Visiting London, and the 52Frames Weekly Challenge; Rule of thirds

London Eye; London England
Visiting London England, and seeing all the sights

It’s been a busy week, we are off on another adventure – three days in London England. The weather has been cloudy and cool but that has not stopped us from walking from one end to the other, seeing the sights, eating pub food and attending the musical at the Shaftsbury theater. While visiting London I have been thinking about the 52frames weekly challenge, which is to create an image using the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds is perhaps the most well-known ‘rule’ of photographic composition one of the first things taught to beginning photographers, and one of the compositional rules I heard over and over again as part of the camera club. 

The basic principle behind the rule is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds both horizontally and vertically, so that there are 9 equal parts, like a tic tac toe board. Many of the modern cameras can be set to display a grid, check your user manual if are interested in learning more about this. 

The grid identifies important points you should consider placing the subject of elements of interest as you frame your image. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points create more tension, energy, and interest in the composition than simply entering the subject. The Rule of Thirds does a few things for composition. First, it gets new photographers off the habit of centering the subject by default and thinking about the entire frame. Second, it creates empty space that helps draw the viewer’s eye into the subject.

52 frames weekly photo challenge – Self-portrait

self-portrait, reflection in the store window, with photo of model appears to be looking at me, the photographer
oh oh oh, people are looking at me!

This weeks challenge was to create a self-portrait, something I was not looking forward to. As a photographer, I am much more comfortable holding a camera than getting my picture taken. The 52Frames website provided a number of links and I recommend a read if you are interested in creating a self-portrait, or using this as a theme for an ongoing project, the links and information were helpful and inspiring.

A google image search for self-portraits was most helpful and inspiring, there I found the work of Vivian Maier, combining street photography with self-portraiture use to catch her own reflection in shop windows, and mirrors. I felt that the self-portraits not only gave us some small insight into her but also daily life and the city in which she lived and worked.

While Vivian Maier used a twin reflex camera, one that you would look down through a mirror to frame your photo. I used both my DLSR and phone camera for this project. Both the phone and DLSR allowed me to frame the image like the twin reflex camera Ms. Maier used, and I found that helpful. It was quite amazing to me how much the angle of the camera, and where it was held changed the final image from what I saw with my own eyes.

Some of the other challenges, finding dark windows, there isn’t much of a reflection when a window has a light behind it. Dirty windows, and the stuff found in the window alway made a difference to the outcome. I also found that there were occasions when the double pane window showed up, almost as a double exposure, and I think the effect was magnified more when the camera was held more at an angle to the window, rather than straight on.

Have a look at results from this week, I would love to hear which image you think was most successful, and why. Have I inspired you to give it a try?

Last Day of 2018, looking back and looking forward!

blue glass paperweight and tinfoil used to create an abstract

It has been a while since I have written a blog post, during 2018 I seem to spend a great deal of time sorting, organizing, moving or discarding as we moved, downsized to a condo. A place that is close to the river with lots of walking paths, natural areas yet close to the center of town for shopping, restaurants, festivals, and activities.  While the move has been good for us, lots of walking, less time in traffic, it has taken a lot of time and energy, and I haven’t been inspired to pick up my camera too often.

For me December is a time to reflect back on the year, and what do I want to do next year.  I have a couple of projects that I will share with you as they evolve,  for now, I have decided to take on a 52-week photo challenge.

I wanted something that will inspire me, pick up the camera, a community that I can learn from and who would share their work, and to some degree of accountability and encouragement. After reviewing a few websites I came across 52frames.com they offer a guided weekly photography challenge.

Last week’s challenge was to combine three previous challenges, my first submission celebrating the imperfections (week 4 wabi-sabi) of the blue (week 2) glass paperweight, I was able to create an abstract (week 16) and in the process discovered a new universe.

I am pretty happy with the results, next week’s challenge could be a deal breaker – a self-portrait, like most people I hate having my photo taken. Like so many, I am critical of how I look, feel awkward in front of a camera, and generally have more fun hiding behind the camera! 52framers provide lots of links, great information, and inspiration on self-portraiture. I admire those who choose this theme a long-term project.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best to you and your family in 2019. Wish me luck on my 52-week photography challenge and stay tuned to see what I am inspired to photograph, and let me know if you are working on a weekly challenge.

Miror d’eau Water Mirror Bordeaux France

The Miroir d’eau (Water Mirror) or Miroir des Quais (Quay Mirror) in Bordeaux is the world’s largest[1] reflecting pool, covering 3,450 square meters (37,100 sq ft). Located on the quay of the Garonne in front of the Place de la Bourse,

I have been working my way through old image files, and remembering the time we spent in Bordeaux France. 

The Water Mirror was beautiful, located across from Place de la Bourse, between Quai de la Douane and Quai Louis XVIII, this spectacular pool, designed by landscape artist Michel Corajoud, alternates a mirror effect and artificial misting in an extraordinary way. 

