Hibernation and Contemplation

Sunset in Santorini, Greece

(Photo taken at: 1/4000, f/3.2, ISO 500)

What’s that you say? It’s nearly the end of the year already?!

This past few months has gone by in the blink of an eye. I’ve entirely neglected anything to do with my online life, focussing instead on what’s happening around me, and what a busy time it’s been.

Since July I:

  • learned to drive
  • bought a car
  • found a brand new job that I love and leaves me happy at the end of every day
  • went on holiday with my best friend; we spent a little over a week in beautiful Santorini, Greece
  • lost 2 and a half stone
  • decided that I’m definitely moving and began my plan to do so

I’ve been restless lately, unable to focus on anything on my to-do lists. Finally I’ve woken up to the realisation that this is because my life and career plans no longer fit the brighter new me, and need to be revamped to be bigger and better than I was able to dream them before. I’m going to spend the winter hibernating and growing new plans, ready to bring them to life in the spring.

Photography is still my great love in life and the basis for all my future plans, and just like all my plans, I feel the need to spice it up a little. All through the winter my photography will mainly be based around film and my Pentax K1000, giving me chance to get a deeper feel for what it is I’m aiming for with every shot. I’m so excited to take photos like this and three rolls into my challenge and I’m already falling head over heels in love with film all over again.

This is just a little “hi”, I’ll be back with actual pictures and things very soon.

Wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas season!

Ornaments on Christmas tree

(Photo taken on expired Fujifilm with a Pentax K1000)

A Vast Expanse of Possibilities

Ink and watercolour wash drawing of the Golden Hinde in London

(From September last year; a sign of things to come.)

My dear sweet brother picked me up from my final day of work today.

“What have I done?!” I asked him in the car, staying mostly very calm, “I’ve quit my job!”

“You’ve quit a job” he corrected me. Striking closer to the heart of the matter than he realised. Before this past couple weeks I had no idea how deeply engrained my work is to my sense of identity. It’s the job I’ve had since my first year of uni, I’ve grown up, changed and gone through so much since I was first hired as a Christmas temp back in 2007.

When I handed in my notice I felt like I’d hacked a chunk out of my persona. This realisation has made me all the more determined to find something I can do, and be proud of. Something that truly reflects me and my personal ideals.

“But… I’m unemployed!” I continued my attempt to gain sympathy.

“No, you’re merely open to new opportunities,” he corrected me again, with wisdom beyond his years (I like to think he got that from me).

He’s right of course, and as long as I think of it like that, I’m filled with excitement rather than panic.

I’m free!

A secret little book…

Today, I decided to take this month’s theme of Jump into a different direction. I’m choosing to interpret it as doing things outside of my comfort zone, so today I’m going to say for the first time here, that I love to draw. I constantly doubt my skills, but I want to grow them till I stop doubting so much.

Watercolour and ink drawing of door in Vintry gardens, St Albans

I would love to find a way to merge photography and drawing, so far I have done so somewhat in my website, every element of which I entirely hand drew, but I’m constantly looking for new ideas.

Keep reading for more…

My Leap

seagull soaring into sunset over St James' Park, London

(Photo taken at: 1/1600, f/6.3 , ISO 400)

Oops, so I signed up for Nablopomo again this month, and on the first day I entirely forgot what the date was. I only remembered about five seconds ago. Well, time to catch up.

In Nablopomo there are themes for each month’s writing. These are to be used if helpful, or ignored if not. Last time I attempted this challenge, I ignored the theme almost entirely. This month I feel it calling to me. June’s theme is “Jump”. This feels very fitting to me, as I sit here with three days left of work, and a gaping chasm where just a few weeks ago there was stability.

People are responding to my rather unexpected decision to leave my job in very different ways. Some are slightly stunned, although they politely project their horror merely from their eyes and haven’t told me outright that I’m an idiot. However, a little to my surprise (I expected a more, “now be sensible about this…”), and to my unending gratitude, everyone important is behind me completely. They understand how important this jump is to me, and they’re supporting me in every way they can. They’re wonderful, each and every one of them.

So many books, blogs, and other inspirations that I’ve read over the years quote, “Leap, and the net will appear…” I would read this, sigh dramatically, tell myself that was meant for “other” people, and move on to other thoughts.

Now I’ve done it.

I leapt, and I’m praying that the net will appear.

New Website Launch (and giveaway)

screenshot of http://vrindawebb.com

After months of hand-drawing doodles, swirls, frames and funny little boxes, writing, rewriting, deleting it all and starting again, I am super excited to be able to introduce to the great big land of the all that is internet…. my new website.

From now on you can find me at:

http://vrindawebb.com

(No www. Don’t ask me why… I have no idea, it just doesn’t work.)

Please let me know what you think! And also let me know if you come across any bugs or weird typos (I’m also not sure how it acts on ipad/iphone, not having either to test it on). I may count this as my beta launch.

The Fun Part

I’m so thrilled it’s all finished and running that I want to give something away to celebrate. I don’t have a lot to give at the moment except for my time, so I would like to offer everyone who comments on this post, the chance to win free photo enhancement and retouching on any two of their own photos they choose.

