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Trying something new.

August 15, 2011

I’ve always been a little curious about this apparently new flavour of cakes and biscuits in shops recently – Lavender. I’ve always seen lavender as the sweet smelling plant we have in our garden, never as a baking ingredient. So yesterday I finally plucked up the courage to try my very own Lavender Cupcakes.

© Lou

The recipe.

225g/8oz unsalted butter

225g/8oz self- raising flour

225g/8oz caster sugar

4 large eggs

2-3 tablespoons lavender flowers

2 drops vanilla essence

 

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 18°C /350°F/Gas 4. Add the flour and lavender and beat with an electric whisk to grind the flowers a little. Sift the mixture into a mixing bowl, and then discard the pieces of flower left in the sieve.
  2.  Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla essence.
  3. Alternately add small amounts of the flour and eggs, beating the mixture well before adding the next. Once all ingredients are together and the mixture is light and fluffy, spoon it into cupcake cases and place in the oven for around 15- 20 minutes (or until cooked through).
  4. Once cooked, allow to cool and add frosting/icing of your choice.

I chose a simple butter cream frosting for my cupcakes as I wanted to keep the cake’s light flavour.

© Lou

I really need to work on my icing abilities.

Anyways, aesthetics aside, I really love the result. The lavender adds a subtle flavour to the cupcakes, and they smell wonderful! Who knew such a simple addition to a cupcake mix could enhance it even more. They’ve gone down a treat with my parents, and they couldn’t believe what the added ingredient was. I realise I’m late in joining the lavender party, I only wish I’d tried them before!

P.S

© Lou

With some of my left over mix I made some Easter egg cupcakes after spotting these last week.

They didn’t turn out perfect but they were certainly encouraging. Plenty of time to practice before Easter though.

Driven to do Better

July 13, 2011

You wont be surprised to learn that I love photography, choosing to do a photography degree probably gave it away. Therefore you wont be astonished  to hear that while in London last week I took a trip to the Getty Images Gallery which is holding a rather special exhibition at the moment. ‘Driven to do better’ is a Santander sponsored display of some rather wonderful F1 photographs taken throughout the ages at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The gallery is located just off Oxford Street and is pretty hard to miss as it’s decorated head to toe with Santander sponsorship! Once you get over the mass amount of red and white and step inside you’re greeted with a fantastic sight, a gallery space full of F1 photographs, old and new.

© Lou

The exhibition was curated by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, and it really does feature some special moments in the history of the British Grand Prix. In the collection are examples that show the passion of the British fans, the historic events and characters plus the wonderful atmosphere. The photographs span the years, from the first British Grand Prix, to Mansell giving Senna a lift back to the pits after his win in 1991 to Mark Webber’s triumphant victory in 2010. The British Grand Prix has been the place for many a memory, and the exhibition does well to highlight them. Giving those who have witnessed these events a gentle reminder, and those of us who were not lucky enough to see them live a starting point for our learning. Lewis and Jenson have also selected their personal five favourite photographs and written about why they appeal to them, and what memories and significance they hold for them individually.

© Lou

On a personal note I was most interested in the impressive amount of older images from the archives Getty has revealed. It’s not often we as fans get the opportunity to get up close to some very iconic moments in the sport in this type of black and white glory. These photographs allow you into this historic world from the past, drivers who long hung up their race overalls, and teams that haven’t tured up to Grand Prix in many years. These iconic figures you only ever read about in books, right in front of you, captured in the frame.  Seeing how close and crazy (and not to mention how deaf ) the photographers 50-60 years ago must have been. Lines of them right next to the cars as they fly round a corner, using a medium format or 35mm film camera! The absolute talent of these forgotten professionals is displayed in all their brilliance here and it’s so easy to get caught up in. Just wow!

It’s a nicely balanced collection of atmosphere, historic events and behind the scenes.  Well displayed to emphasize the beauty and talent of F1 photography. As a fan of F1, especially the photography, I loved this small section of London. It’s not a huge gallery but it is certainly a nice place to spend an hour for any fan of photography, Formula 1, or both. If you’re in London, and find yourself passing through Oxford Street, or have an hour or two spare why not head down there? Admission is free, and it’s open until 5:30pm every day (except Sundays). You can find more information about the exhibition plus other events at the Getty Images Gallery here.

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2011 – Saturday

July 12, 2011

We arrived at the festival at the very early time of around 9:30am, having woken at 5:30 to Kai’s calls of ‘it’s F1 Christmas!’ and Janna’s wonderful cup of tea. Never have I been so excited to be up so early!

