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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

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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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31 day challenge – Day 28 – Door

When I read that the challenge for today was door at first I was not very enthusiastic. I have very regular doors, all are painted, all have the same beveled squares and rectangles.. but then I thought about what do I own that has a door and that is how I came to take these pictures.  I have a few objects that I treasure that are from my parents. You have seen most of them in my photos throughout the years. The fancy porcelain tea cups, the glass with the metal base for hot drinks (which my mom had given to a friend and a few years ago the woman thought I might like to own them because of that and sold them back to me) and  a crystal pear.  When they immigrated here, they actually brought nothing with them and these items were brought back through the years when they would travel.  On one of her trips, my mom brought back a small cabinet that is all of 21 inches including the ball feet and the top molding that was in their house when she was a child. It was used as their bathroom medicine cabinet.  I wouldn’t ever put it there; it stands on my piano in the living room.  It’s the only thing I have that is from her actual home and I find it incredibly beautiful.

Here is a bit of the middle. You can see that the shield has a hole in it. There was probably once a family crest but I have never seen it with one. The shelves inside are notched with cutout triangles and simply slid into place. The front panel floats within the frame and the frame inside has no nails or screws – it is simply held together with the slimmest tiny slices of wood slide into slits. There are little brass screws for the hinges though but I have no idea how old it could be.

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I did not choose it as the photo of the day, but wanted to show you all how beautiful it is.

For my photo of the day, I thought I’d open the door and show a closeup of the embellishments that is on every corner of the door and I thought keeping it with the d.o.f. would still give an impression of the ball feet but still show that this was definitely a door.

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Once I was done, I had no idea what to do for my banner. So I kind of cheated by using a page from a book on architecture that I found a page with different types of door hardware and I then added a texture on it to make it a bit more old and more interesting than just a black and white page. It’s not going to get any rave reviews, but I had run out of any good ideas for that wide strip atop.

3 days left. I don’t know if I’m excited or sad that it is going to be over. For all of you that take the time to come here and leave me such wonderful comments, thanks so much. I know I would not have been able to do this challenge without your support!
xox

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31 day challenge – Day 26 – Paper

When I read the subject for today, I knew I would want to try something abstract because it’s the perfect medium. It’s different from what I ordinarily do, but I had so much fun. When I first started, I used a regular size of letter paper but found that it was actually limiting me from getting some very cool lighting effects. Composition is important, but it’s the light that makes it magical. So I started to play with very small bits of paper. Folding them and holding them with a paper clip while shining light from the back and placing them on different colored paper to get reflections.

Here is one that I particularly like, it almost became my image for the day. At its real size it is a mere 1 inch wide perhaps and only about 1/2 inch wide. The light just simply shimmers.

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When you look at the texture, you’d almost believe it was rough watercolor paper, but I assure you, this is very fine, soft, white, nice quality paper. The blue is reflected from the background layer and the pink from behind.

I then thought I’d try something a little different. I took some cupcake papers and played with them on a sparkly blue background. I had many choices but really liked this one as I found the shapes to look like leaves which I found quite pretty.

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Then back again to the small little paper that I folded over and over. I had so many choices to pick to show you but I really fell for this one. I played around with it and put it on a gold paper that I had that give both the sparkle and a bit of texture.. and it has both reflections and shadows and for some crazy reason, when I look at it, I think of the feet of ballerinas on stage with the light behind them and everything all showy and sparkly and that’s why I chose it. I must admit though, that I had a hard time making my choice… I kept changing my mind!

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As for the banner, I wanted to do something a little different and made this tiny snowman. At first I wanted his body to just be crumpled up paper, but everything just got wonky and I was having a hard time to get it to stay round. In the end, I took those balls and covered with little slats of papers and made him round.  He is about 2 inches high.  The snow is simply Photoshopped.

I’m pretty happy; except for the glue for the snowman, everything is made out of paper – I hope you enjoy them as much as I did creating them.

Thanks again for all your comments – you are all so kind and I really appreciate them. Only 5 days left  bubbalaas! Yay!

