Some updates!

| Posted by Lou | The time is 4.30pm here in London UK |

I just had a flick through last year's blogging endeavours "30 Days of Me" and "30 Days Till 30" and thought it might be time for some updates:

It seems I never posted any pics from my attempts at getting the hang of the Diana F+. I took two rolls of film - one of the trip I did around the time of my 30th, and the other at my birthday party. Some of the photos were pretty okay, some were middling, and others were pretty shite. But I learned some important lessons:

1) ALWAYS check the settings before taking a photo. (I accidentally took several day pics on the night setting and thus blew them out entirely.)

2) For nighttime/ indoor shots the camera must be perfectly still.

Basic things, but ones that needed to be demonstrated before being really driven into my head. I have another film from my recent trip that just needs finished off before developing that I'm hoping will have corrected a lot of my mistakes.

I shall intersperse some pics throughout this post to give you sampling of what came out.

This is one that blew out due to my forgetting to customise the settings. I do like it though - it is of a crane at the Grand Canyon that was involved in the guano mining business, and for me the blow out just enhances the surrealism I felt the place, machinery, and story of guano mining held.

I finally got my ukulele tuned properly, and suddenly it all started to come together - I genuinely feel like I might be getting the swing of it. But also I now know that I will never be a great player... as much as I love music and have an affinity for it, I lack the natural musical talent that enables people to just fire away and create lovely sounds. (One suspects this when they find themself unable to tune the strings correctly.)

This doesn't bother me too much though - I can read music so just need to commit chords and notes to memory then buy myself a song book.

This is an attempt at capturing motion with a long exposure. I think that aspect is okay (I was a bit drunk and highly amused by how huge Cara's cocktail was so came up with this cheers idea on the spur of the moment - all things considered it is a decent result), but I'm not happy with the framing and background.

Au naturale, aka decreasing use of commercial cleaning products

As I sit here gazing around at my filthy, filthy floors I can testify that I am certainly sticking to my oath not to slather my floors in bleach and chemicals. Unfortunately my vinegar bottle is unopenable (in fact, in Glasgow there is a friend receiving physio for an injury sustained trying to open it for me...), so I haven't cleaned them with a natural product either. (I say unfortunately, but really it's fortunate to have the excuse.)

The other day I realised that my skin had become wintry again, and so without vodka improvised a natural yoghurt & whiskey face mask which worked just as good, if not better, than the vodka version. I own a grand total of zero commercial washes (for face or body), currently making do with handmade green tea and manuka honey soaps.

My recycling and rubbish volumes have increased due to being at home more often, but I figure that this is good as it's better than the large volume of waste associated with workplace eating. (Oh the guilt of nipping out to buy a sandwich that is all packaged up in a plastic container.)

This is one of the shots that turned out best in terms of colour and clarity. I took it with the lomo because, again, I felt it was a somewhat surrealist location (Joshua Trees in the desert). I wish I'd also tried doing one with the flash on and a dark coloured gel over it to try and add a colour splash to the mix.

This is something I am constantly nagging myself about - I still find it so difficult to feel motivated to do anything more than walking. But! With so much spare time at my disposal I've been sticking to a reasonable level of activity. And I learned whilst in New Zealand that Wii Fit is something I would enjoy doing, so I think I'll try and find a more appropriate flat (ie one that doesn't have a thin squeaky floor) in July and set myself up to do that. In the meantime it's power walking and pilates.

This is my fave from the indoor shots - it definitely came out best in terms of framing and composition (I would love to say that the bird wall in the background was thought through, but it is mostly fluke), and the blur works with Martin's hilarious facial expression. (He was being Strawberry Fields.) A lot of the party pics are a lot more blurred, and didn't quite hit the mark with the framing - though I'm yet to figure out how to gain a higher level of accuracy so this might always be a hit and miss endeavour.

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