Part II: Landscape Speaks + The Travelling Mustard Dress project | Personal Self-portraiture {#P52Radness} | Cambridgeshire Wedding and Family photographer

I mentioned before how I am part of a global community of female photographers (#P52radness) who participate in a weekly self-portrait project. It’s become a project that is dear to my heart, simply because everybody in the group has their own battles in getting themselves in front of the camera and yet is so supportive of others who do get in the frame. It is that kindness and encouragement that helps us overcome our fear and also see past the perception we have of ourselves. Something that I would happily give my female clients if they feel anxious about themselves during their photoshoots. I have also written about some of those feelings and shared the reasons of the importance to be in your own pictures, not just for creating a physical memory for your loved ones but also for yourself, in a blog article here

Last month, the P52radness group had a theme called ‘Let the landscape speak’. The idea of this theme is that the environment or our surroundings take up the centre stage of our images, as opposed to our own portraits dominating the picture. This can be appealing if you find having your pictures taken intimidating, or you just want to have the beauty of the landscape tell the story whilst being in the photo. It's conducive to making an evironmental portrait and helps to set the context of the person in the photo, which I will always try to make a few for my clients using my wide-angle lens. Before I begin a photoshoot, I like to ask each of my clients to pick a location that can be home or outdoors, which are familiar to you and perhaps one of your favourite places to spend time in. We spend most of that time in that location on your photoshoot. By being in familiar surroundings this would put you at ease to be yourself and allow me to capture beautiful pictures that will truly portray you and your personality. 

For my self-portraits below, I wore a yellow summer maxi dress from New Look that a friend of mine got for a travelling dress ('Travelling Mustard') project. I am doing this project along with nearly forty other British and Irish female photographers. Each photographer takes a self-portrait in the same yellow mustard dress. I did a collaboration with a couple of these women recently, which I will share later on or you can see them on the Travelling Mustard blog. My own self-portraits were taken using the technique of freelensing with the help of my husband, who acted as a stand-in tripod when it was a windy day on the beach during our family trip to Old Hunstanton Cliffs.

Black and white portrait of Diana Hagues photographer at Hunstan
Colour portrait of Diana Hagues photographer in yellow dress at
Stepping onto the sand at Hunstanton beach in yellow dress and b
Black and white portrait of Cambridgeshire photographer Diana Ha
Self portrait of Cambridgeshire Photographer Diana Hagues at Hun
Self portrait of Cambridgeshire Photographer Diana Hagues with h
Dancing portrait of Cambridgeshire Photographer Diana Hagues in
British Travelling dress project - artist Diana Hagues in yellow
Toes on the beach next to a razor shell
Travelling mustard dress - Self portraiture - photographer Diana

Part I: Family beach photos at Old Hunstanton cliffs | Free 52 project {June} personal work | Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Family photographer

It was my oldest son’s birthday a few weeks ago and, every year without fail, we go to the beach around this time to celebrate his birthday. I even had my maternity beach photoshoot at Wells-next-the-Sea, when I was seven months pregnant with him. So, the Norfolk coast has a special place in our hearts and where we have many fond family memories being on the beach.

With it’s beautiful coastline and long stretches of sandy beaches, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing which beach to go to in north and west Norfolk. The dog-friendly beaches also makes it convenient for us to bring our Scottie dog, Barney, onto the beach all year round. We decided to go to Old Hunstanton as we had hoped it would be quieter than being by the seaside promenade at Hunstanton beach. The beach at Old Hunstanton was not quite deserted as we had thought it would be, even though it was a weekday when we went because of a school inset day. Nevertheless, we got to spend several hours on the beach, playing in the sea, climbing the rocks around Hunstanton chalk cliffs, kite-flying and even finding a jellyfish too.

It was a very good day and we had made a ton of memories by the end of our trip, as well as taken hundreds of pictures to remember this day. 

My big camera was at the Nikon service centre having some repair, so I only had my D3300 that I normally use for freelensing to capture some family photographs on the beach. With the exception of a small handful of images at the end here, the rest were taken by freelensing with the lens held close but detached from the camera body. I have had friends advise me not to do this as there is a danger that grains of sand can get inside and damage the camera, especially if it was windy on the beach too (which it was!). I have been freelensing for over a year now, so I can be adept at getting my shot and quickly putting my lens back onto the camera when I want to steal a quick photo. Although it is by no means foolproof, so only attempt this at your own risk! The results, however, are worth it in my opinion and I was very happy to have made some beautiful beach photos with a dreamy blur effect that you get in freelensing.

I have a few more freelensed pictures from our beach trip to share, but I will save those for another post. Here are the images for the first part to our family beach photo session. When you have finished, go next to my talented friend Lauren Jensen's post to see her freelensing images in the month of June.

Free 52 project: May | Personal work | Cambridgeshire creative photography and documentary photographer

Spring by Nicola Davis 

Spring is the busiest season. Plants and animals are waking up after their winter rest and there's so much to do - flowers to grow, eggs to lay, babies to feed. Everywhere you look there's something happening.

I love this verse from one of my children's favourite books, A First Book Of Nature, written by children's author and biologist, Nicola Davis. Spring has, indeed, been a busy season this year. I have never experienced such a quick turnaround in climate in such a short period (see April's Free 52 entry). The weather did not properly warm up until May. This finally brought an abundance of growth both out in nature and on the farms. I love seeing the trees come into leaf. The colour green makes me think of harmony, renewal, life, freshness, as well as nature.

Outdoor adventures

My family and I have been spending more time outside walking in the woods and visiting nature reserves. It is so lovely to spend time out in the countryside again. My young boys love to explore and play in these natural areas, and each time we visit I always see a remarkable growth in them since the last time we visited, maybe six months ago or more before the winter. 

Open Garden Day at Island Hall, Godmanchester

At the end of May, we also went to the open garden weekend at Island Hall in Godmanchester. It is one of 62 gardens in Cambridgeshire that opens its gardens to the public a few times a year, as part of the National Garden Scheme to help raise funds for charities. Island Hall is also a private house with beautiful landscaped garden and a wild area. It is open as a wedding venue for couples looking to get married....And if you are searching for a natural wedding photographer with a creative and candid approach, I have started to offer wedding photography packages if you like to enquire further details.

Woman sitting on bench in front of Island Hall, Godmanchester
Two boys playing on the boat by the river
Children in a boat by the river
Boys playing by the river in the garden of Island Hall, Godmanch
Boy walking in front of gate at Island Hall garden, Huntingdon

Cambridgeshire Bluebell Woods and West Lodge Farm Park

I completely missed sharing my April freelensed photos with my freelensing blog circle last month, so sharing a few here that fits in with the Spring theme, including our first visit to West Lodge Farm Park in Northamptonshire, to see the new baby animals.

Child feeding goats
Sheep freelensed photo
Piglets sleeping
Child in a Wildlife Trust bluebell woodland
Bluebells freelensed photo
Boy and his sticks

Go now to Beth's post at Bergamot & Clove and follow around our freelensing blog circle to see what all the other photographers have been up to last month.