They are everywhere, and people typically set about eliminating them from the landscape as they encroach on space reserved for more desirable, colourful blooms. However, a decision to no longer use pesticides in the local park has seen the return of the weed in all shapes and forms…alongside pathways and in between the shrubs and trees. While they aren’t the prettiest thing to look at in and of themselves, I’m sure they are doing their thing for the environment….so I decided to pluck and shoot a few today – glammed up a bit with b&w conversion :)
I wandered towards the park – challenged with thoughts of ‘patterns’ and contemplating what I might stumble upon…perhaps overcomplicating the theme…. eyes all the while cast over the plethora of leaves adorning my path. I stopped then, pulled out my digital magnifying glass and decided to be content with the variety of naturally simple shapes and colours at my feet.
For a while now I’ve been wanting to do my own take on the infamous dandelion clock…which really does seem to be a classic for many photographers. I didn’t set out to capture one specifically this week, I just happened to be walking by a crop of them a couple of days ago so plucked the specimen below and very carefully carried it home (they keep well in a glass of water). What I particularly liked about this little project was the time commitment – it was fast! The combination of camera, macro lens, tripod and dandelion clock were an easy set up and I think the results far outweigh the amount of effort I put in. Apart from the fact that we are still trying to pick up all the spores (I couldn’t resist blowing them off and didn’t think to step outside – duh!), the whole exercise took about 20 minutes and I’m really pleased with the few images below – what do you think?
I believe ‘reflection’ is a fundamental part of recognizing what’s changed in our lives, and that this happens along a continuum of the almost instantaneous (the weather in Vancouver for instance!) versus change that occurs slowly over many thousands of years…rocks into sparkly rocks (diamonds). I’ve approached this week in terms of what’s changed for me over the past few years, and without a doubt, the most significant change has to be taking up photography as a hobby. This is evidenced by some very tangible clues..i.e.; my wallet is quite a bit lighter than before I started accumulating my kit; as well as subtleties like the way I’m always checking out the light, and how I find myself constantly striving to learn and improve. The journey of improving my skills has, and continues to be, immensely satisfying while often frustrating, and much of what I try is based on the inspiration I garner from looking at the creativity and great work of other shutterbugs – which is one of the reasons I so enjoy being part of the WordPress community.
All this said, one area where I still have much to learn is ‘Photoshop’, and having owned this software for a while now, without knowing how to use it except for the basics like opening a file, cropping, adjusting contrast, black & white conversion etc, I figured I need to start to ‘change’ this and experiment. I’m loathe to sign up for a class, as I would rather put the dollars towards a new lens sometime in the future, so I’ve taken to looking for tips & tricks on the web, and wouldn’t you know, discovered there are LOTS of folk out there willing to share their expertise!
As you’ll see below, I went a bit crazy trying out the different filters in PS, but was in fact able to change the look of the original shot in a number of ways, not to say that I like them all, but sometimes it’s just as important finding out what you don’t like – right?!
Chalk & Charcoal
B & W Mask
Soft Light Blend
I love it when I can combine a weekly challenge with my regular routine, and case in point is my interpretation of this week’s on ‘colour’. I have to confess this took minimal time and effort, just had to remember to carry my camera along for my weekly grocery shop to Granville Island Market, and demonstrate some skill in juggling shopping bags and camera gear :)
For a more exotic take on ‘colour’ you may also want to check out the link below of some images I captured in Nepal last year.
Vancouver’s West End currently looks like a kaleidoscope of colour…the appearance of the sun for the Easter long weekend seems to have coincided (or perhaps prompted) the final burst of cherry blossoms and other early spring blooms. As I strolled around carrying out various errands over the weekend I couldn’t help but think, as I often do, how fortunate we are to live in this neighbourhood where someone takes the time to decorate the traffic island, a block away, to suit every holiday occasion and where people, like me, take the time to stop and enjoy it.
The few shots below may give you a sense of what I’m talking about, and come with a shout-out to our Vancouverite friends who, for one reason or another, are spending the break across the miles.
I’ve fallen in love …with my macro lens that is… and what better way to show my affection than to present it with a bouquet of beautiful roses! There really isn’t much to say about this week’s challenge, except… I hope when you look at the blooms below – you will just as easily become lost in the details as I did when photographing them.
Have a great week!
I’m guessing I’m one of the few people in the 1st world who still doesn’t own an ‘iPhone’ or one of the other neat devices with which you can create an ‘Instagram’ photo, and I certainly don’t see a purchase on the horizon in the near future (I have a work BlackBerry after all). This said, and although I spend a fair amount of effort and time trying to take interesting and technically sound shots, I do like the funky look of the ‘Instagram’ images I’ve seen. I think the reason they resonate with me is the nostalgic look of the popular Polaroid images I recall from growing up in the 1970s, that evoke memories of the mind-blowing way the camera regurgitated a blank piece of paper, that magically developed into the photo right before your bewildered eyes. Pretty darn cool and immensely satisfying.
I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to try to pick up an old Polaroid camera, but when I came across an article recently describing some free software that creates the same effect (Poladroid Image Maker - www.poladroid.net), I quickly downloaded and have been experimenting with some images I already had to hand. Like the original Polaroids, the process is the same but on a computer and the results are also the same i.e.; not the best quality…but it’s fun!
