This is the year penguins will fly.

Posts tagged “work

The Best Summer So Far

Yesterday was my last shift at what is definitely the best job I’ve ever had. I’ve been working as a presenter at ZSL London Zoo over the summer and it’s been the best summer ever.

Every day I was surrounded by incredible animals, I was constantly learning new, amazing things (which often meant getting close to the animals) and genuinely looked forward to work everyday. Sure parts of the job we’re hard work and stressful but it was always well worth it.

I’m going to miss seeing all the animals and people i met everyday and being able to share how awesome nature is with everyone but fingers crossed I can go back next summer!

But now it’s time to find a job over the winter, I have a few possibilities which would actually give me a lot more time to focus on The Penguin Theory, hopefully I can ace the interviews!

I’ve been playing with lots of ideas for new products and lines, but nothing has been finalised. I plan to work hard over the next few weeks to make lots of items for my Etsy shop and also for craft fairs! It’s time to get busy so expect lots more updates shortly! Keep an eye out for some brand new photography of some cute baby animals coming up shortly!

Claire x

Advertisements

The Importance of Understanding your Camera and Sloth Babies!

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.

IMG_9557 IMG_9567

 

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.

IMG_9542IMG_9577

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.

IMG_9593

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.

IMG_9588

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!

Claire x


Wild Job, Wild Nails

I’ve finally got myself a new job (although only temporarily) and am now working at London Zoo! I’ve only had a few shifts but it’s amazing. Everyone is so friendly and happy, plus I get to be around animals all day long and really spread the word about conservation and protecting the animals we have in the world today! It really is a dream come true!

It’s been in the news recently that the Female Sumatran Tiger has had 3 cubs, I haven’t managed to catch a glimpse of them yet, but hopefully soon I can,  you can follow their progress on London Zoos facebook page and their youtube.

To celebrate the new job, where I’m allowed nail polish, my nails can actually grow, and the arrival of the new cubs I decided to paint my nails!

Tiger Themed of course!

They came out so well! I’m super proud of myself. Last time I went to London zoo as a customer (for zoo lates which is awesome by the way) I also painted my nails ‘big cat’ themed with these leopard nails.

 

Unfortunately I still work at the pub on thursdays and I’m only at the Zoo for the summer (fingers crossed they take me back next year!) but i’m so so happy with my new job and just know I’m going to love every minute of it!

I’m afraid there might not be many crafty updates for a little while as I have a lot of scripts to learn (I am one of the presenters for the animal talks) and all my spare time is spent reading lines. But do not fear! I have loads of projects in mind, both sewn and photographed. Until then I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite pictures from the zoo so far!

I treated myself to a cool keyring for getting the job.

Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches are so much cooler than most people think.

20140321_160422

Two of my colleagues demonstrating one of the talks. Yes I get to feed giraffes by hand.

20140325_104155

A Sloth out for a morning stroll.


Exciting Things Ahead

I’m sorry for my absence recently, it has become a little intense on my end! A few people left the pub I work at and, with it all ready being understaffed (especially in the kitchen) i’m suddenly roped into 6 day weeks with over 60 hours. As you can imagine it’s not leaving much time for Penguin Theory-ing.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel as my life is soon to take on a drastic change!

I have somehow managed to bag myself a job and London Zoo! I’m so excited as I seriously love animals (if you hadn’t noticed from reading my blog) and I will be earning more than I do now with a job I just know I’m going to love! Plus I’ll have more time for Penguin Theory as I will be working less hours also. I seriously cannot wait to start! I wish it could be now! It’s shame it’s just a summer job for now, but I plan to work hard and really try to impress.

20140225_152956

I couldn’t resist a penguin selfie.

I am also still owed a lot of holiday from the pub job and so I have next week off (I only found out a couple of days ago!). I will be using that time to catch up with my 365 project posts and making lots of new items for my shop as well as starting some new exciting projects.

A project I really cant wait to start is this gorgeous coat, I won the pattern from an excellent blog: Custom Style . Thank’s Brooke! I can’t wait to get stuck in! I have so many ideas for the fabric choices but just need to buy some fabric large enough. I think this will also be the first project i make a mock-up of first so I need to get some muslin too. Unfortunately I might have to wait for my new job to be able to afford it as the current one (even with all these extra hours) only just covers my rent and other expenses.

By the way brooke, your handwriting is so pretty!

20140302_105352

I also have some very big plans for my photography and will be going on lots of adventures with my camera during the next week, and not just taking photo’s of nature but also getting back into longboarding and other sports.

I’ve already entered the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (just before the deadline!) although i wish i’d had more time to really explore and take more photographs, I still think I might have some good contenders entered but I’m just happy that i’ve at least tried. Fingers crossed!

