This weeks project 52 picture was taken on Tuesday, Mr T was waiting for an appointment and playing at the blackboard as usual but he drew such a good train picture! I was so proud of him, he even put a face on it to make it like Thomas
For this week’s Project 52, I have done one picture each of all the boys. Instead of capturing them busy playing or in a candid shot, I have asked them to stay still and look at the camera, but they still manage to show their personality in the photos. For three photos of three brothers all next to pretty much plain cream background they have all ended up with quite different photos.
The only one who actually stays still and looks at the camera is Mr Z. The reason I did ask them to do that is for this week’s task in the Love All Blogs Better Photo Project – to focus on the eyes.
By In The Playroom in Islam, Photos 37 Comments Tags: first purpose built mosque in the uk, islam in britain, mosques that are listed buildings, shah jahan mosque, the oldest mosque in the uk, woking mosque
I’ve been meaning to post these pictures for a while, so if you are wondering why it looks so much warmer and sunnier – that would be because they were taken in August! Nearby to us in Woking, we have the first purpose built mosque in the Uk – Shah Jahan Mosque. It was built in 1889 by Dr Wilheim Leitner. It is interesting to have such a historical mosque nearby to us, and it’s not just a historical place to visit. As well as being the first mosque in the UK, it’s still a fully used mosque for all the daily prayers. You can read about the history of it on Wikipedia if you wanted to know a bit more. It is a Sunni mosque now (we are Sunni like most Muslims in the UK) but had a brief Ahmadiyya period and a few years of being un-used.
Sometimes when we have some relatives over visiting the UK my husband takes them to this mosque since it is the oldest mosque in the UK and it is a lot more beautiful and impressively built than a lot of the mosques we normally go to. The architecture is really nice . The below pictures are from a visit with the kids to the mosque over the summer, and are taken by my husband (catbaba)
Last week I started taking part in a couple of new linkys (see here to find out more about them if you missed it).
For Project 52, here is my chosen picture of Mr R. I wasn’t totally happy with any of my photos this week but I picked it because of the facial express. It’s not a typical smiley picture, but that look is very Mr R at the moment – slightly defiant and cheeky. That’s actually my toast he has there and he is looking stern because he does not want to give it back! He is a typical two year old at the moment, wanting to test out his boundaries. I find all his little expressions so cute, so it’s nice to have a range of pictures not just the very smiley ones because all these sides of their personality are what make them who they are!
By In The Playroom in Autism & Special Needs, Photos 16 Comments Tags: Autism & Special Needs, ideas to take photos of siblings, sibling relationships and autism, taking photos of siblings together, using balloons in photographs
It’s not always easy to get sibling photos of my boys together, as they are always busy moving around and full of action. Sometimes instead of the lovely portrait I had in mind, I will end up with just 3 bodies blurring across the screen! When I do manage to capture a decent picture of them all together, it quickly becomes one of my favourites as it’s so rare to get one that is just right. If you’ve read the blog before, you may remember me talking about my favourite photo which for a long time was my entire blog header. Because it captured all three of them so well it’s remained as my favourite for quite a while, it was taken over a year ago now.
This year, there is a new monthly family portraits photo linky with the theme of siblings. I love this theme! Having my children all close together in age, siblings have pretty much always been an important and constant presence in their lives. Mr Z as the oldest doesn’t remember the time before he had his brother, as he was 17 months old when he arrived. Then there is another 19 months between Mr T and Mr R.
Siblings were the best thing about my childhood (I’m an identical twin, plus have two older brothers), and I hope my boys will feel the same about each other as they grow up. They are very close, despite of course the usual sibling bickering and disputes over the most desirable trains and hot wheels cars!
For this months project, I decided to focus just on my younger two boys as I realised I have pictures of the boys all together, pictures of my eldest two before the youngest was born, pictures of my eldest holding my youngest when he was born, and not really so many of just the youngest two together.
