Happy Holidays!!

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Festivus, Solstice or Saturnalia, the arrival of Sinterklaas or Grandfather Frost, Hanukkah, Mawlid Un Nabi, Yalda, Pancha Ganapati, Bodhi Day, Kwanzaa or something entirely personal, we send you love. Create an amazing 2020!!

Hugs,
M&M

2020 Photo Calendars

Hi Folks:

This is the tenth year now that we’ve made our MS Word photo calendar templates available, and as with the past several years, we’ve also created a series of templates and calendar images you can use with Lightroom or other graphics software. As we’ve done before we’ve also added a full-page calendar option, below. 

I created a template in MS Word that allows people who don’t have Photoshop, Lightroom or the equivalent to make their own photo calendars, so we’ll cover that first; the Lightroom stuff is below that. I used MS Word 2016 to make the template and saved it as a .docx file. Basically it’s a series of tables, one for each month, that look something like this:

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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: Continue Reading →

4:1 – Re-imagining the Frame

Hi Folks:

As photographers, one of the most important challenges for us is 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. Continue Reading →

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.

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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.

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