Friday, April 30, 2010

To snow or not to snow...

Well clearly I spoke too soon and my hopes for a nearly summer weekend have been washed away (literally) by the rain. And although I know that I am very lucky to live where I do and to have such generally mild weather patterns, the cold, pouring rain does make me slightly nostalgic for the crisp, clear, sunny days of the winters of my childhood (and also my Alberta Christmas vacation which is where these photos were taken).

Well, I guess the grass is always greener on the other side isn't it? (And since the grass is actually very green here right now, I should just be happy and enjoy what I've got!)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

And it was all yellow...

The sun has been shining for the last two days and it makes me hopeful that summer is just around the corner. And I believe that no colour screams summer more than bright yellow. Maybe if I just believe it hard enough, it will come true.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Canine Companion...

On a rainy and blustery day like today, I find myself wishing that I could have a pet even more than usual. A dog or a cat that loves you unconditionally and will curl up on the couch with you is just good for the soul. Just the act of petting an animal can lower your blood pressure and put you in a better mood.

Since I don't have a pet of my own, I take any opportunity to love other people's pets... whether it be a random cat on the street, a friend's dog or one of the adorable family puppies above (Jeremy & Bubba), I can't resist a good canine snuggle.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Urban Art

In a city that has so much natural beauty (trees, mountains, ocean, flora, fauna, etc)... it is easy to miss or disregard the man-made beauty of urban art. To remember to stop and look around at the artists who are leaving their mark on the city. It is this art that makes you stop and think.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rainy day blog...

On a grey and rainy day like today, I have to remind myself that the rain in this town is what makes our vegetation so lush and plentiful. It also is what ensures that we have plenty of beautiful blossoms in February. I am so lucky to live in a city that is so beautiful and so green, and some even say... the moisture in the air is what keeps our skin so young and healthy looking.

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
~ Dolly Parton

Friday, April 23, 2010

Working without a flash...

In a previous post about figuring out how to work with the limitations of my Olympus Pen F with only one lens, no zoom and no flash (Post titled Versatility), I was quite happy that I had been able to figure out how to take a variety of pictures with my camera despite the limitations, but had still not figured out how to take pictures indoors with out a flash. Well, a roll of pictures I had developed from Christmas time shows that I have actually already started to figure it out! Without even realizing it, I took a few photos of the same miniature train set in different lighting which really allowed me to compare and it helped me to figure out how my camera works indoors without a flash. I know it doesn't seem like it should be that hard to figure out, but without the instant feedback of a digital camera, it is difficult to judge lighting. I think I am developing my eye better and learning to adjust my shutter speed and aperature settings accordingly. It was such a positive thing to see that I had overcome another hurdle in my quest to take good pictures with my lovely and wonderful, but challenging old camera.

Toy Village taken in flat daylight near large window. The photo just ended up being flat and blurry.

Toy Village taken at night with large overhead light. The colour is much more vibrant and the focus is a lot better.

Church decoration with inner lighting, no extra indoor lighting.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Still figuring things out...

Ok, so I am back to using this blogspot space as my main blog. Once I moved everything over to the Windows Live Space, I realized that I actually had less and less need to have a space that would allow me to put a larger selection of my photos on at one time. Namely because, as I am getting better, within one roll of film I have so many photos that I really like that it no longer makes sense to post each roll as a seperate album, it makes more sense to group them into themes.
I have also been inspired by other photo blogs that post more frequently, but with fewer, more logically grouped photos. For example I love the Little Brown Pen blog  and her grouping of pictures by colour theme.
I also love to look at my friend (and collegue) Michelle's photo blog at Un Peu Capote while she is doing the 365 day project. Having a picture a day is a really great way to keep things interesting and makes it easier for people to just pop by and check it out, with out investing a huge chunk of time to look through (say) 20 photos. (I also look forward to seeing what sort of creative photo she will come up with each day) ;)
I will still create full albums of all my photos on the picasa photo albums site, but it will take me a little while to get all the photos from my Windows Live Space over there, then add my new pics as well.
For now, here is a sneak preview of one of the pictures taken with my new (to me) Pentax K 1000 camera that my grandpa sent me for my birthday. It is a huge change from my Olympus Pen F in terms of settings, framing, and focusing... but it has been a fun new challenge :) More to come...


