In my last few weeks (maybe a month) of being at the Zoo there were many new arrivals! Of course I just couldn’t resist in taking pictures of them and I’m even planning on going to Whipsnade tomorrow as I hear there’s loads of babies there too!
Last thursday I took a special trip to the rain forest exhibit to take pictures of some adorable baby Emperor Tamarins. These were only just over a week old and absolutely TINY! They’re a small enough species of monkey to fit in the palm of your hand anyway, but the babies really are miniscule.
There were two born as these tamarins usually do give birth to twins. When they are first born they do not have the distinctive white moustache that Emperor Tamarins are well known for, but that begins growing soon after.
After birth the mum gets a nice rest as it is usually the dad that does most of the carrying, just passing them back to mum when they start calling for food. In ZSL London Zoos Rainforest Exhibit the whole family help out with the babysitting duties, including some Golden Lion Headed Tamarins as well!
The two babies are already growing quickly and starting to be more aware of their surroundings, I will have to go back soon and document their progress!
I can’t wait to see the wonders of Whipsnade, nor can I wait to take many photographs!
On the 27th of last month it was my birthday and for the first time in roughly 3 years (since my trip to China) I wasn’t in the UK! This also happened to be my first real holiday without my mum. For Ashley it was the first time he’d been out of the UK for nearly 10 years! We went to Slovenia which is an absolutely GORGEOUS country! The scenery was just stunning and the people really friendly.
But it wasn’t all fun and games, there was a reason we went was because of a Longboarding event Ash and some of our friends were attending. KNK Bear guts is a downhill free ride which takes place near Olsinca at the very bottom of Slovenia.
In all honesty I was quite nervous about him riding, it is a very steep and long hill with terrifying drops at the sides of the roads, but Ash is a sensible person and stayed within his comfort zone only having a few falls.
On the first few days of the free ride it poured it down with rain. The skaters from Britain seemed to relish it though, probably because of all the practice they’ve had this winter! The track was super slidey and they had a great time trying to stay on their boards in the slippery conditions.
Luckily, for me and my camera, the conditions soon brightened up and we had some days of brilliantly hot sunshine. Now the skaters practiced more at keeping up their speed and some we’re really rather fast! I found myself in some very dubious positions in pursuit of the perfect shot and more than once had a longboard flying in my direction. If you are watching a high speed event then posts are your best friend! I was saved several times by standing behind something sturdy, and the riders were saved by the hay bails throughout the course!
On the last day Ashley decided he’d had enough of wearing leathers, much to my disapproval, but promised that he wouldn’t go fast, instead he wanted to have a day of fancy slides rather than speed. He did get one scrape on his hip but seemed to have so much more fun that I’m glad he did it.
The event as a whole was really well run and there were only a couple of serious injuries, all the skaters seemed to have a great time, and so did I!
I just wish I could have explored the country more, myself and Ashley are hoping to be able to afford to go next year as well but to go a week early so that we can do just that!
But all too soon it was time to come back to England and, quite honestly, i’m sort of wishing I could go back to Slovenia.
I had an interview at work the first day back as there were two permanent positions up for grabs, unfortunately I didn’t manage to get it but those who did definitely deserve it. Hopefully I can at least work there again next summer, now it’s just a matter of finding a job over winter. My car insurance also came out, taking with it the money I owed for the holiday but at least I could afford it (although only just) and then I had a very bad few days of lots of little things going wrong, such as dropping half a cheese cake on the floor!
But it’s ok as I got to open all of my birthday pressies and then to play with them! My mum got me a drawing tablet which I’m so excited about and have already practiced with! It’s going to improve my digital drawings so much!
I also have so many great ideas for new items to make, and even plan to be revisiting my passion for jewellery soon, plus there’s lots of photoshoots to go on and many more exciting things for The Penguin Theory.
I’ve always had real trouble with photography in low light situations and always blamed it on my old camera, plus they always say that light is a photographers best friend! But sometimes good lighting is just not possible, especially when not based in a studio.
