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New Year. New Book.

My New Year Resolutions often combine a list a things I hope to get around to reading
 and skills I would like to master. 
In this case, thanks to Bella West, I was able to kill two birds with ...well ....one book.
Bella West is a highly accomplished portrait, wedding and fashion photographer. 
My gift to myself for Christmas was her book explaining how to 
photograph children in natural light.
With grown-up daughters I rarely photograph children these days - but I was
 sure I would learn something from Bella's book that I could apply to
 other areas of photography. If I could master one tenth
 of her skill with lighting I would be happy.
I spent the New Year with a group of family friends in France and in between
 drinking wine and chatting, I poured over her book - and then persuaded some of my 
friends and their children to be my models. 
Using light from one source - short focal length and under exposure.
 Using natural stone to set off texture. This would have benefitted from
 a reflector to bounce slightly more light onto Flora's face. 
It would also have helped if I had had my tripod with me 
as there is slight blurring from camera shake (nothing to do with the wine!)
 Gorgeous Ruari made the perfect model!
 This was shot with quite a long focal length in evening light. 
The mural on the wall gave a good contrast to Ruari's strong features.
Evening and morning light can be fantastic as they are not too strong 
but give good illumination and interesting shdowows.
Bella's book also deals with photographing a subject in strong direct sunlight.
I love this photograph of Tabbin who is recovering from cancer and Chemo.
Naked of make-up and with her hair just beginging to grow back, I think it illustrates 
the strength of a remarkable woman.

If you are interested in photography I cannot recommend this book highly enough. 
I won't claim to have attained Bella's standard - but I did feel I was
 heading in the right direction.
(With many thanks to Jeannie, Ruari, Tabbin, Eleanor and Flora)

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