Located between the Garonne and beautiful 18th-century façades, and is listed as a contemporary World Heritage Site. 

Free-lensing

 I have been experimenting with a new, for me, photographic techniques, free-lensing. I have experimented with this before, but this week I I took some time to read more about the technique and experiment with more intent. I have made some notes just in case you are interested in how this works or want to try this yourself.

Free-lensing, defined as a technique used with interchangeable lens cameras in both film-based and digital photography. The lens is detached from the camera and held in front of the lens mount by hand during exposure. This allows the lens to be tilted or shifted creating a similar effect to a perspective control or “Tilt-Shift” lens, only with a lower degree of fidelity. The result is a combination of selective focus and light leakage which are used creatively to create surreal imagery.

The lens used does not necessarily have to be native to the brand of camera, since it is not physically attached. In addition, the lens may also be reversed for Macro Photography. By shooting through a  lens backward, increased magnification can be achieved. One of the by-products of free-lensing is the introduction of “light leaks” which can be controlled to some degree and produce toy-camera effects similar to those achieved with a Holga or Diana Camera.

To get shots like this, you must first set a “ballpark” exposure while your lens is still attached. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Power the camera on set the focus on manual and open it to infinity.
  2. Power the camera off, then detach the lens.
  3. Turn the camera back on and hold the lens backward against your camera body. 
  4. Then, move closer to the subject, within inches, until it becomes clear and click the shutter.

TIP: Remember, just the slightest movements (wind, camera shake, etc) really can affect your focus so try to hold your camera as steady as possible.  Also, check the image on the back of the camera. Adjustments to your exposure may be necessary.

I was using a Canon 5D Mark IV and found that if I held down the Depth of Field preview button while removing the lens it will lock the aperture closed to the f-stop setting. Keep in mind that the smaller difficult to see through the lens aperture.

I have read conflicting views on using Live View. When you turn your camera to Live View you are increasing the exposure of the sensor to the outside world, however, it is easier to see the effects in real time and watch your focus. It is best to use this technique in a relatively dry, dust-free environment.  

Once the photos have been captured, the lens should be remounted or a body cap installed to protect the mirror and sensor from dust or moisture. Frequent use of a bulb blower or electronic cleaning is recommended.

Let me know if you give this a try.

Something new

Autumn Texture and Leaves _25A9851
Autumn Texture and Leaves; “How pleasant to walk over beds of these fresh, crisp, and rustling fallen leaves…. —Thoreau, October 12, 1853

Weekly review; I try to learn something new every day, where has just a few of the interesting things I have discovered and thought I might share with you.

  1. From the Paris review; the first abstract painter was a woman; She worried that the world wasn’t ready to see them, and when she died in a tram accident, in 1944, at the age of eighty-one, her will ordained that they not be shown for at least another twenty years. More of her work can be found here. 
  2. I find inspiration in so many places; Austin Kleon has some great Inspirational in stains and textures. 
  3. This was helpful; learning how to seed a pomegranate.
  4. On being a fearless artist I love his reminder about finding our purpose.
  5. “If you are ever bored or blue, stand on the street corner for half an hour,” writes Maira Kalman.” I love this quote from “On Looking: A Walker’s guide to the Art of Observation” that I am currently reading. I love people watching!
  6. From Brain Pickings; review of Anne Lamont “Notes on Hope” … in the wreckage of this hardship, we find our most redemptive potentialities: Brain Pickings is one of my favorite weekly reads, with book and writer reviews, if you are looking for something to read check Brain Pickings
  7. Mel Robbins tells us about the “Zeigarnik Effect.” State your goals and your mind will program itself to spot opportunities to help you create it in real life. Read more about it here https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/procrastinating-how-to-stop-zeigarnik-effect-phenomenon-at-work-now-a8247076.html 
  8. I am watching a few Lightroom video’s learning how to create page templates in the print module.

That is just some of the highlights from my week, what have you been reading? let me know so I can learn along with you.

Have a great week

Planning and Preparing for the Camino to Santiago de Compostela

Camino Frances, yellow arrows, scallop shells, way-markers, direction signs
some of the signs we saw along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela; https://jmeyersforeman.photoshelter.com/index/G0000X9dzoUqwosQ/I0000BeE4ezGtEDU

Bill and I have walked two from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela along the Camino Frances twice. The first trip was the hardest for many reasons, one of the first difficulty came because we didn’t really know what we were doing, what to expect, or where to find information. It was still a vague concept for us.

We had found quite a few websites with information, we read a number books all with stories of the walk, maps, and photos. We contacted the Canadian Company of Pilgrims and attended a could of the Chapter meetings in Calgary. It was very helpful to attend the meeting, where we meet people who had completed the Camino Frances, as well as people who volunteered at albergues and hostels along the way.

