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featurejune17

Chiana and My Photoshoot

The weather has been all over the place lately with the sun poking out its head and then rain on and off, several times a day. I decided that I would pick some flowers before they became all rusty from the rain and do a shoot. A couple of days before I brought in some forget-me-nots that I noticed were blooming when I went out to put some clothes on the clothes line in the back yard. On a side note; it was just a load of towels and the first time I’d put clothes out this year because of the weather. Well, to start off, all my plastic clothes pins just snapped in two. I had left them out during the winter, and believe me, they were no longer good for holding anything. I did however have some wooden ones and since I didn’t have that many pieces decided that  I probably had enough. So I began to pin them up when what happens? The clothes line breaks! yes… my towels on the ground in the grass and now I have to bring them all in, all wet and heavy and put them in the dryer. Now I need to buy not only new pins but a whole new line! Yes, the life of a photog is very glamorous as you can see! :-D

Back to my photo shoot. :-D

So anyways, I decide to see what’s blooming that I can use. There are some Lupins that look fine. They are not bright blue like the Texas Bluebonnets variety, but they are a mixture of a subdued pink and some darker, murkier blues but I think I will be able to do something with them. Oddly enough, these flowers grow in my yard but I have never planted them. They grow wild in the woods and I think I may have somehow dragged some seeds on my pants while out wandering around doing what I love to do… taking photos. I also find that I have some irises that have bloomed, not many but that’s okay and my lilacs are just starting to bloom so I should just grab a bunch of those too. They are not completely open, but we are expecting rain on and off so figure that some is better than none.  I rummage through my containers to choose items I could use for this shoot. I actually like to use small teacups and stuff the most but these are all quite big, so out come the teapots and yes, a large vase. The vase is out of crystal and not something I would ever buy myself as it’s fancy and I prefer a more minimalist look but it’s from my dad and he brought it back from Europe and I have to say that when the light hits the cuts on it, the rainbow of colors that spills out is amazing.

choice of containers

Okay, I think I’m ready. Of course, Chiana, my cat, has noticed that I’m going to do a shoot and comes to investigate. What you all must understand is that she is never available for a shoot if I want to shoot her, but almost always available to stick her head or her butt in when she has not been called upon. Some of you may think that I’m a cat person and that is odd because I grew up with dogs and never thought I would ever have a cat but friends of my son had found a pregnant abandoned cat and brought her home to take care of her. Once she had her kittens, they were all given away, but nobody wanted Chiana as she was the runt. My son said, maybe you’d like a cat, mom. And I said, no, I don’t think so.. but he brought her home just to show me.. ahem… yes, then you put this tiny thing in your hand… she was so small and your heart just melts. I could not send her back.  I named her Chiana because of the name of a female alien in a sci-fi tv show called Farscape. She was all grey and silver and very catlike and I thought her name fit my new cat to a T. It’s been already 11 years since I got her, but look at how tiny she was with her eyes just bulging out of her head, could you have sent her back?

My Cat, Chiana

So back to the shoot. Once I placed the lupins on the table, I had not even chosen how to place them yet when she got upon the table  and decided to check out what was going on.

Cat notices I'm doing a shoot

 

Hey Maggie, are you doing a shoot? Perfect, time for me to see if you are doing things correctly!

Cat confirms I'm doing a photoshoot

Actually, do you know what? I think this looks like a very comfortable place to lay down! Let me test this out.

The Cat settles in

 

Oh, Chiana.. you are not serious are you?  I take a shot from the other end of the table.. yes, that is the vacuum cleaner you see… and behind that my computer area… oh, yes, if I knew beforehand,  the monitor would not be showing my spam folder. LOL

The Cat gets comfy

She is a beautiful cat though, you have to admit.  Look how much she’s grown!

the cat is pretty

I figure I’ll lure her away with some lilacs… they smell nice but cats can be finicky about such things… so we shall see.

cat smelling lilacs

Cat will not budge

They smell fine, Maggie. Continue with your shoot! :-D

Well, the morning shoot was not to be… Chiana stretched out and settled in for a snooze and I decided I’d try later in the day.

Preparing for her cat nap

Later that afternoon, I did do a shoot but I promise you, she was on the table but at the other end. I really didn’t get to do the shots that I thought I would.

So I did a couple shots of some forget-me-nots closer in:

polka dots in the morning

The old copper pot

Copper pot and an apple

then finally decided to do some shots closer up

Never forget our love

 

and

Forget me not

and a triptych of some irises

Triptych of Irises

I also did the featured image at the top with the forget-me-nots and the feather.

