Tag Archives: Photography

Still In the Garden

This is yet another scene from Korakuen gardens. It is meant to recreate the rice paddies (the green you see are iris leaves!).  I like the shot because of the flow of the wisteria over the bent lines of the “rice paddies”.  That and the pale lavendar colour over the bright vivid green. No photoshopping necessary when you take time with the shot!



Stream crossing


I like this photo….just because.  In some cases, photos are enjoyable or noteceable because of what their subject matter. Personally, I couldn’t get the best angle I wanted to, but I did get the sun dappling over these large, lovely smooth boulders which were the stepping stones over the shallow stream in the park. I thought the use of the stones gave the stream a wonderful fairy tale setting!

Kyoto – Nishiki Food Market 2 Ways

I luuuuuvvvvv markets. I’ve been to markets on at least 4 continents and when I was in Kyoto and heard they had a FOOD market, it was a must see destination for me. These two photos show two different aspects of markets. The first is the gorgeous eye candy displays. Displays like these are wonderful for photography not to mention the foodie inside me. However, I have come over the years to be brave enough to photograph the scene in the second photograph – the action that brings the market to life.  While the barrels form a pleasing composition – slightly at an angle leading your eye towards the bottom left – and add lovely texture with the dark wood and the rope wrap; the interaction of the vendor and buyer capture a moment that encapsulates what markets mean!



A Travel blog hidden as a Camera review

The nice thing about a camera that you can lose in most women’s purses is that you can carry it everywhere! Not only did I go snorkelling with it, I just went photo happy.

The zoom is really quite serviceable for a pocket camera. 5x zoom gets you just that bit closer.

Far away

The zoom is not bad for such a small camera

The zoom is not bad for such a small camera


However, I don’t JUST take photos of animals.  Tried some photography in more of a dusk setting:

A hibiscus of a different colour

And then went really macro, but this colour was so technicolour that I’m not sure if the camera could handle it:

Technicolour hibiscus


And also tried it out on landscapes. Colour rendering is good here in mixed light and the bright sunshine of the beach without being contrasty. (Does it sound like I know what I’m doing when I use words like “contrasty”?)

Buildings at an abandoned sheep shearing station

Buildings at an abandoned sheep shearing station

Bright, sunshiny day


Lastly, one of the only “action” shots I took in Hawaii and it held up pretty decently:

Along with the butt shots of animals, the requisite "photo from a moving car"

Along with the butt shots of animals, the requisite “photo from a moving car”


So, in conclusion, the Sony DSC-TX30 is a very versatile camera for a wide range of shots.  A lot of what I took is certainly suitable to frame and put on your wall, to gain some “oohs” and “aahs” as a computer wallpaper and to vividly bring your vacation back to life!




Adventures with my new camera (2)

So the true test of my sony DSC-TX30 was to stick it underwater (that is, after all, the second main reason I bought it!).  Took it to Hawaii and went out into the ocean with it and promptly forgot how to turn off the touch screen! Because it is a touch screen, it becomes a little difficult to change the settings when your fingers are wet. The screen is definitely not as responsive with wet fingers and when you want to take a photo underwater one minute and then above water the next, well…..Just leave it on underwater setting and live with it – it’s not bad.

Okaaay, underwater – here are things you need to know. It doesn’t matter about the screen – it’s not like you can see anything in it. This was a true “point and shoot” exercise. Between my snorkelling mask, refraction of the bright (bright!!!) sunshine and less than pristine water and composition went out the window. LUCKILY, the fish didn’t move AS fast as you think.

In this first photo, you can see how cloudy the water is especially close to the surface, yet the camera was still good enough to pick up the fish.

Even in cloudy water


Just to be sure, took some shots of the bottom to make sure the camera was working.

The bottom of the sea


And in the very shallow water (as I was being pushed around by all the waves), you get a decent vacation shot.

Really hoped the fish was in that general direction

Really hoped the fish was in that general direction


Really pleased in quieter waters that it also picked up paler fish



Anonymous White Fish


And lastly, setting it to the underwater mode, and taking the photo in bright sunshine above the water, you still get a reminder of your exotic holiday.

Just as good above water

Just as good above water


Adventures with my new camera (1)

I bought a new camera! I love my huge SLRs, but I wanted one that I could slip into my pocket and not worry about it at the barn or when I go snorkeling. So I bought the sony DSC-TX30 in blue!!! (check out specs here) I haven’t had a chance to test it at the beach, but I did take it to the barn, where, as the cats were about to lick it and I pulled it back in horror, someone reminded it was waterproof and really, if Carson wanted to lick it, it would be allright (something to consider).  So, this time around, I wanted to test the “pet mode”.  As you can see, it works pretty darn well even on my horse who is technically “livestock”, not “pets”. All photos below were taken without flash. The first one was taken under fluorescent lights and the rest outside.

The camera has a good macro mode, but it doesn’t work that well with furry things that move. Carson was just waking up as a prelude to licking the camera.

Carson before he wakes up


Simon on the other hand, was nice and still except for the yawn and a moderately close range, the camera does produce nice results. Simon was in the shade and I still got a nice colour on his fur.

Simon Close Up


Larry on the other hand is “livestock” not “pet”, but the camera doesn’t care.  In the full sun with quite a breeze blowing, it renders the blues, greens and browns nicely while still compensating for the movement of horse and my hand.

Larry's Ears

On a pretty good close up/zoom, it handled BT’s ever moving body and total furriness.  It still captures his buff colour as well as really green grass.

BT in the Grass

On moderate close up (why do animals always want to come towards the camera????), it does do well even if Simon’s head comes out as a bobble head.

