Friday, 14 December 2012

Merry Christmas

I have been protesting for the last few weeks that I'm over Christmas. Christmas hasn't arrived and already I want it to be over. Yet, despite my protestations I find that I'm photographing all manner of Christmas things. Take a look at this week's #Project52. The theme was "On the Shelf", and I chose to arrange a pile of green and red spined books into a sort-of tree. As though that isn't enough, I wrap Christmas lights around the book tree.
Week 50 ~ On the Shelf
Still not enough to stick to one version of the Books-in-the-shape-of-a-tree-arranged-on-a-shelf theme, but I tried similar versions with "Merry Christmas" overlaid on the image and taken with Lensbaby Composer. There are other compositions that are sitting on the hard drive that may never see the light of day.

And then there are shots taken with the iPhone, all with the excuse of testing out new filters and updated apps:
Merry * Merry * MerryNo willow was harmed in filtering this iphoneograph.Do I love willow? Only if it's all retro and that.Testing the updated Flickr iPhone app :)

Yet I am still insisting I want this silly season to be over. It's too hyped, too commercial, too in-your-face, too greedy, too rude, too guilt-laden, too over-the-top. While I'm loathing the lead up to The Day, I know that the day itself will be great. It will be simple and relaxed and spent with those I love and cherish and who make me laugh.  They'll take my mind off all the crassness that has become Christmas and instead remind me of the true Christmas spirit. I hope that will also be the case for you.

So that is my Christmas wish for you. I hope you spend the day with those who are dear to you, who make you laugh, who bring out the best in you and you in them. I hope that the crassness that is now Christmas hasn't soured your spirit to the point where it spoils your day. If you're feeling like I do, let's get our narkiness over and done with now, so that we can enjoy the precious time we have with family and friends.

I won't promise anymore blog posts between now and the start of the year, so this is it for 2012. Unless I change my mind, of course. Apologies for not being up to date with the #project52 posts, but they will be caught up in 2013.

Merry Christmas and may 2013 be peaceful and joyful and fun. ♥

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

A few weeks ago I sent an email out to all the friends and contacts in my address book. I wanted to let them know that although I hadn't completely lost my mind, I was going to be undertaking a ridiculously difficult challenge in 2013. Much to my amusement, several friends contacted me to let me know that my email was spamming them. Conversation as follows:

Me: Oh hi friend!

Friend: Oh hi, ummm, I think your email is sending out spam.

Me: Oh no! Really! I'm so sorry! I hope your computer didn't get infected by any nasties!

Friend: No, nothing like that. Just some long winded email with lots of links at the bottom. No way was I going to click on those links. Pffftt!

Me: Ummm, did you happen to notice what the blurb was about? Did it happen to mention anything about a bike ride?

Friend: Now that you mention did... a 200km bike ride - No wait... you're not doing that are you? *look of astonishment followed by look of disbelief* Bhahahahaha! You are doing that!

Me: Yeh, I am, and that email isn't spam. It's a real email from me. I wrote that long winded blurb and those links go straight to my page over at the Ride to Conquer Cancer. I'm so excited, it's going to be fun and I can't wait! (and I'm not even joking here people).

Now that I've been able to clear up with a few of my friends that I am indeed doing this challenge and that the email was in no way spam, I'm not offended one little bit that some of my friends think the challenge is beyond ludicrous. (sniff...) And do you know why? Because two friends completed the challenge this year and they said it was fun, and they're never wrong about stuff that's fun. Because I will be joining three friends who have also signed up to take part in this challenge, and it's always easier to face up to a challenge when you're with your friends. Because I know that even though my friends laugh and think it's madness on my part, I know they'll support me in any way they can.

It's going to be all sorts of challenging -  physical, financial and emotional. I knew it would be emotional, but just how emotional was evident when I opened up the email to let me know that one of my friends had left wonderful words of encouragement and had already donated - I burst into tears. It's going to get a whole lot more emotional, isn't it...

So please, if you've read this far, then do me a favour and please link this on your FB, Google+, twitter or whatever your favourite social networking site is; consider making a donation (anonymously if you prefer); leave me a message of support in the comments below. I'll keep this blog up to date with how the training, and the whole process, is going. Speaking of training, that won't start up for a few more weeks due to some health things that are being finalised. Now, please clickity click on the startled housewife portrait above and view my page to find out more information about this insane challenge.

Oh, forgot to point out that there is a widget in the margin of this blog that directly links you to my page. Do visit and consider donating. Let's see if we can conquer cancer :)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Goodreads App

The regular visitors to my blog may have noticed that I no longer have the "what I'm reading" widget to the side of the blog. That's because I've discovered this great app called Goodreads. It appears to be a networking site for booklovers. You can find your friends, see what they're reading - or what they've read. You can rate and write reviews on books you've already read, add books to a wishlist for future reading, find all sorts of books based on what your friends, and strangers, have recommended. I'm sure there's a lot more you can do on there, but I love the fact that I can use the app on the computer and the iPad and keep track of books I've read and have yet to enjoy. I've recently been listening to some podcasts that mention various novels, and I've found it handy to locate them on Goodreads and add them to my list of "to read". And that's much smarter than any widget on the side of a blog.  If you haven't already joined, and you feel so inclined, then feel free to add me to your list. If joining these sorts of sites just ain't your thang, then feel free to add your favourite book in the comments below.