Some people may say that I should have just shoved the cat down but really, it was kind of funny. ;-)

Also, if some of you missed my last blog entry about my run in with a duck and what I thought was a beaver but turned out to be a muskrat! http://maggieterlecki.com/fine-art-photography/2436/here-comes-the-sun

A reminder:  To see the images a bit bigger, be sure to click on them and also, if you have never commented here before, the site puts your comment in a queue for me to check out before the post shows up but every time you comment after that, it will know that you are okay and it will not be held. I also love to hear your comments because I know that someone has stopped by to look at the photos and maybe even read what I write!

:-) Maggie

featured

Here Comes the Sun

To quote the Beatles, Here Comes the Sun, it feels like years since it’s been here! :-D

Ha.. well, after literally weeks of daily rain, it appears we will have a few days of sunshine and I was really pleased to get out into the warm weather. I decided yesterday, that I would go out after 4 for a couple of hours to be back around 6-6:30 for supper, which seemed reasonable and I thought the sun would not be as direct than earlier in the day. When I got up in the morning, it was still fresh, so although I had a shirt on, I was wearing pants that were kind of thick (like fake suede) and thick socks, but I thought I’d be fine so didn’t change when I went out. I also only brought 2 lenses… because, well, they get heavy. So, since trees are just starting to flower, I brought a macro (which also being a 105mm ) can take slighter wider angle images and a telephoto .. well, just in case!

I went down to an area where there is usually a tiny stream.. since several years, it seems like it was just a trickle, but with all the rain we have had, there was plenty of water. Water is always so lovely in the woods as it brings lightness with it and reflection and just makes any image better.stream

If you look at the top of the image, you will notice a couple logs that are crossing the stream. As I was about to leave, I noticed some movement there but I was using the 105 and it was too far to see. So I switched lenses to the telephoto and had to up the ISO as it was darker up there where the sun was hidden by the trees.  Moving in closer, I was to have a bit of a surprise… there was a Mallard Duck! Holy Cow! How cool was this?

Mallard Duck

Actually, I was just telling Carol about this on Skype this evening and only when I was doing post did I realize there was another duck there. If you look directly right of the log, almost completely hidden is another mallard… a female! This was a surprise to me tonight because I did not even notice until just now.

Sadly I couldn’t get a composition that I really liked as this was taken from way up a small hill, looking down, and it was very steep. I was thinking that if I was with someone, I might have shimmied down and then I would have back-up to get back up! :-D But it was not to be and I tried going around to the other side, but there just was no way to get a better view … so I figured I’d come back the next day in the morning when the light was on the side that would illuminate it better and I’d at least have a less noisy image.

On the way into the woods, I noticed these nice yellow globe flowers someone had planted in their backyard so took a few photos of those. Nothing extraordinary but most photogs will understand not being able to pass anything by.

 

globe flower

 

I then entered the woods and parts of the trail were simply full of water and you had to walk on the very side and grab a branch or two along the way to not fall into those huge puddles.

I was starting to feel quite hot and sweaty and not great… really not great… like I should get to a bathroom soon, and not to pee. Yes, I ‘m sure you all understand what I’m saying. To make matters worse, the mosquitoes were relentless and I was getting pretty hot. To save weight, I had not brought any water, and having had only an orange for lunch, was thinking I should have brought some nuts or something to keep my blood sugar up… well, no.. of course not! heh.

So I decide that I will go home. There’s no way I’m going to defecate in the bush with swarms of mosquitoes watching close-by awaiting their chance and it was just not going to happen. I took a trail that leads out but into the back lane of a row of houses. At the end of the lane, I can see an elderly man cutting the grass behind his house. When he sees me approach, he stops me to ask how the mosquitoes are.. haha… I don’t want to be rude as my mother taught me to have good manners and be nice.. so I stop to chat. He says “Why don’t you have a big referee whistle around your neck? ” “Now, why would I do that?” and he goes on to tell me that he’s lived in his house for the last 40 years and in that time all the instances where bears, coyotes, wolves etc., have traveled through his back yard.  Now, remember, I need to go to the bathroom… but I can’t tell this stranger that.. but the sweat is starting to burst out of my forehead and I’m starting to get really worried. He seems oblivious.. oh, yes, one time he left something in the bbq and went somewhere with a friend and to be honest, this part of the story gets a little screwed up as my mind is preoccupied with what is going on in my body and that I really, really need to go. After this, I tell him that I’m really sorry but I need to be somewhere and must leave and reluctantly he lets me go.

It’s another 10 minutes before I get home and seriously, unlocking the door, I think I was starting to shake a bit. Open darn door… and finally it does, and I sprint to the bathroom without a second to spare.

 

PHEW!!!!!!!

