Sunday, 30 October 2011

Day 290

There was a pair of martins circling round this house this morning. They kept dipping up under the verandah roof and hovering by the junction between the roof and the wall. From their behaviour I'd guess they're scouting out possible nesting sites. I do hope they decide to build a nest on the veranda. Where I grew up we had house martins nesting under our eaves for many years, so they'd be very welcome visitors. I didn't manage to get a good shot of their close-up hovering, but I did manage to get a half-decent shot of one of them as it flew past.

Here are some more shots from my photo shoot on Friday: a coot and two swans.

Last night I went to 'The Last Night of the Proms' at the local opera house. It wasn't very true to the original - the principal musicians were Wanganui Brass Band, rather than the London Symphony Orchestra, and there were all sorts of song and dance numbers that I'm sure have never featured in the original version. It was more like a variety show, really, but it was good fun, and at the end we got to sing most of the traditional audience participation pieces, such as Jerusalem, I Vow to Thee My Country, and Land of Hope and Glory. Load of imperialist, jingoistic bollocks, of course, but that didn't prevent me from having to wipe a tear or two from my eye in places. I guess I'm missing home more than I realised!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Day 289

I've had fun today, processing some more of the images I took yesterday.

These koi carp were difficult to photograph, as they were indoors and the light was poor. The combination of high ISO number and slow shutter speed resulted in images that lacked sharpness and detail, so I went for a dreamy, soft-focus look with the processing.

This duck was strutting around the park, quacking like mad, as if bossing all the other birds around.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Day 288

Today there was a rally past my house and the road was closed for most of the day. I wasn't interested in shooting the rally, and I didn't fancy staying at home and trying to work while all the noise was going on, so I decided to have a day out. First I went to yoga, then I went to the cinema and for lunch with a couple of friends, and finally I went for a photo walk alone around the park.

The weather was dark and drizzly, which wasn't ideal, but I got a few reasonable shots - enough to keep me busy processing images for the next few evenings.

I've had a really rough couple of days emotionally. I've felt almost as anxious, tearful and angry as I did immediately after Iain left. I'm not sure exactly what's precipitated this feeling, but I suppose it's only natural that making progress will sometimes involve taking one step forward and two steps back.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Day 287

Today I got an offer I couldn't refuse...from a bottle of water.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Day 286

This morning I found Shroedinger's rabbit. Its wave function had collapsed (or perhaps it would be more accurate to say it had been pushed -- by a black and white paw). Somewhere, in an alternate universe, it's hopping away through the grass.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Day 285

Tonight it was my turn to hold our monthly book club meeting. It's spring here and the nights are starting to draw out, so we were able to sit on the veranda sipping our drinks, listening to the skylarks and watching the sun go down, which was very nice indeed.

I put the camera on the tripod, set the shutter onto self-timer and then leapt over the electric fence in an attempt to get into the frame in time. As you can tell in this shot, I only just made it!

And here's one I took from behind the lens, complete with the ubiquitous Pookie.

Pookie likes sleeping under the veranda. I think all the noise we were making must have disturbed her, because she slinked off, disgruntled.

As part of the evening, my friend Judith showed me how to make the Kiwi national dish, pavlova. She makes her meringue with crushed vanilla pods and covers it with a home-made lemon topping instead of cream. It's incredible. I cut it into eight pieces. There were seven of us at book club, which means I've got a piece left for breakfast tomorrow morning. Being able to eat bizarre things for breakfast has got to be one of the many plus points of living on your own. :-)

I took quite a few shots of the pavlova, but none of them did it justice. I just don't 'get' photographing food. People and animals are easy: press the shutter when they're *doing* something. Flowers are easy: take them from an unusual angle and/or process the image in an unusual way. Landscapes are easy: wait for amazing light. But food; what can you do with food (other than eat it?)

And finally, an abstract shot. Can you guess what it is?

Okay, I'm off to do one of the following things: either clear up the mess, or to go to bed and leave the mess till the morning. I'll let you guess which.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Day 284

One of my dreams is to go on a photo safari in Africa. If I squint when I look at this photo, I can almost imagine Pookie is a lioness on the Serengeti plain.