The above card is also available as a postcard, matted, framed and canvas print.

Note: This post is my opinion only and has not been sponsored by Goodreads, or anyone else for that matter.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Week 37 ~ Sensual

Week 37 ~ Sensual

I did say I had an exciting announcement to make, but this post isn't it. This post is going to be super short because I have things occupying my mind at the moment and it's too difficult to concentrate on much else. Plus, it's a great excuse to use for this post because I really wasn't looking forward to this particular brief ~ sensual ~ blergh, what even is 'sensual'? When you're on the wrong side of forty and the media only shows you twenty-somethings (and even younger) as the 'model' for womanhood, you do start to feel inadequate, invisible, and well and truly past it. So that every time I thought about this brief during the week, I would wince and roll my eyes and spit out "stupid senshool brief, what the hell am I going to shoot for it"... So this was the result - lensbaby, lots of blur, cropping of the face, dark and B&W. I'm simply too old, too tired, and way too worried about other things to really care. Blergh!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Week 36 ~ Movement

Filomena had a flat tyre and the august winds to contend with.

Whoever said "to kill two birds with one stone" needs a serious smack in the head because they've obviously never applied this to a photography project. Ridiculous saying that when applied to said photography project, leaves you feeling uber-frustrated and ready to pack in the whole thing. If I remember rightly, I was trying to combine the theme of the Project 52 ~ movement ~ with the sub 12 (a friendly and talented bunch of photographers over on flickr) brief of "little people". These little people are HO gauge people used by railway enthusiasts to populate the mini towns they create in their lounge rooms or garages. I mean, it would be silly to go to all the trouble to build a miniature railway setting complete with town and surrounding countryside, and not have little people to populate them. It wouldn't be normal at all, and be a bit zombie apocalype-like to not include these 2cm high humans in the settings. And yes, you read correctly, they are 2cm or so in height, if you don't believe me, then check here, here and here to see the wide variety of little characters you can buy from your favourite hobby store.

I tried to create a scene what showed both the little person and movement and I can tell you it was a most frustrating day. So much so, that when I saw the Canon Photo5 briefs this year included a "little people" brief, well I'll keep it polite and say that I simply exclaimed "oh fiddlesticks". Needless to say, I enjoy what little sanity I have and so submitted the above image to the Photo5 brief. Click here if you would like to see all my submissions for this year's Photo5.

Speaking of sanity or lack thereof, stay tuned to this blog, for an exciting and most ridiculous announcement shall be made in the coming days.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Week 35 ~ Glass

Week 35 ~ Glass II

You know, perhaps I should have combined this post with the last, as I was still enthralled with the whole capturing water thang. While this week's theme was glass, I couldn't resist using some food colouring and a fast running tap (sorry Sydney Water...) to shoot even more images of water, this time - in a wine glass! And talk about a ghetto set up, the above shot was set up in the kitchen sink with the OCF pointing to the side of the sink and bouncing onto the glasses I had set up in the sink. Of course, the blur and bokeh is due to the Lensbaby Composer, a most magical lens.

The shot below used a similar set up, this time instead of the kitchen sink, I had the wine glasses placed within a white box and bounced the OCF away from the glasses thereby diffusing the light. Using selective focus, I wanted to convey the 'barely there' qualities glass can sometimes have:

Week 35 ~ Glass III

If you are interested, the first image above is available for sale over at Red Bubble here.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Week 34 ~ Water

Week 34 ~ Water

Just when you think photography can't possibly get any more addictive, you stumble upon the water drop technique. Not having time to shoot any other forms of "water" for this week's theme, I set about trying to capture a water drop in motion. The youtube tutorial below is the one I followed - very easy to understand and you don't require a lot of fancy-dancy equipment. I highly recommend you watch it and then gather all your gear and start having some fun:

The shot required very little editing, just some curves, levels and saturation alterations. Had I not filled the 8GB card, twice, I would have happily kept shooting for the rest of the evening. A little too addictive is this capturing of falling water drops... Especially when you think the next shot is going to be The Shot... Even though the dozens and dozens of shots you've already taken qualify as being The Shot! Here's another shot from the same session:
Week 34 ~ Water

Go on, I dare you to watch the tutorial above and resist the urge to experiment with this technique! Try it out using food colouring, milk or other liquids.

These images are available for sale over at Red Bubble here and here as well as over at Artflakes, here.

PS. I know. This week is actually Week 42 and not week 34 at all. I'm simply trying to slow down time for you :)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Week 33 ~ Favourite Outfit

Week 33 ~ Favourite Outfit

This brief was a lot more difficult than I would have thought it would be. Everyone has a favourite outfit, don't they? It took me all week to think of what items I would include - the black and white dress? But which one, all three of them are nice, but they're not 'favourite' material. The red dress? No, not quite. T-shirts? Shirts? What about the french cuff shirt? Nope. In the end I chose items that I thought would look nice in a photo. Is that cheating on the brief, after all I haven't included my favourite items but items that I thought would look nice together. I knew roughly how I wanted the shot to look - like a fashion editorial that you'd see on some random blog. And to that end I hope I achieved that goal. 