These two (Mr T and Mr R) are very close and are pretty similar in all their interests. Mr T is 4 and Mr R is 2. They both have some difficulties and delays with their speech so they just play together wordlessly. Despite not being able to talk to each other, they really enjoy each others company (of course other than when they are smacking each other over the head, in the way that toddler brothers do!!) When we go out, these two sit together side by side in their buggy. Because of Mr T’s additional needs, in many ways he is a lot more like a 2 year old than a 4 year old and it seems like these two are almost like twins without being twins.
To take their pictures together, I decided to put them both into our ball pit (it’s actually a travel cot with plenty of ball bit balls added. I’ve re-purposed it as none of them would ever sleep in it!!) with a load of balloons added for extra fun.
My logic was they will be in a confined space so it will be easy to get good pics of them together. Well it wasn’t quite as easy as I had hoped as they were quite over excitable and naturally more interested in jumping around, squealing and chucking balls than smiling at the camera – and who can blame them! So, I did get my quota of blurred and unusable pics as always but here are a few of the slightly clearer ones.
In some of the photos, you can’t always see them both so well, as one is hiding:
Mostly it was Mr T actually, as he got quite absorbed in the light up sensory balls we have in there
The balloons I used for the photographs are from The Letter Room and are a sample that I was sent a while back. We have a set spelling out Party Fun
I got quite lucky that both Mr T and Mr R’s initials are found within those words! So I wanted to use them for props to take a solo portrait for each of them too. Quite lucky Mr Z was at school while we were doing this as there is no Z in “Party Fun”
His is a little blurry. It’s because they were just having too much fun with the balloons!
The balloons are 1.50 per letter and you can order any combination you would like. They do make handy fun props for photos as well as of course being great to decorate for parties, or for general fun and games. If your kids need to burn off some energy and excitement, jumping around in a pile of balloons and coloured balls does tend to do the trick!
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I hope none of you will mind but I will be combining both of these projects into the one post. One of my aims for 2014 is to work on improving my photography; to take more photos and take better photos. I love photography but have never been great. Even with a good camera I don’t seem to get the right shot, whereas my husband can take brilliant photos, even on an iPhone! I’m sure with a bit of dedication and further practise, I will eventually get there and take shots I can be proud of.
So, to introduce these projects in case there is any one who is not familiar with them.
There is also a Project365 involving taking a photo for every day but I felt that may be ambitious for me at the moment. I actually do take photos every day anyway, it’s just whether there would be enough good ones and whether it would be too much to keep on top of. So if I succeed in Project52 this year, I will be trying my luck with Project365 next year!
Here is my photo for this week – 52:1
Mr Z and his Arabic work book. As I mentioned in my aims , as well as photography, one of my family aims was to work more on the children’s Arabic so there he is making a good start on his handwriting practise.
The Better Photo Project is a linky that has started with a tip each week to help us to work on our photos. This week is all about natural light, something I definitely need to work on with my photos. I am often finding that my photos are too dark, and I am meaning to buy some more lighting to help with this indoors in the evening – but of course natural light would be a much better solution where possible! Food photography is something I do struggle with and am hoping to improve, so I thought I would take this chance to compare a couple of shots lightingwise – both are taking indoors but one is during the day time near to the window and the other is in the evening.
Okay, so by no means perfect but the natural light coming in from the window has kept the shot quite light and allowed the colours to show up brightly. (This photo is from my #Ryvita31Ways post)
Despite everything I have tried to do with this photo, it is just not looking great and the lighting has a lot to answer for with it (Okay, it probably would have been better on a plain white plate too as it clashes with the background, I know I know…) These stuffed peppers actually looked nice in real life (and tasted nice too) but the picture is looking quite grainy and the vibrant colours of the peppers are not doing themselves justice. On the plus side though I think this hijab makes quite a nice background and I will be using it again on another occasion, in better light and with a more suitable plate!
My problem is that a lot of the time when I cook, it is evening so the natural light is all gone! Lighting definitely makes a noticeable difference though (As my blogging friends have kept telling me over the year when I post rubbish photos!) so I really do need to think about ways to work around this. Hopefully you will see some improvements over the year as I give myself a kick to stop taking pictures of food in low light!
