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Browns stopped me feeling blue

Over the summer I had been so busy with the barn renovations, settling into my hamlet and trying to work a balance between my work – accountancy – and other projects that require a creative input that I had forgotten what I loved doing the most – photographing flowers, seed-heads and grasses.  Ok I am quite creative with accountancy and tax work, but it has a room emptying affect if I introduce myself as a tax accountant! Sorry you can come back now, I wont mention that profession again….

But photography is far more fun, a long term project and I want to get back to it.

Feeling a few winter blues coming on, I went out today and took my time searching the hedgerows for pattern, shape, light and the hidden.  I was pleased with the results and looking forward to working on them over this coming week – just a few tweak, nothing dramatic as I do prefer to work straight on the camera and not post production.

These photos – a caramel brown theme seems to be going on here – are from last autumn, two whilst in London’s Greenwich Park – the hydrangeas were turning and the delicate lace like petals reminded me of a hundred butterflies, the others are from near my home.  Where the grasses swayed in the soft autumn sun last year, today everything was cropped by the mower.  Every couple of years it is now apparent the French council have a huge manicure session of our farmland.

But there were still little floral treasures to be found and the forest up the hill from us has huge potential in the wonderful stormy light were are having, to get me out in my boots and have a prowl – just not on a Sunday. The locals go shooting and last week we spotted a glinting gun barrel a bit too close for comfort and I don’t think they will be expecting anyone to be shooting from a camera in the undergrowth.  So another day.

And can anyone answer me this one – the French and dogs…no idea why they cannot control them. The dogs are all over the place when they take them hunting.  They rarely return when called [ last week one owner actually had to follow his dog with his van and corner him in the village as the dog had decided it was more fun to run off] and there is a lot of manic shouting.  Back in England dogs are given a firm, but respectful command.  They rarely bark if quiet is requested to stay calm and they have an owner alertness I have just not seen here.  Maybe it partially to do with the lack of exercise.  Being taken out only weekly  would be viewed as cruel back in England.  But here it seems the norm.  All that pent up energy has to go somewhere I suppose and that’s where the breakdown of communication occurs.

I used to have a cat. I big adorable ginger moggy.  He would come when called, stop bullying his sister when I heard her cry and I would say in a stern voice – “Jasper is that you?”, sit when told to and would follow me to the station and return home when I turned the corner towards the station.  I had to leave him with my ex when I moved out.  He passed away this week – not old, an illness I am unaware of [communication not happening]  and I missed him hugely. I never had to shout at him. He would have thought me totally disrespectful!

Judi Castille Seed heads in the darkJudi Castille Summers overJudi Castille Seeds and stemsHiding in the long grassesJudi Castille Summer yellowJudi Castille Hidden in the grasses

23 thoughts on “Browns stopped me feeling blue

  1. You are a gifted photographer and I am glad you are rediscovering your love. French dogs …. mostly the hunters dogs are pretty well controlled where I live – very very obedient but seemingly the liberté part of the LFE mantra that is France means that fencing in domestic (non working) dogs is something of a sin meaning that they roam freely and dangerously. I have many stories. I won’t bore you here. Your asides about Accountancy have a faintly Monty Python air about them!!

    1. Thank you your very kind. Not everyone would say that, and photography is fraught with different opinions on what is right or wrong, but its enjoyable and I am experimenting and learning. The dog issue is annoying. The local dogs bark incessantly, but they are fenced. In Romania there are street dogs, packs of them, again something you don’t see in England. After dark you have to take great care, as there have been incidents of biting attacks. Monty Python must have done an accountant sketch – mad if they didn’t.

      1. I always say that I’m from the myopic point and shoot school of photography …. that covers off any notion of criticism 😉 Dogs can be an issue wherever you are – we, as humans have domesticated them and we therefore have the onus of responsibility but sadly not everyone sees it like that. Here is my gift to you … in response to your comment about Monty Python and accountancy – it is the reason I made the remark 🙂 http://youtu.be/azkFz1ZbXyU Enjoy 😉

      2. Terrible debilitating disease…Monty Python got is spot on!! I love that to get excitement the next step is insurance or banking. Oh dear, I transitioned from banking back to accountancy. No hope there then! Very funny.

