Our creative retreat and a spot of photography

This weekend the Ty Siriol clan went to the Forest of Dean for a couple of days. We have been talking about having a creative retreat where we get away from technology, or at least the internet, for a few days and focus on relaxing and letting the creative juices flow. It’s supposed to be a way for us to re-energise after a long week and get us back on track.

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Creative retreat and photography

Hubby took some books about living in France with him and the mandatory bottle of vin rouge! Missy took a book that she’s reading and her tablet, which has word on it so that she could write the plot for the next part of her novel. She’s only 9 but she’s already written 6 chapters of this book. She wants to be an author and even has her own blog! She also took her bike to get out in the forest and explore.

Missy climbing in the trees

Hubby in the forest

I took a mosaic by numbers craft kit that I’m working on. It’s quite therapeutic but I do need something like music in the background as well to get my brain to calm down. It’s one of the kits I have in the shop if you’d like to take a look. I thought I’d see what they were like to do as I’ve never seen them in the UK before. I’ll do another post on that once I’ve done a bit more of it though.

Me and Missy in the forest

I also took my camera with me to try out a bit more photography. Now I’m not even close to being an expert on this but I am having fun learning the different functions and trying to get the shot ‘just right’. All the photography of my ceramics is done by my own hand. Just thought I’d point that out. 😉

I used to think my photos were pretty good on my compact camera but a year ago I finally gave in and bought a DSLR camera that is now my baby. I can’t believe the difference in the quality of the photos I take now. I rarely have to edit the light balance or anything and editing is pretty much down to cropping and resizing the file size. The clarity and crispness is amazing, even in my hands. I’ve been pretty much using the auto mode for the last year but I’m starting to experiment with the manual mode more and more to get different effects. I understand how it works but I have to work out how to do it on the camera. I should really take a look at the manual but where’s the fun in that!

I'm not so good at the shots lying down or kneeling but I can look up!

I’m not so good at the shots lying down or kneeling but I can look up!

I originally only had the 18-50 VR lens for the camera and that was perfect for taking photos of my ceramics and close up macro shots. I recently also bought the 55-300 VR lens so that I could take more distance shots and photos that have more of a fade out in the background. I’m using the Nikon D3200 and am getting on great with it. I’ve never used another DLSR to know how it compares but I can’t see me using another until this one dies.

I started to take more of an interest in photography when I was in the wheelchair as it was something I could do in the chair while the family went for a walk or bike ride. I don’t really mind being left behind too much as I never was an active type anyway. 🙂 I’m happy to sit quietly and watch the wildlife, and hopefully get some photos of them as well. Here’s a squirrel who was happy to oblige me. He played around near me for ages. It’s a shame I didn’t have any food for him.

Photography of a squirrel

I also had a play with the macro settings as these are important for me to learn with my shop photography. I think I might be getting into this and it’s an excuse to get out and about that doesn’t require a lot of walking.

Butterflies and thistle photography

Butterflies and thistle

We really did have a lovely weekend away from it all. I don’t think I’ve seen Missy ride her bike so much! I do think that we’ve all come back feeling more refreshed and energised. Creative retreats are something that we want to do more of. It’s so easy to pop a paint pallet and pad with some brushes into a bag to enjoy painting in the peaceful surroundings. I’ve taken crochet with me many a time! It is a first for a mosaic though!

We’ll be off to West Wales for a week soon and I’ll be packing a big bag full of crafty or hobby related items for us. It rains a lot in Wales, what can I say! I don’t know if we’ll manage another weekend before then or not but I hope to have many more in the future.

I have to say that I didn’t coin the phrase ‘Creative retreat’ but sadly I can’t remember where I saw it. If it was you then please leave your link in the comments. I think it’s a wonderful idea that many of us could benefit from. Have you done it? Where do you like to go? And what hobbies or crafts do you do? I’d love to hear and maybe copy a couple. *Cheeky grin*

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    • Cathy says:

      It’s something that I think we’ll do more often, especially now that the weather is improving. It was so good to get away from technology for a while. I’d recommend it to anyone. Cath xx

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