Monday, 28 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Here we are in the Christmas week, so I'm taking this opportunity to wish all who come across my blog, a very Merry Christmas. May you have the opportunity to spend it with those you love and cherish. I think there is no nicer place to be on Christmas day than with those we love and care for.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and wishing you love peace and joy for 2010.
Monday, 14 December 2009
My Teen loves his music fast and loud, and not just listening to it either. For weeks now we've been hearing his riffs as he enjoys his new Marshall amp, and a couple of weeks ago he posted his first Youtube cover. Take a listen - I hope you enjoy it!
Saturday, 12 December 2009
The month of December always leaves me feeling a little teary and emotional. There’s more that 101 reasons why this is so. The recurring theme seems to be, however, the passing of time. How fast did this year pass, how fast have the past 5 years been, is it possible that such-and-such happened 14 years ago, is it really that many years since I finished school, I've been married for how long? – and on and on it goes. I question dates when events occurred, do the math and realise that in fact so much more time has passed than I thought. And of course, another sure sign of the passing of time is to see policemen and doctors, who were always so much older, are now in fact considerably younger – how and when did that happen? Aren’t they a little young to be fully trained?
The other sure sign of the passing of time is to see your children come to the end of another school year, and for those of us in Australia that coincides with the middle of December. If that isn’t a reminder that time flies by, add to that the milestone of reaching the end of compulsory education and you start to truly wonder where the time has gone. Our Teen has completed his compulsory education and will go on to complete his final two years of schooling. Schools celebrate this milestone with a dinner dance/formal where the students dress up and celebrate the event. For our family, that took place this past week and of course I’m being very proud and extremely biased when I say that I think our Teen looked very handsome and so grown up. Seeing him with his peers, many of those known since they were all in kindergarten together, was a truly surreal moment. They were all so grown up, handsome, well groomed, tall and – gasp – no longer babies... I can vividly remember his first day of school – and as corny as it sounds, it does feel as though it was yesterday...sigh... Is it really possible that 11 years have passed in the blink of an eye?
If the passing of time isn’t enough to make you realise it’s a fact of life that cannot be controlled or stopped, there’s the looming New Year’s Eve to contend with, now mere days away. I’ve given up writing out my list of New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, knowing that time passes so quickly and indiscriminately, I simply try and embrace the year ahead and all the adventures and wrinkles that come along with it.
If you’re a regular read of this blog, you’ll know that I like to share images that I come across in my interwebs journey. This time, I share with you a portrait of my Teen getting ready for his School Formal. I’m also sharing two links to some beautiful writing that depicts the essence of the passing of time. Written by two RedBubble members, I encourage you to click on the links and read their prose. If you’re a RedBubble member, please feel free to comment on their work.
Monday, 30 November 2009
2. Roxana Crivat
3. Richard Carey
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
I could not find fault with the sturdy packaging, and the book arrived in perfect condition.
The pages have a beautiful satin feel to them and are a good weight while the colour rendition is comparable to the images on Mel’s site.
With Christmas only a few short weeks away, why don’t you consider making your very own blurb photographic art book? Or you might like to purchase one created by another artist, like I did. They’re a wonderful gift idea, and really, you can’t beat online shopping! If you’ve created a blurb book, add your link here for all of us to view and admire.
Monday, 23 November 2009
I would love to boast and say the reason there are no spiders’ webs around my home is due to the fact I am fastidious and clean my eaves and gutters regularly. But that’s not the case. The photo I’ve included was taken over two years ago. The spider web was huge. I have iron verandah posts and plenty of shrubs and trees perfect for web making, and yet, not a decent spider’s web has been formed in such a long time. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of spiders. In fact last week I almost picked up what I thought was a dead huntsman spider – he wasn’t dead at all, and only moved at the last minute before I picked him up. Luckily spiders don’t frighten me, or I would have been in trouble. The flower pots on my verandah are riddled with red back spiders, but no webs. We used to have magnificent St Andrew’s cross spiders spin their webs amongst the rose bushes, but they’ve moved out as well. So, what’s going on? Where are they all? How can I invite them back? Where do I send the photo shoot invitations out to these unknown spiders who once resided in my garden? I really miss being able to take photos of their webs. I’m a much more patient person now with a few more skills under my belt and I would love nothing more than to take photos of their glorious homes. I will simply wait patiently until the spiders return. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, then pop your feedback into my comments below.