And that brings me to the book I've just finished reading, "The Secret Lives of Dresses" by Erin McKean. I remember buying it a few months ago and popping it on the pile ready for reading. I had read a positive review about it and I was looking forward to it being a good read. I don't want to be negative about the book, other than to say that it wasn't the book for me. I've either mistaken this book for another one written about a similar topic (vintage dresses) or I read far too much into the review. Or maybe I'm just not enough of a fashionista and simply didn't appreciate the narrative. 

So, now I have several questions for you - do you have a favourite outfit? Do you know of another chick-lit novel about vintage dresses that you can recommend to me? Have I confused the secret lives of dresses with another chick-lit novel? Did you enjoy reading Secret Lives of Dresses?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

I'm the Guest Photographer of the Month over at "A String of Pearls"!

Yes, that's right - the lovely @JaneofAustralia asked me to be Photographer of the Month over at "A String of Pearls". Click on the above image to go and check out my first post :)

Monday, 3 September 2012

Week 32 ~ Trees

If you've been following this blog, you'll be tapping your feet and crossing your arms as you wonder why it is I drag my feet and not post the weeks as I upload the photos. You're probably thinking, goodness me, just how hard is it to open up another tab, open up my blog, type in the heading, write up a few lines in the body and then hit "publish"? See? See how easy that was?  That's what you're thinking, isn't it. And yes, it sort of is easy to do all that, but this is the internets, and you and me both know just how easy it is to get carried away when you venture into that rectangular shaped screen you have before you. One minute you're grabbing the links you need for the post, when you spy new blog posts from blogs you follow. So you go and read a post or two, perhaps even comment and most certainly read some of the other comments; then an email comes in that needs an immediate response; then that reminds you of a photo from 2010 that needs editing right this minute; of course, that's not before you laugh at some of the tumblr blogs that have just updated their content; then you go back to flickr to grab the code for the link, but you spy on the right hand side of the screen the latest people they think you should follow, so you go and check them out and while there you click on some how-to blogs they've linked to and so you read those - well, you're here, so you may as well, it would be rude not too - and then you're sent some funnies  via email and of course you can't help it, but you then look at the other funnies on that site and then forward those back to the person who sent you to the funnies in the first place. And before you know it, you haven't updated your blog, you haven't even tweeted, you haven't facebooked, but you have seen some cute kitties and watched the most hilarious youtube clips. Yes, people, we are all developing internet induced short-attention issues... in fact, I'll be surprised if you're still here hanging around and reading this far into this post. You're probably onto your third website right now, and I bet you've just liked a clip on youtube too. If you are still here, take a look at some trees. That was the brief for week 32. Trees. In nature. Relaxing. Calming. Take a deep breathe in and hold and then release. Nature. Trees. Ahhh....

Week 32 ~ Trees

Valley View Lookout, Blackheath

Oh, and if you've read this far, I'm pretty excited to announce that I'm guest Photographer of the Month over at "A String of Pearls". Look out for my posts!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Procrastinate the Weekend Away

Here it is Sunday night and I have managed to procrastinate the entire weekend away. That doesn't mean I didn't achieve anything. On the contrary, it was a most productive and social weekend. What I mean is that my long list of things to do (which is still in my head as I didn't get around to actually writing out the list) is no shorter now than it was at the start of the weekend. Or, the start of last week if I must be frank.

And I'm not going to berate myself over not getting done all the chores that need doing, as I know I will get them done. Sometimes I tend to leave things to the last minute, feel the panic, meet the deadline and then enjoy the sense of relief of another job well done, and ticked off the list, even if it is only in my head. Imagine not having the urgency that deadlines bring. Imagine just breezing through them. that.

So, what does this pear image have to do with this post? Well, that's one of my little drawings I sketched using the Procreate app and then textured in Snapseed app. How fabbo is that Procreate app!! I drew the pair of pears today when I really should have been doing at least one of the many other jobs in my mental To Do List. Never mind. There's always tomorrow.

Oh, and I'm testing the Blogsy app with this post. I have no idea if it's possible to add links, or where that pear image is being uploaded to, in fact, I don't even know if this will post correctly to my blog. I'll soon find out when I hit send....

Have a great week doing whatever it is you choose to do :)


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Week 31 ~ Books

 Week 31 ~ Books

Late again in blogging about The Project and now of course my mind is formulating Week 33 (which is proving trickier than I had thought). The theme for week 31 was "books" and you would think I'd have plenty of them at home to choose from, but I wanted to include lots and lots more books - and without having to empty the shelves and stacking the books nicely in just the right position. That would involve dusting  the shelves at some point and I'm pretty sure that's not part of The Project.

So it made sense to go to a place that has oodles of books, stacked floor to ceiling and in piles on the floor. There are quite a few second hand book shops here in the Blue Mountains and they're run by people who are passionate about their books. For this particular week's photo, I chose "Blue Dragon Books" located at the foot of the Blue Mountains. Diane is the owner, and Blue Dragon has been in Glenbrook for about 4 years, it's tucked in a little arcade and you know the doors are open by the big trolley full of books stacked by the door. I've been in a few second hand bookshops over the years and I have to say that Blue Dragon is well laid out, beautifully stocked and well lit. You can also read a great review for it here.

I set up my little corner, and tried to visualise what I wanted the final image to look like. By the way, I think this is really important  - to be able to visualise what it is you're trying to create. In my case, if I didn't do this, I think I'd still be sitting, pondering in the Blue Dragon, working out how to shoot "books".... anyway, while I was setting up, customers came and went and chatted with Diane about various titles and the merits of reading. What a great way to spend the day!

The book I'm holding up, and weighs a tonne, is titled "Faces - A Narrative History of the Portrait in Photography" by Ben Maddow. What a serendipitous find! I had asked Diane if she could think of any large book she may have in stock that would have a woman's face on the cover - and she came up with this. Not only is it perfect for the shot, but I now own it, as it's just what I had been looking for. The original owner of the book was Colleen, and her parents had given it to her for Christmas back in 1982. I'm sure she pored over the pages in the same way I am.

Camera details for the shot - I used the nifty fifty lens with the 430 exII flash mounted and bounced on the ceiling. f5.6 and iso200.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Week 30 ~ Something Funny

 Week 30 ~ Something Funny

Indeed. Something funny is definitely going on in the reality TV and modelling world. Why, you ask? Well, it seems that no one, but no one is willing to give the talented and gorgeous Ivana B. Downwright-Glamma a chance. She has sent out millions and millions of copies of her head shots to ALL of the agencies and to ALL of the reality TV production houses around the world (yes; yes she has...) and has not received one single reply. No. Not one. And I think you can see from her portrait shots I've included here, each image is a winner. To be honest, I don't understand it. I've seen a smattering of reality TV. I've seen the adverts for the Kardashians, for Jersey Shore, for that Essex mob and I've even seen tweets about The Shire, and Ivana B. can offer so much more. Viewing tastes have changed, they are less sophisticated than they once were. Perhaps that is the problem. Perhaps Ivana B.'s days of being in the spotlight were over before they even began. Not all is lost though, she is still a favourite at the Doomsbury Retirement Home for the Photogenically Challenged where she gives up her time sharing hair and make-up techniques with those who lack the skills and finesse that she so clearly has by the bucket-load. *

* Ummm...none of this is one little bit true.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A Most Prolific Blogger

Now that's what I consider I am - A Most Prolific Blogger. Except that it isn't actually true. In my imagination it is though. I have all these wonderful blogging ideas that pop into my head at the most inopportune times and I never seem to get a chance to write them down. Then of course, when I do have some spare time, do you think I can remember all those grand posts that I had mentally drafted? No. I can't even remember the witty titles I give them. I guess it's a good thing that I don't get a chance to write all those mental posts out, as you'd be here so often reading the hundreds of posts (well, maybe not hundreds, but there would be lots and lots more than you see here...)that you would never get anything else done. And then you'd have to feed your family those baked beans on toast you tell them they love so much. Again. So, really, it's a good thing that I do curb my posting here, because it was my intention all along to save you time.

However, while you're here, let's catch up on the past couple of weeks of my photo project. Week 28 was Pattern and Week 29 was The Colour Green. I had a specific sort of pattern in mind, and again time was limited; and the sort of tree fern with lush new growth that I was looking for, was nowhere to be seen. So, the image below was all I could manage to find that looked remotely lush and pattern-like.

Week 28 ~ Pattern

My usual choice of shallow depth of field in a way enhances the pattern of the leaves on either side of that tiny frond. It's not a shot I can tick off my list, but that's ok too.You don't want to tick too many off a list - goodness knows what happens when you get to the end of a list!

And then we have the lovely Miss E, being ever so patient with the finicky sunlight and clumsy, yet excitable, photographer. Dressed in Op-Shop green shirt bought for the occasion for the sum of $4.00, it was just the green I had envisaged to compliment her gorgeous red locks and green eyes.

Week 29 ~ The Colour Green II

Our afternoons are still so short at this time of year, and this is attempt no.2 to capture the image I could see in my mind. Attempt no. 1 is here, and it has a very different feel to it even though it was perhaps only half an hour later, on the previous day. If you follow the link, you'll see the lighting details for both portraits.

This week is Week 30 and the theme is "Something Funny". The shots are done and the dozens of posts, along with their witty titles, have been mentally written and the project due date is tomorrow. I have a big weekend planned, so I hope to write a quick post again before too long.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

New Beginnings

The end is where we start from ~ II

There's something in the air at the moment, as everywhere I turn, there's change of some sort going on. Some of the changes are minor, others not. Some are game changes, others not. Some are simply part of life and living and some are even exciting and squeal worthy.

This morning, Red Bubble, the website where I sell my photographic prints,  had a major site change. My day, being what it was, I didn't get to spend much time browsing there, but my initial thinking is that I quite like the new look. I've just noticed that my avatar makes me look as though I'm peering out of a porthole, and you can just see that Nutella jar I'm about to tuck into - so that is quite cool! I like the serif and slightly larger font - but that may be an age thing. Or maybe my computer suddenly has larger font...

I've also recently upgraded my camera, and this is one of the images from my first session out with it. More changes; getting used to where features are located; learning the new features.  The steep learning curve begins again. The first and last images from my beloved 50D, were of flowers. I was determined to change that pattern, and start with something a little more adventurous than flowers! (See what I did there - I forced a change upon my comfortable routine...nothing like jumping right out of the comfort zone.) Moody, misty landscape shots in the Blue Mountains National Park seemed a little more adventurous.

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
T.S. Eliot

So now, if you'll excuse me, what I need is a good night's sleep so that I can awaken tomorrow and embrace the changes that simply keep coming my way.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Linky Love #3

Goodness gracious me - how long has it been since we've had some linky love, you and I? Far too long, would be the correct answer! And really, it's not as though I haven't been browsing here and there and discovering new things; it's simply been because life and other commitments have demanded my attention. And that attention, I will now give to you.

If you have kids who find themselves home thanks to school holidays, and who also happen to love junk food - then I think this reason would be ok to break the "no junk food" rule. Just once. And while they're quiet and busy with their printing, then you should so kick back and really enjoy a coffee or two. Whatever you do though, don't feel all invigorated and try and climb the nearest water tower just because you think you can see the city better from there. Because I guarantee, it will end in tears.

Have you noticed how jaded we feel these days? You know, it's not just you and me who feel this way. It's almost everyone at one time or another. And have you noticed how easy it is to get carried away with this feeling, and be dragged down by the sheer weight of the negativity that suffocates your every positive thought? You end up growling at everyone and everything; the furrows in your forehead become so deep that the Grand Canyon is losing tourists to you; and you wake up one morning, look in the mirror and wonder just who the hell that horrid narky person staring and glaring back at you is. Well - follow this link and read the advice contained in it - you know, life doesn't have to be this tough. Really, it doesn't.

So, until the next Linky Love - smile, and be happy :)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Week 27 ~ Black and White

Week 27 ~ Black & White 

 A few weeks ago I ordered a book on the photography of Berenice Abbott and it arrived earlier this week. I'm looking forward to reading more about her, her story and to learn a little more about her photography, style and influences. So this week, I was inspired by her style of no-nonsense portraits and have tried to channel her in creating this self-portrait.

I look at some of her portraits and I'm left with lots of questions - why has she posed that person to gaze out of the frame, and this one instead to glare directly at the camera; many of the poses seem uncomfortable rather than relaxed, they are unusually cropped, and unconventional, so it leaves you with a feeling of tension - hence the questions. I hope that I have conveyed some of this tension with my example this week, and I thought it fitting that the theme this week should be Black and White.

Now, you would never know that the hat I am wearing - a gift from a dear friend - doesn't match the colour of the coat. Tee hee! Black and White photography is very forgiving of mismatched colours.

And in other news this week, one of my images was featured in the new Photographers Connection website Blog! Yeh!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Week 26 ~ Silhouette

Week 26 ~ Silhouette 

Another week completed, and this proved a little challenging. I had already planned on doing an indoor shoot due to time restrictions, it was then a matter of finding a suitable subject. A tip when shooting a silhouette is to ensure the subject's lines are simple. In fact, the simpler, the more effective the silhouette. In my example, I chose a giant dandelion - it's about the size of an orange - and I've had it sitting for months in a vase, remaining intact this whole time. Of course, it's dry and brittle and needs to be handled with care, but it was perfect for this week's challenge. Next, the lighting. I used my halogen desk lamp to point toward the seed head and kept a bit of distance between the seed head and the background. I'm determined to get the hang of the Olympus E-PM1 and really use as many of it's features as possible so I was pretty excited to find where to change the metering, and now have it set to Spot Metering. There really aren't many buttons on the camera, and the few buttons seem to double up on what they can do. It's a challenge remembering what each button does and when! But that's not a bad thing :) I then screwed on the Lensbaby macro filters as the macro function on the camera isn't really a close enough macro. Playing with different DOF and points of view, I showed a couple of friends the shortlisted images before settling on this one. It's always good to have that impartial second opinion, I find it helps me improve my photography skills.

This week's theme is "Black and White" and I'm scheming in my head, in readiness for the friday shoot. :)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Week 25 ~ Someone You Love

Week 25 ~ Someone You Love 

There was MOTH* insisting that I photograph our dog as that's the "Someone I Love", but really, I knew he saw this as his opportunity to feature in one of my photographic projects. He complained during Project365 that I didn't feature him in a photo, but that's not true at all. He was in one photo. And yes, it is also true that my dog features in quite a few of the photographs, as seen here, here and here. There are others, but I won't link you - you might see a trend developing. So during the week, I told MOTH to be prepared to pose for me, and that I wanted a standard portrait, nothing fancy dancy was required of him. What I didn't tell him was that I would actually be cropping his head out of the composition. Not because he's not photogenic, but because I think his rugby neck is more suited to having motor magazines poking out from it, like a magazine stand. (And my goodness, there are enough car magazines in the house to paper the walls so thickly that we wouldn't be able to fit in the rooms after they'd been papered. MOTH never throws out a car magazine, so if you're in need of finding out information about a particular edition of Wheels from 1982, he's probably got that so drop me a line if you need a copy of the article from page 14.) That and as I was planning the shoot, I thought it a great idea to match the Faceless Self-Portrait from back in Week 10. That way I can get them both printed and framed and hung in the bedroom for posterity.

