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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

LTWRL – Week 2 – The Story Behind the Picture

It’s Friday! That means it’s time for LTWRL Week 2! Head on over to the blog to see a whole host of delicious pictures from some very very amazing photographers. I really love this week’s selection: I can feel the change of season in them. Some of us are leaving summer behind for the cosiness and colours of autumn, others are reaching for spring after the dark of winter. Talking of dark… This is my contribution. More from my evening experimenting with night-time photography (there’s more about it here if you’re interested).

I knew I was going to pick something from that evening for this week’s post, but I was torn between these two sets. I kind of love them both. The top right one was an act of extreme bravery for Amélie. Do you see those big french windows behind her? That’s a busy restaurant. And that chair she’s sitting on belongs to the restaurant. Amélie is very much a rule-follower. So when I asked her to sit on the chair for a picture, I totally expected her to say “nonononono. No way. I’m not allowed to. I’m not eating at the restaurant. They’ll shout at me”. But she didn’t. She sat down in full view of everyone inside and I quickly took a single picture (also a little afraid we’d be told off to be honest – where could she possibly get it from I wonder?!). Then she jumped up and we were off, both of us walking away as quickly as we could, nervously holding hands and laughing. We’re silly. I know. As we hurried away, I glanced down at the screen on the back of my camera and whooped! I really didn’t expect to see this picture: it was way better than what I thought I could have got and that made me happy. Photography makes me happy. I love taking well planned, carefully executed images. But what could be better than this: just a lucky shot. I didn’t have time to plan or test. I just had to hit the shutter and hope for the best. I know it’s not prefect. But it’s good enough to encapsulate that moment with Amélie and so it’s more than good enough for me.

I should be honest though, although I loved the picture on my camera screen, I also knew I was going to want to play with it a little. With so many artificial light sources, the white balance was icky (that’s a technical term you know). And the picture was slightly dark. Heck, why don’t I just show you?

The before and after. All tweaks done in Lightroom. Do you want to see the other one too? You do realise this is a bit like getting naked for me, don’t you? Exposing just how bad my pictures are before I sprinkle the magic dust. Oh well, here we go again:Do you see how Amélie’s legs are lit in this picture? That’s a car driving past with it’s headlights on. If I’d been faster, I’d have got the light on her face and it would have been fantastic. But I wasn’t. So there. And then there are the pictures that I didn’t pick for LTWRL. Or, to be precise, that Tracy and Diyosa did’t pick. Ha! I’m evil. I really couldn’t make my mind up so I sent both sets to them and let them choose. I think they made the right decision but there is still something I really love about the ones of Amélie running down the side-street. Maybe it’s the pools of lights. Maybe it’s the tininess of Amélie in this big world. Maybe its the moon right in the middle of the picture on the left that then mysteriously disappears from the picture on the right. Maybe it’s how, when I asked Amélie if she would run into the light, she was off, without a moment’s hesitation – holding her Mr Giraffe tightly, as always, for company and protection. She loves Mr Giraffe. Have a browse through my pictures from my last few months and you’ll notice he’s in most of them. If he’s not in them, believe me, he’s not far off. He’ll be just out of shot. They are only ever apart when she’s at school.

So anyway, that was week 2. I’ve got something stonking cute in store for week 3. Watch this space!

21 February 2014 - 7:45 PM JC - Great shots! I especially love the ones you didn't choose to post in LTWRL. Props to both of you for stepping outside your comfort zone, if only briefly. :)

21 February 2014 - 8:11 PM Ingrid - Naked is good :) I am really loving this week's additions. This is a wonderful example of how a little tweak can go a long way when there are so many lighting factors involved. I love her love of her giraffe..the expression on her face ..and well her!

21 February 2014 - 10:32 PM Tracy - I love reading these, love the backstories. I shall try to do this on my blog as well. Without speaking, Diyosa and I both chose the same diptychs. They are both great, but we both gravitated towards the same one. Your edits are perfect.

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