Nov 22, 2019

The Spark is There

I confess, I didn't do my homework last week, which was to take a portrait photograph of a woman.

So instead I'm giving you another picture from last week's homework. The assignment was to take both a fast and a slow picture. Last week was the slow one, the ghost picture, so this week I'll share my fast one.


Nov 18, 2019

Murcous Monday

murcous ~ having the thumb cut off

It’s cold, it’s miserable, I’m slowly catching up on my NaNo novel.

How’s that for an update?

Not enough, eh? Yeah, well, to be honest there wasn’t all that much going on this week. The weather was cold and miserable and I’ve been feeling singularly unmotivated.

One cool thing happened… Now that it’s starting to snow on a regular basis, the hubby’s father would like to start keeping his car in the garage, so the hubby went over one afternoon to help him clean it out.

As you probably know, one of the up sides to cleaning any building out is the treasures you might find in the process. In this case it was a water wall fountain that was destined for the scrap heap. Wisely, hubby brought it home.

It’s actually meant to go outside, but lo and behold the base of it is exactly the same size as the drop leaf table we use as a room divider between the living room and dining room.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? All I had to do first was move the plant hanging over the table to the hanger in my office, and clear off the stuff sitting on the table. This included a lamp, a fairy garden, and the butternut squash (five of them) that my neighbour gave me. *sigh*

Oh, yeah, and the fountain had been sitting in the garage for several years so it needed to be cleaned as well.

Why do brilliant ideas always turn out to be more work than I expect?

But still, it looks pretty cool, doesn’t it?


Nov 15, 2019

Fast or Slow, Which Way to Go?

You know, it’s too bad I’m deep in the heart of NaNoWriMo right now because I could have had a lot more fun with the homework for last week’s class than I did. We learned about aperture and shutter speed, and how to take “ghost” pictures as well as high speed pictures.

I was only able to produce a couple of high speed photos, but I had a LOT of fun with the ghosting. Ghosting happens when you’re using a long exposure, like 30 seconds, and the subject moves leaving behind a ghost image. I bribed talked the grandbaby into being my model for a ghost picture, and for a 4-year-old she’s very good at taking direction. The picture turned out pretty good, but it would have been so much better if I’d had the camera on a tripod to hold it steady. Maybe next time.

For this week’s picture I did use a tripod, which was actually sitting on my desk pointed at the corner where my reading chair is. I clicked the camera, hurried over to the chair, and perched on the edge for a few seconds to get the image. Not bad for a beginner, eh?


Nov 11, 2019

Mangonel Monday

mangonel ~ medieval war engine for throwing stones

It’s Remembrance Day here in the Great White North, and whether you have the day off or have to work at 11:00 a.m. you need to observe a moment of silence to honour those who have fallen in military conflicts.

I wrote this poem a few years ago, but I thought it was appropriate to share with you here today.



Always

I remember my grandfather.
He liked to draw
and when I was very small
he taught me the proper way
to draw a pine tree.
He served
with the St. John's Ambulance
as a driver
in World War I and II.
I will never forget.

I remember my uncle.
He like to read
Louis L'Amour
and to work with
anything mechanical.
He served
as a tail gunner
in a British Lancaster,
in World War II before
he became a POW.
I will never forget.

I remember my father.
He liked to work with his hands;
he loved power boats
and used to take me fishing
when I was a child.
He served
with the Canadian Armed Forces
as a Peace Keeper
in Egypt and Korea.
I will never forget.

I remember my brother-in-law.
He had a ready smile
and loved to play pranks.
He carved wood and leather;
he was an amazing artist.
He served
with the American Armed Forces
and fought in Korea.
I will never forget.

These men are my family.
I do not need
a single day
to remember them.
I will remember them
each and every day.
Always.

Nov 8, 2019

F-Stop the Madness!

So . . . we learned all about F-stops in class last week, and our photography homework was to take a series of outdoor pictures of three objects roughly 10 feet apart, with nothing changing in the shots except the F-stop setting.

Honestly, it was kind of boring. I had the idea of using pumpkins, but we didn't get a sunny day until after Halloween and by then there wasn't a pumpkin to be had. So then I tried using three different recycle bins, sitting them on the deck, but I didn't like the way the pictures turned out. Finally I settled on using three plastic adirondack chairs in the back yard.

The idea of the different shots was to show the blur of the background. The lower the F-stop, the more the background blurs. This is the shot using the lowest setting on my camera, F-5.6:



And this is the shot using the highest setting:



While the second picture wins for clarity, to be honest I couldn't see much difference in the pictures in between. Frankly, I found it a little disappointing.

Nov 4, 2019

Micronometer Monday

micronometer ~ instrument for measuring short periods of time



Everyone survive both Halloween and the time change? Although frankly, of the two, I find Halloween much easier to deal with, despite the weather.

I hate the time change, I don’t care which way the clock goes. I’ve heard a rumour though that there’s a movement to do away with the twice a year annoyance. It serves no real purpose and studies show it does more harm than good. I’m crossing my fingers that the legislation passes and turning the clocks becomes a thing of the past.

We had a very rainy All Hallow’s Eve, and I started out feeling bad for the trick-or-treaters but we ended up having more kids show up than ever before. A normal Halloween for us is no more than 10 kids, this year we had 30!

And because it was raining and I wasn’t expecting many kids, I was rather generous with the treats, which meant I had little in the way of leftovers to indulge in afterwards. But that’s what the November 1st candy sales are for. LOL

But it wasn’t just candy that was on sale, decorations were on sale too. The wind that followed the rain pretty much shredded my dollar store ghost that was hanging from the tree in the front yard, but for three dollars I replaced him with a skeleton dressed in rags whose eyes light up. I also got a set of eyes to have glowing from a window, and a witch that cackles wickedly. I’m all set for Halloween 2020.

My ghost wasn’t the only thing the wind shredded. Our next door neighbour lost the willow tree in their back yard. The thing pulled right up by its roots. This was not a small tree, but the damage it caused was minimal – a Halloween miracle. And it was also a miracle that the wind was coming from the west. Had it come from the east the tree would have fallen in the other direction and taken out our brand new fence.

November 1 means the beginning of NaNo – National Novel Writing Month – where I attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I’m only about 5,000 words behind so far. Am I worried? Not really. This is kind of a typical pattern with me. Fall behind, catch up, fall behind, catch up, panic write at the very end to win.

It also means that the blog posts this month might be a little sparse. ‘Cause, it’s NaNo time, and I’m already behind. :-)

Nov 1, 2019

The Egg and I

Our first homework assignment for the photography class was to take 6 creative pictures of a hard boiled egg on a black background. Not as easy as it sounds. I had a number of creative ideas, but I lack the technical expertise to pull most of the off. We weren't to use the automatic setting on our cameras, and that's pretty much the only setting I have any luck with.

I turned the flash off because I wanted to play with shadow and for the most part it worked. Mostly I shot in natural light. I had my egg, fresh from the pot, outside on a piece of black bristol board hoping to get the steam rising from it in the morning sun. Unfortunately, it wasn't cold enough to see any steam. LOL

I did get some other interesting shots though, some outside, some inside. I got creative and had the hubby hold the mosaic bowl from the dining room table up to reflect beads of light on the egg, but they didn't show well in the picture. Neither did light through a prism. But the egg shot through a curtain of smoke looks like it's suspended in mid air (the house still smells like the incense I used).

In all I took 135 pictures to get my creative six. And I got a high five from the instructor for breaking the rules for my last shot - I peeled and sliced my egg to keep from taking any more pictures.