Photo of the Month – Spring Flowers

Hi Folks:

At the end of every month I create a post with my favourite image of those I’ve taken in the past month.  However, since this site belongs to both Marcia and me, this month I’m going to break with tradition and post one of Marcia’s images instead.   For some strange reason she doesn’t have the same fascination with shutter speeds, f/stops and depth of field tables that I do, but she has a good eye.  This image was made yesterday, using Marcia’s new cell phone camera, while we were walking around the Rockland district of Victoria.  I admit I did push it around in Lightroom a little bit, but she nailed the lighting and composition to start with and all I did was accent it.  It’s an image of a group of hellebores, or ‘winter roses’ as they’re sometimes called.  These were growing in one of the gardens on the Lieutenant Governor’s grounds.

Winter Roses

Spring flowers.  January.  I’ll get used to it eventually…

Now go out and make some photographs!

Mike.

Photographing Moving Water – Revisited

Hi Folks:

Last month I did a blog post on a technique I’ve been playing with for ‘Photographing Moving Water‘.  I’m not going to reiterate that technique here so if you’d like to read that other post first, I’ll wait…

…welcome back!

Now, I’ve used this idea on several photos and it generally works pretty well, but I’d only used it on wave action down at the shore of the ocean.  I’d been wondering how well it would work on a stream, waterfall or other moving water, so I went out yesterday to make some more images.  This is my second ‘winter’ here on the island and I’m still not quite used to the idea of using ‘January’ and ‘spring’ in the same sentence, but the skunk cabbage leaves were already starting to unfurl when I was out…  Anyway, I digress. Continue Reading →

Being Green: Green Consumers

Hi Folks:

Friday once again, and time for this week’s ‘Being Green‘ post.  The title for this post was inspired by a couple of articles I read this week.  The first was, “It’s not easy being a green consumer“, and it begins with:

Green consumerism has the ring of being an oxymoron, but we all need to consume to live. One could go crazy trying to be totally consistent (even Gandhi realized that). Buying less and local are good starts. Combining that with some research and exercising common sense could go a long way, it seems, towards making us all more responsible consumers. (GW)

Continue Reading →

Making Rounded Corners in Lightroom

Hi Folks:

This has been covered on other photography sites, but since it popped up on Twitter again yesterday I thought I’d do a short post on it.  The question is, “Can I add rounded corners to an image in Lightroom?  The answer is yes, and it’s pretty easy to do, using the Post-Crop Vignetting Tool in the Develop module.  That tool is in the right panel near the bottom and is mostly used to add a vignette for creative effect or to remove the vignetting sometimes caused by wide-angle lenses.  To create an image with rounded corners, use the following settings:

Amount: +/-100 – depending on whether you want a white border or a black border.
Midpoint: Start at around 25 and adjust from there.
Roundness: -100
Feather: 0

Rounded Corners

That’s it!  You can play with the numbers a bit, but once you’ve set them you can also create a Develop preset using the ‘Uncheck All’ then selecting only the ‘Post-Crop Vignetting’ checkbox.  Here, you can even use this one: Rounded Corners preset.

Now go out and make some photographs!

Mike.

P.S. You can find more of our posts on photography and Lightroom tutorials here, and you can find links to over 200 other sites that have Lightroom tips, tutorials and videos here.

Why Use HDR?

Hi Folks:

I was at an informal gathering of photographers recently where we were sharing and discussing our work.  I displayed a sunset image that I had made (this one)

Seeing the Light

Continue Reading →

Being Green – Celebrating Abundance

Hi Folks:

