I am a married stay at home father with two young daughters. I write and make videos about parenting, fatherhood, lifestyle, food, travel and mototring etc. Gestation and Lactation; the only two things men can't do as parents.
I fulfilled an ambition of mine this week. I paid a visit to Mayfield Lavender Farm on the London / Surrey border so I could practise my photography among the purple foliage of the lavender plants.
A cabbage butterfly rests on a lavender plant at Mayfield Lavender farm.
I am glad I went, although it has left me with a small problem. I fired off a huge number of images among the farm’s 25 acres of organically grown lavender and it’s going to take me quite a while to go through them all!
This picture shows a cabbage butterfly resting on a lavender plant. I like the contrasting colours, the details of the butterfly’s features and the tight focus.
The lavender attracted an impressive array of butterflies and bees. Some were most obliging and stayed very still for me and I will share the pictures when I’ve picked out the best ones.
I also took a number of pictures with my lensball (such as this one on my Instagram account). As it happens, I learned a valuable lesson. You need to be very careful using a lensball in the bright sunshine we’re presently experiencing in the UK.
It didn’t occour to me that a lensball would concentrate the light like a magnifying glass but from personal experience, I can tell you it does. I ended up dropping the ball more than once because it was beginning to burn my hand. Consider yourself warned if you also use a lensball!
I really enjoyed my visit and I plan to return during the summer holidays with Helen and Izzy. I think they’ll love running around among the lavender although I will definitely leave my camera at home so I can concentrate on having fun with them.
As I often do with my photography posts, I’m adding this one to the #MySundayPhoto linky. This is a fun, friendly linky for anyone who enjoys photography. Simply click on the badge below and it will take you to the Photalife.com blog where other bloggers will also have posted photographic imagery.
I woke up knowing I had a big day ahead of me. I was one of keynote speakers at the Genderation conference taking place at Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC). The aim of the event was to discuss a range of topics related to gender with an audience of Year 12 students. I was going to deliver a message, based on my experiences as a stay at home dad, that men are just as good at care-giving as women.
Taking part in a panel discussion at the BHASVIC Genderation conference. L-R rocket scientist Hollie Head, me, Jessica Woodfall of the No More Page 3 campaign, chairperson, male dancer and choreographer Joel O’Donoghue, and trans woman, photographer, newscaster and Labour party activist Sophie Cook.
I needed to arrive by 9am and the sat nav said this would be straightforward. Of course, the satnav doesn’t take account of family life when calculating routes. Having only moved house days previously, we’re still living in a state of chaos and I couldn’t find all my daughters’ school uniform.
When it had eventually been found and the kids were dressed, Helen decided it would be a good time to start making loom bands. She had to be persuaded to stop this before I could get both kids in the car and to the childminder who was kindly dropping them off at school for me.
Having navigated this chaos, I hit the M25 and it took me 30 minutes to drive two miles. This was an exceedingly unpromising start to what turned out to be a very inspiring and enjoyable day.
Yes, I arrived late. I was ushered straight on stage to deliver my keynote speech and I explained that loom bands had contributed to my late arrival. I felt this point was worth making so the students in the audience, and there were a lot of them, could see that I genuinely am the main carer for my two young daughters.
Keynote speech delivered, I was then to participate in a panel discussion. What an amazing panel it was.
Introducing the panel
When I was first asked to participate in this event, I simply had to accept. Over the years I’ve spoken to a number of different audiences but never to an audience of young adults.
I saw it as a great opportunity to fly the flag for male caregivers and stay at home dads to a young, receptive audience. What I hadn’t accounted for was the superb quality of the panel.
In addition to myself, there were two former BHASVIC students. Hollie Head is a female rocket scientist who spoke passionately about getting women and girls interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) not to mention her experiences as a gay woman. Joel O’Donoghue, meanwhile, had left BHASVIC to go into the arts and is now a dancer and choreographer.
Jessica Wodfall is a part of the No More Page 3 campaign and had more than a few things to say about the media and the way it portrays both women and men. The final panel member was Sophie Cook, a trans woman who has the most amazing background.
