Exploring the Cotswolds in a day, or two.

Last weekend we took Friday off and drove to The Cotswolds for a quick mini holiday.

I think we’ve all been cooped up for too long and a trip away somewhere different was really needed. We came back Saturday evening and had all day to relax on Sunday so it really was just a night away but still lovely.

My main excitement was the thoughts of all the pretty houses and scenery of the Cotswolds, but also camping in a really interesting campsite I found online, The Wildings. There didn’t seem to be many places that weren’t booked up or that we could stay for just one night, luckily this gorgeous site was available at short notice, and had enough mod cons to not feel like it was hard work!

The Wildings is a small & friendly, family run campsite that is nestled in the wildflowers and trees of their farm and it is the perfect escape for those who want to unwind and explore a pretty bit of Cotswolds countryside.

Our bed for the night was Meadowsweet, a spacious pod, fully insulated with lighting and power to recharge the batteries (my own and the camera!) It was much bigger than expected and was on its own little patch in the wildflowers away from everyone elses pods. We had also booked a firepit to cook over, you can’t go camping without the campfire!!

The minute I walked onto the site I felt relaxed, I can only recommend you visit for yourself.

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.

Eeyore

Before we checked in, our first stop in the Cotswolds was the small medieval town of Burford, we wandered around for an hour before deciding we were hungry and then it was off to Bibury. Lunch in the Swan Hotel was very welcome after a long drive so we sat in the sunshine and had a lovely meal sat outside in the sunny courtyard. It’s easy to see why William Morris called Bibury ‘The most beautiful village in England’ with it’s famously picturesque cottages of Arlington Row, built in 1380 and owned by the National Trust. It was such a sunny day, we spent a couple of hours walking around the village, had some much needed icecream and wandered up Awkward Hill.

Pretty cottages at Arlington Row, Bibury

Bourton on the Water was next, a mile from the campsite and often referred to as the Venice of the Cotswolds. This pretty village is situated on the river Windrush, with tiny bridges arching over the river it’s the perfect place to sit and cool off under the trees while people watching. We had a look around the model village before checking in to The Wildings to set up our beds. To finish off our day we drove to the Slaughters, the lower and upper villages are just pure prettiness! I loved the cottage gardens in full bloom and being near the river, the old water mill looked interesting but was unfortunately closed as it was getting quite late. I took loads of photos!

The next day we managed to fit in a bit more exploring. Breakfast in Bourton watching the world go by followed by escaping the Dragonfly Maze, definitely worth checking out if you can (it has a fun twist.) There is a bird park in the village too which we didn’t visit but apparantly a long time ago when my dad moved overseas they took in his African Grey parrot Phillip.

We survived the maze and headed to Winchcomb for lunch and a walk around the grounds of Sudeley Castle, taking in the pretty surroundings and taking more photos. In Stow on the Wold we had cake and coffees in Lucys Tea Room, which was a bit of a shambles due to the social distancing rules, the town had some interesting shops and we visited the famous doors of St Edwards Church which have been said to have inspired Tolkein in the lord of the Rings.

Trying to fit loads of things in we decided to find the Cotswolds lavender fields in Snowshill, it looked really busy because it was such a lovely day so we just parked up away from the tourists and enjoyed the view of pretty purple fields before a long drive home.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about all the pretty places, there’s so much to see and do. It was a lovely mini weekend away with loads of walking and sunshine and I can’t wait to go back!

{All photos taken with my 24-70 lens. }

Rain, rain, go away!

Rainy days won’t ruin your wedding day!

It’s been planned for a year and today’s the big day, but it’s raining, what do you do? Don’t panic for a start, hopefully you have thought about this, we do have somewhat unpredictable English weather.

I think I’ve been very lucky with the weddings I’ve photographed, I can only think of two weddings where the weather was slightly annoying! I’ve shot weddings all year round so have had to deal with Winter light and it being dark as early as the ceremony finishing to windy days where hair and flowers were hard to hold down. Every wedding day is different.

One of these I will share a few images from, it rained aaaaallll day. But did it stop everyone having the best day ever? Nope.

Weather wise, use props like pretty umbrellas to your advantage, shelter under trees, bring alternate footwear, wear cosy coverups for outdoors. If it really is awful you can always dress up again and do a couples shoot later on in the year.

There are some things you can do to help your photographer at your wedding. Think about the time of year and your timeline for the day, it is a fact that in the winter it will be dark earlier. You could have your ceremony a bit earlier than normal so you have time for outdoor portraits. Maybe you find a photographer that is confident shooting in low light, using strobes, or have your portraits indoors which may give a different look to them.

