Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Ice Storm.....

This morning, we were all greeted with an icy mess everywhere. Apparently, it covered pretty well most of Ontario, and tonight it is supposed to be followed by more snow. This afternoon, the temperature got a few degrees above freezing here in Windsor, so I went outside to rid my little Canyon of the ice it was encased in. Before I did that, I grabbed a couple of images with my camera, and for this one, the camera was set to Illustration Mode for that "comic book effect". It will serve to remind me of this Winter when the days become unbearably hot in the Summer. As soon as Spring arrives, I will be starting my next DIY project....building an over cab camper for the truck. Hopefully, I will be able to record the progress as I go along, and afterward, enjoy a few weeks in the wilds of Northern Ontario, and the East Coast, as well as Newfoundland. My last DIY  project was when I remodeled our kitchen about 8 years ago, and I posted the progress images on here. For the most part, I have already built the camper in my head, and I am really looking forward to actually getting started. It should be a lot of fun, and take up a good portion of my "spare" time....LOL!....Stay safe out there where ever you are.....

Seashell Orbs Still Life.....

Tonight I got to foolin' around with a bag full of seashells, and amongst them, I found these orbs made of tiny little white shells. I thought, great, why not give it a go and do a little high key set up. On my last visit to the local camera store, I picked up a roll of white paper, and thought it might have some possibilities. This is one of the images I came up with, and my go to judge in residence said she was not too fussy about the flowers. That's the beauty of doing still life...not everyone is going to like what you do. For me, it's no big deal, and my ego was not even slightly bruised. I did another image without the flowers, but with a little lighthouse, all lit up with a little tea light inside. It will be entered into the Windsor Camera Club competition next week, and it will be fun to see what the "real" judges think....LOL! Regardless, my ego will survive unscathed to fight another day. Hope you enjoy it a little.....

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Still Life Portraiture.....

This little image is the third demo set up that I used to illustrate a little table top still life at the WCC last Saturday morning. As I have mentioned before in other posts, I am still learning how to do this, and some of my setups are somewhat silly, to say the least. This is probably one of them. I used the styrofoam head with the blue wig so that I could demonstrate the different patterns of light and shadows used in portraiture. The beauty of still life, as far as I can see, is that there aren't too many rules. It is up to the photographer what might be included. Usually I find that the more simple the image, and the fewer the items in it, the better. It is the lighting that makes or breaks the image, and it is not nearly as simple as one might think. Lately, I have been using LED lighting for my still life work. They are small, and enables me to work in a very small space. Before, when I used my studio lighting, I needed the whole studio to work in, since the light stands took up so much space. This image is an example of "short lighting" with the main light coming from the far side, placing the shadow side of the face toward the camera. Add a little back, or rim lighting, and a bit of fill in the front, and there you go.....hope you enjoy my ramblings on Still Life Portraiture....for what it's worth. In the age of selfies, I doubt it will be worth much.....

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Blue Bottles and Golden Slipper

Awoke today to a rainy soggy day here in Windsor. After my morning beverage, I went out to shovel the ice from the driveway. It was -18C here a couple of nights ago, but that is the usual temperature up North, so it was no real hardship. Anyway, last Saturday morning when this last storm started, I was scheduled to do a little table top still life demo at the Windsor Camera Club. We got there and set up in a dark corner, and after a while a few folks started to gather. There was a "glamor" model shoot going on in the main hall, and of course, most of the members went there first, and drifted my way afterward. Nothing too glamorous about a bunch of old bottles and junk that I had brought along in a couple of grocery bags. In all, I had 3 different setups to demo, and try to get the interest of those who dropped by. For the most part, the WCC is a bird and nature club, and when I joined the club about 6 years ago, I was sort of odd man out. Come to think of it, I still am, but a few of the members are starting to show interest in other subjects as well. I digress! Toward the end of the 2 hour long demo, I somehow managed to dump a whole cup of coffee (I brought along a thermos bottle of the stuff) all over my laptop that I was tethered to whilst shooting the different set ups. Oooops! End of demo! Afterward when I got home, I took the laptop totally apart, removed the hard drive, DVD player and battery and then took a hair dryer to it for about 15 minutes, making sure that every nook and cranny got dried out. Then I reassembled the thing and plugged it in, and it seemed to be totally fried. So I put it on a bench beside the back door, to remind myself to throw it in the garbage can next time I ventured outside. Next day, on my way outside, I picked up the laptop from the bench, and just for a joke, decided to plug it in one more time before I ditched the thing. Wow! It fired up and worked just fine, with all of my pictures saved, and all my software programs working as well. Somehow, I had totally forgotten that after taking the hair dryer to the thing, I did not give it time to cool down before giving it try....Duh! Another Homer Simpson moment eh!
This image is one of the little images from the demo, and I just like it for the colours and simplicity. Hope you enjoy it as well. Sorry for being long winded today. It's miserable outside.....