We started the day looking at some of the manufacturer exhibition stalls, and then popped over the bridge again this time to the super car paddock, waving to Jake Humphrey (what the hell!), and snapping a pic of Tom Chilton on out way round.

© Lou

Before returning back to the paddock where after meeting Karun Chandock, and Kai some more famous Indy car driver, we met up with Pat for a second day and Lukeh.

We waited for a while, and well here comes my one and only disappointment of the Festival this year, we didn’t see Jenson. We saw his Mum, physiotherapist and girlfriend but not a glimpse of the man himself, unless you count his run up the hill. From what I can gather his movements were limited in the festival and I think he was partially kept away from the fans. This isn’t uncommon at the festival, it usually happens to Hamilton for example. It’s the first year it’s happened to this extreme with Jenson. I understand why, and it didn’t spoil my weekend at all, as I have so many photos of him already. Maybe we were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but this year was a Jenson free year. I don’t think it was helped by the fact that this year he wasn’t driving an F1 car, so it was difficult to judge where he would be over the weekend. Ah well next time! Still plenty of awesome things to tell you about!

We saw Dario Franchitti, who made friends with Kai , and then were off to watch the F1 cars return to the paddock once again. There were a few more people there compared to Friday.

© Lou

Once that excitement was over, Pat recommended we head over to the Super Car paddock to watch those cars return. Wow, what a good idea that was! I got the chance to be front row watching them all return, the exhaust fumes warming my ankles and the smell of burning rubber perfuming the air. What a delight to see some beautiful cars pass us. One of my favourites has to be the new Mclaren MP4 -12C, such a pretty car. I watch amazed as some of the cars I’ve only ever seen in static passed by us, Bugattis, Ferraris, Pagani Zondas, and my absolute favourite Lamborghinis. Just wow!

© Lou

After  spot of lunch we rushed back over the bridge to some of the car and team exhibition areas, 5 live’s David Croft was conducting an interview with Clive Chapman, Nigel Mansell, Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna – no way were we going to miss that! On the way we bumped into a familiar face who was also running a bit late.

© Lou

Once the interview had finished we managed to catch our friend David Croft for a quick chat and a photo. What a lovely man!

© Lou

Time was running out for our Goodwood weekend so we headed back over the bridge back to the paddock for one final time (goodness that bridge is hard work when you’re tired!). This last time just so happened to be my favourite. Spotting Sam Bird heading down for his run on the hill I rushed over to take a photos and to my surprised noticed someone standing just behind him who I just had to have a chat to! The very talented F1 photographer Andy Hone. Andy has been so helpful giving great advice to me over the past year or so on twitter and things and I couldn’t pass up the chance to meet him. I called over and he and his friends were ever so kind and happy to give up their time for a quick chat. Meeting an actual f1 photographer was a pretty big moment for me and I couldn’t help but notice he was wearing his official F1 jacket… ahh maybe one day.

We headed back shortly after this, having been at the festival from 9:30ish we were all very tired and I had a train to catch!

I really can’t thank Janna, Kai , Pat  and Lukeh  enough for their company over this weekend. It was great to share another fabulous few days in Chichester with such lovely people. Oh and thank you to all the wonderful drivers and f1 related people who stopped for a photo/autograph/chat too, you’re wonderful as well.

You can check out the rest of my photos from Saturday here  and my write up from Friday here.

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2011 – Friday

July 12, 2011

This year marked my 4th consecutive visit to the Festival of Speed, I almost felt like I hadn’t prepared properly, it snuck up on me so fast! Was it really a year ago that we last headed off to the acres of motorsport heaven?

This year due to a variety of circumstances I only went for two days but that didn’t lessen the experience of this wonderful place one bit.

Before I go on to talk about my adventures at the festival I must first send my undying gratitude out to Janna who looked after me for the two days. Supplying the most amazing food, conversation and company (not to mention such a comfortable bed) for my festival weekend. You’ll find it difficult to find a nicer more kind hearted person. Thank you Janna, for everything you did for me. I must also thank Kai who came over to the UK from America to attend the Festival and have a great explore of our lovely country. She very kindly didn’t mind me crashing her and Janna’s plans for the weekend and joining them at Goodwood. I had such an amazing time, many laughs were had, ‘oh my god’ s exclaimed and many many photos were taken. You’ll honestly be hard pushed to find two nicer and more friendly people. You guys rock!