I will randomly select a winner from the comments below 10 days from today, on Saturday, 12th of May.

If you would like to double your chances to win, feel free to stop by and Like my photography page on facebook. Leave another comment here once you’ve done that and I’ll enter you twice. If you already Like my page, just let me know in your comment and I’ll enter you twice straightaway.

Please pass on word about this little giveaway, I’d be so very grateful and will return the favour as soon as opportunity arises!

Dreams…

spring blossom in Kew Gardens, London
(Photo taken at 1/800, f/2.2, ISO 200)

I have a simple little dream:

I want to change the world.

An idealistic statement, perhaps, like wishing for World Peace. But does that mean I shouldn’t try? Well, no.. I don’t believe so.

The reason I take photographs, and the reason I write, is because otherwise I think I may explode with trying to express everything I see around me. The incredible beauty of spring bursting into life, a touching gesture of kindness from a stranger, or some terrible sadness I see playing out before me.

With my camera I can capture those moments that would otherwise be lost or forgotten, I can attempt to show the world the way I see it, with its sparkling array of life, unexpected happenings, and the myriad unique personalities that I’m fortunate enough to encounter from day to day. And with my pen I can begin to decipher, digest and understand what I see.

Sometimes stress gets the better of me and I forget what I’m telling you now; that we are blessed with a beautiful planet to live on, and endless wonderful people to share it with. But when I realise I’ve lost my direction a little, all I have to do is look at work of photographers and writers I admire, and be reminded of how lucky I truly am, and of what is important to me.

It is my hope, my wish, my dream… that I can do this for others. The world will be a far better place when people stop walking around with their heads down, staring at their feet, and start to take notice of what is going on around them. When they revel in the goodness, and take action against the bad instead of turning a blind eye and hoping it will go away.

The only way any of us can change the world is by working on our little corners of it, and encouraging others to do the same.

I’m happy to do my bit… join me?

“Incomplete and a little strange”

“A Ming vase can be well-designed and well-made and is beautiful for that reason alone.  I don’t think this can be true for photography.  Unless there is something a little incomplete and a little strange, it will simply look like a copy of something pretty.  We won’t take an interest in it.”

 John Loengard

Bumble bees buzzing around pink echinacea flowers

(photo taken at 1/800, f/1.8, ISO 100)

“Incomplete and a little strange” is something I have to learn to love in my photography. I’m trying. Often when I search through my photos I discover little treasures that I set aside because they weren’t just right. This photo is one I classed as “incomplete”. The focus wasn’t exactly where I wanted it, which bothered me so much that I couldn’t look at it and moved on. I didn’t rediscover it until a few months afterwards. I came across the photo and did a quick edit, just to see what would happen. It was only when I gave it this second chance that I realised it’s one of my favourites.

I’m trying to be more forgiving in my photography; allowing more space for life and less for attempted perfection.

This takes a lot of gentle (and not so gentle) reminders; I get frustrated when things don’t look like they “should”. I’m taking it gradually, one photo at a time…

…as a butterfly

A pair of Glasswing butterflies in Butterfly World, near St Albans

(Photo taken at: 1/400, f/1.8, ISO 400)

My mind today is as flittering as a butterfly. I want to write, but I can’t stick with one train of thoughts for longer than a few minutes. One thought looks pretty and I go to explore it, but just before it turns into a tangible post, I see another splash of colour and off my brain flits to settle on this new pretty idea…

A Thanks-Filled Thursday

Today was one of those highly strung days where every tiny little thing explodes into a massive, towering catastrophe in the time it takes for me to blink.

I broke my mac charger this morning with a horrifying “kkkkkrrrrrrrrkkkkk” sound (fixed, thank goodness, superglue, and my mum’s stash of fuses). And when it was time to leave for work I decided that the worst possible thing that could have happened to me was having to cycle in this morning’s dose of beautiful winter sunshine (I’ve been cycling in the freezing cold rain without a complaint (usually)). Plus a commute that, when both journeys are added together, ends up being almost as long as my shift at work (genuinely stressful when I have a website to design and blog posts to write). And theeen, oh it’s so awful I can hardly say it, my mum *gasp* didn’t buy the pasta stir-through that I didn’t tell her I wanted.

As you can see from this list of disasters, I lead a very difficult life…

On days like this I’ve learned that the only methods of survival are gentleness, treats and appreciating the little things.

icecream milkshake from the Shaken Coz in in St Albans

I got to work early and treated myself to an icecream milkshake (possible insanity in the temperatures we had today) and I sat in the sunshine, listening to the likes Billie Holiday, Tracey Chapman and Ella Fitzgerald lulling into one ear, and with the other ear I listened to birds singing around me. I closed my eyes in the sunshine and pretended it was summer. Of course my pretend summer only lasted as long as I could bear the cold of the icecream, the wind at the top of the hill, and the cold, cold air. Then I ran for cover and warmth, but it was very lovely while it did last.

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