Monday, December 31, 2018

Full Moon Fireworks Bouquet....

As I am posting this, it is now 2019 in my home province of Newfoundland & Labrador. They are 90 minutes ahead of us here in Ontario, and every year I start my New Years greetings at 10:30 pm Ontario time....So here's wishing everyone a very Healthy, Happy and Prosperous 2019!! See you all next year....Peace.....

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Watercolour EFX on Flowers...



This little image is for Pat and Tony and family in Huntsville. We always look forward to your year end newsletter, and this is just a little something to let you know we are thinking of you. Many hugs for you both.....

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Berry Merry Christmas.....

While I was photographing the image below this one, I thought it might be nice to make another one that was a little more high key, and possibly use it as a little Christmas Greeting for everyone out there who has bothered to check out my little site over the past year. Since there seems to be a lot to do between now and Christmas Day, this will likely be the last posting until afterward. I sincerely wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and may a sense of peace somehow find its way into your lives. Hopefully all of our loved ones who might have to travel the highways or travel by air, will arrive safely, and we can all enjoy each others company during this festive season. Stay safe everyone.....Cheers!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Last Summer's Leftovers....

Last week, while I was hanging a few Christmas decorations on our front veranda, I noticed that there were still a few roses clinging to the bushes, as well as berries on a bush close by. The birds and squirrels have been feasting on the berries, and before long, there would be none left. Tonight, I decided to set up my LED lights and see what I could come up with, using the old withered roses and berries. For the most part, I consider myself in the early learning stages of table top photography, and with that in mind, I cut myself a lot of slack. It occurred to me during setting up this little scene, that I would never make it as a flower arranger, but then I got thinking, this looks less polished or more happenstance....or haphazard, depending on your mood I guess. At any rate, it is a nice way to spend a couple of hours, using the old noggin to do other things beside listening to the TV or all the other garbage online. It is also probably a little more conducive to a good nights sleep.....speaking of which...

P.S. For those interested in entering competitions etc....this image was entered into the Windsor Camera Club's Open Print Category Competition on Dec. 18th and took 1st Place....For me personally, I prefer to just make an image for "show and tell", and scoring is totally happenstance.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Iron Horse Illustration.....

For several weeks now, I have been mulling over the idea that I should take a picture of my old Lionel train that I got when I was about 10 years old. It has been sitting in the original shipping box, and cartons with the name of T. Eaton and Co. stamped on the outside....yup, that far back. But just a shot of the train would be a bit mundane, and I somehow recall that when the indigenous individuals first saw a steam engine, they called it "the iron horse". Recently, I bought a little white figurine of a horse at a local thrift store, to possibly one day use in a still life photo. Anyhow, it occurred to me that I could possible use it to help illustrate that "iron horse" label given it so long ago. The camera was set to Illustration Mode, and as such, it does not appear as a "photograph". For me at least, this works, and hopefully it will also work for some of my readers as well....Cheers!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Kiss of Light.....