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The last year has gone so quickly as usual! But here are some of our memories and updates over the year – Our Year in Review 2013
Mr R has changed so much over the year, from 1.5 to 2.5 years old he has got a lot more boisterous and able to join in with his brothers’ games. He has started to communicate a lot more over the year and like both his brothers before him he has now developed a total obsession for Thomas the Tank Engine. He’s still as cheeky and funny as cute as ever.
The change in Mr T has been the most noticeable over the last year. Since last January, Mr T started in nursery and started in speech therapy. The previous year had been a year of assessments, waiting, and finally diagnosis for Mr T (for those not familiar with our family he has ASD) so in comparison this year has been so good for him and I have seen how much early intervention does pay off. At the end of this year Mr T has turned 4 years and in the last couple of months he has gone from being non verbal into now being able to tell us things. His speech may not be clear or easy for other people to understand, but it is there and he is communicating! It is brilliant and he is so much calmer too, as he understands more of everything. He has always been a very loving and happy boy and that has not changed over the year. I’m really proud of the progress he is making!
The change in Mr Z over the year is less noticeable, as he has gone from 4.5 to 5.5 years, but still like the others he has changed and is growing up more all the time. Mr Z is less interested in the younger toys and games now, and likes to think he is grown up. His reading and writing have come on so much over the past year and he has got more interested in maths and numbers than ever. I always think he has not changed much as I don’t see it day to day, but looking back at photos his round baby face is going a little bit more every year! Mr Z being the oldest has always been a little companion for me around the house, he loves a good chat and he is very funny and good company. I hope he doesn’t grow out of this too soon, wanting to spend time with his mum!
Our adventures and travels this year
We had plenty of fun days out and trips this year. The highlight probably being our trip to Wales, as that was the furthest the kids have been so far and it was a lot of fun for all of us. Camping in a wigwam was a first for all of us! We changed our car this year too, into a Toyota Previa (massive car!!) so that has made it more comfortable to travel around rather than squashing everyone into our old Honda.
Some of the fun places we visited last year are:
- The LookOut Centre Bracknell (April)
- Peppa Pig World (May)
- Dover (May)
- Legoland (June – Mr Z’s Birthday!)
- Paradise Wildlife Park (June)
- Brighton (June)
- Wales (August)
- Greenwood Forest Park (August)
- Corfe Castle (August)
- Dunstable Downs (September)
- Hebden Bridge (October)
- Fireworks at Chipperfield (November)
- London Zoo (November)
- Sledging at the Snow Centre for the first time (December)
- Kew Gardens (December)
- Thomasland (December – Mr T’s Birthday!)
I’m looking forward to hopefully lots more fun days out together in the coming year – can’t wait to see where we end up!
This year has been the first year of running this blog, which was actually started in January although I did not write the first post til February and I feel like I really got going more after I went self hosted in May. It’s a lovely end to my first year as this month is my first month getting in to the Top 100 of the Tots100, at #87. At the start of the year, I made the blog but was not sure whether I would keep it up or not. I’m glad I have as it’s brought me together with lots of other bloggers who have become good friends. It’s also given me many opportunities for my family to go to events, and test out toys and products which I am really grateful for. I’ve loved having the chance to run so many competitions for my readers too. Last year I was there entering all the advent competitions on the blogs and websites and this year I have run my own. It’s a lot of work but lovely to be able to email people and tell them that they have won prizes! I am quite proud of how fast I have managed to grow this blog from nothing into now having plenty of readers and comments every day and I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to come and visit the blog.
Finally, here’s one picture a month for the last year, to see how much everyone has grown!
Some of the months I don’t have a good pic of them all together (see February!!) although I do have thousands of pics throughout the year! This year I’m hoping to take part in the 52 Challenge to take one good photo every week throughout the year, to document the year. I did start and fail with 365 at some point during the last year, but I feel 52 will be more realistic for me and also starting in a new calender year will help me to feel organised with it.