Formerly in the Royal Air Force, Sophie was born Steve but now lives as a woman. She is official photographer for AFC Bournemouth, a television host and was nearly elected as Labour MP for East Worthing and Shoreham in the last General Election (and would have been the first openly trans MP elected to Parliament).
Just a little terrifying
I really didn’t know what to expect from an audience of A-level students but I confess I was terrified. I personally found the questions to be very diverse and challenging.
We were asked whether biology accounted for gender inequality. We were asked whether we should focus on equality of opportunity instead of equality of outcome. If there’s going to be a topless female model on page three, shouldn’t there be a topless male in the same publication? What could teachers do to ensure they were not reinforcing unhealthy stereotypes? What role did religion have in reinforcing stereotypes?
Those are just a few examples of the questions we faced. They were all considered and forced us panel members to think.
A great opportunity
Participating in the Genderation conference was both a great opportunity and an honour. It was also a pleasure speaking to such an engaged and interested audience.
Asked to sum up and give my thoughts on what I’d like the students to take away, I said I’d like them to appreciate that men can be just as good at fulfilling caring roles as women. This could be as a father or carer or working in teaching or nursing etc.
Sophie Cook, meanwhile, was even more succinct. She simply said “respect everyone.” The final panel member to speak, it was a great note to finish on.
I’ve been doing the school run for several years. Dealing with my offspring at the end of the school day in this heatwave, however, is an entirely new experience. My kids are stumbling out of the classroom so hot and bothered that I am regularly breaking one of my own healthy-eating rules to cool them down.
The iced lolly: Axis of Evil or an acceptable way to cool down school kids in this heatwave?
There’s no question, Helen and Izzy are struggling with the heat. Little Izzy, my five-year-old daughter, is finding the heatwave the most difficult to deal with.
She flops out of school, red-faced and with a short-fuse. It’s partly what I call the post-school slump, but it’s mostly induced by the heat. While Izzy struggles the most, her big sister Helen isn’t that far behind.
This is where there’s a big difference between the rest of the family and I. While Mrs Adams, Helen and Izzy often wilt when the thermometer goes above 25˚c, I simply cannot get too hot.
My ideal temperature is somewhere between 30˚c and 40˚c. I love the heat and the present blast of sunny weather we’re getting in the UK is doing a huge amount to lift my spirits after that long, long, grey winter. As I say, I’ve been breaking one of my self-imposed healthy eating rules, although I’ve only been doing so to help the kids deal with the hot weather.
I dislike it when other parents give sweets out in the playground, so I don’t allow my kids to eat sweet things within the school grounds. In this heat, however, I’ve been taking iced-lollies to school, one for each of the kids. The moment they’re out of the class room, I thrust one into their hands and make for the school gate as quickly as possible.
I’m not going to tell you it’s a perfect solution. I do look at the labels and try and give them fruit-based items with a low (ish) sugar content. Even though they’re struggling with this heatwave, they want to spend every moment outside being active and so they are definitely working off the sugar.
It isn’t ideal, but it definitely helps. Aside from cooling the kids down and providing some hydration, they struggle to give me verbal abuse when pre-occupied with a lolly. Once they’ve finished their lolly, the grumpiness has generally passed.
I should really be giving the kids homemade lollies made from fruit and coconut water. Having just moved-house, we are still in a state of mild disorganisation so ensuring we have the correct fruits, coconut water and lolly molds is a bit beyond me right at this point in time. For now, I’m relying on shop-bought items, but this will change as we become more organised.
I also think this is a better option than giving in to their constant requests to buy lollies from the ice cream van that’s outside school most days. I did it once, and never again.
My mistake was to expect change having given the kids a £5 note and told them they could have a lolly each. How foolish was I? I should have known that 80ml of watered-down, frozen fruit juice would cost £2.50 per item. Send the kids into the supermarket with £5 and they’d come back with 16 lollies and they’d be change left over!
I am in no rush for this hot spell to end. I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Until it does, however, I shall be liberal with the iced lollies.
In these circumstances, I think it’s important us mums and dads share ideas. How are you cooling the kids down? Do you hose then down in the garden after school? Do you give then frozen drinks or are you also being liberal with the iced lollies? Whatever tricks you employ, Please do leave a comment below.