Okay, so on with my motorsport weekend! As is usual for my FOS weekends after getting out barring we headed straight for the F1 cars and the fabulous paddocks surrounding them (where else would we go?!). The F1 paddock, along with the rest of the festival really, is one of my favourite places to be, ever. Goodwood almost feels like it’s a home from home, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt anything other than true happiness while I’m there. It’s ridiculous how much an annual 3 day event can mean to someone.

The first amazing thing to happen to us occurred almost immediately. I’m not sure we could have got our timing more perfect if we had tried. We saw a crowd gathering outside the ‘scrutineering bay’ where the cars are held before their run up the hill. Grabbing Kai and Janna we rushed forward to get front row sightings of the cars in all their glory.

Before we could think anything a familiar face walked straight past me accompanied by his car.

© Lou

Petrov right in front of us! I managed to snap a few photos of him as he stood just metres away, enjoying the atmosphere just as much as us! (it’s always nice when you see drivers and engineers enjoying the cars/ atmosphere and event in the same way). I’d never seen Petrov close up before and it took me a while to recognise him if I’m honest. However his shoes helped to confirm it all.

© Lou

Fortunately this wasn’t the first time we’d see Vitaly over the weekend.

The wonderful thing about Goodwood is just how surprising and amazing everything is. In part it’s probably due to the lack of access we get at other F1 events in comparison to this. No where else could you be having a conversation and in the corner of your eye notice a current F1 driver idly walk past you followed by an Indy Car driver and a group of engineers. It really is something special.

I even got to meet an F1 driver! After a year or two at the festival you start to pick clues and hints as to where the drivers are more likely to be, or sign autographs or the routes they’ll take back to the drivers club. This year they’d slightly changed the normal routine but we took a gamble and when we realised Mark Webber was still at the Red Bull stand, darted over to another entrance to the drivers club. We got there before most people and had front row standing places for him as he walked towards us. I even managed to grab a photo with him.

© Lou

Note to self – don’t take the photo yourself.. you will get yourself into too much of a fluster.  But yay for Mark!

We had such a crazy day, there are way too many individual moments to pic out, but we did (probably due to the slight decrease in numbers on a Friday compared to the rest of the weekend) manage to get a great spot on the hill to watch the cars. It’s the best spot I’ve had on the hill and it was brilliant to be so close to the cars.

© Lou

One last thing to mention for day one, before we left we managed to do one of my favourite things at the festival, wait for the cars as they return to the paddock and quickly run after them. It’s not only really great for photographs (as I’ve mentioned time and time again) but it provides you with a once in a lifetime (or once in a year) chance to stand right next to a Formula 1 car. No barriers, no marshals (unless you stand in the wrong place!) just you, the car, the driver and a few other like minded crazy F1 fans. I think Kai’s shouts of ‘OH MY GOD!!’ even though drowned out by the sound of the engines sum up how great it is to be there.

© Lou

What a lovely way to end our first day. You can see the rest of Friday’s photos here.

A Brand New Project

June 24, 2011

I’m a Formula 1 fan and I adore photography, you probably already know this, but something you might not know is I’m a bit of a collector. Postcards, old photos, tickets, you name it I’ve probably collected it at one point. It started from my dislike of throwing things away (programmes to theatre shows etc) but then it developed. I now have a wall of my room covered in tickets I’ve been to which have been important to me, Grand Prix tickets, Goodwood tickets, Coldplay etc etc. Something I’ve horded for 3 years now is F1 racing magazine. Each month I buy, read, admire and then file away the magazine. Recently, however, while tidying up and making room for a lot of the belongings I’ve accumulated this year at university I found that I need the space. I also realised that I never once look back in the articles held within them. Once I’ve read it, and by the time the next edition is out I rarely flick back through the previous magazines to re-look at interviews. If I want to know a piece of information, I do as many people now do, and look it up on the internet. So why keep 3 years worth of magazines?

© Lou

The answer is simple, and the same as the initial appeal of F1 for me. It’s visually fascinating.

I should explain, my first ever memory of Formula 1 comes from when I was a small child, Gerhard Berger and Mika Häkkinen were still racing and F1 was just something my Dad would sometimes watch on a weekend. I’ve a few memories of those days, but they all have one thing in common, they are very visual. Cars emerging through the stunning heat haze is something I can clearly picture. The same for the cars winding their way around the famous Mirabeau, and out of the tunnel in Monaco. It seems I’ve always been attracted to the fact that F1 lends itself to photography, even when I didn’t particularly like it. Perhaps I’ve always been destined to be some sort of photographer? That’s a debate for another day.

