My favourite photos from 2011

It's end of year reflection time. I've collected together my favourite photos from 2011. It's been a great year photographically, and I'm really happy with the images below. Lots of sea, space, light, colour, simplicity, softness, prettiness, happiness and a healthy dose of bokeh - I love shooting wide open.

Most of the images have been taken on my travels - I've been lucky enough to visit Devon (and the gorgeous Saunton Sands beach), California, Dorset (stunning coast line and the beautiful Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens), Cornwall (including doing an awesome landscape photography workshop with Antony Spencer and Jason Theaker), Christchurch (with all its colourful beach huts) and three stunning Arboretums. And let's not forget my owl obsession too!

Two mosaics below - couldn't restrict myself to just one this year! You can see the full set on Flickr - or watch the slideshow.

I wish you all a very wonderful, inspired, creative, happy and healthy 2012!

2011 Faves: Part 1
2011 Faves: Part 2

Autumn - Part II

Apologies for such belated blogging - a *must do before the end of the year* frenzy going on here - with resolutions to do better next year :)

I had the great fortune to visit not one, but three arboretums in October: Harcourt Arboretum, Batsford Arboretum and Westonbirt Arboretum. Each and every one was stunning, and so very different. Such a great month for color too. I can't believe I've never been to Westonbirt before - it's so beautiful and so vast - there's lots we didn't see - so many return trips are planned! We were also blessed with lots of sunshine - nothing quite like photographing autumn leaves whilst bathing in the warm sunshine :)

Here are some more highlights, mostly from Westonbirt Arboretum. See previous blog post for more - and of course, Flickr.

Autumn palette ~ soft pinks
Autumn palette ~ full colour range
Golden whispers
If you go down to the woods today….
Autumn peephole
Every shade of autumn in one tree
A canvas of leaves
Dreamy autumn
Autumn bouquet
Dreamy yellows

Christchurch: October photo fun by the sea

We were lucky enough to be able to stay in a beautiful riverside holiday home in Christchurch in October for my sister's birthday. It's such a great location - lots of walks by the sea were had (including a gorgeous walk from Hengistbury Head along the beach to Mudeford Sandbank, where rows and rows of colourful beach huts can be found, with a tourist "train" to take you back again!), plus lovely walks in the New Forest in its autumn colours, with lots of friendly ponies, and a trip to Mottisfont house and grounds - an impressive National Trust property with an amazing walled garden full of perfect Dahlias for photographing.

We packed a lot in for a long weekend and returned feeling decidedly chilled out - I thoroughly recommend it! Oh, and we had a super lovely dinner at the colourful Cheese & Alfies in Christchurch town centre too - you must go there if you get the chance :)

A few photo highlights below - the rest are on Flickr, as always.

Colourful beach huts at Mudeford Sandbank
Pastel beach huts
Port hole in the sky
Playing in the waves
Lavender softness
Cottage garden
October pinks
Pretty as a picture
Me with a lovely New Forest pony

My Beautiful Simplicity 2012 Calendar is now available!

I've just finished creating my Beautiful Simplicity 2012 Calendar on Red Bubble with a selection of my favourite photos. These are beautiful, high quality calendars in A3 format, printed on 200gsm satin art paper, with a tougher cover. They are ringbound and come ready to hang. When the year is over, you have 13 (including the cover) fine art prints you can frame. I've ordered these for friends and family for about the last 5 years and am really happy with the quality. One calendar costs £15.84. You can buy them over at Red Bubble.

Autumn in the frame

I adore autumn. The colours. The richness. The stunning views everywhere you look. Leaves blowing in the wind - each one so perfectly formed. The low, golden light and long shadows. The cosiness as the nights draw in, the lights go on and the blankets come out. It's only just begun and I've already gone mad with my camera - can't help myself. Here are some autumn highlights so far - the rest are on Flickr as always - and there'll be more to come :)

The leaves they are a turning…..
Autumn medley
Wham bam, hello autumn! The original
Wham bam, hello autumn! with a little more red...
Autumn cascade
Autumn in the frame
Autumnal riches
Autumn does disco
Glimmering golden

Landscape Photography Workshop with Antony Spencer and Jason Theaker

Al and I were lucky enough to go on an awesome long weekend landscape photography workshop with Antony Spencer and Jason Theaker in Cornwall in early August (plus a bonus final evening in Devon shooting the sunset).

