Caroline Shipsey

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit......

Grrrrh, as if gardening isn't hard enough up here in the fog/rain/wind lousy summers and untypically hard winters - now we have rabbits!!!!

Teeny, weeny cute little bunnies hopping around my lawn and what tries to be a flower bed - cute huh? No way, they've eaten the tops of my Canterbury Bells and heaven knows what else! I've no idea what the culinary delights of a rabbit are apart from grass, so I will be investigating and they won't be available here.

The dogs know there has been something alien in the garden but don't have the hunter/killer instinct to seek them out and rid me of those little baby Jessicas. Maybe if I don't feed them to a day or two that will perk up their instincts, hmmmmm....... Desperate measures may be required, I don't really want them dead, just not in my garden.

Chilling facts from Wiki:-
Rabbits have a very fast reproductive rate. The breeding season for most rabbits lasts 9 months, from February to October. Normal gestation is about 30 days. The average size of the litter varies but is usually between 4 and 12 babies, with larger breeds having larger litters. A kit (baby rabbit) can be weaned at about 4 to 5 weeks of age. This means in one season a single female rabbit can produce as many as 800 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Sends shivers down my spine, maybe I need to capitalize on them. Anyone have any ideas?

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Feeling Good with Feelfit

My health and fitness is really important to me especially as I get older. I want to be able to continue enjoy getting out into the countryside with my camera and dogs for the rest of my life. That means being able to carry a camera bag and tripod while hill walking for a day without feeling any ill effects.

Exercise has always been part of my life but I'm no super fit athlete, just a normal reasonably fit person. Osteoporosis crippled my Mum and sister so making sure it doesn't get me too is a priority.

My website for midlife women like me, is motivating me to find out more about the benefits of exercise, why its important etc and that led me to another great website

Its focus is on fitness and health making it a refreshing change from obsessive weight loss sites, and those that bombard you with ads for this and that supplement. Its a fun site that offers free and paid for exercises, a points system to monitor progress and accumulate credits you can use to pay for further exercise routines.

It was sufficiently motivating for me to join an online challenge for a coveted Feelfit Tshirt. 7 days doing 100 pressups and 150 crunches! So in case your wondering that's why there are are some pics of me being silly wearing the Feelfit T shirt on my photography site.

Steve Barret of Feelfit says "If you're moving, you're improving!"

Friday, 23 April 2010

Big Pants

My recommendation to all women whatever your age, shape or size - wear the right size pants/knickers - whatever you call them.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing so depressing when getting dressed in the morning and seeing bulges sticking out over the top of your pants :-( Throw away those nasty little ones that 'have mysteriously shrunk' they do nothing for your morale or appearance. Treat yourself to a nice big pair that covers up the offending wobbly bits, start the day right.

Exmoor Woodland Abstract

I'm still going through my photos from our trip to Exmoor last weekend but just to get the ball rolling here's one of my favourites. The light was very bright and too harsh for my liking, this conveys more of the feel of the wood to me.

Exmoor Woodland near Brendon

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Inspirational April

Wow! After a lousy summer last year and a very dark and dismal winter I had almost forgotten what more than one sunny day at a time looks like!

April has been beautiful but chilly so spring is developing slowly and as usual it is a couple of weeks ahead down off these hills. I always consider that to be a bonus, it feels like I can enjoy 2 springs - doesn't work as well for winter though.

My camera has been everywhere with me since I got my new bag which sits nicely around my waist and limits the amount of gear I can carry. Its a Lowepro Inverse 200. It's a compromise in some features but overall is well made and comfortable, and my camera is easily accessible without taking the bag off and putting it down on wet muddy ground, or in sand on the beach etc.

So, this month with good light, the new bag and a couple of trips away, I've been pretty active with lots of photos to sort through and get on my website.

Wood Anemone or Wind FlowerWood Anemone

Friday, 16 April 2010

The Bishop's Palace, Wells - Revisited

Spring is a long time coming up here on the Mendips. There is a still a chill edge to the wind and my garden is showing the signs of a long winter - primroses and daffodils making a brave show but not much else.