 

 

So this morning, another beautiful day with warm weather, I decide I’m going to go back to the stream with the light in the right area of the sky and hope that the duck is still there (yes, I know now there is another duck.. I guess they were trying to have a bit of a love connection but I didn’t know about the other duck, right? ).  I don’t bring my bag, I only bring my telephoto as that’s what I’m after. It’s already hot out, but it’s not very far, I will be fine.

I get there and there is not a duck in sight.  Nothing, nada. Ugh. I’m disappointed but there is nothing to do, that’s how the cookie crumbles some times. I’m just about to leave when something starts crossing the top of the tree trunk. I pull up my camera and missed his face by a millisecond.

muskrat1

 

oh my gosh.. what is that? I think it might be a beaver, but I’m not sure.. I’ll have to check the photos at home. I’ve been able to take 3 photos in all before he disappears to the other side. Once home, I realize that it doesn’t have a beaver’s tail, it’s furry and internet search makes me believe it’s a muskrat! Of course, someone out there might know better and correct me and that’s fine as I’m not positive.

muskrat's tail

I try to enter the woods from the other side to see if I can see it better but I cannot see it. To be fair, he does blend into the landscape pretty well. Also, since it had rained for so long, the ground is not mushy, but certainly spongy and although not leaking water, it felt like walking on marshmallows. No matter, my trials and tribulations, no muskrat anywhere to be found and I went back to the same spot in the stream hoping the duck would reappear but he was not putting in an appearance either. I decide just to go home.. it’s hot.. and I have trees in my backyard, let’s see if I can find a bird or something.

Well, the birds were really quiet.. either further away or in hiding but I didn’t see any. At all. I did however see this small day moth. It’s a Mourning Cloak or so says the internet. I know I seem very ignorant but one of the fun things about finding a new animal or bug is finding out online what the heck it is. It’s not rare and lives just about everywhere. It’s prettiest with it’s wings open and with it’s wings closed, it pretty much resembles a dried leaf and could easily not be seen. At first I’m perhaps 15 feet away but I slowly move up closer… very intrepid.. I move silently and without brusque movements as I don’t want to spook it and have it fly away. I am shooting with the telephoto so can’t really get as close as with another lens anyways.
Mourning Cloak

And that was it. As I entered the house, I could hear a bunch of ducks that seemed to be in the gully below but my foot was in the door and it was hot; it will have to be for another day.

I hope you enjoyed my small adventure.. my life is quite boring so this is just about as exciting as it gets.. lol. If you stop by to read this, I’d love to hear that you’ve been here, so leave a little comment as it makes me so happy. Remember too, that the first time you post, the site doesn’t know you and waits for me to allow the comment, but once allowed, next time you come, it will remember and the comment will appear right away.

:-) Maggie

p.s. Clicking  on the images will make them bigger!

blog title for may 2017

I thought spring was finally here

As the title suggests, I thought spring was finally here. Yes, a little over a week ago, there was still a few feet of snow outside but then it rained and rained, then 22C and then more rain.. until it was all gone. Not only gone in my front yard which faces South, but also on the other side of the street which takes much longer to disappear as it is usually in the shade and takes a long time, but oh, my! the rain.. it made it all disappear and I was feeling exuberant and happy as winter seemed to be finally gone and spring finally here… oh, my.. again, what a fool I am. Of course, I should have known better. Of course it is not over!! What was I thinking?

On Friday, it rained and on Saturday, it rained again and then got cold .. and colder, and around 7pm the rain had turned to sleet and then through the night we had a snowstorm. Yes, you heard me right.. a freaking snow storm.  On Sunday, I looked out and waited for it to melt, hmm… but melt it did not, it just stuck there sneering at me.. looking me in the face and saying, nah, nah, nah, nah, naaaah!  So yes, it was back. I went out in the late afternoon, and the snow was filled with water and ice and was extremely heavy.  Then it snowed again… and Monday morning became a slip and slide situation. ha! It snowed again. Not as much, but still… s.n.o.w. … it is so necessary in December as Xmas wouldn’t feel the same without it and January, oh, my.. so beautiful.. I mean, it is cold, of course, but gosh, so pretty. February comes and some days it’s pretty, some days, you are almost screaming.. Go away already… I’m tired of shoveling. I could stand to see some greenery. March comes along and you start to feel hopeful and of course, April… it’s Easter and people are showing off their wonderful egg hunts and their spring flowers… I have some too, but I have bought them at the store.. everything is still covered and smothered in snow.  So you can understand that it’s May 9th, and we still have snow.  I’m disappointed but feel a little guilty about it because further South, in the Montreal region, there are plenty of places that are dealing with flood. So, snow is way better.  But Still!!!  okay, okay, they say that tomorrow will not be freezing, announcing 12C but I’ll not believe it before I see it.

