January: 3 Years Later!

Wow! It's absolutely insane to me that 3 years later I am still running this website, but more importantly, still receiving an overwhelming amount of support from all of you lovely people! Thank you all so, so, so much for all your feedback, likes, shares etc across all social media and special loves to those of you who take the time to visit the website and to order products! It's all of this which has kept me motivated on those rainy days to continue doing what I enjoy!

I guess the first thing to address here would be the look to the website! I figured that as it's my website's birthday, it deserved a make-over! I'd always tweaked the old layout here and there, but in all honesty it had become stagnant to me. I was proud of how I'd built it up - the host I use doesn't involve coding (though I have dabbled with html codes in the past, back when you did that on your social media pages!) but it's still significant work to ensure the site runs smoothly, looks good across all formats and of course uploading the content! I had kept the old-style website running whilst I made this layout before transferring the URL over so that I could ensure the site was at least 95% complete before release (just a few minor things you guys won't notice left to do!). This means my blogs have yet to all appear on this site, but it is something I will (slowly) do soon! In all honesty, I'm putting off having to upload all the photographs and covers after uploading 1000s of photographs onto here!

I think my favourite part of the new look is the front page and the ease of navigation between pages. I have previously tried setting up the single image front page, but (to me) none of the images I had quite worked - whereas I love the depth captured in my bluebell shot, and it emphasizes my love for both macro and landscape photography in one photograph. It has helped having knowledge of how the hostsite works when creating the website from a blank page - I knew what resources and features were available to me and how to ensure that there was consistency throughout the pages. When I first made the website it had a principle gallery and about page, whereas since then I have split my work into different 'galleries' and added a shop, interactive blog and a contact page. I still have plans to feature a 'Locations Guide' soon as previously mentioned in blogs, this will be much easier to complete on the new layout!

I have also created a 'mobile-friendly' view of the website, so please let me know how this is on your phone - let me know if there's anything that needs tweaking! I use an android phone and have tried to ensure it looks good and runs smoothly, but if it's set just to my phone let me know! It would be much appreacited! As would general feedback on the new look of the website!

The previous year was less photography-orientated than I would have preferred as there have been lots of personal or work-related things taking precedence, but it's just meant that those times I have managed to get out for some therapeutic time in nature were much more sacred. Putting the last year into a positive spin, I can safely say I visited more new places in 2019 than revisiting old walks! This has meant that those few times I have managed to go out for a sigificant walk will stick with me as it's creating new, fresh memories! These places have included Wansfell Pike, Benson Knott and my weekend away in West Cumbria! I've said it before and I'll forever say it yet again - I am SO, SO lucky to live in Cumbria/The Lake District and have these amazing places right on my doorstep. Some people do not have the opportunity to walk no more than 5-10 minutes away from their house to be met by undisturbed sites of nature, and I have always had this privilege wherever I have lived - so even if I am not able to regularly explore it myself, my heart will always be yearning for the feel of the fells beneath my feet, and the synchronized chorus of babbling becks and blackbirds filling the air.

2020 represents both a new year, and a new decade, so it seems perfect for a fresh mindset and positive attitude towards all aspects of our lives. At the beginning of last month, I moved into a new house - a cosy little ground floor flat with windows perfect for my cacti! - close to the main river in Kendal. It's a great spot as it's on a quiet residential street on the outskirts of town with lots of bridleways, woodland and green pastures a few minutes walk away for when you need that escape into nature! I had previously done several walks in this area, but it's nice now that this is my local stomping ground to go and explore it in more detail, finding those little nooks and crannies that others may not necessarily know about! One of these walks is the old Lancaster canal line - I used to live near where the remaining canal ended in Stainton, and I lived on it at university one year, so it's nice to have a familiar place close by! When the weather is a little kinder to us all, I'm sure I will be constantly going up and down the canal path - I've just ended up bringing half a field of mud back with me whenever I've walked along it this month!

In 2020 I want to get out of my comfort zone and start to explore more on my own and work on my navigation as well as improving my photography skills - as I'm kinda writing off a good section of 2019 due to unrelated events etc taking precedence over photography, my goals for last year will be top of the list for this one! I'm looking forward to planning bus or train journeys so I can finally do some of the well-known but still lesser explored walks in the area which I tend to overlook when planning walks with family members as they are short or awkward to get to in a car etc. Being alone on these walks also means that I can properly take time with my camera and aligning shots - I'm always aware I'm taking 230 photographs of the same flower when I'm walking with someone else and they're waiting for me to hurry up! It's also nice to be able to show someone else around a nice walk you've found which they haven't done before, especially if there are several routes to explore so you can both discover somewhere new in the process!

I have been pretty absent from majority of social media over the last few months, this has partially been due to my own laziness, but also Instagram's responsibility - they decided to keep banning me from liking posts if I liked more than 3 in a row! I know that they take precautions for spam users - I had a temporary restriction placed on my account a few years back when I was waaaay more active on IG than I have been over the last year so I don't see how I had been violating the system! Anway, it seems to be behaving itself now, so it's more of a case I need to motivate myself more to interact and post rather than just lurking and being insanely jealous of everyone's photography abilities! It can all become a bit overwhelming when you are doubting your own work, but it is also great motivation when you recieve genuine, heartfelt feedback into your work - especially a piece you weren't so sure on! The photography community has always been welcoming, so I just need to be more active in sharing the love with you all - we are all in the same boat after all!

Well, let's see what the new year has in store, shall we? I hope you guys stick around for another year of photography!