Summer weddings bring their own difficulties, two big things I can remind you about is the harsh summer light outside and heat, makeup melting, we don’t want that!! Your images will look better if you are photographed under some kind of shaded light, under trees or in a garden. This ties in with your wedding timeline again, if you want some pretty golden hour portraits you need to expect to go back outside maybe during dinner or just before your first dance to get those gorgeous warm sunflarey summer portraits. Talk to your photographer, they will help you, but most of all just enjoy your day as it comes.

Behind the scenes with Bear Industries

Mark creates bespoke lamps and other lovely pieces for your home from junk. To you and I it may be scrap but rusty bits of engine, tank parts, even an old jet wing have been transformed by Mark into some fantastic objects that would look stunning in anyone’s home. This is the art of Bear Industries. He is a real life Womble!

I was at the warehouse to record some behind the scenes action while he was getting filmed for a new TV show that will be airing on Quest very soon. The crew were recording the big reveal of his newest work to his client, all very cloak & dagger. He really hadn’t seen it so the reaction on TV will be real.

If you’ve read my blog before you might normally know me as lucytakesphotos, wedding/portrait/boudoir photographer from Peterborough who likes music, but on this day I was doing a different kind of photography I also enjoy, creeping around watching how things work and getting those documentary style behind the scenes shots.

I do enjoy being a wedding photographer, especially here around Cambridgeshire, the countryside and venues are really lovely, I’m looking forward to next year when hopefully all our lives will be back to some kind of normal after this terrible Covid-19 disaster.

There are always projects that spark my creativity a bit more than weddings though and working with other artists, musicians and creatives really is something I enjoy and want to do alot more of!

I remember my partner coming home after rehearsal one day telling me I’d like Marks house because he has loads of cool stuff and Lego, they play in a couple of bands together and often I’d go to the gigs and take photos, but I didn’t know about the amazing lamps he made. So when Mark asked me if I’d help him get some decent product photography for his new website I jumped at the chance.

If you’d like to see more of Bear Industries I’ve done a lot of product photography for Marks new website which is looking fab so please do click through and have a look at his work.

BUY NOW @ Bear Industries Online Shop

Always supporting the smaller and local businesses.

Wedding Day Timelines: Planning thoughts.

While we are in Covid lockdown I know sadly so many of you have had to postpone your wedding date, so our planning chats will probably be next year.

I thought it would be helpful to share with you a few things I go through with my couples to get organised for the big day. You can search online for planning tips and advice but nothing beats your photographer having experience of a real wedding day.

I have to say as well, you can plan and plan but sometimes things will still over run or get forgotten about on the day so please don’t feel like you’ve failed or that it’s a disaster… it’s unnecessary drama!!

Your wedding photographer/videographer will most likely be with you throughout the whole day, so they will act as a timekeeper, a shoulder to cry on sometimes and a general mood regulator!! We take on anything (well, I do anyway) to keep the day running as smoothly as possible and keeping our brides happy so we get those lovely naturally ‘glowy’ photos, stress shows and we know it! (Don’t stress that you’ll feel stressed!)

You're getting married!

Buy this wedding card on Etsy

So, looking at the timeline and planning your photos is really helpful, basically the more we plan our timeline for the day, the more we can fit in.

If you know exactly which sets of family photos you’d like(or not)we can get them done and out of the way first, they can all go off for drinks and then there’s solo time for the couple portraits.

I love having this time with my couples because it’s a bit of a relief for them to be out of the limelight for an hour and relax together as a married pair for the first time. Some people really hate having to pose and have photos so getting away from everyone and not having them watching is good too!

Family Group photos can look like this:

  • Couple with bride’s parents
  • Couple with bride’s parents and siblings
  • Couple with bride’s parents, siblings and grandparents
  • Bride with parents
  • Bride with each parent individually
  • Couple with both sets of parents
  • Couple with groom’s parents
  • Couple with groom’s parents and siblings
  • Couple with groom’s parents, siblings, and grandparents
  • Groom with parents
  • Groom with each parent individually

The list can go on and on…

Even if you gave each grouping two minutes, you will be spending 30-40 mins here, then you have the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen to shoot with the couple as well so add another 15-20mins on top. A lot of people feel like they have to have the family shots but don’t want to spend a lot of time doing them and also underestimate how long this really takes, especially on the day when everyone is excitable, it can be like herding cats!