I really can’t wait for this next month, it’s going to be amazing. As cheesy as it sounds, i feel like it’s the start of the life I’ve always wanted and I couldn’t be happier! Bring on the rest of 2014! 😀

Claire x


365 project – Days 27 to 32

On the 27th I finally finished this tie I’d had in mind for far too long and I love it! It’s already available on my etsy here

On the 28th I opened the kitchen for the second time ever and first time on my own (5am starts! Ouch!) but as I was lighting the grill I noticed it looked kinda pretty. Obviously being at work I only had my phone on me, but the picture still came out pretty cool…or should I say hot 😉

On the 29th I was playing with this adorable fabric! I think I have to buy more soon!

On the 30th I dressed up all Chinese style for a photoshoot to celebrate the new year! Ok, so I didn’t actually take these photo’s but I did think of the concept, the styling, modelled and directed the shoot so I think it still counts. You can find the post I wrote here

I did actually take a photo myself on this day (sort of, it was after midnight but I was only just leaving work and hadn’t slept yet so I guess it counts). The weather was super foggy and looked awesome so I just couldn’t resist!

The 31st I had finished the adorable-fabric skirt and it really is cute! I took some bad phone photo’s as my camera’s battery had died and I’d lost the charger! Oops! Lots of photo editing later and you can find the skirt in my shop here

On the first (wow February already!) I had my last day of work for two weeks! Yey for being owed holiday! I also went and bought a new charger as I will be needing my Camera on Sunday! This charger not only charges my old styled DSLR battery (my camera is a very old model) but also AA, AAA (etc.), newer camera batteries, phones and has a car adapter! It’s going to be perfect for holidaying!

Today is Sunday and I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for the photo as I’m probably out and about taking it! I’m  adventuring to the centre of London for the Chinese New Year celebrations and hoping to get a few really good shots! I’ll definitely update with a blog post when i’m back and the photo’s are fully edited so keep your eyes peeled!

What have you been celebrating this week?

Claire xx


365 Project – Days 21 – 27

Jan the 20th saw me excited over my work week. No closes? No finishing work at 1 or 2am? Actually on morning shifts for once? Definitely something I am rarely treated too.

On the 21st i must have moisturised my hands constantly. My mum bought me this hand cream from Avon as my job was making my hands very sore. It works wonders! I accidentally made the photo purple, I guess that will teach me from looking at the filters in bad lighting. oops!

On the 22nd we finally got news back from our old tenancy! We had to take legal action as our landlord was demanding to take more money off us than our deposit, but he was a big, fat liar and we got all our money back! It’s a shame it’s all gone on rent we owe for the current place and so we’re still as poor as ever, but such a relief to finally have it sorted! Plus it was right before staff party which meant I could enjoy myself without worrying too much.

On the 23rd Ash and I went to a little cafe for breakfast burgers to recover from the night before. They were delicious and our drinks even came with cute heart and triangle ice cubes! It was nice to get out of the house together on a (sort of) date as it’s something we haven’t done for ages due to lack of time and money. We’re hoping to start where we left off from with our Alphabet dating series soon. I can’t wait!

On the 24th I FINALLY finished a project! I’d planned out this tie for a while and now it’s done. It should be up in my shop shortly. Still many more half done, or not even started, projects to go though…

Yesterday I had a catch up with my sister over a cuppa tea and murder she wrote! We then went to IKEA to get her some items and I somehow came back with a car full! Oops!

Today was my first official ‘Crafternoon Tea’ with a good friend. She brought some tiny sandwiches, scones and cheese and biscuits. I made some soup. Then we crafted all afternoon with a cup of tea in hand! She made a big cushion cover and I made good progress on a dress I started in the summer!

20140126_163911

Sorry they are all phone pictures this week. It’s been a bit hectic socially. Next week i will definitely try to take more with my big camera. (one week i might actually stick to it!)

Until then stick around for more sewing, products and some hopefully awesome photography.

Claire x


365 Project – Days 14 to 20

Jan 13th saw a 12 hour shift in the kitchen. Ouch. But hot chocolate with marshmallows made up for it 🙂

Jan 14th saw another 12 hour kitchen shift (double ouch!) plus I wasn’t very well, but my sweet tooth saved the day again as I spoilt myself with yoghurt. I always view yoghurts as a special treat as I very rarely buy them to try and save a bit of money, I seriously love them though, possibly even more than chocolate!!

Jan 15th I still wasn’t very well and took the day off work (I was meant to be on another terribly long shift). By the evening I was starting to feel better and so treated myself to Chinese with the housemates whilst watching films.

