Be the Light

Some photos from a visit to France with the beautiful Tania and her family, as well as some thoughts on positive anticipation...

If there's one thing this year has taught me is that there is no sense in betting against yourself. It's so tempting to be humble, to say "I'd love to but I probably never will...", or to be down on yourself when someone asks you how you're doing.

If you never try then you'll never fail and there's safety in that. If you never go up against a difficult challenge, if you never put yourself out there to potentially fail and to try again, then you'll never know the heartache of feeling like a failure. But more and more I hear people limiting themselves with their language (me included, btw...) and wrapping all their positives in an ocean of negatives, just to temper expectations. 

Since going freelance I've noticed my tolerance for being defeatist has slowly ebbed away, and I'm the last person to be getting rid of it because I've probably been the worst culprit. It had to get worse before it got better, but I've learned that the words you speak and training your thoughts has such an impact. Saying "never" even if you're hoping for a someday... it means never. You're putting your "nevers" out there to dampen expectation and to be humble, but you're not doing yourself any favours because the more you speak it or think it... the more likely it is to come true.

You have to be your own light, your own biggest fan, and bet on yourself every day even if your only evidence that you may succeed is that you have a heartbeat. You have to be honest, and out loud honest, not just in your head honest. You have to intrust your fears to your closest friends and listen when they tell you why it's going to be ok - and then just let it go. Don't cling doubt like it's a life raft so in the event you go under you'll have that safety net of "I told you so...".

In my experience I've found it's about training my mind to think positive, being conscious of my thoughts and replacing every idea that makes me feel down or anxious with an idea that lifts me up. And the hardest part for me has been training my mouth to follow along on those thoughts - too often I give into sarcasm about myself and my abilities, even the way I'm feeling, and then I walk away feeling like I let myself down. 

I've been working hard every day to keep my mood up. Listening to podcasts, exercising, doing those things I know will keep me happy over being indifferent and tired. I've tried to keep myself in a constant state of "looking forward to" and even just typing that gave me a jolt of excitement for things to come - even if I'm not even aware of them yet, I know good things are coming.

Maybe this post should be the beginning of a new blog series about what I'm doing to slowly train myself to become an optimist... what do you think?

Wales Photo Diary

I think one of the reasons I love Wales so much is because it's so moody and temperamental - the weather I mean. I love a grey sky, big dark clouds, the threat of rain - if I never had to work with a blue sky I wouldn't mind. I love blue sky and sunshine for myself, but for my photography I prefer a brewing storm or golden hour every second of the day - not to be demanding or unreasonable. So when Adam and I visited Wales a little while ago and it was nothing but blue skies and sunshine I was a little thrown!

But Pembrokeshire and St David's is just beautiful, rain or sun it's glorious and if I could afford to buy a house anywhere in the UK (lols) then I think I would opt for there - ok maybe as a location for a second home because my beloved London Fields would take precedence.

Adam's parents were visiting and they hired a little cottage in a town called Solva for us all to stay in. We wandered the beach and laughed at Molly as she played in the ocean and mistook the buoys for giant tennis balls - we even found some alpacas in a field just down the road! 

Next we visited Ramsey Island which is a beautiful conservation area and paradise for some rare birds, and it comes complete with wild ponies!! If it hadn't been brilliant sunshine the whole time it would have been one of my photography dreams come true - so I'm going to head back in the autumn when we're guaranteed a storm cloud or two. I mentioned on Instagram where we were and it was actually Emma from @fieldandnest who recommended we visit Ramsey Island - don't you just love the internet?

And finally, Haverfordwest for the most brilliant golden hour of all time. Ok so maybe there are benefits to having a storm free sky...



Creative Restlessness and Why it's so Important

Today writing this I can tell that I'm in one of those transitional phases of the way that I shoot and edit. These phases come along in waves and each time things shift and change, and maybe only in a way that is perceivable to me, but getting through one of these is a struggle until I come out the other side and everything feels new and exciting. One day I wake up and I'm tired of doing things one way and I need a change - so I re-edit my presets, change my camera settings, window shop for camera equipment and look across instagram and pinterest for new inspiration.

It's simultaneously frustrating and exhilarating. So whenever someone asks me how I edit or what presets I use, I could tell you but tomorrow it may be different - because that's how you grow! I know it's so different for everyone but for me I need variety, I can't stick to the same format or theme or colour story. The subjects rarely change and what I like to shoot usually stays the same, but the way I shoot it and how I go on to edit it is constantly changing. I get bored and restless if I have to keep repeating the same process over and over, or if I don't learn something new.

I think it's always important to follow these paths of curiosity and restlessness. I can look at my work and always think it's fine the way it is, I could easily stay shooting the same way forever and following the same format for the sake of consistency if nothing else - but I feel like that would keep me at the same level forever. There's no personal or creative growth in that for me, and playing it safe would eventually make me turn on myself I think. I need to keep growing for my own sake. But I also think that personal creative growth is different for everyone, and everyone has their own paths of restlessness and a need for change to follow.

It is important to follow them though, because they always lead to exciting things.