To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 365 - And Here the Journey Ends to Begin Again!

I want to take this opportunity to thank you, all my blog readers, for being there, giving me your feedback and cheering me on even though my energy and motivation were in the pits from time to time.  I know that I haven't given my best over the last month or more - I've been battling health issues, and other things, but I really appreciated each visit and each comment you made on my posts.  For all that - THANK YOU!  I hope I have been able to give some of you some insight into my photography along the way and I hope to be able to share many more in the future as I change gears. 

I would also like to thank a few of my friends (and you know who you are) for keeping me on track - some of them coaxed and cajoled me into doing portraits, some of them downloaded my photos and saved them to their computer desktop at work to give me the exposure, some of them visited my blog and commented on my Facebook page, and yet some others religiously visited my Flickr posts and left me encouragement and kind words.  I think I had a whole battalion of friends and well-wishers following my footsteps, making sure I didn't fail.  My hats off to you! 


This is my last post for this project and what a project it has been!  I still can't believe it's over - well, how can I, considering I've been doing this for so long now?   I am certain that I will feel the loss sometime soon, but I definitely feel that the wrap-up was long overdue.  Seriously, it was.  It took me over a year from missing days due to illnesses and other personal issues.  But I think all's well that ends well.

It has been a great journey for me, and as I mentioned in my last post, I will put together some thoughts and write it all up - soon!  As soon as I've had some time to recover and enjoy my  freedom from the all-pervading stress of having to get a shot for the day.

I had been brainstorming with my friend Rajiv (who has modelled for me in the past) and with my son (he comes up with really great ideas and therefore, I sometimes turn to him for inspiration) about what the last post should be to commemorate the event.  My son's idea was to use fireworks (sparklers, in this case) to mark the celebrations.  Rajiv suggested using tealights to write 365 with (I was thinking candles, but thought it might be too clumsy) or to take a picture of something that was indicative of how monumental this task of taking a shot a day was.

I loved all three ideas, but unfortunately, I didn't find a monumental subject I could shoot today, nor did I find tealights at my local superstore.  Fortunately, I found sparklers!  Therefore, sparklers it had to be!  I had planned to do both the sparklers and the tealights but I guess availability of one took over the non-availability of the other!

I want to end this by saying I really loved and hated this project!  Let me leave you all with that thought, so I can come back and explain it better.  I'm a little bit overcome with mixed emotions right now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 364 - On the Eve of ...

Tomorrow's going to be the last shot for my 365 project and if you ask me how I feel about it, I will say "Phew! Relieved!"

However, today isn't going to be the day I want to talk about this - I'll definitely do a retrospective soon.  But besides that, I'll also decide on a new challenge for myself.  I have a few ideas, and I want to throw them out to you and do a quick poll; and I hope you can help.

This is another quick post - probably the last one for this project.  I'm definitely going to take my time over it tomorrow.


Day 363 - Alien Lobster

I was having a little fun with egg shells, my iPod and the macro lens.  Unfortunately, my iPod ran out of battery after about 4 shots and I had to give up playing with it.  But what came out of it pretty much looked like an alien lobster claw to me.

The shot is SOOC.  My computer is giving a helluva lot of trouble, and I couldn't really use Lightroom.  In fact, in Lightroom, all my photos somehow got flipped horizontally, as a result of which Flickr started to update my photostream with the new flipped pictures.  Now there is a royal mess everywhere!  Need to clean it up ASAP! :(  I hate having computer trouble!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 362 - Little Darlings

We had a beautiful day with part clouds and part sun.  I seized the opportunity to go check if we have ducklings yet, and sure enough there was a small brood of them scooting around in the water.  They were adorable!  

I took over 500 shots today of flowers, birds and this duck family, but I'm feeling really lazy to process them all.  Therefore, I processed two of my fave shots from the day.

Red Benches
I loved the splash of colours in this, and I got only one chance to photograph these benches - just as I was going to change my position and shoot another one, and elderly couple came over and occupied the benches.  Disappointed! :(

And here are three of the six little fluff-balls!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 361 - Studying a Dahlia

Quick post


Day 360 - Ottawa Tulip Festival

I went to see the tulip festival with a few friends, and was greatly disappointed - didn't get to see as many tulips as I've normally seen in the past.  Admittedly, we didn't end up going to the park where I normally go - Dow's Lake, but the festival locations in downtown should definitely have had a lot more.