Besides that, well, I’ve written a basics tutorial about Still Life Imagery and doing the setups etc., on shuttertactics ( yes, one of my websites that lay dormant for a while, but that I’m trying to revive). You know you want to read it.. and I’ve included a bunch of still life images that make it even more worthwhile.. check it out here: http://shuttertactics.com/1925/still-as-life-basics-with-maggie-terlecki

Besides that, I’ve done more tulip photos that I will add here. In the featured images at the top, you can see an aster with a violin that I took with a small bouquet I bought at the store, but the flowers weren’t very exciting and truly didn’t last very long. At least it gave me an image to put at the top of the page.

Before I add some of the images that I have taken, I’m going to add some links for those that are interested.

My youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNMG_n1ymfNSpMHThZq4nZA

To purchase my images online: https://maggieterlecki.pixels.com/index.html?tab=galleries   Unfortunately, they have done some work in the past few days and the background is not as it is supposed to be and instead it is all black for which I apologize!

To follow me on Facebook, check out: https://www.facebook.com/maggie.terlecki

Okay, now some images

I think my favorite is The White Tulip and the Green Apple. What’s your favorite?

by the way… it’s so great when someone leaves a comment as I know you’ve been here. If you have never commented before, it waits until I approve it before it shows up, but once approved, it will approve any comment you leave after that.. so it would be so cool if you take a moment to say HI!! :-)

 

 

 

titleapril82017

For the Love of Tulips

I thought I’d do a blog post with some of my last photos, which are mostly tulips. Why do I love them so much? I don’t know, but although I find most flowers beautiful, there is something about how elegant yet humble they are. To me they are just so expressive. The long pliable stems makes it possible to create images where they look like they are tumbling over or have sensitive emotion. To be honest, although people send roses to express love, I think I would much rather receive tulips. Sort of makes the time you can send them very short.. heh.. but not receiving any grand gestures of amorous activity lately or in the near future.. but that’s alright,  I’m doing good; well I would be doing better if it were not that I have caught a cold and feeling just a bit under the weather but much better than yesterday so should be back in tip- top shape soon.

So anyways, back to the tulips ;-)

This image called Spring is Calling is one of the first tulip images I did this year. I put it on facebook and I was very lucky that someone saw it right away and knew it would look lovely in their living room. They ordered it on canvas and within a week have received it and it’s already hanging on their wall. I received a note from the buyer today, saying it was beautiful, that the quality was great, it was very well packaged and they were happy. This black border on the image was not included, as it’s only a border to bring out the image on the blog and is not intended to be shown. They did mention that the mirrored edges, which mirrors what you see on the sides of the canvas looked good on the side where you would mainly see it but the little portion where the leaves are, did look a bit odd, but since it was not the main view it was fine but it is something I need to be aware of in the future. She was happy though and because she received it within a week, I’m also happy! Spring is Calling

The next image I did was Love is in the Air. Sometimes people see images that I have with a violin and think that I can play. Gosh, I wish it were so, but sadly, no. A friend of my son had bought the violin to learn how to play it and then his life got busy and he decided to give it to me to use as a prop. It’s not a very expensive violin but I just love it.  I placed the tulips on the violin and composed with the scroll  to make a wide image that I liked the composition a lot. I actually really liked the shadows created by the scroll and the tulips on the wood. That’s kind of sexy.  Flowers and Violin music could only be better with the addition of some really great chocolate! :-) Love is in the Air

Next came Phantom Spring. The image is called like this because frankly, we still have snow outside and although tulips give the illusion of spring, it’s not really here. The illusion is why I thought of a phantom and I liked this composition where the tulip at the bottom has turned in a odd way but to me makes the composition that much more interesting. You will often find that I like odd things, but slightly odd.. and not way out there, but just enough that they are not every day. Again, all the black borders on these images are for the blog sake only and are not on the images if they are to be bought. I’ll put a link up to my online sale place lower down but if you are in the Abitibi region, most of these images can be bought directly from The Gallery Gaetz where the owner would work with you to choose the perfect mat and frame for every image and you would not incur any shipping charges either!

