2019-07-31: July in Review

July’s topic of the month

I chose Babies in the Bush as my topic for July.  Elephants definitely topped the list for the most babies seen while traveling, and given they are my favourite, I was absolutely thrilled with that.  Wild animals have such a struggle to survive, and so many young animals healthy and thriving was one of the highlights of the trip.

What’s new this month

Other than taking a few pictures of my dog while he was playing in the yard, I’ve not had my camera out at all this month.  After spending most of May with it not more than a few feet from my side, it has felt strange to go back in the other direction again, and not be taking any images at all.  The search for a happy medium continues!

5 favourites of the month

 

Head on over to my gallery page for more of my favourite images.

What’s coming up next?

For August, I am going to focus on bird photography.  I got a lot of interesting captures while I was away, and perhaps I’ll even have a chance to get out locally and get some bird images before all of my summer birds start heading south again.

2019-06-30: June in Review

June’s topic of the month

June was topic free, as I worked to try and get back on track after holidays.  I’ve actually found that to be a little bit of a struggle, and still haven’t really found my routines again.

What’s new this month

June felt like it flew by, and I certainly didn’t accomplish as much as I would have liked with my photography.  But, the summer months are fleeting, and I am trying to spend as much time as possible outside, enjoying not needing to bundle up in three or four layers in the morning to take the dog for his walk.

I’m slowly working my way through my image catalogue from my travels, going through my process of starring the images I want to review further.  So far I am only halfway through my two star session, but I have taken a break from that on occasion to do a little bit of editing to share on the blog.

5 favourites of the month

What’s coming up next?

I was visiting with a friend a couple of days ago, and she was talking of her love of baby elephants and lion cubs.  So, a month dedicated to babies in the bush seems as good a topic as any 🙂

For those that are printing out the calendar pages; the links for July and August are below:

Full page calendar for July & August

Half fold calendar for July & August

 

 

Month in Review – April 2019

 

April’s topic of the month

April was topic free, as I was trying to work through my image backlog, and just post whatever I felt like at the moment.  And, I am happy to report that I met my goal of getting all of my image backlog edited before heading off on my next adventure.  I finished with less than 12 hours to go, so it was cutting it close, but I am happy to have a clean slate to return to when I get home.

What’s new this month

The snow has finally melted, the temperatures have started to warm up, and I even saw (but didn’t photograph) my first hummingbird of the year a couple of days ago.  I am looking forward to spending some time outside capturing the hummingbirds when I return home from holiday.

5 favourites of the month

What’s coming up next?

I’ll be traveling in South Africa in May, so my regular posts may be a bit sporadic at best.

For those that have been printing out my calendar pages each month, below are the links for May and June:

Full Page Calendar for May & June

Half fold calendar for May & June

2019-02-28: February in Review

I know it is a short month, but February sped by very, very quickly.  And very coldly as well, despite my picking the topic of warm to focus on for the month.  We still aren’t out of the cold, wintery weather up here, but I keep telling myself that it’ll happen any day now.

February’s topic of the month

I chose the topic of warm because looking at the near and long term forecast through February, I just couldn’t see myself getting out to shoot too often.  So instead I went through my unedited image archive and found images from warm places, and warm scenes that made my heart happy.  Perhaps not the most imaginative topic for the month, but at least it got me working through some of my archive.

What’s new this month

All work and no play has made this a pretty dull month!  Hopefully March will be a bit more interesting.

As promised back in January, my calendar pages for March and April are available if you would like to download them to use either in a freestanding calendar holder, or something like a clipboard wall calendar.  I’ll be posting the pages for May and June in the April Month in Review post.

Click here to download the March and April full page calendar

Click here to download the March and April half page calendar

5 favourites of the month

 

 

What’s coming up next?

For March, I have decided that my topic will be Signs of Spring.  I’m going to do my best with this one, and may need to use my creativity, especially since -28C is showing on the forecast for Saturday overnight.  Eeek!

2019-01-01: Happy New Year!

One of the projects that I undertake in December, for myself and a few family and friends is creating custom calendars; formatted both for hanging on a wall (I use a clipboard) or smaller sized to fit in freestanding wood blocks.

This year I’ve decided to share them on the blog, for anyone that would like to have one.