There are numerous signs that my children are getting older. Five-year-old Izzy no longer watches Paw Patrol and, nearing the end of her first year at school, has learned to read and write. Helen, who is nine, is spending more time with friends, has decided that I can be “embarrassing” and has developed an interest in make-up.
I have had a brief glimpse of my future. I will be driving the Dad Taxi lot, lot more in future.
A further sign that my kids are getting older presented itself on Saturday. It wasn’t a subtle little thing either, it sort-of came marauding into my life like Wildebeest charging across the African savannah.
For an entire day I played taxi driver. Yes, I was unquestionably Dad Taxi.
It was a complicated logistical feat as I had to drive to several different locations at different times. Sometimes I had to drive to the same location more than once.
This only happened because my kids are developing their own interests and friendships. They’re developing a life away from the family home and someone has to drive them around. That someone, it turns out, is me.
Here’s how my day went as Dad Taxi:
7am – The day got off to a glamorous start as I took a load of cardboard to the recycling bins. This may not sound like it has anything to do with my kids, but this was the one and only chance I had to go to the recycling centre because of what lay ahead of me for the rest of the day.
8am – Go and collect Helen from an overnight camping trip she’d been on and drop Mrs Adams off at her riding lesson before taking Helen home to spend some time with my mother-in-law.
10am – Collect Mrs Adams and return home (via both the supermarket and a friend’s house to drop off some curtains she is adjusting for us).
12.30pm – Take Izzy to a birthday party.
13.15pm – Leave party and return home to collect Helen to take her to a gymnastics lesson.
13.40pm – Drop Helen at gymnastics lesson. Return to Izzy’s party
14.45pm – Leave Izzy’s party with Izzy and return to Helen’s gymnastics lesson.
15.00pm – Leave gymnastics lesson with both children and return home. Mother in law remarks that all I’ve done all day is drive the car.
15.15pm – I sit down, open a beer and declare I’m not driving anywhere else today.
15.30pm – Helen declares she wants to buy some loom bands and asks if I will take her to the shops. I refuse and we order them online instead.
Okay, so Saturday was quite a ridiculous day. I’d never quite had a day like that.
Even so, I see myself having to do more and more of this. The kids are going to want taking to more and more places and Helen will want to go and meet up with friends and Izzy won’t be far behind her.
That’s in addition to the gymnastics competitions and other interests they have. I’m also realistic to the fact their requests for transport are going to come 24 hours a day, 365 days a year as they get older.
Needless to say, I’m going to do it. I’d feel much happier knowing I was driving my 17-year-old kids around at night and that they had a lift then think of them stuck in the middle of nowhere and unsure how they were going to get home.
Yes, Saturday was just the start. When they hit the teenage years things will become really interesting. I’m just hoping I can persuade Mrs Adams to share the transportation burden with me.
Have you got teenage kids? Do you spend your life ferrying them around? Do your weekends look like the Saturday I’ve just experienced? If so, leave a comment below and tell me how you handle it.
There I was, planning blog content for the next few weeks when I stumbled across this forgotten photograph in an obscure drive on my computer. It shows my eldest daughter Helen, taking a break from playing with some LEGO models to stare right at my camera lens.
Helen glances up at the camera while playing with LEGO models. This image was almost lost forever.
It’s an image I took a few weeks ago while playing around with my camera on a visit to some Woodland Trust land. I think there’s a lot of humour in the picture. It’s typical of Helen, looking up, trying to out-stare the camera lens! She can be a very strong willed individual and she clearly didn’t want to smile for the camera on this occasion.
As is often the way, I had planned to post a complete different image to the blog this week. Despite having just moved into our new house and being very busy unpacking boxes, I have managed to go on a couple of photo walks but I found the results of my efforts to be very disappointing.
The only image I took worth sharing was the selfie you’ll find below. I took this in the early morning light. I think the early morning provides some of the best lighting conditions for photography and while I didn’t expect much of this hurriedly-shot phone picture, I liked the atmosphere of the image (albeit slighty self-indulgent in nature!).
It’s also frighteningly realistic, showing me unwashed and with four day’s stubble on my face. This is not, I should add, how I usually present myself to the world, merely the way I looked after several days of unpacking, moving furniture and making numerous visits to the recycling centre!