Following my visit to Tintern Abbey last weekend I felt drawn by the Bishop's Palace. Wandering through the gardens and ruined Great Hall, through to the outer gardens and arboretum is a very special experience, something treasured by those of us lucky enough to visit frequently, and by visitors from around the world.

I wasn't disappointed in my search for springtime, the gardens have daffodils, primroses, magnolia and other trees with delicate blossom, and the beautiful willow by the footbridge looking stunning at the moment.

Willow in spring

The are fascinating sculptures in the garden and an exhibition of photographs by Don McCullin - not for the fainthearted - dark in content and image quality.

The Weight of Our Sins

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Clouds for Dreamers

I've just discovered what fun Animoto can be by making the little video below. It was made using the unpaid version but for just $30 a year the scope is unlimited and there is no advertising, or if you just want to make a single video to try out the full facilities you can do so for just $3, again no ads.

The music is by melodeon player Tony Hall

Create your own video slideshow at

Animoto - Your Images, Your Music, Never The Same

Monday, 12 April 2010

Masculine and Feminine Photos?

Can you tell the sex of the photographer from the image?

I'm wondering about this question following the Meet at Tintern on Saturday. Looking at the images taken by the others, who were all male, I get the feeling of some testosterone in their photos as compared to mine.

For many people their photography has been entirely on digital equipment, which in some ways enables the opportunity to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear! Flat light and non-existent skies - no problem! Whack up the contrast and saturation to unrealistic levels and call it **HDR. I'm not a fan of HDR, and I'm not suggesting that the images taken on Saturday by my friends fall into this category, but they did get me thinking as did the conversations we had about equipment etc as we walked.

My experience of colour printing in a darkroom and understanding of the dynamic range of film, transparency, paper etc gives me a different perspective. My mantra for photography is "Get it right in the camera", at least as much as possible. Apply a minimum of editing and produce an image that is satisfying in its own right and realistic.

Anyway, back to the testosterone - its good to have around because its actually quite motivational and inspirational at times - at least photographically :-)

**Yes, I do know that isn't how you produce HDR pics, and I'm not discounting all HDR, its just like everything else - the bad attempts can give the whole genre a bad name.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Fuzzy Feelings about Forums

Joining forums, browsing forums and posting on forums - sources of information, facts, feuds and sometimes friendships.

Forums can bring out the very worst in some people and can anguish and misery when they don't work well but a good forum is a real gem. I think I'm pretty lucky to have come across a few really good forums so I thought I would just sing their praises today. is the forum of Smugmug users, though not exclusively - you can still join and participate if you don't have a SmugMug account. It's members are mainly from the US and other non-European countries although the membership is pretty diverse.

SmugMug is where my website and photos are hosted.
It's the best photohost - best value for money, best choice of options for pro photographers, and best of all their customer service is the tops! Dgrin Support forums are populated by brilliant people who will do their best to answer any questions about customizing your SmugMug website that you may have and that is the section I follow. I've made friends too, and even met met up with Denise Goldberg, who has become a firm friend.

Talk Photography
is a different kettle of fish - mostly UK members, with some quirky owners/mods who have a hands on approach that contributes very much to the character and quality of 'their' forum. Step up Matty and Marcel, though there are others. It's a busy place with all the usual sections including a particularly good Business section and a great 'Meeting Place' section which is very active. There are always meets somewhere in the UK, arranged informally by members and open to anyone who wants to go along.

I would never have pictured myself going out for the day with a group of photographers that I'd never met other than on a forum, but here I am, doing just that and having a great time. Its proved to be a really good way of getting out to different places with like minded people, and having some fun taking photographs in a friendly relaxed atmosphere. Its interesting that 7 people can be in the same location, not get in each others way and take such different pics!

So this post is my thank you to the good people I've come to know through forums, to thank them for their knowledge shared, advice given and friendships made.

tintern abbeyTintern Abbey