with the Meyer Optic Domiplan. Incidentally, in this post I said I felt sure I would be pleased with the lens one day. Just before Christmas I managed this image with it, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I’m pretty pleased with it.

black and white dream like image of a blurred figure by the sea

So back to this year. Since I’ve already decided I’m going to embrace creativity and I’m tired of saying to myself “I really need to use xxx lens more” 2017 is going to be my “Year of Unconventional Lenses”. My unconventional lenses will be my Lensbaby (with a whole variety of different optics) and my vintage lenses, there are four in my collection at the moment but who knows what this year might bring!

I certainly won’t be abandoning still life photography but you can also expect to see a lot more outdoor images than I shared in 2016. I have a feeling that I’ll probably be leaning much more towards black and white this year too, but time will tell…..

If you are looking for a photography challenge for this year why not join in with the daily photo prompts? There’s a fantastic community already sprung up on Facebook and Instagram sharing their pictures and little snippets of their lives.

 

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(Janet Broughton) vintage lenses https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/1/My-Personal-Photography-Challenge-for-2017 Tue, 17 Jan 2017 04:30:14 GMT
Walking 1000 Miles https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/1/Walking-1000-Miles iphone_photography_#walk1000miles

There I was, wandering the streets in the drizzle as it was going dark and taking the odd quick snap on my phone.

It’s totally out of character.

Drizzle is a great motivator for me to stay in.

And I usually avoid walking in the dark in case that soggy clump of leaves isn’t actually a soggy clump of leaves.

So why on earth was I out wandering around?

Because on Friday I discovered the #walk1000miles challenge and I’d walked 2 miles. It’s drizzled all weekend but no way was I going to end my first week with a grand total of 2 miles on my progress tracker, so out I needed to go.

Now I’m ending the week on a grand total of 7 miles. Okay so maybe it’s not all that grand but 5 of them I wouldn’t have done without the challenge so it’s not a bad start at all.

Here’s to next 993 miles!!

More about the challenge here.

And yes, I do keep hearing the Proclaimers singing in my head!

 

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(Janet Broughton) phone photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/1/Walking-1000-Miles Sun, 08 Jan 2017 13:01:08 GMT
New Year, New Intentions https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/1/New-Year-New-Intentions It seems like just about everyone has been talking and writing about new years resolutions this year, whether they are good or whether they should be avoided. So much so that I nearly didn’t write this post! But I decided I needed to write it for selfish reasons, if it’s out there for anyone to read it’s going to keep me accountable.

Personally I don’t make new years resolutions, they feel too much like a route to failure, you either achieve them or fail. And let’s face it, we mostly make them knowing they won’t last so we’ve almost failed before we even started. But I do find that at the end of the year my mind turns to things I want to do or achieve in the upcoming year, personally and for my business. Usually I get no further than thinking about them, this year I started to scribble them down. And what a random list it is, it ranges from making something out of Harris Tweed to eating more veg and encompasses a whole lot of things inbetween.

I won’t do all the things on that list this year but when I look at the list I can summarise it into two phrases – “Embrace Creativity” and “Do More” – and I’ll use those phrases as my New Years Intentions (not resolutions!).

Embrace Creativity, although I don’t intend this to relate purely to my photography I will be using it as a reminder. I’ve found myself following way to much marketing advice that says consistency is key and slipped into the trap of containing myself to a similar style of photography. In reality I like to explore different avenues in my imagery so consistency is stifling. Over the last few weeks I’ve been using my mobile a lot and with it my little Lensbaby mobile lens (that was lost but happily rediscovered). I’ve been editing on my iPad and I’ve really enjoyed expressing myself more freely. This year I’m going to abandon consistency and embrace creativity.

iphone + lensbaby lm10 lens

iphone + lensbaby lm10 lens

iphone + lensbaby lm10 lens

iphone + lensbaby lm10 lens

Do More – this almost goes hand in hand with embracing creativity, there are so many things that I’ve planned on doing and somehow seem to have not found the time. So when I find myself pointlessly faffing on social media or researching something completely inconsequential I’m going to remind myself of this one and do something more important. So whilst I may not do everything on that list (I might not learn to crochet this year) I’m going to try really hard to just do more stuff!!

Don’t forget if you are looking for a photography challenge for this year you can join in with the #dailydreaming photo prompts, we are only five days in but the Facebook group has already become a lovely community of people sharing pictures and stories. Just head back to the previous post to find out all about it.

Happy New Year, I hope 2017 brings you health and happiness x

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby phone photography random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2017/1/New-Year-New-Intentions Thu, 05 Jan 2017 12:05:31 GMT
52 Weeks Of Quiet – Has it Been a Success? https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/12/52-Weeks-Of-Quiet-Has-it-Been-a-Success Okay so it’s not quite the end of the year so it’s a little early to be posting about the end of my 52 Weeks Of Quiet but it feels like the right time to share my thoughts.

Back at the beginning of this year I was looking for some sort of photographic project and decided to challenge myself to create an image every week that had a feeling of quiet. I’ve been sharing the images over on Instagram and from time to time I’ve shared a few here on the blog.

So did I manage a weekly image? No, not every week. Some weeks just turned out to be too hectic and I didn’t want to rush and share something I wasn’t happy with. But I’m ok with that, right at the beginning I acknowledged that there might be some weeks that I missed, I never wanted this to become a burden. And some weeks I created a LOT more than one image!

At the start I expected that I would be sharing images that were quite varied but I surprised myself by discovering that I really enjoyed still life photography and many weeks I shared still life images, often with flowers or food as the main subject. This exploration of still life photography also lead me to start experimenting with textures in my images, something I’ve tried before but not with any degree of success.

So has 52 Weeks of Quiet been a success?

Yes, without a doubt despite the missed weeks. I’ve learned new skills, found a passion for a previously unexplored genre, discovered a love of browsing antique shops for props, discovered the Japanese design concept of Wabi Sabi and gained an excuse to buy myself flowers. The only downside that I can think of at the moment is that I’ve been so happy shooting still life that I’ve done a lot less outdoor photography this year. I’ve tried to make amends by shooting the last two weeks images outdoors and for the sake of variety I’ve also used my mobile with a Lensbaby LM-10 lens attached.

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iphone photo with lensbaby LM-10 lens

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’d totally forgotten that I owned this lovely lens. And once remembered I couldn’t think where it was but some after some frantic searching I found it in the bottom of a handbag. Can’t think why I didn’t look there first really…

Time to think of a new challenge for 2017 now!

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby phone photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/12/52-Weeks-Of-Quiet-Has-it-Been-a-Success Mon, 12 Dec 2016 12:59:46 GMT
Portrait Number 35 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/12/Portrait-Number-35 “Portrait Number 35” ~ it probably seems a rather strange title but there are actually 34 other portraits that are sitting on a website of their own!

Fifty Portraits is a personal photography project that I’ve been working on for quite a while. I’ve challenged myself to photography fifty people who have turned a hobby into a business and I’m using a 50mm lens. The previous 34 can be found at www.fiftyportraits.co.uk, all of them are very interesting people, although Chris is definitely the most inspirational. I’m currently contemplating a change of platform for the fifty portraits site so I’m not adding any updates to it at the moment.

So I could have saved No. 35 till the new site was ready in the new year but Chris was too inspiring not to share sooner. A conversation that starts “I couldn’t find a really well made vampire stake so I decided to teach myself wood turning” is always going to be interesting but when the person you are talking to is completely blind it becomes totally inspiring.

Fifty Portraits, Portrait No 35

The Blind Wood Turener

Chris has been blind for eight years, three and a half years ago he decided he needed to learn woodturning. He listened to hours and hours of YouTube videos until he was convinced he knew what he was doing and then bought himself a lathe and started turning wood. He’s had a number of practical challenges to overcome but he has become an exceptionally skilled wood turner and with the help of his partner Nicola he now has a website and sells his products at craft fairs and in the local tea rooms. He also has his own YouTube channel with a growing following, which is no surprise since he’s a natural in front of the camera and an engaging speaker.

You can find Chris online and see his work on YouTube here. Make sure you checkout his work, I’m sure you will as inspired as I am!!

 

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(Janet Broughton) portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/12/Portrait-Number-35 Sat, 03 Dec 2016 06:51:52 GMT
Autumn, Where Did It Go? https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/12/Autumn-Where-Did-It-Go Well here in the UK winter suddenly landed a few days ago, we had the first real frosts and some really cold weather. I’m not complaining, I’m a bit of fan of winter! I love wearing warm jumpers and getting wrapped up in woolly scarves and hats and going for long walks.

But where did autumn go! It really feels like it had only just arrived and then it was gone. It’s my favourite season and I usually love to photograph it but this year I only managed one unplanned walk around some gardens with friends and a few still lifes with apples and textures and vintage lenses.

Flower photography

Autumn leaves

Squash

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Autumn photography

Apples, Taken with Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm

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Autumn Still Life

This is the time of year when I start to think about the next year and I’ve lots of exciting plans and ideas that I’m currently mulling over. I’m toying with the idea of a community photo a day project for January to give everyone a little photographic inspiration and motivation to start the year. Keep an eye on the blog if you want to join in, more details will be coming soon.

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(Janet Broughton) random thoughts & musings still life photography vintage lens https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/12/Autumn-Where-Did-It-Go Thu, 01 Dec 2016 12:50:58 GMT
Have I found My Missing? https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/11/Have-I-found-My-Missing If you follow the blog you may have read my recent post about the feeling that something is missing (if you didn’t see it you can find it here). I was amazed at how many people got in touch to say they completely understood and even felt the same, if you are one of those people thank you!

Maybe, just maybe, I may have found my missing thing….

There are a couple of things that I’ve felt drawn to recently although neither have them have quite felt right. The first is collages. For some reason I seem to have come across quite a lot of collages (as physical art) recently and find them intriguing to look at. I like the idea of creating collage work but all that collecting of odds and ends to actually make a collage doesn’t appeal quite so much.

The other thing that has been drawing me in is digital art, I’ve been enjoying working with textures in my still life photography and expanding that further certainly appeals. But I already spend so much time sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen and I’m not sure that I want to actually add to that.

But isn’t it funny how something can appear just at the right time?

Like this, in my news feed on Facebook, with images that really appealed to me and a great launch offer.

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I looked a little deeper at the work of Nicki Fitz-Gerald, the course creator, and was really drawn to her photographic style. I looked further into the course content and found that it included creating collage style art work from mobile images.

I can’t help but feel that this could be my missing thing. It combines the two things I’ve felt pulled to, collages and digital art, but at the same time avoids the elements that held me back. There’s no need to collect “stuff” to collage, I already have loads of mobile images and taking more is a pleasure not a chore. And there’s no need for extra desk time, the creating is all done on mobile devices so I can use my iPad and work anywhere.

In the past I’ve experimented with a more creative approach to mobile photography, below is a rare self portrait with the double exposure feature in Hipstamatic, but I’ve felt like everything I’ve done has been a little hit and miss. Created by chance rather than intention!

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So far I’m just a couple of lessons into the course and I haven’t yet created anything but my head is just spinning with ideas and possibilities. I can’t wait to have the time to get shooting & creating!

Keep an eye out for future posts, I will be sharing my progress and I’ll let you know if I really have found my missing thing.

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) phone photography random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/11/Have-I-found-My-Missing Fri, 18 Nov 2016 05:44:55 GMT
Vintage Lens, A Disappointment? https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/11/Vintage-Lens-A-Disappointment You’ve probably already gathered that I’m drawn to antique and vintage shops, I love a good mooch around for “new” props for my still life photography. A few weeks ago an unplanned antique shop visit saw me buying two lovely old blue bottles plus a Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Domiplan 50mm f2.8 lens.

Now I knew nothing about the lens and had no internet connection on my phone so wasn’t able to do any research. The only thing I did know was that it fitted my adaptor ring and at £15 I was prepared to take a chance.

A quick search online when I got home and learned that the chances of the lens being good weren’t so great! I soon discovered that the aperture was stuck at f2.8, the lens is soft, difficult to focus and prone to a sort of glowing effect.

Undeterred a few days later I took it for a walk.

black and white photography with a vintage lens

black and white photography with a vintage lens

black and white photography with a vintage lens

black and white photography with a vintage lens

black and white photography with a vintage lens

The kindest thing I can say is the images certainly look like they were taken with something vintage! Not one of them was focussed. In fact I had to swap to the Helios to reassure myself that there wasn’t something wrong with my eyes!

And just look at the difference…..

black and white photography with a vintage lens

I should be disappointed and consigning the lens to the bin.

BUT I’m very drawn to soft, out of focus and blurry images and I have a feeling there’s a great image to be had from that lens. Admittedly probably only ever one great image. Perhaps it’s connected to my last post about the thing that’s missing but I have a feeling that one day I’ll be really glad I bought this lens.

At the moment I’m much more excited about another vintage lens discovery but I’ll save that for another post.

 

 

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography vintage lenses wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/11/Vintage-Lens-A-Disappointment Sun, 13 Nov 2016 11:51:55 GMT
Still Life With The Vintage Lens https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/10/Still-Life-With-The-Vintage-Lens There’s been so much going on over the last couple of weeks that I’ve been absent from the blog for longer than I’d intended. Plans have been made for a beginners DSLR workshop in conjunction with a local photographer, two heads are better than one so they say! At the same time I’ve finally opened an online shop for my fine art prints but I’ll be sharing more about this in the future.

While I’ve absent I’ve also been trying that lovely Helios vintage lens for some still life photography and I’m still loving the results. Yes there are times when I’m more drawn to the sharpness of the macro lens but there’s something quite enchanting about the softness of the Helios.

photographic art for sale on Etsy

Still life photo taken with helios 44-2 vintage lens

Online photography courses

frozen berries, food photography

Still life photo taken with helios 44-2 vintage lens

Free online photography course

online photography courses

Another unexpected but lovely bonus of the lens is the number of conversations it’s opened up with strangers on various online platforms, I’ve been surprised at how many people have been inspired to search for a Helios lens of their own! And as you can probably see I’m still enjoying using the 2 Lil Owls Studio textures, they work so well with the look of the Helios.

I’ve used the lens for a few weeks now for different types of photography, both indoor and out, and the only time I find I’m consistently disappointed with the results is when I’m try to focus on something very distant. And since that’s something I rarely do anyway I’m really not concerned.

 

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(Janet Broughton) still life photography vintage lens photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/10/Still-Life-With-The-Vintage-Lens Thu, 06 Oct 2016 07:17:00 GMT
Isle Of Arran ~ Empty Beaches, Calm Waters, Bus Stops & More https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/9/Isle-Of-Arran-Empty-Beaches-Calm-Waters-Bus-Stops-More It’s been a little quiet here on the blog but I’ve got a good excuse, honest!

I’ve been away on holiday, and as always with holidays when you are self employed I was busy doing all those things that needed to be done before I went away and had no time to blog.

But now I’m back and busy catching up and I decided that blogging some of my holiday pictures would gave me a great reason to get some edited and stop them lying ignored on my hard drive. I have to point out that I’m not really inspired to photograph landscapes in the traditional sense, I’m more drawn to the smaller details within the landscape or to open, empty spaces.