I spent most of the 16th playing League of Legends with my housemates. It’s super fun, although quite complicated and stressful at times, but i think i’m starting to pick it up now and am not completely rubbish.

on the 17th I took all the ingredients for a chicken wrap to work with me. Unfortunately I completely failed in making the wrap somehow, but my kitchen friend came to the rescue. Yum!

On the 18th I decided it was a good day to show off my window. I love this window and it’s view. It makes me smile every morning!

Last night I took this picture of my Fish lights. It was after midnight and so it counts as the 19th 😛 My sister got these as a present years ago as I’ve always been obsessed with the sea, they fitted in with my ‘under the sea’ themed room and now I have them strung up on the partition in the middle of my bedroom. I think they’re awesome.

IMG_6394

Next week is a lot nicer shift wise and I plan to do a lot of sewing and adventuring!

Claire x


365 project – Days 7 to 13

January 6th saw me finally decide on the final packaging for my products and I took many pictures of my new, pretty packaging before sending off my parcels to their new owners!

Jan 7th I spent the whole day organising my deadlines for things I want to make, blogs I want write and other boring admin things.

Jan 8th I watched Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Zoo Quest’ from back when TVs were in black and white and David was handsomely wandering madagascar in a pair of converse. Of course i got a lot of sewing done as well.

Jan 9th I went to Alexandra Palace to try and shoot my own nature documentary of sorts, unfortunately the creatures I wanted were not to be found and so I got Ash to take a few photographs of a new product I was wearing instead. Whilst we were there we saw this man ecstatic to be feeding pigeons. His enjoyment was contagious and I couldn’t resist a few snaps of him.

IMG_6147

On the 10th I had a horrible headache (probably from not sleeping enough) and just climbed into bed as soon as I was home from work.

On the 11th a friend who has moved to Denmark was back for the weekend and had a gathering. Unfortunately I had to leave early for work (the story of my life!) but at least my shift wasn’t too bad.

Today, Jan 12th, I have again been mainly organising and watching nature documentarys. But I did make a delicious stew type thing in my slow cooker! It’s a shame it came out extremely watery, but tasted nice enough.

Next week is horrendous shift wise at work, but hopefully I can still keep up with some daily photo’s, even if they’re just from my phone.

Have Fun!

Claire x


New Year, New Start.

I know this is something which is said every year, but for the first time I feel like it is actually true for me.

This year will be so much bigger and better than last year and it really will be a new start! I’ve just moved house, far bigger and better than the last place and I actually have a place I can call an office (I will have to take photographs soon!). After 2 years I finally seem to have a way out of the day job, which was only meant to be temporary in the first place, and seem to have bagged a job which actually excites me and makes me happy to go to work. And I’m more determined than ever to make The Penguin Theory a success.

Last year i’m afraid I only managed to reach one of my goals, but luckily I think that goal will be crucial for success this year. I am finally a lot more organised than I’ve ever been in my life, keeping to deadlines, sorting out paperwork, keeping notes in my diary. There is still a lot of improvement to be done but i don’t think myself or my family have ever seen or expected me to be quite so diligent.

I thought I should have some goals for this year as well, but this time maybe actually manage more than one. I decided to narrow it down to 5 big goals of things that definitely have to happen.

1) Make The Penguin Theory more successful 

Regularly update my blog and other social media. make an item and/or go on a photography adventure every week. Make more sales on Etsy and at craft fairs. I don’t have to be living off it (although that would be nice) but i definitely want to make visible progress.

2) Get a Job I actually enjoy

I need a day job to fund my penguin theory adventures (unfortunately) but whilst I can’t survive of The Penguin Theory for the moment, I should at least be in a job I enjoy. My current job was never meant to be permanent and yet i’ve been there for almost two years.  It’s time to move on to something I can look forward to everyday and I think I may have already found it! A couple of months ago I worked at Legoland for a week and loved every second of it. It’s a longer commute but so much more enjoyable which makes it an obvious choice for me. Not only are the hours more regular but they’re actually during the day!  The only problem is that Legoland closes for a few months every year as a lot of the rides cannot be operated during the winter months. I am still trying to decide if I should keep the pub job for 1 day a week so that I can definitely have work in the winter or just to quit altogether and hope that I can find a temp job or make enough money through penguin theory for the winter months.

3) Go travelling

I want to go on holiday and explore somewhere I haven’t been before. In all honesty even somewhere in the UK would be fine, but it would be amazing to go abroad.

