When I first contacted Sian, aka @thatcornishbird, to ask if I could feature her in this month’s Instagram post, I received the following response: “Gosh, I’m lost for words… really! But if you wake up tomorrow and realise you’ve got me mixed up with someone else who’s actually talented and inspirational, then I totally understand.”
Her self-effacing and humorous words made me chuckle, but they belie her wonderful eye. Despite her claims to the contrary, Sian is both talented and inspirational, and her Instagram feed is one of my very favourites. It’s full of stunning images of the landscape and nature around her Cornish home, and she always manages to find beauty in the smallest detail, from a horse’s eye to fading flowers tied to a church gate.
Over to Sian herself…
Please can you tell us a bit about yourself?
“I’m not a professional photographer, a designer or a blogger; I’m just your average stay-at-home mum, single-handedly raising three rapidly growing girls as my husband’s job requires him to work abroad. I’ve always been the creative type – before the girls were born I was a florist and a botanical illustrator but, thanks to a hectic family life and too many cups of coffee, my ability to focus on one thing for any length of time has been greatly reduced. I think that’s where my love of photography stems from: it’s the immediacy of the medium that appeals – the ability to record a fleeting moment, to create an instant art form.”
How long have you been using Instagram, and how did you get started?
“I’ve been using Instagram for about two years, constantly changing, growing and evolving. It was my eldest daughter who introduced me to the app – something which she probably regrets now that all her school friends follow her embarrassing mum!”
What do you like about Instagram?
“It’s made me slow down and notice little things that I would have simply walked straight past before. The Instagram community as a whole is so supportive, encouraging and inspiring, and of course you get a fascinating insight into other people’s daily lives all around the world.”
What inspires your photos?
“I guess Cornwall and its wildlife inspires me. I’ve spent my whole life living on the coast, watching the effects of the changing weather and seasons on the sea and the surrounding landscape. My childhood was spent collecting seashells on the beaches, walking the clifftops and gathering and drawing wild flowers, so I guess photographing them was just a natural progression. I’m also inspired by travel, and I took hundreds of photos on a recent trip to Italy!”
How would you describe your photography style?
“I really wouldn’t know how to describe it as it’s evolving as I learn, but I try to keep it simple and make sure my feed is cohesive. I always enjoy highlighting details that might otherwise be missed.”
How do you take and edit your photos?
“My iphone5 is always in my pocket and my Nikon D5100 is always in my bag… You never know what you might see! I mainly edit with the Pictapgo app, but it’s minimal really – I just lighten things a little, and maybe cool the colours a bit.”
What catches your eye on others’ Instagram feeds?
“This is constantly changing, too. I love Instagrammers who really know how to use light, and lately I’m drawn to those who use shade to create a sense of depth and mood.”
What’s your top Instagram tip?
“Photograph what you love. Your passion will shine through.”
Head over to Instagram and follow @thatcornishbird to see more of Sian’s beautiful photography.
All images by @thatcornishbird