Monday, 31 January 2011

Top pic(k)s for January

It's been harder to pick my top five images this month, because I took more photos that I'm happy with in January than I did in December, and I'm really pleased about that. I don't think I've made much progress with the technical side of things this month, but I do feel the constant practice is helping me to get better at composing shots.

My top five, in reverse order, are:






P.S. In response to the feedback from the latest poll, I've decided to start a new weekly spot: 'The Saturday Site', featuring a different photography site each week.

Day 56

We get wonderful views from our house, and I reckon I could take all 365 shots for this project just sitting on the veranda, armed with a telephoto lens!

I was first drawn to the shape this line of trees made, and when I looked through the camera and noticed the horse, the fence and the barrels, I had to take the shot.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Day 54

Hipstamatic does Apple: this is a shot of the Apple logo on the lid of Iain's MacBook. For those of you who use Hipstamatic, I got this effect using the Salvador 84 lens, Dream Canvas film and Berry Pop flash.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Day 53

Help, my computer has sucked me in, and I'm now racing around a giant keyboard on a motorbike made of neon lights!

P.S. My 'features' poll broke. :-(

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Day 52

I've no idea whether this is a rabbit or a hare. Anyone know how to tell the difference? [Edit: Meg says it's a hare; thanks, Meg!]

I must be the only person around here who reaches for their camera when they see one of these -- everyone else reaches for their rifle. Once we've planted our veggie garden, maybe my attitude will become more like Mr McGregor's!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Day 51

I think candid shots can be fun, but I don't get the opportunity to take them very often, living out in the sticks. Yesterday evening, while I was outside playing with the camera, our neighbour, Shirley, and her dog, Sooty, appeared on the brow of a hill, riding a quad bike. I had the telephoto lens in at the time, so I seized the opportunity for some candid snapping.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Day 50

I should be working right now, but I thought I'd just pop on here and share this shot of the martins, which I managed to get yesterday evening.

The quality of the image is not as good as I'd have liked, but I love animals, and I'd rather share a technically poor shot of a subject that fascinates me than a technically perfect shot of something boring.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Day 48

I'm very excited because the blog has just passed the 1,000 page view mark. That's not bad after only 48 days. Thank you all for visiting!

Today it's been raining. A lot. We've had over 83 mm of rain so far today, and there are still three hours left to go. We're hoping we don't get any more landslides blocking our driveway like we did the last time we got a period of sustained heavy rain, although I'm sure Iain wouldn't complain too much about not being able to get into work for a day or two!

I processed today's shot using the Photogene iPad app. It's the first time I've used it, and it's pretty good.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Day 47

I went for a stroll after tea last night and took the iPhone with me. I had lots of fun taking photos using the Camera+ app. I like being able to apply the filters in 'post', but previewing the effects on the tiny iPhone screen can be a bit hit-and-miss.

I like to give my processed photos titles, and I thought 'heading home' would be a good title for this one, until Iain came up with a better suggestion: 'hedgehog's eye view'.  ;-)

Just a quick reminder that there are still a few days left to vote in the current poll. I value your opinion, so please take a couple of seconds to cast your vote. Thanks.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Day 46

What a sight the moon was last night! As it rose above a nearby hill I managed to get my first half-decent shot of it -- ever. Many thanks to our friend, Frank, a very experienced photographer, who gave me some tips on shooting the moon.

I created this image by combining two separate shots of the same scene; one exposed for the sky using the built-in exposure meter and the other exposed for the moon, using the camera's manual setting. I got the best results at F7.1, 1/125 of a second (ISO 100).

This shot doesn't come close to capturing what I saw, but it's turned out pretty well, considering my current skill level and the poor quality of the lens. Given the same scene in a year's time, I'm confident I'll be able to do better.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Day 45

Iain, bless him, keeps downloading funky new iPhone photo apps for me to play with.  This shot was taken with an app called Camera+. In this app, unlike Hipstamatic and Camtastic, you add the processing after you've taken the shot, so you can experiment with different effects. However, for this particular shot of our neighbours' wool shed I had the effect I wanted in mind before I took it.

The 'tilt shift' effect adjusts the depth of field so that the subject looks like a model. Click here for some cool examples of tilt shift photos. Tilt shift works best if you take the shot from above the subject, and if the subject is in the centre vertically. I decided to take the shot at midday (usually the worst time for taking landscape shots), so that the light would be coming from above, as it would if this really were a model.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Day 44

I did play around with Camtastic last night, and I got some interesting shots, but none of them good enough to share.

Pookie had to put up with me disturbing her nap time today to take photos of her. I got three decent shots, but I can't decide which one I like the best, so I thought I'd share all three.

Which one do you prefer?

Number 1,

Number 2,

or Number 3?

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Day 43

We get spectacular sunsets here, but we don't usually get interesting skies at dawn, so I was very lucky to capture this shot this morning, not long after sunrise.

I've not yet had the chance to play around any more with the Camtastic app, but I'll experiment with it this evening, and post the results tomorrow, if any of them come out okay.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Day 42

When Iain got home from work today, he announced he'd downloaded the Camtastic iPhone app for me. After tea I played around with it for about ten minutes, until the light got too bad. Here's one of the better shots I managed to get. I'll play with it some more tomorrow, and let you know what I think.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Day 41

As we've not planted a garden yet, the only flowers we get up here are weeds. But I think daisies are as pretty as any cultivated flower. And they look just as good in black and white as they do in colour.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Day 40

Every time we drive into town we pass this mailbox. I've been wanting to take a photo of it for ages. One of these days I'm going to catch it at the right time of day (the light's much too harsh in this shot) and with the proper camera. For now, this Hipstamatic shot will have to do.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Day 39

To get today's shot I trudged up to the highest point on our property, which we call 'the nob', ably assisted by Pookie. She follows me wherever I go -- I'm sure she was a dog in a previous life. ;-)

The mountain in the distance is Mount Ruapehu, which everyone around here simply calls 'the mountain'. And, in case you were wondering, yes, it is a volcano! For information about it, click here.

