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...

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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.

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Senegal Photo Diary

This time around, visiting Senegal, it felt like a completely different country. The last time I was on a shoot there was almost fifteen months ago and I was in such a different place - it was over the anniversary of Robert's death I was struggling a bit. Everything felt just a little bit hard and a little bit sad. I was ok, but still a bit raw, and looking back I can see how that added a lens to the way I was looking at everything. But last week as I was traveling and shooting I felt so differently, I was much more positive and relaxed - the challenges didn't seem so big.

Senegal in general however, is a more challenging country to work in. For me as a photographer, trying to get the shots I like to get - it's not easy. I'm not sure what it is but while some love the camera, kids especially, other's almost seem to hate it and when I ask for permission for a shot and get a "no" it usually feels like there's a bit of anger behind it. I asked Justice, my local contact, what it was about and as a photographer himself, he said he didn't know - he had never experience that. But what I've discovered is that each photographer's experience of a place is different and that's down to so many factors.

But beyond anything, it's an absolutely stunning country with beautiful people. And I mean beautiful! They're stunning. It always feels safe, relaxed and the golden hour there is one of the most beautiful. Check out the vlog below to see what I mean: