Wednesday, 26 August 2009

When Artwork Inspires

"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

Books I Need to Read - Aug 09

I've always had a booklist over the years, but I thought I'd start to share it online. Reading is one of those things I could do all day, everyday if only I had the chance. Sometimes I get so caught up with the story and characters that I'm reluctant to put the book down for fear of leaving the characters frozen mid-action!

Reading this weekend's papers has yielded a nice little variety of books that I'd like to get around to reading one day. Sometimes I base my selection on the reviewer's summary, as the list below shows. More often than not, a good looking book cover with beautiful typography is enough to get me interested in picking the book up and reading the back page summary.
"orange on purple" by Wiezo (available as a greeting card, wall art, canvas, framed print from RedBubble)

The House in Via Manno by Milena Agus & translated by Brigid Maher

Tainted by Ross Pennie

Lost Boy by Brent W. Jeffs

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

How we live and Why we Die by Lewis Wolpert

Tell Me No Secrets by Julie Corbin

Saturday, 15 August 2009

How to Avoid “D’Oh!” Moments in Photography - 10 Bleeding Obvious Things to Remember before your next Photoshoot.

forest of impression II, originally uploaded by Adriana Glackin.

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

Lensbaby 2.0 - A New Found Love?

LB 005, originally uploaded by Adriana Glackin.

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

Sunrise versus Sunset - The Dilemma

The Entrance at Sunset, originally uploaded by Adriana Glackin.

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 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.

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