Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Autumn Garden

I should be packing. I don't seem to have the energy nor the inclination to, at the moment. There is no choice , it has to be done-its one of those necessities you have to attend to if you want to travel with clothes.
The important things are in my carry on- to be sorted at a later time- Passport, currency from the last time & camera....I may have thrown a book in as well.
There is a pile on the landing, here at the top of the stairs, of 'stuff,' to go down to my suitcase (which has been returned to me, fixed, after I jumped up & down & said it had to be returned, fixed or not, as I was going away again).
There are no clothes in this pile of "stuff", but, rather gifts & items I've been asked to bring with me- Tim tams (that was so wicked of me to introduce all my Ya Ya friends to these little decadent morsels & to teach them how to suck up through a Tim tam, coffee laced with Baileys-2 bad habits I have given the American & Canadian girls!). Darrell Lea licorice which all my friends have requested-I must admit it is very good-shame I can longer eat it, or the TT's due to my Coeliac disease. Hopefully I will pick up some Cadbury's chocolates tomorrow to complete the care package!
I have packing down to a fine art after all the trips we've done- I'm a very light packer-especially when I'm on my own & I'm the one dragging luggage off carousels & through airports to get connections-its much easier when MOTH can do the heavy lugging for me! (Men have to be good for something!)
Mostly I can travel with about 4 changes of clothes-inside to outside-layering & swapping them around to give a slightly different look- I'm not looking to be trend setter or a fashion plate & needing 30 changes of clothes to achieve this-if I need something desperately & I didn't pack it, then I'll go buy it, is my motto.
I'll take a lightweight jacket as I know the weather in the USA at this time of the year in the Northern states can still be a bit chilly for me. By the time we leave in July it should be quite hot-so this is where those layers come in handy.

I'm not one of these women that needs a hair dryer, straightener, 6 types of shampoos, a full range of skin care products & a separate bag for the makeup-I've even learnt to par this down to the bare essentials as well- mostly I can fit all of this into a small bag-only taking the few items that I prefer to use everyday.
Even down to my shoes is bare essentials only- I pack a pair of joggers or walking shoes as extra shoes to the ones I wear-even these are carefully chosen to be the type I can slide on & off easily on the plane & through all those security check points in the USA ,which drive me nuts, but it is a necessity these days.
There is another reason I pack light- its so I have room for all my purchases-especially when I go quilt & fabric shopping with friends- there has to be room for all the important things I will be bringing home with me- no matter that I have not sewn up one bit of the fabric I bought last year when we stayed here! (well hidden now so MOTH has no idea of how much fabric I do have stashed!) There are always more colours & designs to buy-they call when you look at them, so I just have to take them home with me. (Only those that sew know the secret call of fabric)

This week has been very wet- not much good for taking pics- maybe OK if I owned wet weather gear for the camera, but I don't, so I've not had that much opportunity to get outdoors.
Also work has been hectic & I've not really had the time to get the camera out other than to take some shots of a patients leg ulcer-not the type of pic I'd put on my blog-YUK!

I love dead flowers in the garden-they make wonderful subjects to photograph-spider webs spun & draped around the dying flower head , the withered petals drooping down-the stamens still sitting proudly upright in a naked stalk....sunlight highlighting their beauty-it doesn't always have to be the perfect new bloom that gives nature its beauty.
Happy Crafting

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jaywalker- or Jayded walker

Hooray! I've finally finished the Jaywalker socks. What an absolutely boring pattern I thought this was. I truly struggled to complete them. The pattern just didn't keep my interest-although I do like the effect of the diagonal striping it created.
Many a time over the past few weeks I've been very tempted to start another project, but, me being me, I knew they would become a UFO at the bottom of the basket. If I start a project I must finish it before starting something else, or nothing ever gets completed.

I admire these knitters & sewers that can have 3 or more projects going at the one time-when they get bored with one they just pick up another one & so the cycle goes until they have a project finished & have already started on more in the meantime.
Not me. If I don't slog it out & finish it, no matter how bored or frustrated I am with it, it just won't ever get finished. It'll be bagged & eventually given to someone to finish, if they like it, or put in a clothing collection bag for a charity shop.Get rid of the evidence....what socks? I never knitted purple socks, surely you must be mistaken! If its not in the house it can't be classified as a UFO. Simple.

Took some of my shots from last weekend to work to show my workmates & one of them asked if she could get a blown up copy of one of the prints to frame & put on her of my pictures? WOW- no one has ever wanted something I took to frame.
After having the pic blown up to a 10 x 8 photo & thinking how good it looked, I decided to try a few more at being enlarged as well-I was amazed at what they looked like. It was no doubt all a big fluke of me getting the shots in the first place! Even the guy at the photo shop commented on them (in a positive way) out MOTH I'm out to catch you with the picture taking!
I've pulled some intercostal muscles after a coughing fit the other day- one is supposed to ingest water, not inhale it-the upshot of this is my ribs feel like they are broken & it has been hell to breathe more than a shallow breath most of the weekend. A sneeze nearly made me pass out from the sudden stabbing pain.