I haven't upgraded my camera as yet, and seeing as I sold the 50D recently, I used the work camera, also a Canon, as it was more familiar to me than the Olympus Pen I have. After fiddling with all settings, taking the required shots then packing the lights and gear away, I realised that I had forgotten to set the camera to RAW. Gah! Never mind, I managed.

And in other news...I forgot to mention that my image Narrabeen Sunrise features on the Canon Academy website. How cool is that!

* MOTH - years ago, I remember reading Pat McDermott's very funny column "Family Matters", humourous tales about her family life, in the Australian Woman's Weekly. She used the term MOTH to refer to her husband. Meaning, Man Of The House, I admit that I wish I had come up with the acronym, but all credit goes to Ms McDermott. And all the other acronyms for referring to husbands - well, they just sound a little too twee. Yes, more twee than MOTH.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Week 24 ~ Sunset

 Week 24 ~ Sunset
Already a week behind and just when I had caught up with these posts! I really don't know how time is running away like this, as it feels as though it was only yesterday that I was caught up with things. I think with everything we juggle these days, our family, friends, work, hobbies - time just slips by at an ever increasing rate.

The theme for the week was sunset, and it's a shame that in the whole 7 day window, we didn't experience one of the glorious sunsets we had been seeing only a few short weeks ago. I was on my way from A to B when I realised that if I didn't stop and shoot this sunset, I wouldn't get another chance before the due date. I'm being a bit of a stickler with this project, as I want to shoot a new image for each week, rather than use an existing image (have I already mentioned that? who knows, as I can't remember what I was doing or saying on monday...)

Several weeks ago, I won an Olympus Pen E-PM1 in a HeadOn Portrait Festival photography competition, and I used it to take this photo. I have no idea about the camera settings, as I haven't had much of a chance to work out how  the controls works. And really, who has time to read the instructions... So, it's not much to look at, but it was the best I could grab in the small window of opportunity I had.

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Big Catch Up ~ Weeks 13 to 23 of #Project52

I'm biting the bullet and catching up on all the weeks I've been putting off posting due to other commitments. I've come to realise, there won't be a perfect time to catch up, so I'm grabbing what time I can, and running with it.

 Week 13 ~ Yourself with 13 things 

Starting with Week 13 ~ Yourself with 13 Things: I had made notes of the 13 items I was going to be photographed with and if I remember rightly, I'd lost the list when the time came to actually shoot the brief. Gah! As it was Easter, I grabbed a whole stack of Easter eggs and then asked one of the Teens to stand in position while I set the camera and tripod in place, then I got him to help me with the chocolate eggs, making sure that all 13 were showing. It still took enough attempts to get it right, for me to feel the chocolate warming and melting in my arms. The best part? Having all these chocolate eggs to eat. I think I'm starting to see why I love shooting food.

~ endless summer ~

Week 14 ~ Sunflare: We spent 10 glorious days on the Mid North Coast of NSW and I love the countryside in this area. The flat and lush countryside is dotted and dashed with majestic Moreton Bay Figtrees and typical country fence lines. If there's a downside to the country roads in the area, it would be their narrowness, preventing the enthusiastic photographer from stopping and setting up camera and tripod to take advantage of the Australian country scenery. However, exploring some of the back roads, I happened to stumble upon some laneways that were just what I was looking for. I had to wait for the sun to dip below the clouds so that I could catch the glare and while I waited, a neighbouring farmer came over to see what I was doing. Once I clarified that I wasn't on a secret mission from the government to photograph some super-dooper secret project, and that instead it was a weekly photographic project, I was offered a cup of tea - such is the country hospitality! I politely declined as the sun was just about to appear below those pesky clouds and I didn't want to miss the opportunity. Tick - another week done.

Week 15 ~ Hands

Week 15 ~ Hands: Other than perhaps a baby's hands, there's something just as special about old hands; the work they've done,  the letters they've written, the fatigue they've felt, the love they've embraced and perhaps even lost. Mr and Mrs K's hands were perfect for what I had in mind. Mrs K posed for me quite a while back, as her feet were just what I was after at the time. This time, her hands fitted the bill and I've told her that one day, I may even get around to photographing her portrait!

Week 16 ~ Animal

Week 16 ~ Animal: I've been wanting to do a Before and After bath time shot of our little dog for quite a while. I have to say, that's why I love projects like this, as they force you to get around to taking the shots you've had in mind but never seem to getting around to taking. Our little dog hates having a bath - as you can read from his expressions! I did make these shots even harder for myself by using the Lensbaby Composer and f2.8 aperture disk - talk about making life tricky!