If you would like to buy this image as a greeting card, wall art, canvas or print, it is available for sale at my gallery over at RedBubble.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Monday, 16 November 2009
Yes, just like an old friend that you come to know and love over the years, a beloved old camera lens can still make your heart sing...
I’ve been so infatuated with the lensbaby lens lately, that I almost forget I have other lens I can use. One lens in particular is my Canon EF 70-210 f/4 and one I picked up many, many years ago while travelling through Europe. Sure it doesn’t have the Image Stabilisation of its newer contemporaries, but I love it all the same. I used it this weekend for the first time in a few months, and as always, was pleased with the results. I’ve added a couple of images here to show you what it can capture. Both images are from flowers in my garden, the large daisy being a most unusual variety. Whenever I'm pressed for time and just need to have my camera in my hands, there's nothing like a wander through my garden to keep me going...
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
It’s common knowledge that single socks disappear somewhere between when they’re placed in the washing machine and when the wash cycle finishes. We don’t know how they disappear or even where they go. But disappear, leaving their partner behind, is a common sock phenomena. Now, explain this next little sock mystery – a pair of woollen argyle socks have appeared down the side of my lounge chair. How long have they been there? Why hadn’t I seen them before? How did they get into the house? Had anyone else seen them and chosen not to mention the oddity of a pair of socks poking out from the cushions on the lounge? Could it be there is a second family living in my house afterall and this is a piece of evidence to prove that? I have interrogated all members of my family to no avail. Nobody has ever seen socks like that before. I have done the Cinderella thing, too – forcing my family to try them on as erky as that seems – and no, they don’t fit anyone in the family. Strange but true.
Friday, 30 October 2009
1. It's a good idea to use a prop, such as this teddy bear, as a point of focus - the aim is to replace the prop with yourself, of course.
3. If you're a little shy, then get a family member to join you in your Self-Portrait, especially when they also don't normally like having their photo taken. Then the two of you can learn to relax and go with the flow. Note: sitting with the reluctant family member and using a remote shutter is a stroke of genius that I wish I had thought of way before now.
5. Taking a Self-Portrait doesn't always mean facing the camera. Have you thought of a profile pose?
9. Who said your eyes need to be open when you're taking a Self-Portrait? Who said you even need to be awake when you're taking a Self-Portrait? These are questions you should ask yourself.
10. When using a prop as a focusing tool, it's a good idea to remove it completely from the shooting area. Unless of course you want to incorporate it in your Self-Portrait. In that case, it can make for a quirky element in your shot. Mind you, you can also crop the image, or clone it out.
11. If you're sharing your Self-Portrait with a family member, you don't need to have both of you in focus. In fact, it looks quite nice if only one of you is in focus, and the other is all soft and blurry. Using a shallow depth of field will mean the eye will be drawn to the part of the image in focus, in this case, the precious family member.
12. Use a Soft Focus, Cross-Screen or even Rainbow filter to give a soft and dreamy feel to your Self-Portrait. Using such a filter makes for a very forgiving image result.
13. A little bored with straight photography? Then why not incorporate some texture layers to add some interest and depth to your Self-Portrait. Either download these from around the web, or photograph your own, as I've done here. The number of layers and how you blend them will depend on what you're trying to achieve with your Self-Portrait.
"portrait lens" and the fact that it's only the f1.8 means it's called the "plastic fantastic". I also used a speedlite flash (just a teensy one) with a tissue as a diffuser to soften the effects of the flash.
If you haven't tried taking your Self-Portrait, give it a go, you might be surprised at just how much fun it can be. If you have taken your Self-Portrait, and can share some useful tips, feel free to comment in this blog - share your tips with others.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Sunday, 18 October 2009
It's not very often that I find myself witnessing a sunrise with a camera in hand. Not very often, as in, ummm, never. So it was with a little apprehension that I tagged along to a sunrise shoot at Echo Point this past weekend.
