Caroline Shipsey

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Signs of Spring Already

Just a week ago we were under a blanket of snow and now all that remains are a few dirty pockets under hedges and in the hollows in fields. Where the snow has gone vegetation is flattened, sodden and dark, but then a closer look in some places I'm seeing the shoots of snowdrops peeping through. I love the cycle of spring flowers appearing, it always inspires me to start taking photos again after the dull winter light.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Thank you Tomaz at

For several months now I've working on a new project, building a business - not photography, something completely different!

Its a web-based business and still in its infancy called Healthy Lifestyle Success aimed at women in their 40's, 50's and 60's who want to get the most out of life by keeping fit and healthy. I've benefited greatly from the wisdom of Tomaz's advice for home based business ideas and would strongly urge anyone trying to build a web-based business of any kind to check out his site. I'll keep updating my progress here and will also be following the advice at

Many photographers at Smugmug where my pics are hosted have a real problem understanding about search engines and getting their sites found, they could learn a lot from Tomaz.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

A Chance to Play

After yet another dismal day yesterday - fog and rain nearly all day - today was a real joy. Sunny, much milder and some lovely light, and the chance to play with the recently acquired Sigma 15-30mm lens.

Duncan came out with me to put the lens through some comparison tests using my lens on his camera, and his 24mm TSE on mine. The conclusion was that it was a really good lens, especially on the 40D with crop sensor. The unfavorable reviews that moan about lack of sharpness certainly didn't ring true, any more than the comments about it being very prone to flare - come on, its a wide angle lens!!! 15mm wide on a crop sensor camera equates to 24mm, plenty wide enough for my purposes, without too much distortion of view

Duncan took advantage of me rolling around on the ground while trying to take some shots up into the branches of this huge old beech tree!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Rain, rain,rain

In the past week we've had more snow which kept our road closed, its nearly 3 weeks now and the peace and quiet is wonderful. Being able to walk along the road without the fear of cars whizzing by is such a joy. However, this morning its raining hard and the snow is melting, there is still some fog too - back to normal I guess.

I'm hoping to receive a parcel this morning, a new wide angle lens
Sigma 15-30mm f3.5-4.5. This lens has been around for a long time so mine is a 2nd hand model. It has mixed reviews over the years, people seem to love it or hate it. There is a consistent complaint though that it suffers badly from flare but bearing that in mind I'm hoping to have some fun with it. I read somewhere that it was originally aimed at the journalistic market so this didn't necessarily arise, anyway I checked out the reviews on and am happy with my choice at the price paid. I'm hoping that flare wont be an issue when I'm photographing clouds, which is one of the reasons for wanting this lens. Watch this space.......

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Brrrrr! Britain is ffffffreezing!

Record low temperatures have been recorded around the country overnight minus 18C in Oxfordshire. Nothing like so low here, minus 6C, but that's bad enough with a wind behind it!

The sun has shone all day but temperatures remained below freezing despite that. It's been really quiet again today, even less vehicles on the move than yesterday.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snow at Last

Finally, overnight snow has come to the Mendips! Yesterday there was an eerie silence up here and the road outside was closed to traffic because of ice - there was no sign of snow then but during the night there has been a heavy fall. The whole country is apparently now covered in snow and the newspapers are loving it - their reporters seem to be dumped at motorway service stations tp report how awful everything is - blocked roads, chaos and even employment rights, legal liability if you fail to clear snow and ice, endless gloom.

As soon as it gets light I'll be heading out on foot with my camera for some fun before any snow clearance happens, or rather in case it does!

It wasn't great for photography this morning, visibility poor and driving fine snow mad it difficult to get the camera out and evening standing was tricky because the ground is so slippy.

The afternoon brought the inevitable 4x4 time wasters, they have to try and drive through a drift, and then move on looking for another one. Dursdon Drove seems to be a popular spot but it's completely impassable at the far end. Maybe its a male thing about being top dog, do they post on their forums who has conquered which snow drift?
I wish they would go and help people who are stranded and leave us in peace and quiet.

Friday, 1 January 2010

What Will 2010 Bring ?

I thought a group photo of the dogs would make a fitting start to the year but they weren't inclined to pose nicely this morning, so this will have to do!
Well the day started off very chilly, -3°C with a light breeze and clear blue skies. There was no-one around while I walked the dogs at the pools for an hour or so and they enjoyed taking in the smells all fresh on the frosty grass.

This afternoon we went down to Creech St Michael to try and help someone who had lost a dog on Tuesday. Molly is a young collie girl from Wiccaweys, about the same age as Rosie. Poor man, I really feel for him as he has much sadness in his life at the moment. Despite being in his 70's he will be spending the night in a tent in a field in the hope of Molly returning to him, attracted by the smell of cooking etc.

Plans for 2010 include more trips to North Wales with the Steve Lewis workshop series, hopefully to yield some different images from the Mendips which have dominated my photography for too long now.

A concerted effort to improve my overall fitness begins tomorrow, my goal being to climb Snowdon and Helvellyn, a challenge for someone unaccustomed to climbing hills!

My photography website has been a bit neglected since last spring and I'm determined to keep it current for 2010.

My new project which is ultimately more of business than 'just' a website built using SBI!The site is targeted specifically at midlife women who would like to improve their health and lifestyle, and to make a success of this - pretty obvious really?

Site Build It!

I've learned so much since starting this project, about keyword, page titles, page building, and although I'm using the BlockBuilder system my knowledge of html has improved dramatically. Its hard work, requires a regular commitment and is certainly not a 'get rich quick' scheme - my target is 2 years to generate some regular income so let's see what happens.