July 2015

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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