What have been your highlights of the year? Have you had any major changes? Let me know in the comments and here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2014 for everyone!
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It’s always been important to me to take plenty of pictures of the children, especially on special days or occasions to help preserve the memories. From one year to the next, they grow so much! Although I take a lot of pictures, I do wish my photography skills were much better at times, and I have had a look at some better camera ranges hoping that perhaps a better piece of kit may give me better results.
I have been wondering about a DSLR but the cost and high file size makes me hesitate a bit. The high performance cameras from Sony’s Cyber-Shot range look like a good option though with wider lenses to capture more light, and a powerful zoom. When upgrading my camera, I will also want to look for a camera with that can take a sharp crisp photo even in low light. A wide lens will help with this to allow in plenty of light even when taking a photo with a fast shutterspeed, this should hopefully help to capture my kids who do not stay still for so long!
My husband was telling me about his friends camera which is from this Sony Cyber-Shot high performance range. They used it on a long exposure to take pictures at night time and it let in so much light that the picture came out brilliantly despite the dark and difficult conditions, so he was really impressed with it so I’m sure he would be happy with this choice. It would certainly make life easier when trying to capture some of the moments which I find challenging like getting great shots of Christmas lights after dark.
I always find the changing seasons give some great opportunities for photographing the kids, and Winter is no exception – with Christmas giving the perfect opportunity. I love all the twinkly lights and reds and golds. If it snows, that also gives the chance to get some fantastic shots with a real sense of fun! Sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s not just pictures of the children or family that will preserve the memories, it’s also worth while taking photos of the food or decorations as these can result in some really effective pictures and will still bring back plenty of memories in the future!
A camera is an ideal gift at Christmas too, not just for grown ups but even for children who are starting to show an interest in photography. Mr Z was given a camera in the summer and he felt so grown up taking pictures himself and being in charge of his own camera. It’s also great to see the pictures and find out what parts of the day your child has seen it most important to focus on! Once he gets a little bigger, one of the portable and powerful range from Sony Cyber-Shot would be ideal for Mr Z as its a lightweight camera which is not too bulky for him, but is still a very good camera at 18.2 megapixels.
Below are some great tips on how to take better photos at Christmas. I found them really useful myself. I had always wondered how to create bokeh in photographs, I think they look gorgeous! So sparkly and effective!
Courtesy of Sony
I will definitely be trying to put some of these into action and improve my photos over the festive season – what about you?
If you have any more tips to add, please let me know in the comments!
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You Frame It is a new canvas company which has just been launched, offering photo canvases, photo montage or text montage canvases.
We were sent one canvas for review and one reader will have the chance to win one 30 X 20 Canvas for themselves, worth £100!
With You Frame It, your printed canvas is delivered to you and you then assemble it at home. This is a more eco friendly method and also enables the prices to be kept lower. The assembly is very simple and took us only a few minutes.
How to assemble the You Frame It canvas:
- Lay the canvas stretched out flat on the floor, face down.
- The package comes with 4 metal pieces.
- Peel off the sticker backing from the 4 metal pieces to reveal a sticky surface. Stick the metal pieces right on the very edges of the canvas, making sure that they are centred on every side.
- You the fold in the corners to finish off the canvas.
- Use the 4 black pieces shown above to firmly secure the four edges together at the corners.
Here’s our finished canvas!
This is what the back should look like:
To hang the canvas on the wall, there is a hook included. This can be slotted onto the top metal piece of the canvas frame then you simply hang it on the wall making sure it that is straight in the centre of the canvas.
The quality of the canvas is very good with all the details of the photo showing up really well and very clearly. It’s best to use a high resolution picture so that it will look more effective when on such a large sized canvas.
For a second, third and fourth chance to win canvases, why not join the Youframeit canvas giveaway on their Facebook page. To enter this competition all you have to do is Like their page and post a photo to their Facebook wall! There will be three canvas prizes in this competition, two for the most liked photos and a third bonus prize to be picked by Youframeit!
A couple of photos from earlier in the weekend:
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