Thursday, 31 March 2011

Top pic(k)s for March

Here are my five favourite photos from March, in reverse chronological order. Please help me decide on the 'top pic(k)' by casting your vote in the poll at the top of the sidebar. Thanks!

Day 115

This one's called 'Headache'. I never used to suffer from headaches until about a year ago, but monthly migraines which last three days are now a feature of my life. I guess they're all part of the slide towards the menopause. I'd rather have hot flushes, though!

My original idea with this one was to add weird colour and blur effects to mimic the visual disturbances you get with a migraine, but I think it works better as a 'straight' portrait. I did the initial editing in Photoshop, including transforming it into black and white (gotta love that red filter for evening out skin tones!), and then applied sepia and 'gritty' filters in Picnik.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Day 114

Our neighbours' cattle, who are grazing our land, are used to us now, and we can get really close to them before they get spooked. I reckon this one's saying, 'Don't you wish YOU could do this?' ;-)

Here's another misty morning one. I got the shot all lined up, and just as I was about to press the shutter release, a flock of birds flew into the frame. How lucky was that?!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Day 113

It's another blue sky day today, so I thought I'd try some more shots with the sky as the background. I've been trying for a sun flare effect, too, by shooting almost, but not quite, into the sun.

I'm looking forward to the time when we've got some other plants to photograph up here, rather than just grass and weeds!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Day 112

After a miserable weekend weather-wise, it's a gorgeous, blue sky day today. I took the opportunity to do a load of washing this morning, and as I was hanging it out to dry, I decided to have another go at a washing line photo shoot. My shots came out better this time, because I got closer in and shot from below. This got rid of the background distractions and gave a lovely blue backdrop. Here's my favourite shot, pretty much straight out of the camera. The only processing I did was to lighten the shadows a little.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Day 111

It's been raining all day, so for today's photo shoot I cheated a bit, and simply stuck the camera out of the window! Here's our washing line, looking very wet!

I hadn't been snapping very long before Pookie came to see what I was doing, and jumped up onto the window sill. She's a great photographer's assistant!

As with Friday's shots, I did the initial processing in Photoshop and then added effects in Picnik. Picnik has encouraged me to try out textures for the first time. I added a water drop texture to the first shot, for an even wetter feel. I'm not sure how well it works; I think it's probably a bit over-the-top. I used a sandstone texture on the portrait of Pookie. I think this works better.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Day 110

Today's shots all have an autumnal feel to them, which is hardly surprising, because it's autumn here!

I took the landscapes/skyscapes from the veranda first thing this morning, and the Hipstamatic shot shows one of the mushrooms growing in our bottom paddock. The neighbours reckon they're edible, but we're not prepared to take the risk to find out!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Day 109

Today I had a Picnik! My shot for the day is this close-up of our veranda deck. I processed it in Photoshop first, making all the basic adjustments such as brightness, contrast, levels, curves, vibrance and saturation, and then applying an unsharp mask. I then uploaded it into Picnik's web-based photo editor and played around with some of the effects. I forget which ones I used, but I combined about half a dozen of them.

For comparison, here's the SOOC (the image straight out of the camera):

I also played around in Picnik with a couple of my old 365 shots, which I thought needed a bit of added 'oomph'. I'm very pleased with the results I got. I've added borders to them, but that was just in the spirit of experimentation to see what they looked like; I won't keep the borders.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Day 108

Today I set up my tripod outside and took loads of photos of the washing on the line, blowing in the wind, but although the motion blur effect worked well, none of the shots were good enough to share. I'll try again another day.

I did get three half-decent shots of animals, though; one dead one and two that are still alive.

This one's a Canon shot, which I processed over at, which is a great new find, and will be my pick for The Saturday Site this week.

And these two are Hipstamatic shots, as if you couldn't tell!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Day 107

My 'official' 365 shot for today is yet another sunset. We get such great sunsets here, and I do like to capture them. Maybe next year I should start a new blog, called A Sunset A Day! ;-)

Here's another shot from yesterday's photo session. I added an HDR toning effect, which is why it looks a bit different to yesterday's shots. I think the way it lightens the blue of my clothes makes them stand out better against the sofa, and makes the blur more pronounced.

And here's a photo I took of the Colosseum which I've processed in Tilt Shift Generator.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Day 106

The weather's been wet and miserable all day, so I stayed indoors for today's photo shoot. After my failures and frustrations yesterday, I wanted to have a second stab at some 'action' shots.

Being indoors and not wanting to use artificial lighting meant I could try some long (5-second) exposures and go for the whole motion blur effect, (as suggested by Angie). I decided to take some shots of myself moving into yoga poses. Pookie came to see what I was doing and rolled around on the floor with me, which added to the fun. :-)

I got two shots that I think work okay:

And here's the first shot again, this time as a colour negative.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Day 105

I've had a frustrating time photography-wise today. This is the best shot I got all day, and when Iain saw it, he said, 'It looks like someone has hanged themselves.' :-D

I had the idea of using my new tripod and the delayed shutter release to try some frozen action shots. I set the tripod up on the deck, put my wellies on a recognisable mark on the deck and used them as a stand-in for my feet so I could fix the exposure and focus. I then pressed the shutter, threw my wellies out of the way, stood where they had been, and jumped up in the air when the shutter went off. That took a bit of practice. I got lots of shots with my feet on the ground!

I'm not at all happy with this shot. The light is poor, even at 1/400 of a second my feet are still a bit blurred, and there's not much of a sensation of movement, either (hence Iain's remark!) So tomorrow I'll try some whole-body jumping shots. I hope my results get better!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Day 104

Over the next few days I'll be putting my new tripod through its paces. I used it to take this shot at ISO 100, rather than 1600, which I would have had to use for a blur-free handheld shot. It's good to be able to take low-light shots without too much graininess. The colours in the original shot were all very close to each other, but didn't quite match. I think it looks 'cleaner' in monochrome.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Day 103

Today I went to the Big Smoke for a yoga workshop. I took Iain's iPhone with me ostensibly so that I could call for assistance if I broke down, but actually it was so that I could take some snaps while I was out! I took this Camera+ shot in the morning while I was waiting for the venue to open.

I took this Camtastic shot from the parked car during the lunch break.

This evening, thanks to my lovely new tripod, I got these shots of the so-called 'Supermoon'.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Day 102

It's that flippin' cabbage tree again!

And here's another tilt-shifty one, of the Piazza San Marco in Venice.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Day 100

Today I've got a couple of still life shots, on the theme of parallel lines...

...and an old photo which I've mucked around with in Tilt Shift Generator. This is the cable car in Wellington that links the botanical gardens to the city.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Day 99

I spent today putting the finishing touches to the house in readiness for the final building inspection tomorrow. While I was putting sealant on the tiles above the bathroom sink, I got the idea of taking a self-portrait using the bathroom mirror. I've never taken a self-portrait using a mirror before, and I guess it's a rite of passage most photographers go through at some point.

I did consider changing out of my smeggy old decorating clothes, doing something to my hair and putting some make-up on, but in the end I decided that it would be more honest to capture myself just as I was, paint splats and all.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Day 98

Today I've got one Canon shot, one iPhone shot and one old photo processed using an iPad app.

Here's today's sunset. I've lost count of the number of sunset shots I've taken for this project, but I make no apologies; I do like a good sunset!

After yesterday's portrait, here are some more big feet (Pookie has an extra toe on each foot and her feet are enormous!)

Here's a photo of San Gimignano I took during a holiday in Italy ten years ago, which I mucked about with today in Tilt Shift Generator, a cool new iPad app.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Day 97

Iain let me take his portrait today. And what's more, he agreed to me posting the finished result online. Thanks, Iain! x

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Saturday Site: 5

Today's link's not to a site, but to an article. This article collects together 225 photo tips from over 50 professional photographers, and is well worth a bookmark.

Day 96

Today has been incredibly busy, and I didn't get time for a proper photo shoot. But I did manage to grab these iPhone shots while we were visiting the Big Smoke. I also found the time to tweak the shots a little bit in Photoshop, which included adding a chocolatey tint.

Theobroma Chocolate Lounge is an Australian franchise operation that's recently made it across the ditch to New Zealand. I think I've finally found my spiritual home. ;-)

P.S. Thanks to those who voted in the poll to pick the best photo of February. The winner is the silhouetted sunrise, which is also my favourite, too. 

Friday, 11 March 2011

Day 95

I don't often use the Filter Gallery in Photoshop, but I decided to experiment with this photo of Scully, and I think it works quite well with the watercolour filter.

I can't hear the word 'watercolour' without thinking of that scene in 'Spaced' where Daisy meets Brian for the first time:

Tim tells Daisy that Brian's an artist, and she asks him what sort of things he does.
Brian replies, 'Anger...pain...fear...aggression.'
'Watercolours?' asks Daisy.

We put up our first couple of window coverings last night: wooden Venetian blinds in the kitchen. I liked the way the light was coming in through them, so I grabbed this Hipstamatic shot. Venetian blinds remind me of growing up in the seventies -- they are the epitome of 'retro cool'. ;-)