Sandwiched in between two long weekends in southern Scotland we had a five day stay on the beautiful Isle of Arran. It’s not somewhere we’ve been before and the landscape was just amazing. We also had a 40 year old Shetland pony called Toffee for a neighbour!

online photography courses

And just look at that view from the front of the house!

But aarrrggghhh those telegraph lines and poles! How annoying, I’m torn between faffing around in Photoshop to get rid of them or just accepting that they are there in real life and leaving them.

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I’m not normally one for shooting sunsets but on the one evening that the mist didn’t come it was hard to resist the setting sun just along the lane.

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Other highlights included beautiful empty beaches (just the way I like them), swans in the sea, lots of other seabirds, very tranquil waters and a rather quirky bus stop.

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And I was really excited to see a seal, he’s tiny and distant on the rocks but my eagle eyed hubby spotted him and we watched for ages. I was so pleased to have a 70-300 lens with me so that it was more than just a speck on a rock. Admittedly it’s not that much bigger than a speck but you can at least just about see him.

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But then just a couple of hours later and a few miles along the road we came across this one happily sunning himself and totally unconcerned about me and my camera. I’ve never seen a seal so close before and took a ridiculous number of very similar images. Just in case!

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Of course I took the Helios vintage lens with me. I’ve discovered that its not ideal for landscapes but I enjoyed using it in the castle and on some boats. And I don’t mind that the jetty is a little softer than I’d normally expect, it just adds to that feeling of tranquillity.

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But it wasn’t all sunsets and calm waters, the day before we left brought moody and threatening skies that transformed that tranquil blue sea to something much darker and rather ominous.

Which should have served as a warning for the problems we were going to have trying to leave the island, cancelled and diverted ferries left us with an extra 100 miles to drive in driving winds and torrential rain. But it was worth it to visit this scenic island with such a varied landscape in such a small area.

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(Janet Broughton) wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/9/Isle-Of-Arran-Empty-Beaches-Calm-Waters-Bus-Stops-More Fri, 16 Sep 2016 07:35:04 GMT
The Question I’m Asked Most…. https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/8/Question-Asked-Most It’s time I made a confession……

I’m not very interested in cameras. Or lenses. Or flashes and other lighting gear.

Actually I tell I a little lie, I am interested in certain lenses. I love my Lensbaby and all its different optics and you’ve probably noticed how much I’ve been raving over my lovely vintage lens. But I love those because they allow me to express myself creatively in way that other lenses don’t.

But the rest, I’m just not that interested.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a great camera as well as all the equipment I need to do my job. I’d be desperately upset if something happened to my camera. But its a tool, it serves me well but could be replaced if necessary.

Five handy tips to help choose your next camera

So why am I telling you this?

Because the one question I get asked more than anything else in emails, Facebook messages and face to face is “What camera should I buy?”. And it leaves me stumped. Every single time.

There are so many photography related questions I could answer easily but that’s not one of them. And that’s because I don’t really care about the camera. I care about the final image and the creative process but I’m not so interested in the tools that get me there. That’s not to say my camera wasn’t a carefully considered decision because it was, or at least my first DSLR was.

I don’t keep up to date with all the new photographic developments or the latest camera models so I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone what camera they should buy. I can however share five tips that might be useful if you are choosing a camera:

  1. Decide on your budget, there are cameras out there to suit every budget. Spending more money may well buy you a better camera but depending on where you are in your own photographic journey you may not benefit from the extra capabilities.
  2. Do a little research online so that you have some idea of what is available in your budget.
  3. Keep to one of the better known brands, chances are they will be more reliable and in the unlikely event that you have any problems the after sales service should be good.
  4. Think about buying a model that’s just been replaced. These are usually quite heavily discounted and offer great value money. Its highly likely that you wouldn’t make use of the additional features on the newer model so you won’t be missing out.
  5. Go to a camera shop, talk to a real person who can give you some advice. Make sure you hold the camera, try out the controls if you can. It may sound strange but some cameras will feel better in your hands than others.

For anyone that is really interested I use the Sony A99 with a variety of lenses. My choice of lens depends on what I’m shooting but for much of the food and still life photography that you see here and on Instagram I use a Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro lens.

And I use Sony because I followed the advice I’ve shared above when choosing my first DSLR. I narrowed my choice down within my budget, went to a camera shop and bought a Sony A350 because it felt right.

Do feel free to get in touch with questions, I do like to hear from people and at least now you won’t be surprised if I don’t give an in depth answer to a gear related question!

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/8/Question-Asked-Most Thu, 25 Aug 2016 11:58:17 GMT
Adventures With A Vintage Russian Lens – Part Two https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/8/Adventures-With-A-Vintage-Russian-Lens-Part-Two If you’ve read my last post you’ll know all about my excitement at finding a vintage Russian lens at a bargain price on eBay – if you haven’t read it you can find it here.

After trying it for portraits I then got to spend a wonderful couple of days showing a lovely photographer friend some of the North West of England and I decided to use the Helios as a general walk about lens and see how it performed.

I photographed beaches, flowers, iron men and of course cups of coffee (no photography outing is complete without coffee!) and I have to say I’m still loving it.

Crosby beach with Helios 44-2 58mm vintage russian lens Online photography courses Close up photos with Helios 44-2 58mm vintage russian lens Landscapes with Helios 44-2 58mm vintage russian lens Flowers with Helios 44-2 58mm vintage russian lens Costa coffee with Helios 44-2 58mm vintage russian lens

For anyone that’s interested the lens is a Helios 44-2, its a 58mm focal length and has no electronics, so its manual focus and aperture change. All the above images were shot wide open at f2.

And today I’ve been using it for still life and food, and I STILL can’t find fault with it! I’ll be sharing some of today’s pictures on Instagram and if you’d like to look you can find me as @definitely_dreaming.

 

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(Janet Broughton) vintage lenses wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/8/Adventures-With-A-Vintage-Russian-Lens-Part-Two Thu, 18 Aug 2016 13:08:29 GMT
Adventures With A Vintage Russian Lens – Part One https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/8/Adventures-With-A-Vintage-Russian-Lens-Part-One Do you ever set out to do just one thing on the internet, get distracted and then end up spending way too long doing something totally irrelevant?

That’s exactly what happened to me last week, I set out to catch up on reading a few emails, one link lead to another, I disappeared down the internet rabbit hole and emerged a couple of hours later having ordered a vintage Russian lens and an adaptor plate from eBay!!

The arrival of the lens coincided with a day at Aspire Photography Training organised by The Guild Of Photographers. Any visit to Aspire is guaranteed to inspire and motivate and I decided this would also be the perfect opportunity to try out my new lens. After all I wouldn’t want to experiment with it on a client shoot and find it wasn’t as good as I was hoping.

I have to say this really is the best £15 I have ever invested in my photography, the lens is sharp (as long as I manage to focus properly!!) and beautifully soft at the same time.

beautiful portrait of girl using vintage lens

I’d thought I may only use it for black and white work but the colours are beautiful, the image above hasn’t been edited other than a tiny crop and converting to a JPEG!

For the photographers reading who are probably desperate to know, the lens is a Helios 44-2. Its a 58mm focal lens with a widest aperture of f2 and all the images are shot wide open. It’s a totally manual lens and I needed to buy a £2.99 mount adaptor to fit it on my Sony. And I’m sure lots of photographers would wonder why on earth anyone would stick an old £15 lens on quality digital camera but there’s nothing like using something unique to really push your creativity and allow you to work in your own unique style.

black and white portrait with Helios Vintage Lens Portrait photography with vintage lens Beautiful vintage lens portrait of girl Portrait photography North West Beautiful black & white portraits with vintage lens Dark & moody vintage lens portraits portrait photography Bolton Portraits of a girl using vintage Russian Lens Helios 44-2

If you are a parent reading this I offer children’s portrait sessions throughout the North West and sometimes further afield. Please head over to the Contact Page and get in touch if you’d like more info, I’d love to hear from you.

And if you are a photographer and haven’t already come across the Guild of Photographers I can highly recommend them for the support, motivation and training that they offer.

 

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography inspiration & creativity portraits vintage lenses https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/8/Adventures-With-A-Vintage-Russian-Lens-Part-One Thu, 11 Aug 2016 09:42:08 GMT
Playing With Textures https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/8/Playing-With-Textures Isn’t it strange how things seem to appear at just the right time?

I’ve been feeling drawn to experiment with textures more and more recently. I have a few already but I’ve never done much with them and when I have I’ve not been overjoyed with the results. Yesterday an email from 2 Lil’ Owls landed in my inbox with details of a fantastic offer on a texture bundle via Design Cuts and the timing was so perfect that I just couldn’t resist.

What a great selection of textures it is! Haven’t had a lot of time to experiment with them but I created three new images today and I’m much happier with them than with any I’ve done before.

Floral still life photography with texture

Floral still life photography with textures

Floral still life photography with textures

If you are like me and have been pondering using textures I’d highly recommend giving these a try, there are so many to choose from and the bundle is fantastic value. Just be prepared to spend lots of time re-editing images afterwards, I’ve got a feeling that working with textures could become a little addictive!

 

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(Janet Broughton) still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/8/Playing-With-Textures Thu, 04 Aug 2016 12:35:15 GMT
Good Wood Home Designs – Product Photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/8/Good-Wood-Home-Designs-Product-Photography It’s not very often that I share any of my commercial photography here on the blog but every now again a photoshoot comes along that is so lovely I find it hard to just leave the images sitting on my hard drive. The recent shoot for Good Wood Home Designs was one of those shoots.

In theory so much could have gone wrong, Rachel from Good Wood Home Designs had contacted me from Cambodia to arrange the shoot. Communication had all been via email (and Whatsapp on the day) and although Rachel had communicated her thoughts on styling quite clearly she also placed a lot of trust in myself and the owner of the Liverpool house where the shoot took place. Time was also an issue, we had all day but there was a LOT of furniture, most of it large and heavy, and it needed moving in and out of rooms.

But on the day everything went like a dream, the furniture was lovely, such beautiful quality wood. The house owners were great company (and made fantastic coffee, which is always a bonus) and we had great fun with the styling.

Lifestyle photography for creative companies Manchester based lifestyle photographer lifestyle and branding photography in Manchester Manchester commercial photography modern and creative product photography in Bolton

If you are a creative company looking for lifestyle or storytelling photography for your social media and website you can get in touch via the Contact Page, I’d love to have a chat!

 

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(Janet Broughton) commercial photography lifestyle photography product photography styling https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/8/Good-Wood-Home-Designs-Product-Photography Mon, 01 Aug 2016 12:50:13 GMT
Why It’s Good To Be Pointless, Sometimes! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/7/Why-It-s-Good-To-Be-Pointless-Sometimes  

“Learning through play”.

It’s a phrase that we hear all the time when talking about children and as adults we know how well play works as a learning mechanism. So why do we stop? When do we go through some form of transition that stops us playing, that makes everything we do need a reason or purpose? Or even more constraining, a client?

Once everything needs a reason or a client we stop to grow as a creative. We become restricted by invisible, often self imposed rules, we try to fit in with whatever everyone else is doing. But if we can let go of all expectations and truly play, without caring about the end result, without thinking about whether we can share it on Instagram, we can re-connect with our creativity.

And then we can learn through play again.

Colour, light, composition, we can learn more about all of them by letting go and playing. And maybe we will be happy to share that end result and use it to feed the social media monster, if so that’s a bonus. But it’s just as likely that we won’t want to share the end results, that they will feel pointless. And that’s OK too because we are sure to have learned something, even if it’s only the tiniest lesson, even if we only learned that we didn’t like a particular style or approach.

When did you last play?

Whether your creative outlet is photography or something else, when did you last let go of expectations and create purely for the fun of creating?

I played recently but I must confess that I can’t actually remember when else I’ve played in a very long time. I’ll admit that I didn’t initially set out to play. My only intention was to photograph some eggs in response to a prompt in a photography group.

online photography classes. Still Life photography

online photography classes. Still Life photography

Once I’d got the shots I needed I started to pack everything away and then I thought “What else can I do with these things I have out” and I remembered a little wooden man I’d bought on impulse. And then I thought how pointless it would be to photograph a wooden figure and some eggs, and no way would I ever let anyone see those pictures.

BUT I did it, and I had fun. And I experimented with narrative, played with positioning a lot and then played around with the editing and created a new preset that I rather like. So, new things learned and fun was had, it wasn’t pointless after all.

online photography classes. Still Life photography

Now it’s your turn. When did you last play? And I mean really play, not do something with half a mind that it might have some sort purpose.

I’d love to hear how you played, what you learned through it and even see what you created if you feel like sharing. Why not leave a comment and tell me, include a link if you like, but if you want to share privately send me an email.

And if you can’t remember when then it’s time you booked a play date with yourself!

 

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/7/Why-It-s-Good-To-Be-Pointless-Sometimes Tue, 19 Jul 2016 09:02:40 GMT
52 Weeks Of Quiet, Catching Up! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/7/52-Weeks-Of-Quiet-Catching-Up Well we are halfway through the year already! Not quite sure how that happened to be honest but I’m rather impressed with myself at keeping going with my 52 Weeks Of Quiet project. I’m pretty sure I’ve missed the odd week, and probably shared more than one some weeks, but I’m still going strong.

Still lots of flowers, but there’s been a little less rain the last few weeks so there are a few outdoor shots creeping in and even a phone and a Lensbaby image in this latest round up (I really, really must use my Lensbaby more).

Still life photography, online courses and inspiration

Online photography courses.

Online photography courses.

Food portrait, egg and spoon

iphone photography, landscape

Online photography courses for beginners

Online photography courses.

Online photography courses and more

Online photography courses

online photography courses for beginners
I’ve been sharing the images weekly over on Instagram, if you’d like to join in just tag your images #52weeksofquiet and give me a mention if you want to make sure I don’t miss them.

 

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(Janet Broughton) 52 weeks of quiet still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/7/52-Weeks-Of-Quiet-Catching-Up Wed, 06 Jul 2016 05:09:27 GMT
Behind The Scenes – Figs & Blackberries (No More Excuses) https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/6/Behind-The-Scenes-Figs-Blackberries-No-More-Excuses Do you ever find yourself making excuses? And then using those excuses not to take photos at all (or draw or write or make, whatever your creative outlet may be)?

You know the sort of thing, I’d take more photos/better photo’s if only I had a better space to work in or a new lens or a better camera. I’d take amazing landscape pictures if only I could visit exotic locations. I’d take more photos but I don’t have enough spare time or anything interesting to photograph.

We are all guilty of using at least some of these excuses at some time or other. I’ve never been too interested in gear so haven’t really used the better camera or new lens excuses but I think I’ve used all the others at some time or other! But they are all rubbish really aren’t they? We can all learn to make the most of the equipment we already have. We can look more closely at our own landscape and find the elements of interest in it rather than feel the need to travel. And as for having nothing interesting to photograph, there is beauty and interest all around us all the time. We just need to start to see it and experiment with how we want to capture it.

And as for the excuses of not enough time and not the right sort of space to work in (and aren’t we all guilty of using at least one of those!) I thought I’d share a little bit of behind the scenes info to help.