Simon Really Close Up

My Wallpaper is my Mood Ring

Ever have “one of those days” at work? yup, c’mon, raise your hand, you know you do! A day when you really, really, really want to tell that annoying person where to go? Except that there are laws against that?  Or one of those days that you just can’t seem to do anything right, but it’s only 9am and you can’t go home yet?  In either case, to save me a trip to human resources, I change my computer wallpaper. One of my colleagues knows me so well, that he looks at my wallpaper to judge my mode.  If it’s a photo of zebras kicking another zebra in the face, he laughs and treads lightly. If it’s a landscape photo, all is probably good (unless it’s volcanoes). Once I think I had a lion kill photo (thank you National Geographic photography) and he just sat very quietly at his computer so he wouldn’t attract my attention. If someone is being a real idiot, it’s the penguin butt photo (from Guardian’s week in wildlife – and it was actually a frontal shot).

And when it’s a really bad day and it’s noone’s fault but the universe, I’m in need of a little cute and fuzzy. That’s when I discovered this blog about the cutest kitten in the world. Not only is she adorable (everyone in the office went “awwwww”), the photography is really nice too – crisp and clean.

However, once in awhile, everything is right in the world and I can put up some photos that sooth the soul and inspire. That’s how I found this blog on fine art dog photos and eventually, this photographer. I had the Puli (rasta dog!!!) on my computer for days! (really long time for me) because I love motion shots and this dog was great (still trying to find out how they did that one).  And then had the dog (schnauzer or poodle?) clipped like a skeleton up there for awhile too.  And for those of you who are about to complain that it was a cruel thing to do to a dog or that animals are beautiful in their natural state has never been in a barn to contemplate how to clip the hair on a horse’s butt so there is a little heart in it (just set the clippers a little longer or shorter). (p.s. “clipping” = shaving with an industrial size men’s clippers).

I love Tim Flach’s photos of equines and plan on trying some of them as soon as winter is over!!!!

How to take amazing photos in your backyard part 1

Have an ice storm.  Any sort of weather event like that brightens up a photographer’s day! In my case, it really was an ice storm and conditions on the day after were perfect for venturing out.  It was short but intense precipitation and then cold enough so everything stayed the same, yet you weren’t in danger of frostbite and could safely take your camera out.

The obvious photos are those of the damage and I did take a couple of those:


Damage with ice

But I really wanted to capture the ice glistening in the sunshine. However, it was soooo much ice that some pictures turned into collages rather than landscapes!






So, then I concentrated on isolating bits that would show the ice:

Purity of just ice

Purity of just ice


And I found a couple of places for nice landscapes:

2013-024_054 2013-024_054


Ice as the frame

But I was extra lucky that I could walk down into this little valley behind the barn and snapped these babies up:


Not just the natural land


A more traditional view

Pathway up

Pathway up

The fence makes a statement

The fence makes a statement


Don’t forget to change your point of view – even if the ice is cracking under you and you’re not sure how old those coyote prints you just saw are

Different point of view

Different point of view

Frozen winding creek landscape

Frozen winding creek landscape

Frozen winding creek portrait

Frozen winding creek portrait

Frozen hay field

Frozen hay field

Add some interest to the photo with something other than trees!

Add some interest to the photo with something other than trees!

Just because they are so cute

Larry is one of the cutest horses in the barn, but this is the most interesting shot when he’s in his stall and that’s not saying much!

I already posted about the barn kittens (see post here), so really this post is a review about better photography techniques for small, fast moving, furry creatures – at least that’s what I keep telling myself. The truth is, cats are often more photogenic than horses in a stall. There’s not much to a horse in a stall – they eat, they poop and sometimes they stick their heads out – more on that another time.

Bear’s (relatively) big head. There is no good angle for Bear. In the 10 years I’ve been photographing him, I still haven’t found it!

Cats, however, they play, they hunt, they don’t trample you when getting really close with a camera….so many more advantages! It doesn’t mean that you can just snap away and expect to come up with a good shot. And it doesn’t mean that every cat fits the bill. Take Claws (aka Bear) for example. He is the “it” cat. He’s at least 12 or 13 years old (ancient for a barn cat) and everyone does what he wants – he’s so cool, it’s hot. But he’s a horrible subject. He holds his head down all the time and it’s a little too large for his body so all his pictures come out looking kind of …. odd. (Sorry, Bear, you’re still my fave).

However, both Ally and Carson were cooperating with me on this day and they thought that hanging (literally) around was fun to do; allowing me to get under them to get these shots. Ally just sort of hung there on the fence doing her best impression of a kitchen towel drying….with fur. Carson found his tail and succeeded in catching in (well done, Carson!)

Ally doing her best dishrag impression

Carson’s tail is his fuzziest part so you may have to look closely to tell the difference between his paws and his tail.

The combination of their antics and the frequent pauses to look at something helped me get these shots. They are still kittens (almost 1 now) so they still move pretty fast. And unless you’re in full daytime sunlight or the equivalent indoors, getting the shot can be tricky. The shot taken indoors under fluorescent lights is not my finest moment but it would have been so cute. The shot outdoors is better as it allowed me to get Carson’s head in focus even if his paw descending rapidly on his sister’s head was too speedy for the twilight shot.

If I had gotten Simon’s head in focus it would be ok, but really, I had no idea he was so industrious in his cleaning. Maybe Carson really needed a bath?

Brotherly love

However, all good things come to an end and I just got this last action shot before the cats went off for their evening hunt.

Velvet Brown Horse

Continuing on with resurrecting my old portfolio, here’s a favourite of mine. Another friend’s horse who looks so beautiful and velvety in this shot.