 

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31 day challenge – Day 15 – Fruit (outside)

Ah, this is a special day as the list asked for fruit (outside). When I talked to Buff about it, I said, you know it’s winter here, we don’t have fruit outside and she said, no, no… it means don’t cut the fruit up, we want to see the fruit from the outside. Then I said something along the lines of “well, I just might do it anyway!”  This let to a post by Buff letting everyone know that what they meant was fruit with the skin on and that nobody had to go out at -40C to take pictures of fruit. I then replied to her post saying that I might do it anyways, that we, Canadians, aren’t called Crazy Canucks for nothin’) .

This somehow inspires CraigMc to draw the following: http://worth1000.s3.amazonaws.com/themeposts/635565875941273500/635565875941273457_0a50.jpg

Obviously, this is now a challenge to me, as I must do it; It’s almost a double, double dare 0r whatever they call it.

So, I brave the treacherous cold and wind to take this image.

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Let me tell you, my fingers went white and I couldn’t stay out for more than a few moments as the wind had kicked up fiercely, the pear was swinging back and forth,  but this Crazy Canuck wouldn’t come in before getting the shot.  Special thanks to Marga (secretatlantis) who showed how she threaded her oliebollen with a crochet needle and I used that technique to string my pear!

Some of you may remember me saying that my cat often gets in the way of me doing a shoot. Today, Chiana became a soccer player with my lychees. She would swat the lychee away and I would put it back, and we did this over and over until she finally decided she was bored and took off. Here is a shot of her – she’s such a great athlete, isn’t she?

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Now that’s what I call ‘a behind the scenes shot! :-D

I took many, many pictures today. Fruit in bowls, in baskets, laying down, standing up, with props, without props. Ha! Finally I chose a few that I liked and post-processed them. I swear, I think if I wanted to, I could have posted 30 photos today, but I chose a few and went with them. There were many different shots, but I found that they were pretty similar in quality and composition so there was not one stand out to me that I could say – yup! That’s the shot.

So this is one I really liked all on its lonesome but I liked how vibrant it looked against the very neutral background. I actually did a series of solo portraits like this, so have something similar for different types of pear, pomegranate, mango, plum etc.,

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This one I liked for the 3 pairs together with the two in the front in pretty good focus and the other behind not so much, but still recognizable.

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Then I had some more complex compositions – this one with several types of fruit in a bowl and some plums and pears.

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And finally, my chosen shot, not because I felt it was better, but thought that the not straight on composition was perhaps a bit more interesting.

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So that’s it.

Thank you all for your kind comments. They are always welcome and truly appreciated.

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31 Day Challenge – Day 14 – Bottle

Today’s shoot was a breeze compared to yesterdays. I had the idea to put a paper boat in a bottle. I started by washing the labels off a couple of bottles as I wasn’t sure which I would use.   The boat gets a bit smooshed up going through the bottle neck and then you need to try and open it back up again. I used a bbq skewer that I hammered the end to a sort of hook shape to help get the boat open.  I get a boat in, if it doesn’t work, I need to pull it out and make another boat. The first boat I put in the bottle stuck to the edges as I didn’t realize there was still a tiny bit of moisture in the bottle; hairdryer to the rescue. Then I made my boat very small so it was not difficult to keep open and put it in a bottle with a square bottom.

Here it is:

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This was going to be today’s photo. I liked it but something was lacking. It wasn’t very dynamic but yesterday’s shoot had tired me out and I didn’t want to continue shooting much longer.   I then did my photo for the banner and thought I was done, but as is not unusual for me, I get an idea. I remembered putting a large piece of cardboard into the recycling and thought, hmm… if I crush it up, I could use it as waves for a stormy type of image. So back to do another quick shoot. I then redid another and bigger boat to go into a stripped Curaçao liqueur bottle  and then placed it on the crushed cardboard. I had to change the color of the cardboard and added a bit of bad weather clouds to the sky to finish the shot. How to get a ship across the ocean in really bad weather? Put it in a bottle, of course!

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I hope you like it.

Again, thank you very much for all your kind comments. You have no idea how much they inspire me to go on as they are such a pleasure to read.  Much love,

Maggie

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31 day challenge – Day 11 – Metal Container

Just before starting my shoot for today, I went and checked out the thread where we all post and saw Kim’s wonderful Aladdin’s lamp and was confused for a moment as I thought today was metal boxes for some reason but when I checked the list, it was plain to see that I was wrong. It was metal containers.  Oh yay! This gives me more options! :-)   So I set about creating a scene with a pretty old, very tarnished coffee (or perhaps tea) pot I had bought several years ago because I loved that it’s handle was weaved over with wicker and I thought it was quite clever to keep your hands from burning and I also liked the engraved art-deco design. I used to polish it but I find in pictures it looks better with all the weird colors that appear on the surface.  I filled it (filled… it’s pretty empty really!) with globe thistles. I wish I had some lovely fresh flowers; if I were at Buff’s house, I would have had a nice colorful  bouquet as she showed me a picture of her warm and sunny courtyard with beautiful flowers and it is a stark contrast to the weather here.

