About

I will endeavour to be as un-self absorbed as possible in this section…

I am Liz and I live in Sheffield, England with my boyfriend/partner who I have been with for over 11 years.

We recently bought our first home over 4 years ago now (not so recent, then… Oh how time flies!) and I have been battling with the garden ever since.
That is an injustice to the previous owners who landscaped the entire thing, it wasn’t in a bad shape, and perhaps I ought to have said I’ve been battling with the heavy clay, rocks, bricks and wood since!

Initially I studied Design and Visual Arts at Uni and specialised in Illustration, I also have various other design, art and photography qualifications; however after being at Uni, visiting working illustrators and becoming somewhat disillusioned I decided the industry wasn’t for me and instead decided to get a run of the mill job. After 4 years working it became very obvious that I couldn’t hack working in an office; this was quite a shock to me, as I’d always thought I was someone who could work to live rather than live to work… I began looking to take other courses and settled on Urban Design which would enable me to use my design background… Sadly my local Uni had recently stopped their Urban Design course due to the course leader leaving and not having the staff specialism to continue. Instead I took an Urban and Regional Planning MSc and aimed to specialise in Urban Design. This meant I would be a town planner with design skills – something which is lacking in the industry at the moment. My plans are to eventually move into Urban Design or perhaps be a planning consultant with design knowledge and to advise local authorities or developers on both design and the legal aspects of planning. Preferably I’d like to be involved with green planning; so that would mean wild flower planting, green roofs and such and using the work of Nigel Dunnett as an example.

As a hobby I enjoy photography and it takes up a lot of my spare time. Over the years my camera collection has steadily grown, from the very early days of digital cameras through to now…

Our first camera was an Olympus way back when, it must’ve been in 2001, I stuck with Olympus and actually still swear by them; if only they had more lenses and were easier to get hold of the dSLR’s then I would’ve gone for Olympus. However after progressing through the digital compacts to the top of the range models which allowed for experimentation with apertures and such which brought back my college days of working with SLR’s and dark rooms; things I learnt slowly began to return.

I also have a small collection of film cameras, mainly polaroids and plastic toy cameras such as Holga which is quite well known for being rubbish; but it’s this poor quality that has its fans as various camera techniques can be used which are otherwise all but lost in the digital world.

Taken using a Holga:

When I moved to a dSLR originally I started with a Canon 350D and kit lens, it was playing with this kit lens and using photoshop, that I discovered my love for small apertures or ‘bokeh’. I then decided that the next lens I would buy would be a Canon 100mm macro lens which subsequently really opened my eyes. Until you use one yourself you never quite understand just exactly how all the backgrounds are blurred; and I appreciate that some people think I am using photoediting programs to produce the smooth backgrounds when in fact it’s the lens at work.

I then upgraded to the Canon 50D and my lens collection had also slowly increased to also include a telephoto lens – which I then managed to break – and a 50mm macro lens.

My most significant upgrade was initially intended to be to a 60D so I could move into filming short movies too, however instead I went to the Canon 7D and also got a Canon 70-300mm L lens. I do also have a tripod and remote, but they rarely ever get used – only usually during snow or to take shots at night and occasionally for bird photos (but since I broke my zoom, I rarely take bird photos).

I’ve since purchased a Canon 24-70mm 2.8L II USM lens, it was a toss-up between the 16-35mm and 24-70mm; I opted for the latter because I also have the 70-300mm lens and didn’t want a ‘gap’. Also, I’m no landscape photographer and felt I had less need for 16mm, especially as the main use of the lens will be in the garden I felt it would be wasted. Of course, I could also say to myself that perhaps if I had it, I’d be more inclined to try landscape photography… Do I not like it, because I don’t have the lens for the job or because simply, I’m not interested?? I know I don’t like HDR shots and it seems to be a common technique in landscape photography.

I also feel it’s worth mentioning that I have a few camera apps on my phone that I like to play around with and quite often post on a community called ‘instagram’ which is also an app – I think only for iphone, but I’m not certain; try it out yourself if you can!

Here’s one of Sheffield city centre:

21 thoughts on “About

  1. Having left a comment on your last post, to naively ask you what camera you use, I have now read your “about” page. I know I MUST get a macro lens now and accept that it will take me many more years to be as good as you. I will continue to be impressed and inspired. :-) x

    • Hi Ronnie,

      No problem ;)
      I mentioned on my other reply that you need not spend lots and lots on a macro lens – tbh the 100mm is pretty much the highest you can go to which is around £300-500. There’s a super-duper macro that gets so close you can see every detail on a spider’s eye – but that might be a little too much for you??!! Lol, I’d love to get that close but I’m unsure it’s the type of photography I want to do. One day, maybe.