I read in one of my self-help books that when you lose your life partner, it takes 1 year to recover for every 5 years of the relationship. Iain and I were together for twenty-five years, so, realistically, it's probably going to take me about five years to heal fully. That was a rather depressing realisation. I know that the road to emotional recovery is a long one, but I'm convinced that I can make it, that I've already lived through the worst of it, and that I'll be stronger and happier than ever by the time I've got through it.

One positive side-effect of experiencing a major loss in your life is that you stop playing it safe; you become more willing to take risks, and more determined than ever to move resolutely in the direction of your dreams. I don't know when and I don't know how, but photo safari, here I come! ;-)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Day 283

I reckon I'm the only person in New Zealand who's not settling down to watch the final of the rugby world cup right now. It's been held in New Zealand over the past six weeks or so, and the country's been suffering from World Cup Fever. The NZ team, The All Blacks, are in the final. One of the reasons why I'm not watching the match is because Iain took the telly when he left. Although it wouldn't have done me any good even if he'd left it behind, because we don't get TV reception out here! I hope the All Blacks win, because most of my Kiwi friends will be thrilled if they do.

I had an open home today. Only one person turned up to view the house, and he didn't buy it! Still, it wasn't a complete waste of time, because I parked up down the road and took some photos of the wild flowers on the verge. I managed to get three shots that are good enough to share.

I find buttercups tricky to photograph. Their yellow is so intense that they can easily look 'blown out', even when they're correctly exposed. The cheat's method of dealing with this problem is to work in black and white, and bring up the blacks. This brings out the detail in the petals, and makes the background so dark that it's easy to make it totally black with just a few strokes with the clone tool in Photoshop.

Here's some sort of fly or hornet sucking nectar from a head of cow parsley. It was so intent on feeding that it stayed put for ages, letting me get dozens and dozens of shots. I hoped I'd luck out with at least one of them, and I did!

An opening floret of an unidentified wild flower, given a cross-processing treatment:

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Day 282

My first piece of retail therapy since Iain left (apart from the new bedclothes): a new pair of shoes. Red, naturally! ;-)

The first shot is an attempt at something arty. I wibbled the iPhone around so that the shoes would be blurred. I then applied a cross-processing preset in Lightroom and cloned out the huge manufacturer's name on the inside of the shoes.

Here's a more conventional shot of the shoes (for those of you - okay, let's be honest, the women - who want to know what they look like).

Friday, 21 October 2011

Day 281

The neighbour's horses posed for me yesterday.

Here's a close up of the miniature pony, Nemo:

Here's Harry, yawning:

And here's Harry grazing at sunset:

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Day 280

I've got a snail climbing up my bedroom window! I've never seen the underside of a snail before. Those dark bands pulsate upwards from the centre of the snail's body to its head. Note to self: I really must clean my windows!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Day 279

I got to enjoy another gorgeous sunset yesterday; something to be thankful for. I had a lot to be thankful for yesterday: the deeds came through, confirming that the house now belongs to me and me alone, the house passed its final building inspection, and two more people made appointments to view the house. When Iain left I started a daily thankfulness practice (what I call my 'gratitude prayer'), and I've found it immensely helpful. It's one of the four wheels on the wagon that's going to carry me through this crisis. The other wheels are my friends, my yoga practice and my meditation practice.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Day 278

My neighbours are currently grazing a dozen year-old calves on my land. Here's one of the heifers, having a nosh on one of the ornamental flax plants Iain and I planted about a year ago. They're not looking very ornamental any more!

And here's a Hipstamatic shot of the carnations I bought the other day. They're still looking good.

Today I added another thing to the list of 'Things that are great about living on your own'. You can sing in the shower, as loudly and as out of tune as you like! :-D

Monday, 17 October 2011

Day 277

I've got two photos to share today: one pretty and one gruesome.

By the way, thanks to everyone who voted in the latest Top Pic(k)s poll. The winning photo was the one of the lambs. (My favourite was the horses.)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Day 276

Flying home.

My dearest wish right now is to do the same thing.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Day 275

I've done the occasional self portrait as part of this 365 project, but I've not done one since Iain buggered off, and I thought it might be interesting to do one now.