Back to the original point, why bother keeping magazines that I don’t need? Well, it’s for their photographic content. Every edition of F1 racing is rich with amazing photos from some of the best photographers out there on track. They’re an inspiration to an aspiring photographer like myself. I write notes beside the images on post it notes sometimes and then promptly file the magazine away again. This seems like such a waste! So I bought myself a lovely moleskine sketchbook.

© Lou

With all this new found time, now university is finished for the summer I’ve decided to go back through those 3 years worth of magazines extracting the images I draw most inspiration and motivation from and collating them into my own personal image bank including notes. It’ll be just like any other sketchbook, looking at which shots I think work and which I don’t and notes on the individual photographers too! Both those included in F1 racing and those not. So there we have it, I mentioned I’d try and keep you up to date with some summer projects, and hopefully this has given you all a taster for how I’m partially going to satisfy my creativity. Stay tuned for more information as I get on with my project!

A little bit of admin

June 24, 2011

Yet again I’ve neglected my poor places on the Internet. I’ve not updated my tumblr, flickr or blog for ages! However year 1 is all over now and I’ve finally got some time to give these areas some much-needed TLC! Yep, that’s right I’m home for the summer now, year 1 of my photography degree finished! After 9 months of hard work and a bit of a rest I’m ready to throw myself into more exciting self directed work for the summer. Can’t wait! Some will be motorsport orientated, others I’ll use as an exercise in improving technical ability. Keep and eye on my flickr and tumblr for updates, as it seems I can never can be trusted to update my blog as much as I should. I’ve spent a few days updating my flickr page and giving it a bit of a spring clean, it’s still a work in progress but I’ve now utilised the handy ‘collections’ function for added organisation, do tell me what you think!

So I mentioned that I’ve finished year 1 at the lovely University for the Creative Arts. What’s my overall impression of uni life? Well I love it! It’s brilliant! Studying just one subject, throwing all of your efforts into something that your passionate about is a real breath of fresh air after the hard slog of A Levels. Which of course I enjoyed to an extent but it’s never quite the same. Knowing that university, and my time there has been worth every percent of effort i’ve put in to my exams to date makes everything feel worth while. I’ve had a real taste of my future life this year and I love it! Add a bit more sports/ F1 photography and I’ll be a happy gal!

Speaking of sports photography when you’re over on my flickr please take the time to have a look at my sports collection as I have a few sets of Tennis images. I’ve never shot tennis before so these were my first attempts, any advice or comments are, as usual, much appreciated.

I’ll leave you with this little update for the time being. Hopefully I’ll be back soon!

A Toy Story

November 11, 2010

You may well have seen photographs on my twitter of a little lego figure I call Pierre. I figured that I should really explain why exactly I keep posting photos of a little lego man all the time, and why you’ll see many more in the future.

You see, Pierre has become somewhat of a photography mascot to me, as we battled through the rather challenging Studio project in which we had to create our own ‘constructed reality’. While the actual shoot and collecting of ideas was great fun the final images had to be on film and well, developing in the colour darkroom can be a bit of a task -  specially when you’ve only got half negatives because the camera decides to have issues!

However I got through any problems okay in the end, though I still prefer my digital shots. The quality of the digital photographs is much nicer due to the issues I had with the negatives and therefore they seem stronger as a set. I’ve uploaded my digital shots to my flickr album, but just in case you’ve missed them here they are.

Series title -  Mission Impossible?

The idea behind the set is really straight forward, what happened if toys came alive at night? Would they try and escape? I’ve also included an element of doubt in the series by showing the lego in the final image, forcing the viewer to ask whether the lego really escaped? or perhaps asking them whether it was in fact the girls dream.

We had to dry mount and present our images and thoughts behind them in a review where they were criticized and marked. While the quality of my analogue prints made my presentation weak the support of my digital shots helped to put the story across so I’m hoping that I’ll have achieved the grades needed to pass the unit.

As it was our first graded project we all found it pretty stressful, and the review was nerve wrecking! There really is no space for politeness when critiquing an image at university, as a group we were astounded at the bluntness of our reviewers and how hard it was to describe our ideas to them. This’ll be something we all get used to and become more experienced with as time passes and we get more practice I’m sure. As with most things familiarity with the situation makes it easier to relax and we’ll have plenty of reviews in the future.

This was the studio half of an assessed unit called ‘Constructed Realities’, for the next part of the semester we’ll be doing a digital project based upon montage. I’m looking forward to the challenges that brings!

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