The Year in Books :: July 2016

Hello July – how are you?  Have you brought Mr Sunshine along with you?!

I slowed down with my reading in June – almost entirely on purpose.  I was feeling like I was trying to get through my books as quickly as possible just to get them read, and then I realised that this was possibly the most silly thing I could be doing.  What’s the point of reading quickly if two days later, I cannot remember a single thing that I read? (I actually watched a video on YouTube the other day which discussed this among other things – funny how things all join up sometimes isn’t it?)

In June I read The Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine

Lady of Hay

I always enjoy Barbara Erskine’s books – they usually have a slightly spooky element (ghosts or similar) and a dual time line.  This one had the dual time frame, but no spookies.  This followed Jo, a journalist in the 1980s, who embarks upon a series of articles set on debunking certain things.  One of these was hypnosis.  As the story goes on Jo is hypnotised and finds that she was previous alive in the time of King John.

I did enjoy this, but I found some of the scenes slightly morally and ethically dubious – I won’t say too much in case you want to read it, but some of the actions taken by characters while others were under hypnosis just nettled me a little bit.

Overall, a fun absorbing story – I think I preferred the earlier storyline compared to the modern day parts.

I then switched to some non fiction and read Rising Ground by Philip Marsden

Rising Ground

This was beautifully written and very evocative of Cornwall and the surrounding countryside.  I did find the way it was split up into small vignettes dealing with certain interesting characters, or periods of history slightly disjointed.  I often find with this kind of book that half of the stories really grab me and the other half I find really quite dull.  I found the industrial parts of this one a little boring, and I found that they didn’t really get to the “spirit of place” as the subtitle suggests.  The parts dealing with prehistory and archaeology however, were really absorbing and I enjoyed those chapters a lot.

As is usual with me, I have no idea what I want to read next, all I know is that whatever  choose will be read slowly and savoured – it’s my new aim for sure.  What’s the point of reading if nothing sinks in, nothing resonates or makes me think?

What are you reading at the moment?  Anything amazing that I should add to my every growing wish list?

Organdie. x

PS – As always this project was started by Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees– go and say hi, her blog is gorgeous!  You can find more information about The Year in Books project by visiting the page on her blog here.

#30DaysWild

I have been dabbling in The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild campaign this month – and despite the weather not being completely on our side, I have been really enjoying bringing a little bit of wildness into my daily life.

Here are a few of the things I have been up to so far this month;

image

A grey and windy beach road in Wells.

Foxgloves

Foxgloves in Holkham pine woods.

image

Holkham beach

image

Holkham estate

I will also be getting out my pens and paints and doodling some more birds this month – why not?

Organdie. x

The Year in Books :: June 2016

Well, I am not sure how May seems to have completely slipped by without me noticing – or blogging!  I’m sorry about that – I’ll try and resume normal service soon!

I read some lovely books in May – maybe that’s where all my time meandered off to…

First up was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows.

Guensey

I really enjoyed this book -I felt connected to the characters which is something that I usually find difficult in a book written via letters.  This one was just very cosy and definitely one I will keep to reread at some point.  Good for a summer read I would think – it is quite short and sweet.

I then had a little non fiction interlude and read The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

dribbling

I enjoy Bill Bryson’s writing style – kind of funny and very easy to read.  Another fun read for a summer’s day!  I read Notes from a Small Island a couple of years ago and enjoyed that one, so it was interesting to hear some thoughts on Britain 20 years on.

Next up, sticking with the non fiction, I read The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks.

shepherd

This was a great read – not something I would normally pick out, but I am very into non fiction nature books at the moment and this one just appealed to me.

Lastly in May I read A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan.

dragons

This was a fun read, but I was expecting more dragons!  This one ended up being more about Lady Trent (obvious really as it is a memoir of Lady Trent!) and less about the dragons as a fantasy beast – more about them as a scientific subject.  Still a good read, just not the one I was expecting!

I am still working my way through Song of Rolling Earth by John Lister-Kaye  – this is not one I can read straight through it would seem, so I am taking it slowly and reading bits and pieces when I fancy it.  Luckily there doesn’t seem to be an overarching storyline to it, rather smaller vignettes of highland life, so it lends itself to reading in sporadic chunks!

Are you reading anything wonderful at the moment?

Organdie. x

PS – As always this project was started by Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees– go and say hi, her blog is gorgeous!  You can find more information about The Year in Books project by visiting the page on her blog here.

 

The Year in Books :: May 2016

31

Hello May! How lovely that you seem to have brought some sunshine with you! ‘Bout time too!

Anyway, to the books!

I started off this month by reading The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett which was very amusing and a book that I enjoyed a lot.  I often find that the books I stumble across in second hand (or new) bookshops to be ones that I like a whole lot more than those that have been shouted about everywhere.  Does everyone else find that too?

Anyway, Terry Pratchett is very funny, and exactly what I needed at the time that I read it – something silly and fun to cheer up a slightly miserable April!

I seem to have been on a little reading binge this month without really meaning to as well – I read all three of the Cormoran Strike books by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling) back to back…

The series starts with The Cuckoo’s Calling, continues with The Silkworm and finishes (so far) with Career of Evil.

I enjoyed the first much more that I thought I would – for some reason I was not overly excited about JK Rowling’s adult fiction – I tried and failed at The Casual Vacancy – so I had slightly low hopes for the crime series.

The first and second books were brilliant – the third not so great, but still very good – and I am really enjoying the characters of Strike and Robin, and I am looking forward to seeing where things go in their lives.  I am not always so fussed in crime novels with the crimes or the conclusions – I much prefer the main characters lives and the relationships between them.