Yes, it’s a gratuitous selfie, but I hope you’ll agree it’s a good one.
I will be adding this blog post to the #MySundayPhoto linky that’s hosted by the Photalife blog. I recommend clicking on the badge below so you can visit the linky yourself. You’ll find lots of different photographs from many different bloggers and I often get lost in it, admiring the pics people have taken.
During last year’s Christmas holidays, Mrs Adams and I had some casual discussions about moving house. We weren’t convinced that we were in a position to move, but family members and enthusiastic estate agents persuaded us otherwise.
Surrounded by boxes, looking a bit dishevelled and in desperate need of a beard trim. Yes, we have finally moved into our new house!
It’s been a long journey, but six months later we have moved into a new family home. It’s a journey I have charted on the blog, and what a journey it has been.
There’s no question, it’s been stressful. Our seller set a definite move date and we had to adhere to it.
As seems to be the way with an increasing number of house purchases, the exchange and completion dates were very close together. This led to complications booking a removal firm (as an aside, I simply have to say a big thanks to the guys from Fantastic Services who stepped in and helped with various aspects of the move at short notice. Expect more on the blog soon).
The move has also cost more than we expected. Although I had created a spreadsheet detailing all manner of projected costs, I hadn’t allowed for our first house purchase to fall through after we’d paid our mortgage lender to value the property.
Having debated whether to go for an older property with character or a modern property that would be easier to maintain, we went for the latter. What we hadn’t accounted for was the fact new properties seem to be designed to accommodate flat pack furniture. As a result, we’ve had to buy the kids new wardrobes because the solid, well built, perfectly serviceable items they did have wouldn’t fit up the staircase.
That spreadsheet I mentioned? Well, we’ve veered right off it.
There have also been some humourous moments. Take, for instance, the Story of the Sofas.
Having acquired a new, large sofa before leaving our old house, we wanted to get rid of the two, small, old leather sofas that we’d had for the previous decade. A local charity didn’t want them and so with some reluctance I listed them on a well-known selling site.
It looked like they weren’t going to sell but eventually someone offered me 1p. I wasn’t fussed by this, I simply needed the sofas gone so 1p was a definite improvement on paying to have them removed.
I was jubilant. I informed Mrs Adams that the sofas were definitely going to be rehoused.
The sale came to an end and it was only then I took a closer look at the buyer. He was based in Latin America.
The bid was genuine, but he hadn’t realised I was based in the UK. He seemed to want the sofas a great deal and asked me to look into shipping them across the Atlantic Ocean.
Needless to say, I wasn’t prepared to do that so had to refuse the sale. While this added to my ‘to do’ list, I couldn’t help laughing about the situation.
As for the new place, we’re still settling in. We had something like 66 boxes to unpack. I think we’ve managed to unpack about 40 of them so far. There’s more to do, but progress is visible every day.
Several days after moving in, all of the bedrooms have a full compliment of curtains. If there’s one thing that annoys me about moving house, it’s being in the moved-in-but-not-using-proper-curtains stage.
Having shared a bedroom for several years, Helen and Izzy each have their own rooms. Now they have their own spaces, we’re hoping they might keep their rooms tidier than the shared room they had in the old house. Yes, I appreciate this is possibly a little naïve, but the bickering that used to ensue when they were expected to work together to tidy their room was legendary.
The school run is also much easier from our new place. This is a major bonus as the school run from the old house drove me to distraction.
Although we’ve moved, I have to be honest and say it still hasn’t sunk in.
We’d lived in our old house for about nine years. That’s the longest I’ve been in one place as an adult and I don’t think I’d fully appreciated quite how settled I was there. Not, you understand, that we’ve moved far, but some social connections are, I fear, lost forever and that’s sad. I just hope I can quickly establish new connections.
There’s still more to do. We need to install bathroom cabinets and mirrors. We also need a further sort out as our new kitchen is much smaller than the one we left behind. I think we’re going to be giving away and recycling quite a bit of kitchenware.
I also have to completely re-arrange the garage. At the moment you can’t move in there and a lot of it simply needs placing on some shelving that is presently empty and waiting to be filled.