I do suggest that we do some of these shots in the morning if possible. (Bride with mum, Bride with dad, Bride with siblings etc) These informal family shots before the wedding would be my choice of photo, they always seem to be more relaxed and look less stuffy to me.

If I have time or the Groom is nearby I can usually go over to where he’s getting ready and shoot the boys earlier as well. Having a best man or head bridesmaid on hand with my family shot list is something I always have, they normally know everyone and I give them the job of shouting at people so I can concentrate on taking the photos!

Another factor we have to think about is dinner, the bell normally goes at 5pm for dinner and couples want to enjoy the reception too and mingle with friends before the sit down part of the evening, somehow we have to fit everything in!

If you place alot of importance on your photos then try and work your timeline to fit, chat to your venue, tell them what you need, push dinner out later on.

Time of year can be a major factor as well, sunset and golden hour photos are lovely but in the summertime may sometimes be in the middle of dinner, are you prepared for your wedding photographer to drag you outside?! Later on in the year it will get dark earlier, this is sometimes forgotten about.

My main advice is talk to everyone involved, be on the same page, plan ahead for the images you really want, these things don’t happen without your involvement in the planning process, it is your wedding after all!

H&S, a happy day.

I don’t want to say much today, normally I’d blog some portraits and other details from a wedding, but these happy faces in the next 3 photos show everything really. It was a beautiful, sunny day for Helen & Simon and I’m delighted I could be there to capture their day.

Gretton Charity Sportive 2018

Gretton’s first ever cycling sportive for all the family was on 9th June 2018.
115 cyclists chose a 30 or 64 mile route around the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside before returning to Gretton for a well needed Barbecue and entertainment from the fabulous Top Banana Band. It was a great day out for all the family whilst also raising funds for The Travers Foundation to continue their great work.

I was on hand to take some cycling photos for the organisers, click on the image below to take you to the gallery! The file numbers go up in order of time taken from my position at Deenethorpe, ~10 miles in and then at the finish line. High resolution digital copies of the photos are available to buy for £6 each or 2 for £10. 50% of all the photo sales will go to The Travers Foundation.

Gretton Charity Sportive

See below for ordering information.

Ordering is easy, fill in the contact form below with the file number you require and I will be in touch. 

The Rutland CiCLE Tour- Rutland Sportive ’18

rutland sportive '18

As you probably know, I’m not a pro sports photographer, that’s fine; it’s not my ‘thing’ but it’s something that interests me when I see some of the amazing sports photography out there, a friend of mine James Mitchell does really great triathlon photography, you can scroll through Instagram and see some lovely travel and outdoor work but I do not have the correct equipment or the time & dedication that some photographers might have for their speciality. But I love photography and will try anything! 

Saying that, a couple of weekends ago I had the chance to go out into the beautiful Rutland countryside on another hot day and take some cycling photos at one of my favourite spots, the Harringworth Viaduct.

The Rutland CiCLE Tour by ITP Events had three routes, 62miles, 78 & 105! Ouch! Based from The Giant store at Rutland Water, the routes are carefully planned to take in many of the picturesque hills and little villages in the area. The first person over the finish line on the short route did it in 3hrs 42mins, sore bums all round!

Rutland CiCLE Tour short route, 2018.

I was tracking the short route because my partner was cycling with his friend, they are in training for the Prudential RideLondon 100 which is happening on the 29th July, and also raising funds for The MS Society (get in touch if you’d like to donate and I will send on the JustGiving page). 

It was so relaxing to drive around the pretty villages in the sunshine and see where I ended up. I got a bit sunburnt looking for the perfect photo spot so next time (and there will be more cycling photo opportunities soon)  I will definitely be more careful!! I really enjoyed the challenge, I admire the hard work the cyclists put in and learnt a few camera/sunshine/speed/composition lessons along the way!!

I’m quite happy with the photos I took, I got a few smiles from the cyclists and it was definitely a learning curve! Have a look and let me know what you think!

RutlandLTP-10

RutlandLTP-9 RutlandLTP-8

RutlandLTP-7RutlandLTP-6RutlandLTP-5RutlandLTP3
RutlandLTP2

RutlandLTP1 Over the finish line!