Now, I'm not one to be anal or superstitious about things, but as soon as I put on my shoes and socks in the incorrect order, I knew this was going to be one of those days. Sure enough, I wasn’t 200m from my door when I realised that I had forgotten my jacket, beanie and gloves. Although it’s October, these items are essential for the upper mountains, especially since the sunrise shoot would be one of two locations that day. In the process of performing a U-turn, I managed to spill most of my espresso into my centre console (why don’t they make travel mugs to fit centre consoles I’ll never know...). So with jacket, gloves and beanie now in hand I hurried, as best as the speed limits allow, up the mountains before the sun rose over the horizon. Did I mention there are major road works being carried out in various locations up the mountains, which I hadn’t factored into the time required to get from one end of the mountains to the other?
I could see the sky was getting increasingly lighter with each passing kilometre and I was possibly not going to make it in time. Not only that, but there were no clouds or mist to be seen. I was also 10 minutes behind schedule, and I was meeting two other photographers, lets simply call them P1 and P2, and I certainly didn’t want to keep them waiting. Taking advantage of a red traffic light, I took the opportunity to call P1 and P2 to ascertain their whereabouts. Imagine my surprise (read horror, shock, astonishment) to find they were actually about 25 minutes behind me and would certainly not make it in time...P1 and P2 are dedicated and passionate photographers who think it quite normal to get up at stupid o’clock, drive countless kilometres simply to shoot a stunning sunrise – had they put their shoes and socks on incorrectly that morning as well?
Needless to say, it’s just as well P1 and P2 didn’t make it in time. The sunrise, while pink and pretty, was also very plain, very quick and very ordinary. This wasn’t going to be one of those Kodak moments. There was no cloud. There was no magical Katoomba mist rolling through the valley. And it was over in a matter of minutes.
Remind me again why Cosy Bed Syndrome as mentioned in a previous blog posting is a bad thing?
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
~Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon ~, originally uploaded by Adriana Glackin.
Recently I came upon a collection of surreal artworks created using simple pencil. The drawings were extremely detailed and quite large and I can only imagine the hundreds of hours taken to create each drawing. I only had time to admire about 6 or 7 of these beautiful drawings - there were so many more - and the ones I did view took my breath away. I have no idea of the age, gender or name of the artist, but I know they were very beautiful drawings that Salvador Dali would have been proud to call his own.
At the same time, I had bought a bunch of daisies I was intending to photograph. And while I did take photos of the daisies while in their prime, they remain simply 'photos of daisies' - really nothing special at all. As the daisies slowly wilted and decayed, it was interesting to see they took on the surreal features - they became very Dali-esque, with gravity dragging down the petals and flower heads. I wouldn't have considered photographing wilted daisies, thinking them too ugly, but instead seeing those wonderful surreal drawings inspired me to capture the daisies in their surreal best.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Friday, 18 September 2009
The calendar I'm excited about this year is the compilation of images taken at this year's Fifties Fair at Rose Seidler House at Wahroonga. Using a 50mm f1.8 lens, a great portrait lens, I captured candid portrait of guys and gals in their best 50's gear. Culling the several hundred images down to about 60+ was hard enough - and these can be seen on my flickr account - culling them down to 12 for the calendar was sooo difficult. So, without further ado, here is the 2010 Fifties Fair Calendar available for sale on Red Bubble:
If you would like your Fifties Fair calendar for 2010 to be customised with images from my flickr gallery, then drop me a line and let me know. And yes - Red Bubble deliver world wide and the calendar quality is excellent.
While I don't want the rest of this year to fly by, I can't wait for 2010 so I can hang my Red Bubble calendar in my kitchen for all to see!
Saturday, 12 September 2009
Create Polaroids from your photos at www.rollip.com
Shared via AddThis
It's images like this that make me wish I had a polaroid camera and film. I used the rollip website to create this, and while I'm pleased with it, it's not quite the same as the real thing.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
"A letter to a Friend about happiness" by Alexander Edwards
Let’s be honest, I spend a fair amount of time browsing through art and photography sites such as RedBubble, JPEG Magazine, Ph.Art, Onexposure and Flickr and I look at lots and lots of wonderful art created by really talented people. Sometimes I wonder how life would be different, less colourful, if I didn’t have all this art and photography at my fingertips; I guess I would be browsing through books instead. It wouldn’t be the same.
