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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

My sons first photography session

I have something a little different for you today. My son Stefan is studying Media at college and one of the things he has to cover is photography. He has chosen to do most of this assignment at Charlecote which for me is great as it gives us a little one to one time at a place I love, doing something I really enjoy. Perfect as far as I see it :) These photo's you will see in this blog are not mine. They are some of the photos taken by my son over the weekend.

We set off Saturday morning with our 2 camera's, me with mine and Stefan with my older one only to get there and find out that I had only gone and put the wrong memory card in his camera. I had picked the memory card up in a hurry, saw the numbers 16 on it and read no more. His camera stopped after taking only 3 photos...whoops...

I didn't want to spoil the day for him so I allowed him to use my camera instead. Can you imagine me walking around without a camera ????  :) 

Charlecote is ideal for someone studying photography at any level. The Estate is so large and has such a variety of things to photograph. You have the house, grounds, animals, river and lots more. Then there is the Historical side of Charlecote with lots of interesting items to photograph. You just need to look around.

As Stefan had not really done much photography before, I did not want to overwhelm him with too much information so we started with Aperture priority. I thought it was as good a place to start as any. He had been studying the theory at college but today we were going to put it all into practise. 

He had come home Friday with a list of things he needed to practise so that's exactly what we did and to be honest, he did really well for his first day out with me. Here are some of the things we covered from the list.

                                                       Natural Framing

Natural framing is so easy to do at Charlecote Park. From trees to the arches to the designs in the wall's. There is so much you could use on the estate for this one.

I love this first photo. It shows the deer waiting for the ranger to come over the bridge into West Park and bring their breakfast. It is beautifully framed by the trees of the avenue.

These are also waiting patiently. An arch in the trees.

The house also taken from the avenue.

Some natural framing through the arch of the gatehouse.


You have to be quick to catch these running so for these Stefan switched the mode to shutter priority so he could control that setting. I think learning about your camera in this way helps you to reach full manual in the end and many people are happy to carry on shooting in these two modes. It's not full manual but it allows you some control over what you are doing. 


 I added these because I thought they were cute :) Not on the list of things to do but when you have a shot in front of you you take it!

This photo is lovely, when I enlarged it on my pc I could see all the water drops on the grass. 

     I few more deer photos Stefan took over the weekend.

A little tip when taking photos of animals and children...The best photos are taken at their eye level so never be afraid to experiment. With the use of digital camera's these days you can experiment all you like.

The next two photos are mine. I took these as an example just to show Stefan how he could make one place look very different just by changing his position. Too many people take photos always from their eye level height but sometimes it's nice to get lower down towards the ground to get a slightly different image. These two will show you what I mean. 

                          The first one was taken at eye level while standing.

The second image was taken in exactly the same spot but lower down closer to the ground. Look at the lovely reflections you get in the water and what was a small puddle, now looks like a narrow river.

       Some of the photos Stefan took from different angles.

We didn't cover even half the Estate over the weekend but here are a few other photos he took. I think for his first time he did amazingly and I am looking forward to him joining me on future escapes.

I really like this next photo. The tree branches go off in all directions and if you click on the image to make it bigger, you will see a squirrel in the middle of it all.

I think Stefan did an amazing job with these photos. It was his first time out on a photography session with me and the first time with a proper camera and not a snap and shoot one. I had a feeling he would do well as he is more arty like me. If you would have seen the drawing he did as a child you would be amazed. Such a shame he did not take art at school but then maybe he can use it through this instead.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing his work as I have loved adding them to my blog. Our next session will include depth of field and more detailed photography around the estate. I am really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Christmas trip to Norfolk - Blickling Hall & Stalham Sunrise

Photo above is of Horsey Mill taken the day I left.

Just before Christmas I popped across to Norfolk for a couple of days to help my mother with her Christmas Shopping and to do the Christmas pressie shop between family in Warwickshire and family in Norfolk. As we managed to get everything that needed to be done on the day I arrived, we decided to have some  Mother Daughter time on the second day, before I had to travel back home to Warwickshire again.

                          Stalham Staithe as the sun was coming up.

We started the morning with a beautiful Sunrise on the local Broads in Stalham. Sunrise's are great at the moment, no getting up at 4am to get there early and set up. You can be up and set up just before 7am and catch all the colours of the sky before the sun comes up. This isn't something I can do on school days so I enjoy it when I can. Sunsets come at the wrong time at the moment as they fall on the afternoon school run itself but you can't win them all and there is always the weekend :) My Mum's funny, every time I visit her I do manage to pop out for a sunrise but she insists on coming with me. We watched the sun come up and then headed back to her house for a cuppa.