Anyways. This is the picture I produced with it. I really do like it but I didn’t choose it for one specific reason.

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and that reason is pretty simple. Nostalgia. I set out a small metal tin box and filled it with very old family photos. I added some old pressed flowers and a retired pair of glasses from Simon that I have kept as a prop as they have that very vintage look. The were all taken before I was born and they include pictures of my uncle when he got married, my great-great grandmother and the focal picture of my mom as a little girl with her older sister. I miss her so much. So this is today’s photo:

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Thank you all for your supportive and uplifting comments. I really appreciate them. :-)

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31 Day Challenge – Day 5 – Silverware

Today’s challenge was silverware. I think this challenge is fun because everyone’s got at least a spoon and fork in their house. I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d do but I knew I would at least try a few abstracts as that is a given. Take a bunch of one type of thing and you can create all kinds of wonderful patterns and symmetry. I also had an idea to do a shot with newpaper wrapped around a couple of place-settings and make a scene as if preparing for a picnic. I went through the paper and found an article about ‘the art of dressing the table’(it’s in French, but still … how lucky was that?).  Anyways. I was a little annoyed that the entire newpaper’s pictures were in color and I wanted it to look more rustic so made the whole thing black and white.

I liked it but didn’t choose it as my photo for today

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Then I played around with gift wrapping paper and created this that I liked because you can see the scratches on the butt of the spoon. I had shot it pretty dark though and it seems to be floating and also it created an optical type of illusion and I wasn’t sure if everyone would get that it was a spoon. So, I liked it but didn’t choose it.

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In the end,  I ended up deciding to use the reflective surface of the backside of a spoon to my advantage. I printed out words like YUMMY YUMMY and GOOD FOOD  in white on black and then flipped the words so they would show correctly on the spoons underside. Then simply took the shot from a low vantage point.  I also had printed out  ‘EAT ONE’S WORDS’ but had to use more spoons to get them all showing up and composition wise too wide and unbalanced to have a lot of room on top. I could have used it as my banner – ah yes, but then didn’t want the banner to simply look like an outtake, but if pressed I would have used it. Instead, I decided to use washup of the spoons as my banner as I thought it would be different.

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As always comments are not only welcome, they are very much appreciated! :-)

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31 day challenge – Day 4 – Berries

Berries – what is, what isn’t… does it really matter? I learned now that a strawberry is not a berry but a banana is. I’m sure if I would post a banana, well, quite simply everyone would think I was bananas. So you would be expecting to find that my shot would be of strawberries, wouldn’t you? But things are never that simple. Yes, the first thing I shot was strawberries. Nice but hmm.. perhaps a little mundane. I also couldn’t get my cat, Chiana, out of the pictures, either. 4chianaberry If I want a picture of her, well, she’ll soon be hiding downstairs in some remote corner as if it were a really bad hair day or something but, of course, when I don’t need her in the shots, she just can’t seem to resist. Also, cats are not fruit eaters but these apparently were so enticing that she decided that she might even lick one or two and I can’t remember which ones. Oh well, I’m not throwing them out, they are delicious. They were odd though as their shapes were elongated and almost looks like chili peppers. I think they could be described as long and lanky!

So on to Lychees. Apparently the Chinese call them Romance berries. I only had 4 and the ones we get here don’t have that wonderful reddish husk – just some very bland brown and once opened, it’s not that enticing either. The best looking part is probably the seed.

I had some raspberries also but not that many. If it were summertime, I have raspberry bushes at the back of the house and I would have had enough to fill a large basket but the grocery store sells them in small packages that hardly fill a small cup. Some were too soft to include in the shoot so I picked through them and came up with a handful. Only enough to put in this tea-cup. I am not a big tea drinker; I’m more of a dark, rich, strong coffee that packs a punch girl but I have some very beautiful teacups from my mom. I find them useful in shoots are they are so pretty and delicate, they can even make these (on the border of being over-ripe) berries look tasty!