If you follow my blog you’ve probably already seen the images below:

food photography, past their best

food photography, past their best

Food Photography Manchester

Food Photography Manchester

The blackberries and the figs were photographed as part of my “Past Their Best” series, a mini project to photograph out of date produce. Although they were photographed on different days the circumstances were identical – both had been bought the day before, on both days I was desperately short of time, I needed to photograph the food but didn’t have the time to start getting out lots of props and backdrops. So each one was shot in a corner next to the kitchen window using just two slate place mats and took between 5 and 10 minutes.

And here’s the behind the scenes look I promised!!

Food photography set up

So here’s a challenge for you:

Put aside any excuses, find yourself 10 minutes and a bit of space near a window. Choose something from around your home or kitchen to use as a subject and just play! Let your creativity run free and see what you can come up with in a short space of time, you might just be pleasantly surprised.

I’d love to see what you do, why not share on Instagram and use the hashtag #photoexcuses you can find me on Instagram as @definitely_dreaming, give me a mention to make sure I don’t miss it!

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/6/Behind-The-Scenes-Figs-Blackberries-No-More-Excuses Tue, 14 Jun 2016 08:11:35 GMT
Those Vintage Books In Use https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/5/Those-Vintage-Books-In-Use If you’ve been reading the blog recently you’ll know I’ve been on a what seemed like an impossible mission to find some lovely old books. Well as you may know I finally found them and here they are in action!

Still life photography, online photography courses

I’ve been very quiet this last couple of weeks both on the blog and on social media. I’ve been really busy setting up a new site for my courses and my membership program (more on that coming soon), I feel like I’ve been glued to my laptop trying desperately to understand how on earth it all fits together and makes sense. Turns out that if you just keep on putting one foot in front of the other, tackling and ticking off the smaller jobs, the bigger picture just starts to slot into place.

I needed a break from all the website stuff and writing to do something creative so this morning I got out the books and some other bits & pieces and had a little still life session.

still life photography, vintage camera and books

Still life photography, online photography courses

Still life photography, online photography courses

Still life photography, online photography courses

Still life photography, online photography courses

Still life photography, online photography courses

And what about that poison bottle!

Isn’t it just fantastic and very slightly disturbing?

Still life photography, online photography courses

 

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography news & updates photography courses and training still life still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/5/Those-Vintage-Books-In-Use Thu, 26 May 2016 08:39:47 GMT
When Dreams Come True https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/5/When-Dreams-Come-True still life photography

Have you ever taken steps to make a dream come true?

Part way through this morning I remembered a dream I’d had last night – isn’t it strange how the mind works and dreams suddenly just pop into your head for no obvious reason?

If you follow the blog you will know that I’ve been on a mission to find some lovely old books that I can use as props in my still life photography and it’s been proving more of a challenge than I’d expected. Well last night I had a dream that was very odd and confused (I will confess to eating cheese before bedtime) but the only part I remembered was that I’d managed to find some lovely old books that were neither expensive nor smelly.

So when the dream came back to me I decided to head off to my favourite antique centre and have a mooch around…..

And I finally found some books that fitted the bill!

And I bought a poison bottle.

And I felt a little disturbed by the dolls head lying next to its own body in a basket but couldn’t resist a phone picture.

I’ve no doubt the books will be making an appearance soon and the poison bottle too although I’m not quite sure how I’ll use that yet.

Whilst I know that buying the books was a part of my dream I can’t help but wonder whether headless dolls and poison might have been in there somewhere too!!

 

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography phone photography random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/5/When-Dreams-Come-True Mon, 16 May 2016 12:24:57 GMT
Finding Mozart https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/5/Finding-Mozart I’m currently on a mission to find some beautiful old books to use in my still life and product photography. You really wouldn’t imagine it would be difficult but so far it’s proving impossible! I’m looking for books that have a lovely aged look about them and fairly plain covers.

So far I’ve found some that would have been perfect but they were collectors books and way too expensive for a little bit of still life photography. And I worried that I would be depriving them of their rightful home, with someone that would love and appreciate them, that it would be just plain wrong to buy them to put in a drawer and never read when someone else could really treasure them.

And then I’ve found others that looked perfect, spotted through a charity shop window and priced at less than £1. Unfortunately I could smell them well before I reached them, no way were they coming home with me!

If I’m honest I don’t particularly enjoy shopping, especially the sort of shopping where you need to rummage around to find anything so hunting in charity shops really isn’t my thing. BUT just now and again there’s something to be found that makes it worthwhile, like this beautiful old sheet music….

Still life photography, sheet music & flowers

Still life photography, sheet music & flowers

Still life photography, sheet music & flowers

Still life photography, sheet music & flowers

It’s slightly tatty, torn in places, held together with old peeling tape. It’s yellowed with age and there are pen marks in the margins. But it’s oh so beautiful and full of history, its obviously been well loved and well used before it was abandoned in the 50p box at the back of the charity shop. I wish it could tell it’s story….

Unexpected finds like this not only make my never ending search for the perfect old books worthwhile but they also inspire my still life photography, I can’t wait to use it more.

And yes, it really was just 50p!

 

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(Janet Broughton) random thoughts & musings still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/5/Finding-Mozart Mon, 02 May 2016 12:48:15 GMT
Photographing Feelings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/4/Photographing-Feelings I’m very fortunate to be a frequent visitor to the south of Scotland and when I’m there I love to go walking around a local pine forest. It’s so very different from the forests near home with trees and undergrowth so dense that its pitch black within a couple of feet of the footpaths. Not that you would actually try venture in, it feels a little scary and my imagination runs wild thinking what could be in that blackness!

There are little tunnels and narrow pathways through the undergrowth that have been made by small animals, there must be an abundance of wildlife in the safety of trees. Apparently its home to wild deer although I’ve never seen any.

As you venture further around the undergrowth thins out a little and trees are slightly less dense. But they still have that distinct pine forest look, very long and mostly bare trunks stretching so far upwards that it looks like they could go on forever and then ending in a canopy of greenery that seems like its only just below the sky. Standing below and gazing upwards I feel so tiny and nature feels so strong and powerful.

What has this got to do with photography? Well ever since I first started to take an interest in photography I’ve been frustrated by my inability to take a good picture in this forest. I used to take my first camera with me and be disappointed with the results, the pictures were so boring. I thought it was my own lack of ability. But my skills improved and I had a better camera but I still wasn’t happy with any of the pictures. So I stopped trying, I stopped taking my camera with me.

And then one day I was walking and looking upwards at those wonderful tall trees and it stuck me that I didn’t really want to photograph how the forest looked, a sharply focussed well composed picture of some trees was never going to make me happy. What I actually wanted to capture was the feeling of the forest rather than the reality. So I got out my phone, opened the Slow Shutter app and moved upwards as I photographed. I took just the one shot and after all those years I’d finally created an image I was happy with! It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but that’s OK.

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For those that like to know – taken on an iPhone 5 using Slow Shutter app in the standard settings with an upward movement and edited in VSCO.

 

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(Janet Broughton) phone photography random thoughts & musings wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/4/Photographing-Feelings Tue, 19 Apr 2016 12:29:53 GMT
52 Weeks Of Quiet ~ Still Going Strong! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/4/52-Weeks-Of-Quiet-Still-Going-Strong It’s almost the middle of April and I’m quietly pleased with myself. I set myself a project a the beginning of the year to take one photo a week with a sense of calm- hence the title “52 Weeks of Quiet”. I’m generally not that great at keeping up with projects like this but I decided to go easy on myself, if I happen to miss a week that’s OK, I’m sure there will be other weeks I share an extra image to make up.

So here we are, almost at the middle of April, and I’m pleased to say I’m still going strong. I lost track of week numbers very early on, that’s no great shock, I often don’t remember what day it is! I may have missed a week and I certainly haven’t shared on here weekly but I have been sharing my images over on Instagram.

Here’s a catch up, I really hadn’t noticed how often I was photographing flowers!

online photography courses

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food photography

food photography Manchester

It’s also struck me how little of this project is outdoor photography, looking at these you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m almost a hermit! I love to be outdoors in the countryside, or by the sea, I’m a lover of fresh air and open spaces. Weather permitting I’ll hopefully be turning to some landscapes before long.

If you’d like to join in simply share your pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #52weeksofquiet and if you want to make sure I see it give me a mention in the comments, you can find me on Instagram as @definitely_dreaming.

 

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(Janet Broughton) 52 weeks of quiet still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/4/52-Weeks-Of-Quiet-Still-Going-Strong Wed, 13 Apr 2016 07:38:47 GMT
Seen Differently…… https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/3/Seen-Differently Last week a regular coffee and bacon sandwich get together with a couple of photographer friends surprisingly turned into a photography walk. I say surprisingly because arrangements had been made several weeks in advance and remarkably the weather turned out dry!

The three of us set off for what was intended to be a leisurely stroll around a reservoir but soon turned into a trek across muddy fields hunting for footpaths that had disappeared. The discovery of a strange tunnel (you can see it below in Rob’s pictures) had us wondering about the landscape and the urge to see what was “just over the top of the hill*” resulted in the discovery of a disused lead mine with an intact boiler house chimney and lots of lovely ruined walls. We were in photographic heaven! Or at least as close to photographic heaven as possible on a day with drab grey skies.

* The hill turned out to be something of a optical illusion, it looked short and really not very steep from the bottom, but the reality was very different…

 

Taken not quite from the top, we'd started to climb from over to the right of the frame, a little lower than road across the end of the reservoir!
Taken not quite from the top, we’d started to climb from over to the right of the frame, a little lower than road across the end of the reservoir!

 

I’m always intrigued by how we all see differently, if you’ve ever been out with others with cameras you very soon realise that we aren’t necessarily all drawn to photograph the same objects or scenes. This seemed like an ideal opportunity to gather together three different photographer’s views of the same place so I asked Rob and Kirsten to send me three images each to blog alongside three of mine.

First of all Rob’s three – Rob has recently abandoned DSLR photography in favour of one of new Fujis and has a blog called My Fuji Life.

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Now Kirsten’s (Kirsten is a very talented wedding photographer, her site is here):

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The grane togs-1971

The grane togs-1925

And lastly three of my own, and I’m sure you’ll agree we all saw things very differently!!

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(Janet Broughton) random thoughts & musings wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/3/Seen-Differently Tue, 29 Mar 2016 12:29:09 GMT
What Does “Making” Mean To Me? https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/3/What-Does-Making-Mean-To-Me What Does Making Mean To Me

In my last post I mentioned that I’d stumbled across a couple of bloggers who were sharing inspiring creative challenges on their blogs. Finding blogs that are creatively inspiring seems to have been a bit of theme this last week or so, it feel as if I’m somehow being guided in an as yet unknown direction.

I’ve had this little niggling feeling that there’s something missing creatively for me at the moment and I’ve no idea what it might be. Maybe its a photographic project I’m meant to do, or perhaps something totally new, or maybe it’s just a slightly different way to engage with my blog. I don’t what it is but I just know that there’s something waiting! Does that even make sense to anyone other than myself? Please let me know if it does!

Anyway, moving on to the second inspiring creative blog I’ve just discovered – A Playful Day. I’d stumbled across the podcast and loved the idea that Kate would be setting a creativity challenge. I’m not sure how many I’ll be able to join in (especially if there’s knitting involved) but this first one posed the question “What Does Making Mean To You” and I have to admit its certainly got me thinking, a lot!

Firstly I’ll admit that not everyone will see photography as “making” after all it doesn’t always have a physical end result even though photographers often talk about making an image rather than taking one. It’s all to easy to slip into well used clichés when talking about photography, capturing moments, treasuring memories, after all that is effectively what we are doing. But to me photography is something much deeper than capturing moments.

Chesire family photography

Discovering photography for me meant learning to see, learning to see all those little things that go largely unnoticed. It might be just the way the light streams through a window, or a fleeting shadow cast by the sun, or a leaf that’s suddenly in a little pool of sunshine. Or it might be something equally fleeting but more special, that perfect split second when a parent is totally lost in the moment with their child, that moment an owner looks at their horse and you just know how much they mean to them, or the innocence of a child lost in the world of make believe. But then it’s more than seeing, because these moments, once seen, are so easily forgotten so photography for me is also about saving these moments, telling stories of these moments in a style that’s all our own.

So, what does “making” mean to me?

Very simply, it means seeing and remembering.

Thank you Kate for giving me the encouragement to take the time to stop and think x

 

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(Janet Broughton) random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/3/What-Does-Making-Mean-To-Me Tue, 15 Mar 2016 14:04:55 GMT
The Year In Books https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/3/The-Year-In-Books still life photography

If you’ve been following the blog for a while you’ve probably realised that I’m a big fan of creative challenges or projects. In the last few days I’ve stumbled across two bloggers with really inspiring projects that I’ve felt compelled to join in with.

The first is The Year In Books, a project started by Laura at Circle Of Pine Trees. I somehow came across it on Twitter, a whole load of lovely book-lovers chatting away. It’s like a virtual book club but without the pressure of all having to read the same book, plus you can join in in your pyjamas! I have to admit that the idea of combining two great passions, photography and books, is really exciting to me. Will I photograph, blog and share every book I read this year? Probably not, there will be too many, I usually have at least a couple of books on the go at any one time.

One of my current books however I just have to share, its called “The Elements of Eloquence” by Mark Forsyth. Not only is it written in a very entertaining style but its full of interesting facts. For instance did you know that there are all sorts of rules about the order words are used in a sentence, most of us don’t know them but all of us obey them! For instance, would you ever say splash splish, flop-flip or dong ding? Of course you wouldn’t, and that’s because there’s a rule that we follow even though we aren’t aware that it exists, and that rule is that if the only letter that changes in a word is the vowel the order of the words must be I, A, O.

And there ends my lesson for the day 😉

I’m totally fascinated by the notion that we can follow rules we don’t know exist!

If you are a bookworm too follow the link above to Circle of Pines to find out all about #theyearinbooks, you can join in on your blog or Instagram

 

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(Janet Broughton) random thoughts & musings still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/3/The-Year-In-Books Tue, 08 Mar 2016 12:37:40 GMT
52 Weeks, Spring Flowers https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/3/52-Weeks-Spring-Flowers This morning I woke up to a covering of snow with big flakes falling fast. It came as a bit of a surprise, I’m sure the forecast was for a few light showers that would quickly turn to sleet but it seemed appropriate to cut some snowdrops from the garden to photograph for this week’s 52 Weeks Of Quiet.

The light was really great, soft and bright with all that snow to reflect it, perfect for back lighting and a dark black and white.

product photography workshops in Lancashire

Last weeks image was also spring flowers, grape hyacinths this time and shot with a Lensbaby. I’d intended to share it in this post but it’s so at odds with the image above that I don’t think I’ll bother. Its light and bright and quite delicate, it feels so far away from my usual style that I struggle to make up my mind whether I like it or not! If you want to see it you’ll have to go and look on Instagram!!

If you’d like to join with 52 Weeks Of Quiet why not join me on Instagram? Simply tag your image #52weeksofquiet and if you want to make sure I don’t miss it give me a mention in the comments, you’ll find me as @definitely_dreaming.

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(Janet Broughton) 52 weeks of quiet black & white photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/3/52-Weeks-Spring-Flowers Fri, 04 Mar 2016 11:59:46 GMT
Perfectly Imperfect Weather https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/2/Perfectly-Imperfect-Weather I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m often drawn to imperfection, rusty spoons, tired looking flowers, chipped old plates, roses with damaged petals, out of date fruit. There’s a certain sort of beauty that’s hard to explain in these things that are no longer perfect.

My love of imperfection also extends to the weather, or at least for photographic purposes it does. Much as I love to open the curtains on a beautiful sunny morning my first thought isn’t likely to be of getting out with the camera. Open the curtains to fog though and I’m dying to get out and shoot, sadly it often lifts too quickly.

Last week I was pleased to see a little mist first thing, and as it started to thicken I knew I had to head out so I was off to a local reservoir to walk and take some photographs. The water had really pulled the fog in and it was much denser than I’d expected!

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As I set off I passed an elderly gentlemen who looked at my camera and laughed. “You’ll not see anything with that” he said.

Really!!

I could see so much and I had hardly set off. I could see footpaths that disappeared into nothing, tiny figures that looked like they were about to step off the edge of the world, geese that seemed suspended in nothingness, reflections that confused the mind.

But I realised he wouldn’t understand so I just smiled and agreed and set off to see nothing.

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And as I walked from time to time the fog lifted just a little and a hint of the sun found its way through and everything changed, there were slight ripples on the water that had been like a mirror and the silence lifted a little and then it would all change again and the stillness and silence would return.

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Now if you are a photographic perfectionist I’ve no doubt you’ll look at these and think that the shadows are too dark, the highlights are blown, there’s no detail where there should be detail. And you would be right.

But you know what? I’m happy with that.

I wasn’t looking to photograph the details, as the lovely old man pointed out, they couldn’t be seen.

I wanted to photograph the feelings.

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/2/Perfectly-Imperfect-Weather Mon, 22 Feb 2016 12:46:13 GMT
52 Weeks, Flowers and Fog https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/2/52-Weeks-Flowers-and-Fog Last week I completely forgot to share my 52 Weeks Of Quiet image, I took it but it never got as far as the blog! That’s what happens when time flies by and you lose track of what day it is. That’s the thing about working for yourself, it’s hard to keep track of the days when there’s no set pattern to them. I never forget to be anywhere I’m meant to be of course, but sometimes I get a surprise when I realise its almost weekend. And another thing about days and self employment, I never have “that Monday feeling”!

Anyway, last weeks picture was the end of the purple tulips. There’s something strangely appealing about dying flowers so I’d hung on to them a little longer than I ought to have.

online photography courses for beginners

You might have noticed that I’ve not included the week number, that’s because I’m losing track of those too! Lets just wait and see if there are 52 images when we get to the end of the year…..

 

This week’s quiet image is something totally different. I woke up to a wonderful foggy morning today and decided to head out to a local beauty spot for a walk with my camera. I love foggy weather and confusing almost abstract images you can make, especially if you are by water as I was. I have so many pictures from this morning that I could share, every single one of them is a quiet image, that’s just the way things are with a thick heavy fog around. So there may be another post, or maybe I’ll share them over on Steller. But for now we have geese, with fog that’s staring to lift a little and reflected clouds that don’t seem to belong.

online photography courses for beginners

 

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(Janet Broughton) 52 weeks of quiet https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/2/52-Weeks-Flowers-and-Fog Thu, 18 Feb 2016 12:12:54 GMT
Don’t Wait For The Sun To Shine – More Product Photography Tips https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/2/More-Product-Photography-Tips product_photography_lighting_advice

Over in Facebookland I’m in a couple of groups of crafters and makers, people that are selling on sites such as Etsy or Not On The High Street, and every day I see several posts from people that are waiting for a sunny day to take their photographs. At first I tried to reply to some and tell them that you don’t always need sun, in fact in many cases you are better off without sunshine, but there were so many that in the end I gave up and decided to write a blog post instead!

Unless you have the teeniest windows and tall buildings or trees all around your home the chances are that there may well be enough light for photography even on a dull day, you just need to learn to see it. If you want to learn to see it then you need to start by going looking for it.

Where’s the best place to look? Well you may as well start with the windows. It sounds obvious but sometimes we are so concerned with finding the space to set up our products and props that we forget that right next to the windows is where all the light is. Start by placing something with a good shape and some texture very close to the window, you could use your own products but if you make something small like jewellery it will be easier to use a larger object while you look for light. Make sure the window is to one side of your item and take a look at the shadows that are on the other side. If the shadows are dark with a definite edge to them you have hard light. This is the sort of light that sunshine gives, it doesn’t work for product photography because we lose too much of the detail in the shadows. As you move further from the window you will see the shadows get lighter and their edges less defined, this sort of light is soft light and this is the type we are looking for. Soft shadows help to show shape and texture.

If your windows are very tiny and there isn’t enough light why not try in a doorway? Open the door to let in as much light as possible and set up your products just inside the door, as long as you don’t have sunshine chances are you will have some lovely soft light.

If you’ve tried all your windows and doorways and still don’t have enough light try using a reflector, its surprising how much light they can add. You can make your own by wrapping tin foil around card but they aren’t expensive to buy. The bigger the reflector the more light they will bounce back so avoid buying the smallest size.

And finally, get out your camera’s instruction book and find the “exposure compensation” button. Increasing the exposure might be all you need to do to turn a dull day brighter! If your shutter speed is then too slow for a sharp image try using a tripod.

I started this post with a picture of tulips for a reason. Its taken on a VERY dull day, it was grey, miserable and drizzling outside but I knew that the light from the window (just above the fake brick wall) would pick out the tops of the flowers and look lovely, all I needed was a little exposure compensation!

If you are in the North West our next Product Photography Workshop is taking place on 14th March, it’s a fantastic day packed full of information on everything from camera skills to styling, lighting and more. It’s in a lovely informal setting and is also a great opportunity to get together with other creative business owners.

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/2/More-Product-Photography-Tips Tue, 16 Feb 2016 07:45:48 GMT
52 Weeks + Past Their Best https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/2/52-Weeks-Past-Their-Best  

food photography, past their best
Fifty Two Weeks of Quiet, Week Five

 

I was rather pleased with myself this week, I managed to combine two photography projects into one image!

If you’ve come across my Past Their Best project already you will know that I’m always on the look out for reduced food for my project. This week they had some lovely looking figs tucked away on the sorry looking trolley in the corner and I couldn’t help feeling that even though they were supposedly not desirable any more they were twice as perfect for me!

It’s been a busy week and I’ve been struggling a little for time so these were a day out of date when I photographed them. I decided to keep the images very simple with just a slate background for most of them and no added props, sometimes simple can work really well. I struggled to decide which image to use for 52 Weeks but in the end I choose the one above for its quiet simplicity.

Past Their Best is a project to photograph food that is past its sell by date, but generally still good enough to eat, you can read more about it and view the rest of the series by selecting the category.

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food photography, past their best

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food photography, past their best

food photography, past their best

If you enjoy food photography and want to improve your skills you will be pleased to know that I will be launching an online food photography course in the next couple of months. If you’d like to be kept updated just click here & fill in your email.

 

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(Janet Broughton) 52 weeks of quiet still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/2/52-Weeks-Past-Their-Best Sun, 07 Feb 2016 12:16:51 GMT
Product Photography Tips For Crafters, Makers, Bloggers and Creators https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/2/Product-Photography-Tips-For-Crafters-Makers-Bloggers-and-Creators product photography for creative business owners and bloggers

Are you a crafter selling on Etsy, Folksy, Not On The High Street or on your own website? Or a blogger, a designer, a creative or lifestyle business owner?

Do you feel under pressure to create eye-catching images that people will remember?

Whilst I offer commercial photography services to all kinds of creative business owners, from florists to chefs, designers and makers of all sorts of wonderful products I also realise that it’s not always possible to hire a professional photographer. But so often I see images being used that really don’t flatter the products and could so easily be improved that I thought I’d share a few tips to help you on your way to creating better product photos.

1 – Use the best camera you can afford, yes your phone can take good pictures but a DSLR will take better. If you are serious about your business it may be worthwhile investing in one and learning how to use it.

2 – NEVER use the flash on the camera. Whether you are using your phone or a camera with a pop up flash make sure you turn it off. It will only ever give you horrible light with harsh shadows and hot spots.

3 – Wherever possible use natural light – look at the shadows cast by your product to judge the quality of light, soft edges to shadows are good. Dark shadows with hard edges aren’t good.

4 – If you do have hard shadows you need to either diffuse the light or add something to the shadowed side to reflect light back, white card or a sheet would do but photographic reflectors are inexpensive to buy – use the silver one though, not the gold.

5 – Unless you have a compelling reason to shoot on a white background don’t! White backgrounds are difficult to photograph well and can look a little sterile and uninspiring. Lifestyle images are much more appealing and you can inject your own personality into the images.

6 – Choose backgrounds and props carefully. They need to complement rather than overwhelm your product. Your product must remain the centre of attention, nothing should be a distraction.

7 – A little editing of your image is useful but go easy! Over editing will damage image quality and produce something that just doesn’t look natural to our eyes. Avoid gimmicky effects at all costs, they will cheapen your product.

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/2/Product-Photography-Tips-For-Crafters-Makers-Bloggers-and-Creators Mon, 01 Feb 2016 04:11:30 GMT
52 Weeks, Tulips https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/52-Weeks-Tulips  

Online photography courses, flowers and still life
Fifty Two Weeks of Quiet, Week Four

 

Am I alone in thinking that tulips are seriously underrated? I don’t know why but they aren’t the first flower that springs to mind when I think of something I might choose for a vase in the living room, and yet I really do like them. Especially when they come in purple to match the wallpaper (not the whole room I must point out, just some stripes on one wall).

So this week I discovered that an added bonus of this project is that it gives me a perfect excuse to not just buy myself some flowers but to also set aside some time with the camera to play around with them!

Don’t forget if you’d like to join in on Instagram just use the tag #52weeksofquiet.

 

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(Janet Broughton) 52 weeks of quiet flower photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/52-Weeks-Tulips Thu, 28 Jan 2016 12:44:37 GMT
Working Spaces – The Little Lancashire Smallholding https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/Working-Spaces-The-Little-Lancashire-Smallholding I have a bit of a confession to make, I love to have a good nosey into people’s work spaces. You know the TV programmes where you get to see the insides of famous people’s homes? Well they don’t interest me in the slightest but give me the chance to have a look at the working space of a creative business owner and I’m as happy as Larry!

I’m fortunate that my job gives me the opportunity to not just have a look but to photograph them too. Last week I went to photograph The Little Lancashire Smallholding, it’s a great working space where I will soon be holding a Product Photography workshop for anyone with a creative business. I’ll admit to a little workshop envy! Not only is it light and airy with lots of windows it’s also cosy with its wood burner in the corner. And there are lots of little surprises like a knitted cockerel, rose petals drying on the window sill and giant knitting needles. If all that isn’t enough there are also the sheep and chickens just outside the window, did I mention I’m a little jealous?

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If you are the owner of a creative business and need to photograph your products for selling online and for your social media why not take a look at the Product Photography workshop coming up in February. You’ll learn all about your camera, lighting, styling and even some simple editing tips (plus you can sit by the wood burner and look at the chickens!).

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(Janet Broughton) news & updates https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/Working-Spaces-The-Little-Lancashire-Smallholding Wed, 27 Jan 2016 12:16:40 GMT
52 Weeks, The Silence of Snow https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/52-Weeks-The-Silence-of-Snow  

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52 Weeks of Quiet, Week Three

 

Sunday morning started with just the perfect amount of snow. Enough to give a good covering, to cling to the trees and cover the branches. Enough even for the children to build snowmen, just. But not enough that the roads stayed covered and the pavements hard to walk on.

There’s a certain special sort of quiet that falls with snow, almost as if everything stopped for a while, then every so often it’s happily shattered by the sounds of children playing.

In the park nearby there is a beautiful tree, I can’t walk by it without admiring it no matter how often I pass, it seemed the perfect subject for this weeks “52 Weeks of Quiet”.

The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the trail of the sun,
the strength of fire,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars.

Chief Dan George

 

52 Weeks Of Quiet is a personal photography challenge to create a weekly image that feels somehow quiet. If you’d like to join in head over to Instagram and tag your images #52weeksofquiet.

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) 2016 photography project wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/52-Weeks-The-Silence-of-Snow Mon, 18 Jan 2016 12:23:44 GMT
52 Weeks, Sunshine & Petals https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/52-Weeks-Sunshine-Petals  

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52 Weeks of Quiet, Week Two

 

A few weeks before Christmas I shared a blog post about hydrangeas and how they seem to be so popular at the moment, that may just be my impression but I really seem to be seeing photos using them in one way or another all the time at the moment.

I’ve been drying some blooms in my shed, they were full of little insects so couldn’t stay indoors, and I’ve had mixed results, some look great, a couple died, not sure why. But at the same time I’ve had one small bloom in a vintage jug in my hallway, I brought it in when the bugs died and its dried out quite beautifully. Not perfect, its a little over dry and crinkly around some of the edges but I like the imperfections. So after looking at these daily I decided that, combined with a little afternoon sunshine, they could be my subject for this week.

Its lovely to see that others are joining in over on Instagram and I wanted to share this beautiful image by Rebecca LaChance, Rebecca was the first to join in and she shared this image along with the words “It reminds him of the place his soul chose to stay”. Just beautiful.

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I have the pleasure of knowing Rebecca through a business mastermind group, she’s an incredibly talented fine art photographer and artist based in America. You can find her website here and I highly recommend signing up for her newsletter, I really enjoy reading her weekly post each Sunday. You can also find Rebecca on Instagram and you will see that, coincidentally, we both choose a floral them for week 2!

If you’d like to join simply tag your images on Instagram with #52weeksofquiet.

And if you missed last weeks post where I explained all about the project you can find it here.

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(Janet Broughton) 52 weeks of quiet black & white photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/52-Weeks-Sunshine-Petals Thu, 14 Jan 2016 04:01:46 GMT
“Beginnings” https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/Beginnings Food photography, coffee beans

It somehow seems a little ironic that I’m late to share a post regarding this months photo challenge which is aptly titled “Beginnings”!

Over in the Facebook community that runs alongside Beyond Snapshots I set a monthly photo theme for anyone that feels like a challenge. This month it seemed appropriate to have a theme of Beginnings and although I’m a little late to share on the blog I shared with the group at the start of the month and I’m loving seeing everyone’s interpretations of it.

My own contribution so far is the beginnings of a wonderful cup of coffee, the beans. I’d love to be able to say that this is also the beginning of each day too but I’d only bought these for something photographic I’m working on at the moment! My days do start with a lovely cup of coffee but its from a machine and not straight from a bean!

Why have a monthly theme? Well when I first started photography it was shooting images for a theme that really got me hooked and pushed me to go out and improve my skills, I’d love to inspire someone else to really get hooked on photography!

If Instagam is more your thing just share your images and tag them #dreamsnapsjanuary, if you want to be certain I see them give me a quick mention, you can find me on Instagram as @definitely_dreaming.

Look forward to seeing more beginnings before the end of the month!

 

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(Janet Broughton) still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/Beginnings Tue, 12 Jan 2016 11:44:42 GMT
Monotone Monday – Equine Photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/Monotone-Monday-Equine-Photography equine_lifestyle_photographer_manchester

If you’ve only started to follow my work since I officially launched Definitely Dreaming then this week’s Monotone Monday image might come as a bit of a surprise. I don’t think I’ve shared, or even mentioned, my equine lifestyle photography before now although if you follow my portrait site you will know that it’s one of my great passions.

I love the moment when I arrive at a stable yard and get that first smell of horses, it evokes so many fond childhood memories. I’m in my element wandering through fields and along lanes with horses and their owners, looking for that ideal background and perfect light to create some beautiful portraits. Black and white always seems to work so well for equine photography, I could probably fill a year of Monday’s with black & white horse photos! 

At the moment I’m toying with the idea of not continuing with Monotone Mondays, or perhaps just posting once or twice a month. I often seem find that Monday comes around and there’s either something else I’d like to post or I’m so busy with other work that I could do with giving it a miss!

Anyway for now I’ll keep pondering!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/Monotone-Monday-Equine-Photography Mon, 11 Jan 2016 08:24:21 GMT
52 Weeks Of Quiet https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/52-Weeks-Of-Quiet  

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52 Weeks Of Quiet, Week One

 

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I was sitting on an idea for a year long personal photography challenge. I wasn’t quite ready to share at that point, I wanted to let the idea rest a little and see if it carried on feeling comfortable yet exciting and challenging.

Three days of thinking later and I’m happy to announce that “52 Weeks Of Quiet” was born today!

Deciding on the 52 weeks part was easy enough, I’ve already explained how I find a daily challenge stifling and a monthly one loses momentum, weekly works well for me. And if I miss a week for whatever reason and need to catch up the next I’m not going to beat myself up over it! The only thing I won’t be doing is using any existing images, they will all be taken for this challenge.

Why 52 Weeks Of Quiet? Well I thought about 52 Weeks of Food but decided that could have too many challenges that were more related to my cooking skills than my photography, and I thought of flowers but realised I may get bored before the year was up (although it would have been a great excuse to buy myself flowers every week).

The idea just sort of sneaked up on me, so it will be 52 weeks of images that feel quiet. They no doubt will sometimes be flowers, and often food. There will be still life too and probably some quiet empty landscapes, who knows! But I do feel inspired, and challenged, and excited too.

So here is Week One – another little (or maybe not so little) project for this year is learn calligraphy. I’ve started so far with pens but I want to play with ink and nibs, calligraphy for me is quiet and restful – well at the moment, if I’m totally honest, its quiet and frustrating because its not as easy as I thought. But it will be restful eventually!

Would you like to join me in this challenge? I’m going to be sharing on Instagram, post your pictures over there, tag them #52weeksofquiet and give me a mention to be sure I see them.

 

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(Janet Broughton) 52 weeks of quiet still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/52-Weeks-Of-Quiet Tue, 05 Jan 2016 12:37:20 GMT
Monotone Monday & That Time Inbetween https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/Monotone-Monday-That-Time-Inbetween Black and white still life photo of a vintage teacup

Today is the first day that I’m “officially” back at work and I have to say I’ve really been looking forward to it for the last few days. I say “officially” because I don’t think that anyone running a creative business that they love really fully takes time off. I’ve certainly spent time between Christmas and New Year reading business related books and researching and planning for 2016.

I do rather enjoy those inbetween days, they feel like a sort of pause between the end of one year and the start of another. A time with no pressure of work to complete for clients, no great rush to answer any emails that may arrive, a time to slow down, reflect and plan.

But enough of slowing down now! Its back to work with a vengeance, lots of exciting plans for this year with new courses to come. The first to launch will be a food photography course in early February and I can’t tell you how excited I am for that!

Is there something you would like to learn or improve on in 2016? Why not let me know in the comments, you never know it could become a blog post or even a future course.

Happy New Year – if today is your first day back at work too I hope you are as happy about its as I am!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/Monotone-Monday-That-Time-Inbetween Mon, 04 Jan 2016 04:05:16 GMT
New Year, New Photography Challenge? https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/New-Year-New-Photography-Challenge Happy New Year !

Do you start the year with resolutions, or do you prefer to set some goals, have some aims and maybe some challenges too? Personally I’m not a fan of resolutions, probably because I’m not that great at sticking to them! But I do like to take some time to pause and reflect on the year that’s gone, make some plans for the new year, to set some goals & aims for my business and some personal challenges too.

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Photography projects are a great way to push your creativity or develop your skills and the beginning of a year is a perfect time to throw yourself into a new project or challenge but it’s really important to give it some careful thought if you want to succeed with it. You need to choose something that will inspire and challenge you but you also need to give some thoughts as to your own personality.

This time of year I see so many people start on a Project 365 (a photo a day for a year, sometimes with a theme or a daily prompt but often without). Now I have to say I really admire anyone who does this and sees it through to the end and if you are fairly new to photography you will without a doubt see an improvement in your skills by forcing yourself to shoot daily. But the thought of such a disciplined project fills me with dread! I know that I wouldn’t be far into the year before I found myself with a few days where I’d been busy working away at home, not going anywhere interesting to shoot and struggling for the time to set up something at home. And at that point the project would feel like a chore, I’d create an image that I found boring and wouldn’t be happy to share publicly and I’d give up. Not that I generally give up easily but if I’m doing something just for pleasure and it’s become a chore then it feels a little pointless to continue! So an ideal project for me is something with a little more flexibility and I also enjoy working to some sort of theme but again I like that to be something flexible that can be interpreted in a variety of ways (have you worked out yet that I’m not a fan of routine!).

I’ve an idea in mind for a project that will see me through the year, at the moment I’m just sitting with it and mulling it over, I want to make sure I’m totally happy with it before I commit. Once I’ve decided I’ll be sharing it here on the blog, because the best way to make sure you see something through is to declare publicly that you’re doing it!

As well as starting something new 2016 will be the year that I finish my long term project Fifty Portraits, I’ve 17 wonderful people still to meet and photograph and I’ll be a little sad to reach the end.

Are you going to start the year with a creative challenge? Why not leave a comment and then you’ll be committed 😉

 

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(Janet Broughton) random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2016/1/New-Year-New-Photography-Challenge Sat, 02 Jan 2016 12:49:29 GMT
Monotone Mondays – A Touch Of Frost https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/12/Monotone-Mondays-A-Touch-Of-Frost Having a change this week and sharing something new for Monotone Monday rather than raiding the archives. I’m just back home after two weeks on holiday, in the whole two weeks there was only one day where the weather inspired me to go out and play with the camera! Its been so warm, grey and drizzly that when we woke one morning to find it bright, freezing cold and thick with frost I felt quite excited and couldn’t wait to get out with the camera and a macro lens.

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Here’s hoping there’s some more cold and bright wintery days on the way!

Have a wonderful Christmas x

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/12/Monotone-Mondays-A-Touch-Of-Frost Mon, 21 Dec 2015 08:32:51 GMT
Christmas Photography Tips https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/12/Christmas-Photography-Tips Christmas is almost upon us and although its a time of year I love you will rarely see me sharing Christmassy images. It’s not that I don’t take them but each year Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier with the big name TV adverts, the various light switch ons, the selection boxes and other festive treats seeming to appear so long before the big day. By the time Christmas comes around I feel like I’ve already overdosed on festive imagery and stories!

But Christmas is definitely a great time for photography, many of us are lucky to have our families around us and once the pre-Christmas panic of present buying and wrapping and what seems like never ending food shopping is over with we often have a little time on our hands to indulge in a little festive picture taking too.

I would love to have started off with tips for taking pictures in the snow but that’s just not going to be happening in the UK any time soon. Tips for shooting on murky grey and drizzly days would probably be more apt this year but most of us won’t want to be outdoors at Christmas in that sort of weather! If you are fortunate enough to live somewhere where you can expect a white Christmas be sure to get out with your camera and make the most of it, just be aware that all that bright white of the snow will fool your camera into underexposing and your lovely white snow will show up grey. Override your camera’s exposure and over expose the image, take a few test shots and check them on the screen to work out how much you need to over expose.

festive photo tips

Lights – At this time of year lights are everywhere! They can be great to photograph but can also cause a few problems. So many people have amazing displays of outdoor Christmas lights and these can make great pictures, either as the main subject or as an out of focus background. Only trouble is it needs to be dark to really make the most of them, in fact it needs to be fairly dark for them even to be turned on. Shooting in the dark means that you will have a slow shutter speed so you will need to make sure your camera is steady or your picture will be shaky and blurred. A tripod is ideal but if you don’t have one try propping the camera on a wall or resting it on a gate or something similar to steady it in your hands.

Lights can be challenging indoors too, we often have tree lights plus lamps or other lights turned on, especially if its one of those dull days we’ve been having. Generally your camera can handle different lighting conditions well when set to Auto White Balance but sometimes there are just so many sources of light that it just can’t deal well it and you may end up with everything a strange orangey colour, I’m sure you’ve seen the sort of picture I mean! Now I know this may mean that you need to resort to the instruction book but knowing how to change the White Balance will come in handy at Christmas. Take a test shot and have a see how it looks on your camera LCD, if its ok just carry on as normal but don’t forget to check every so often that its still looking ok. If its a strange colour change the White Balance setting, the best setting will depend on the type of light you are dealing but just keep trying until you find the one that looks best.

People – Christmas is often the time when all the family get together and its great to capture some memories. It’s very tempting when posing people for their Xmas photo to stand them in front of the tree but its all to easy to look at those pictures afterwards and find that Granny appears to have a bauble sat on top of her head or the kids have branches sprouting out of their ears! Try standing them just to the side of the tree instead or if that isn’t possible bring them as far forwards from it as you can and shoot with a wider aperture, those fairy lights will look great out of focus and any unfortunate placement of branches will be much less obvious.

Candid pictures of people are generally the ones that capture the day best, the ones that really tell a story. The best candid pictures rely on being observant, have the camera constantly close by and be aware of what is going on around you, have the camera set in a mode you are comfortable using so you can just grab and shoot when you need to. BUT do not miss out on the excitement of the day by viewing it all through a camera, don’t forget to put it down and just be present in the moment.

Food – Food photography is becoming increasingly popular and what better time to give a try than Christmas. Use a wider aperture and make sure you focus on your main subject, watch for objects included in the frame that might be a distraction from your subject particularly anything that might just be poking into the edges of the frame. Think about adding a little festive styling, there will be an abundance of baubles, tinsel, crackers and other bits and pieces to make your pictures wonderfully festive. If food photography is your thing keep an eye out for my new course starting early next year!

Traditions – make sure you capture those little things that make your Christmas unique, it may be decorations on the tree that have been used for years and have their own little stories or it could be special Christmas stockings or little rituals that you keep to each year. They may seem small and insignificant but could just make a wonderful picture.

And for 2016 how about a New Years Resolution to print those pictures. Better still why not have a photobook made from the best ones? Huddling around a screen with the family just doesn’t have the same appeal as looking through a book together. And at least you know that book will be around much longer than your computer.

Have a fantastic Christmas,

Very best wishes,

Janet x

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/12/Christmas-Photography-Tips Mon, 21 Dec 2015 04:57:05 GMT
Monotone Mondays – Portrait of Erin https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/12/Monotone-Mondays-Portrait-of-Erin Monday again! This week has just flown by and I’d actually forgotten it was Monday and almost didn’t post!

I’m still struggling with a very poor internet signal, hence the lack of posts since last Monday. I’m sure everyone is busy with Christmas though so I probably wont be missed 😉

This week I thought I’d share a portrait of the lovely Erin, if you’ve only started to follow my work since I started this website then you probably won’t be aware that I often photograph children for my clients. I just love the timelessness of black & white for children’s portraiture and this picture is one of those that always sticks in my mind.

Award winning children's portrait photographer

If you would like more information about my children’s portrait sessions please use the Contact Page to drop me a message.

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/12/Monotone-Mondays-Portrait-of-Erin Mon, 14 Dec 2015 11:18:26 GMT
Monotone Monday – Three Pears https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/12/Monotone-Monday-Three-Pears Food photography in black and white

This week’s post will be short and sweet since I’ve unexpectedly found myself wifiless! Normally I’d be happily semi disconnected from the world but this week I’d planned to start writing my food photography course so I’m feeling a little thrown off track.

Under the circumstances I thought some black & white food would be appropriate!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/12/Monotone-Monday-Three-Pears Mon, 07 Dec 2015 10:35:00 GMT
“Red” – December’s Photo Theme https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/12/-Red-December-s-Photo-Theme Online photography courses

This month’s theme is “Red”, a simple one for December and one that could be festive or not.

It could be a single image, a series of images of a red object (as above), it could have a theme or simply be a collage of images with red in them – as long as red is prominent and essential to the image anything goes* and I can’t wait to see the different interpretations in the group!

Why such a simple theme after last month’s more challenging one? Because its a great exercise in seeing, having such a simple theme in mind really opens your eyes – before you know it you will be seeing red things everywhere!

(*when I say “anything goes” what I actually mean is anything but black and white with just the red thing in colour, anything but colour popping. Its a pet hate!)

Are you on Instagram? Why not join in there, use the hashtag #dreamsnapsdecember and share your Red images – if you want to make sure I see them just give me a mention. I’m on Instagram as definitely_dreaming and I’d love to connect.

 

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(Janet Broughton) still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/12/-Red-December-s-Photo-Theme Tue, 01 Dec 2015 03:30:06 GMT
Portraits Without Faces – November’s Challenge Ends https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Portraits-Without-Faces-November-s-Challenge-Ends DSC04531

You may remember that back at the beginning of November I posted about the Portraits Without Faces challenge for the Beyond Snapshots Facebook Group – if you haven’t seen the post you can find it here.

I’ve really loved seeing all the images posted during the month and some of them have had some lovely stories attached too, my own newly taken image is the one above. A moody black and white image of my very camera aversive husband! But I really wanted to share some of the images that have been posted in the group, it’s been hard to narrow it down to just a small number but in the end I’ve chosen these as a wonderfully varied cross section.

This first image was taken by Jane, when she shared this she said it “represented five of my favourite things that I find relaxing, calming and peaceful”. I was so impressed with the thought and planning that Jane had put into this picture that I knew I wanted to share it.

Portrait without a face-Jane

And those five things are cycling, countryside, water, photography and her spiritual beliefs – all very evident in the image I feel!

These next two have a similar theme and I wanted to include them both because I feel that although they are similar they are also very different. When we see images like this with just a hand and a hint of something else our subconscious fills in the rest of the details and comes up with a story of who they may be.

Portrait no face
The above image was taken by Karen Couperthwaite.

And this one by Diana Brown of Tythebarn House B&B.
diana

And one final share is this lovely image from Maria Babin in France, I just love this little snippet of everyday life and her little boy just completely absorbed in his toys. The voyeuristic viewpoint works so well too! If you want to see more of Maria’s images you can find her Instagram as @trilingualmama.

Maria

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a selection of my favourite images from this month’s challenge.

There will be a new challenge for December in the next day or two, if you would like to join in head on over to the Beyond Snapshots page, join the course and you’ll soon receive a link to the Facebook group.