Photographers are full of sayings, cliches, and puns....you know, "less is more", "keep it simple stupid", and "just a sweet kiss of light", to recall a few. So far, I had never paid much attention to any of that stuff....just shoot what makes me happy. Yesterday evening, while doing the "burnt offerings' again, I wandered out into the back yard to check out the flowers, and took a few shots. When I was just about done, and ready to tend to the BBQ,  I saw this little blossom, hiding down in the shade all by itself, and the lighting was very poor. I poked my camera lens down to get a view through the viewfinder, and as I did so, the setting sun somehow decided to send a little shaft of light right onto this rose blossom. Immediately I pressed the shutter button, and grabbed a couple of shots of it....yup, finally I got me a little "kiss of light" that turned this from a poorly lit rose, into one that immediately gave me the old buzz up my spine when I know the shot was better than I had planned on. The old guys saying of "f8 and be there" is one that worked big time, this time. Hope you enjoy it a wee bit, and it is likely to be my last rose posting of the year.....Cheers, and take time to smell the roses!!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Final Resting Place.....

Since this was such a lovely day, and the first weekend of the Autumn season, we took a jaunt out into the County for a change of scenery, and to breathe some fresh air for a change. We decided to turn around at this old church yard in Cottam, and I had to grab a couple of shots of the tomb stones sitting in the sunlight. A black & white version is on my other blog site for those interested....hope you enjoy....

Friday, September 21, 2018

Hayward's Rose, Softly Blooming.....

Sometimes when I am doing the evening meal at the BBQ, I get a bit bored, and have to find something to occupy my mind with until it is time to flip the "burnt offerings". Tonight, I had my old, nay very old, Minolta Maxxum 7D camera with me, and decided to take a couple of shots in the garden to pass the time. This image was done in camera with an old Minolta 100mm Soft Focus portrait lens attached. My much smarter half does not care much for the soft focus effect, but I told her that I find it soothing, and almost romantic....Oops, that was too much for her, and suddenly I found myself alone staring at the computer screen....then I realized it was past Midnight again, and most "normal" people are sleeping by now....hope someone enjoys it a wee bit....

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Sadie's Rose In the Rain.....

After several weeks, or months of scorching heat here in Windsor, it finally relented, and we had a couple of days of cooler, rainy weather. It was a relief I have to admit, as the very humid heat of this past Summer kept a lot of us indoors for the most part. This image was taken in our back yard during a brief lull in the rain showers. We thought we had lost this rose as it took a hard hit last Winter, and was pruned back hard, and we thought it would not do much this year. We were wrong, and it is giving us lovely blossoms for the garden, and the table also....Hope you enjoy it as well.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Forest's Edge.....

Next week, the Windsor Camera Club starts up again for another year. However, this year, I am not sure I want to be a member. For the most part, I find that the "rules" of Competition are so adhered to, that often times, images such as this one are scored very low, and the image maker is left feeling that he/she is a failure. But for me, I feel that every time someone presses the shutter button of their camera, they do so because, something about the image in the viewfinder compels them to capture the image. It may be a mood, or sense of peace that motivates them to shoot the image, and who would be so arrogant to tell them that the image is worthless, or not worth much. At this point, I find that scoring images is almost vulgar, or at the very least, too egotistical. Photography should be a sharing of ideas and skills, and enjoyment of other folks endeavors to share their images. Shortly after taking this image, I wandered off into these woods to soak up the smells and sounds of the forest, and cleanse my being of the chaos of the city. Just looking at this very simple image, I can smell the Balsam Fir and hear the birds, and the wind in the trees. This simple image gives me more pleasure than many of the images that I shot for competition last year, and for which I won the High Total Score for prints in Open Competition. No one was more surprised than I was, when they awarded me the medal at the Salon event last May. It caught me totally off guard, as I do not shoot for score, but what is of interest to me. However, I will likely go back again this year, as it is a good night out a couple of times a month, and the the coffee sessions afterward are a blast.....

P.S. For those who might find it interesting, here is a link to the Windsor Camera Club's latest news letter, the CONTACT. Enjoy!
http://www.windsorcameraclub.com/newsletters/Contact2018_09.pdf

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Percy....

Sadly, Percy has left the family circle, and he will indeed be missed by all of us. He was a country dog who could fit in a tea cup, and thought that size doesn't matter, as he did his best to put the run on the bears during the Summer, and the occasional fox or marten that visited the bird feeders in Wintertime. When it was time to watch a bit of TV, he loved to snuggle down beside you in the chair, or sofa, and fall asleep. It was always comical to watch him walk to the door, as he always threw in a couple of "twirls" en-route to his destination.  This image was the last one I took of him on our last visit North, and we were saddened to hear a few days after returning, that he had departed....bon voyage little big guy...you were a lot of fun.....