4) Enter Wildlife Photographer of the Year

It’s something I’ve always been fascinated with and in these last few months i’ve realised that I really do love to take photographs. I’ve always followed Wildlife Photographer of the Year and seen the exhibitions whenever possible. This year I’m determined to enter. It doesn’t matter if I don’t win, or even get a mention, I just need to try.  I will most definitely be viewing the exhibition at the Natural History museum this year as well.

5) Pay off Debts and Start Saving

I wont lie, the end of this year has been horrendous money wise. Ash, unfortunately, had to leave university as we couldn’t afford for him to continue and with this difficult time in the job market he had to rely on me for a few months, the problem being that minimum wage is barely enough to cover my costs. Luckily I had a lot of savings but they are completely wiped now and we’ve even had to borrow money from my mum and our housemates. But now that Ash has, not one but two jobs ,we are slowly paying everyone back and can hopefully build up some savings between us again.

So did you reach your goals for last year and what are your goals for this year?


Katy Jade Dobson Art

I was 3 hours away from my home, my legs we’re aching after running up a steep hill and I was all dolled up in a pretty party dress and heels frantically trying to get in touch with a friend.

It all started weeks ago when my friend, and artist, mentioned an evening event at a gallery her art was being shown at. In passing Ash suggested that we surprise her and turn up to the gallery without her knowing. I looked at my Rota and I finished work early enough on the day to be able to get there just in time, plus I had the day after completely off!

20130406_125949

So then it was a waiting game. I couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when we just randomly turned up, and I very nearly told her of our plans several times. I was just too excited!

On the day I finished work at 4, then I had to run some errands, post some packages, pack my bags. By the time we left it was 5:30 and we we’re definitely now in a rush. The drive was surprisingly easy, just the A1 for most of the way. We got there and it had seemed like the event had been cancelled, katy wasn’t replying to texts as she was other wise occupied so we decided to walk to the gallery anyway.

As expected it was closed, eventually I rang Katy and asked if she minded two people imposing themselves on her. She was very shocked but luckily seemed delighted that I had travelled to see her.

20130405_203832

The next day myself and Ash left Katy to go to and open up the gallery before joining her later in the day after a bit of breakfast and sightseeing.

Her gallery really looks amazing. I knew her paintings we’re gorgeous, but they look even better in person than in the photographs! The colours she uses range from natural earthy tones to bright dazzling rainbows. Every painting uses colour to great effect, really catching the eye. The subjects are superbly drawn in a messy but elegant way, really giving life and movement to the pieces. I know I may be biased, but I really do love her Art and I believe it speaks for itself.

Whilst I was there I decided to do a little interview with her:

CR : What did you want to be when you were younger?

KD : Well originally I wanted to be a horse, then a tooth fairy, and then an olympic gymnast, but I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Always, always.

 

Photo courtesy of Katy Jade Dobson Art

 

CR : That is adorable! So what was it about Art that interested you? 

KD : Well, I would say its whatever is suggested in art, the small things like a glance, or a certain positioning, or the way that not everything is recorded in a painting but it is suggested and you can fill in the blanks yourself in any way you want.

CR: What inspires you? 

KD : Sometimes, before I am inspired by the subject, I am more inspired by the want to paint something of a particular nature (powerful, strong or soft and calm) and then the decision the work on a particular subject and the research behind that is then the inspiration to actively get up and do the painting. I’m also inspired by artists like Odilon Redon who can work in dreamy and ethereal ways, thats why my work isnt always an accurate depiction of a scene, I like to add a dreamy quality to it.

 

Gorilla by Katy Jade Dobson Art

 

CR : When you’re not painting, what do you like to do? 

KD : Painting is quite a solitary process so I like to be around friends a lot. I like to go out for walks when it’s sunny, walking a dog,  going out for food and drinks or getting inspired by other artists.

CR : What have you found to be the most challenging with your art? 

KD : The process, the development and the actual physical act of the work seems to be very fluid and not exactly easy, but without its challenges. On the other hand, the part i struggle with is the side that I cant control as much, such as the material i am working on, if it takes a knock it effects the final piece. I am learning to see what materials work best to keep the longevity of my work to a high standard, i dont want that to compromise the work that is on it

Stag by Katy Jade Dobson Art

CR: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

KD : Oh gosh! Well I have lots of ideas for collections, some conflicting ideas but all seem to relate back to my own style. As I experiment with other materials to work on I might see a shift in technique and therefore, maybe, some new styles. But for now I am still figuring that out, I will have to see what happens in the future and how my work translates into prints and merchandise.

You can see Katy’s Elegant Mess Exhibition at the Sam Scorer Gallery in Lincoln until the 14th of April. Or if you don’t live close enough you can follow her wordpress here, find her facebook page here and her official site here!

Photo Courtesy of Katy Jade Dobson Art