Phantom Spring

I then added an image that is from a small bouquet that I bought. It had some nice flowers, but it also had many that just were not up to par and that I had to take out and not use. This is basically what I was left with but I liked them. I created a nice little bouquet but felt it was perhaps a bit too traditional and although there is nothing wrong with that, I wanted to give it a bit of a twist so set it in black and white. I actually like black and white florals as it forces you to put color aside and just concentrate on shapes and texture. I called it Bouquet in Black and White. As you can see, I’m not a writer! :-D

bouquet in black and white

If you thought I was done with the tulips… come on.. you know better! :-D Of course not and in the days to come, I’ll probably put up more but with this cold I’m carrying around, I want to take it a bit easy. This image is called Tulips in a Teapot. I love this teapot as it has such a lovely shape and I also love the polka dots but I’m not much of a tea drinker. I sometimes have a tisane (herbal tea) especially at a time like now when I have a cold but normally, just give me a rich, bold coffee and you are making Maggie a happy girl. Please none of that coffee that is so weak that it’s almost a crime to call it coffee. I only have a big cup every day, but it makes me very happy. So, basically, I really don’t use the teapot much but have found that I love it as a prop. Someone like me who adores doing still life images finds that having props to use really is essential but can also be expensive so you will see the same pots and cups etc., in my images, over and over because that’s what I own, baby! :-D

As for this image, I draped this wrinkly white cloth and put some books under the cloth to bring the teapot up because I needed the space so the tulips could be free. I love this composition with the tulips sprawling out of the teapot but the light still coming right through some of them.  A photog that I know because he’s a friend of Carol’s (who is at the moment in Patagonia taking marvelous images – can I be a little jealous?? ) called Peter Lin, told me that he was scrolling on Facebook and noticed this image and knew instantly it was mine. This is not the first time someone has told me they can recognize my images as I have a certain style. I think that is true. My images are often pretty and sensitive and many of the things that people say good art is not. It doesn’t show destruction, desolation, world hunger, climate change, illness, sadness, hunger, garbage on the side of the road etc., but there are plenty of people doing that and they are great at what they do and probably live in places where it is more appropriate to take those images. I tried for a bit but I didn’t enjoy it and I felt it was not me and that I was portraying what others wanted and not what I wanted. Be true to thine own self if nothing else. As for this, Tulips in a Teapot, is an image I am pretty proud of as I love the composition. I love the flowers all bent over and gracious and I love the light through the leaves and the upper tulips. I think an image with good composition has great bones and light is what makes an image interesting. It gives it life and depth and emotion.

tulips in a teapot

Here is a link to my images where they can be purchased if you are interested:

http://maggieterlecki.pixels.com/index.html?tab=images

In other news, a few weeks ago, I created a book of image of my favorite still life photographs from the last couple years. I created a book about 2 years ago with a mixture of images but it is on sale on Amazon, and I will attempt to take it off and put it on blurb as Amazon only sells it to the US (which excludes the rest of the world.. d’uh!) but also, Amazon takes a heftly commission. If these books were el cheapo, then that would not matter but they are of high quality and the paper used in the images are almost as high quality as what I print my gallery images with. Seriously, I would not want people to cut up the book to put on their walls, but they could. Anyways.. back to my new book.  I was really pleased with the quality of the book and everything looks amazing but again, the book is not cheap. The quality is there, but they don’t give it away and when they give out sales, it is usually to the authors so unless you uploaded the book, you could not partake of getting a discount as a fan. I wrote to their facebook page and was answered that they do once in a while have sales for people who want your book to keep an eye out. I know that Johanne had asked and I told her to wait for a sale and last night, I got an email, for 25% off. All you have to do is add the code: SHINEON25 to your order and that’s it. Oh, very important.. offer is only good until April 13th, 2017. That does not give a lot of time, but if you want the discount, you need to act soon. I would say to not pay for express shipping because seriously, standard shipping is very fast; it takes a couple days to make the book and a couple for it to arrive.. Think a week in all. Only thing express shipping would do is perhaps get the book there one day earlier and empty your pockets for no reason.

Book still life images

Here is a link to purchase the book if feel so persuaded. You can preview what is inside the book and to purchase, simply click on the little shopping cart. Remember to use the code: SHINEON25 for the 25% rebate.

http://www.blurb.ca/books/7809759-still-as-life

I know it is still not given away, of course, and I understand that you may not be in the means to purchase the book. I really do understand because as an artist, I know that many of you are also, that money doesn’t grow on trees or fall from the sky. If not, I would really appreciate it if you could perhaps share a link to it on some social media platform hoping to help me out a bit.

That’s it for today and I assure you there will be more images forthcoming and most probably more tulips. I hope you are not bored with them yet! :-) Maggie

Any comments let me know you passed and make me feel good… you want me to feel good, right? :-D

titleapril42017

Partially Fixed

When I started on Facebook, I thought I’d take a temporary reprieve from writing here because I was also posting on Google +, Pinterest, and Twitter and it was all new and I felt it was a lot and I wanted a break… but then as life often is,when I decided that I should get back to blogging here, something had happened to my website. One of the things was my website background was not showing up. I thought it would be an easy fix, but everything I tried didn’t work. So it was pretty bland (to be honest, it was just plain medium gray) and I hated it and I would just leave it on its own for a bit then try again, and again couldn’t fix it.

