2018: My Favourite Photos 

My favourite photos, Relax Ya Self To Health

I’ve always enjoyed taking photos. It was part and parcel of the job when I started out as a reporter on a tiny local newspaper many moons ago, only back then we didn’t have fancy equipment like Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5S mirrorless camera and never needed to shoot video  as ‘online’ content didn’t even exist.

Oh, how times have changed! We now live in a world that is obsessed with taking and editing images. Instagram is awash with all sorts ranging from beautiful beach shots to pictures of pampered pets and I must confess to being the official holiday bore among my friends because I simply cannot put my camera down when we’re away.

I’m the annoying fool that’s lagging 10 minutes behind everyone else because I’ve spotted what I believe to be a stunning sunset capture or an unusual angle to shoot some palm trees and I’m the one perched on a razor sharp rock trying not to scream in pain because ‘it’ll be good content’.

I blame this blog, in a good way, for rediscovering my passion. Okay, I’m by no means an expert – my fail-safe method is to take 20 shots of the same scene and hope that one of them works, and don’t get me started on resizing images – but I’ve quickly realised that I love storytelling through pictures as well as words…so much so, I’m thinking about taking a photography course in 2019.

Scanning through my image bank to find a beautiful picture that perfectly illustrates the text then hitting the ‘featured image’ button and watching the entire page blossom is – for me anyway – the most satisfying part.

Who’d have thought that after working with words for almost 20 years?!

As it’s the end of 2018 and, as part of my quest to stress less, relax more and try and lead as ‘normal’ a life as I can with MCAS, I thought it’d be fun to round up my favourite photos from 2018 and the stories behind them.

 

PHOTO 1
The remains of many an old sugar mill can be found scattered around the Caribbean island of Antigua. This one is situated inside the grounds of the Hawksbill Hotel. It’s still in use – not as a mill – but as a gift shop. It took a while to get the shot – my poor mum was the patient guinea pig as I tried to work out the best angle (before asking her to replicate the snap) and it also started to rain but we got there in the end. (Told you I was annoying!)

PHOTO 2
I adore the ocean but rarely stay in accommodation that’s right on the beach. This time we splashed out…excuse the dreadful pun. Drifting off to sleep and waking up to the sound of the waves lapping against the shore was such a special treat. This was the view from my bungalow, give or take a few paces. You can see the sugar mill featured above in the background, too.

PHOTO 3
I rarely take selfies but this one happened accidentally earlier this year when I was fiddling with my phone. I was in Austria writing a piece for Top Sante magazine on the joy of learning how to ski over the age of 40. It was bitterly cold at -22C because the ‘Beast From the East’ had struck but still enormous fun.

PHOTO 4
… and this was the view of the magnificent Austrian Alps pEAking (sorry, I’ll stop with the puns now) above the clouds from the aircraft window.

PHOTO 5
Hands up…this isn’t my shot. It was taken on a Symphony of the Seas press trip by Nadia El Ferdaoussi who blogs at The Daily S’elf and whose Instagram feed is the thing of dreams. She captures moments beautifully. This wave was created by a surf simulator on board the cruise ship. Trust me, staying on isn’t as easy as it looks and my body was cramping after five minutes but it was such enormous fun.

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The calm before #stormkirk #pink

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PHOTO 6
I’m a terrible surfer but (pre-MCAS days) I’d always give it a go over at Freight’s Bay in Barbados. When this was taken, I was really suffering from my symptoms – Storm Kirk was on its way (atmospheric changes like this are a trigger for me) – but I managed a little smile for the camera before heading back to the hotel to rest. If you’re ever on the island, definitely check this place out – the views of the south coast are lovely and it’s such a tranquil location.

PHOTO 7
I’m a member of the National Trust and head out to houses, gardens and castles in the UK whenever I can. This moment was captured in October on a wonderfully sunny weekend over at Chiddingstone, one of the oldest villages in Kent. I love the reflection on the water. Our family has always been more interested in experiences and sport over things and we had a brilliant time celebrating my dad’s birthday. He has a very dry sense of humour so we spent most of the time in hysterics.

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I’m obsessed with the sea, surf, nature and this little guy ❤️ On my recent trip to Barbados, I was lucky enough to help a member of our hotel collect these hatchlings for the Barbados Sea Turtle Project. A couple of volunteers passed by to pick up approximately 150 weeny turtles. That night they were relocated to give them a better chance of survival. Apparently, the babies confuse hotel lights for the moonlight which prevents them heading out to sea 😔 But why #mysundayphoto this week? Well, I’ve spent much of the day working out ways to reduce my plastic consumption having been hugely inspired by @small_sustainable_steps , please do check out her page ❤️, and also since watching the astonishing BBC’s Drowning in Plastic documentary. I’ve always been an avid recycler, have never used cling film etc, etc but there’s heaps I could improve on. It’s time to reduce my plastic consumption, too. Today I visited an ethnic shop which sells lots of loose fruit and veg, and bought a shampoo bar for the first time in my life. I am also investigating reusable razors, plan to wear my glasses over contact lenses wherever poss and am currently researching water filters. Of course, there’s a long way to go but if we all contribute hopefully our marine life will ingest fewer plastic pieces in the future and we can make a difference.

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PHOTO 8
I’m hugely into wildlife, nature and adore Barbados (which inspired the name for this blog) so when I was given the chance to help one of the hotel workers collect up 150 baby turtles for the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, I jumped at the chance. Apparently, the hatchlings confuse the hotel lights for moonlight so instead of heading out to the sea where they should belong they venture inland. This one was relocated to another beach (along with the rest of his family) for a better chance of survival 🙂

PHOTO 9
I look at this shot on Dover Beach  – on the south coast of Barbados – and instantly relax. Funnily enough, this snap was taken just a few steps away from the sea turtle nest!

Do you have any top tips for taking photos? As an amateur snapper, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post with Panasonic. As always, all views are my own.

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