Yippee! It's summer, and I'm off on my family hols in two days' time! So what better excuse to bring you a series of candid portraits and images from the beach that I think capture the essence of summer. Naturally, this being my Shoreham Blog, the location is Shoreham Beach; however, my aim was to create images that simply evoke the feeling of being on the beach - any beach - in summertime.
I designed my blog this week as I would an album, combining images to tell a story and portray emotion. There are absolutely no cheesy grins, in fact, not so much as a glance in my direction! Simply a very long lens and a preference for shooting into the sun with a wide aperture for backlighting and soft, sun-flared photographs.
We've been back in the UK a year now, and I have to say, I'm ready for this holiday! Whilst I have no regrets about our move back home, there is no doubt that life was a little easier in Florida. My husband's 10 minute drive to the office versus four hours a day city commuting for starters. Work-life balance generally. Finding the time and motivation to exercise. Barbecues and outdoor living for most of the year... I'm hoping to regain a bit of that lifestyle for two weeks on our campsite in France. I am so looking forward to simple things, like reading a book that isn't about photography, or about mastering facebook for business (never did finish that one!). And doing aqua aerobics classes actually sounds like fun! No, really!
Last time we went camping in France it rained solidly for two weeks. My memories are of taking three hours to erect our oversized and complicated tent (seemed like a great bargain when we purchased it), only to have some drunken yobs remove half the pegs at two o'clock one morning. Of becoming veritable card sharks, as we were holed up under canvas every evening with nothing else to do. Of drinking way too much red wine (OK, so that's one of the better memories). And of trawling French hypermarchés for a poor substitute for lost teddy (a ragged red fleece with a teddy head that had not left our daughter's side since birth).
In addition, the daughter - who looks so grown up in these images it's hard to believe - was only 14 months and not quite walking. The 'quite' is significant here - she wanted to be walking, and practiced at every opportunity, but her cute dumpy legs (also hard to believe) would fail her every couple of steps. Not on problem on a sandy beach in sunshine. But our campsite was a muddy quagmire. It was a messy business.
We went with friends who had children of similar ages. Our tents were just a few metres apart, and the plan was to sit outside them of an evening and share wine and adult conversation. Ha! We actually spent precisely no evenings together, sitting outside in torrential rain not being an option, and our littlest ones being too young for either couple to relocate to one another's tent.
We didn't go camping for a long time after that.
But now, when I look at the (very few) photos I took of that holiday, I see our chubby one year old proudly taking tentative steps in her shiny new yellow wellies with the red cherries. Then asleep in her travelcot, clutching 'other teddy' with her thumb in her mouth. And our three year old son up at the crack of dawn to splash in the puddles. He still remembers the inflatable crocodile that we used in the campsite pool on the one occasion it stopped raining. Maybe it wasn't all bad. Just very hard work.
I did think back to that holiday as we booked our campsite in France for this summer. For starters, we decided that glamping was the way to go. After our international move last summer, and a year spent re-establishing our kids and our careers in the UK, we want two weeks of easy. So we're going to a site with a ready made tent, and all the bells and whistles. Like a fridge (cold beer) and a games room ("see you later, kids"). And, for a better chance of good weather, we're headed as far south as it's possible to go before you hit Spain. All those American road trips have, if nothing else, produced kids who travel well.
So expect a bit of quiet on the Jenny Rutterford Photography front in August! I've been photographing avidly for my blog to keep more-or-less on track with my weekly posts. But shall avoid facebook like the plague (OK then, maybe just a link to my ongoing blog posts, if I can get internet connection). I think a complete rest is in order, so I can come back refreshed and at my creative best ready for the fantastic weddings and portrait sessions I've got lined up.
I hope you felt the warmth of the sun from my blog this week! And a rare appearance of the son - before he disappeared out to sea too far to photograph!
Do check in while I'm away for the colourful lifestyle and characters of Shoreham's houseboats. Now off to pack... see you later! Jenny x