Here's another shot of the mountain, which I took a couple of years ago. I don't have a wide-angle lens; I created it by stitching about four or five photos together. Click on the image to see a slightly larger version.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Day 38

It's round about now that I'm running out of things to photograph up here on our empty, windswept hill.

Having a restricted environment is actually a good thing, because it's forcing me to see everything around me, not just the obvious things, but everyday objects that I don't normally give a second glance to, as possible subjects for photographs, and it's encouraging me to look at things from a different angle, and be more experimental. It also means that whenever I do get the opportunity to get out and about, it becomes an exciting photo field trip.

Today's photo is of the interior of one of our floor lamps. I'm still loving the Hipstamatic app. Can you tell?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Day 37

The sheep's skull I found a few weeks ago now lives on our veranda, by the front door. In the mid afternoon the light from one of the skylights shines on the skull, and it looks as though it's on stage, caught in a spotlight.

Alas, poor Ewe-rick...

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Day 36

A gorgeous half moon was visible this afternoon, and I composed a shot of the moon framed by grass seed heads. The grass came out okay, but as I suspected, the moon didn't come out very well - it was just a tiny, blurry smudge. So I used artistic licence to put the moon back into the shot.

I'm thinking of adding a few extra features to this blog. I've got a few ideas, which I've listed in the poll in the sidebar, so please vote for any of those that you'd be interested in. If you've got any other suggestions for features you'd like to see, please comment below.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Day 35

During today's 'photo hunt' I had a mission: I wanted to grab some shots of the lichen on the fence, which I spotted yesterday when I was taking Day 34's photo.

In my mind's eye I had a super-detailed close-up of the lichen, looking like a miniature forest or tiny coral reef, but my lens wouldn't let me do that, so I had to rethink my approach. The result is okay, but I still wish I'd been able to capture the shot I had in my imagination!

See that area of fuzziness on the top left of the front face of the fence post? That shouldn't be there, so I've just checked my lens, and there's a circular mark on the back piece of glass (the part where it joins the camera body.) It looks like it's on the inside rather than on the outside, which is a bit worrying. I'll have a go at cleaning the lens tomorrow, in the daylight. I hope the mark's on the outside, and I can get it off!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Day 34

I love Photoshop because it lets you transform this:

into this:

It's not a great photo, but it's much better than the original, and more interesting than my other cabbage tree, fence and gate study from Day 2.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Day 33

A little bit of magic blew in on the wind today, and I was there to catch it! This is far and away my favourite shot of the project so far.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Day 32

Three of our neighbours' cattle. I've nicknamed them Grumpy, Dopey and Bashful.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Day 31

I chose this image from the shots I took today because I like the juxtapositions in it: of growth and decay, of nature and technology, as well as juxtapositions of shape, texture and colour.

Reading that back it sounds terribly pretentious. I'll sign off now before I make myself look like an even bigger plonker.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Day 30

Today feels like a milestone in the project. I'm thirty days in, or one twelfth of the way through. I'm delighted that the blog's had over 600 page views in the first month. (And before you ask, I've set it to ignore my own page views, so that's not just me viewing it 20 times a day!)

I'd like to say a big 'thank you' to those of you who have visited the blog. I do have one teeny-weeny request, though: make more comments! I've made it as easy as possible to post a comment -- you can post anonymously without having to sign into anything. To keep the blog free of spam, I've got a captcha installed, and I moderate all comments. So if you've visited a few times and stayed shtumm (spelling?!) so far, why not post a comment next time? I'll appreciate pretty much anything you've got to say, including bad jokes and constructive criticism, so get typing!

Today's shot is another black and white image, and I was going to get into a discussion about the reasons why you might choose to change a colour image to monochrome, but I've waffled on long enough today, so I'll leave that until another time.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Day 29

Today's subject attracted me with its interesting shapes and glowing colour. Can you guess what it is?

Monday, 3 January 2011

Day 28

Our cat, Pookie, used to sleep in my in tray when she was a kitten, and she still likes to sit in it, although she's finding it harder to lie down in these days.

I'm not sure what I should file her under.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Day 26

Among our animal companions up here on top of the hill are a family of martins, who swoop around the house in the morning and evening on most days.

This is the first time I've managed to capture one of the martins on camera. They fly really fast, and my lens is really slow!

Top pic(k)s for December

Happy New Year! I hope 2011 brings you lots of love and laughter.

On the first of each month I'm going to take a look back at the images I've posted over the previous month and choose my five favourites.

Here are my top pic(k)s for December.

I like the framing on this shot, and the detail in the cow's hair.

I like the theatricality of this shot, and the fact that it looks as if it might have been taken in a different place and at a different time.

I like the depth of focus in this shot.

The colours in the sky, the light from the tent, the silhouetted skyline - I like everything about this shot.

I like this one because the depth of focus works well, and I had to learn a new technique in Photoshop in order to pull it off.

P.S. The Day 17 photo poll has just closed. Thanks to everyone who voted. It looks like the shot of the fence is the winner!