March: Hello There, Spring!

It is that time of year again that I absolutely love: Spring, where everything becomes alive and full of colour! Even the clouds are brighter, the raindrops lighter and slowly the days are beginning to get longer! Just waking up to faint blue skies instantly puts a smile on my face, and I just want to be outside somewhere surrounded by nature, with my camera for company. Usually, however, this month it has appeared the sunny days are on those in which I have a mountain of university to work on, and the rain decides to visit on a day I've dedicated to myself. Typical! Still, these days have meant that in theory I should have a lighter workload for the sunnier days... if my tutors decide to be nice!

Still, we can't really complain about the rain, as after all, the flowers or trees would not be beginning to awake from their winter sleep! From my garden, I can see across the valley and slowly sunsets have started to appear in the sky, not quite at their full form but they're there none of the less. A few times I have wandered up to the common behind my house which overlooks Pontypridd to watch the sunset, although it is still quite muddy in places as the sun isn't quite high enough to reach the paths that are covered in fallen leaves that it can be difficult to navigate your way around but still a quaint stroll none of the less. Some of my daytime walks have also been up to the Common, it is only a short walk up from my house (although I do live up what I think is the steepest hill in Treforest!) and when the weather isn't it's best I usually have the whole place to myself. I haven't wandered out as far as I would like, but I have been exploring some of the paths leading off the common and making mental notes to visit them in better weather and when I have more free time. I think if some of the places I wanted to visit were on flatter routes I would be able to explore more, like I was able to in Cumbria and Lancashire, but many of the Welsh hills are deceptively steep and take quite a while to climb up - not ideal when you've got to be back before it's too dark or an assignment is waiting for you at home!

One thing that I am excited for as the seasons slowly change towards summer is exploring previous places I've visited - only this time I will armed with my Sony DSLR as opposed to my little Lumix 'point and shoot'! The more I use my Sony camera, I am seeing significant benefits from using a DSLR camera, particular when it comes to shooting in RAW formats. In all honesty it hasn't been the easiest camera to get used to in comparison to other DSLR camera brands I have used, and therefore I have felt my development has been slow and impacted the quality of my photography. However, I think by revisiting places I can potentially get those shots that my Lumix camera couldn't get, and I can use familiar settings and objects from my previous work when exploring features of my Sony camera as I would waste less time setting up the initial focus of my photos. It is always lovely to visit places within each season or within a year of each visit as so much can change but you can guarantee it will still be beautiful none-of-the-less.

The beginning of spring has already brought along sunnier days, blooming flowers and just a general feeling of good vibes which I am really digging! Over winter I have been limited with my flower photography and in all honesty, I kinda fell out of love with it! But then there was was crisp, fresh smell in the air and I remembered when I started out on Instagram back in 2012 I would capture every serene blue sky, every delicate flower and every stunning butterfly that caught my eye with my camera, and with the start of spring that passion has come back to me! I am heading back to Cumbria for the Easter break, a lot of my spring walks at home tend to be along footpaths and fields that are known to become overgrown in the summer, and muddy versions of 'Total Wipeout' in winter so some of these have become somewhat a tradition so I'm excited to be back in familiar land! There is a fantastic view of the sky from dusk to dawn from my home, especially when it comes to starry nights, so I can't wait to see what wonderful colours April brings! The places I have lived in Wales have always been in a valley, and therefore I've been sheltered from the sunsets (especially before the clocks went back!) but once I have a bit more free time I plan on many trips to the top of the hills to lose myself in the sky! I rely on sunsets as the likelihood of me catching a sunrise is zilch - especially when climbing a steep hill is involved... there is simply not enough coffee in the world to fuel me for that!

Next month during my Easter break from University, I am visiting the Wirral for a long weekend with my mum and grandad! My grandad regularly goes on rides with a vintage cycling group, and sometimes my mum and I join them for a weekend away - but no cycling thankfully! We haven't had a weekend away together since we visited the Isle of Islay in 2014 and it was a lovely weekend that I will always remember! This time, we are staying in New Brighton and Thurstaston, both of which are on the Mersey coast - there's even a lighthouse at New Brighton for that true seaside feel - hopefully we will have the weather to match the location!

Hope you all take advantage of the (fleeting) sunshine we are getting - and fingers crossed for some rainbows in among the April showers coming our way!