I am now breathing somewhat easier- my ribs are still definitely "there"-but at least I can now inhale!
So, with my ribs being so sore & not being able to breath fully for most of the weekend I've had a very quiet weekend- had to knock back a walk to 'The Peak' with DS no4, at sunset, to take pics-I knew my ribs just weren't up to it! (he's the one in the pic above)
Called into Myers this week to see if my new Samsonite bag was back from the repairers- can't say I'm too pleased that the buckle inside the case broke on its first flight-I'm just hoping it will be back this week, if it's not, this will leave me with no luggage to take to the USA Monday week.
Just my trusty carry on bag is all I have left! Both my Qantas brand bags were trashed after last years around the world flights & have been ditched- not that I could have taken them, with the handles ripped out & the extension handle broken off-I should really have claimed them when I got back, but didn't notice all the damage until later on.
On one of our trips home MOTH's zipper stop got caught in the carousel, by the time he freed it he had undies & socks all over the place! He was most embarrassed by it all- we did put a claim in that time. Nothing like chasing your dirty laundry around the carousel with hundreds of people watching!

Next weekend I'm working, then its out of the house for an early start at the airport-am so looking forward to this trip & to catching up with all my friends....oh, and MOTH as well-although he tells me he's off to Germany tomorrow to catch up with his mate who is there travelling with his daughter-great life if you can get away with it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

To Bee or not to Bee

Today I decided that I would try to capture that elusive shot of a bee. Not just 'A' bee, but, a bee in focus. This proved to be rather more of a challenge than I realized.

With camera & lenses in hand I ventured into the backyard where there were lots of bees-ah, this shouldn't be too hard- I only had to get one good shot.

Yeah, right.
Snapped off about 30 pics & came inside to have a look- deleted most, there were a few hopefuls.

Returned to the backyard-snapped off a few more-back inside, and a look on the computer & there were definitely some better shots in the next lot.

I then decided why not Google 'taking bee photos'- there were many who had tried before me & some of the shots were absolutely awesome-I just wanted a good shot- I'll go for awesome when I understand what I am doing.

One photographer was a font of information- suggesting a tripod, wait patiently as bees tend to return to the same flowers & communicate with each other where the best nectar is to be found (that's something I didn't know)-also to focus on the flower rather than chasing the bee around.

Hmmmm.....all made sense. So out I went again this time with the tripod, set myself up & waited-it seemed all the bees had disappeared- there wasn't one to be found! Perhaps they were camera shy or something.

I waited & waited & sure enough they returned & as I watched the bees did indeed return to the same flowers-almost in the same order & I snapped off a few more pics.
Then I thought I'd give RAW a try-I mean to say I have this feature I might as well try it & learn about it at some stage.....back inside for a preview of all I'd taken & even I was surprised at the detail I managed to pick up-I was truly amazed!

I've promised my family & friends that I will not send them any more bee pics-I'm happy with what I achieved- far from perfect that it is, but at least I'm learning more & trying more with the settings.

One thing I noticed while sitting quietly in the garden, was, that, the Willie Wag Tails have returned...I've missed their little chat chat sound & their higher pitched noise when defending their territory-they are a cute little bird that looks to me, that he is dressed in a tuxedo! You know that autumn is truly on its way when the WWT's have arrived!
As for a picture, in my dreams- they are so quick in the garden it would truly be a lucky snap!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Understanding the Threesome

I have been madly snapping pics over the weekend, trying, in vain, mostly to get my head around the photographers threesome; F/stops,aperture & ISO. How they relate to each other & affect the way a picture turns out.

This reading also lead me to bokeh & discussions on this technique- I am way too much of a novice to have much of opinion or to even profess to even know what is or isn't acceptable as a bokeh example, but I do know what I like & what appeals to me.

There were many opinions on different forums about it & some quite heated discussions-some interesting pictures & some, that to my untrained eye, just looked like a complete picture out of focus.

So when is a blurred image, artistic & when is it just a blurred image, and probably should be given the delete button? Its all very subjective & very much in the eyes of the beholder.

I've trolled through many an album in my quest to find what constitutes a great picture or just a very ordinary one-my pics, in the main, fall very short of fantastic shots and the vast majority should be given the delete button-but I do know I have to keep on practising to get any better, if I'm ever going to get a really great pic!

I've played with aperture & shutter speeds-left the ISO alone at this stage- and had a lot of pics that didn't work & a few that did-looked at my depth of field & generally played around, this is the wonderful thing with digital, you can takes lots of pics & just get rid of them-no expense or waiting to have them developed to find none of them turned out. Oh, how I remember those days.

I've chased bees around the garden-boy are they quick! & found lots of bugs on lots of flowers-it's truly amazing what you see with a macro much more at another level that we pass every day. Even the minute centre of a geranium is quite amazing & barely 2mm in size!

Hopefully I'll understand how the threesome works at some point in time, in relation to camera settings..... in the mean time I guess I can just set it on auto.