I think I probably took about a dozen shots of the tulips in all.  The flowers were mostly all dried up and in pretty bad shape.  I had to look hard to find a few nice ones to photograph.  I have only processed one for now, but I'll definitely post a few more on Flickr later.

@ The Ottawa Tulip Festival

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 359 - Photoshop Experiment

Playing around in Photoshop Elements 8 and trying out some textures.

PSE8 Experiment

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 358 - Edge of Light

These shots were taken of my dahlias on the balcony.  I noticed how the last rays of the sun illuminated the petals and dived for my camera.



Day 357 - Dull, Dreary, Damp!!

That's what the weather has been like here.  I was supposed to present some tips and tricks on how to do flower photography to my photo club at work.  I had a ton of ideas, but not enough time to make the sample images I would have liked.  It was a last minute decision to do the presentation, because after looking at the forecast, it didn't seem like we would be able to go outdoors to shoot.

I needed a few images to demonstrate what effect the choice of aperture has on DoF and went out after work to do that.  The sky was dark grey, light was failing, and I didn't have the opportunity to venture far.  Therefore, the plans went down the drain as I saw that the light was way below par.  But I took a few shots for myself anyway - needed the shot of the day, after all!


Day 356 - Curious George

I wouldn't have had a shot for the day if my son hadn't stuck his neck out!  Well, literally!

I had been exhausted and lying on the couch playing with the AF settings on my camera because I've recently started having a weird problem where the AF acts moody.  Suddenly, my son comes over to me and tries to tell me something and this brilliant idea flashes through my head!

I had to pretend I was taking pictures, because my son always has a habit of sticking his head or some other body part into my frame.  And sure enough, in less than a minute his head moved into my line of sight!  The light was poor, so I immediately popped up the flash and fired a couple of shots!  :=D  Since the light was bad and obviously a shadow appeared on the ceiling, I decided to turn it into B&W.  This really is a snapshot, but what it taught me was waiting for the moment - kinda journalistic!

Hehe.. I'm just kidding!  I have to make the shot seem like I was doing some serious photography, isn't it?


Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 355 - Filling the Cup of Life (Hot Chocolate)!

This shot is SOOC except for a minor crop.


Day 354 - Why Did the Grackle Cross the Puddle?

... To get to the other side so he could be the early bird to get the juiciest worm!

Ok.. I took it a bit too far!  We have been having the wettest Spring in a decade, I think!  I can't remember being rained on so much!

Shots from the balcony - no way I'm venturing out into those puddles with my fabric-covered sneakers.  They're already caked in mud, and so grey, you can't tell they were ever white!  I need a pair of hiking boots or rain boots, soon!




Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 353 - Foggedaboutit!

I was supposed to make a day trip to Ottawa with a friend to see the annual tulip festival.  But the Rain God had other plans as he unleashed the crappiest weather known to man - in this case, two women, all eager to see the tulips!

Anyway, we obviously cancelled, but went out driving around the city looking for a macro lens for my friend and then I saw the fog-enveloped downtown skyline and knew I had to somehow get a shot.  It was pouring buckets, and we couldn't find any parking at the right places, so we drove up to the Plateau and found the fog so thick, you couldn't see the city down below, like is usual on a clear day or night.

I was hellbent on taking a few shots, but my heart was filled with trepidation as my lenses weren't weather-sealed, which meant I could potentially ruin them in the rain.  But I still decided to take a chance, and my friend very sweetly held the umbrella over the camera while I fired off a few quick ones.

When we got back into her car, we were soaked, and so were our cameras.  I was happiest with the tree shot, which looked good in colour as well, but there wasn't much colour to begin with, so I turned it into b&w.

Lesson of the day:  Remember to carry a towel or a rag to wipe down your camera if you expose it to moisture!  And in the process, improve your memory, so you can remember your lesson! :(

Thick fog rolling in

The city beyond was totally obliterated by the thick fog and sheets of rain

Day 352 - Utterly Exhausted

I am frequently overpowered by these waves of exhaustion where I feel totally out of it all.  This was one of those instances where I didn't know or couldn't care what the subject for the day would be, so I picked up the first thing I could find - chocolatines.


Day 351- Pouring Honey

Tried to get a shot of honey pouring over my breakfast, but couldn't quite the effect I was after.  I ended up trying the shot about five or six times, thereby, sweetening my cereal a bit too much.  I had to decide to stop at this shot!  And I also got quite a bit of honey on to my camera and the dining table in the process. :(  A right sticky situation!