  2. Hi, loving your images, I need a new camera myself, and to learn how to use it!

    I’m in Sheffield too and use to live near Meersbrook Park many moons ago – I now live in Norfolk Heritage Park!

    Loving the blog!

    • Hi,

      Thanks for visiting; I don’t live too far away from Norfolk Park, although I’ve never been before! Instead I like to make my way back to Meersbrook or Graves :)

  3. I stumbled upon your blog today, and I wanted to let you know how much I admire your photos. You really do produce some amazing images and I am now looking forward for more posts from you.

  4. Hi,
    Where should I start? Well, I love your pictures and your description of how you got on the path you are now taking. I also thought at one time that i could work a job and just make money to live, but it didn’t work for me either. I can honestly say I am an author, since I have had my first short story published by a Canadian publisher. You live in Engliand and that is nice. Even though I am an American, I am living in Germany. I have started following your blog and look forward to your next publications. I am not a photographer, but I am a writer and blogger. You can read my work at http://garciaandwalkon.com, a wordpress blog or on Typepad -www.patgarciaschaack.com. Just as you love photography and Urban Design, I love writing. I have six blogs and love each one of them, and writing short stories and novels are also included.
    Once again I enjoyed what I saw and look forward to seeing more.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

  5. Hi Liz – I started my WordPress blog about 6 months ago and am beginning to get a bit more adventurous, not only with developing my own blog, but in following links to other blogs, from which I am gaining much pleasure. I arrived at yours today (through gardening links) and am of course very impressed with your pictures and how you use them in your blog – but can you tell me how you get that ‘montage’ effect, as in The Garden (2009)? I really struggled with my layout at first and now just keep it simple, but I would love to be able to display them as you have done. Hope you don’t mind me picking your brains!
    Regards, Cathy

    • Hi,

      For the photo montages I use a photograph editing programme – adobe Photoshop – but I know there are other web-based programmes these days that will allow you to do it online; such as picassa, photobucket and various others. I just don’t know to what extent these website allow you to modify images.

        • Hi,

          Yes the images are inserted into my posts as a montage which has been created in adobe photoshop by cropping my own photos and inserting them into a template I have set up – if you click on them they will all open larger, as one image. You could then save an image to your computer and still be able to see it as a photomontage (right click, save as)
          I would imagine it is possible to place the images within a blog in a similar manner, but it would also require knowledge of writing your own html code to set the width of each image so that it fits into the width of your blog.
          So for example, say your blog is 900 pixels width, you could code each image to be 400 pixels width and sit next to each other in what’s known as a ‘table’ and still allow some border. But this is getting technical and understandably is very difficult for anyone who does not know any html coding at all.

          If you are truly interested in this, then have a search on the net for good beginnershtml coding books which will teach you the basics without needing to be an expert. Perhaps also looking into using photo editing programmes may be helpful – it’s all up to you really and it is a lot to take in. This is just stuff I’ve learnt over the years, having used photoshop since I was a young teen it was a natural progression to move into coding and creating my own websites.

  6. I just found your blog through Reader. Not having a garden of my own, I thought it would be both entertaining and instructive to follow you and your garden throughout the year.

  7. I wandered over to this page and loved reading about your background, Liz! No wonder your photography and blog are so beautiful, with your training and of course plenty of natural talent. It’s always refreshing to visit here. Good work, gardener! And photographer!

  8. Hi Liz thanks for sharing how youve got to where you are, its a fascinating career, your so talented. I also love your garden photography too, I am now waiting to buy the Canon 7D as Im after the 8 fps as I do more wildlife photography, you are obviously loving it by how amazing your images are.
    My favourite lens is the canon 100mm its perfect for me, despite now looking a bit battered after 4 years lol.
    Look forward to many more posts. x

  9. Nice Blog and pictures! I have a website and on it there is something called friend of the month award. All you have to do is say something thing about yourself and why you should be on there. The reason why you would be good on there is because you are one with the wilderness, if you are one with the garden.
    -MeganCheetah

  10. Hello Gwirrel’s Garden
    I’m one of your followers – The Geeky Gardener (www.thegeekygardener.com ) – and I’ve been so impressed with your blog that I’ve just nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award.
    Congratulations. It’s an award that bloggers give to other bloggers.
    If you want to find out more, here’s a blog about the award (http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com ), which outlines what you need to do if you choose to accept the award and how you go about nominating your own favourite blogs for the award in the future.
    So, congratulations again.
    The Geeky Gardener

  11. Lovely blog. The flowers are fantastic – I wish I had flowers, but with limited time I concentrate on veg and fruit – as are the gorgeous photographs. I have only just started taking photographs and have a lot to learn. Look forward to reading more of your blog.

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