      3. Had lunch with a couple of the guys who worked for my husband on his sabbatical project at the Institut here yesterday. When I mentioned that before moving to France I was in Financial Services the tumbleweed was almost visible …. I quickly switched to my historic incarnation as a Fromagère and that saved the day 🧀

      4. Had lunch with a couple of the guy s that worked on my husband’s sabbatical project yesterday. I mentioned that before moving to France I was in Financial Services and the tumbleweed was practically visible. I hurriedly switched to my historic incarnation as a Fromagère and the conversation picked up instantly 🧀 ….

      5. A different type of big cheese then! I used to dread when asked my profession and in the end used to say Tax accountant. Tax is scary, and they think you do offshore and slightly risk based planning – so that worked.

      6. There are always the right words …. it’s just a question of finding them. I was actually not an IFA but the Executive Assistant to the CFO (soon to be CEO) of SJP but in Defence of all you Accountancy types I made some real and lasting friends and found, particularly the City Analysts to be an interesting bunch and often great fun to socialise with 🙂

      7. Actually its just a front – bit like Victoria Beckham never smiling [ fellow Essex girl BTW]. Up in the City in the late 80’s and early 90’s we had a great time, loads of fun and I have to say the longest friendships come from then. Many debauched evenings on the Tattershall Castle riverboat and The banker pub. Happy days.

  2. Post production is your friend. After all, Ansel Adams and Gene Smith — two legends — knew that the negative, in their time — was just the sheet music, not the song. That’s why they designed exposure systems and spent long hours in the wet darkroom making their pictures.

    That said, the yellow picture, the one from the bottom, is so grossly overexposed that even the camera’s software can’t recover, which is why the highlights look so gray. And example of what I meant when I said that every project takes a long time to learn…

    1. Yes that was over exposed and I might try and dig out the originals and see if there was an alternative I could work on. I now have photo-shop on my PC, but even that seems a little limited – any recommendations re post-production software? I like what your doing with layers and colours. I would like to do some radical alterations to some of my work – achieve more graphic approach. Work in progress, ideas to explore.

      1. First, I haven’t used Photoshop in a year. It’s far from limited. It’s way too much for most photographers. It’s really a designers tool. I started using it for large press commericial pre press work. Look into Affinty. It’s about $59 or so, with upgrades free. A year or so it was app of the year. It is essentially a Ps clone. Because I work with Sony mirrorless and Leica film cameras, I use PhaseOne for most processing. I use OnOne for enhancing and some of the art that I do. But, many of the pictures — especially the nature pictures — were made with my iPhone and Snapseed, which is a Google product and free.

        As far as your picture goes, open the exposure by 30% and push up the contrast. That might do it.

      2. Thanks, will look at your list. My husband uses photoshop for graphic work all the time. We do not have the full blown programme. Used to and it had far more than the version we have now, plus they have done the usual streamlining, or we would say messed about with it too much, and moved everything.

      1. The beauty of photography is that we can bend the rules, and out of focus or softness can be just as beautiful as sharpness. And of course, enjoying what you do is indeed what counts! 🙂

      2. Its a problematic issue sometimes, especially when you submit work for critique. Last year I got embroiled in a bit of an argument [not with me I may add], but between forum critiques about whether a picture I took as in focus. It was, well I thought it was, and so did the photographer who re-processed it through phot-shop. In the end it came out as yes it was in focus, and especially difficult as it was of a bee. I didn’t have any post-production software at the time. There are many artistic photos out there that are not in focus, not exposed perfectly, but they work – atmospherically. Its interpretation that matters. But I learned to steer a bit away from critique and just enjoy the learning process.

      3. Sometimes in our attempts for perfection we may loose some of the heart, the magical essence captured in a single moment in time that is so special. It is the spirit in how we do things, and the spirit we may capture in what we do. I think we are always on a learning curve, and that is what makes photography, for me, such a joyous and exciting pastime whether it is technically perfect or not 🙂

      4. That’s how I feel. I don’t really want to be worry about perfection the whole time and actually that affects the photos as they lack spontaneity, or seem to. The light changes here so much and the weather, you really have to grab the camera and go for it. I know that can be a bit more hit and miss, but I have all this on my doorstep, so can go out often.

    1. HI,
      I just made a comment on your latest debate about IPhone versus camera – great comments by everyone. Thank you. Early days but glad I got back to what I love. Today was wet and foggy, but actually the light was wonderful, so a few more photos going up this coming week. BTW Norfolk is a lovely area. My mother has a picture I took of the windmill many years ago, back in the late 70’s. I used to holiday there a lot.

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