Sunday, July 06, 2008

My Scrap Mojo is Back, Baby!

It is so true that you have to make time to have a hobby, well, a hobby other than white cheddar popcorn snacking while watching Top Model. In creativity it also takes staying in it, both in your own production of creative material and being inspired by seeing what others are producing, to stay sharp.

So, here is a new production of mine -- a new personal fave -- and a new inspiration, a fantastic photographer who I never knew until today. Interestingly, as I sometimes have happen, I found out about a great photographer through a digiscrapping thread.

Credits: overlay from Shannon Fahrnbach's Make a Paper Scrapbasics
paper from Audra Little's Family Traditions kit

Check out the beautiful photographic artistry of Irene Suchocki:
Irene Suchocki

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Maple Syrup Time!

Outside the sugar shack

I love the soft borders between winter and spring that occur where I live: the snow melting into glistening water droplets falling from branches, the first chirps of returning birds, and the reemergence of the best sugar product out there, maple syrup. When I was a child I remember my first trip to the sugar bush and how a simple, delicious treat was created by pouring syrup on fresh snow; better than anything from a store. The tradition has continued with trips back to the bush with my own children: they are run in conservation areas and those are maintained by the sale of maple treats at the end of the educational tour. For kids, and their parents, there is no downside! In this case, I will own up: I used the auto setting on my camera because mother nature provided perfect light and Photoshop let me add the finishing touches once I was back home.

Enjoying maple lollipops

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Winter's Beauty

In Toronto we are used to snow (and any Canadians from anywhere else can bite their tongues--I know what you're thinking), but this year has been exceptional. The last time I remember this much was more than a decade ago, pre-digital camera, when I shot beautiful photos of the piles taller than me with my Pentax K1000. It's been a banner year again for both snow and the easy, beautiful photos that come with it. Here is one to share and, later, to scrap; can't wait!

ISO 200, F3.6, 1/320th

Friday, November 23, 2007

Blogging and Baking Don't Mix!

Almost two months since this blog has been updated? How did that happen? Oh wait, I know: children, school, tripping over toys, teaching, scrapping, printing, and baking. Baking and blogging are definitely not a mixing combination. My blog won't fit in a KitchenAid mixer and butterfingers typing on the keys makes for an expensive repair job. C'est la vie, n'est ce pas?

The good news is that baking does make for great photographs and fun layouts so I am back to blog a new one.

On a side note, why is it that decaf coffee and blogging also don't mix? I tried to quit caffeine and all it did was make me cranky and not quite a morning person. Lesson learned; coffee and I were meant to be together, caffeine and all.

Credits: Fonts are Bradley Hand & Felix Titling; papers, button & stitching are from Jan Crowley's Orbital Kit (oscraps); charm & ribbons are by Jennifer M. Trippetti DBA JMT-art and the tag is from Trish Jones's Crush Bubbles kit (Scrapbook Bytes).

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Decidedly Deviant

Here is a taste of what I have for seeing and grabbing at my new DeviantArt place. New items will be added often, larger versions for sale as prints, canvasses and other pieces, because, hmm, this mommy bird has beaks to fill!

Hedgehog In Your Face

The Everyday Sublime

No matter where I take my camera, I look to find rectangles of reality that are something beyond ordinary, something that I could "enhance in Photoshop later" or, better yet, have be "as is" and still look fabulous; I suppose that's the film photographer still in me. Some situations are easier than others to accomplish this at, though: anything with children helps and, in this case, beautiful directional light at a casual birthday party made what I was after all but impossible to miss!

ISO 800, F3.3, 1/30

ISO 800, F3.3, 1/80

ISO 400, F2.8, 1/40

ISO 400, F2.8, 1/30

Monday, September 24, 2007

Eugh, Self Portrait

This one is for the Point-Shoot-Click blog women and a belated self-portrait challenge. See, I am a "behind the scenes" sort in all art forms: photography, puppetry, french horn--nothing too "out there", if you know what I mean! I finally did cave, however, and have one really "out there" one and one "well, it is a self-portrait even if it is my shadow" to offer. Now, back to my lenses, puppetry curtains and rows of violins respectively. I would take a bow but head-to-monitor would have to be followed by Tylenol. Enjoy!

ISO 200, F2.8, 1/3 (hand-held)

ISO 100, F3.2, 1/400

It's Fall...Almost!

The trees think it is fall even if the temperature hasn't figured it out yet. It has been in the 20s (that's 70s for the Fahrenheit'ers) for more than a week now; summer weather. I know in a week or two when the air has gone crisp I will want this weather back, but for now I am enjoying shooting the colour celebration that fall has always been here. Every year the colours are a little different, more yellow some years, more red another. We will see what this year has to show!

ISO 100, F5.6, 1/160

ISO 100, F4.5, 1/200

ISO 100, F3.6, 1/160

ISO 100, F3.6, 1/500

Monday, September 17, 2007

Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

What photographer doesn't love a trip to the zoo, especially on an overcast day with no shadows, no crowds, a great camera and lots of happy animals? These photos were all taken on my recent trip to the Toronto Zoo, including the Canadian section that I had not been to in years: it has a beautiful, fully natural pond that let me quietly grab dozens of swan photos, including some rather unconventional ones.

The zoo is a great place to experiment for anybody trying to "learn" their digital camera because there are photographic challenges exclusive to it as a location. For example, shooting through glass and fences are things that can scare off some but with the manual and override options on digital cameras today, and the ability to take hundreds of photos without "wasting film", there is really nothing to lose but a bit of extra time to capture great photos. For fences, the key is to use your manual focus setting and a very narrow focal length (ideally F4.0 or lower) to blur them out (e.g. the tiger head-shot below). For quick animal shots, using the panning quick-setting can be a good idea as can selecting your camera's shutter priority feature and upping the shutter speed to 1/1000 of a second or faster. In some of my own shots I chose to use an aperture priority because I could get the essential depth that I wanted and my camera very nicely chose my film speed to match (not something any film camera would have let me do!)

I took more than a hundred photos, and my daughter almost matched me, so it was hard to pick just a few to share with you here. Please enjoy...

ISO 100, 1/60, F8.0

ISO 100, 1/100, F8.0

ISO 100, 1/100, F8.0

ISO 100, 1/100, F8.0

ISO 200, 1/125, F7.1

ISO 200, 1/50, F7.1

ISO 1250, 1/640, F3.3, manual focus

ISO 200, 1/60, F7.1

ISO 200, 1/80, F8.0

ISO 100, 1/400, F5.6

Sunday, September 02, 2007

What Happens When You Are Creating RAK

My son and a dumped bottle of paint!

I have seen photos like this and shaken my head. Where was their parent? Here I am now, head hanging in shame, as I now officially have my own photo to share. I was online, my husband was reading a paper, my son was being creative (and honestly had seen me painting my kitchen). The good news is (tip for the moms reading this): it wipes up no problem with baby wipes and, yes, that includes the toddler. We also now have a beautifully clean floor and a handprint painting plus this photo to remind us!