I recently took my camera to work with me to take pictures of all the cute baby animals we have running around at the moment. I was getting quite frustrated at my camera not being able to cope with the light levels in the perfectly lit room, no matter how much I changed my shutter speed and aperture I just couldn’t get a clear, well lit photograph of the sloth and its baby (see attempts below). But there was an old gentleman, and regular at the zoo, who then told me about ISO.
Both unfortunately blurry and dark.
I had heard of ISO but had always thought that it would seriously reduce the quality of my photographs, something which is of course true if you’re not using it properly, as I wasn’t. After hearing his brief explanation I decided to change my settings and finally got some good photographs! I just wish i’d played with it earlier on in the day.
I did get a couple of good shots on a low ISO
Well since that day I’ve done a bit of research into ISO so I can learn exactly what it is and how to use it.
So what exactly is ISO?
ISO is the speed of the film, not to be confused with frame rate but instead it’s how sensitive the film would be to light. So a Low ISO would correspond to an insensitive film that would require more light to create a good quality image, whereas a High ISO would be a far more sensitive film needing less light for the same image quality. But even though you may need a higher ISO in certain situations, the higher ISO does also create grainier images and so it is best to keep the ISO as low as possible for the shot.
Of course if using a Tripod for a still subject it would be fine to use the lowest ISO possible, but for handheld camera work and moving objects it’s best to experiment to find the perfect balance between brightness and noise in the photograph.
It really is so important to understand all the workings of your camera, I’ve had mine for nearly 7 years and I’m only just learning how to really get the most out of it! I plan to carry on learning about all aspects of photography and hopefully it will improve my photographs, in fact i think it already is!
But it’s not only understanding your camera, it’s also understanding your subject so I also plan to study the animals i’m wanting to take photographs of as well. There’s not all that much known about sloth babies, as they have about an 80% mortality rate in just the first week of being born, and a lot of that percentage is from the mother dropping them! I believe this is the first sloth baby in our zoo for around 50 years. So not only is the sloth baby proving to be vital research for myself into the animal kingdom, but also for the keepers who are learning new things about how they develop, grow and learn too! It’s all very exciting.
I plan to take my camera to work again very soon and experiment more with the ISO settings, plus i want to get even more adorable photographs of various animals!
I know i know, i’m terrible and haven’t updated my 365 project for nearly a month! But it’s ok, i have been taking photos so here’s a little catch up.
Warning – Going to be very picture heavy (if you hadn’t guessed)
February the 10th saw me driving up to the north with the radio blasting and ash putting in ear plugs to avoid hearing my singing.
On the 11th i saw these amazing blue orchids! My mum didn’t think much to them but I thought they were gorgeous! It’s a shame I can’t help but kill plants. 😦 I am definitely not green thumbed.
I went to go see Frank Turner with my sister and some friends on the 12th. On the way there I was reading a book on photography when a stranger asked me if I was into that sort of thing and told me to visit this gallery. I still haven’t got round to it, but the exhibition is still on so maybe i’ll go soon.
On the 13th I finally fixed one of my favourite earrings. It’s been sat on my desk for so long and I only just got round to gluing it back together. Hopefully I wont break it again!
On valentines day I spent most of the day drawing hobbits and dragons. Not bad in my opinion. I didn’t actually do anything with ash, neither of us are particularly bothered by it in all honesty. It’s a silly holiday really (we did make an excuse for some snuggle/movie time though of course).
On the 15th I moved my penguin statue, a christmas present from my mums boyfriend and just totally awesome, to a spot where he could keep an eye on my working.
My hair went crazy big and curly on the 16th as I left it in a big plait over night. It’s a shame that it’s so long and unmanageable at the moment, it just looked like a massive frizz ball! Definitely time for a hair cut.
On the 17th I really enjoyed the contrast between the moody, british sky and these stunning blossoms.
The 18th saw lots of editing work. Nearly a whole day of editing! My eyes definitely needed a rest by the end, but at least I had been very productive. These photo’s are amongst my favourites i’ve ever taken.