So on the weekend, I asked Janne if he could take a look. Although he’s a graphic designer for the company he works for, he’s actually really good at CSS and stuff and I knew that if anyone could, he would be able to. Well, he went in during his lunch hour and looked through the work and somehow the CSS was telling the website background that I added to be invisible. Can you believe that? I cannot fathom how, or whom, or what happened. It’s ridiculous. Anyways, I should have asked way earlier, because he fixed it. It looks like it is supposed to.  Well almost…

There are a bunch of little things that are no longer working or showing up properly. Now before I go on a tangent and ask him to fix that too, I will see what I can do on my own, but if I have not figured it out in a week, then I’ll ask. I hate to bother people when I should be able to fix it on my own, but I know he will be helpful.  My sharing icons are gone… so no FB, Tw, Pinterest, Google+ that you just press on to share, which is too bad because I not only would put up images that I want in my portfolio, but show images that were good but didn’t quite make the cut and I go through my procedure, my thoughts, how they come about and although I don’t have a huge audience here, people that come have enjoyed what they have read and looked at.

There are also other problems. Little things that are annoying to me but may not be noticeable to the casual looker. Normally when you come on to the site, you can either use the menu, or you can click an icon which makes the images that are in the slideshow at the beginning go full view, so it is not obstructed. It’s minor, but it would look so much better as its supposed to be.

So, besides that, since I’ve begun selling online, I thought it would be interesting to others how it came about, and what I’ve learned and if they should do the same and as always, add a bit about my process. To me, that is the fun part because I do a lot of still life images, they are not what is presented in front of me, but rather how I decide to compose them and what works and what doesn’t. I’ve another website that I want to start working on again (shuttertactics.com) where I would do some photographer interviews and also some tutorials either by me or by other photogs that I know. I don’t know how many interviews I will do, but I think some fun tuts would be interesting for me and others to read. We’ll see. First I need to get this thing working again.

I hope you all come along for the ride.

:-)

Maggie

featurednov92015

A little birdie told me

My, it has been a long time since I’ve blogged and a little birdie told me that it has been long enough.

I used to blog at least once a week or sometimes even more, but I had hurt my foot this summer and had complications and had to have my leg up without any pressure on it for a long while. It inhibited me from not only blogging but from taking photographs, from spending time online and I watched way too much crap television. I actually binged on it. I also did a bunch of pencil drawings and some watercolors. I tell you, when you do mostly digital work for a long while, going back to traditional threw me for quite a loop as once something is down on paper, it is not so easy to change. In photoshop, if you don’t like a color choice you made, well, hue/saturation to the rescue. On paper, you are done.. it’s baked, no turning back and if you hate it, well, it’s time for the garbage can!

Back to the birdie. Yesterday, while I was having lunch with my son, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something hit a window at the back of the house. I couldn’t see what it could be besides a bird. Well, it was. It was a tiny redpoll and it was laying on the ground and looked like it might be dead. We brought it in and rubbed it softly and then we could feel a pulse.  It didn’t look hurt, no broken wings or feet and no bleeding. It still look stunned but now its heart was beating hard. We went out on the front steps and put him down on a post and it just sat there and let me take pictures of it until it felt ready and then it took off to meet back up with his friends and I guess you could say, this was both our lucky day.

Hope you enjoy the photos and I would love any comments; it’s been so long.

:-)

Maggie

 

 

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Field Strawberries

When I was trying to come up with a title for this blog entry, I was had thought I’d call it ‘Black and White and Red all Over’ because those are the colors in my photograph and it reminded me of the joke we used to say when we were kids.  “What’s black and white, black and white, black and white and red all over?” and the answer, of course, was a nun tumbling down a long staircase. Silly, I know but it did come into my brain for a brief moment but not so brief to not let you in on my initial idea.

It is not unusual for me to take photographs of either flowers from my garden or fruit or veg that I have just bought that looks yummy and delicious. They become my models and no release needed. I try to think of new ways to present them but as I said in yesterday’s post, I find I’m always using the same things.  Sometimes just to get something different, I need to get into crafting mode like I did today. It’s perfectly fine though, because I love doing things with my hands and it pushes me to be more creative.

Today’s subjects were these lovely field strawberries. They are actually difficult to find these days as so many big companies grow them in hot houses and they are genetically modified and stay fresh for a long time. These little strawberries are pretty tiny compared to the imports but what they lack in size they make up in flavor. They also go bad quickly, but not a problem as when you are this yummy,  the distance from photoshoot to belly is not far!