If you want to give it a try, just download the software and you’ll have an icon that looks like a Polaroid camera, drag and drop a jpg image from your files onto the camera and then watch as it pops out a blank photo which, like the ones from the 70s, develops while you watch. Another parallel is that you can only drop 10 x images each time you open the program (just like the 10 shot cartridges the real thing took!), and you really never know what you’re going to get. See the side-by-side comparison below of the two pigs eating, the first drop developed with a strong pink hue, so I did it again and got a completely different result!
I’d be interested to see what kind of results your experimentation yields!
Unique brings to mind ‘one of a kind’ and I had contemplated photographing my fingerprints, but didn’t have an ink pad close to hand, so gave up on that idea…admittedly too easily (I could have retrieved an old can of paint from storage in hindsight). I’ll save that one for another time.
I did however treat myself to some colourful Gerbera daisies on the weekend and they were lazily close to hand. You may be thinking ‘Gerberas”…unique?, on the face of it ‘no’, but up close I would argue, definitely so. Although I pressed the ‘easy’ button with subject matter for this week’s challenge, I think I can draw a line between the subtle differences in the patterns on the end of our digits that allow us to be uniquely identified… and those on the end of the stems below.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!
New Years resolutions made in haste (or even carefully thought out for that matter) are challenging to keep; so I’ve decided to continue eating too much salt, drinking too much wine and under-utilizing my pass to the state-of-the-art YMCA pool & gym facility (2 blocks away!). Instead, I’ve resolved to put more energy into a few things I already enjoy, including the improvement of my photography skills, and thus I’m sure my chances of succeeding will be significantly increased.
This said, I’ll be participating in a weekly photo challenge and I’m already signed up and eagerly awaiting the ‘inspirational’ emails from the good people at WordPress, who will provide weekly topics to focus on…no pun intended!
In the meantime however, I think I’ve just slipped-in ahead of the 2012 deadline for posting a few of my favourite images of people, places and things from this past year. I’ve limited it to (12) shots, although this doesn’t mean (1) per month, but this time next year (and that had better be a long time coming!), the images will “hopefully” correspond to the month they were taken.
All the very best for 2013 and I hope you keep your own goals within reach too! ;o)
(click on image to enlarge and scroll through set)
Summer was more than fashionably late arriving in Western Canada this year…. but when she did, all was forgiven because she stayed for the duration and lingers even now as we move slowly into the Fall. I mentioned somewhere in a previous post that I really appreciate the visibly changing seasons in my small part of this big world, and the most dramatic for me is the shift into Fall (or Autumn for my UK peeps!), which not only brings a fantastic array of warm colours, but is actually audible. I’m talking about the classic crunch of crispy leaves underfoot (or car tire as I noticed a few days ago), or the plonk of a chestnut hitting the pathway when out for a leisurely stroll. Of course….the crispy, crunchy leaf thing lasts only as long as the wet weather holds off….and after more than 2 months of dry, sunny days – you just know (in Vancouver) this meteorological anomaly isn’t going to last much longer. With this in mind, I forced myself to take a walk recently on a day when I didn’t feel like doing much of anything at all and in particular leaving the house. However, spurred on by that sometimes annoying sense of ‘carpe diem’, I broke through the boundaries of the homestead to capture some colour on a macro level (that way I get to lay down and shoot some of the time!). Before long I was lost in the moment, barely noticing the strange looks from passers-by as I lay on the pavement in the Park, covered in bits of foliage and clicking away at what must seem to many folk as “just another dying sunflower or dead leaf”.
BLINK!… and the trees will be bare and the sky will be grey, but I’ll be safe in the knowledge that I have some magical macro colours to brighten up my dull winter days!
(Click on image to enlarge)
It takes me around 10 minutes to walk from home to work, door-to-door, and compared to the long work commute of many folk, I know this is a dream. However, most of the time, due to the need to attend meetings around the city, I have no choice but to use my car. This said, when the opportunity does arise to stroll on foot I normally jump at it, and I’m always amazed at what a beautiful walk it is, particularly when the Spring flowers and foliage create a technicolour path for me to follow along the way. A perfectly dry and cloudy day, resulted in the perfectly saturated colours and tones below, and with the exception of a touch of contrast, no tweaking in post processing. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Summer, Autumn and Winter walks will bring!
One of the things I really love about photography is the incredibly wide variety of perspectives, angles and details that can be captured of a subject and particularly so with the right lens. I don’t have many lenses (3 in fact) but I’m lucky to have ‘friends with lenses’ who humour me when I fancy trying something new, but am not quite ready to part with my whole pay cheque to do so. I’d been admiring some very cool macro shots taken by my more accomplished photog friends (Vicki & Kevin) and was eager to see what I could do myself, so when Vicki offered up her 105mm f2.8 for the weekend , I was all over it like a bad rash.
What I hadn’t anticipated was just how challenging it would be to get up close (and in focus) without the aid of a tripod. I took a stroll along the trails in my local park one afternoon and returned with a couple of hundred shots on my card….I was pretty charged up, after all I’d have enough material now to make some calendars for gifts etc, etc. right? WRONG….as I brought up image after image on my Mac it quickly became apparent that virtually everything I shot that looked so pretty and clear ‘in camera’, was in fact totally out of focus. The few below are what I salvaged from the batch and I do like them, I just wouldn’t be able to put together a calendar past July! That said, it was a worthwhile exercise all in all, and something to experiment with more before pulling the trigger on some sweet macro glass of my own!