Solace in The Woods


woman in woods

Sometimes I think people spend a little bit too much time around other people. Alone time is good and sane. Personally, I couldn’t handle being around people 24/7. It would drive me nuts. I would love to live closer to the forest. Trees are always a relief, after people. You can find peace and quiet in the woods – it’s a good place to think and some of the best advice you will ever hear will come from the forest.

“I did not want to think about people. I wanted the trees, the scents and colors, the shifting shadows of the wood, which spoke a language I understood. I wished I could simply disappear in it, live like a bird or a fox through the winter, and leave the things I had glimpsed to resolve themselves without me.” – Patricia A. McKillip, Winter Rose

I like to take walks in the forest. The trees whisper like humans and rustle like living things in the soft wind. It’s like the trees are calling to me with a hundred voices, like the leaves are telling you secrets. Like Patricia says, the trees and the shifting shadows speak a language I understand. It is exhausting being around people talking about their problems and their troubles and complaining about anything and everything. It’s nice just to sit, or wander and be one with nature. You have to do that from time to time; get away from city life and just sit and listen to the wind and all of the creatures of the forest. The woods are not as empty as you think.

Nothing changes in the forest. It is the same as it was thousands of years ago and is full of stories which no-one can contemplate. But if you listen, the trees will tell you. Stories about myths and legends of a hundred different lands and people. We do not own the woods, they own us. I like the feeling of insignificance I get when I wander into the woods. It puts everything in perspective, all your worries and problems because everything is so big in the forest. The trees tower over you like skyscrapers, each tree a habitat for living creatures; each tree playing a part in the natural cycle. When I walk into the green haze, I am mesmerised by the grand size of everything.

In the forest, I like the feeling of being lost and far away. With so many trees, I feel safe, like I am being guarded; the trees, my wardens. We all have unending and unexplored forests on our mind, and every night we get lost in them alone. No-one else allowed in our private forests. We must travel through the woods alone, again and again, with each tree, a thought. We must make sense of what we are thinking, connecting the trees. It’s a calming process. Learn character from trees, values from roots and change from leaves. Time spent among trees is never time wasted.

Advice from a tree:

  • Stand tall and proud
  • Go out on a limb
  • Remember your roots
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Be content with your natural beauty
  • Enjoy the view

xxx

 

Critique of My Street Photography


So this is my first post in my photography tag and I’m quite excited. This is a critique of my street photography and I’ve never done a critique before so bear with me. Check out my Flickr for more photos – I’m doing a 366-day challenge.

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First of all, I really like the picture and although it’s blurry, it’s still one of my favourite street photographs I’ve taken. My eyes are immediately drawn to the man on the far left in the shadow of the tree, at the table, wearing the black top. My eyes are then drawn across the photo to the right, where it is lighter, as it was a sunny day. Everyone apart from that man, seem to be wearing lighter clothes, which contrasts with the shadow of the tree and the man.

This photo was taken from my hip so no-one noticed I was taking their photo. It’s a way to be anonymous and candid because I wanted to avoid confrontation. That’s why the photo is half street, half people because my camera wasn’t at eye level. I like the photo because no-one can be identified – you can tell that they’re people but you don’t know who they are and that’s why I think it’s a good photo. And the blur makes it so that there are no distracting elements. Everything somehow seems together, and it reflects the fact that everyone is moving and the people have their own lives to live and only they know what they’re doing. It shows how life doesn’t stop for anyone. It creates a butterfly effect. I admit that I wasn’t trying to make the photo blurry but I’m happy with the result.

I think that the dark patch on the far right is a little distracting, and if I were to reshoot, I’d compose it so that part wasn’t in the shot. That’s because your eyes jump from the man in the shadow to the dark patch, and then to the middle when the people are supposed to be the main focus, not the dark wall.

I used an f/stop of f/25, a shutter speed of 1/10 and an ISO of 100 with the flash off, and at a focal length of 25mm. I used an f/stop of 25 because I thought that I needed to include the whole street, which I think worked really well because it shows you life in motion as opposed to a single person or group of people. I think that my shutter speed was a bit slow, which made my photo blurry, and I used an ISO of 100 because it was a really bright sunny day and 100 was the perfect light sensitivity. You increase the ISO as it gets darker to allow for maximum light to get through the lens. The flash didn’t need to be on because there was enough light from the sun.People are wearing sunglasses! I kept the white balance at 0 so that the photo wasn’t brighter or darker than it should be. It reflects a sunny day. I don’t think it would look better through a shorter focal length for example 55mm because it wouldn’t show everyone on the street.

I like the fact that it’s in black and white because it relies heavily on shape, and it draws your eyes to the people, instead of the details in what they are wearing or distractors like the tree, the chair or the buildings. The focus is on the people.

So there you have it! There’s my critique of this photo. If you have any comments about it let me know, I’d love to hear what you think.

xxx

Be Simple


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“Practicing poses for mirror selfies
Summer camp in the mornings 🙂
Watching The Vampire Diaries 👌
Tonight with la madre and siblings

Britney is my spirit animal
I was growing on David Cameron
Now I feel sad is this normal?!!!
Like a witch stirs the cauldron

When I TRY to take his picture
That they should know about??!!!
Just passed subway omg torture

It sharpened its stinger?!
I received a peer recognition
Take a picture it will last longer.”