I can't recommend the experience highly enough - I learnt so much, had lots of fun, visited so many stunning locations, and left totally re-inspired. It was fascinating to see how Antony and Jason approach things differently - and just so helpful to pick up all kinds of tips out in the field. I'm definitely a hands-on learner when it comes to photography, so this format suited me down to the ground. I also got the chance to play with different kinds of filters - and came away with a long wish list! My Lee order has now been placed....

Here are a few faves from the workshop - the rest can be found on Flickr, as always.

Pull of the tide
Evening light at Hartland
Magical reflections
Whispering tide

And here's the lovely Blurb book I made with images from Al and me:

Vintage 2011 at the Southbank, London

Had a fabulous day in the gorgeous sunshine at Vintage 2011 with @Candy_Pop on Saturday. Amazing market stalls and lots of people watching to be had - some serious effort had been made! I got myself a fab 60s scooter dress and the most amazing net skirt from Doris Designs. And some very sore feet! Favourites in the Royal Festival Hall were the Clore Ballroom and the Style Studio. There wasn't the same atmosphere as Goodward last year, as everything was so dispersed - but still lots of fun. Photos were all taken on my Canon 50d with my 50mm at f1.4 - I just love the creamy bokeh when shooting wide open. Highlights below and the rest are on Flickr, as always.

Union Jack beach hut @ Southbank
Vintage chic
British cool
Fine vintage china
Gorgeous net skirts at Doris Designs stall
Gorgeous vintage china
The gorgeous ladies from the Doris Designs stall
Frills galore at the Doris Designs stall
Vintage leather
Vintage buttons
Gorgeous owl at the Etsy UK stall
Gettin' down @ Vintage 2011
Ring, ring!
70s bohemian chic @ Vintage 2011
Attempting my best model pose on the roof terrace :)
Blythe chic @ Vintage 2011
Blythe @ Vintage 2011
Paparazzi @ Vintage 2011

Getting my sea fix

I was full of the winter blues and feeling very much in need of a strong sea fix to blow away the cobwebs, so Al & I headed down to Devon in late March to see my lovely sister and her husband. We had a super lovely long weekend of catching up, lazy mornings and oodles of sea and sunshine. We were lucky enough to get to the amazing Saunton Sands, twice, as well as Woolacombe. With sunshine warming our faces we revelled in the space and crashing waves and the most beautiful reflections - the weather really was kind to us. I went into overdrive mode with my camera, shooting non-stop, and notched up 500 photos in one weekend. Really couldn't help myself! Here's a few faves - the rest are on Flickr, as always.

Sunshine and surf
Project 52 ~ Week 12 ~ Little fluffy clouds reflected
Heading into the surf
Ripples and reflections

Beating the bleakness

It's been unrelentingly grey and bleak, dark and drizzly outside the last few months, so I've been getting creative indoors and creating some pretty soft light of my own. Paint the Moon's Project 52 Group has helped keep the inspiration going - so far I've managed a photo a week - pretty much :)

Here are a few faves - the blossom was an old image from the archives I'd not edited before for some reason and the bokeh hearts image was taken using my 50mm f1.4 and the fabulous bokeh masters kit - a wonderful belated Xmas gift from my lovely other half. Can't wait to test it out on the bright lights of San Francisco next month!

My favourite editing tools are Lightroom and the gorgeous Lightroom Presets from One Willows Studios - I can't recommend them highly enough - they save lots of time and produce beautiful results that you can tweak to your heart's desire.

And finally - I was absolutely delighted to be chosen by the very lovely Candy Pop as her Friday Photographer on 25 February. If you don't follow Candy Pop's blog, you should - it's full of gorgeous vintage inspired fashion and images and quirky kitschy loveliness.

Project 52 ~ Week 9 ~ Play
Dreaming of frothy white blossom....
Project 52 ~ Week 7 ~ Handmade
Pastel gems
Just a cup
Diana love

Owl Friday ~ so what's that all about then?

You may have noticed I've developed a bit of a thing about owls. And a growing collection of them - all very carefully handpicked :) A little while ago Rock Cake started up a new Flickr group called Owl Friday. The idea is very simple - take a photograph of an owl-related item each week and post it to the group each Friday. Anyway, it provides a fun focus for the week and a fabulous excuse to keep hunting out new owls to photograph. Here are a few faves so far - the rest can be found on Flickr, as always:

Thoughtful owl on a pile of books ~ for Owl Friday
My favourite owl bag
Olivia on pink
Tweedy Owl (in the trees) - for Owl Friday
Al & Zoë Owl Mugs - for Owl Friday
Handwarming owl ~ for Owl Friday
Olive the doorstop - for Owl Friday