                                                  Stalham Staithe sunrise

It wasn't long before we were back on the road heading along the coastal  route towards Cromer which I will talk about in another blog. After Cromer we headed for Blickling Hall which is a place along with Felbrigg Hall that we spent many days at when we lived in the area. Both places have lots of land to walk around and to get away from it all. My children grew up with the changing seasons on these Estates and of course that of Sheringham Park which is another of my favourite place's to visit while in Norfolk..... and yes another National Trust property! Sheringham Park has so much land to cover and a bit of everything for you to see from the woods. At Sheringham Park you have the rhododendrons in May and June, the old steam train crossing the land and a chance to have a coffee and a break at the old station. If you like to walk, there is  the coastal walk and lookout towers. A great place to go and it has three different walks so you don't have to take the long one like I always do :)

                                                          Blickling Hall

Blickling only had two weekends of Christmas festivities and we were just lucky to be there on the second one. Their facebook page advertised reindeer and ice-skating so we thought.. why not?

Blickling hall was dressed beautifully. From the moment you arrive with the Christmas trees lining the pathway you had that special Christmassy feeling. I could not wait to see all this in the dark. It was one of the reasons we had not come until later in the day. Outside Blickling Hall stood the ice-ring, the reindeer and a coffee snack stand. The coffee stand was good as it was a cold day. The only thing that for me anyway, let the whole experience down, was the ice ring . I just imagined better to be honest but everything else made up for that as the house and grounds were really beautiful. The Reindeer were lovely and it was great to see them as I had never seen any before.

There were two Reindeer, one male and one female and both 18 months old. Don't ask me which one was which as both sexes have antlers.

  If you want to see deer at this time of year, there are plenty of places to see them and these places are very popular at Christmas.

It was nice to see the Reindeer. 

 I think they were hungry :)  Blickling Hall need to check if they have much of their climbing plants left!

Moving on to the house which I really could not fault. It really was dressed beautifully and every room was dressed in a different time in history. As you walked in through the main door, you walked into the amazing  entrance way with the high ceilings and grand staircase that seemed to go around all the walls and there in the middle was a beautiful Christmas tree.

Some of the decorations on the tree.

View from the landing.

It was a special visit for me as even though I have been to Blickling hall many times before, I had not been inside the house for a very long time and my mother had never been inside. I don't know why but I guess when the children were younger we wanted to be outside letting them run around, burning some of that energy off! This time it was lovely to be touring the house with just my Mother and not worrying where this child or that one had gone to.

 Moving up the staircase you were able to get a better view of the grand entrance and the staircase. An amazing room which I would like more time in to photograph the carvings on the staircase but as it was a Christmas weekend and very busy, I will leave that to my next visit. Moving along the landing they had a red theme, very pretty.

         The beautiful window you can see from the landing.

 Next came the tapestry room as I call it as there is a beautiful tapestry on every wall. Today it was dressed up beautifully with a table in the middle and decorations all around. Very beautifully done.

Next my favourite room in the house, the library. I love this room from the books all along the side to the beautiful ceiling and fireplaces. This is a stunning room. I like library's and have one myself, nowhere near as grand and as big as this one but I do have one. All my family love books and still today I would rather hold a book in my hand than a laptop or tablet. I have so many books!

It was lovely to see people dressed up as they would be in the old days and listening hearing the music as you entered the room.

The beautiful fireplace.

I love the ceilings in these old houses. They are a piece of art in their own right.

Next we came down the back stairway which again was dressed beautifully and into another room where a band was just about the start playing.

                                                                The stairway

The fire place had some beautiful decorations , here are some of them.


                                       The Brass Band playing in the room.

The 'Blue Drawing room' was dressed for the staffs Christmas if i remember correctly. Now no, your not going crazy :) I knew My Mother wouldn't like me adding a photo of her and as the child was not mine, I replaces their faces with smiley faces as I did not have another picture of this room. Sorry Mum :):)

Along the Hallway between the rooms they had these beautiful decorations in the window, A different colour for each window.I thought they were really pretty.

They all had a fairy on top of them.

One of the other rooms was dressed in a beautiful green theme.

Next into the main Dining room which was beautiful dressed.

Champagne anyone?

The fireplace in the dining room

And then into two of the most important rooms, the serving room and then the kitchen.

Look what I found in the kitchen.

A very naughty picture of the staff/Volunteers having their lunch :)

Just as we had finished our tour of the house we found more music being played from different groups of musicians. It was lovely, even more lovely was the child dancing very happily to it all :)

As the light started to fail, the sky was duller than I had hoped it would be so no Sunset above Blickling Hall and not the best pictures of the avenue of Christmas trees but I will share them anyway.

All in all a lovely visit to Blickling Hall. I really enjoyed revisiting at this time of year instead of the Summer. It made a nice change. I was going to show you how Blickling Hall and Eastate looks in Spring and Summer but that will have to be for another blog as this one is long enough as it is :)

I hope you enjoyed this blog, apoligees for the length of it but I had so much to show you.

        A link to Blickling Hall in case you would like to check it out for yourselves.


                                    My next blog is Sunrise and Windmills.