Some sites we found helpful when planning our trip:

https://www.caminoadventures.com/

https://www.gronze.com/camino-frances

https://vivecamino.com/en/the-french-way/

http://santiago-compostela.net/camino-frances/

https://www.pilgrim.es/en/routes/

http://caminodesantiagoguide.org/pathsandmaps

Before our first Camino, we were both working full time it was difficult to find the time we needed to train to the level of fitness recommended for an easier journey to Santiago de Compostela. We met people of every age walking along the Camino route, being in the tip-top fitness condition of a 20-year-old is unnecessary, being fit for your age should be a priority. One of the better websites we found for training advice and information on Follow the Camino 

During the planning of our first Camino, we spent a lot of time wondering if we could travel the entire 800km across northern Spain following the yellow arrows and scallop shells.  Just after leaving St. Jean Pied de Port we found our first yellow arrow painted on a tree, and wondered, would it really be that easy?!

Camino Frances, way-marker, Camino to Santiago de Compostela
on our way from St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles, the first yellow arrow! https://jmeyersforeman.photoshelter.com/index/G0000X9dzoUqwosQ/I0000kXlnSr8lCAY

It is amazing the variety of signs, each being as individual as the person who placed it there for others to follow.

Camino Frances, yellow arrows, scallop shells, way-markers, direction signs
some of the signs we saw along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela https://jmeyersforeman.photoshelter.com/index/G0000X9dzoUqwosQ/I0000ok2lKaDJCzA

Autumn didn’t last long in Calgary

fall leaves covered with ice and snow
frozen leaves; captured by the snow and ice.

Yesterday Mother Nature hit Calgary with snow – records breaking amounts of snow dumped on Calgary. I have talked to many who spend hours in traffic.

I wandered the streets and park pathways. Okay, I will admit that it is nice not having a full-time job downtown, I get to choose how I spend the day, and yesterday I choose to go for a walk. Yes, it was hard walking through the 10 plus inches of snow. But it was also very beautiful. Especially when I walked into a section of the pathway that had just been cleared by the city snowplow. Along the walk was a thin sheet of soft snow and ice, covering the leaves. I felt like a three-year-old who had just found their first leaf!

I know kinda crazy, right. But they are beautiful, so many shades and patterns, colors enhanced by the wet snow. I know walking through the snow, and photographing the leaves isn’t for everyone, but I had a great day.

How do you spend your time when you have a snow day?

Coffee; First coffee then the world

espresso coffee, coffee beans, first coffee then the world gold background
first coffee then the world https://society6.com/product/first-coffee-then-the-world1026841_stretched-canvas?curator=janicemf

Saturday mornings have started to look like every other day of the week. It has been almost 1 year since I quit working a regular job, and it has been quite a year! But the last couple of weeks, we have been home and I have been sick. Cold, sinus infection and bronchitis! I guess it was time for me to come home and rest!

So, it has been a quiet couple of weeks, and now I am rested and getting ready to work on some projects. I entered a couple of images into the Stampede Photo Gallery, we shall see if any of them get accepted. I want to start doing more portraits again this summer. I am thinking about Photo Encaustic Painting, something new to explore, learning something new is always good, but I am not sure about the medium or if I want to dilute my schedule, available time and brain power with one more thing!

I have been adding more images to my Society6 page, that is easy to do while sitting and drinking tea, and it seems a good way to start my venture into selling prints. If you have any other suggestion, I would be happy to hear your thoughts on selling photography online.

I have had my morning coffee, time to get busy, off out of the house and into the world to see what awaits me!

PS. I wanted to mention there is a sale on Society6

1/21 – 1/22: 25% Off Everything With Code ART25OFF
Start: Sunday, 1/21/18 at 12:00 am PT
End: Monday, 1/22/18 at 11:59 pm PT

Winter Walk

If you seek creative ideas go walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk ~                                                                        Raymond I. Myers

room to breathe, man sitting on a bench in Nosehill Park Calgary Alberta, enjoying the view and a beautiful winter day, blue sky in the background and frosty grass in the forground
winter Calgary man sitting on a bench Nosehill park; Room to Breath https://society6.com/product/winter-walk858777_print?sku=s6-7877409p4a1v45

I am not sure who this Raymond I. Myers is or where he lived, but I am guessing that he didn’t walk in Canada during the winter, where a good hat is essential against the frosty cold wind that blows in my ears! But the walk despite to cold wind and snow does give me a chance to breathe some fresh air, and clear my thoughts and find inspiration.

My assignment today: Find a simple subject…. an uncluttered background….. experiment with different POV’s (points of view). Leave room in the frame… negative space is a beautiful thing.

Negative space is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. There is plenty of space on Nosehill Park for walking, dreaming and for listening to the angels if you like, the only thing negative is the temperature! Forgive me for harping on about the cold, I know I am not the only one putting up with these temperatures, it is just not easy to get comfortable with, it will take me a while to adjust!  Until then, I hope you are enjoying your day, and that you are finding room to breathe and be creative.

Prints are available on Society6