Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Day 204

I gave myself my weekly face mask this morning. I don't like sitting around for fifteen minutes, waiting for the face mask to 'work', so I normally do other stuff while I'm waiting, such as cleaning the shower or sorting the laundry. But today I had a new toy to play with -- my iPhone!

I don't take many selfies, because I don't like the hit-and-miss approach when you can't look through the viewfinder. Now that I've got a forward-facing camera, I might experiment with self portraiture a bit more often. I took these shots with the inbuilt camera app, and then processed them in Lightroom.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Day 203

I've been playing with my new toys today.

I used my new lens and reflector for this shot:

I took these three with the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone:

And here's an old photo I played around with in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Days 199 to 202

We had a lovely relaxing weekend away, and even though it was Iain's birthday I was the one who came back with goodies: a collapsible diffuser/reflector, a 50 mm f/1.8 lens, and an iPhone 4!

Day 199

I baked a cake for Iain's birthday. I'm far too cack-handed to decorate a cake, so it looks a bit of a mess, but by golly it tastes good! :-)

Day 200

Two photos showing the dawn view from our hotel room in Wellington.

Day 201

We visited a wildlife sanctuary only ten minutes' drive from the centre of the city.

A kereru (New Zealand wood pigeon)

The Karori gold mine, which is located inside the wildlife sanctuary. Taken with my lovely new lens. I think the blurred figure is the ghost of a miner. ;-)

Another native bird, a takahe. In size they're midway between a chicken and a turkey.

Day 202

Trying out the forward facing camera on my new iPhone...

Self portrait

Opening the mailbox

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Day 198

A contented cat has a purr and kneads my fleece.

Iain and I are going to Wellington for a long weekend tomorrow, and Pookie's off to the cattery. Tara 'til Monday!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Day 197

I was very lucky when I went to check the mailbox today. There wasn't any post, but I spotted a couple of photo opportunities, and I took them!

Here's our neighbour's horse, who wanted to say hello.

And here's a flooded gully by the side of the road.

Last weekend we bought ourselves a second car, so now I have my own set of wheels, which is brilliant. I don't feel so isolated any more. Last night I went to yoga class for the first time since we moved out of town, and tonight I'm going to go along to camera club (for the first time ever). I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Day 196

I'm not sure which version of this shot works better.

I think the sky works best in the colour version, as the clouds have more depth, but I think the land works best in black and white, as it brings out the lines in the silhouette.

Which version do you prefer?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Day 195

I spotted this snail in the grass outside the house.

When I was about eight I went on holiday to Cornwall, to stay with my aunt, who ran a guest house. There was a wonderful old stone wall in her garden, which was home to dozens of huge snails, and I was fascinated by them. When I got home, I kept some pet snails for a while.

I was a strange kid!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Day 194

By the time I was ready to take a photo break today, the clouds had rolled in, and the rain was lashing down. With only a couple of hours to go until sunset, I knew that even though lighting conditions were far from ideal, they weren't going to get any better, so I may as well take some photos anyway, and try to capture the mood of the weather.

I don't use the split tone presets in Lightroom very often, but they worked quite well with this shot. I chose one of the presets and then played around with exposure and curves, until I got the contrast I wanted between the various parts of the image. On most photos I find cranking up the clarity slider improves the final result, but with this one I found it looked best when I dialled down the clarity to a negative value.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Days 191 to 193

Great news -- the satellite installer had a cancellation, so we're now back online, much earlier than expected!  I'm really chuffed. You don't realise how much you've come to rely on the Internet until you have to do without it for a week.

Iain has come up with an interesting theory about why our 3G connection stopped working. He reckons it's the fault of the ash cloud from the volcano in Chile, which has grounded the majority of New Zealand flights for the past week. Whatever the reason, I'm glad the outage happened, because it's forced us to get satellite, and although it's more expensive, it's also faster and we have way more bandwidth -- 50 GB per month instead of 8 GB. Knowing us, I'm sure we'll use it all! ;-)

Day 191

I never tire of the view from our veranda. If I took a photo of it every day, I'm sure I'd get a different result every time. On this shot I tried out a trick for dramatic skies that I learned from Photoshop User TV -- a simple technique using the high pass filter in Photoshop.

Day 192

I always take the camera with me when I take my daily walk to the mailbox. These ladybirds were going for a hike around the gate post.

