"To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Documenting my daily life in photographs.

Photographic prints

Prints of my work are available at http://katieshires.redbubble.com/

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Winter chill

Winter has really descended here, just in time for Christmas. There's been a dusting of snow here, although nothing compared to other places in the UK. It's almost all gone now, but there's still an icy, frosty covering on the ground, which makes for a lovely wintery scene in photos.
I went to Port Meadow, a huge common on the outskirts of Oxford. Horses graze freely all over the meadow, and in winter the river often overflows, creating huge frozen lakes. Although it was pretty icy underfoot and I nearly came a cropper a few times, I got a few shots from the afternoon.

Monday, 14 December 2009

'Tis the season...

Well, my tree went up this weekend, and I'm starting to feel a little bit Christmassy, so here are a couple of festive photos:

Some of my pretty decorations, and my beautiful boy in front of the tree.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Parklife

I met my brother, sister-in-law and nephew in the park today for some fun and photos. He had a great time roaring around the place and playing on everything.



Friday, 23 October 2009

Autumn colours

I went to Harcourt Arboretum this afternoon to try and catch some of the beautiful changing colours of Autumn. There are some beautiful acers there, whose rich red foliage catches the light just wonderfully at this time of year.
Some pictures:

Monday, 12 October 2009

A bright autumn afternoon

The weather was miserable on Sunday morning - grey skies, and rain drizzling down all morning. By the afternoon, though, the sun was out and the countryside was bathed in that gorgeous, warm autumn light. I thought I'd make the most of it and head up to a local spot, Brill Hill, where there's a recently restored windmill and beautiful views over the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire countryside.


Sunday, 13 September 2009

Blenheim Horse Trials

This weekend, the Blenheim International Horse Trials were being held just up the road from me. I love horse riding, and although I don't have the time or money to keep it up myself anymore, I love going along to events like this where you can watch the top event riders in the world compete in the beautiful setting of Blenheim Palace.

Usually the cross country takes place on the Saturday, with the showjumping finale on the Sunday, but this year there was additional cross country on the Sunday, which I went along for. It worked out well as there were hardly any crowds and a bit more going on to see.

Here are some of the pictures from the day.






Thursday, 13 August 2009

A very photogenic young man

I was looking after my nephew yesterday and took the opportunity to get a few snaps in whilst he played in the garden.

Luckily for me, he's happy enough to pose and give me a quick smile!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Oxford Botanic Gardens

Summer here has been a bit of a washout so far, but yesterday we had a bit of sun, so I went to the Botanic Gardens to make the most out of it and to get some photos.
I could have spent all day there; it was so tranquil and beautiful, especially in the summer sun. Here are some of the pictures I took...







Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Goodbye Mogalina

My beloved tabby cat, Mogalina passed away today.
I've had her since I was 16 when she turned up as a stray at the vets where my mum worked at the time. She has had a lot of health problems over the last couple of years. Her achilles tendons on both legs were damaged and she was on medication for an overactive thyroid gland. Still, she was always happy and content so long as she had somewhere to sprawl out in the sun.

Last week she didn't come home, and after days of searching for her, I got a call from the vets this afternoon saying she'd been brought in after being hit by a car and unfortunately she didn't make it. I don't know where she's been for the last few days, but she was found quite far across town. It's not in her nature to stray far from home, so I guess something wasn't quite right with her.

Whatever happened, my Mogslie will be very much missed. Goodbye Mogalina x

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Glut!

I have so many courgettes at the moment, I'm struggling to keep up. It's my first season of growing them, so I've been pretty impressed so far. The only thing is, I'm running out of things to make with them. I've done courgette fritters, courgette soup, and am eating courgettes with everything else. I'm not sick of them yet, though.

I had also almost given up on my willy chillis ever doing anything. I had to move them outside as they were too big for my windowsill and I don't have a greenhouse. Once outside, they just sat there looking a bit sorry for themselves, but today I finally noticed the first flower on one of the plants, so hopefully I might actually have at least one willy chilli this year!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

More Ladybirds...

... but this time they're a bit more naughty!


Yes, I caught them 'at it' on my broad beans! They were busy for ages, so I managed to take the opportunity to practise focusing on my macro lens and was able to get up really nice and close.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Garden wildlife

My broad beans are crawling with blackfly. The horrible little monsters are everywhere and I'm really struggling to keep them under control. Luckily I spotted (no pun intended) this little fella on the plants this morning. Apparently ladybirds love to eat blackfly, so I'm hoping she's brought her family.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Cherry pop!

My cherry tree has suddenly gone crazy! I don't particularly like cherries but they are so pretty and I hate the thought of the birds stealing them all or just leaving them to rot, so I've been up the ladder picking away.
A couple of photos from today:


Thursday, 25 June 2009

At the reservoir

Yesterday evening my photography group had a little field trip. It was a gorgeous sunny evening, so we went down to the local reservoir where lots of sailing and windsurfing takes place. The light was beautiful as the sun was going down, so here are just a few of the shots I got.