P.S. Had a bit of a Photoshop challenge when I tried to remove a drop of honey that fell on the edge of the bowl behind the stream of honey.  Cloning is très difficile!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 350 - YESSSS!

15 more posts to go and I'm done my 365 project!  Wow, I can't believe I'm almost there.  I'm just forging ahead despite the eye infection that's been giving me grief for the past 3 days now.

I willed myself to step out on the balcony and take a couple of shots.  Since my eyes are really sensitive to light right now, I've been wearing my sunglasses all the time and that obviously threw the exposure off a little bit.  I shot with the aid of the histogram, but didn't like the exposure later, so I just changed it to B&W.  I can't sit in front of the computer for too long since it's hurting my eyes quite a bit, therefore, did the fastest ever post-processing I've ever done before. I'm throwing nothing away!


Day 349 - Pet

Again, not mine.  Someone else's kitty posing for me because she realized that I couldn't go far with my state of health, and I needed to get the shot!  Thanks, kitty!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 348 - Mallards

Down by the riverside for a quick photo session.

Swept Away


Feeding Time

Mallard Female

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 347 - Osprey

I was supposed to have made a trip to a friend's farm along with some other friends, but didn't end up going because of my poor health.  I'm feeling far from okay, but I just couldn't bring myself to be stuck within the four walls on such a gorgeous day as today, considering we're getting a lot of rain this Spring.

I spent a little while in the forest at the back and tracked down an Osprey couple on lunch patrol.  I also got a few shots of a Tree Swallow and a Myrtle Warbler, but the Ospreys were the stars of the day!

I got a few really clean shots as they came up right overhead, but the ones that would have been the best ones, I didn't have much luck with as they were too far even for my long lens.

With a fish in its talons - this is the 2nd Osprey

If you'd like to see more of these Ospreys, do check out my Flickr photos.

Day 346 - Pink Mums

Now that I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel (read as the completion of my 365 project), even wild horses can't keep me away from the shot of the day!  I want to get this over with now, and I'm almost there!

I took about five shots, and I decided to try different processing on these two.

Day 345 - Easy Sausage Skillet

I was forced to cook dinner because I didn't want to order another take-out.  I remember being as sick as a dog - running a temperature and my sore throat was even more sore from the probing of the doctor and the nurse to see what was troubling it.  But when you have another mouth to feed, you have to do just that - feed that other mouth.

Sausage stir-fried in olive oil with onions, mushrooms, red pepper, celery, salt and ground pepper.  I served this over a bed of steamed rice.  Although I didn't have much of an appetite, since I had practically eaten nothing all day, I found it really delicious!


Day 344 - Fast Food Take-Out

Too sick to cook, too sick to think of the shot of the day.  This was one of 4 shots of the Pad Thai dinner I bought on my way back from work.

I usually love the Pad Thai from this fast food joint, but everything tasted like chalk that day.  Dinner gone to waste!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 343 - Cepacol

Allergy season seems to have gotten to me pretty bad this year.  I had somehow escaped being afflicted last Spring, and was only slightly affected.  But this time the allergies are so bad, my throat is severely inflamed and sore and feels like someone has thrust a ping pong ball down it.  I'm staying alive with Cepacol right now...  no voice and I feel really miserable! :(


Day 342 - The First Dandelion

... of this season of course!


Day 341 - Election Night

It was election day here in Canada, and what better subject could I find other than my TV remote?

This shot has received minimal processing by way of adjusting the white balance.


Day 340 - Ottawa Orchid

Straight from my friend's kitchen!


Day 339 - Visiting Friends in Ottawa

Another catch-up post.  I've been under the weather with early allergy symptoms that were pretty bad, and I, therefore, didn't take the time or make the effort to post.

This adorable kid is my friend's neighbour, and the kid's dad requested me to take a few photos of him with his pets since they have none in their family album - I was very happy to oblige!  What a lovely and well-mannered boy he was and it was really nice to meet his family, including his dog Tutu and his hamster, whose name I just can't remember!

I only had my 100 - 400 mm lens and about 5 minutes in which to take the pictures.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 338 - Candy Dropping

Playing with the on-camera flash on ETTL, I decided to try to freeze the motion of falling Easter Egg candies I got as a freebie at the grocery store!



Handheld shots because I didn't feel like setting up the tripod.  I was in a hurry to get back to watching TV as it was running programs on Kate and William's wedding.  I'm quite a fan of the British Royals, and I'm not ashamed to admit it!  I've always loved fairy tales, and even at this age, when I should be all grown up, I still believe in them!  :)