Day 193

I keep buying flowers. It's very decadent, I know. But I do enjoy shooting them.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Days 187 to 190

I spoke too soon the other day when I said the Internet was back up. It stayed up for a couple of hours, and has been down ever since. It’s making life somewhat difficult, as I need the Internet for work.
Our connection has never been down for more than 48 hours at a time before, so after this long a time with no service we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that it’s probably kaput. We’ve signed up for satellite broadband, but there’s a lead-time of two to three weeks. Apologies to those of you whose blogs I normally visit on a regular basis -- I might be absent for a little while longer. But I’ll be back!
So, in the meantime, as far as this blog is concerned, the plan is that I’ll write a couple of posts a week and Iain will put them up for me when he’s at work. Thanks, Iain! ☺
Here are the shots from the last few days.

Day 187

Day 188

Day 189

Day 190

Monday, 13 June 2011

Internet Down

The internet is down again - Helen will make post as soon as she can.


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Days 183-186

Our internet connection has been down for the past 72 hours, but it's just come back up, so I'm rushing to put this post together as quickly as I can, in case the connection goes down again!

Here are my 365 photos from the last few days:

Day 183

The official halfway point of the project. I came up with an idea of half a clock, to mark 'half time'.

Day 184

How to shoot cows who aren't used to you and run off when you approach: lie down in the grass and wait for them to come to investigate you!

Day 185

Clover in the wind

The Scream (of frustration at being without the internet)

Day 186

Some colour to brighten up a wet, grey day

And here are a couple of experiments I did with the 100 Cameras in 1 app on the iPad. I put them up on Flickr a few days ago, and was thrilled when the creator of the app, Trey Ratcliff, commented on the second image.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


I was just getting ready to make yesterday's post when the internet went down, and it's still down this morning. To check my work emails I've had to make the hour-long round trip into town.

Because we live out in the sticks, we use a 3G connection, which is temperamental at the best of times, but can be knocked out completely under certain atmospheric conditions. When this happens all you can do is sit and wait for the weather to change. It's frustrating, but useful practice in learning the art of acceptance!

Normal service will be resumed as soon as the internet's up and running again. In the meantime, I'm still taking photos.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Monday, 6 June 2011

Day 181

In contrast to all the effort and frustration yesterday, today's photo shoot was so easy.

When I opened the curtains this morning the light was amazing, so I went out onto the veranda and took some shots.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Day 180

After two frustrating daytime photo shoots that produced nothing good enough to share, I had to shoot indoors after dark. I don't like doing this, because I don't have any lights apart from a built-in flash, and that never, ever produces good results. So I have to rely on the ceiling lights and table lamps.

I had an idea for a dark and moody black and white shot of hands making a heart shape, so I went for it. The finished result isn't quite what I had in mind, but it's pretty close. I shall definitely try this one again some time in daylight.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Day 179

This is a gulley on our neighbour's land, taken from the roadside.

Two of the cows on our land came up to investigate the house, so Pookie and I went out to say hello. Cows are daft. This cow was constantly getting whacked in the face by her friend's tail, but she didn't have the sense to move out of the way.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Day 178

Yesterday I tried too hard to be arty, and it wore me out, so today I decided to be silly instead.

The manic-looking kitten is on a wastepaper basket which mysteriously* found its way back home with us one day on a visit to the DIY store. When Pookie first saw it she did a hilarious double-take and spent a few minutes cautiously checking it out, before she was satisfied there wasn't an enormous cat inside. I wish I'd got a photo of that!

*I tried to claim I didn't know it was in our trolley, but Iain wasn't buying it.   ;-)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Day 177

I really lucked out yesterday, with the shots of the tree heart and the dilapidated outhouse. In contrast, today's photo shoot didn't go very well. I wanted to shoot the gerberas in daylight before they wilt, but the light wasn't good and I couldn't get anything interesting happening with the composition either. Not having enough time for a second shooting session, I had to resort to trying to liven up the two least crappy shots in Lightroom. I would have been more than satisfied to have got results like this at the beginning of this project, but now I'm not. Which is good.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Top Pic(k)s for May

Where is this year going? I can't believe I'm almost halfway through this project already. 

Here are my six favourite photos from last month, 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!

1. Ewe can be a star

2. White on black

3. Bottoms up!

4. Jewels in the grass

5. Golden lining

6. What comfort feels like