archive for 'misc'
catching up on pictures i took but never posted 6 months ago.
i remember this being a horrible grey day with much too much walking.
in about a month our second baby is due. while i envy those women who are driven/able to keep working on their own stuff with a very small baby, i’m also very much aware that i’m not one of them. our experience last time (of a very unsettled baby) combined with my understanding of my own limitations tells me that i’m unlikely to be rocking the cradle with one foot while working the sewing machine with the other, or crocheting during feeds. actually the latter sounds more possible, but i think it’s unlikely that i’ll be together enough to be planning projects, yunno. and besides, i want to turn the focus onto being a full-on mum for a while at least.
i have 3 works in progress – one crochet, one knitted, and a quilt – at least 2 of which i hope to have finished before junior arrives, but otherwise i don’t expect to have much craft to show over the next few months. i will undoubtedly still be reading so will probably have links and ideas to post, but my guess is they’ll be sketchy and sporadic.
i do want to keep some kind of momentum going, though, as i’ve found the blog a really valuable motivating factor in pursuing a rewarding crafty side to my life. so i wondered whether a photo diary might be a good low-key project for me during my “break” (ha ).
i really enjoyed the colour week exercise and a single photo a day isn’t too onerous. it’s a good excuse to play with the polaroid (haven’t got my hands on it yet…) as well as the nikon, which i haven’t yet really come to grips with, although it’s turning out some nice pix for me. and while i won’t be posting baby pics as such (cos i feel i have no right to post pix of my kids in a public space until they can give informed consent) i’m sure junior will get his/her share of attention once the camera is out. everyone says you take fewer pics of your second (and subsequent…) so i figure this should level the playing field a little.
now i’m not promising to post a pic every day, but i will try to take one. i understand this totally changes the focus of the blog for the reader – and these days i appear to have quite a few, which alarms me more than it really should – but it’s totally consistent for me as this has always been my journal/notebook for whatever i was pursuing at the time, it just so happened that those interests overlapped in a semi-coherent way. but apologies to those who demand craft content, although i’m sure normal service will be resumed in – oooh – a year or so? perhaps sooner.
and maybe there’s one or two of you out there who are taking first/second steps in learning how to take better pictures who fancy coming along for the ride. (heh, what this post could really do with is a few pictures…)
i was very taken by an interview i heard earlier on the radio 4 arts programme front row with the scottish design team timorous beasties on the history of toile de jouy. they’ve produced modern toile fabrics and wallpapers in the original spirit of social documentary (as opposed to the more recent twee sentimentalism they pin firmly on the victorians). i also love the sound of the casino carpets they’re producing in vegas.
we did all of the work of breaking concrete, laying paving, mixing mortar and building walls ourselves. we had an optimistic plan of work that had us sipping g&ts on the patio on day 10
when we took out the previous plants, many of which were well established i wanted to replicate the shady corner down by the shed created by a large (unidentified) shrub. so we put in the (now rusted, natch) pergola, with a permanent seat underneath. this is such a wonderful place to be, now the mosaic of scented plants have grown over it. there’s room to put a table and chairs or spread out a blanket on the tiles, and it’s totally secluded and calm.
and i just have to mention maditi who i found through this challenge (flickr | blog). i’ve mentioned before my love for weird and wonderful cameras and film formats with their quirky characteristics and atmospheric colour casts. maditi, who works in a variety of formats, not least polaroid, just excels at exploiting this so perfectly. i don’t think i’ve seen a single one of her pictures i wouldn’t hang on my wall to keep looking at for years. happily you can buy signed prints, posters and postcards of her polaroids in her etsy shop.
and now i’m off to find out what the web has to say on the sx-70
where have my pictures gone?
it looks like a glitch with the gallery plugin – normal service will be resumed very soon i hope!
UPDATE: all better now
A change up at flickr broke our Falbum wordpress plugin – if you have a similar problem, see here for the (simple when you know how) fix — Dick
a little murky, but i only found out about colour week with the fading light.
this book is taking over my life, i swear.
so i thought long and hard and i figured that my chances of making it as a photographer were marginally less infinitessimal than my chances of making it as a musician. so i’m selling my guitar to pay for a new camera. i’m rather ahead of myself as the picture was taken with the new camera, but there’s the joy of interest free credit. perhaps for symmetry’s sake i should compose a song about the camera?
to be fair it was a pretty easy decision to make. i’m an averagely talented/interested amateur photographer when i put my mind to it. i am oh so very much a total guitar noob, even after a concerted stint of practicing for hours every night, doing the theory and everything. i was utterly obsessive about it when i got it, but i haven’t actually touched it now for over a year. i always thought i would pick it up again eventually and had no immediate need to liquidate the funds it represents.
but i use my camera most days, and once i’d got it into my head that a digital slr wasn’t totally out of reach financially any more i just couldn’t shake it. when i went to our local camera shop to have a play with the various options i’d researched they made me an offer i couldn’t refuse and i came home with my new toy.
i got the new nikon d40, here’s a few reasons why:
it was the lens that really decided it for me though. the one thing i wanted to ensure was that any new camera i bought at least matched, and preferably exceeded, the performance of my pentax k1000 manual film camera. that camera has always reliably turned out the most beautiful atmospheric shots for me, that i’ve never matched with anything else. the secret is the relatively fast prime (i.e.non-zoom) lens, that provided a natural angle of view (50mm), pretty good low light performance (cos you already know how much i don’t dig flash) and a beautifully shallow depth of field, which pretty much always makes a photo look better to my eyes.
here’s a nice article on 50mm lenses: the forgotten lens. of course it all gets more complicated when you move to digital, as most cameras (unless you get one the really expensive ones) have a sensor that is smaller than 35mm film and this affects the angle of view you get for a given focal length. essentially to get the equivalent angle of view to a 50mm for digital to actually need a lens around 30-35mm.
i really wanted something faster than my pentax at f/2 (these wide apertures simply aren’t available in zoom in my price range) but that makes everything bigger, heavier, and oh so much more expensive. i ruled out the competition for various reasons and ended up with a head to head on the canon 400d (or outgoing 350d) + the canon 35mm f/2 lens versus the d40 with the sigma 30mm f/1.4 (expensive body + cheaper lens vs cheaper body + more expensive lens, both combos absolutely maxing the budget). and my heart ruled my head. the canon set was smaller, lighter, higher spec, but with the lens wide open the shallow depth of field made every pic on the nikon/sigma speak to me (and this was pics of the inside of a camera shop ).
so far it’s working great. i really wanted to get available light shots in subdued indoor lighting at night, and it’s doing that for me. it’s wonderful having the (fast, quiet) autofocus attached to a decent lens – i’m getting candid shots of M that just weren’t possible before – if i wanted a quality pic i had to manually focus it (fully manual camera) and with shallow depths of field there’s not an awful lot of focussing leeway.
and as a final accessory (for the moment at least) i got myself a subscription to jpg magazine. i’ve had a great time browsing through the submitted photos and voting, it’s much more concentrated than flickr, people only seem to post their absolute best shots, and smaller so a bit more manageable. the current issue is available as a pdf download, and there’s a $10 coupon code off a subscription in the back.
we’ve got a brand new link on the left that i’m really excited about. it’s the equivalent of an lj friends page, only my clever fella made it especially for me out of stuff we found lying around on the internet*, isn’t he clever?
i don’t like huge long blogrolls (and i particularly hate that word), although i appreciate the desire to link back to people who inspire you. i just don’t find them particularly useful as a visitor. occasionally i will pick a random link from a sidebar to follow, perhaps a name i’ve seen in a couple of different places, but in general i don’t find them a good way of finding new blogs. i do like friends pages though – i love having the chance to browse through posts at random until i find one that interests me enough to check out the blog. browsing content rather than titles works for me.
so after much swearing and googling we’ve got a whole page devoted to my daily reads but it may need a bit of tweaking. i’ve set the options to display the 20 most recent posts from all the blogs i subscribe to (listed at right, apols for css alignment nightmare, is on the list), and i’ve chosen to display full posts rather than excerpts.
i would really appreciate some feedback on this – is the page taking too long to load? should i have fewer posts? would excerpts work better and do the same job of giving people a chance to browse and find fantastic blogs they may have missed?
*to be fair, it’s a wordpress plugin called friends rss aggregator, but it’s not the most straightforward thing in the world to install, and i’m a hard task mistress, so it doesn’t make him any less clever
until recently i’d always posted small size images like this…
… that link to a larger version in the gallery. then i changed to include larger sized images, like the ones on my recent posts. now i’m coming to rather like the text wrapping with smaller images (if i can get it under control a little) but i don’t think it works with the larger ones.
i like the fact that smaller images make the page faster to load, and i like the fact that it keeps the whole site looking cleaner. i like having a large number of posts on the front page rather than expecting people to dig around in the archives, and the smaller images help with that too.
on the other hand – does anyone really bother to click through on the smaller images? do they even know it’s possible? does it mean than most visitors don’t get a chance to see the larger sized versions and the site looks rather dull as a result?
i really can’t decide so i need opinions – big pictures or small?
(in case you’re considering the effect against the header image the current one is temporary – the new one will have a white background, so should feel a little cleaner and not overpower the post images so much)
upgrade seems to be done fine, i’m starting on the new look, but it’s going to be piecemeal – and live – so please bear with the half-dressed look in the mean time
update: i’m having major problems with the text wrapping – i don’t dislike it on the whole, but i’m finding it impossible to add a hard break where necessary. so pictures and text are aligning strangely at the moment, sorry. it’s pretty otherwise, though, don’t you think?
update: phew, patterns should all be fine again now. please let me know if you find any broken links or unexplained weirdnesses.
so it turns out that digi cameras do develop interference at higher isos which has a similar effect to film grain. given my fetish for natural light i’ve had my camera permanently set to 400 to enable shooting without a flash whenever possible. i just set it back to 50 as an experiment and my pics instantly look so much better.
it’s a pity the speed settings are squirreled away in a menu somewhere, as i’m not great at checking my settings at the best of times. my manual slr has a big label on the bottom saying “check film speed!” after one too many lost films from not doing so.
i’m trying not to think how much better sooo many of my pictures would have been had i realised this a bit sooner
i’m a paint snob, i admit it. i’m utterly smitten by farrow and ball. i just love the subtlety and complexity of their colours, i love the deeply matt finish, i adore painting with their eggshell gloss, the lime white is like double cream. mmm. i also love that they produce a colour card that’s painted with samples of the colours, seeing the actual colour rather than a printed approximation makes choosing so much easier.
i’ve decided that sugar bag light is my favourite colour in the world ever, bar none. it’s a wonderfully nuanced green-blue in artificial light, a clear grey-blue in strong daylight and everything in between. our bedroom’s been painted this colour for the last 5 years and i never tire of it, i can’t imagine i ever will.
i don’t normally blog cooking, but since it’s entirely the fault of another blogger (who shall remain nameless ) that i’ve been craving sweet stodgy things of late i thought i’d return the favour.
chelsea buns from sue lawrence’s book of baking (slightly over-browned in the oven but also made mostly from wholemeal flour). i didn’t read the recipe right through so didn’t realise they’d take 3 hours for the inital rising. so plans for tea yesterday had to be shelved and instead they went in the fridge overnight, ready to be baked thismorning.
so for the first time ever we had morning cake (or morning buns as M insists). does anyone – did anyone ever – really have cake every morning, like mickey? what luxury.
i have flashophobia. the first thing i do when i pick up my camera is check the flash is disabled. i love my all-manual slr in large part because it has no flash. no available light, no pictures for me. which is a bit silly, considering i live in not the sunniest part of the world and take a lot of my pictures indoors.
part of my plan for revamping the blog was to pay more attention to my pictures, take some time to think more about photography in general. and i’m sure that stepping (tentatively) into the world of artificial lighting is probably the biggest improvement i can make at the moment, particularly where the blog is concerned.