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Old Flower Pots.....

This posting comes to you from the lovely Lorraine Valley, in Northern Ontario. It is soooooooo quiet and relaxing here. No sirens, or sounds of high revving  motors, or any of the other sounds of the city. It is also so very dark at night, and the stars are brillant. Having coffee on the back deck, listening to the crows, blue jays, chipmunks, wind in the trees, and off in the distance, the bellowing of some dairy cows roaming about the pastures, this little collection of flower pots at the edge of the woods, caught my eye, and mundane as it may seem to be, to me it was visually appealing. Hope you enjoy this little illustration image also.....peace to all.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Summertime Fun.....

There are times when you would like to publish an image, but it contains people who may or may not wish to be identified. This problem presents itself more and more these days, especially in this part of the country. Point your camera in anyone's direction anymore, and you become accused of stealing someone's identity, or it may be assumed that you have other ulterior unsavory motives. So what to do, when all you intend to do is take a happy scene of folks enjoying themselves? In this image, I used the Illustration Mode in my SONY a77Mk2, and the software built into the camera turns the scene into an image that resembles something out of a comic book. It is still an image of folks enjoying themselves on a warm Summer's day, without being able to identify them...works for me, and hopefully you too. Hopefully everyone is having a very happy and safe Summer season....

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Holly Hock Illustration.....

Earlier in the Spring when everything started to burst into life, it was suggested that I clean out some of the weeds growing around the base of our back deck. So I grabbed something sharp and proceeded to hack away, not really knowing what was weeds, and what wasn't. When I got to this one "weed", it looked kind of different from the others, so I decided to spare it from the machette blade. As it turns out, it started to get a whole bunch of buds, which blossomed into this Holly Hock, which is now higher than the railings on the deck. So, today while I was enjoying a coffee, with camera close by, I decided to see what sort of image I could make from it. The Illustration EFX was done in camera, and the surrounding softening and vignetting was done in Corel Paint Shop Pro X7. More than likely, the purists will hate it, and others will find it somewhat interesting....I'm just messing around on an extremely hot day, and thankful I have access to some Air Conditioning during the heat.....

P,S, To view a Mono abstract version of this image, check out my other Black &         White site at Black & White Dabblings

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Yucca Blossoms Still Life.....For Frank

Just as dusk settled in this evening, I decided to enjoy a cup of my favourite Gun Powder Green Tea on the back deck. I had just snipped these Yucca Blossoms from the bush growing beside the A/C which have been getting a pretty good workout lately....but I digress... Anyway, I felt in the mood to do a still life shot of them as they sat on the glass topped table on the deck, but was too lazy to do a full table top set up. Firstly I started with the lights from a hanging basket just overhead. But it did not give me anything near what I had in mind. By this time it was almost dark, so with the camera on a tripod, and the exposure set at f11 for 20 seconds, I used a simple Dollar Store LED flashlight to paint the areas that I wanted with light, until the camera shut off. This is the result, and more along the line of what I had in mind. It was a great way to enjoy a great cup of green tea.....

P.S. This image is for my good friend Frank, who just had knee replacement surgery, and I did not get to visit him in the hospital, so old buddy, these are for you...speedy recovery eh.....

Monday, June 11, 2018

An Artist's Abode.....

This image is one that I have been meaning to do something with for quite a while now. It was taken in Bay Roberts, NFLD, and is the home of an artist there. That white flower mounted on the side of this 2 story home says it all. There is definitely a creative mind at work there for sure. Tonight, I went to work on it with the help of Photoshop, and put a "Spatter Edge" and a textured matte around it for a little more elegant presentation of this place by the sea. Next time I go back there, I think I shall knock on that door, as there just might be a portrait or two waiting there for me......gotta love that great wooden flower that fills an otherwise empty space....artists can't abide empty spaces eh.....