Week 17 ~ technology

Week 17 ~ Technology: So it looks as though I'm continuing the diptych/triptych thing for another week, but in this week's challenge, I wanted to show the technology from 3 cameras. The image on the left was taken with my Canon 50D looking at a Kodak duaflex camera looking at my iPhone. And the iPhone had the camera app switched on so you can see it looking at the Kodak. The image on the right was taken using my iPhone. When the Duaflex first came out in the middle of last century, I wonder who could foresee that a compact camera would also be able to make phone calls, have all sorts of information available at the tap of a couple of keystrokes, allow you to play silly games with friends from far and wide, and listen to your favourite music! Wouldn't you love to know how the camera will evolve next?!

Week 18 ~ Long Exposure

Week 18 ~ Long Exposure: Here's another reason why I love technology and the iPhone and all those software developers who come up with all sorts of apps to keep people like me from getting anything sensible done. Now I know there's "Art" and then there's "art" and I'd like to think that the humble Slow Shutter App has managed to capture something that is closer to the former than the latter. If I remember rightly, that week was pretty hectic and with little creative time available,  I have been finding that more and more, when all else fails, I turn to the iPhone camera apps to help me out. Other than some minor colour tweaking and then mirroring and piecing the images together, the Slow Shutter App performed amazingly well. It helped create just the image I had imagined.

Week 19 ~ Shoes

Week 19 ~ Shoes: Anyone who knows me knows I love shoes and when I saw these shoes a few months back, I knew I didn't need an occasion in order to buy them. I mean really. Look at them. They have silver glitter soles! I really don't think I need to go into any other explanation here. And they were on sale.

I heart tea and biscuits

Week 20 ~ Bokeh: If ever there was a photographic match made in heaven, it would be the Lensbaby and Bokeh coupling. Adding an aperture disk I had made with an old fridge magnet and punched with a heart craft punch, the only other element needed was the obligatory fairy lights in the distance to really showcase the shaped bokeh.

Week 21 ~ something pink

Week 21 ~ Something Pink: I'm sorry, but I really don't like the colour pink and I struggled for inspiration for this theme. Many thanks to the very patient Miss M who was more than happy to pose surrounded by pink doughnuts and marshmallows and pink coloured sugar. To be honest, I have no idea what I had in mind and that is clearly reflected in this sickly pink concoction. I had flashes going off left and right and it was all very high key and yet.....never mind. Pink never was my colour.

Week 22 ~ Flowers

Week 22 ~ Flowers: Back in my comfort zone of shooting flowers, I really needed to put the pink pastiche behind me! And I can tick another "To Do" off my list, as I've wanted to shoot a bunch of roses from this perspective for a while now. Some weeks are simpler than others and my constant aim is to always shoot a new image for the week.

Week 23 ~ Close Up I

Week 23 ~ Close-Up: Well, well, wouldn't you know it. Another flower. This time a teensy tiny tea rose. I really am pressed for time at the moment, with a hundred and one things calling for my attention and unfortunately some things have to give. The batteries for my flash gave up during this shoot and the spares were also flat. Oops, forgot to charge them. I have to say, it was quite a meditative exercise, shooting the tea roses, and I would have continued, had it not been for the flash failure. Never mind.

And with that, I think I'm caught up. Apologies it's taken so long to post and that it is now so long to read. I miss regular blogging, but you'll be pleased to know I do a lot of in-head blogging, for all that's worth ;) . And I really do need to try harder in future ;)

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Drawing Day 2012

So, it's that time of year again where we take the time to doodle, draw, jot and generally immerse ourselves in this pursuit of picture creation. If you're like me and drawing isn't really your thing, then the last time you drew something may have been a while ago. Or maybe you say you can't draw, yet find yourself addicted to that "Draw Something" game! Whatever your talents, it's that time again - International Drawing Day where the goal of  1,000,000 drawings on the Drawing Day website is once again set.

 Drawing Day 2012

This year, the promotion for this event has been a little quiet (at least I think it's been quiet - there's been barely a mention in social media about this), in fact I really only stumbled upon it by chance last night before heading to bed. Maybe we're all preoccupied with life, that we simply don't have time to indulge in some downtime. And that's a sad thing indeed.

I went to bed wondering what I was going to draw today, and in that in-between stage of sleeping, dreaming and being awake, I had this little vision of a girl in a mouse hole and decided to try and draw her - thankfully, I remembered this morning and set myself the task. It took me quite a few hours to draw this, and I don't find the whole drawing thing a comfortable past time, yet I force myself to focus and push out of my comfort zone no matter what. I know the perspective isn't quite right and neither is the shadowing but this is pretty much what I saw sometime during the night. Drawn on plain photocopy paper and using a HB pencil I then scanned it into PS then spent some time digitally colouring it.
Drawing Day 2012 colour
 A while ago, I stumbled upon the following sites that will hopefully inspire you to pick up the nearest writing implement, paper and start getting creative. You may even enjoy the process :)

Super Obvious Secrets That I Wish They’d Teach In Art School
Never Be my Friend
Dead Flies Art
Draw 23   
Big Sharpie Doodle 


Don't forget to upload your drawings to the Drawing Day 2012 site - have fun!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Week 12 ~ Something New

This week I wanted to try a new technique and go for something a little abstract - photographing oil, water, food colouring and glycerin. I didn't have any specific objective in mind, other than to create something totally abstract, and after a ridiculous number of shots, settled on this one as the Photo of The Week. Originally, the colours were yellow-orange, but after staring at them for so long, I had to change their colours over in PS! And, this made it to #281 on Flickr's Explore!

