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GVPL Emerging Local Authors Book Launch

Hi Folks:

In an era where some people are questioning the continuing relevance of libraries as a whole, the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL)’s answer to that question is a resounding Yes! To that end they’re expanding their connections to the community at large in several interesting ways.* Well, in what is sure to be hallmarked as The Social Event of the Season in Victoria, on the evening of April 10 we were led beyond the silk rope and behind closed doors to an exclusive, invitation-only event!
Continue reading “GVPL Emerging Local Authors Book Launch

Fashion Machine 2015

Hi Folks:

One of the (many) pleasures of living in Victoria for us is the incredibly broad range of activities available, sweeping across genres from natural to cultural. This is the first of three posts that (briefly) profile examples of what Victoria continually has on offer.

On March 28 and 29 the Royal BC Museum played host to The Makehouse and Theatre Skam in presentations of Fashion Machine 2015. The title itself doesn’t give much away, but if you’re imagining semi-organized mayhem involving talented children, the patient guidance of adults, brave volunteers, pins, needles, sewing machines and the ultimate sacrifice of clothing to fashion, you’d be pretty close! Continue reading “Fashion Machine 2015

Flash Exposure Compensation for Smart Phones

Hi Folks:

NB: There are a lot of different smart phones/ tablets on the market and a lot of different apps, and so depending on your hardware and software, this may or may not work for you.

When I was a boy we didn’t have radio signals for remote flash units and we didn’t have TTL (through the lens) automatic flash exposure compensation… we had manual flash, guide numbers and a lot of educated guessing. It seems to me it snowed a lot too, even in summer. Okay, never mind that. I do remember flash bulbs, flash strips for Polaroids and pocket cameras and flash cubes for Kodak X-15 cameras, but those days are pretty much behind us now. There’s no question that modern DSLRs and accessories can do amazing things in terms of lighting, but more and more people are using their cell phones to make pictures and more and more of those phones have a built-in flash unit.

Samsung Galaxy S4This is my Samsung Galaxy S4, in its ruggedized case (I tend to drop it more than would otherwise be healthy for it), and as you can see it has an LED light unit. Now, given that this is a phone and not a dedicated camera the flash unit is pretty powerful for what it is, but nothing compared to an electronic flash unit for an SLR. I tried taking my old phone apart to see where they’d hidden the hot shoe, but that didn’t work out too well. The phone’s flash works well enough for portrait work at distances up to a couple of metres, but since I don’t generally shoot images of people, I don’t often use the flash for that purpose. There is something else for which I do find the flash very useful, however, and that’s as fill lighting for close-up work – especially flowers.

My go-to app for most of my photography is Camera Awesome! from Smugmug, but you can use the following technique with Camera FV-5 and Camera 360 Ultimate for example.

Camera Awesome Flash Options

Camera Awesome Flash Options

Camera Awesome Exposure Compensation

Camera Awesome Exposure Compensation

In the image on the left above you can see the flash options, from auto, flash on, flash off and torch, which is a continuous light. I generally use torch because the lighting is shown on the screen and with a constant light I can see exactly what I’m getting. In the image on the right you can see the exposure options for the app. While one can’t directly control the light output of the flash, it is possible to adjust the overall exposure for the image.

-2EV

-2EV

-1EV

-1EV

0EV

0EV

+1EV

+1EV

+2EV

+2EV

Click on the flower images to see them larger.

Now, what settings you use depends on the brightness of the subject of course, but toning down the exposure can often prevent blown highlights. Using negative exposure compensation in combination with the fill light can sometimes yield a chiaroscuro effect, like this (further processing done in Lightroom):

Remembered Love

Remembered Love

Okay, that’s it. As I mentioned at the top, it may or may not work for you depending on the hardware and software you have, but it’s one more tool for your photographic toolbox.

Now go out and make some images!

Hugs,
M&M

Photo of the Month - March

Hi Folks: March was a pretty busy month for us, creatively, and in more ways than one! More details on that in an upcoming blog post. Between the two of us we made over 750 images in March. To some that’s not a lot, but to someone who still thinks in 36-exposure (and 12-exposure) rolls, it’s quite a bit. Mike’s Fuji camera died in February, so in the moment we’re both using our cell phone cameras and Marcia’s little Olympus point and shoot camera.

We selected two images for the photo of the month – one from each of us. On the left is an image of one of Victoria’s cherry trees in full bloom, made by Marcia. Our cherry and plum blossoms usually start in late January or early February, and there are still a few varieties in bloom now. It’s a wonderful treat every year. On the right is an abstract image of sorts made in nearby Beacon Hill Park. Mike captured this because it was the patterns of the leaves that caught his interest.

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms – photo by Marcia

Leaf Patterns

Leaf Patterns – photo by Mike

Okay, that’s it for March. Now go out and make some photographs!

Hugs,
M&M

Happy Pi Day!

Hi Folks:

For those in the know, today is Pi ( π) Day (3-14). Today however marks a Pi Day that comes by only once a century because we have 3-14-15 9:26:53! Twice in one day! How cool is that?

As with our previous Pi Day post, in a moment of non-rational thought we thought we’d post a recipe! A pie recipe, of course. This one marks a favourite of Mike’s dad – a French Canadian tradition called Sugar Pie (or Tarte au Sucre in French).

To make this pie you’ll need a pre-baked pie shell. If you need a good pastry recipe, see our previous post!

Without further ado:

Sugar Pie

Ingredients
1 baked pie shell
3 cups (750 ml) pure maple syrup
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (125 ml) demererra brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. (30 ml)  unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla extract

Reduce/thicken the maple syrup by ¼ to ⅓ by placing it in a pot on the stove and boiling it for about 10-15 minutes or so. Set it aside to let it cool before continuing. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).  Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl then add the maple syrup and combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and bake for about 35 minutes until it has risen slightly and is somewhat firm to touch. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.

NB: As the name implies, this pie is very sweet. You may wish to balance it with a nice dark roast coffee and/or some vanilla bean ice cream.

Enjoy!

Hugs,
M&M

Photo of the Month - Telling Stories

Hi Folks:

As a creative challenge our local photography group undertook the following:

“Make photos of a place where something has happened. Then, in one or two sentences, tell us what happened there (even if it only happened in your imagination).

Go to places and pay attention. What does it feel like there? How is the energy? What kind of thing may have happened in that place?

Take the photo, post it, and in the caption, write one or two sentences that tells the viewer what happened.”

The image below was one of ours. You can see the rest here.

Want Ad
WANTED: One Girl. Toddler-size. Must believe in fairies and love sparkles and dancing. Lackadaisical approach to footwear a bonus. Special consideration given to those with matching shoe. No experience required.

Okay, that’s it. Now go out and make some photographs!!

Hugs,
M&M

Who am I? / Who I am!

Who would you be without your story?

~Byron Katie

Hello Dear Ones!

Something has been on my mind and in my heart of late that I wanted, and needed, to get down in print.

The past several days I have been contemplating two issues:
1. Who am I without my stories?
2. Who I am without my stories. Continue reading “Who am I? / Who I am!

Happy National Flag Day, Canada!

Hi Folks:

Okay, I’ll admit it. I didn’t know Canada actually had a National Flag Day. A national holiday (Canada Day, July 1), naturally. A national flag, certainly. But no, I was unaware we had a National Flag Day. Turns out that not only is today our National Flag Day, but it’s also the 50th Anniversary of our flag. I remember the day the ‘new’ flag was first raised in our small town in southern Manitoba, and I was peripherally aware that there was some controversy over it… even then I wasn’t much attuned to news or politics.

Personally, I like our flag. Flags are interesting symbols; I remember a radio commentator once mentioning that in countries ruled by dictatorships one generally sees both large images of whoever is in power and large flags. There the flag represents control. In many countries, those lost in war are carried to their final resting places in flag-draped coffins. There flags represent sorrow, and loss. Burning a flag can be a symbol of freedom, defiance, or both. Canadians are not generally very overt flag wavers (except on Canada Day), but we are, I believe, as a body quietly proud of who we are and proud of the flag that serves as a symbol for our country to the rest of the world.

Happy National Flag Day, Canada! Here’s to the next 50 years, and more.

Hugs,
M&MCanada Flags

The Art of Giving

Hi Folks:

It’s been a while since we’ve done a post that attempts to jam several somewhat-related ideas into one piece so it must be time for another one! The title for this post was inspired by a rather erudite nine-year-old girl (Julia Wolfe), so we’ll start with her.
Continue reading “The Art of Giving

Soon to be History: A Collaboration

Hi Folks:

In the James Bay neighbourhood of Victoria, just behind the Legislative buildings, is a roughly six-acre site that is partly parking lot and partly occupied by a combination of heritage houses and unused/underutilized mid-century modern steel office buildings. On the southwest corner is the Michigan Street Community Garden, an icon in the community since 1999.

The landscape of this area, bordered by Menzies, Superior, Government and Michigan Streets will soon be changing dramatically with the beginning of the Capital Park Victoria project. Two of the heritage houses will remain on their existing sites, three others will be moved to new locations on site and the building containing the Queen’s Printer will remain. The rest will be replaced by a mix of business and residential units, courtyards and pedestrian walkways. The developers are seeking LEED Gold or better in all new construction, and hopefully the builders will do their best to reuse/recycle as much of the existing material as possible. Continue reading “Soon to be History: A Collaboration