Friday, 31 December 2010

Day 25

This afternoon I drove into Marton, the nearest town, to do the weekly shop, and took Iain's iPhone with me. On the way back I took some shots with Hipstamatic. I just love this app!

So far the hardest part of this challenge is not finding the time or the motivation to get out there and take photographs, but plucking up the courage to share at least one photo every day, even if you think none of the images you've captured that day are good enough to show anyone else.

Keeping this blog feels like wandering down the street in your underwear every day.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Day 24

I'm doing a 'blog and run' today, as I've got lots of painting to do (the decorating kind, not the artistic kind), and then we're going out tonight.

Here's a portrait of Iain I took during our morning tea break. There was nothing wrong with the colour balance in the original shot; I just think it works better in monochrome.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Day 23

After heavy rain and high winds yesterday, it was a gorgeous day today, and it was great to be able to get outside for a photo session.

The lens that came with the camera (a cheap 18 to 55 mm) doesn't too bad a job on this shot, but it's working at its limit here. It would have liked to have been able to get closer in on the bee and see more detail, particularly in its eyes, its wings, and the pollen pouch on its leg. A macro lens is still on my wishlist!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Day 22

Whenever I post an interior shot you can assume that the weather was bad, and I wimped out of shooting outdoors. And most of the time when I post a monochrome shot, you can assume that I tried to get it to work in colour, but I couldn't get the colour balance right!

To keep the momentum going on this project, I've been thinking about having theme weeks, starting in the new year (such as a black and white week, a night shot week, a portrait week, etc.) If you've got any suggestions for themes, I'd love to hear them.

Just a reminder: there are still three days left to vote in my Day 17 photo poll. If you've not voted yet, vote now!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Day 21

We had lots of dramatic clouds today, so I concentrated on shooting the sky. Here's the shot that turned out the best.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Day 20

I didn't take this photo today. It's an old one I took nearly two years ago, when the title to the land came through and we spent a night camping out on the future site of our house. I used our much-missed tripod, which went missing about a year ago, after Iain took it to work.

I've always liked this shot, but it was lacking in 'oomph'. So I've had a go at processing it, using some of the Photoshop techniques that I've learned over the past few weeks (thanks to a subscription to I'm really pleased with the result, so I wanted to share it.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Day 19

Merry Christmas!

For those of you in the snowbound northern hemisphere, today's photo is a reminder that summer is only six months away. Hang on in there!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Day 18

We get some amazing sunsets out here. I captured this one last night, only a few minutes after I'd made yesterday's blog post.

If you've not voted in the Day 17 poll yet, vote now. I'd be interested to know what you think.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Day 17

Today I can't decide which of two photos I prefer, so I'm posting both of them.

The fence shot is a better composed image, and makes good use of depth of field, but it's a bit staid. The shadow shot is very simple and something of a cliché, but it's a much livelier shot.

Which photo do you prefer? I've put a poll in the sidebar, so you can vote for your favourite.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Day 16

Some days my image is going to be carefully crafted, and other days, like today, it's going to be a seat-of-my-pants, only-just-made-it-in-time affair.

I spent all day working to try to meet a deadline (which I failed to meet), and all evening at our book club's Christmas do, so the amount of time I've had to take photos today has been limited. I snapped this one on the way home tonight. I liked the glow of the reflective road signs against the backdrop of a stormy sky with a full moon peeping through the clouds. I didn't see the pink 'UFO' until I uploaded the photo to my computer.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Day 15

I usually prefer a fairly light touch with image processing, but this photo needed a bolder approach.

Got to dash. I've got a pre-Christmas work deadline and I've already spent far too long messing around in Photoshop!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Day 14

Over the last 24 hours I've witnessed all sorts of photo-worthy phenomena, including a spectacular rainbow and swathes of mist lit by the moonlight. I tried my best to capture all this interesting stuff, but even though I took getting on for a hundred shots, I failed to come up with even a single image worth a second look. I've got SO much to learn about photography!

Exasperated by my failure with the SLR I played around with Hipstamatic again, and got two images that are worth keeping from only a dozen or so shots. Go figure.

Ever since I started this blog I've taken photos of my wellies almost every day. I want my wellies to be on the Internet because they've got flowers on and I like them. This is the first time one of my pictures of my wellies has worked.

The photo below shows a door hinge on our caravan. An estate agent might describe our caravan as 'characterful'.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Days 12 and 13

We stayed at the neighbours' farmstay yesterday, and I took this photo of some rusting Tonka toys that were lying in the sandpit. In order to get the shot, I lay down in the sandpit too. It was only after I'd finished shooting that I remembered our neighbours have two cats.

