Thursday, 30 December 2010

Farewell to 2010

Penrith Panthers Fireworks 2009 - Diptych II

2010 is drawing to a close. It's been an eventful year, lots of surprises and wonderful experiences. I have no idea what 2011 will bring, but am looking forward to a small break in early January from my photography projects. My camera needs a much needed service and I'll use that time to reflect on the year that was.

If you've come across this post, then I'd like to wish you a very Happy New Year.  May 2011 bring you health, happiness, love and adventure. May you be surrounded by those you love and may you look upon each day with wonder and excitement.

See you in 2011!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Calling All #Project365 Photographers!

Day 307 of 365
If you’re like me and you started this project on the 1st January this year and you’ve yet to skip a day, then that means you’re coming to the end of the project – HOORAY! But, what next?

This project has been extremely challenging, frustrating, frightening, hilarious, interesting, and educational as well as the biggest time thief ever. I’m counting down the days until this is over. I’m trying really hard not to waste the last days with low quality images – I want to continue pushing out from my comfort zone as this was one of my goals when commencing this project. The challenge now, is to plan “what next”. I can discount another year of #project365 – I truly couldn’t imagine anything worse!

I’d like to hear from you, fellow #project365’ers. How have you found this project? Is it what you thought? Have you learnt anything from it? Did you take it seriously, or was it more of a lark? Are there any tips you’d like to share with your fellow #project 365’ers? What will you do when you complete your project? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and maybe you can include a link to your project so I – and others – can check out your gallery.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Book Review: "Open - An Autobiography" By Andre Agassi

Let me start by stating that I’m not a tennis fan. I can count on one hand the number of tennis games I’ve watched on TV. I did attend a tennis match. Once. I can’t remember who the players were, but I seem to think that one was a mover and shaker at the time and his name now escapes me. I have had about a dozen tennis lessons in my life but I wouldn’t even consider myself a “hit and giggle” player, more a “miss and stamp your feet” sort of player.
© original image by Adriana Glackin
I had heard this book was good, an enjoyable read, so when I came across it , and saw the front cover - the piercing eyes on the front cover are difficult to ignore - I picked up a copy.  I originally bought this book for MOTH* so he would have something to read on a recent long flight but the book wasn’t removed from the in-flight bag. Not wanting to waste a book, I picked it up, read it and enjoyed it.

The candid, frank and open manner the book is written makes for a very easy read. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re a tennis fan or even an Agassi fan. While the tennis facts aren’t exactly “glossed over” in this book, they’re not the dominant part of the book. The candid manner of the book can mean that a whole tennis tournament is over in a breathless and fast-paced paragraph; other tournaments can take a lot longer but as breathless and exhausted Agassi was at the end of those tournaments, so will you be at the end of the narrative.  The tennis is just the means; the emotions, the thoughts, the feelings are what dominate this story.

I couldn’t put the book down – Will Agassi’s antics get him kicked out of tennis school? Will he win the latest match? And what about the tournament? Will he retire at the end of the season? How long can he keep playing top grade tennis for? And the mullet was really a toupee? (thank you BS for convincing him to get rid of that thing).  Of course, if you’re an Agassi fan, you would know all the answers to the above questions without having to pick up the book.  What you will get from this book is an insight into the joy and the pain of the journey of one man’s extraordinary tennis-driven life.  A journey that Agassi has struggled with and is perhaps only now coming to a point of peace and acceptance as he is perhaps finally free to follow his passions – his family and school.

*Man Of The House

Monday, 8 November 2010

Where do you get images to decorate your blog?

Blogging is so easy and accessible that it’s no wonder so many keep blogs these days. You don’t need to know computer code in order to start a blog and there are so many blogging platforms to choose from, many of them free.  Once you set up your blog, and start writing content, you’d probably like to add the occasional image to brighten up the blog for your reader.  But where do you get the images from?   You could supply your own images for your own blog or - many bloggers turn to Google.  The trouble is, just because an image is on Google, it doesn’t mean it’s free for you to use.  As a photographer, I understand that the moment I upload an image of mine onto the internet, the chances of someone else using that image without my authorisation is possible and there is nothing I can do to my images to prevent unauthorised use from occurring. If I saw this as a huge problem, I would simply choose not to publish my photographs online.  While I do choose to publish my photographs online, I would like to have a choice where and how I see my photographs displayed.  Take the image below as an example.