Looking through some craft supplies, I found this wonderful little cotton lace that you can add around  a pillowcase or attach to the top of a basket. At first I tried with a small black box but although the photos were good, there was just not enough breathing space on the sides and I didn’t need that much, so you can imagine how tight the fit was. Whenever possible, I prefer to get the composition as I want it in frame. I will crop later if I like a longer or wider feel to the image, but it’s got to feel right in camera.  This has bitten me in the butt a few times when an image was not exactly straight and after cropping it feels too cramped. But, as you all know, old habits die hard. :-D   So I found a fabric covered navy blue box that was a gift and had a couple of small bottles of porto in it. I knew I could nudge the dark blue to black easily. I taped up the cotton lace all around and redid the shoot. I had to fix the little edges at the top of the lace as it was an un-sewn edge but that was quite simple in Photoshop. Bit of vignetting and selective sharpening and I’m very happy with the final result.

I hope you like it too.

hugs

Maggie

p.s. – still having problems posting linked images in Google+. I’m not the only one, many people with the same problem.

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Mostly Cherries

I love cherries. They are so YUM but they are usually quite expensive but when they are in season they are so affordable and taste better than any other time of the year.

Of course, this means, that I must take some images before chomping down. I had a bit of a struggle this year but I think it was simply because I use the same props over and over all the time and then I feel a little like I’ve done this before. See the image of the martini glass – oh yeah, well, you’ve seen it with raspberies, blueberrries, blue Curaçao and even popcorn. Now, it’s cherries. Best thing is that once the shoot is over, you bring your prop to your desk while uploading your images and pop one after the other in your mouth. HA!

So, many images with cherries today. I’ve not uploading them all as I did some in a low container and I felt the container was not the right shape to show the cherries off. I also photographed them in these beautiful milk white vase but was not impressed with the end result. Perhaps tomorrow, I’ll give it another go; you just never know! When I think of how many different ideas I work with for an image and the different types of containers that I try it with and then change backgrounds and what my subject is sitting on etc., it makes me laugh to hear people say that photography is easy. Yes, it can be; you can simply point anywhere and just click.  You might get really lucky and get a shot here and there but I can assure you that working to get your subject will give you better results and actually make you feel good as you have put so much of yourself into it.

Once that is done, then it’s time to tweak those images. Heck, they are taken in RAW format which means the camera does not one iota to make your images what they finally become. They often look more flat and less vibrant than your eyes saw so you help them along to become the image you wanted to share. There have been a few conversations around my head lately about purists and not using Photoshop to post-process them. To me, that would be like Ansel Adams coming back from a shoot and dropping his film at Walmart for the 1 hour quick development plan. Please, if you want your photos to truly reflect who you are, make them yours. Make your own decisions and don’t leave those choices to your camera.  Always remember, you are the artist.

I also took a few photos of 2 of my peonies that are past due but that I still find beauty in them. They dry slowly as they sit in the vase and slowly sip their last drops of moisture and slowly wrinkle and become like beautiful old ladies that still pin up their hair and still have a twinkle in their eye. You not only see the beauty they once where you find them just as fabulous when past their prime.  I hope one day when I’m wrinkled (okay, okay – more wrinkled than today – lots more wrinkled) that I will still be considered fabulous by someone.

I was going to post this yesterday but while I was doing my post for my images, Chiana, my cat, got on my desk and I was having a problem as her butt was in my way. I always place my Wacom in front of me and move my keyboard to the left at an angle for my shortcuts in PS. Well, mademoiselle did not appreciate me pushing her behind a little so started wagging her tail (for all you dog owners, unlike doggies, when kitties wag their tails they are annoyed) and this whipping of her tail was hitting the programmable buttons at the top of my intuos. She make something crazy happen and my work was zooming in and out and I couldn’t stop it  — nor save etc., So I had to reboot and at the end of it all, just decided to call it a night.  Which ends up being fine because I post-processed the ‘still life with cherries’ today and perhaps would not have included it in this blog post.

Today, I’m having trouble posting images on Google+ that link to where I sell them online. Not sure what is going on. Waiting for an answer from the Google+ community as I don’t seem to be the only one with the same problem. :-P Reminds me, I should put up a tab here for people that may be interested in my work.

Well, I hope you enjoy the images.

much love,

Maggie

 

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Still Alive

Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged but I assure you that I’m still alive.

After our very intense month of January when a whole group of us did 31 days of images. It is not difficult doing a photo a day; what is difficult is finding something interesting to do when you have a list and you think you can’t come up with something new and then you need to push on and just get it done. Some days were so easy when I found I could put up several different ones a day and it was sometimes difficult to make a choice of what to use as the day’s picture. It was so much fun though – doing the list that Carol and Shirley came up with. Remember the cardboard box?
oh, my… ha.. but in the end you come up with something.

