I find that whenever I have to set an alarm, I sleep lightly, stirring frequently in the hour or so prior to the designated wake up time. Last Saturday was no exception and so I was ready when the 7.30 am alarm call sounded. I think adrenalin and excitement had kicked in, as I was booked to accompany a lovely local wedding photographer as her second shooter. My role was to cover the groom's preparations and capture the bridal party's arrival at the wedding venue.
For once my ageing Sat Nav behaved and we were on the same page when it came to the route to the given address, so no "do a U-turn" monotone mantras for me! I arrived in good time and was greeted by a groom still in jogging bottoms.
Inside, the best man, ushers and the groom's young son were all suited and booted...and so the preps began. There is no time for awkwardness in these situations and despite it being well over 18 months since my last foray into the world of wedding photography, I was soon back into it, balancing precariously on a toilet seat to photograph the groom, over his shoulder, in the bathroom mirror and rearranging patio furniture outside to ensure clean lines and an interesting backdrop in the garden for the group shots.
The 90-minute window flew by and I managed to snag one of the limited parking spaces outside the venue, bracing myself for heavy rain. Thankfully I was able to discharge my duties before the heavens opened, the weather was abysmal and I felt for the couple.
As the principal photographer edits my photos to ensure that they are presented in the same style as her own shots, I don't have any I can share just yet. It certainly wouldn't do to share them before the bride and groom have seen them.
However, couples are usually made aware that a selection of their photos might be used in the future for promotional purposes. Having been bitten by the bug again, I re-visited some of my previous efforts with a view to updating my website and starting a separate wedding/events Instagram account.
Here are a selection of early efforts. I have tried to apply a certain style to each set befitting my memories of the day.
The final batch were taken at my very first solo shoot in the summer prior to the pandemic. This was a very relaxed affair - a stunning venue, natural light photography, not too many formal shots and the most welcoming wedding party who seemed to make it their mission to feed me. It was a wonderful first experience.
Unfortunately, for the rest of the week, I have had my first cold for over 18 months and it was a beast! A friend had reported having a cold and almost dismissing it as such before taking a lateral flow test and getting a positive result. I had been taking daily LF tests which were coming out negative, but after feeling a little better, on the third day I developed a persistent cough and decided to book a PCR test. Thankfully the test result was negative and I am much improved. However, the accuracy of lateral flow tests is concerning. Our son has a few friends who have in the last few months had Covid infections. On each occasion, their lateral flow tests were negative, even at the peak of their symptoms. Only the PCR tests proved positive. Now, the UK government looks set to scrap PCR tests for travel in favour of lateral flow tests...
So, in the throws of a bad cold, I have pretty much kept myself to myself this week and only in the last couple of days, have I ventured out for a couple of solitary walks. For the record, my really irritating, persistent cough all but disappeared after 24 hours. This could have been pure coincidence, but I did indulge in not one but two hot toddies on Thursday night - hot water, juice of half a lemon, some honey to taste and a measure of brandy. (It was definitely a two hot toddy cold).
As you may recall, I've been conducting my own experimental photography exhibition by placing photos I have taken over the last 18 months in and around the area - ideally close to the locations in the photos. I do this sporadically, in batches and the results have been mixed. Some have trickled in quite quickly....
....including a private message from the grand daughter of the owners of Enville Hall (pictured)...
Others remain insitu; overlooked (amazing when we live in an area of curtain twitchers) or collected, but not shared on social media channels. I don't mind this too much - the recipient could well be an individual from a demographic not predisposed to embracing the world of online interaction. As long as they like the photo and it brightens their day, that's good to know.
First thing on Friday morning, I headed through the garden gate and into the wood to capture the first of the early Autumn mists.
|My favourite oak|
|Walker in the woods|
|Abandoned, water-filled pigeon egg shell|
|Tangled up in blue - web covered lace cap|
After spending much of the week feeling exhausted and dosed up on paracetamol, I decided my body needed to move. My woodland escape was very leisurely, given that fresh air and photography were the priorities. I reached for my long neglected nordic walking poles and headed to the hills - Kinver Edge to be precise. I love walking, but they can often end up more of a stroll and the natural tendency is to adopt a more relaxed posture, whereas nordic walking provides a full body workout, because you have to move your arms into a handshake motion and then back and forth, keeping them straight, thereby giving the sticks purchase on the ground and working your upper body and increasing the heart rate. I'm old enough not to give a hoot about funny looks and wisecracks. Due to a couple of troublesome discs, my bothersome back has put paid to my running days, but I love to just put on a pair of shoes and exercise from anywhere without any pre-planning and so nordic walking's quite a good option for me.
Anyhoo, given that I had poles attached to my wrists, I was sans camera, but fear not, here's a photo from a couple of weeks ago, in sunnier times, of Kinver's resident long horns soaking up the last of the summer sun.
I haven't posted any outfit photos recently, but here's my latest acquisition - a vintage knit, purchased from a local charity shop just prior to my nordic walking adventure. A true case of fashion informing life. So something else I'm now clearly old enough for - a "fun" jumper. Who'd have thought Gyles Brandreth would ever one of my style icons? It's a slippery slope!
Last night's TV viewing was all about the final episode of BBC's The North Water and Colin Farrell's terrifyingly dark but Oscar-worthy performance. Edge of the seat stuff!
Tomorrow, I am meeting up with a friend for a long overdue catch up. It's madness considering we live less than five minutes apart and both simply have to open our garden gates to the woodland beyond if we want to go for a walk together. Circumstances and work have kept us apart, but tomorrow, we will be wearing a groove in the path around the perimeter. I predict it will be a two lap chat.
What are you up to?