A massive thanks to Jane, Karen, Diana and Maria for putting so much thought into your pictures and for your kind permission to use them here.

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) monthly photo challenge monthly photo project monthly photo project favourites https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Portraits-Without-Faces-November-s-Challenge-Ends Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:40:02 GMT
Monotone Monday – An Often Forgotten Lens https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Monotone-Monday-An-Often-Forgotten-Lens I often find myself drawn to images that aren’t perfectly sharp and love the look of some of the modern “toy” cameras such as the Holga. But much as I’m drawn to the images produced by these cameras I love the fact that digital is instant, I’m really not sure that I could be patient enough to wait for a film to come back!

So for me the Holga lens for digital cameras is perfect, it doesn’t quite give the same look as the film camera but its a good compromise – but for some reason I always forget to use it! Its a tiny little thing that’s always in my camera bag so I have no excuse not to make more use of it.

Bangor Pier

I came across this image taken a couple of years ago in Anglesey and it’s inspired me to make some use of this little lens over the next few weeks. Hopefully by January I’ll have some more images from it that are worth sharing!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Monotone-Monday-An-Often-Forgotten-Lens Mon, 30 Nov 2015 03:20:23 GMT
The Revival Of Hydrangeas https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/The-Revival-Of-Hydrangeas Still life photography, vintage teacups and hydrangea flowers

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that hydrangeas seem to have become a little trendy recently? Or perhaps they’ve always been that little bit edgy and its just me that thought they were a little old fashioned!

I have fond childhood memories of hydrangea bushes in the garden, of playing with small toys in the soil beneath the close packed woody stems of the bush. I used to love the way the old dead branches snapped off and were hollow inside and if you snapped off the ones that weren’t dead they had a sort of foamy, squishy middle. I’m guessing I probably shouldn’t have been doing that but isn’t that part of the beauty of hydrangeas, you can more or less treat them however you like and they really don’t seem to care!

Still life photography, vintage teacups and hydrangea flowers

Still life photography, vintage teacups and hydrangea flowers

Still life photography, vintage teacups and hydrangea flowers

I’ve inherited hydrangeas in the two gardens I’ve had of my own so they’ve almost always been around. And maybe that’s why, although I’ve always loved the flower heads, I’ve tended to think of them as a slightly boring plant that everyone seems to have.

But all of a sudden I’m seeing them everywhere, as beautiful arrangements in gorgeous homes and as additional styling in lots of photographs. And I kept coming across information on how to dry the flowers so I decided to give it a try.

Still life photography, vintage teacups and hydrangea flowers

They were maybe a week or two too late for cutting, the heads are a little weary looking in places but I don’t mind, I enjoy a little imperfection here and there. I read a couple of articles and decided I would dry mine out by standing them in a vase in a few inches of water and leaving it to evaporate. There are apparently different methods but putting them in water and leaving them for a few weeks appealed more than any method that needed a little more attention.

Still life photography, vintage teacups and hydrangea flowers

And here’s what none of those articles on drying hydrangeas bother to tell you….

When you cut them and bring them indoors to strip the leaves and put in a vase they will be full of tiny and not so tiny insects. There were things flying and running in all directions and I was stamping around the kitchen floor in the hope that none would make themselves at home.

They didn’t last more than a few minutes before I decided that the shed would be a more appropriate place for drying, a cool place is recommended so I’m crossing my fingers that it’s not too cold.

They’ve been out there for just over a week now and yesterday I decided to bring a head in and make use of it with some vintage bits and pieces I’ve been dying to photograph. The cold doesn’t seem to be doing any harm so far, the blooms are still looking lovely and there’s less evidence of creepy crawlies. The water isn’t showing any sign of going down though!

Still life photography, vintage teacups and hydrangea flowers

Still life photography, vintage teacups and hydrangea flowers

Still life photography, vintage teacups and hydrangea flowers

I’ll keep you updated on their progress but if everything goes to plan you will be seeing a lot more of them here on the blog in the future.

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/The-Revival-Of-Hydrangeas Thu, 26 Nov 2015 09:18:46 GMT
Monotone Monday – Portrait Number 2 https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Monotone-Monday-Portrait-Number-2 This week’s Monotone Monday is a portrait of Andrew, a rather fascinating gentleman that I met in the very early days of my Fifty Portraits project. So early in fact that Andrew was portrait number two.

Commercial photography, business headshots

It’s highly likely that you haven’t yet discovered Fifty Portraits, I’ll post more about it at some point but for now you could just head over to www.fiftyportraits.co.uk  and have a browse. Its a personal project to photography fifty people who have turned a hobby into a business and so far I’ve met and photographed 33 wonderful people.

Fifty Portraits has been (and still is) a wonderful experience, I’ve met great people through it and learned about so many different businesses – I’ve even made an appearance on BBC Radio to talk about it! I aim to finish next year some time and I have a (not so) secret dream to have an exhibition or a book of the project.

If you are in North West of England and have a business that fits the project and would like to be a part of it please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Monotone-Monday-Portrait-Number-2 Mon, 23 Nov 2015 07:58:33 GMT
Take Ten – Exercising that Creative Muscle https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Take-Ten-Exercising-that-Creative-Muscle Creativity, it’s a funny old thing isn’t it?

As creatives we often sit and wait for inspiration to strike before we do our thing. Drawing, making, knitting, writing, painting, photographing, whatever it is that our creative thing may be, we sit around not doing it, waiting for inspiration. But the truth is that the more we sit around waiting for inspiration and not doing our thing, the less inspired and motivated we become.

And obviously I don’t mean work for clients here, when someone is relying on us its easy to be inspired. I mean the personal stuff, the things that we do to experiment and play, that feed our creative souls and improve and advance our work.

Its like a vicious circle and the longer it goes on the harder it gets to break. And that’s why, at the back of my mind, I’d been carrying this idea of “Take Ten” or some other variation of it. I seemed to have a spell of seeing very similar ideas in blog posts and its a great way to exercise that creative muscle.

The essence of the idea is that you challenge yourself to take a certain number of images of the same subject and set some restrictions. I’ve seen people say 12 pictures or twenty pictures but without moving your feet or other variations. I decided on ten images with a 50mm lens and without moving the object itself (mainly because we were in a luxury holiday apartment and I didn’t want to lose the breakage deposit we had paid!!).

We had a rainy couple of hours and I’d already felt myself drawn to this wonderful boat in the window so I decided to make it my first ever “Take Ten” subject.

Still life photography. Online photography courses.

Still life photography. Online photography courses.

Still life photography. Online photography courses.

Still life photography. Online photography courses.

Still life photography. Online photography courses.

Not only does this mini challenge get that creative muscle going it also makes you really appreciate your subject as you study every viewpoint, every line and curve, all those small details and wonderful textures. Why not give it a try? I’m sure it would work if your creative thing is painting or drawing too.

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Take-Ten-Exercising-that-Creative-Muscle Thu, 19 Nov 2015 13:08:36 GMT
Monotone Monday – Gypsophilia Flowers https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Monotone-Monday-Gypsophilia-Flowers Well after several days of what has felt like endless rain I thought a few flowers would be a lovely start to the week.

I love the delicacy of Gypsophilia flowers and their almost abstract appearance when they are photographed.

Floral photography

Do you like black & white photography?

Why not join me on Instagram, its fast becoming my favourite social media channel! Tag your images #monotonemonday and either tag or mention me so I can find it (I’m @definitely_dreaming).

Look forward to meeting you on Instagram!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Monotone-Monday-Gypsophilia-Flowers Mon, 16 Nov 2015 04:15:38 GMT
This Month’s Magazine Column – Photographing Your Children https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/This-Month-s-Magazine-Column-Photographing-Your-Children I was very excited once again to pick up a copy of this month’s Lancashire Magazine and see my monthly column of photography advice!

This month was about photographing children and I’ve included the article below for anyone who hasn’t seen the magazine. As a special bonus to blog readers I’ve also written a five page booklet with advice for photographing children, just head down to the bottom and leave your email address to claim your free copy!

“This month I’m going to share some advice to help with your family photographs. I absolutely love photographing children, especially younger ones but it’s not without its challenges and it’s often easier to photograph other people’s children rather than your own. The single biggest piece of advice I can give with regards to photographing your kids is to let them be themselves, let their wonderful personalities shine through in the pictures!

Smiles really aren’t essential, a portrait of a child gazing intently into the camera can be incredibly powerful. A lovely smiling picture of your child is also beautiful but telling them to smile can be counterproductive, often resulting in a scowl or a fake cheesy grin. Small children who are regularly told to smile for a photograph often end up developing a fake “camera smile”, other people may like it but you will always know that it’s not your child’s normal happy smile. Instead of asking them to smile try catching their attention with something that will make them laugh, it could be a silly joke or a funny noise, not only will you catch some lovely giggles. If that doesn’t work just embrace their more serious side.

children's portrait photographer

The most effective way to capture a childs personality in a picture can often be simply by quietly observing them, either at home or while you are out and about. Small children in particular quickly become completely engrossed in whatever their latest favourite game may be and they and will soon forget that you are nearby with your camera. Be patient and you will be rewarded with pictures that you will certainly treasure for years, these sorts of pictures really tell a story of a stage in your child’s life.

kids portrait photography in manchester

One final piece of advice I can would give to anyone who regularly photographs their family is to print your pictures, you may have them all on your phone and that might be backed up to your computer but technology evolves, and sometimes fails, and there is no guarantee you will always be able to access those pictures. So safeguard them and make sure your children will be able to look back on them when they are adults by printing your favourites.”

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/This-Month-s-Magazine-Column-Photographing-Your-Children Sun, 15 Nov 2015 12:25:14 GMT
Blackberries – Past Their Best https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Blackberries-Past-Their-Best It’s International Food Photography Day today, or so I’ve been reliably informed, and it seemed the perfect day to continue with my mini project “Past Their Best”.

Food Photography Manchester

If you haven’t come across it already Past Their Best is a project to photograph fresh produce that has been marked down in supermarkets due to reaching its sell by date when in reality it probably still has plenty life in it. It’s a sort of one woman visual protest, a little like Hugh’s War On Waste but on a smaller scale. A much, much smaller scale!!

Food Photography Manchester

And here’s the latest offering, Blackberries, half price and one day out of date when they were photographed.

Food Photography Manchester

Food Photography Manchester

Food Photography Manchester

Am I alone in being a little puzzled by all these so called “international” days? Where do they come from? Who gets to start them and who says they are a real thing?

Food Photography Manchester

Some of them are started and supported by genuine organisations, International Day of Peace was started by the UN. Now that’s a genuine and worthwhile day, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if every day was an international day of peace. But there’s other days that are a little more unusual, like International Yorkshire Pudding Day (which I would have celebrated if I’d known about) and International Talk Like A Pirate Day (which I won’t celebrate because I sound more like a farmer than a pirate) – where on earth do these come from!

Food Photography Manchester

Food Photography Manchester

Food Photography Manchester

Food Photography Manchester

Apparently today is also “Fancy Rat and Mouse Day” but I decided to stick with the food!

 

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(Janet Broughton) still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Blackberries-Past-Their-Best Thu, 12 Nov 2015 02:30:57 GMT
Monotone Mondays https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Monotone-Mondays For the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to come up with an idea for a weekly theme/post. Lots of bloggers seem to have Wordless Wednesdays or Silent Sundays and whilst I quite like the idea of just posting a picture (and why wouldn’t I, I’m a photographer after all!) I also enjoy writing and I’m sure there would be times I’d be dying to add a few words!

So pondering on words and the days of the week and the sort of things I may want to keep on sharing and the I came up with the idea of Monotone Mondays since I absolutely love black and white photography.

Or at least I thought I came up with the idea, a quick google search showed me that it’s quite a well used theme so I’ve obviously seen it before and not paid much attention to it. But it must have been there, lurking deep in my subconscious and waiting for a time to be useful. Isn’t it strange how our minds work.

So anyway Monotone Mondays it is – not to be confused with monotonous Mondays because one of the many bonuses of self employment is that I actually love Mondays, I love having a whole new working week in front of me.

So for those of you who don’t like Mondays, here’s a cute dog to brighten your day 🙂

Black and White Photography

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Monotone-Mondays Mon, 09 Nov 2015 04:56:52 GMT
I do like to be beside the seaside…. https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/I-do-like-to-be-beside-the-seaside Like many people I find myself drawn to the coast, I’m really not sure why so many of us are but I know for me it’s partly a love of open spaces, and then there’s that incredible feeling of freedom that gazing out towards the horizon gives me. And of course there’s the sea itself. I’m drawn to a rough sea and could spend endless hours watching waves crashing against rocks, wondering if the next wave will be bigger than the one before. I’ve been known to be so engrossed that I’ve not noticed the wave about to come crashing down over my head!

For some reason I’m particularly attracted to the coast in winter, I’m sure that’s partly because I don’t like crowded places. But there’s also something about that slightly worn, just ever so slightly tired look of an English seaside town that I find appealing, especially when I have my camera with me. It seems so long since I’ve deliberately set out to photograph winter in a seaside resort – think it needs to be on my to-do list for this winter!

In the middle of October we were lucky enough to spend a week in a beautiful apartment in Whitby. Despite beautiful weather the week didn’t quite turn out as expected and I didn’t do anywhere near as much photography as planned. When I got home I copied all the pictures on to my laptop and happily launched myself back into work.

And totally forgot all about my holiday pictures!

Until this morning.

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Are you a fan of being beside the seaside in winter too?

Let me know where your favourite place is…

PS – although I certainly wouldn’t recommend it, my camera survived that drenching by a wave that I mentioned!

 

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(Janet Broughton) wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/I-do-like-to-be-beside-the-seaside Fri, 06 Nov 2015 08:16:39 GMT
Portraits Without Faces – November Photo Challenge https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Portraits-Without-Faces-November-Photo-Challenge A couple of weeks ago I came across this article on the BBC website, if you don’t have time to read it right now it’s an article titled “How your life story is told by your hands”. It features a set of black and white images by photographer Tim Booth which show people’s hands, some of them celebrities, some not.

I was inspired and disappointed at the same time by this article. Inspired because I loved the images, disappointed because I’ve photographed hands since the very first time I photographed people and have never once thought of collecting together all those hand images into one body of work!

Over on Facebook there’s a group for all the people that have signed up for the free course Beyond Snapshots, inspired by this article we have a photo challenge for November, “Portraits Without Faces”. Some people like to debate on this topic, is a portrait really a portrait if it doesn’t have a face? For me it most definitely is, a faceless portrait can say a lot about a person.

Self portrait, no face

Take this self portrait, what does it say about me?

I chose to stand in leaves because I love to be in the countryside, I’m wearing boots because I enjoy walking. I really don’t enjoy being in front of the camera so I’ve symbolised my discomfort by having what should be the main focus (my feet) out of focus.

The challenge in the group is to take a portrait without a face that tells us something about its subject. In reality the only people who truly know what the portrait says will be the person who took it and the subject.

And that is why I love portraits that don’t have faces, they trigger our imagination, we feel that there is a story we haven’t quite been told and whether it’s conscious or not our imaginations can run riot and fill in the details!