Saturday, 20 June 2009

Made an exhibition of myself!

I've been taking a photography course since September and have learnt so much during that time. I went from someone who mostly fired in automode, to now being able to play around with loads of effects and styles. The culmination of the course was an exhibition put on by all the students in the class. Everyone chose a topic or theme and spent the weeks running up to the exhibition getting their shots, printing them, mounting them, booking the venue and sending out publicity.

Despite the hard work of organising an event like this, there was a real sense of satisfaction last night at the private viewing, when looking around the packed room with people all gazing attentively at our photos. The exhibition is open to the public today and tomorrow and I was really shocked at how many members of the public we had in, just wanting to have a look.

All in all a pretty good experience. The only downer is it now means that my course is coming to an end, so I need to find something else to keep me focused on my photography. I'm not sure whether to take another class or join a camera club, but there will definitely be more to come.






My display!






And just because.... here are a few from the garden this week:



























Friday, 12 June 2009

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb













Totally worth the wait, I picked my first crop of rhubarb this evening.

The three crowns I bought a couple of years ago had been doing really badly in the border I originally put them in, so last autumn I moved them up to the veg patch and they've really thrived now.
I was very patient and didn't pick them for the first season, but now they're really going strong, I pulled my first stalks and the results were just mouth-watering.

So now, the decision is left... crumble, fool or simply sprinkled with sugar? Delicious!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

LeMMMmmon drizzle cake

I'm taking part in a monthly baking challenge for an online community, and this month one of the recipes is Jamie's Lemon Drizzle Cake. I really fancied this this afternoon, so I decided I'd get cracking on the challenge sooner rather than later.

I was really impressed with this recipe. I love anything with lemon in it anyway, so I was probably always going to be on to a winner with this cake, but still, it was so easy and made a really light, fluffy cake. I'm not the best baker in the world, and considering this was my first attempt at making it and I didn't balls-up, it's got to be an easy recipe.

I couldn't find poppy seeds anywhere round here, so missed those out, and just upped the quantities of ground almonds slightly to compensate. The icing didn't turn out quite like the pictures of Jamie's cake, but I did think the quantity of icing sugar seemed quite excessive for just a drizzle over the top. Besides, I prefer mine with a nice, thick dollop of icing over it!


It didn't stay like this for long!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

It's all ripening up nicely

With all this lovely weather, the fruit and veg are coming along beautifully, so here come a few more pictures.

I saw these on a couple of websites and just had to grow them. Yes, that's right, chillis that look like willies - what more could a girl want?! I can't wait for my willy chillis to start growing, but right now, my seedlings look like this:


I've got them on the windowsill in my bedroom at the moment, but not got a clue where they'll go when they outgrow their current position.

Outside, the strawberries are now getting beautifully ripe. The first berry was eaten today (before the dog discovered it!) but it looks like there are plenty more to come.


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Bank Holiday Fun

Unusually, the sun was shining this Bank Holiday, which was handy as we headed up to the in-laws for a family barbeque. Lots of pictures of Martyn's nephews and niece - I love the way that children don't have any self-consciousness in front of the camera, so I could just snap snap snap away!

This is Martyn's nephew and godson, Luke, giving his best smile.

And this is his niece, Evie, who is just such a gorgeous, photogenic little girl. She is a really feisty, indpendent lady, which I think you can see in this picture!


I processed these pictures with a sepia conversion and Coffeeshop's rounded corners action.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Spring in the garden

Things are finally starting to make some progress in the garden... the flowers are blooming and the first buds of fruit are appearing.

The strawberries are in pots on the patio. Unfortunately, this means that as soon as the dog works out they are edible, they won't be seen for dust, so I'm biding my time before moving them up somewhere high and inaccessible!

The raspberry canes I planted when we first moved in did nothing last summer, so I was really excited when I saw the first buds of fruit starting to appear. I think I'll be putting some netting up to stop the birds pinching the lovely juicy berries.

The other berries that are getting going are the blackberries. Lots of pretty blossom, which should bode well for some plump, juicy fruit.


The rhubarb was another thing that I planted when we first moved. It was in the side border and for the first two years, was rather pathetic. After being told that rhubarb was one thing that would 'go mad', I was a little disappointed. So, earlier on in the year, I moved it to the veg patch where the soil was a little better and it has really thrived. I can't wait to start picking and making some crumble.

Finally, my spuds! I grew some first earlies last year, which were so good. I had a great crop and they were so fresh and tasty that potatoes were a must grow for this year. So far, they're not doing too badly. The thing I loved last year, was popping up the garden and digging up a few for that evening's dinner. There's nothing better than potatoes fresh from the ground.