I am currently reading Song of the Rolling Earth by John Lister-Kaye and loving the writing so far – although it jumps around a little bit which I wasn’t expecting.  I am looking forward to carrying on with the adventures in the Scottish Highlands.

I am also about to start Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens as part of Katie from Books and Things’ readalong – there is a goodreads group here if you would like to join in too.  We are reading it in the way it was published originally, so May sees us read the first 4 chapters.  I am looking forward to seeing what it is like to reading something in serial form – I am hoping that I can stick to the schedule without being tempted to rush ahead because the pages are there!

What are you reading at the moment?

Organdie. x

PS – As always this project was started by Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees– go and say hi, her blog is gorgeous!  You can find more information about The Year in Books project by visiting the page on her blog here.

The Art of Everyday Photography

Hello everyone,

Just a little post from me today to let you know that The Art of Everyday Photography – my online photography course at Saltmarsh and Samphire – is open for registration.  We start on 25th April 2016 and we would love to see some of you there.

I will pop a little more about the course down below, but you can find more information and sign up if it is for you by visiting the online course page on Saltmarsh and Samphire:)

banner-smaller-smaller

I love taking photographs everyday.  I always have a camera with me (even if it is ‘only’ my phone) wherever I go, and I am sure many of you are exactly the same.

Perhaps you have a camera, but don’t quite know how to get the best from it, or maybe you want to document your everyday life with your camera phone.  There are so many reasons to fall in love with photography, and I hope this course will help you achieve a little bit of magic everyday with your camera.

I mainly shoot digital pictures using one of four cameras (my Nikon D90, Fujifilm X100, Fujifilm XE-1 and Fujifilm X30), but I have recently completely fallen in love with film photography and have started to collect older film cameras too.  It’s becoming tricky to resist buying little gems at car boot sales and I’ve devoted a whole year to shooting film on my personal blog.

I also use my iPhone camera, and upload pictures super easily to social media via Instagram (I’ll cover apps and things in more depth in Week 5)

The course week by week:

So now I have introduced you to the cameras I will be using throughout this course, let’s look at what you can expect from the next 5 weeks together.

In Week 1 I want to introduce you to some compositional elements of a photograph.  There are certain ‘rules’ which tend to make an engaging image – but remember that rules are there to be broken occasionally!  These will include lessons on The Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines and Positive and Negative Space.

Train tracks

Week 2 I will talk about perspective and colour.  Colour, textures and patterns can play a big part in photography and a tiny bit of colour theory could help you to understand this.  I also want you to think about perspective – this can help you to narrate your photography and tell the story that you want to.

Chrysanthamum1

In Week 3 I will touch on the lighting of a photograph.  How do different times of the day affect your photography?  What about taking photographs indoors?  We will also look at how the light can affect the mood or feel of an image.

Autumn Tree Leaves

Week 4 telling your stories in photography.  You might find that you would like to share your photography online – perhaps on a blog or via social media platforms – and it is useful to be able to tell a story through your photographs.  We will look at different types of shots which can help you to do this and also ways of presenting images together to tell a story.

Self Portrait

In the final week I’d like to share some editing tips with you.  Don’t panic – this is not as scary as it seems!  Editing can be as simple as an Instagram filter, or as in depth as computer editing software such as Photoshop.  This week is not meant to be a technical one, more an overview of what you could achieve if you choose to edit your photographs.

Reels

During our five weeks together, I will send out emails each day Monday to Friday.

Monday will introduce the topic of the week to you, Tuesday and Wednesday will be more in depth lessons so you can get to grips with different elements of your photography.  On Thursdays I will share a slideshow of images with you so you can get a real sense of the topic of the week, and I will send you some creative exercises for the weekend on a Friday.

I will also  set up a private Facebook group so you can all get to know each other and share some of your wonderful images with the class.

I’m so excited to be able to go on this photographic adventure with you.  I hope you are all packed and ready for the off.  Let’s begin!

FAQs

What do I need to take this course?

You will need access to a computer and the internet in order to get the daily emails and to join the (optional) Facebook group.

You will also need a camera!

What Camera can I use?

You can use any camera that you have and enjoy using.  A camera on your phone, a point and shoot digital compact, a bigger Digital SLR or even film cameras if you want to.  The ‘rules’ of photography can be applied to any of the wonderful cameras you own.

Do I need to be online at a certain time?

No, I will email you the course material Mondays to Fridays so you can work through the course at your own pace.  It is useful to work through the emails in the order they come to you as the weeks do build on from each other.

Do I have to join the Facebook group?

Not unless you wish to do so – it is completely up to you!  The group is a great place to share your photographs, get some feedback and connect with the other people in the class, so if you choose to join it should be a lot of fun!

What will I get at the end of the course?

At the end of our five weeks together, I will send you a PDF e-book of the entire course so you can have access to the course material at anytime you like.

Do I need a Paypal account to pay?

You can checkout using the Paypal button without having a Paypal account, simply use your credit or debit card when prompted.  Paypal will also convert the course fee into your chosen currency if you are not paying in Sterling.  Please make sure that you provide the email address that you would like me to send the course emails to so you don’t miss anything.

If you have any further questions just get in touch with me saltmarshandsamphire@gmail.com

Organdie. x

The Year of Film :: March 2016

Another month another film!  I thought I would use my super fun Instax Mini 90 camera in March –  have been feeling a little bit unexcited about things lately, so I thought something fun like an instant camera would get me enjoying things again a bit more.

It did seem to work – something about taking film photos and having them (almost) instantly is a treat!

Here are some of my favourites from the month:

DSC_0014

DSC_0015

DSC_0016

DSC_0017

DSC_0018

DSC_0019

Have you been out and about taking photos this month?

Organdie. x