Here’s a couple more, fill in your own stories for these, I’m revealing nothing!!

Faceless Portrait

Equine Photographer, Bolton

 

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(Janet Broughton) random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/Portraits-Without-Faces-November-Photo-Challenge Wed, 04 Nov 2015 11:34:31 GMT
It’s Behind You! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/It-s-Behind-You Photography tip of the week….

Look behind you!!

Seriously, make sure you glance over your shoulder now and again.

I almost missed this!

Photography Tips & Online Courses

And wouldn’t that have been a photo opportunity wasted!

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/It-s-Behind-You Tue, 03 Nov 2015 08:50:01 GMT
An Autumn Walk & Photography Tips https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/An-Autumn-Walk-Photography-Tips I’ve probably mentioned this already, in fact I may well have mentioned it more than once, but I absolutely love autumn. It is without doubt my favourite season. And not just because it looks so good with all those gorgeous rich colours and that beautiful low sunlight that filters through trees and those atmospheric misty mornings. But you can feel it too, there’s that certain something in the air that you can’t quite put your finger on that just feels like autumn. Or maybe that’s just me!

Last week I headed out with my camera to capture autumn so thought I’d share a few pictures and some tips for photographing autumn:

Set out with an aim in mind, this helps keep you focussed and observant BUT be prepared to be flexible too. My aim was to capture autumn colour and details but this lake and the rowers were too good an opportunity to miss even though they didn’t fit my aim.

Autumn photography tips

Autumn photography tips

Remember to shoot the bigger picture but don’t forget all the small details too, autumn is great for all sorts of details, acorns, conkers, spiders webs covered in mist, fallen leaves, toadstools, and in my case tiny little holly bushes and fungi. Keep your eyes open and don’t forget to look around your feet for the small things that might go unnoticed.

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The weather can vary massively at this time of the year and every weather brings its own appeal, mist can be beautiful and atmospheric, especially when its lingering between trees.

Sunny days will bring out the rich colour, the sun is lower than in summer and with less leaves on the trees keep a look out for little pockets of light or rays coming through the branches.

Unfortunately we also tend to get plenty days where the skies are bland and white, on days like this its good to compose your shots so that the sky isn’t included, boring white skies rarely add any interest to a picture so try to ignore them!

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Sometimes our cameras don’t seem to capture those gorgeous colours in that lovely, rich way we had imagined. Warming up your images a little can make a great difference, if you don’t want to do this afterwards in editing software you can change some settings before you take the picture. If you are using a camera that allows you to change the White Balance try setting it to cloudy and this will warm your pictures. If you are using a phone have a look for a filter that’s called either chrome or warm.

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And finally, don’t forget about black and white! Autumn may be full of beautiful colours but that great range of tones can also work really well in black white too.

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If you know someone who may find these tips useful please share this post with them!

 

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(Janet Broughton) photography tips & advice wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/11/An-Autumn-Walk-Photography-Tips Mon, 02 Nov 2015 08:33:45 GMT
In The Beginning, A Sourdough Loaf https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/10/In-The-Beginning-A-Sourdough-Loaf A few days ago I was pleasantly surprised when someone tweeted to tell me how much they liked my “Past Their Best” series of food photographs and then I remembered that I hadn’t even posted the sourdough loaf that triggered the idea for the project!

I’d needed some bread for some photographs so popped around to the supermarket. I decided on a sourdough loaf and I have to admit I choose it purely for its looks, it was that perfect crusty ridge, I just couldn’t resist.

Sourdough Loaf, Commercial Food Photography

But when I got home I realised that despite its good looks it was actually a day out of date! Not that it mattered to me, I only wanted to photograph it and I’m sure if it hadn’t got covered in fluff and bits from my hessian background it also would have made delicious toast.

Sourdough Loaf, Commercial Food Photography

Sourdough Loaf, Commercial Food Photography

Then I got to thinking about how much fresh produce we see for sale at marked down prices when in reality it still has plenty time left to be eaten.

And so the idea for “Past Their Best” was formed, an ongoing project to celebrate the sad and sorry looking produce consigned to a supermarket corner because it’s sell by date has arrived. But still rather beautiful and generally edible for a few more days.

Sourdough Loaf, Commercial Food Photography

Sourdough Loaf, Commercial Food Photography

Sourdough Loaf, Commercial Food Photography

 

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(Janet Broughton) still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/10/In-The-Beginning-A-Sourdough-Loaf Sun, 25 Oct 2015 09:18:34 GMT
Beautifully Imperfect https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/10/Beautifully-Imperfect Just back home after a (mostly) lovely week away, I’d hoped to do plenty photography while I was away but unfortunately things didn’t quite go to plan! A few days before we left I’d received a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my birthday, I took a chance on them surviving and left them on the kitchen table. When we returned they were almost as lovely as when we left, a few tired looking petals here and there but when it comes to photographing them I do like the odd flaw!

Inspired by the combination of afternoon sunshine and a beautifully imperfect rose I had a little play around with the camera & a macro lens.

Online photography courses, still life photography

Online photography courses, still life photography

Online photography courses, still life photography

Online photography courses, still life photography

Online photography courses, still life photography

Online photography courses, still life photography

The post Beautifully Imperfect appeared first on Definitely Dreaming.

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/10/Beautifully-Imperfect Sun, 18 Oct 2015 05:43:27 GMT
Beyond Snapshots & My First Magazine Article https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/10/Beyond-Snapshots-My-First-Magazine-Article Well what a wonderful week this has been! After a lot of hard work on Wednesday evening I launched my free online photography course, Beyond Snapshots. I’m really pleased with the course but if I’m totally honest I was expecting to have to round up a few friends to join it at the beginning so that it didn’t look too quiet. It’s not that I wasn’t expecting it to be popular but I really expected the start to be a bit of a slow burn. So I certainly wasn’t prepared for the wonderful response it received, almost 40 people signed up in just over 24 hours with hardly any promotion! I’m massively grateful to everyone that’s signed up so far and I can’t wait to see everyone sharing their pictures!

As if I wasn’t excited enough about that yesterday also saw my first ever magazine article published in the Lancashire Magazine. Obviously I knew it was due out any day but actually seeing it printed was a very proud moment (excuse the phone picture!).
published writing

Since the article is all about autumn photography I thought I’d also share the content here for any who isn’t local enough to see it, hopefully you’ll find some of the tips useful.

Autumn is a wonderful time of year for all types of photography and I always get excited at that first sense of a chill in the morning air that lets you know the seasons are ready to change. It’s an ideal time of year for rural landscape photography, summer can get a little monotonous with all that green but not only is autumn an absolute riot of beautiful colours but sunrise and sunset are also at more civilised times!

The light in autumn can be great for landscape photography. Sunny days have a wonderful golden glow and misty weather can add an atmospheric feeling to your images. Be wary of the bland white skies we often see at this time of year though, unfortunately they rarely look good in a photograph. Rather than let these skies ruin your images try to frame your picture so that there is little or no sky included.

Longsight Park, autumn trees mist fog

If photographing people appeals more than landscapes there’s nothing better than getting the family all wrapped up in warm jumpers and snuggly scarves and hats and heading out for walk. The light is often kinder for portraits too, there’s much less of the harsh sunshine that can cast unflattering shadows on faces. Make the most of the autumn colours by photographing in a leafy area, even with a close up portrait you can use leaves to add autumn tones to your backgrounds.

outdoor childrens portrait photography

Keep younger children occupied by encouraging them to collect leaves in various colours or searching for acorns or conkers. Be ready with your camera or phone to capture some candid pictures of them having fun.

Whatever your subject is try experimenting with some different camera settings, change your “White Balance” from Auto to either Cloudy or Shade, this will warm up your pictures and really enhance those autumn tones, beware of skin tones though, they may look a little unnatural in a close up portrait. If you are using a phone rather than a camera have a look for the inbuilt filters, Chrome or Warm filters will give a similar effect.”

 

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(Janet Broughton) autumn photography beginners photography children's photography news & updates online courses photography photography tips photography tips & advice photography training for beginners portrait photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/10/Beyond-Snapshots-My-First-Magazine-Article Fri, 09 Oct 2015 08:43:08 GMT
A Ball Of String and An Enamel Plate https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/9/A-Ball-Of-String-and-An-Enamel-Plate There’s times when I’m shopping alone that I’m really, really glad that I don’t have anyone with me. Like yesterday. I was browsing the antique shop for anything that might work as styling props for shooting food, I had in mind some old cutlery or worn linen, possibly some china plates. I didn’t expect to stumble upon a ball of string and feel ridiculously excited, you know that feeling when you see something that’s just perfect even though you weren’t looking for it and you just have to have it. It’s normally associated with shoes and handbags but yesterday I had that “Oooh I need this in my life” feeling over a ball of string!! If there had been anyone with me I’m sure they’d have thought I was losing my marbles, but how often do you discover a perfect ball of string? And then I found an enamel plate, also quite an exciting find, I would have loved it to look a little more chipped and worn, then it would have been perfect, but still I added it to my secret stash of props.

When I got home the sun was streaming through the windows and I got to thinking about that ball of string, how it was destined only to ever play a small background role in photographs. If you have read back on this blog at all you will know that I have a passion for shooting very ordinary items, for celebrating the beauty in everyday items, so I decided that just for once the ball of string could play the starring role.

still life photography by Janet Broughton

still life photography by Janet Broughton

still life photography by Janet Broughton

still life photography by Janet Broughton

PS – Just to clarify I do also get that feeling over handbags & shoes (especially colourful ones), it’s not reserved for strange purchases such as string!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography random thoughts & musings still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/9/A-Ball-Of-String-and-An-Enamel-Plate Tue, 29 Sep 2015 07:31:47 GMT
Autumn, Revisited https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/9/Autumn-Revisited I’m currently in the process of reviewing the blog posts on my business website and deciding which ones should be transferred over to Definitely Dreaming. It’s a bigger task than I thought it would be, its so hard to be ruthless and select only the posts that are strictly relevant, but at the same it’s enjoyable to take the time and look back over some older photoshoots that are almost forgotten now!

This lovely autumn portrait session was one of my very earliest outdoor sessions and I still love it, looking back at these images reminds me of what a great time we had playing with the leaves. It was one of those autumns where the colours were so much better than usual – apparently wet summers lead to better autumn colours and this particular year had been a VERY wet summer !!

Demi made a great model and her Grandma also joined in for a few shots – even Ava the dog enjoyed herself !

Children's outdoor photography in Bolton, Lancashire

Children's outdoor photography in Bolton, Lancashire

Children's outdoor photography in Bolton, Lancashire

Children's outdoor photography in Bolton, Lancashire

Children's outdoor photography in Bolton, Lancashire

Children's outdoor photography in Bolton, Lancashire

Children's outdoor photography in Bolton, Lancashire

Children's outdoor photography in Bolton, Lancashire

Children's outdoor photography in Bolton, Lancashire

Autumn is without a doubt my favourite time of year and I always get a little bit excited at this time of year when you start to feel that chill in the early mornings and the first leaves are starting to change colour.

 

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(Janet Broughton) portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/9/Autumn-Revisited Fri, 25 Sep 2015 09:44:37 GMT
When Inspiration Strikes, 10 Minutes of Creative Macro Photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/8/When-Inspiration-Strikes-10-Minutes-of-Creative-Macro-Photography Inspiration. It’s a funny thing, its often there when you need to call on it but other times its just nowhere to be found at all. There’s lots of advice written on it, on how to find it when it’s left you and how to keep it when you have it. Most of it is good advice too and the things that tend to work for me are wandering around a gallery (regardless of whether its showing photography), being with other creative people and walking in the countryside.

And then there are other times when you aren’t really looking for it but it comes along and WHAM it suddenly hits you!

That’s exactly what happened the other morning, I’d had my early morning cup of coffee and was just putting the cup in the kitchen when I looked out of the window and saw these little pockets of sunshine filtering through the leaves on the trees. Now it really isn’t anything new,  but this particular morning I was so inspired that I just HAD to go get my camera and macro lens and spend ten minutes in the garden in my pyjamas!



DSC03164macro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography coursesmacro garden photography, creative photography, online photography courses

 

Courgette buds, spiders’ webs, tiny acer leaves, hydrangea petals, dandelion seeds, its amazing what can be found in ten minutes in a garden when inspiration strikes! And thanks to those little pockets of sunshine!

 

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(Janet Broughton) garden photography random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/8/When-Inspiration-Strikes-10-Minutes-of-Creative-Macro-Photography Mon, 24 Aug 2015 14:07:54 GMT
Past Their Best – Birds Eye Chillies https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/7/Past-Their-Best-Birds-Eye-Chillies I’m continuing in my little mini project to photograph out of date food with some simple portraits. All the food photographed for this project has been bought when it’s reduced due to going out of date and photographed after it’s so called ‘best before’ date.

These birds eye chillies were a day out of date and I decided to use them for some simple dark portraits using slate as a backdrop.

Food Photography MAnchester DSC02709 DSC02711 DSC02714 DSC02716 DSC02726 DSC02742

 

 

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(Janet Broughton) still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/7/Past-Their-Best-Birds-Eye-Chillies Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:02:40 GMT
In Search of the Perfectly Imperfect https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/7/In-Search-of-the-Perfectly-Imperfect Recently I’ve found myself constantly on the look out for photography props. In the very early days of my business my prop hunts were for items to use in baby photography but that novelty wore off and now my baby photography is lifestyle based and completely prop free.

My hunt now is for items to use for styling my food photography or that would work well for still life photography, something that I’m more and more turning to recently. I’m currently searching for a perfectly imperfect spoon, not too big or too small but tarnished and well loved looking. It’s not easy to find but I’m sure it’s waiting for me somewhere.

This morning I met Rob & Kirsten, two photographer friends, for coffee at an antiques centre – don’t listen to anyone that tells you photography is a lonely business, it’s not true, or at least I’ve never found it that way. The antiques centre is prop heaven, there was so much that I would buy if I had a studio for portraits. But unfortunately no perfectly imperfect spoon.

But I did buy a beautiful vintage stoneware jug, it’s absolutely perfect for something but I haven’t decided what just yet and for now I’ve photographed it on my phone with my Lensbaby.

  

Prop shopping with other photographers has advantages and disadvantages. They totally get the concept that there’s a degree of imperfection that’s just right but there’s a certain degree of pressure when their parting words are “Ooooh can’t wait to see what you do with that” !!

The post In Search of the Perfectly Imperfect  appeared first on Definitely Dreaming.

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography phone photography still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/7/In-Search-of-the-Perfectly-Imperfect Wed, 08 Jul 2015 09:25:59 GMT
Bringing Back Memories – And They Aren’t All Good !! https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/6/Bringing-Back-Memories-And-They-Aren-t-All-Good Isn’t strange how the smallest of things can trigger a whole load of forgotten memories ? Photographs are the obvious memory trigger, sometimes to the point of not knowing if you really remember that childhood photograph being taken or if that photograph is so familiar that you feel like you remember it when you couldn’t possibly !

I’ve been picking up bits and pieces recently to use as additional props/styling for my food and still life photography. I stumbled across these cute little 1/3 rd pint milk bottles the other week and boy did they stir up some not so pleasant memories !