On the 19th I found out that I had an interview with London Zoo! I was so excited that I really couldn’t concentrate at work, not the best when working in a kitchen. I burnt myself so many times I lost count and nearly chopped my finger off! Luckily my nail stopped the cut becoming any deeper but it was still pretty nasty.
On the 20th I was starting to feel like I lived in this uniform. Working 60+ hour weeks, 6 days out of 7 most of the time and just constantly tired. I was starting to want just a day to pamper myself, wear make-up and look pretty but I just don’t have the energy even on my days off.
The 21st I was starting to feel positive. I was super excited (and nervous) about this interview and also knew it wasn’t long until Legoland wanted me back, plus i was about to drive up north for a wedding! Life was definitely about to get fun, I just had to stick it out at the pub for a little longer. This mirror is above our bed and was there when we moved in. We’re far too lazy to take it off and I actually kind of like it. It makes me smile.
The 22nd was the wedding of two very close friends! Unfortunately I forgot my camera (silly me) and my phone was dying so I didn’t take many pictures, but I did snap this cute picture of the first dance. The groom had changed into some more comfortable shoes for the party side of the wedding, as had the bride who was now wearing bright pink converse under her dress. Such a lovely day! I’m so happy for them both!
On the 23rd I went back to the south, but before I did I managed a little switcheroo at home, giggling like a naughty school girl the whole time. Mum has never got round to putting up my graduation picture (the woes of a second child!) and so I put mine in my sisters place. I don’t think she’s noticed yet, until she reads this blog post…*evil cackle*
On the 24th i received this sewing pattern I had won! I can’t wait to get stuck in!
On the 25th was my interview with London Zoo! It ran from 9-5 with lots of group exercises, presentations and other things to really get to know if we were right for the job and was such a fun day! It honestly made me want to work there even more, which I didn’t think was possible. I somehow managed to get a selfie with a penguin as well!
After the long interview and then rushing off to work for a close, I wasn’t feeling very awake on the 26th and drank far too much coffee.
On the 27th I got the news that I got the job!! I was so excited and i’m pretty sure I asked the person on the phone ‘Really?!’ several times. I celebrated with a glass (or two) of Merlyn, it’s like Baileys but so much better! I’m still convinced they’re going to ring up and tell me they made a mistake, but It’s quite honestly a dream come true!
On the 28th I started counting down to my start. I wrote it on my calendar and was still bouncing off walls.
On the 1st of March I received a congratulations card from my mum, complete with penguins of course!. How lovely 🙂 And yes, still bouncing off the walls at this stage.
On the 2nd there was a gorgeous rainbow! I could see the whole thing (I haven’t got round to editing those pictures yet though). If only I could find the pot of gold at the end…*sigh*
So that’s me all caught up to this week! I will be posting these weekly as usual from this sunday.
February was most definitely a very exciting month and I’m sure that March will be just as exciting!
Last weekend Ash and I went up north to visit my mum as I had a dentist appointment and I wanted to visit my grandma who is having a pretty rough time in hospital.
Whilst there I took advantage of my mums bird friendly garden. It’s rare that I get a chance to see so many birds (other than pigeons) so close, not having a garden at my flat, and so I grabbed at the opportunity to have so many birds so easy to see!
The first day really showed me how much I had to learn! I took so many pictures but just kept being too slow as I was chasing them around with my camera lens.
I was a little disappointed in myself and was told off by my boyfriend as usual. I always get annoyed with myself when I can’t do something perfectly straight away and he always has to remind me that everything takes practice and motivate me to not give up. This is most definitely one of my biggest flaws so thank goodness I have Ash to kick me into gear every time!
So with Ash’s stern words fresh in my mind I tried again the next day!
This time I actually watched the behaviour of the birds and figured out that the blue and great tits were hanging out on a bush near the back of the garden, watching for danger. They would only fly forwards onto my mums magnolia tree once they had deemed the garden safe and then watch out for danger yet again before flying to the bird feeder and darting back to the bush.
Just watching made it so much easier to predict where they were going to land as I soon figured there was one, very well placed, branch in particular which they loved to land on before feeding.