Week 11 ~ Something Old

still life with vegetable (portrait)
I am way behind in updating this blog with my Project 52 ramblings! But I am determined to catch up on the missed weeks, starting with the theme of Something Old. I’ve been listening to photography podcasts while doing major pruning in the garden – and can I say it’s the best way to get a job done, as you’re engrossed with listening to the podcast, and it’s easy to get carried away. Hence the major pruning! Anyway, back to the podcasts. I’ve been listening about the technique called “pre-visualisation” which is where you see the scene in your mind’s eye before you even begin to create it. Certainly with the theme for Week 11 – something old - the first thing I saw was heirloom tomatoes – I wanted to create a still life featuring these gorgeous and knobbly fruits. There was one major problem – over the course of two days, I visited no less than seven greengrocers looking for these tomatoes, and I was completely out of luck! The season had finished and all I could get my hands on where the miniature ones – that don’t actually look too different to the conventional cherry tomatoes.  So I compromised - if I could find “old fashioned” looking vegetables, maybe I could create a still life setting using vegetables and herbs you would use in an old fashioned vegetable soup.  I bought a selection of less than perfect looking vegetables and herbs and arranged them in a casual way (which takes a ridiculously long time to get right!), I added an old cookbook, complete with my childhood doodles filling some of the pages, then set about organising the lighting.  I think I achieved an “old” looking still life arrangement and it might be a stretch of the theme, but it’s all about making do with what you have at the time.
still life with vegetable (landscape)

I’m determined to shoot a new image for the week, rather than go through my archives in search of an image that will fit the theme. I’m sure this isn’t a pre-requisite, simply something I have set for myself.

Lastly, did I mention that my image “Narrabeen Sunrise” won the Canon EOS Hero Chain a few weeks back!I know! How exciting!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Week 10 ~ A Faceless Self-Portrait

Still Life with the Faceless Woman

I'm running behind with my posting, as this is already week 12... Week 10's theme was "a faceless self-portrait" and I really did take it quite literally.  The image is made up of 3 separate images: the flowers in vase image, one of me sitting in a chair and one of the decorative paper. All images were then composited in PS where several more texture layers and a border were added. I was really happy with the final result, as I don't do a lot of this sort of compositing. It's always a buzz when the image in my head matches the result on the screen. As an added buzz, the group on Facebook that I follow and who is running this Project52, Photographer's Connection, chose my portrait for their image of the week - you have to be pleased with that!
Image used as cover image for the group!

The image is available as a greeting card, canvas, mounted print, poster, or framed print over at Red Bubble.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes

Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes
Decorated with store bought and prepared icing mixture. This is optional.
Phew - now that's a mouthful of a recipe name and I thought I'd share this variation with you. Several weeks ago, the Teen was having a birthday and at his request I baked some mini Oreo cheesecakes. Now, I have to say that Oreos aren't my favourite biscuit, so I wanted to try an alternative cream biscuit and see whether the result would be as popular in our household.

To start with, I found the Mini Oreo Cheesecake recipe over at the Hey Gorgeous Blog and I've made this version a few times - they never last long in our house. For my version, I chose Arnott's Raspberry Shortcakes, but any round cream biscuit will do. I would have chosen Arnott's Monte Carlos but their oval shape meant they wouldn't sit nicely in the round patty tins.

Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes
Tip: Place the patty tins inside muffin pans or the mixture will distort the thin paper patty tin and you'll end up with an oddly shaped mini cheesecake.

Making the Raspberry Shortcake version, simply substitute the 2 packs of Oreos for 2 packs of Raspberry Shortcakes. As I don't have a food processor, crushing the biscuits means placing them in a zip-lock bag and bashing them with a rolling pin. That will definitely crush the biscuits to the right consistency but what makes these biscuits differ to the Oreos creamy centres is their jam centres - they won't crush due to their gelatinous nature. I didn't let that deter me as I placed the jam centre on top of the shortcake biscuit already in the base of the patty tin.

Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes
The gelatinous centres of the Raspberry Rounds - added an extra sweetness to this mixture.
For my next dastardly trick, and this is to ensure that I get to sample these mini cheesecakes, I also threw in a handful of sultanas. Obviously, if your family likes sultanas in their cakes and slices, this trick won't work and you'll have to think of something else to add that only you enjoy (eg carob and/or dark chocolate buttons, extra coconut, perhaps some cinnamon...).

 Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes

There are so many variations possible with this simple yet delicious recipe. Grab a couple packs of your favourite round cream biscuit then follow the link and start baking.

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