We're back home now, after the gib stopper sanded the walls and ceiling. He did a very tidy job, and cleaned up after himself, but over the course of the night, a lot more dust dropped out of the air, and today there's a fine layer of plaster over everything. After my yoga session this morning my yoga mat was covered in white footprints!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Day 11

Our cat, Pookie, is a genetically- and intellectually-challenged rescue moggie with extra toes, and a penchant for 'backcombing' her hair so that it forms thick, matted lumps. She's definitely no oil painting. Except now she is, thanks to a Topaz Labs filter.

We're going to be WI (Without Internet) all day on Saturday. (We've got to get out of the house because the gib stopper is sanding down, and we'll be staying in our neighbours' farmstay accommodation.) This means I'll be making Saturday's post on Sunday.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Day 10

That's two days in a row now that serendipity has brought me interesting things to photograph. On Tuesday I found a sheep's skull, and yesterday Iain came home bearing this gorgeous orange and salmon-pink gerbera, left over from his students' graduation ceremony.

So, in the spirit of 'putting things out there', I thought I'd try my luck with a letter to Father Christmas.
Dear Father Christmas,
Please bring me a macro lens for Christmas.
Love from Helen 

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Day 9

Yesterday, walking back from the mailbox, I found a sheep's skull in the grass. Today I took some photos of it, but none of them were working until I got the idea to place it on a little patch of bare ground in front of the house where the wood pile used to be, and straight away I saw the African savannah during a drought. After processing the image, though, it reminds me more of Arizona in the days of the wild west. I'm half expecting a tumbleweed to blow past in the background.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Day 8

Well, I'm into week two and I've not run out of things to photograph yet. Although, living as I do in the middle of an empty field, and being stranded at home without transport five days a week, it's bound to happen at some point, and most likely sooner rather than later.

One of our neighbours is grazing a few year-old cattle on our land, and their antics are very entertaining. Every time I point a camera at them, though, they seem to get stage fright. Hopefully at some point I can catch them doing something interesting, but for now, I'll have to be content with this portrait. When Iain saw it he christened it 'Animal rights meets Damien Hirst'.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Day 7

Today's photo is of my essential oil burner. I wish the camera captured aroma data, but until they invent that technology, you'll just have to imagine the soothing scent of lavender.

Apart from the Hipstamatic shots from a couple of days ago, this is the only image so far that I haven't processed at all (apart from reducing the image size to make it web-friendly).

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Day 6

This is the second shot this week that has got me thinking 'retro'. This scene in Wanganui, the nearest town to where we live, made me think of Paris in the 1920s, so I tried to accentuate that feeling in the way I processed the image.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Day 5

It's just gone midnight, so I'm allowed to make my Day 5 post. This is good news, 'cos I've been busting to do it! It was Iain's work's Christmas party tonight, and I borrowed his iPhone so that I could take some photos without getting in people's faces too much, which is easy to do with an SLR.

I had hoped to get some good portrait shots of people talking, laughing and dancing, and most of the photos I took were of people, but the only two decent images I got were of the table decorations!

I used the Hipstamatic app, which I'd not used before. At first I found it very frustrating because what you see in the viewfinder bears very little resemblance to what you get in the shot -- the framing is way out. But by halfway through the evening I was getting used to the random element, and starting to have fun with it.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Day 4

To paraphrase Sesame Street:

'Today's image is brought to you by Photo Booth and Photoshop's Quick Selection Tool and Diffuse Glow filter.'

I'm not peeping -- honest.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Day 3

In the original of this shot the colours really pop, but to me, the subject evokes nostalgia for childhood summers, so I experimented with knocking the saturation down. I liked the effect, so I decided to go the whole retro-hog and add a vignette. I've never done this before, so I had to Google how to do it. I'm chuffed to have learned a new technique, but I think I probably overdid it a bit on this image - beginners' prerogative, I reckon!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Day 2

Today's shot shows a cabbage tree in the neighbours' paddock, just over our back fence. The light wasn't as good as it could have been - hazy sunshine with the sun too high in the sky. (Note to self: put the alarm on for some early morning photo sessions!) Cabbage trees are native to New Zealand, and, along with this type of fence, are iconic features of the landscape around here (so this shot stands as a sort of 'shorthand' for New Zealand in the same way an oak tree behind a hawthorn hedge would be shorthand for England).

Converting the image to high contrast, red-filtered black and white has helped to improve it, but I'm not really happy with it. I think I'll be coming back to this subject again.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Day 1

It's overcast and windy today, and the light's not very good for outdoor shots, so I decided to kick things off with an indoor shot using natural light. Not having a tripod, I had to use a fast film speed to prevent motion blur, but I think the extra graininess suits the subject well. 

It was only when I was finishing up processing the image that I realised how appropriate the subject is for the first image in this, my year-long journey of photographic discovery -- he's Ganesha, the Hindu elephant god, remover of obstacles.