Using the Tin Eye Reverse Image Search, I was able to search for my image and see where else on the internet my image would pop up.  I found the image in no less that 8 other blogs from around the world.  While I feel very flattered that they felt my image best reflected their blog posting, my name as the creator of the photograph was annoyingly missing. The other issue is that while the photograph was “clickable”, it led to a large version of the photograph and not to my website - grrr.  Had the blog writer linked back to my website AND mentioned the title of the image AS WELL AS my name, then I probably wouldn’t have a problem with my photograph being used on their blog. Remember – I’m very flattered, but I’m also annoyed that I haven’t received credit for that photograph. 

So, my tips for image use are:
  • 1.       ASK the creator of the image if you can LINK the image to your blog.  It may also be necessary to send a copy of the post you intend to use with the image in question.  The photographer/artist will want to ensure their image isn’t being used to promote hatred, vilification, pornography etc.
  • 2.       Ensure that you clearly label the image with the TITLE of the image and NAME of the artist and that it links back to their website.
  • 3.       At the end of your blog post, it might also be a good PR tip to note that the image used was with the “Permission of ARTIST” and again make it a clickable link.
  • 4.       If you can’t find the creator of the image, probably best to find another image – or use one of your own images.
  • 5.       If you’re in a hurry to post your blog and simply can’t wait to hear back from the artist/photographer, then ensure the image is LINKABLE to the artist’s website and note in the blogpost that you are “Awaiting permission from ARTIST” to use the image.  

A strong word of caution – I have a fairly relaxed attitude to usage of my photographs as you can see by the tips above, but not all photographers and artists share my relaxed point of view.  It is with extreme caution that you undertake to use someone else’s image without their authorisation. Not only will some photographers/artists use all their legal might to ensure you remove their image from your blog, they will also contact the likes of Google, Blogger, Wordpress and inform them of the image theft that has taken place.  The likes of Google, Blogger, Wordpress and others take a very dim view of image theft and they can, and will close your blog down. And all because you didn’t use your manners and ASK...So people, just because we live in the modern world, let's not forget our old fashioned manners. Do the polite thing - Ask and Link! Happy blogging.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Have You Started Your Christmas Shopping Yet?

Yes, no, maybe, you don't want to think about it? 

Well think about this - until 14th November 2010, Red Bubble have are having a sale - 
15% off all my works when you use the voucher code 

Remember, this code will only work on my photographic art items.

Monday, 28 June 2010

How to Add Texture to Your Photographs - a simple tutorial

I’m always asked how I add textures to my images, so I thought I would write a quick and simple recipe for you with a before and after photographic example. I use my own textures, however in this example I have downloaded some free textures from Isabelle LaFrance Photography.  Isabelle has free textures as well as free actions on her blog, so go and pay her a visit.

Here is the image BEFORE:

Step 1: Download the Free Texture Pack from Isabelle’s Website and save them onto your computer.

Step 2: Open up your Photograph. I’m using Photoshop, but I’m sure you can adapt these instructions to suit Elements.

Step 3: Open up “Burst – Free” texture that you’ve downloaded and change the colours using “Colour Balance”. I altered the colour from the original terracotta/green to a blue/fuchsia.

Step 4: Add the “Burst-Free” layer to your image. (Right click on the layers dialogue box and select “Duplicate” and select the image destination you would like the texture image to be sent to).

Step 5: Go back to your original image. It should now have the “Burst – Free” layer over the top. Resize if necessary. Set this layer to “Soft Light” and to about 63% Opacity.

Step 6: Open up “Organic – Free” texture and once again change the colours to suit. I altered the colour from the original mushroom to a turquoise.

Step 7: Add the “Organic – Free” layer to your image. Resize if necessary and set the layer to “Soft Light at about 60% Opacity.

Step 8: Duplicate the Original image and position this on top of the two textured layers.  Change this layer to “Black & White” (Go to Image – Adjustment – Black & White) and set this layer to “Soft Light” at 100% Opacity.

Step 9: Open a Curves layer mask and create a very slight S-curve – to suit your taste.  And you’re done!

Step 10: If you are posting the image up on the web, and you’ve used other people’s images – then don’t forget to give credit with links back to their site.

