June 2013


flowers, birds and retro styling

Yes, there will be flowers, and birds and retro styling etc., etc.,  Wow, I have so much I want to show. I’ve been really busy.

As most of you know, I have started a new website Shutter Tactics and have lots of stuff in the pipeline coming. Many thing not done, but being done. As promised, I have upload an article on food styling by Darlene Dallas.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you will find it here: Food Styling by Darlene Dallas.  It’s a pretty fun article with lots of pictures and doesn’t say ‘use this lens or that lens’ but gives some practical advice to make your images look good without any special gadgets, just using some good common sense .

More is coming as well as a retro styling ad tutorial that I intend to do. I don’t know if I will use this exact image, but if you follow this blog you will have seen this one before and now we have an after of using an image we have taken and turning it to look like an old add pulled out of a magazine found in a box in your attic. Well, the asparagus in this one looks kind of modern with the elastic on it, but you get my drift.

Here’s a before and after:

Before and After

Before and After

It’s a bit difficult to see at this size, but the image has been flattened to look more like an illustration and rubbed and torn along the edges. Adding small details like rusted old staples and little bumps and ridges in the paper help give that subtle effect of paper that has been in a pile for a while but has gotten humidity etc.,

I also took a lot of pictures and had fun too.

In the first silly image that is in the gallery view (don’t know why wordpress is being weird today but not allowing me to post these singularly ) you will see the same process I used to flatten the image above and make it more illustrative can be used in a comical way. I did and I think it is hilarious. Of course, you need the right image to start off with.


The rest of the images are just photos taken during the week.

At the beginning of the week, it was incredibly hot. +35C with humidity. Yes, it gets really cold here in the winter, but really hot in the summer,; well for a few days anyways!  I love coffee but it was so muggy, I made iced-coffee. I cheat and make it with instant coffee (hot coffee must be made fresh) but it is way cheaper and tastes almost as good. I just put in double the amount. Yummy.  On my way back to my desk with lunch, which you can see is a grill cheese sandwich with salsa in it, I decided to take a picture. As you can see, no time for food styling. 2 quick pics and time to sit down to eat. Don’t tell Darlene, she would not be proud! :-D

The lilac flowers outside had also opened up and turned pink so brought some in. Meanwhile outdoors, I  got lucky and followed this little critter around that is not a butterfly but a clearwing hummingbird MOTH! yes, moth. Crazy, I know. I only discovered this creature 3 years ago in my lilac bush and now I always look out for it. This is the only one I’ve seen this year and boy, was it fast. I kept running around the bush to try and capture it. I love how you can see right through its wings!

Monday was the 24th and on that day, we celebrate Quebec (the province I live in ).  I took some pictures of blue irises. Some people think it is a lily on our flag, because of  the Fleur de lys, but it is actually this blue iris that blooms almost exactly to the day each year.  There were only a few blooming on Monday, but there must be several dozen today.  Of course, I had to pick some to bring in, as you can see,  they are in a coffee can on my back steps of the deck.

I also picked up some Aquilegia, both blue and pink and some small Therese Bugnet Roses that grow out back. When the rose bush was small, there was a path where you could pass with the lawn mower, but the bush has since grown and covers the path and drips over the right edge of the deck’s steps, but I think it looks wonderful like that, all spilled over and romantic, so I just go all around the house to bring the lawn mower to the back yard as I don’t want to cut those roses back.

And finally, early yesterday, a beautiful yellow bird appeared on a branch about 4 feet from my front window.  It was morning and I was in the living room. There was bird noises outside and a small bird was shooing away a huge crow and this bird just simply dropped out of the sky onto the branch. My camera is never far, so I snapped away through the window and he just posed gracefully for about 10 shots until a female arrived and within 2 seconds they were gone together. Ah, but so is love. Spring is in the air, the male was all primped and beautiful and she could not resist.

Hope you enjoy the photos,




Irises and Persian Lilacs

A few things have finally started to grow in my yard. A couple of pretty Irises, which you must take advantage of, as they really don’t last. The weather report threatens rain, so I went out to bring the two lonely ones that have bloomed so far in to take their pictures.

While I’m out there, I bring in a few Persian Lilacs. They are not even open yet, but I love them even when they are still at the budding stage. They change quite a bit, from a maroonish color to a sweet pretty pink when finally open. If I’m lucky, in a few days the weather will be nice and I might even get some in the tree with a butterfly having a snack.  Most of the time, I prefer to bring flowers in to take pictures of them, to pull them out of context. but if I want to capture a butterfly or two,  these must be taken outdoors.

Why do I prefer to bring them in? I’m not really sure. It’s just something I do.  I love to lay them down also, on a plate or in a basket (If I have enough of them). Something that I find looks very casual; a little like you just brought them in, and are getting ready to place them in a vase. You may notice that I took one in a vase at my front window. I took a few but then just decided to blow out the background completely, and I like it. Most people would say it’s a big no-no, but I don’t care, I think it feels softer and more ethereal this way.