(Originally posted on February 21, 2010 on Windows Live Space)
In previous entries I have talked about the limitations of my camera because of the short lens. Basically I had a very hard time taking interesting pictures of anything other than close-ups (well, the portrait type shots were pretty good too, but even they were always close-up portraits). I have even perfected the focusing, framing and aperture settings to give the most detail and contrast in these tight shots.
This last roll I felt a lot more comfortable with the settings so I was able to take a lot more risks and try different things. The results were great! I actually managed to take some good distant scenic shots, some multi-layered shots (where the foreground and background compliment or add depth to the photo), as well as some portrait and close-up shots. I was really happy that I have been able to learn and overcome (and work with) the limitations of my lens.
The next challenge... lighting! I don't have a flsh for my Olympus and so indoor photos seem almost impossible and even outdoor shots on a not-so-sunny day are a huge challenge. The first few photos in the the latest album were taken indoors and they didn't turn out very well. I couldn't even salvage much with photo-editing. Only one turned out well and it's because there was a bright light directly above.

Stay tuned because I finally finished my first few rolls of my Pentax and will be taking them to get developed soon. I am so anxious to see how my new toy works and how the pictures turn out... a whole new learning curve for me!

I should really keep better track

(Originally posted on February 06 2010, on Windows Live Space)
So back in the summer time, I went on a photo adventure with a friend. Wandering around beautiful Stanley Park with my new toy, I was snapping away sure that my photos were going to be brilliant. I mean afterall, this was not my first roll of film, I had had the chance to get a few rolls back which would help to teach me about what shutter speed settings were best for which light, and I had even read up on aperture and started playing with that. I was so excited to get this roll back and as I started looking through the pictures, my hopes quickly vanished. I realized that I had mixed up the shutter speed settings... in bright light I had set the speed high and in low lights, I had set the speed low... in other words, almost everything was either too washed out or too dark! I have no idea what was going on in my head to make me mix those up, but it meant that out of 48 pictures on a perfectly sunny, gorgeous day, I had very few that I could salvage. But man I learned my lesson!
So here are a few of this pictures that either fell in medium light and therefore a medium setting (meaning I couldn't screw them up), or that I managed to save with a little help from photo editing software (Photofiltre). A few of the pictures are actually from a seperate outing not in Stanley Park, but that were on the same roll, so I put them in there too. Most of these ones worked out because I had Jeffrey around to help advise me (and for the record, I am starting to be able to give him tips now too) ;)

The move, the ketchup and the birthday present

(Originally posted January 23 2010, on Windows Live Blog space)
Welcome to my new blog space! I have decided to try out the Windows Live space for my blog rather than the more hip & saavy blogspot because the layout seems to suit the style and intention of this blog so much better. I can put my photos and blog entries all in the same space and actually have the slideshow next to the blog entry (which visually makes sense). So I am going to try it out... please bear with me and my non-web saavy bumblings.

The big move to the new space has also meant that I am significantly behind on updating with new photos and adventures (virtual moving is apparently as much of a hassle as moving in reality). So here is a little Ketchup (catch up)...

The latest photo entries are from way back in sunny August/September when the summer sun and bright natural colours lent themselves really well to great nature photos. I was particularily happy with this roll because I think I had a lot of luck with the aperture and shutter speed settings in getting proper focus and lighting. I say I was lucky because I am not completely convinced that I actually managed to achieve this because of any amount of skill on my part... I am still fumbling to remember which settings work best in which lighting and seem to need to re-teach myself everytime I go out (which clearly isn't often enough if I am retaining so little). Most of the pictures needed very little digital editing in terms of brightness or contrast although I used a basic "revive colours" function on almost all of them which essentially does exactly what it says... revives the colours. I think if I were to actually get the film developed at a professional shop (instead of the local 1 hour drug store photo lab) this might not be necessary. Maybe someday when I am confident enough that the film holds enough decent pictures to shell out the "big bucks" to do that, I will find out.

One of the things that I am actually proud of and feel isn't sheer luck is the framing of the pictures. I had to crop very few of them and was really impressed overall on the way that I had set up the pictures. I am really getting a feel for what my camera can and cannot do (mostly because of the type of lens on the camera) and how to work with those limitations. In fact, because the lens on my camera is so unique, I find it quite hard to now look through a different lens and figure out how to frame and focus it. Which brings me to my final point...

If you haven't noticed, with the arrival of the new blog space is also the arrival of a new name for it. The old space was "Experiments with my Olympus Pen F"... this space is "Experiments in Old Technology". The reason for the change is that during a conversation with my grandfather who used to dabble in photography, he mentioned that I could have his old Pentax camera (in fact the exact same model that Jeffrey has; the one that actually inspired me to pick up my Olympus in the first place). Well, he ended up sending it out to me for my birthday but when it arrived there were about three other large boxes that followed, filled with all sorts of other old cameras. His statement was... "Well if she wants one, she has to take the others as well"! I am completely thrilled to have them and hope that eventually overtime, I will be able to expand my knowledge of old cameras and share them all with you all here (hopefully on a more regular basis than I have managed thus far). I believe I have about 3 or 4 more rolls of film that are either waiting to be developed or are waiting to be uploaded and sorted... so don't touch that dial and stay tuned for more exciting expirements in old technology.