Here is the image AFTER:
beauty is a fragile gift

Please Note: The “recipe” will alter with each and every image as well as each texture layer you apply.  While setting it to about 60% Soft Light works in this example, in another example, Overlay at 20% may be the effect you’re after.  The trick is to experiment; there is no right or wrong way to apply layers. Of all the layer effects, I tend to use Soft Light, Overlay, Hard Light, Multiply and Darken the most.

If you have any questions, then please leave a comment and I will try and answer it for you.  In the meantime - Enjoy! :-)

Blowing in the Wind? Where are you Heading?

the wind

It's funny how some days when I'm trying to capture an image for my #project365, I shoot a back up image that is nothing like the theme I'm working on.  Today was one of those days. I'm happy with both images from today's little adventure, yet only one can be chosen for the project.  This image is my back up and I've added one of those little inspirational quotes that we need to hear every so often in order to remind us about where we're heading. Where am I heading? I'd like to complete this #project365 - that's where I'm heading. Where are you heading?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

One Week Only - SALE @ RedBubble

It's SALE time over at RedBubble! For one week only, you can receive 20% off your Calendar, Greeting Card and Postcard purchases.  The lovely people over at RedBubble have made it possible to set the starting date on your calendar. That means if you want to get a head start with your Christmas shopping, then buy your calendars this week and choose "January 2011" as your starting date.  Or you may realise that you don't have a calendar in the house (how did that happen?) , again order your calendar this week and choose "July 2010" as your starting month.

Don't forget Greeting Cards and Postcards - yes people still do write them and send them and RedBubble have so many cool and amazing designs.  The slideshow above shows just some of my designs, but you may prefer:

Whatever you prefer, you have only until 23rd June 2010 to get your 20% off.  Please use the following Promotional Code during the checkout process:


And - pssttttt! Feel free to pass the code on - don't just keep it to yourself.  Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Autumn colour in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

autumn colour I, originally uploaded by Adriana Glackin.
Autumn in the Blue Mountains is the best place to be to see amazing deciduous colour that changes with each passing day. Depending on where in the Blue Mountains you visit, this riot of autumn-toned colour can start as early as April, in the upper mountains and extend through to June in the lower mountains. There’s a wide variety of deciduous trees, from liquid ambers, Chinese Tallowood, Japanese maple, crepe myrtle, all have their own rich autumn tones. If you’re a fan of autumn colour and you enjoy a certain briskness in the air, then come along to the Blue Mountains – or your favourite autumn location – and marvel at the spectacle that is what makes autumn so awesome!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Can You Survive the Weekend with Just One Camera Lens?

Mudgee vineyards, originally uploaded by Adriana Glackin.

That was the question I asked myself when deciding on a last minute weekend trip to Mudgee. We would be surprising friends already out there, non-photographer friends, at that. I knew the agenda would be packed with wine tasting, shopping and eating – my friends are quite organised and had already planned their weekend with the various places to visit. So, did I really need to take all my gear? And what lens to take? What if I took the wrong lens? I then asked myself some more questions –

1. What was the purpose of the weekend away?
2. What was the reason for taking the camera?
3. What lens would best suit the purpose of question one?

Upon answering those questions, I decided on taking the 17-85mm lens, no back-up battery and only one CF card. Now that’s living life on the knife’s edge! Or is it? The purpose of the weekend was to spend time with those friends and the photography would only be a very small part of our weekend. I really only needed to take two photos – one for each day away as part of my Project365, so I certainly didn’t need to fill an 8gb card with endless photos; and as we were in some very picturesque country, it made sense to take the very versatile 17-85mm (as much as I would have loved to take the Lensbaby!)

I have no regrets. I achieve my photography goals with battery life and room on the CF card to spare. It actually felt quite good not to be lugging around all that gear and it made me really think about the photographs I would be taking. I tried to maximise the capabilities of the 17-85mm and it was quite freeing not having to worry about swapping this lens for that. Importantly, it meant that I could spend time with my friends and that’s what the weekend was all about.

Mind you, I would love to organise a weekend away in Mudgee with a group of fellow photographers – and in that case, the answers to my questions above would yield very different results!

Monday, 19 April 2010

How do the serious photographers enjoy their holidays?

Sunrise at The Gap, originally uploaded by Adriana Glackin.
I ask this question because I’ve just spent 10 days away on holidays with family and friends, and of course much of my camera gear. At the start of this year I also undertook the Photo-a-Day project and was looking forward to the family holiday even more than I normally do – I would be able to take advantage of the wonderful location AND submit stunning images for each excuses.