Not, you’ll understand that I’m complaining. I totally appreciate that we’ve very fortunate to have been able to move and that many people can’t afford to buy. I honestly don’t know what our kids will do. Family homes, I dislike the word property, it’s too impersonal, is just getting so expensive. Who knows, it may not be a realistic aspiration for future generations.
Enough of my half-baked philosophy. It’s still early days in our new house. I see a busy few weeks ahead but we’re in and we’re getting settled. As I sit here writing this, however, I simply wish I could find the power cable for my beard trimmer!
As a father and parent, I knew at some point my kids would arrange a party at home without my knowledge. Possibly at the age of 16 or 17 when they’re trusted with the house on their own for the first time. Well, my kids have done way better than this. I’ve just had to intervene to stop them organising a sleepover birthday party at the age of five and nine.
With Mrs Adams and I not having got around to organising Helen’s birthday party, she and her sister took maters into their own hands with hilarious results.
Yes, that’s right, they’d hatched a plan to have a load of friends around for a sleepover at the start of the summer holidays. While I’d heard mutterings about this birthday party, they’d gone much further than simply talking about it.
Helen, you see, had handwritten a load of invites stating date, time, address and listing a load of items participants were to bring such as a torch and sleeping bag. Oh, yes, and each invite featured my mobile number so people could RSVP.
Izzy, meanwhile, had persuaded someone at school the invites were genuine and managed to get them to put them in the kids’ school bags. The first I knew about this was when a kid came running up to me in the playground brandishing his party invite.
A few moments later, a kid I didn’t recognise strolled past. Clearly in receipt of an invite herself, she wished Helen a happy birthday.
Now this was embarrassing. I asked to see the first child’s invite and my mouth fell open, practically hitting the grey, warm asphalt of the playground.
It was very lovingly produced and as I’ve mentioned, went into great detail. I could see why no one would question its authenticity. To my astonishment, however, this party was going to start at about 3pm on Day One and wouldn’t finish until 10am the following day.
What’s worse (or more amusing, depending on your opinion) is that I can’t say for certain exactly who has received an invite. Oh, and there’s the small matter of goodness knows how many parents wondering what on Earth we’re doing hosting a sleepover party for reception-aged kids.
There is a little backstory here. Helen’s ninth birthday was a while ago. It happened to clash with a significant event and so we held a small celebration at the time with the promise of doing something bigger in the summer holidays.
Helen’s wish was to have a sleepover party. A few of her friends have had them and so we tentatively agreed to this request, thinking she could have two or three of her friends to stay over. Having only moved to a new house a few days ago (more about that on the blog in the very near future) we hadn’t got around to progressing the idea any further.
Helen had a list of friends to invite, but not wanting little sister to miss out on the fun, decided to invite a few of Izzy’s friends as well. As you can tell, they’ve been very efficient as getting the invites out!
What have I done to remedy the situation? I’ve done the only thing I could think of and hit the school’s Facebook page to make clear that no party will be taking place. Thankfully everyone’s seeing the funny side.
While all a bit awkward, I have to say I am impressed at my kids ingenuity and enthusiasm. Their organisational skills have also impressed me. Yeah, okay, I’ll admit it. I do also find the whole thing very funny.
It is also a bit of a wake-up call. In fairness to Helen, her birthday party needs organising. Having been stuck down the house moving rabbit hole for so long, it’s clear Mrs Adams and I need to get on and make it happen.
Nonetheless, I am bit worried. If they can do something like this while their ages are in single figures, imagine what the parties are going to be like when Helen and Izzy are teenagers.
Have you got a good party story to share? If so, please leave a comment below or track me down on social media where I can be found on most channels as @dadbloguk.
If I were to think of areas of my life where I’ve seen major advances in technology, checking a child’s temperature is not one that immediately springs to mind. Within my lifetime, however, things have changed hugely and a new product has entered this sphere: The Nurofen for Children FeverSmart.
Introducing the latest way to take your child’s temperature: the Nurofen for Children FeverSmart.
I remember being a child and my mother placing a glass thermometer full of mercury in my mouth. I would sit there, thermometer loosely held between my teeth, terrified of breaking the thing knowing the contents were toxic.