Amortentia


“For me

you are the scent of

log fires and wildflowers; 

earthy, and warm.

For me

you are the scent of

rain on the earth;

petrichor. I find

joy and peace of mind

during rainy days.

For me, you are the scent of

candyfloss at the carnival;

soft and sweet and

a wonderful treat.

For me

you are the scent of

ground coffee beans;

exhilarating, strong

and you linger on my mind.

I am addicted to you.”

A Map as Your Muse – Almería, Spain


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Me and Suki, mountains behind us.

 

So I’ve told lots of people that I used to live in Spain, but they don’t really know the full story. They say “Oh that’s cool!” and that’s pretty much the end of the conversation. And it was quite a big part of my life that I feel like sharing, because it’s personal, and to be honest Spain is my home away from home. I’ve never written about it before.

I lived in Spain in a tiny tiny village when I was 6 years old to 9 years old. Three years is a long time when you’re that young! I lived in this tiny village of 9 houses in the mountains. Seriously. There was a goat and sheep farm at the far end. I say far end, but it was literally like less than half a mile up the road. Everyone in the village was Spanish so I had no choice but to speak it. And they were all old like this one lady was ancient, she was wrinkly all over and she was about 90 at the time. My dad went back there a few years ago and she was still there. Go figure. It’s probably the Spanish sun. She always gave us fresh oranges and almonds. I’m talking 5 massive bags of almonds. She got the oranges from her orange trees – literally thousands, and when it rained and me, my brother and sister were playing out, we took shelter in her shed. She gave us oranges. I don’t know if the orange trees were all hers. There were two Antonios. Big Antonio who was obviously the larger one, though he didn’t know the nickname we gave him, and he lived at the other far end. And there was little Antonio. He had lots of cats. The village stank of goat poo, I’m not even kidding. The heat made it worse.

There was this English woman in our village who had two dogs. We had two cats, Suki (boy) and Mitsi (girl). Suki was mine and Mitsi was my sister’s. They were brother and sister. So anyway, the woman, Maurine’s dogs always kept coming into our house (no wall!) and they ate our cat’s food. She never stopped them. And my dad went back a few years ago and this woman stole our tiles and used them for her patio. Yeah, she didn’t think we’d be coming back, and I probably never will, but no-one in the village liked her. Like at all.

When my dad bought our accommodation, it was in ruins. I say accommodation because it wasn’t a house, it was literally an old farmhouse, with pretty much no roof, all walls were collapsed, and it was totally unlivable (we have hundreds of pictures). I was too young to remember, but my mum says that it was a tough first few weeks, and it took a toll on her. It was already planned that my dad would fix it up – he got cement and did the floors and bricks for the walls, tiles for the kitchen.. and we got furniture for the living room. It took ages, and it still wasn’t done by the time we left. It was in such bad shape that there were BATS. Actual bats flying around, and you should have SEEN the amount of daddy long-legs spiders in the bathroom, and behind the sofa. They all moved as one. It was like a heartbeat, and it made me sick. They covered the WHOLE WALL. Thinking back, we probably should never have lived there, in that house. And to be honest, Spain should not have let us live in those conditions. We had a small shed next to our house which was overgrown, and there was strangely a rotted bed in the small room, and there was a tree growing straight through another room in the shed. It was fairly unsafe.

Our house looked out over mountains. They weren’t mountains with lush green trees or grass. No. They were brown and dry. With a few shrubs. We also had one behind our house, which we occasionally climbed to see the amazing view. We could see one other village, also quite small, between two mountains. And there were plenty of bamboo trees down in the Rambla, which we used as horses (really long pathway between mountains, I think it was more than 10 miles long, and it went straight to the city if I remember correctly). Come on, we had overactive imaginations at that age.

I went to primary school in Almería, but because I didn’t know the language, I had to go down a school year. I was meant to be in year 2 like in England, but I went into year 1 in Spain. It just made sense. It was predominantly a Spanish school with a few English kids. And once I got used to the language and could use it pretty well, I would translate between the Spanish teachers and the English kids. It was small things like “she needs a pencil” or “he didn’t bring his book”, but it helped. I loved school, I really did. I hung around with mostly English kids, but I had a few Spanish friends. It’s strange to think that they’ll be in university now, or working. It was great because we got to leave school every day at about half 1 due to the heat.

Spain is my home away from home. I remember all the fiestas, and the churros and chocolate. And this one time I remember this guy had a MASSIVE paella dish. One time at a fiesta, it was night, and I spilt some chocolate from the churros and chocolate down my top, and a guy from school, Miguel who was in my year, called me a baby. And I’ve never forgiven him; he won’t even remember. We saw carnivals as well – lots of carnivals, and I loved all the colours and I just felt so happy. Spain has a special place in my heart.

I can remember so many memories from Spain, if anyone wants a part 2! Does anyone else have a favourite place? Or a home away from home? Let me know in the comments.

xxx