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!

RAK Alert: Christmas in September!

I do love to design but have usually tailored what I do around the specific photograph or layout I am working around. So, this is a first for me, a freebie for the masses! Christmas is coming "soon enough" so here is a Mistletoe tag to use now or save for then. It is in PNG format for your enjoyment here:

Free Mistletoe Tag

(and now that I've typed that I realize that "toe" and "tag" are really close together--I hope that isn't too morbid!)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Black and White, Four Ways

The Point-Shoot-Click challenge this week is to shoot black and white, which is my favourite medium. It forces a photographer to think in stronger contrasts, to focus on the details, to know how light works and to really know in her head what she is wanting to acheive in a photograph. I wanted to take on this challenge by illustrating the possibility of black and white in four ways:

1) 19th century daguerreotype style--I went for a softer focus close-up and adjusted the contrasts digitally in Photoshop.

Hands of a Toddler
(directional natural light, f 4.0,
ISO 400, greyscale gradient added digitally)

2) casual portrait--this one has a softer sepia on it which will always make this type of portrait timeless.

(directional natural light, f 3.2, ISO 400, custom sepia added digitally)

3) modern style--to show how black and white can be used alongside colour to add drama, something that was possible before digital but definitely easier with Photoshop!

Wine by Moonlight
(available light, ss 1 second, f 3.2, grayscale gradient and recolour overlay added digitally)

4) contrast detail--black and white can effectively showcase contrasts and directional, natural light.

Isabel's Toes
(directional natural light, ISO 200, f 2.8, digitally resized and grayscaled)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

RAKfile Layouts, August

I love designing for the RAKfile, RAKscraps's monthly newsletter (freebies enclosed, as always), because it is guaranteed to make me stretch way out of my box. This month was no exception and with its release today, I am now able to feature them here too (one layout credited to me wasn't mine so my original is here!)

Credits: Trish Jones's "Love That Boy" kit.

Credits: Hank's Kit and Grass kits from WetFish Designs

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tomatoes On a Ledge

Plum tomatoes from my garden ripening on my kitchen window sill.

Laugh Like No One is Watching

This is my most recent RAKscraps sponsor team layout. The back story is that my daughter was at a friend's house and got upset when her friend went outside to play with some neighbourhood friends because she was nervous about meeting the new people. They all tried really hard to make her feel welcomed into the group and after some coaxing she finally caved. The result: she had a blast! So, this layout is dedicated to her, for perservering!

Credits: Crush Bubbles and Texture Strips Digital Kits by Trish Jones

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Camera Experiment

For anyone who is starting into digital photography and does not want to invest in the current camera that everyone from amateurs to pros is hoping to have, the Canon Rebel, there are midrange options that are point and shoot friendly while still offering the flexibility for more artistic exploration. When I recently lost a digital camera and had to shop for a new one, the Rebel was on my wish list but there it had to stay so what to buy instead? I went back to my film photography roots and sourced out a Panasonic: what sold me was the Leica lens and the price tag, around $500 Canadian. When I took it out for its first night shooting, I was very pleasantly surprised at how manual I could go with it and how I could shoot photos like this one. For the die hard digital editors who want to know, yes, it also shoots in RAW. I did not get my wish list Rebel but I certainly got a camera that any serious amateur and even a pro would be happy to work with.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Photo Challenge #1: Backlighting

Backlighting in photography refers to the softening of a subject by the sunlight (or equivalent light source) coming from behind them instead of being directional (i.e. from the top-left, top-right, etc.) It can be a more difficult way to shoot because, especially when the backlighting is stronger, it can have a tendency to "trick" a camera or a meter into darkening the subject, although some photographers will compensate for this by using a fill flash. The effect, no matter what, is worth it because of the natural softness that the effect adds.

backlit flower

So, this first challenge is a tougher one for newcomers to photography and is to shoot a subject in backlighting. Things to watch for are how you place your subject or the position from where you shoot it: remember that the subject's back does not have to be the part that is backlit. The main thing to remember is that shooting backlight means that you are shooting toward/facing the sun or light source.

wedding couple x 2
(Note: this is partially backlit & partially directional but used as an illustraion of how a subject could be placed for backlighting)

Digital Add-on Challenge

Check your software to see if you have a High Pass feature available. In Photoshop, this is found under Filter--> Other. The name of the filter itself is misleading and many will skip over it but take a few minutes to explore it because it is versatile. I have included examples below: the more embossed result came from a lower pixel radius size while the colour alteration result came from the maximum pixel radius.

Thanks for participating. Please take a minute to participate in my poll at the bottom of this page. My first freebie will be coming soon!