When my brothers were born several years later, their temperature was taken using a thin bit of plastic placed on the forehead. When my kids were born, we had progressed to using digital thermometers and we’ve worked through a variety of products that you place under the arm, in the ear or mouth.
The FeverSmart is different still. This Z-shaped monitor sticks to the body and using an app on your wireless device, gives you constant feedback as to your child’s temperature. It also issues alerts if their temperature increases above 38 degrees Celsius .
You should place the Nurfoen for Children FeverSmart under your arm…but that would have made for an awkward photograph! Here it is on my forearm and it’s help in place using a silicone adhesive pad.
That’s a brief introduction, so let me give you a little more detail. While anyone can use this item, it has been designed with infants in mind.
This explains the odd z-like shape. It’s extremely difficult to swallow anything of that shape and size (8cmx3.5cm). You stick the monitor underneath your child’s armpit using disposable silicone adhesive patches.
When not in use, you place the monitor in a small base unit that contains three triple AAA batteries. This keeps it constantly charged (keep this in mind, we’re going to revisit the base unit in a moment!).
Naturally, you have to download the Nurofen for Children FeverSmart app. Using this app, you can set up a profile for all your family members. Whenever you need to, you apply the monitor to your child, start a new ‘monitoring session’ on the app and you’ll get a live feed as it monitors your child’s temperature.
The FeverSmart app is very easy to use. It take several minutes to warm up, hence why my temperature started low and worked up to a healthy level.
The FeverSmart in action
Needless to say, I don’t have babies, but I do have two young daughters; Izzy aged five and Helen nine. I was given an introduction to the FeverSmart by the Nurofen team at an event in, of all places, Hamley’s toy store in London.
The team was very keen to stress the benefits of monitoring an infant’s temperature using a FeverSmart. I made the point that older children are aware of their health and may actually get some reassurance from knowing mum and dad are constantly monitoring their temperature.
A couple of days after the event in Hamley’s, my eldest daughter woke up and complained of stomach pains. She was clearly distressed and so we agreed to check her temperature using the FeverSmart.
The FeverSmart took a few minutes to warm up after being attached to her body. Once in place and warmed up, it worked very well and, sure enough, Helen was reassured knowing I was keeping an eye on her temperature.
I also learned something about the FeverSmart. The base unit I mentioned? It has to be kept within 1.5m of the child. It’s the base unit that communicates with your phone via Wi-Fi, not the orange monitor that’s attached to the body. Move it too far away and the signal drops so if you’re taking a child to the doctor etc. that base unit must come with you.
Luckily Helen’s temperature was within normal limits. She also recovered very quickly so there was no illness to worry about.
The base unit on the right must be kept within 1.5m of the child while in use.
Trial Number Two
While Helen was wearing the monitor, it fell off a couple of times. That said, she was being very active and I subsequently discovered that Nurofen recommends children wear a light layer of clothing when wearing the monitor. This, Nurofen claims, should help keep it in place.
I decided to give it a go myself. It was so unobtrusive I completely forgot I was wearing it. During my test, it did everything I expected and confirmed I was a healthy temperature.
I must also add the app has been very easy to use. It’s worth noting that the app stores your records so you can, if necessary, show them to your GP so they can see exactly what’s happened to you / your child’s temperature.
I could not fault the FeverSmart for ease of use or for the easy way it takes your child’s temperature. If you are using one, just remember that the base unit has to be kept close to the child for it to work properly.
I also thought the way the app keeps a record of your temperature to be very clever. In the correct circumstances those records could be very useful for a medical professional.
When in use, I would urge you to keep in mind the advice about wearing a light layer of clothing to ensure the monitor stays in place. I can’t imagine there would be any issues with a baby wearing the monitor underneath a babygro, but I would keep a close eye on older, more active children just to ensure it doesn’t fall off.
The FeverSmart is available from Nurofenforchildren.co.uk, Amazon and Boots and has a recommended retail price of £84.99. If you want to find out more, there’s loads of information online at the Nurofen for Children website. Alternatively follow the #FeverSmart or #NurofenForChildren hashtags on social media.