Maybe I shouldn’t admit this but I’m old enough to remember the days of compulsory free school milk. Its hard to believe these days that milk could be compulsory, but it was. Unfortunately I was born with a severe dislike of milk, and try as I might I have NEVER learned to like it.

School milk was a trauma for me, once it was established that I really couldn’t physically bring myself to drink it I still couldn’t be excused without a note from mum. So the note was produced and I was duly excused from being forced to drink it, I was made a milk monitor instead.

At least I didn’t need to drink it but being milk monitor brought its own traumas, thirty odd little bottles of milk that needed their foil lids piercing with a straw before they were handed out. Thirty odd little bottles of milk in a crate that had been left out in the sun for too long, then brought in and kept in a hot classroom for too long. That smell !! There was nothing worse for a milk hater, buying these little bottles brought that long forgotten memory back and as I’m typing now that smell hits me all over again and I actually feel queasy !

Winter was better, there wasn’t the smell, instead of leaving the crate out in the sun too long it used to be left out in the cold for too long and the milk would start to freeze and burst through the foil tops.

I think free milk may have ended whilst I was small, I only have these memories from one particular classroom when I would be around six – perhaps it was soon recognised as being a health hazard.

Do you have an object that triggers childhood memories ?

Other than writing this post I’ve managed to put those memories behind me and am happily using the bottle as a quirky mini flower vase !!

 

PS – What happened to milk with cream on top like school milk had – I can’t remember the last time I saw it.

 

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(Janet Broughton) random thoughts & musings still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/6/Bringing-Back-Memories-And-They-Aren-t-All-Good Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:41:26 GMT
My Defining Moment – If I Could Give Just One Tip https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/6/My-Defining-Moment-If-I-Could-Give-Just-One-Tip People often ask how I got interested in photography and I tell them about a series of chance happenings that lead to me being in front of a camera shop at a time when I had a bit of money to spare and I tell them about going walks and taking my camera along. In reality this was how I started to take a few photographs but I can pinpoint the change from just snapping away to actually wanting to create images to one defining moment, to one chance visit to a gallery on holiday.

We were on holiday in Whitby one summer, not sure if it was 2008 or 2009 but we happened to wander into a gallery that sold a bit of photography. Looking at the pictures I realised that there was one thing that set them apart from mine and that was that they weren’t the obvious views that everyone would take, they might be from a different standpoint or an unusual angle or maybe they were or something that you might walk past and not notice but the reality was they were different and less obvious.

Now in truth there was really a lot more that set those gallery images apart from my snapshots with my compact but I knew the rest of it was either technical or equipment related and that could be learned or saved up for – but the seeing, that’s a whole different thing. And that would be the one tip I would give to anyone wanting to improve, teach yourself to see differently.

If you are going somewhere new take the obvious shots, those are the ones that make your memories, but then look for the less obvious.

lensbaby

I often visit Salford Quays and have photographed it countless times, above is an obvious image that everyone takes (albeit it looks a little different because its taken on a Lensbaby) but then I love to wander and look for something different – its the only way to keep inspired in places you’ve been before !


For anyone that cares all images were taken with a Lensbaby Sweet 50 optic on a Sony A99.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby photography tips & advice random thoughts & musings wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/6/My-Defining-Moment-If-I-Could-Give-Just-One-Tip Thu, 18 Jun 2015 13:46:24 GMT
A Recent Discovery or Two https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/6/A-Recent-Discovery-or-Two If you’ve been looking through the blog you’ve probably realised that I love to use my phone to capture images when I’m out & about. One of my favourite apps is Hipstamatic although I must admit I tend to use it in fits & starts, sometimes I get a little frustrated at waiting for the “print” to develop before I know whether the film/lens combination works for the subject and then I’ll stop using it for a while. But then I’ll remember how much I love it when I do get the combination right and I’ll go back to it again.

Anyway just last week I made two exciting Hipstamatic related discoveries. The first is that there is a Hipstamatic magazine called Snap, it’s full of fantastic phone photography and it’s free in the App Store! My second discovery was that there’s a double exposure Pak available and what fun I had playing with that, I even did a very rare selfie !!!

image

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography phone photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/6/A-Recent-Discovery-or-Two Wed, 10 Jun 2015 13:41:10 GMT
Food Portraits – Past Their Best https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/6/Food-Portraits-Past-Their-Best I’ve recently developed a bit of a passion for food photography, I say recently but if I’m honest its more that I’ve started to actually do it myself recently whereas previously I’ve just been admiring and drooling over other people’s food images rather than creating my own. After a few recent shoots for clients I got to thinking about food photographs as art pieces or portraits, a beautiful representation of a subject that wouldn’t look out of place on a wall – admittedly it may look out of place anywhere other than a kitchen wall but you get the idea !

For some reason I’ve been thinking about pears, pears as a still life a little like an old master. I’m not sure why but I’m guessing its something I’ve seen that’s inspired me subconsciously. Then there I was doing my shopping and spotted a bag of pears reduced and going out of date. I bought them and didn’t have time to do anything with them for a few days so here they are, my well past their best pears !

food_photographer_manchester

Food_portraits_Lancashire

I’m a massive fan of natural light and that would normally be my first choice, especially with food, but I’ve been enjoying experimenting with led lighting – food actually makes a great subject for playing with light. It doesn’t move around like the horses & children I’m normally working with and it certainly doesn’t complain like my husband when I want to experiment on him !! The colour image is using natural window light and the black and white is led light in a dark room.

I’m liking the idea of creating beautiful images out of something that is officially past its best, feel like there could be a new project idea in that !

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby still life photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/6/Food-Portraits-Past-Their-Best Wed, 03 Jun 2015 13:22:43 GMT
Afternoon Light – Celebrating the Ordinary https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/4/Afternoon-Light-Celebrating-the-Ordinary There’s a new love in my life, a whole new world has opened up to me !!

I’ve just treated myself to the Lensbaby Mobile and now I can combine two loves, the creativity of the Lensbaby and the convenience of the iPhone. The LBM10 only arrived yesterday and I’m already infatuated with it, it really helps me capture things the way I see them and it’s perfect for my ongoing project capturing the everyday in my own style.

Here’s a few of the first images taken with my lovely baby Lensbaby – all celebrating the ordinary and the afternoon light in my home.

 

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(Janet Broughton) lensbaby phone photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/4/Afternoon-Light-Celebrating-the-Ordinary Wed, 22 Apr 2015 13:54:40 GMT
Gypsophilia https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/3/Gypsophilia I’m continuing with my celebration of the ordinary and the everyday with a few more flower images, I’d bought a spray of gypsophilia to sit a glass bottle I have on a windowsill and couldn’t help thinking that their simplicity would make them perfect for my little challenge.

Here are a few of my favourites and only one is taken with the Lensbaby this time.

 

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(Janet Broughton) flower photography https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/3/Gypsophilia Mon, 09 Mar 2015 13:22:17 GMT
Tranquility https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/2/Tranquility Continuing with my mission to photograph the ordinary & everyday, I found myself in Morecambe this week and was drawn to the light over the sea and the empty nothingness. Its an unusual bit of coast in that its the sea but it’s not open sea and it has a slightly surreal calmness about it, especially on a still day.

This is my “ordinary” image from the day, full of nothing but hopefully it portrays a calm & tranquil feeling.

 

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(Janet Broughton) wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/2/Tranquility Fri, 20 Feb 2015 07:14:59 GMT
In Celebration Of The Ordinary https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/2/In-Celebration-Of-The-Ordinary I’m sure I’m not in alone in this but when I first became interested in photography I used to photograph everything I set eyes on, and I mean everything, no matter how boring or mundane that thing was. I even used to think that quite a lot of those pictures were OK, and I suppose in a way they were, they were sharply focussed, correctly exposed, some thought may have gone into composition and dof, but really they were pretty uninspiring. But you know what, I enjoyed taking those photographs, seeing something everyday and feeling the urge to take it’s picture and it’s something that long since got left behind as I thought more about studies and business and competitions.

I’ve started to miss the pleasure of just creating images without reason, without thinking about whether it fits a clients requirements or expectations, without thinking about if it fits some set of “rules”, if it portrays a deeper meaning or if a judge may approve. So I’ve decided to revisit ordinariness and to celebrate everyday stuff by creating images, but this time with more thought and hopefully much more creativity, I’m going to capture the everyday in my own style (whatever that may be !!).

My first mini project was a bunch of daffodils in a jar sitting on my coffee table. Hope you like !

Sony A99 with Lensbaby Composer & Sweet 50 Optic

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography flower photography lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2015/2/In-Celebration-Of-The-Ordinary Mon, 09 Feb 2015 13:07:24 GMT
Something different https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/7/Something-different I’m very much a natural light photographer, partly because I just love to be outdoors as much as possible and partly because I prefer the more natural look. However I also think its great to try new things & learn new skills so at the weekend I went on a lighting course. Not only did I get to use studio lights (a completely new experience) but I also managed to play with a different camera and most of the images were shot on a Fuji XT-1 – I’m normally a Sony user.

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Since everything else was different to usual I decided to download a trial of Nik Software and process the images from day in that. I used to use Nik years ago and although I’ve always loved the look of Nik Silver I somehow got out of the habit. This image was edited firstly in Nik Silver Efex and then in Nik Analog Efex to give the softness and double exposure effect.

Interestingly, although everything is different, I’ve had someone comment that it’s still very much “me”. Funny how others see our style much more clearly than we see it ourselves !

Much as I enjoyed shooting something completely different I don’t think I’ll be changing to studio portraits any time soon, I enjoy the variety of working in so many different locations too much to be tied to just one!

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/7/Something-different Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:34:56 GMT
Blackpool through a Lensbaby https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/6/Blackpool-through-a-Lensbaby My last post was about my week in places beginning with B and I shared some of my phone pictures from the week. It’s been such a busy time since that it’s only today that I copied the pictures off my main camera – I say main camera because I was actually using three different cameras along with the iphone that day ! I’d taken the film camera that appeared in a previous post and I’ve taken a few pictures on that although I’ve yet to finish the film and I don’t hold up a lot of hope. I also got use a Fuji XT-1 which my friend Lizz had on loan, it felt rather like the film camera but way lighter !

So much time had passed that I very nearly deleted the images from my own camera without even looking at them but I’m glad I didn’t. I’d been shooting with my Lensbaby and that lovely plastic optic I’ve mentioned before and this one is my favourite from the day.
DSC06023+texture

Its been processed in Lightroom and has a texture from 2 Lil’ Owls added, only discovered the website today but there’s some beautiful stuff on there and I’ll definitely be returning.

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/6/Blackpool-through-a-Lensbaby Fri, 27 Jun 2014 12:58:42 GMT
In places beginning with B https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/6/In-places-beginning-with-B I got a surprise last weekend when I did my usual checking of the diary to see where I needed to be, my week ahead was busy with photography related happenings but I was only going to spend the week in places beginning with B.

Buxton, Blackpool, three days in Birmingham and inbetween at home, in Bolton !

So here’s a few of my phone photo’s from places beginning with B, all edited in VSCOcam as usual.

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset

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Processed with VSCOcam with b2 preset

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You can find me on Instagram too, sharing random bits & pieces of my life through my phone with just the occasional professional image thrown in too – say hello if you find me via my blog !

 

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(Janet Broughton) phone photography wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/6/In-places-beginning-with-B Sun, 15 Jun 2014 09:25:29 GMT
Emptiness https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/6/Emptiness Yesterday the weather was horrible and the forecast even worse, Salford Quays was the place of choice because you don’t need to venture outdoors. The end of the world weather didn’t arrive so we got to wander a little and I took just a couple of pictures on my iphone (with my still favourite image editor VSCOcam) and the images got me thinking a little…

It struck me that when I’m just wandering with a camera and photographing the things the catch my eye I’m particularly drawn to emptiness in an image. I’m sure that must say something about me as a person although I’ve no idea what !

Funnily enough I’m the complete opposite when I’m shooting portraits, I’m very much a frame filler when a person is the main focus of the image. I’d love to have a deep and meaning explanation for these two distinctly different styles but unfortunately its just an observation!

 

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(Janet Broughton) phone photography wandering with a camera https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/6/Emptiness Sun, 08 Jun 2014 07:32:44 GMT
More Small Things & Creativity https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/6/More-Small-Things-Creativity Isn’t it funny how it only takes something small to kick start a rush of creativity ? I recently discovered the VSCOCAM app for the iphone and turned into an avid phone photographer all over again ! I love the challenge of shooting with the limitations of a phone and I really enjoy trying to make an image work in a square format – I know they don’t have to be square but I enjoy sharing on Instagram so they may as well be shot that way rather than cropped.

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset

I’m on Instagram as jbroughtonphoto, if you like what you see follow me & say Hi, I’ll follow you back !

I’m always on the lookout for interesting people to follow on Instagram, if you’ve any suggestions please leave a comment 🙂

 

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(Janet Broughton) phone photography random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/6/More-Small-Things-Creativity Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:25:56 GMT
Inspired by Art https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/5/Inspired-by-Art A couple of weeks ago I declared Monday a weekend (because that’s allowed when you work for yourself, and to be fair I’d worked all weekend) and took myself off to Salford Quays to have a wander around, taking pictures on my phone and looking at the exhibitions. I’ve recently discovered the VSCO iPhone app and it’s inspired me to shoot more with my phone, but more of that in a future post.

I have no great knowledge or understanding of art but I’m happy to wander around a gallery, I love the Lowry exhibitions and can sit and gaze at one of his seascapes for ages. Every time I pass through I find myself smiling at his quotation painted on the wall :

“Don’t you start thinking I was trying to put over some message…..

I just painted what I saw”

I often feel like that about my personal photography, I’m not trying to portray anything meaningful, its just what I see and the way I see it.

I also managed to see the Jonathan Yeo exhibition and was completely blown away by his portraits, I found myself sitting staring and jotting down ideas in a notebook. I was totally inspired by his portrait of Helena Bonham Carter and it got me thinking about overlaying images in some way.

So last week I was playing again with my Lensbaby and its cheap plastic optic, I had a willing subject and five minutes to spare. When I was editing the image I got to thinking about Jonathan Yeo again and overlaying images, Suzanne had talked about her love of the seaside – so here it is, my first attempt !

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby Portraits random thoughts & musings https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/5/Inspired-by-Art Tue, 20 May 2014 12:36:04 GMT
On small things & creativity https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/5/On-small-things-creativity I’d found myself feeling a little creatively stifled recently in my personal photography. Or maybe I should say lack of personal photography, maybe that was the problem that I just wasn’t making time for any “me” photography, I’d got myself a little stuck in a rut where if it wasn’t for a client I just didn’t bother.

I was browsing some of my old, pre-professional, images and it struck me that I just hadn’t used my Lensbaby in such a long time. One thing lead to another and I ended up buying a plastic optic for it off Ebay – just £15 and it was all took to kick start my creativity, I was off playing with it and for the first time ever I had a go at Lensbaby portraits and was pretty pleased with the outcome !

 

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(Janet Broughton) black & white photography lensbaby portraits https://www.definitelydreaming.com/blog/2014/5/On-small-things-creativity Mon, 12 May 2014 12:39:29 GMT