Unfortunately by the time i’d figured this out it was already getting dark and I am without a tripod for the moment which meant all of the photo’s we’re shaky and dark.
The next day was my last day and I was determined to get some good shots. I positioned myself on the floor next to the sofa, army style, and waited.
It didn’t take long for the birds to appear.
First the blue tits and great tits made their appearance and I managed to get a few good shots of them on that one branch. But then more and more birds started to appear, flying backwards and forwards from the feeder.
There were gold finches, chaffinches, a pigeon (of course, they’re everywhere), and even a few sparrows! Sparrows are unfortunately in trouble in the UK and are at Red status so I feel quite privileged to have seen some. The numbers are now rising in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but unfortunately still in trouble in the UK. They’re such pretty little birds too! They may not have bright colours but their flecked patterns more than make up for it.
I sat there well past the time I was wanting to leave for the long drive back to the south, completely mesmerised by the gorgeous birds that visited the garden, and all for a few simple seeds.
All too soon I really did have to drag myself away, but I have learnt a lot from those short 3 days and hope to improve even more before my next visit.
Have you got any birds visiting your garden?
On the 3rd of feb i took a few pictures of some terracotta warrior statues I bought from China. I’m hoping to make a nice item from them for my shop.
On the 4th I took some more pictures of my products wrapping, this time showing the inside too.
The 5th saw me realise I could fit into the skirt I had made, despite it being designed for children, and so I thought I’d model it to give an idea of how it looks on. Just a shame that I had bad lighting, no tripod and no one to take it for me. I’m not the best with timers.
On the 6th I saw what a week of no work would do for my hands as my nails and skin looked lovely for the first time in years! I really cannot wait to get a new job.
On the 7th I was in the north. I thought the trees in my mums’ garden looked pretty cool silhouetted against the darkening sky.
On Saturday the 8th I took Ashley to Blacktoft Sands where we saw lots of marsh harriers hunting.
Today I took pictures of the birds in my mums garden. There were a few blue tits and great tits, it’s just a shame they didn’t come closer.
My photography is definitely improving, but I still have a long way to go!
I have a new endeavour to go hand in hand with my wildlife photography in progress and so set out to Alexandra Palace to see the fallow deer that will be featuring in it. Unfortunately they had all disappeared! I assume they are inside and away from this bitter, cold weather, but it was quite a disappointment. I do have some ideas for what I can do with some other creatures, though, whilst I wait for their return.
So as not to waste our trip, I got Ash to take a few photographs of me in my newest creation! A sparkly, flowery, cosy infinity scarf! It really was very warm and cosy.
The outer fabric is the same as with my cape, and beautiful black, shimmering fabric I just adore. Hopefully I can buy more of it soon as I’ve more or less run out!
The inner fabric is a gorgeous, silk-like fabric which feels lovely against the skin and features a pretty flower design.
The scarf can be worn in the depths of winter with a thick coat to keep you nice and toasty warm, but it is also a good match with a simple t-shirt in slightly warmer weather.
I wore it with a plain black top, and big black waisted belt finished with this gorgeous blue skirt. I felt that the flower patterns in the skirt and scarf complimented each other well, plus I am just in love with this skirt (a bargain £3 from Primark!)
As it was a rather cold day I also wore tights with knee length socks to keep my legs warm, and these adorable fluffy boots!
Finally I finished the outfit off with some earrings I made for myself ages ago (more like I loved them so much I couldn’t bare to part with them). The blue matched perfectly and the chain drops gave a sense of elegance to the outfit.
My make-up was simple. Just a light pink on my eyes with some winged liner and a hint of pink on the cheeks and lips.
Hopefully the Fallow deer will return soon, but for now you can find this scarf listed in my shop right here
As the title might suggest, this post will be very picture heavy. You’ve been warned!
I always believe that you should make your life an adventure and I often take the time to notice the random things going on around me, making even a trip to the shops an exciting experience. Because of this I usually find I notice things that I would love to photograph but never seem to have my camera on me, such as the time I saw cows crossing a motorway bridge with the words ‘Rural Revolution’ graffitied below.