Readers of Dadbloguk are lucky! If you’d like to buy your own FeverSmart, simply follow the above link and use the discount code FEVERSMARTDadBlogUK30 to receive 30% off your product until 4 August, 2018.
I’m keeping the FeverSmart safe. The next time one of the children complains of being ill I would certainly use the monitor to gauge what their temperature was doing. It is a clever concept and while I think older children would be reassured knowing mum and dad were monitoring their temperature, I think it probably is best used with infants.
Disclosure and legal information: UK/NfC/0618/0045 Always read the instructions. This commissioned post was produced in association with Nurofen For Children.
It’s happened! After months and months of stress, we have at long last moved house. This was the week of the move and with exchange and completion taking place very close to each other, it’s been a busy time. I haven’t had an opportunity to get out with my camera and so this image is another one from my recent visit to Leith Hill.
A pollarded tree sitting on the edge of Leith Hill. Look behind the tree, however, and you can just make out the curvature of the Earth by following the landscape.
I spotted this heavily pollarded tree while I was at the top of Leith Tower. It was a real feature on the landscape and so I took a number of images of it and thought I’d flip it to black and white to see how it worked. I’ve had to amend the contrast slightly to make the clouds more prominent as I think they add to the atmosphere.
Once in black and white, I noticed something interesting about the landscape in the background. Look at the horizon closely and you’ll see I’ve unwittingly taken a photo that shows the curvature of the Earth. It’s very subtle and most prominent on the left hand side, but it is there.
Needless to say, my attention was on the tree, but I was delighted when I realised what Id done. It’s always great to take a photograph of one thing but then discover you’ve picked up another interesting feature as well.
What’s the most interesting thing you have taken a photograph of by accident? I’m sure you must have some good examples so do leave a comment below with your story.
This being a photography post, I will be adding it to the #MySundayphoto photographic linky hosted by the Photalife blog. I recommend clicking on the badge below and paying the linky a visit if you enjoy photography as you’ll some great examples form other bloggers.
Like most parents, I have a sizable archive of family photos and videos. The majority are stored digitally, and they chart most significant moments from Helen’s birth onwards.
Concentrate on the event, not your phone. Just because smart phones allow us to document every moment of our kids’ lives, doesn’t mean we should.
With the arrival of smart phones, it’s never been easier to plot every moment of your children’s life. I, for one, remain to be convinced this is a good thing.
That may sound like an odd thing for a blogger to say, especially a daddy blogger, but more than ever I see parents living their child’s life via the screens of their smart phone. It’s a slightly detached way of doing things. If you’re filming what your child is doing, you’re concentrating on what you’re recording, not the event itself.
I saw a classic example of this at sports day recently. I noticed that each time one particular child participated in an event, his dad went right to the front and recorded every single moment of his kids’ races.
I simply couldn’t figure out why he’d want to do that. Oh and there’s the small matter of this guy getting in the way of everyone else’s way.
Sure, a couple of snaps or 30 seconds of video footage is one thing. I think we could all be forgiven that, but for the entire event this kid will have seen his dad staring at his phone instead of watching the races.
It is, of course, unfair to single out one person. There were plenty of other people recording what was going on, even though they weren’t really supposed to be. It’s also something I see at gymnastics competitions, school plays at the park and so on.
Getting back to the matter in hand, my mind boggles at the amount of data it must use up when mums and dads record so much of their kids’ lives. Imagine recording every family gathering, school event and family day out. Anyone who does that must have weeks and weeks worth of video footage and I’d bet much of it is very dull.
I recall, many, many years ago, we went on a family holiday to Spain. My stepdad borrowed a friend’s video camera as he was considering buying one.
I was rather excited at this prospect but when we returned, I overheard him telling someone it hadn’t been worth it. I’ll paraphrase, but he said most of the footage had been incredibly boring and my hopes that we’d soon own a family video camera were dashed.
Do I record what my kids get up and take pictures of them? Of course I do, but I do it sparingly.
Just because technology enables you to record every single moment, doesn’t mean you should. In most instances, less is definitely more.
Where do you stand on this issue? Do you feel sad when you see mums and dads documenting every moment of their kids’ lives instead of living the experience? Maybe you think I’m wrong. Whatever your thoughts, feel free to comment below.