Marching in March in April for St George

I’m English. I was born in Great Yarmouth *cough*cough* years ago, I’m English and I’m part of this great island that is Great Britain. I’m proud of that fact but despite my allegiance to my home country I’ve never properly celebrated England’s patron Saint day, St George’s day. The Irish have their day of national pride, St Patrick’s day, which is celebrated internationally and I feel sometimes St George’s day is overlooked. When I caught wind that a Fenland market town close by was hosting a festival to mark the occasion I grabbed my camera and went down to have a look.

March high street was closed for the day and the traffic was replaced with plenty of stalls and the hustle and bustle of festival goers from early on in the morning. The festival kicked off with a short, quarter mile parade from the March Fountain at the top of the high street to the market place where the festivities were formally opened by the March town Mayor, Kim French. The parade was packed full of colour and character with the Mayor and the drums and bugles of the 1220 Air Cadet Squadron leading the way who were closely followed by a scooter gang. Amongst the other paraders were a rather awesome looking VW camper, the Bourne Borderers, representatives of the March museum riding vintage bicycles, the ferocious dragon and of course St George himself. Bringing up the rear of the parade with their unique sound of New Orleans jazz were the East Angles Brass Band; a super funky and fantastically groovy way to end the parade!

It seemed the entirety of March was out to celebrate St George or perhaps they were out to enjoy one of the hottest days of the year so far. The sun was out in force all day with highs of 22°C which made it a joy to be outside, the public nudity from some of the men I could have done without!

There were two live music stages, one in the market place and the other just outside Georges. I stuck to the stage by Georges for most of the day in part due to the music and in part due to the aroma from the hog roast Georges had laid on. The Georges stage featured a set from The Expletives (punk rock covers) and a couple of sets each from East Angles Brass Band (New Orleans inspired brass band) and Scooted & Booted (ska covers).  The Expletives went down a treat with the locals who were rocking and singing along, encouraged by the front man who knew how to fire up a crowd. The front man certainly looked the part with his John Lydon style bleached hair spikes. The band were tight, full of energy and nailed the genre perfectly.

As the last distorted chord and cymbal clash rang out from the stage the East Angles Brass Band came into life up behind me. They’d set up in the middle of the road outside Georges and immediately started drawing a crowd around them as they got into the swing of things with their funky, brassy soul. Their set featured some originals penned by the trumpeter in the band and some pop/rock covers that had been given an East Angles Brass Band. The covers included, I Wish (Stevie Wonder), I Believe in a Thing Called Love (The Darkness) and Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes). Check them out on Facebook to find out more and listen to some videos of them in action. East Angles Brass Band

Unfortunately I am just one woman and so I couldn’t see or capture everything this excellent event had to offer but here’s a selection of my favourite things I saw.

 

 

The Glorious One Eyed Cats-Live

So, according to the One Eyed Cats website they are a …

High-octane rock & roll, cool blues, jumping rhythm, driving rock or a hair-down sing-along, the Cats always deliver.  And deliver incredibly well.

Their large line up is suited to their huge sound, with a fiery brass section, rocking guitar and rolling piano.

Their music is always lively, passionate and entertaining.  They always aim to lift the roof off, rock socks off and leave everybody fully entertained – having had a good laugh, boogie and night.

All with immense enthusiasm, fine humour and unquestionable musicianship.

As cheesy as it might sound, I have to agree!

I was at a gig last week in the Brewery Tap, Peterborough, a very popular and well established pub, Thai restaurant and micro brewery, if you’ve never been before then make sure you go because if you like a quiet pub there’s a spot in a corner for you (they have good beer) and if you like it louder then there’s loads of different DJ nights, soul music, bands, a Prince tribute night is coming soon and tomorrow they have The Peterborough Big Band

  So back to the gig, It was a Thursday of a bank holiday weekend no less, so it was bound to not be a normal Thursday night! The crowd had had food, were drinking after work, any band would do well but the Cats brought a little something different tonight, they have many years of gigging experience behind them and they turned up, plugged in and rocked the place! The Cats filled the dance floor and by end of the night left everyone wanting more. All the band are brilliant musicians, you definitely wont see any backing tracks here, they seemed to enjoy the night as much as the crowd so if you want a good night out go find the Cats and bring your friends! 

Here’s a few photos.

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International Womens’ Day 2018

Happy International Womens Day!

 

When women support each other, incredible things happen. 

Let’s not forget that, I know March 8th is about celebrating strong women, equality and many other things but this should be on our minds all the time not just one day!

A girl should be two things: who and what she wants. 

Behind every successful woman is herself. 

You can tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building up one another instead of tearing each other down. 

The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.

So here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.