No, I'm not wearing white face paint or black eye liner in this shot. I took an iPhone image of myself after I'd been crying and put it through the infrared preset in Lightroom. Infrared processing really emphasises any redness or blotchiness in your skin, so you wouldn't use it for a 'beauty' shot, but I love the effect it's produced here!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Day 274

I bought some carnations at the supermarket today, and had lots of fun photographing them. I got three shots I like, but I'm not sure which of them is the best. Which do you prefer?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Day 273

The weather has been wet all day again, as the forecast promised. Lisa Gordon commented on yesterday's post that she likes to buy and photograph flowers when it's wet, and I think that's an excellent idea. I've not had the opportunity to go into town to get any flowers yet. In the meantime, I thought I'd photograph the embroidered flowers on my favourite cardigan.

I only bought this cardigan a few months ago, and I was wearing it on the day Iain told me he was leaving. So I now think of it as my 'new life cardigan'. The black represents my mourning over the loss of our marriage, and the rosebuds signify the hope of one day being able to 'bloom anew' (as Melissa put it in her haiku).

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Day 272

It's been raining all day, and the forecast is promising rain for the next ten days. I shall have to start getting inventive with my photo breaks! If anyone's got any suggestions of good subjects to shoot indoors, I'd love to hear them - I have no idea what I'm going to do! Today I popped outside for five minutes and took some photos of raindrops on the grass.

I got three shots that were worth keeping, and I decided to process them all differently. The third one was a shot of some grass leaves similar to the second shot, but then I noticed the little fly during processing, and I decided to zoom in on him. This is really pushing my 18-55mm kit lens to its very limit. One day I will get that macro lens.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Day 271

This is a photo of one of the fridge magnets on my fridge, courtesy of my lovely 50 mm lens. It's called a 'kiwiana jandal', which will be gobbledegook to you unless you've visited New Zealand. Kiwiana is the collective name that New Zealanders give to New Zealand cultural icons, and jandal is the Kiwi word for flip-flop.

I sold the yurt yesterday. Given that it was badly damaged in the storm that blew it down, and that very few people are puddled enough to want to live in a yurt, I thought I'd never sell it, but it had sold within a day of listing it on Trade Me. I'm elated at having sold it, as you can imagine. It's a big thing to have lurking in your shed, let alone your subconscious! But I'm also sad at having to sell it. It was our home for a while and I loved it. Despite the sadness, the overall feeling is one of optimism. The fact that I've sold the yurt gives me renewed hope that I will be able to find a buyer for the house.

Anyway, I'd better dash. I'm off to yoga class.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Day 270

I had lots of fun in my photo break today, playing around with different ways of shooting a pineapple. This is the best image I got, courtesy of my iPhone and the Hipstamatic app. This is the shot exactly as it came out of the camera, with no tweaking in Lightroom. You've gotta love Hipstamatic!

Top Pic(k)s for August and September

What with all the drama in August and my temporary absence from the blog, I completely forgot to do my Top Pic(k)s for the last couple of months. So I thought it might be fun to do one now.

Here, in chronological order, are my five favourite photos from August and September. Which photo do you prefer? Please take a minute to cast your vote in the poll in the sidebar. Thanks!






Sunday, 9 October 2011

Day 269

My mission today was to finish sorting through the stuff in the sheds. Some of it (including the much-loved yurt) is going onto Trade Me, I'm giving some away to friends, taking some to the local Salvation Army shop, and taking a few things back to the UK with me.

The state of play at half time:

While I was gallumphing about I spotted a perfect dandelion clock in the grass, so I captured it with Hipstamatic before I had a chance to tread on it.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Day 268

The first two images are a couple more from Wednesday that were originally in my reject pile. On second look I saw something in both of them that I liked. This first one was processed the most. I cropped it, tidied up the background a bit and then used one of Lightroom's cross-processing presets, which I tweaked slightly to bring back some of the blown-out highlights.

I caught this flower below dancing in the wind. I didn't do much processing, apart from some subtle colour adjustments to the magenta and purple channels.

Today's 'official' image is below. Some people can photograph food and make it look good. I'm not one of them -- yet! The weather was miserable today so I didn't get outside for a photo shoot. In desperation, I took a photo of a spiced apple muffin. Oh dear. Never mind. At least it tasted good!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Day 267

Elephants are one of my favourite animals. I got this ornament from an Indian import shop in Wellington a couple of years ago. It hangs next to my bedroom door. I think I might have posted a photo of it before, but this is a new one that I took today.

Another shot from my bedroom: the haiku my friend Melissa wrote for me after reading this post of mine from August: I just love it. It inspires me every time I go past it on my way to the bathroom. :-)