On a sidenote, a couple of weeks ago, my favorite tv show in a longtime had its season finale. OMG! I loved and love this show. Yes, I’m re-watching it again. It’s called Orphan Black.  Here is the IMDB link:  Orphan Black  There are trailers on youtube that you could check out also. This show is a BBC America show and was filmed in Toronto, Canada. It is the most exciting, fun and enjoyable show that I’ve seen in since, well,  forever.  It is classified as Sci-Fi – Action – Drama and so much fun.   It’s not in outer-space.. and takes place in today’s world and this gives nothing away… it involves cloning. There are only 10 episodes and seriously, not one boring or filler show in the bunch. The main actress is Tatiana Maslany and she is simply amazing.  After 3-4 shows, it was already picked up for next year.  They put this show on right behind Doctor Who but it was only showing in Canada the the U.S.   BBC Three has acquired it now, so it will run in the UK also. If you haven’t seen it, find it.. buy it on itunes, or download it somewhere ;-) , but don’t miss out on this wonderful roller-coaster of a ride. Tatiana has been nominated as the dark horse for an Emmy for this and never before have I felt someone so deserved it.   I know this has nothing to do with a photography blog, but I just had to let people know that this show deserves your attention! /Maggie gets down from her pulpit! :-D

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bits and bobs of the day

Today, I’m putting up images with a little of this and a little of that, ergo, the bits and bobs in the title. Nothing extraordinary, but pics I took through 0ut the day and the day before.

As I had noted the day before, I had went out in the rain and picked a few forget-me-nots so I have pictures of those. Then, some cherries, oh yum. At this time of year they are not only abundant at the grocery store, they are really inexpensive and so delicious!

I’ve been harping on about our terrible weather, but through all that snow and rain, the grass was growing. Somehow the grass in the backyard grows much faster than the grass in the front and when I went to cut it, it was something like a foot long, I swear. It was also quite damp and there is a bit of an incline in the backyard and was hell to cut. My back was aching at the end of the evening.

The chipmunk came out to see what was going on, so I brought out a few peanuts to welcome him and try to get into this routine with him (it may not be a him – not sure) but it will be cool to take pics again this year.

At the end of the day, the sundown was quite amazing. The sky beyond was a brilliant red and the clouds had wisps of blue, purple and dark pink.  I can already see the trees are filling in with leaves and soon, the trees will hide a lot of it.

I also have more news about the new website. One lighting tutorial is almost done and I have an interview that is half finished. The food styling article should be done soon, and I have spoken with Craig who lives in South Africa and asked him for a tutorial on how to do those planet photos. I have done them before as have many people, but he has a new spin on it, that looks just amazing, so I’m hyped about it.  There was a specific photo he had done and I asked if he still had his psd to do the tut, but his laptop was stolen last year,  but luckily, he still had the separate photos on an external and he has generously agreed to redo it from scratch.. What a guy, right?

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the site, please do:  Shutter Tactics



filly encore banner

Horse Photography Encore.

Weather has gone wonky again. We just had storms and hot muggy weather, then very cold and raining and tonight we are again expecting frost. Yesterday morning I went out, huddled under an umbrella and armed with a pair of scissors and gathered a few forget-me-nots and a few wild pansies. It was raining and so windy, one of my patio chairs was blown off the porch into the grass.  Nasty, nasty weather. I guess I talk about it a lot, but seriously, it’s quite crazy.

I brought them in and took some pics last night but I was using Simon’s Nikon because I love his 105 macro. I don’t really know his camera and he wasn’t around and I couldn’t figure out how to set it to Manual mode.  I wasn’t happy with the results. Today, I found out that you have to push the mode button, to get the settings to change.  So different from my Canon. Anyways, I did take some pics this afternoon, with my new information and I’ll probably post them here tomorrow.

When last night’s photo shoot didn’t go exactly as I hoped, I played around with some photos I had taken the fall before of a young horse,  that I really liked but where the sky was blah white  and horrid. So I added some color and texture to the background and brought them to something that I actually like which makes it my Encore Photography.

I hope you enjoy them.

I also would like to invite you to check out my latest article on the Shutter Tactics website I’ve created.  I have a friend that does really wonderful photos of wild life but not as normal nature photography, but as portraits. His name is Joe Zammit Lucia and I think that you’ll find the man, his mission and his photography interesting.

it's raining, it's pouring

Last Day of May

Well, I find it quite funny that a week ago, I was out taking pictures of snowflakes on cherry blossoms and today, we have hot muggy weather (28C feels like 34C) and storms.  The day ended with a pretty nice sunset. I’m not much of a sunset photographer, but this is my view from my backyard and well, I thought I’d share. If you look at what almost appears to be a mountain range in the background, it isn’t. It’s actually a long row of storm clouds! It’s the last day of May and these are my offerings.

I’ve actually been quite busy. I’ve added another article to my new website, which I just set to be indexed yesterday. If you haven’t been around to check it out, please take a peek.  I’ve already got an interview set up with a photographer from out west, an article by a girl that does food-styling and a tutorial on a flash photography technique that is pretty cool. These will be coming soon. In the meantime, there is now something in every category.  I’m pretty happy with how it is going. My son is moving to Sherbrooke in July and will be about 7 hours away.  I am going to miss him terribly as we get along very well and have a lot in common. I will also now be all alone here and will need to fill up my time instead of moping around, right?

I’d love it if you’d go and take a look:


I’m also a member of a forum (Open Photography Forums) which is doing a collaboration of several photographers from 8 countries for a gallery showing at a Los Angeles rt gallery this winter.  I made a video to be presented to the gallery for our proposal. We will not actually know anything for a week or so, but the video is on youtube and since you  enjoy photography, it is worthwhile to check it out.  There are some amazing photos in there.  Certain ones are just breath-taking. Check out the works by Cem Usakligil (they are all awesome, unfortunately, I could only put a few of his) and the people images of Antonio Correia. There is one by Nicolas Claris that is gorgeous, it’s a man working in a factory that is working with long reeds or something (not sure what it is but reminds me of a Fritz Henle photo that I love). There is a photo by Jerome Marot, of a bicycle in a room with crinkled papers hiding the windows and a lone boat by Michael Stones.

This should be viewed at 720 resolution at the very least: