It’s Our Birthday!

Botanical Beach

Botanical Beach (image by Marcia)

Hi Folks:

Well, it’s now been 10 (yes, ten!) years since our blog took its first breath, and we currently have 602 blog posts and 146 pages on our site. The posts cover poetry, photography, our hugging adventures (88 countries and counting!) and various other musings; our pages include some of our stories and free Adventures of Rainbow Mouse colouring pages to download and enjoy. We’ve shared some wonderful adventures with you through these and are looking forward to sharing more in the future! This blog is our gift to you, our readers, and we very much appreciate having you here with us.

Remember to hug someone you love today. Or a stranger. Or, preferably, both! 🙅‍♀️🙅‍♂️

M&M

P.S. The image above is a composite made from a sequence of 23 images Marcia made with her cell phone. Look for an upcoming blog post on image stacking in the (hopefully not too distant) future!

Happy Hallowe’en!!

Halloween YodaNever before have we seen a lighted, inflatable Yoda holding a Boo! bucket (at Bridgeman’s West Coast Eatery, in Port Renfrew, BC). Our lives are now complete. 🎃

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. In years past we’ve shared different pumpkin recipes for post-Hallowe’en enjoyment. We sadly don’t have any new recipes to add right now, but you can find our existing pumpkin-related posts here.

Levelling My Tripod

Hi There:

Since I bought the Sony α7R III one thing I’ve found is that I’ve had to focus more on my technique as a photographer as the images clearly demonstrate flaws like OOF elements, motion blur, etc. That means I’ve been doing more serious work with a tripod. The Sony has a built-in level in the EVF/LCD and that’s handy, but I can compose much faster if I can level the tripod first. My 35-year-old Cullman 2904 tripod came with a cold shoe, but I never had much use for it until now:

Cullman 2904 tripodUntil recently I’ve been roughly levelling the tripod base by eye but I bought a three-axis hot shoe bubble level that sits in the shoe perfectly:

hot shoe level on my tripodWith that I can very quickly level the base by adjusting the legs. It’s especially handy for making panoramas. I’ve seen some tripods that have a bubble level built in to the base but this works well for me. 🙂 If your tripod doesn’t have a mount, you might be able to add one by purchasing a cold shoe (like this one, for example: cold shoe mount) and adhering it with some epoxy putty. Make sure everything is level before the glue cures!

Hugs,
M&M

P. S. My bubble level is secured on three sides; I use an elastic band wrapped around the center column and over the level to hold it in place.

More Firsts…

Hi Folks:

This is our 10th year of hugging Victoria residents and tourists alike, and even though October’s weather has become a little drizzly, this has been our busiest year ever! We’ve had so many amazing moments during our hugging sessions – many already recorded in various posts, but we still have new ones all the time. Thought we should gather a few together and share them with you:

  1. Whenever a tour bus or one of Victoria’s Hop-On, Hop-Off buses go by, we make a point of waving to the drivers and the passengers. Many times they’ll wave back, but this summer a bus stopped for a red light while right in front of us. The next thing we knew, the door opened and a woman was coming down the stairs, exclaiming, “I want a hug!!” What could we do but oblige? 🙂 Fortunately we had time to rush over and share hugs before she returned to her seat and the light turned green again!
  2. We shared hugs with our first Chinese lion (at the end of the Dragon Boat races)
  3. In the past we once had a conga line of four pedi-cabs all stop in unison so we could share hugs with the drivers and passengers. Earlier this year we had a group of eight people on rental scooters pull over, share hugs with us and zoom off again!
  4. We shared hugs with our first Victoria Police Officer!
  5. We also shared hugs with two Military Police from CFB Esquimalt!
  6. We’ve shared many honks, smiles, waves and air hugs with people in vehicles, but we had one young woman (also stopped for a red light) climb halfway out of the passenger window and shout, “You two are so cute! If I wasn’t in a car I would hug you!”
  7. We share our space at the Homecoming Memorial with a variety of people on different occasions, but there are four others who are there consistently. Three of them are the sculpture of the naval officer coming home to his daughter (and her dog), Homecoming Memorial but over in the northwest corner of the memorial there’s another sculpture of Captain John Mason, sitting on one of the benches. It’s interesting that there are 11 benches spaced around the memorial, but more often than not someone will be sitting with old John rather than anyone else. Earlier this year, however, we watched a young girl having a prolonged and very heartfelt chat with John, and after she was done she leaned over and gave him a kiss on his bronze cheek! His blush was not imagined.
  8. We’ve been sharing hugs for 10 years. However for only 5 of those years have we kept track of  our Hugging Ambassadors home countries. In those 5 years we’ve shared hugs with people from (at least) 88 countries. Nine of those countries are new this year: Egypt, Jordan, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Slovakia, St. Lucia, Trinidad. We’ve also consistently shared hugs with people from 16 countries every year for the past five years: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, England, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Ukraine, US.
  9. At our last hugging session we had two boys on scooters zoom past us. The second one yelled out, “I want a hug but I don’t have time!” The woman standing beside us replied, “Eventually you’ll come to see that differently.”
  10. We have some repeat hugging folks, from locals who share hugs every time they see us, to those who hugged us on their visit last year, but we recently shared hugs with someone who hugged us 8 years ago!!

Okay, that’s it for now. Remember to hug someone you love today! Or a stranger. Or, preferably, both!

Hugs,
M&M

4:1 – Re-imagining the Frame

Hi Folks:

As photographers, one of the most important challenges for us it to continue to change how we see and to stretch our creativity. One of the ways to do that is to pick specific parameters and then to make a body of work that fits within those parameters. It might be to shoot only one subject, to shoot only in grayscale (B&W), to make an image every day… In the film days, most people’s relationships to photography revolved around a few aspect ratios: 2×3 (4×6), 4×5 (8×10), 5×7, etc. With some older cameras we also had 1:1 square prints, usually from 120, 127 or 620 film. With digital photography we’re not so limited, although some of the same rules apply when we get to printing. Movies (and now video) have always embraced wider frames, although there was no one standard aspect ratio. We have movies made in 1.78:1 (16×9) out to 2.4:1 (22×9) and beyond. Outside the movie theatre, for the average person 16:10/ 16:9 showed up in their lives with the first widescreen computer monitors and digital TVs.

When we updated the theme for our blog recently, our header images needed to be created at 4:1. As we covered in our recent post Cell Phones, HDR and Panoramas, in photography a panoramic image is one with a wide aspect ratio and a panorama refers to an image made from multiple, overlapping exposures. Not all panoramas are panoramic in aspect ratio. However, going through our catalogue of images looking for those that might be appropriate for header images brought me to question what might fit into that 4:1 frame. Panoramic images usually depict broad skylines, often shot with wide-angle lenses, like this:

Victoria's Inner Harbour

But looking through the images got me wondering what else might work. Maybe something closer, but still panoramic in nature, like this:

Dallas Road Shoreline

Closer still, perhaps?

Cathedral Grove Nurse Log

How close could I get and still make an image that fit the frame?

Dallas Road Shoreline

Dallas Road Storm

How about a single flower?”

Sunflower at the Gardens at HCP

Or a small patch of winter leaves?

Frost on Leaves - Butchart Gardens in February

Not every image works of course, but I’ve added another tool I can use to expand my vision. I still make panoramic images like this:

Frigon Islets, Port Alice, BC

But now I’m also likely to look at something like a hood ornament at a car show in a different light.

1929 Willys 3-Window Whippet

One never knows where it might lead! With what creative projects are you currently involved? Leave us a comment and let us know… 🙂

Okay, that’s it for now. Go out and make some photographs!!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. We now have 40+ images comprising our Headers collection. They’re set to load randomly, so you’ll have to keep checking different posts/pages to see them all! 🙂

Seeing Red(s)

Hi Folks:

Every three years, in July, Northwest Deuce Days comes rolling into Victoria. While it means different things to different people, to the public at large it mostly means a car show with a lot (this year over 1300 vehicles registered) of classic cars. Many of them are Ford 1932 Deuce Coupes, but there is literally a cavalcade of lovingly restored and/or modified vehicles here. Everything culminates with a car show that takes over much of downtown Victoria. If you like classic cars, this is vehicle heaven.

Continue Reading →

Free Hugs Poem

Hi Folks:

A wonderful gift from our friend Glennis. We are both awed and honoured!

Free Hugs
_________

Free hugs…
by the edge of the Harbour
on a Summery Sunday.
Open arms
that have
crossed oceans and continents.

Arms that…
have cradled infants,
fought wars,
prayed
and driven cars.

Arms that…
have held ice cream cones,
have stolen
and given
and written letters of love.

Arms that…
are strong,
tanned…
frail arms.

Arms that…
swim in warm lakes,
held books,
planted crops
and picked flowers.

Arms that…
have loved,
felt hate,
rested
and toiled.

Arms reaching out
for a free hug
by the edge of the Harbour.

Free hugs…
imprinted on the soul,
carried home
to
every corner of the world.

How beautiful.

Glennis Taylor, 2019

Hugs back!!
M&M

Cell Phones, HDR and Panoramas

Hi Folks:

This started out as an idea for a blog post, evolved into a one-hour presentation for our local camera group, and now I’ll try to compress that into a blog post. We’ll see how it goes.

There are several questions to begin with, the first of which is… why do this? The answer is to extend or expand the capabilities of your camera, no matter the camera. There are at least five different reasons that I know of to combine multiple exposures into one image. These are two of them. The second question is, why cell phones? This post doesn’t only involve cell phones, but cell phones are ubiquitous. Some people only make images with their phones, despite the technical challenges, but the bottom line is that it depends on how you’re planning to use your images.

Continue Reading →

Turnabout is Fair Play

Hi Folks:

When we were out hugging for CarFree YYJ, a young woman named Céline saw us standing there with our posters as she passed by. Last Saturday when we were out at our usual location by the Homecoming Memorial, we were lucky enough to run into her again, and she stopped to share a hug with us! And… she mentioned that she and her friend were going to be offering Free Hugs the next day!! How could we refuse such an offer? Of course, we couldn’t. And didn’t. 🙂

Linda, Marcia and Céline

We didn’t want to monopolize their time (or deprive others of their hugging opportunities) but we did have a couple of minutes to chat with them and their friend Alan. As with us they were originally uncertain, and, as with us, those feelings quickly gave way to a range of emotions: that people would thank them for what they were offering, that they would feel appreciation, joy, and love. We live in a society where something as simple as human touch is denied to so many. We did warn them, though – offering Free Hugs can become addictive!

Many thanks to Céline and Linda and Alan for sharing a little bit of their world with us, and for making our world a little better place.

Grouphug!!

M&M

It’s Tomorrow!!

Hi Folks:

As we’re sure you’re all aware, tomorrow is International Free Hugs Day! Grab your markers, find a piece of cardboard and go out and hug someone!! As for us, we’ll be at our usual spot at the Homecoming Memorial by Ship Point tomorrow afternoon at some point. If you’re in the neighbourhood, stop by for a hug!

Hugs,
M&M

10 Years of Hugging

10 Years of Hugging