Friday once again, and time for this week’s ‘Being Green‘ post.  I usually decide on a weekly topic based on something I pick up during the week past, and for this week’s post I had a few ideas… all of which evaporated when I received a note from a fellow forum user this morning (thanks, D.!)  He pointed me to a Youtube video of William McDonough giving the opening keynote address for “Global Forum 2009: Business as an Agent of World Benefit“.  The video is a little over an hour and I haven’t listened to it all yet, but I will.  I really like the reference near the beginning of the talk to the green roof on the Ford plant instead of asphalt (‘ass fault’, as two words denoting blame).  I’ve been a fan of William McDonough and his work for a number of years now, both in the work of his architectural firm and from his founding partnership with MBDC, the people behind the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ certification.  In his opening for the TED talk he did in 2005 he lamented how a ‘rubber duck’ sold in the state of California needs to carry what amounts to a biohazard label.  There’s just no reason for that. Continue Reading →

Being Free…

Hi Folks:

Just a quick thought…

In his book “Illusions: The Adventures of a Relucant Messiah“, Richard Bach wrote:

“In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.”

It’s a very good book, BTW.  Anyway, it’s his quote and I’m not going to change it, but it seems to me that ‘boredom’ doesn’t always look like boredom.  Sometimes it comes dressed in different clothes, like adversity, pain, loss, poverty, illness, depression or loneliness…

So, rather than providing my answers to this question (although I probably have, somewhere in the ‘Mike’s Writings‘ section of our blog), I thought I’d ask you instead.  Do you want to live free and happily?  In order to do so, what must you sacrifice?  As Bashar would ask, “Are you willing to believe it’s that easy?” (not “Do you believe it’s that easy?” but “Are you willing to believe it’s that easy?“)

Those who guide me once said, “The only thing we’ve ever asked you to change is your perspective.

Love,
Mike.

Cell Phone Cameras

Hi Folks:

One of the gifts Mrs. Claus gave me for Christmas was a Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant GT-i9000M Android-enabled cell phone.  The name is actually longer than the phone itself; I’m not sure who comes up with this stuff!  The GPS feature combined with Google Maps makes navigating the sleigh a lot simpler, but that’s another story.  The phone also has a 5MP digital camera, and that’s the topic for today’s blog post.  BTW, I checked the Apple Canada site and the iPhone 4 also has a 5MP camera, so I’m assuming they’re in the same ball park as far as comparisons go.

The reasons for this post are two-fold.  For one, up until now I’ve never really had the chance to experience making photographs with a cell phone camera.  For the second, there have been a couple of posts on Mike Johnston’s ‘The Online Photographer‘ blog recently that say that the sales of ‘point and shoot’ cameras have been steadily falling.  His suggestion is that point and shoot cameras are single-use devices while cell phones with cameras are multifunctional… so more people are simply using their cell phone cameras rather than purchasing a separate camera as well. Continue Reading →

Being Green in 2011

Hi Folks:

Friday once again, and time for this week’s ‘Being Green‘ post.  In the links below you’ll find several posts from people talking about the best ‘green’ topics of 2010 and predictions for the green future of 2011, so I won’t repeat them all here.  I will say that 2010 brought a number of wonderful new technologies and ideas, several insightful conferences, and is further proof that we as humans have the capacity to make our world better.  As to what 2011 will bring?  Personally I’m going to adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude, but I am looking forward with anticipation to more new ideas, new technologies and new projects that will bring us, both individually and collectively into a ‘greener’ future!  This being my first ‘Being Green’ post of 2011, I should probably reiterate what you can expect to find on this section of our blog.  On Fridays (almost always!) I write a short post on a topic related to green living in some capacity – this started out as a section devoted to green building specifically, but has expanded to include issues of sustainability in a larger context, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and other topics related to living in harmony with this little blue marble of ours.  For the most part I write about solutions rather than problems, and I tend to focus on positive innovations rather than negative news as the latter is well covered elsewhere.  I don’t generally profile specific products or services unless I think they’re really innovative, but there are few hard and fast rules here!  I also add a list of links to other sites of interest that I’ve come across in the previous week.  Most of these come from links I’ve encountered through Twitter, and some come from e-newsletters I receive.  I trust you will find some benefit in what you read here, and invite you to leave a comment on anything ‘green’ you’ve encountered, sites you think others would like to know about, etc. Continue Reading →