Sunday, 27 August 2017

Photographing Gardens with Geoff Carr

"Bright enticing courtyard"

Photographing Gardens

Whether you are a casual observer, a keen amateur or a professional snapper, gardens and outdoor spaces are popular subjects for photographers. Whatever your interest, gardens offer many and varied subject matter. It may be the wildlife or the colours or perhaps capturing a mood or a feeling or even a memory. You might simply want to record the changing seasons or use photographs to keep a record of how and when your garden performs during the year.  Indeed, you don’t really need to be interested in gardens if you simply what to use them as a resource for developing your photographic technical skills. There are endless opportunities within even a window box for experimenting with macro, telephoto, wide or fisheye lenses as well as honing your use of light, depth of field, shutter speeds and f stops.

The single most important skill is the initial period of observation; looking at how the garden works as a whole with all its constituent parts involved. At first, a garden as a subject for photography can seem overwhelming but simply standing in one spot and observing the garden from beyond its boundaries through to its tiniest detail of colour or shape will give you the confidence to start telling whatever pictorial story you want to express.  Going into the garden and observing it for a whole day without your camera will inform you of how the light changes the look of your garden throughout the day.


"Early Spring Morning"
One of the most important elements in your skill set is the way you use the natural light, the availability of good light is often very short lived and usually is at its most interesting for the 20 minutes around dawn or dusk. Bright, midday light can give gardens very hard shadows and cold, harsh, unsympathetic colours.  The first and last hours of daylight give warmer colours and golden light with softer shadows. Early morning light will emphasise a sense of anticipation and evening light will give a feeling of peace and quiet. Winter time offers good opportunities because you can shoot for most of the day as the sun never gets too high and the shadows are softer.  Indeed, every month will have something interesting and different to say about a garden.

Other points to consider include:-  


Not being afraid to shoot into the Sun, the structure of a garden and the silhouettes of plants are often shown off much better when backlit.

· Look for the structure, shape and forms within the garden.

· Look for combinations of plants as well as single flowers, a shot of a flower with other flowers as a backdrop can be as interesting as a single plant portrait.

· Use unusual vantage points, get either really low or perch yourself high up.

· Look for silhouettes and strong contrasts of shape and tone that will make a stunning black and white image.

· Try shooting with and without a tripod and also use mid range shots as well as wide or macro views.

· Remember that not all shots need to be sharply focused throughout. Softness surrounding a very minimal point of focus can bring an engaging feel to a photograph.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Steve Gawthorpe Grappling Masterclass at Cirencester Judo Club

Experience a zero gravity moment with Ciren Judo Club!
On Oct 8th Cirencester will host a masterclass by Steve Gawthorpe, who went to the Olympics and medalled in a large amount of international Judo contests. Known for his arm bar, Steve would routinely win judo matches on the floor with a submission rather than wait the 30 seconds it would take for a win by pin.
Steve’s ability was well documented in the 1988 British Opens, where he won the first four matches by arm bar before he took Gold in the final. A litany of fluid and untelegraphed take downs demonstrated the spirit of judo, with efficient movement at the core of its ethos.
Catching the arm
Due to Steve’s ability grappling on the ground, he has frequently had people from other martial arts show interest in what he has to teach. This event is open to everyone but a solid background in grappling will give the most reward for what is being taught. This is a unique donation based event, where you choose what you give.
The event will be from 12:00 to 16:00 with a break, to book your place in the event (mat space is limited) contact or contact the Cirencester Judo Club facebook page here.

In the meantime you can watch some of Steve's instructionals on Youtube here!

Divorce and Pensions with Alison Fielden & Co

Divorce and Pensions

On divorce, the parties are required to provide full financial disclosure which includes information regarding any pension provision. 
Pensions can be valuable assets and are often overlooked by the parties when they informally have discussions about finances on separation, which tend to concentrate on income and capital, particularly the family home. 

Fund values should be obtained in respect of pension funds, whether they are private or occupational, in payment or not in payment.  If pensions are significant, it may be appropriate to instruct an Actuary to provide a report which will give detailed calculations which could include how to equalise pension income. 

There are three ways in which a pension can be dealt with:

1.            Pension Sharing Order This is an Order made in Divorce or Civil Partnership Dissolution Proceedings whereby a percentage of the pension is transferred to a Spouse.  Where the pension fund is a public sector pension, the public sector pension will be reduced in proportion to the stated Order and the Spouse receiving the benefit will receive a pension credit and become a member of that public pension scheme in their own right.  In respect of other pensions such as private pensions, there may be an option to transfer the pension credit to a new scheme and specialist pensions’ advice from a financial advisor would usually be recommended.

2.            The value of the pension is offset against other assets – Pension funds however are not treated the same as available capital and there is no set formula.  Offsetting works by taking the value of one parties’ pension provision and setting it off against other assets and the rest of the settlement is adjusted to reflect that one party has greater pension provision than the other.  Difficulties can arise in deciding the value to place on the pension rights because pension funds are not directly comparable with other assets.  It is often recognised that cash in hand is of greater value than future income payable over an extended period.  Again this is a matter that can be addressed by an Actuary in their Report.

3.            Attachment Orders – Attachment Orders will specify a percentage of the pension payment to be paid to a Spouse.  This is similar to a maintenance payment directly from one persons’ pension pot to their former Spouse or Civil Partner.  Under this arrangement money from a tax free lump sum can also go to the former Spouse or Civil Partner.  Percentages apply to pension rights earned after the divorce as well as before.  Attachment Orders however cease on the death of either party or if the party receiving the payment re-marries.  Attachment Orders unlike Pension Sharing Orders can be varied after divorce if the circumstances change.  They are not usually recommended, primarily because they cease on re-marriage or death.

For further advice about financial settlements on divorce and separation, please contact Steven Barratt or Heather Weavill at Alison Fielden & Co on 01285 653 261. (

Cat Friendly Vet Clinics - What is all that about? with Corinium Vets

A local name for a local vet.

The whole process of taking a cat to a veterinary surgery can be highly stressful ...

From simply catching a cat to put it in a basket, through to transporting the cat in the car, waiting in the veterinary clinic (often alongside dogs), being examined in the clinic, and sometimes having to be hospitalised. All these aspects can be difficult, stressful and challenging both for the cat, and also for cat owners. However, it does not have to be like that! Simple changes can make a huge difference and, while it may be impossible to alleviate all sources of stress, with the right approach, with empathetic handling and with appropriate facilities, much can be done to improve the experience for cats.

This is why the International Society of Feline Medicine has developed the ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic programme. If veterinary clinics have made significant differences in their approach and facilities for cats, they can become accredited under the ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic programme at bronze, silver or gold level.

Hip hip hurray to Corinium Veterinary Surgery who have just been accredited with the ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic Award at Silver Level!

To win this award we had to demonstrate that we are fulfilling a detailed list of criteria, and most importantly that all our staff have the right attitude and approach to handling and dealing with cats in the clinic, and certain equipment and standards (eg, cage sizes) are implemented.

By taking your cat to an accredited Cat Friendly Clinic such as Corinium Veterinary Surgery in Cirencester, you will know that you are doing all that you can to help make your cat's experience as pleasant and stress free as possible when they need to go to the vets. We also run a Cat only clinic on Wednesday Mornings.