 There would be no excuses about no time, or being too busy, or couldn’t think of what to shoot, or being too tired, or no props, or there’s nothing exciting to shoot. Nosirree, no excuses – I would be surrounded by fresh scenery – beaches, bush, pastureland, dairy farms, and quaint country towns – gosh, I was even planning the shots in my head as we drove to our holiday destination. That is, until I got there. The minute I stepped out the car, I immediately went into holiday mode. All I wanted to do was go to the beach and have fun with my family and friends; all day and every day. There were days that I really struggled to even take the camera out of its bag as it would mean time away from my family and friends. Stealing myself away from them made me resent the project and resent the commitment I’d made to myself about completing it.

 I then got to thinking – how do the really serious photographers go while on holidays? Do they even have holidays? Do they struggle to have a good time? Do they switch off from all things photographic? Or do they have their cameras around their necks no matter what? Is every moment a photographic moment? What is a holiday to a serious photographer? And is that the difference between a wannabe and a serious photographer – that there’s no such thing as a holiday as every opportunity is a photo opportunity? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. How do you juggle the fun times with photographic times while you’re on holiday? Needless to say there are many photos I didn’t take, which really is just as well as we’ll be returning again next year.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Dear Blog,

raindrops from heaven I, originally uploaded by Adriana Glackin.

How are you? Well, I'm fine, doing really well actually.

I'd like to apologise to you though. Have you noticed, I haven't been here too often? I'm so sorry I've been so lax in keeping you up to date with things. You know I couldn't work out why I wasn't spending more time here with you, and then I realised what it is that has been keeping me away from you - and it's the Project 365. That's right, not only am I composing a photograph a day, I'm also writing a little story to go with each image. It seems that I'm using up all my words in a place other than you. I'm so sorry. I do apologise. I'll try and make an effort to visit and keep you updated with stuffs. I've included a pretty picture for you to look at.

And please remember, it's not you, it's me.

Yours always,
Adriana :)

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Book Review - "time of my life" by Allison Winn Scotch

book review

I love books and find I immerse myself in them, getting totally lost in the narrative.  I’m going to tell you about the latest book I’m reading, called “time of my life” by Allison Winn Scotch.  Thanks to another great pick from @hemymusic (the first book being “Hollywood Ending” by Kathy Charles – please read it, it’s great)  I have totally immersed myself in this book – to the point where having only about 20 pages to go, it is with mixed emotions that I read it to the end.  The characters and their lives are so interesting and enjoyable and their problems are so like our own, that it seems a shame to say good bye to them so soon.  Surely that’s a mark of a good book...

Basically, the story is a little like this – Jillian, the main character finds herself in the life that is a little too suburban, shall we say.  She’s married, has a child, a beautiful home, lovely friends...but is this it? Is this really as good as it gets?  Fantasising about how life would have been different had she made other choices earlier on, she manages to find herself in the situation where she can change her life’s direction.  Of course, such a twist in the story comes with its own problems – how will the writer handle Jillian’s situation and the sequence of events, will they be cheesy, will they be predictable, will they be unrealistic or over the top?  Thankfully, the characters and their encounters are none of these.  The warm, friendly and candid style of writing means you could almost be listening to a friend speak with you about her problems; there’s a genuineness about the characters and a realistic and somewhat humourous portrayal of their problems - qualities that make the story so engaging.  Jillian is, after all like many mothers who discover their lives are so very different once babies come along.  Often feelings of “is this it” aren’t talked about during pre-natal classes or even in mother’s groups, the subject being taboo.  And of course, there’s the old adage of “be careful what you wish for” to contend with.   I’ve really enjoyed how this little talked about topic has been treated in this book.  It’s been given a certain lightness so it’s not depressing, whilst at the same time it’s a serious situation the character find herself in, with some very serious consequences.

It is with reluctance, trepidation and excitement that I will complete those last 20 pages tonight.  Reluctance that I will no longer be reading about Jillian’s life; trepidation that the last 20 pages are going to rush through to the conclusion leaving me feeling a little ripped off – so much action happening in so few paragraphs (why do some writers do that? Rush through the ending?)hopefully it won't be the case in this book; and excitement, how will Jillian’s life choices be resolved. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 1 February 2010

How different Photographic Treatments change the look of a Subject

Take a bunch of hydrangeas, a hand painted ceramic bowl, a string of pearls, a cedar table, some floaty organza and a couple of torches.  Add to this mix your favourite camera equipment and your editing skills.  Get busy and arrange the items in a pleasant fashion. And now experiment!

