On finding magic when you need it most

The day started poorly.  My husband was away and my daughter woke up at 4am, and although she happily played in her bed for an hour before falling back to sleep, I wasn't so lucky. My day, which had been planned around a delivery arriving at a specified time, was further upended with a call stating the courier would be about two hours late, but to stand by in case they were able to make up some time. I burned my coffee. I was cranky.

I knew a good shooting session would cheer me up, but I couldn't go far due to the aforementioned delivery. So I dropped my daughter off at nursery and drove the short distance to Chawton, This sweet village is famous as the site of the Jane Austen House and was the place she called home for the last eight years of her life. I have always enjoyed a good wander here, so I was hoping it would be the pick-me-up I needed.

As I pulled into the car park, I was greeted with this sight.

I nearly squealed with delight (and I'm not really that much of a squealer). The fields behind the village were covered in the most beautiful mist, and, being winter in England, the sun was still relatively low in the sky despite being mid-morning.  I put on my wool hat and grabbed my camera. My mood had already been dramatically lifted.

I had such a wonderful time. I was pushing myself to capture as much as I could, but I was also trying to be fully present in the moment, because what a special moment it was. I'm often so eager to take the photo that I forget to enjoy myself, but this morning I found myself putting the camera away, taking in the scene, finding the elements that stood out to my own eye, and then picking the camera back up to shoot. (But, let's be honest here, I didn't take too much time for myself because THAT LIGHT.  I could not, would not lose that light.)

As I wrapped up in the field, I looked to the right and knew I wasn't quite done for the day.

That church tower rising out of the mist in the distance was enough to make me practically run down the village lane (again, the light, people, the light!) - there was so much more to see. (I had basically forgotten about my delivery at this point.)

It's safe to say that I couldn't drag myself away from these scenes. St. Nicholas's church was stunning in the morning light and mist, with its lovely gates and the sheep roaming the surrounding fields. The church is adjacent to the Chawton House Library, an institution dedicated to the field of women's literature and housed in the estate that once belonged to Jane Austen's brother. I didn't mind that it was closed to the public for the season because I could still enjoy scenes like this:

And this:

I was insatiable. And fortunately, the light stuck around to play for a bit.

Yes, the sheep were looking at me like I was a crazy woman. But I was a crazy woman who was far happier for having visited this magical spot on this magical morning.  And I got home in plenty of time for that pesky delivery.

Beyond Travel Photography

I am obsessed with lifestyle photography lately. I could scroll through portrait, street, and editorial photographers' feeds all day long. The composition, the lighting, the editing style .... there's so much thought and creativity that goes into it. I find it all incredibly inspiring.  And as much as I love travel photography - it will always be my go-to photographic style - I think the next challenge for me is to master my editorial style. All this to say that, occasionally, you may see a little bit more of this kind of thing on the blog and in my Instagram feed:

My daughter and I had the chance to visit an honest-to-goodness pumpkin patch at a local Pick Your Own farm this past week, and it was a great opportunity to test out my lifestyle lens. My favorite part, of course, was chasing after this little pumpkin (and trying to get her to look at the camera).

We passed by rows of fruit and vegetables, many lying dormant, waiting for their season to come again, but a few ripe stragglers remained.

The pumpkin patch was at the far end of the fields, and it was wonderfully wild and unkempt.

We set to work, both of us looking for "the one" (plus one for Daddy, of course).

What a fantastic place this was.  There weren't perfect rows of perfectly scrubbed pumpkins in the perfect shade of orange to select and take home, but rather pumpkins of all shapes and colors and varieties, still clinging to their vines, waiting for someone to get their fingernails dirty in the quest for the right one.  So get dirty we did.  And that beautiful bright orange one?  That one was all mine.

So am I ready to push my limits when it comes to my style? Yes. Do I have a lot to learn? More than I can even wrap my head around. But I'm always game for a good challenge. Let's do this.