I dare not look at the list to see what tomorrow’s shoot is as I just know it will encumber my sleep… if you read my blog from an earlier day, you’ll know that I can sometimes have a cinema filmstrip running through my head with how I will approach the next project. Ha! Yes, I do not sleep well, but I apparently get a lot done when laying in bed!

Hope you enjoy the photos, and as always comments not only welcome but much appreciated!

 

4berries

 

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Merry Xmas

Merry Xmas everyone,

My, oh, my the year is almost over. I have not posted many times this year but hopefully the New Year will be filled with interesting posts.Several weeks ago, I went with Simon to my neighbor’s and did a photo shoot with her kids. She’s been going through a rough year and we were both so happy to do something special for her. What a fun shoot. Normally I would show some photos here but these were taken in her private home andI don’t feel right showing them off on my blog.

Getting ready for Xmas, Janne suggested that we could do some nice tags using my winter photos, but I decided to do a small photo shoot of some ornaments instead.
His family tradition is to write rhymes and riddles inside that each tries to figure out before opening their gifts. It was fun to do. I’m not a very good poet but Janne
was pretty good and with the both of us, we were able to come up with some interesting rhymes!

We celebrate Christmas at my house on Xmas Eve as it has always been that way. My parents were from Europe and that was our tradition and we like it that way.
Here in Quebec, unlike English provinces and in the U.S. that celebrate the morning of the 25th, the Québécois celebrate right after midnight. At that point, our bellies
are full and our presents are open.
This year Simon and I also did the rhymes. Janne joined us via skype and we did our celebration together. It was loads of fun.

I was supposed to take pictures of the turkey that I made today for Carol but making that darned turkey was one hurdle after another. I smile about it now that we’ve
eaten and it was delicious (an loads tucked away in a tupperware pot for the days to come) but let me tell you how it went.

Usually, we buy the turkey a few days before Christmas and get everything for the stuffing at the same time. This year, Simon picked up the turkey early at the grocery store
so I completely forgot about getting both parsley and celery. So, I did use celery seeds instead but no parsley and all the stores closed. Oh, well… what can you do… then
I took the defrosted turkey out of the fridge and took off the plastic cover that holds it all together to find that instead of a bald turkey, we had a scalped one.. yes — no skin
at all over the breast area. I had never seen such a thing. When you buy the turkey, it has a huge emblem over that area so you could not see at all that it had no skin there.

So a bit of plastic surgery was needed. Flip the turkey, cut off the skin from underneath and bring it to the top, now do a skin graft. Oh – my. It was not  pretty. Do not ask me
to fix your face as I definitely am not prepared.

Finally once the skin graft done and the turkey stuffed with my make-do stuffing, I then usually cover it with foil for the first part of the roasting. Ha! Grab the aluminum foil and
guess what? only enough to cover this turkey’s butt. :-P What to do? what to do? Well, last night we had roast beef (which was delicious, by the way) so imagine me, starting to get
frustrated and peeved off, standing at the kitchen counter, washing off last night’s foil so I can have enough to cover the turkey so he wouldn’t be too indecent. Gotta love the holidays
in a small town when everything is closed.

All in all, everything turned out. The turkey was a little ugly but delicious and moist.

 

Here are some images from my xmas shoot. Also included is the Aurora Borealis photo I took on the night of the 18th-19th of December. The photo itself is not technically good and
quite noisy but the sky was so amazing I just need to share.  I was just off to bed;  it was quite late – 1:20 or so and I see through the window in the back hall, something that looks
like vertical lights. The window is a difficult one to see through, so I went to the  kitchen and lo and behold there, in the northern sky, like I had never seen in my life before, the Aurora
Borealis had streaked the sky with reds and purples and oranges. Amazing. I was in my bare feet with only a robe but slipped on Simon’s size 12 shoes and with my winter coat headed out
the back door. It was very cold, about -20 below and I took about 20 pictures. The one I’m showing is definitely the best. I was not prepared and it was  hand held, although I did brace
myself. Once I got in, and took of the coat and shoes, it was like it never happened. The sky was clear and not a northern light in sight. How fortunate I feel I  was.

 

Hope you all have wonderful holidays and I wish you the best for the New Year… 2015!