Then February came along and I got a message from Rick (you guys know him as Ratbar from W1k) anyways, he was saying “Maggie” you have got to try and sell your image at this place he had joined and that — oh for sure people would love my work and I would be able to sell there.

As most of you know, I have my images in a small gallery in my hometown and my portfolio but this year has been quite quiet and the thought of perhaps making some extra cash appealed to me, a lot! Now, don’t get me wrong – money or not, I would do this, but still, I thought I’d give it a try. I would especially like to upgrade my camera and buy a new lens. Yes, I have such lofty dreams.. ha!

So, I started putting up images but then apparently you need to use social media to draw attention to them as nobody will find them otherwise. Oh — my! Okay, I’ve been on Google+ for a couple years but used it just to point people to my blog posts. Now I had to join communities, tweet about my images, put them on Pinterest. The only media I didn’t use was Facebook. I just couldn’t and I’m still holding off. Did you know doing all this is very time-consuming and takes away from time to actually shoot. Besides the social media, you apparently need to join groups and
do contests etc., Well, I’ve joined a dozen or so groups and found that I don’t enter the contests as so many people have friends voting for them or you need to beg your friends to come and vote for you… just a waste of time. I do, however, add images to those groups and many get featured so I can add that to my description. It doesn’t make the images better, but I can see a buyer perhaps being impressed that an image is featured and people are weird like that – they hear that something was featured, it feels better after they buy it because then they can say that it is a piece that was recognized by so and so and was featured. Oh, we humans, how very fickle we are.

Anyways, it has been 6 months now, and not a nibble – seriously not one. If you go there and search for anything that I do but don’t have my name to add to the search, you will not find me – at all. The first 20 pages is of their best-sellers – people that have been there for 5-6 years and then the next 70-80 pages are a selection from the curators of 100pix website. Now, I’ve learned that the only way to move up in the search is to actually sell a piece. Well, I cannot see that happening. I share with people that are mostly photographers just like me and you and that are all trying to get you to see their work.

So, that is where I have been. I promised myself I would do it for 1 year and if I couldn’t sell anything by then, I would just quite trying. I’m not a quitter, so I will continue for the next 6 months, but perhaps not ignore my blog and things that mean a lot to me.

One thing that has happened that is nice is that I’ve met a few great photographers both on social media and on FAA. People with images that make you sigh and cry and wish you had taken them. There are some really talented people on this planet.

Besides that, I’ve been shooting. Some of you always check out what I’m doing, as you do, my dear Natalie. You cannot know how I appreciate seeing your little thumbnail on G+ as I know you’ve passed by.

Right now, I’m quite into shooting flowers from my garden. Winter is so long here, that flowers seem so much more important. Going to add a couple

here, hope you enjoy them.

also, hope that I don’t ignore this place for months again.

much love,

Maggie

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Snowflakes

I’ve been down in the dumps about my photography lately. I think there was so much to do in January and then so little afterwards. Feels like anything I think of doing, I’ve done then and this year winter has been unrelenting.  The weather website that I use, reported the other day that Quebec has had the coldest temperature since they’ve been recording how cold it gets so… yeah.. we are pretty much in a deep freeze.  Today was the warmest I’ve seen it this year – crikey, it was almost balmy with a -10C. Ha…

Anyways, I’ve have always found it very cool when I see pictures of snowflakes and have wanted to take pictures of a few for a bit of time but often when the weather is too cold, the snow that falls doesn’t have nice snowflake shapes. They are more like little cubes or columns. It takes humid weather for nice big fluffy snowflakes and today we had some weather just like that. Sort of. It snowed like that for a few minutes and then stopped. I placed my red woolen scarf outside to try and capture some but they were nowhere to be seen. Finally, around 5:45, I see some big fluffy ones coming down. They are not really huge -actually 1/8″ (that’s like 0.3cm )or smaller. Each fluff is several snowflakes stuck together.

Anyways, I got dressed and went out to try and get some photos as the light was fading quickly. It is not easy to do, as it was windy and trying to get focus since there was not a lot of light meant I had to use a medium shallow f-stop. I used F-8 but wished I could have used F-16 to get an entire snowflake in focus but it was just too dark and I was already shooting at ISO 1000. Again – just like with the soap bubbles, I knew it was going to be a recipe for mucho noise! I would have brought out lights, but hey.. these flakes like to be cold.  I, on the otherhand, do not. I did not last very long as my fingers were hurting and turning white but I did manage to get a few. Not perfect but cool enough to share, right?

 

Again, used Simon’s macro lens – I so love that lens, it isn’t funny!

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