In the first photograph, a standard 50mm lens – the plastic fantastic, diffused torchlight, and a long exposure of a couple of seconds was used.  The diffused torchlight was used to “paint” the light onto the hydrangeas.  The brightness, contrast, levels were then adjusted in Photoshop to get this final results.

Still Life Hydrangeas - straight photo

There’s a real trend toward adding textured layers to photographs these days.  Adding textures really changes the feel of the photo.  It somehow ages the photo, giving it a real retro/grungy/moody look.  I recommend you shoot your own textures or if you really prefer, you can obtain free textures by simply searching Google for “free textures”.  I’ve used 3 different texture layers (my own) to the original image, and have blended them using varying opacities and blending modes.   I find I use overlay, soft light, hard light and multiply the most.

still life hydrangeas - textured

This image is identical to the image above - it has been layered with textures to change it's appearance to a more moody and vintage look.
This final image was shot using a very different technique – in fact it’s a blend of two techniques that I enjoy – the dreamy Lensbaby and the Through the Viewfinder techniques are absolute favourites of mine.  Different brands of Twin Reflex cameras will also yield varying results.  So, in these final two images, I used the Lensbaby Muse with the +4 macro filter; I inserted that into the “tube of darkness” which directly points to the viewfinder on the top of the Twin Reflex Camera.  Using the Muse lens, really softened the overall look of the image and the square format plus some cross-processing, gives it an aged appearance.  Follow this link if you’d like to know more about the Through the Viewfinder technique.

Hydrangea TtV - argus
Through the Viewfinder using Lensbaby Muse +macro 4 filter and Argus Argoflex Camera

Day 31 of 365
Through the Viewfinder using Lensbaby Muse + macro 4 filter and Kodak Duoflex Camera

Coming Soon - How to apply textures to your images.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Canon 50D - Noise Problems

Back in July 2009, I bought my Canon 50D and so far I’ve very much enjoyed the photographic journey.  My photographic tastes are eclectic – I don't to stick to any one genre of love all sorts from close ups, or using a lensbaby, doing long exposures, seascapes, landscapes, portraits, abstracts.  I enjoy checking out what other 50D owners produce with their camera, you can learn a lot from talented photographers who use the same equipment.  So it was a little disturbing to come across various forums around the web that discuss noise issues with the 50D.  I was alerted to this by Simone Byrne (please go immediately and check out her seascapes and landscapes – they are to die for!) Simone and I managed to upgrade our camera gear at about the same time, so I keenly view her work and hope that one day I can display the skill levels, commitment and passion that she does when it comes to photography.  If ever there was a case of it being the person and not the gear who is responsible for the photograph, then Simone definitely fits this saying!

Anyway, back to the noise issue with the Canon 50D.  Simone, like many others, is experiencing serious noise issues, while I am not.  Have a look at the following forums to see some lively discussions.  

There seems to be a few opinions to explain the noise, but one thing seems clear - you’re either experiencing noise, or you’re not – there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.  Are there faulty batches?  Is there a patch that can solve the issue?  Are Canon aware of the problem and what are they doing to keep their Canon fans happy?  

I’ve done my own little experiment and have included the results below.  Please judge for yourself, and feel free to leave a comment letting me know how you’re going with your Canon 50D camera.

Umina Rocks early overcast evening ISO 100

Umina Rocks early overcast evening ISO 250

Umina Rocks early overcast evening ISO 400

100% ISO 100

100% ISO 200

100% ISO 400

I didn't bother with experimenting with higher ISO's in this instance. No noise reduction, whether in-camera or during editing, has been used.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Day 1 of 365

Day 1 of 365, originally uploaded by Adriana Glackin.

Happy New Year. The first day of 2010 is warm, humid and drizzly. This is Sydney summer, changeable yet glorious. What better way to mark the first day of the New Year than to record a blurry image, reminiscent of how some saw in the New Year - through the blur of their champagne flutes. You can just see the rain level in the rain gauge where we've received some much needed rain.

I look forward to this experience and I hope it doesn't go the way of most New Year's resolutions... :)

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