I have decided that I need to take advantage of these moments and so, not only am I going to make an easy to carry camera bag, i’m setting aside time every now and again to go on a Photography Adventure. Just me, my camera and an adventure!
Ok so maybe Ash can join on a few adventures. 😉
Not only do I believe that this could result in some great fun and photographs, but I am also hoping that it will improve my photography skills as I challenge myself with shooting on Manual settings and in lots of different lighting and situations.
I went on my first official Photography Adventure on monday. I decided just explore my area, we’ve only just moved here (although it’s not that far from our old place) and I thought it would be a good way to learn about where I actually live.
The area we live in is called Muswell Hill in North London. It quite posh and full of crafty and vintage shops. I should’ve taken some photo’s of the highstreet but I forgot to get my camera out until I had passed the high street and saw this amazing view from a car park just 10 minutes from my house!
I had to stand on top of a pretty precarious wall to get this shot and I knew that I could get better elsewhere and so I moved on.
I found some amazingly steep and quiet streets and just had to text Ash as they would be perfect for practicing slides and cornering on when long boarding (with a spotter of course). A lot of the houses I found must have had incredible views from their back windows and balconies. I saw so many houses I would love to live in! There were loads of the old Tudor styled houses, the type of house i’ve always dreamed of!
I wandered along these back streets for a while until I happened upon Alexandra Palace (Ok so I followed the BBC tower as I knew there were good photo’s to be took here). The views from Ally Pally are amazing, it also has an ice rink, a boating pond, Fallow Deer and regular gigs. Plus it’s only a 5 minute walk from my house now!
I sat for a while, eating a breakfast bar, admiring the view and taking a few photo’s
Soon though, my bum became too cold and so I moved on. Wandering down to the paddocks to see Alexandra Palaces Fallow Deer Herd. I only learned they had a deer herd recently despite visiting often, but now I make sure to visit them each time I go.
On the way to the deer I noticed a squirrel sitting in the grass. I love squirrels (yes, even the grey ones) and so I had to take some photos!
For these shots I played around with a very shallow Depth of Field and feel it really adds to the shots making the foreground out of focus and so the squirrel is the main point of interest.
Next I found the Deer. They were quite far away from the fence to begin with but soon started travelling towards the right hand side of the paddock. I ran over (yes I actually ran) so that I could get some good shots of them walking towards me. Unfortunately, in my excitement, I forgot about the manual settings and so a lot of the photos came out too dark, even for editing. I did manage a few good shots once i remembered though.
Whilst taking these images I got talking to a man who was walking his dogs. We both agreed that these deer were just beautiful animals!
Soon my hands we’re feeling frozen and so I had to tear myself away from these beautiful animals. I decided it was time to go home as I already had a pretty bad cold and didn’t want to get any sicker.
On my way back home I passed the boating lake where this coot was hunting for food. I took a few pictures of it diving under the water before finally heading home to see the spoils of my adventure!
I really hope to do another adventure soon and already have a few places in mind!
Anyone else been on an adventure lately?
Sorry I’ve been so quiet yet again, it’s just all very hectic on this end. I have just moved house (I’m sure there will be pictures soon once everything is sorted out) and I am currently working 2 jobs. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for The Penguin Theory but I promise I’ll be back with the regular updates soon. 🙂
I have managed to squeeze in a bit of time to update my shop with some new halloween products ready for the scary season! You can click on the images to find the items in my Etsy store (watermarks on prints will not be on the purchased product but replaced with a smaller logo on or around the print).
If you want some spooky halloween decor which would also be perfect all year round then look no further than this Halloween Glycee Art print . It features a stunning spiderweb glistening with early morning dew. I took this image on a misty october morning in Newquay. It is available in a range of sizes and would be perfect this halloween.
I have also listed another very eerie print which I took from a small boat on the reservoir at Panjiakou, China, where the great wall crosses water before heading into the mountains. The misty morning combined with the mountains and the lake made for a very eery atmosphere, just perfect for some dramatic photography.