Occasionally there will be a piece that returns to mind even when I am in the midst of the most mundane of tasks, weeks after I originally viewed or read it. The piece isn’t always about the perfection of that image or writing, or whether it follows rules or not. Generally, the piece has somehow resonated with me in a way that I cannot explain.
Recently, this has happened with a new series created by Alexander Edwards. Edwards created the “Touch Series” in 2008, a series he successfully exhibited in Melbourne. His most recent series, “A letter to a friend...” is simply hand written words on blank white paper. Although simple, the words carry quite a punch, and it is these words, and the sentiments behind these words that have lingered now for weeks.
It got me thinking; there are certainly words that I can say to people in my life, words that I choose not to express, mainly because of the impact the words would have and how sometimes honesty isn’t always the best policy. Inspired by Edwards’ phrases, some of my own phrases I choose not to express are as follows:
I do what I do because it helps me forget.
* * *
I know you think I’m incapable, but when I look into your eyes I see someone who has settled for far less than they think they deserve. And you don’t realise just how obvious your resentment is.
* * *
You made me a promise and although small and insignificant, I’m still waiting for you to carry it out.
* * *
It’s sad how you hide from life and I’m not sure what it is you fear, but it’s all passing you by. Life isn’t that scary. I wish you would give it a try.
* * *
I’m sorry that all this time has passed; I thought that I had only closed my eyes for a moment. I will try harder not to miss anything more from now on.
* * *
After all these years, I realise that I am still invisible to you. Just because you can’t see me, doesn’t mean I’m not here.
* * *
It’s sad the way you live your life through the lives of so many others. Time is ticking. Stand on your own two feet and live your own life.
* * * * *
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Saturday, 15 August 2009
How to Avoid “D’Oh!” Moments in Photography - 10 Bleeding Obvious Things to Remember before your next Photoshoot.
Homer Simpson has been having “D’Oh!” moments for over 20 years, which is funny when you’re an animated cartoon character. What isn’t so funny is when you have your own “D’Oh!” moments in real life. Then those moments become frustrating and annoying and you simply can’t believe you’d be that stupid and/or forgetful. Take this week for example. I planned a morning shoot about 40 minutes from home, I organised all my gear the night before. The plan was to test the Sigma 10-20mm lens that I’m playing with. I left home at my planned time, experienced no traffic along the way, arrived at the location, set up only to discover to my horror - the lens I had planned to shoot with was not in the car – D’Oh! But wait, it gets worse. I thought I would simply go with the flow and use another lens and shoot something else entirely. So far, so good. I continued with my shoot, alternating between lenses, subjects and locations and eventually made my way home. Uploading the images from the camera, I discovered that the photos from the first location were all out of focus – WHAT?! D’Oh! I checked the lens, as I had only used it for that location, and well, what a surprise, it was set at manual focus and I hadn’t even realised. Being myopic as I am, the images looked ok and they so clearly (pun...) weren’t. To add more insult to injury, the photos aren’t out of focus enough to be “arty”. They’re just rubbish.
The photography journey is riddled with D’Oh! moments. Sometimes we just don’t want to admit to them for fear someone will tap us on our shoulder and confiscate our camera gear. I can see it now – “Excuse me madam, I think I’ll take all this camera equipment from you. You clearly have no idea what you’re doing with all this.” So, to help you avoid your own D’Oh! moments in photography, below is a list of things to remember when you’re planning and attending your next shoot. They are all obvious and straight forward, but oh so easy to overlook. So before that mystery person comes up behind you tapping you on the shoulder and requesting you hand over your camera gear, take a look at the bleeding obvious:
1. Charge the camera battery the night before.
2. Make sure the back-up battery is also charged and in your camera bag. Today’s cameras are thirsty beasts.
3. Where are the memory cards you’ll be using? Is there one in the camera? Is it empty? If not, can those images be deleted? Place your spare memory cards in your camera bag. Now.
4. Are you meeting others for this shoot? Have you confirmed the time, place and date? You don’t want to attend the shoot in your pj’s because you didn’t have time to get dressed – although, as long as you have all your gear, the others would just think you’re eccentric, I guess. Tell them you do your best work when dressed in your pj’s.
5. If you know what you’ll be using for the shoot, gather it all together in the one place, so that you can pick it all up when you’re about to leave – no distractions when you’re doing this!
6. If you shoot a variety of subjects, before you commence your next shoot, check the camera settings. Sometimes in moments of distraction, this can be overlooked and the photographic moment can be lost.
7. Do you want to focus manually or let auto focus take over? Make your selection before you commence, and don’t rely on myopic eyes to approve of the image in the viewfinder. It won’t be artily OOF, I promise you that.
8. If you’re using a tripod and your lens has “image stabiliser”, then check whether it’s on or off. It should be set to off.
9. Get into the habit of putting your equipment back in the same spot each time. My camera bag has side pockets and a few internal pockets, and I try and place the same pieces of equipment in the same places. That way, at a glance I can see whether I have something missing.
10. If you have forgotten a crucial piece of equipment and can’t possibly commence the shoot, providing it’s not a client involved shoot, then simply sit back and enjoy your surrounds. You’ve obviously driven there because it was an appealing location, so enjoy it without a camera jammed up to your eye. It will certainly make a change to what you’re used to, and you might just see things you would have other missed.
If you can think of other absolutely bleeding obvious things to remember and you’d like to share, then pop in a comment, so that we can
all laugh all learn from the bleeding obvious. Afterall, how else do we learn, but from our mistakes?
Monday, 10 August 2009
I feel very fortunate in that I've recently been able to borrow a lensbaby 2.0 to try out and have a play with. This weekend was the first opportunity I've had to have a real attempt at using this tricky little lens. I did take it away with me for the girlie weekend last weekend, but really had no idea what on earth I was doing. This week, I was able to read up a little on how to use the lensababy and have a real go at taking some photos with it.
I haven't ventured very far, just my garden and my neighbour's garden. I'm pretty pleased with the results so far - gosh, between the Black Glass, my old filters and now this lensbaby, I think I've got enough fads to last me for a while! I can't wait until next weekend to go a little further afield and see what I can do with it.
Why do I like the lensbaby? I think it's the unpredictability, the shallow dof and the other-worldly feel it has to it. It's really difficult to duplicate the same effect - well, for me it certainly is...and it's part of this photographic, learning journey that I find myself on. Visti my flickr site to see more of the lensbaby images I've taken so far.
Thursday, 6 August 2009
I recently went along to The Entrance for a weekend filled with fun and frivolity with a group of my girlfriends. Spending three nights there meant that I would have three opportunities to shoot a beach scape scene at sunrise. Living in the Blue Mountains as I do, means that here was a great opportunity to have the seaside at my fingertips. It would be a walk across the road, right? Surely it can't be easier than that?
Anyone who knows The Entrance, knows just how picturesque it is, beaches within walking distance, and even more stunning beaches if you're prepared for a ten minute drive...so you would think it would be easy, right? Wrong!
I've discovered that the time that beds are at their most comfortable, is just before sunrise. I call this the "Cosy Bed Syndrome". Suddenly, what had been an ordinary bed for most of the night, becomes a most luxuriously warm and cosy bed that simply entices you to stay within it's toasty billowy confines. Was I able to wake up for at least one sunrise? Not a chance. I slept straight through the alarm.
I've decided that those photographers amongst us who wake up at "stupid o'clock" (and never has there been a better name for it), are immune to the powers of the "cosy bed syndrome"; are insomniacs who are awake at that time anyway; sleep on timber slats, no mattress and so have no problem getting up; have partners that are chronic snorers; drank waaaay too much coffee the day before and have yet to go to bed; or even worse - are really dedicated to catching that magic moment when the sun first peaks over the horizon and will sacrifice sleep no matter what it takes.
Alas, I am not one of those photographers. I did however, manage to take myself to the beach and photograph three gorgeous sunsets. I also managed to chat with a fellow photographer (even though he way using a Nikon), and I got chatted up by septuagenarian by the name of Alistair during this time. All isn't lost, as the sunset hour is just as magical as the sunrise hour - well, from the photographs I've seen of sunrises, they're both pretty special times of day.