January and February for the half fold calendar is shown below.  They are sized for 11″ x 8 1/2″ paper; I use cardstock to print them.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 2.13.39 PM.png

There isn’t a particular theme to the calendars this year; just images that I enjoy looking at and that bring back memories of wonderful times traveling.  I hope that these will brighten up your wall or desk a little more than a freebie calendar from the bank 🙂

Click here to download the half-fold calendar for January and February

Click here to download the full page calendar for January and February

March and April will be included in my February Month in Review post.

Wishing everyone a fantastic year ahead.

 

2018-10-02: September in Review

My goodness did September ever slip by quickly!  Here we are at the start of October, the leaves are already bright yellow and littering the ground around my home, and soon the birch trees will be complete bare in preparation for winter.

September’s Topic of the month – Topaz Studio

September has definitely been another good month for editing for me!  I’ve really enjoyed diving into the Topaz Studio program and learning how to use it effectively.  I’m starting to determine where Topaz falls into my editing process, but I think that will become even clearer after exploring my topic of the month for October.

What’s new this month

It seems to be a usual comment for me the past couple of months, that I have not created as many opportunities to get out and shoot as I would like.  I have been getting my camera out a bit during my daily walks to try and capture some of the brilliant yellow autumn leaves before they are all blown away, but I’ve not had a chance to review and see if there is anything there worth editing and sharing.

5 favourites for September

What’s coming up next?

After two months of deep dives into different programs, I’ve decided that for October I am going to edit series of images, comparing the capabilities of On1 Photo Raw, Luminar and Topaz Studio.  I think as people contemplate adding new tools to their editing process, or making a change to the software they are using, it is helpful to see how different programs compare to each other, and some of the relative strengths and weaknesses.  I’m going to do my best to pick images with both some serious challenges (exposure issues, heavy noise, challenging environmental conditions) and ones that need relatively little editing at all.

2018-09-03: August in Review

August’s Topic of the Month – Editing with Luminar

I didn’t get out and take many images in August, but I feel like I learned something during my month focusing on editing in Luminar.  The obvious one is that I have learned how to work with a new software program, which is a skill that I am looking forward to honing further in the future.  But taking that step back from the routine of editing that I created when I moved from Lightroom to On1 has been very beneficial in helping me to slow down and really see an image.  To figure out what I really like about it, and how best to accentuate that.

Not having the familiarity with the functioning of a program, it takes longer to edit.  You need to search around a bit to find the tools that you need to create the look that you want.  I’ve needed to really slow down and think about what I am trying to achieve; perhaps an image needs the appearance of more sharpness or the colours are flat and not how I recall them to be.  From there I’ve needed to find the best tool available to me to make that happen.

It’s also been fun to play around with shots that weren’t necessarily keepers, just to see how well the program works.  It’s pretty easy to edit an image without issues; it’s being able to make good something that is interesting to me that was shot under less than favourable conditions, or with less than ideal camera settings.  Being out in nature, there are times when the light isn’t going to be where you would like it in relation to your subject, or the colour cast on an animal will have it look strange.  I want to be able to correct those, and a host of other situations, because great moments are always happening, and I’d rather have a shot than no shot.

So while I still have much to learn about the software, I now feel comfortable using it and I know what filters to turn to first to correct different issues.  There’s still lots to learn but I think my month of Luminar was a great success.

What’s New this Month

I’ve let a few things slide as I have been trying to use as much time away from work that I can enjoy what little summer we have had.  So right now, I don’t have any new items to show you on Vida and I haven’t posted anything new to the galleries this month.  But, if you haven’t checked either out before, there will be something new for you to see.  So feel free to pop over to the gallery and check out some of my favourite images (to date), send someone a free e-card, or maybe buy yourself something beautiful to decorate your walls.  If you’ve not checked out my Vida page before, on that site you can find textiles featuring some of my images; there are tops and wraps, bags and pillows, and scarves to keep your neck cozy as the cooler weather approaches.

Five Favourites for August

What’s Coming up Next?

For September, I am going to take a dive into the Topaz Studio program.  I’ve managed to use the program a couple times, but I don’t find the interface intuitive at the moment, and haven’t been able to make it do what I’d like to do just by playing around with the program.  Topaz has so many different programs that are part of Studio, such as impression, which I love to use for my artistic impression images, so I am looking forward to creating some interesting images to share.

And with that, it’s time to bundle up and take the dog out for a walk.  Because right now, it feels like Mother Nature has turned the switch on summer to off.

Have a great day everyone!

2018-08-01: July in Review

July’s Topic of the Month – Freestyle!

I was finding it difficult to commit to a topic for the month, so I decide to skip July and just post whatever I felt like on Sunday.  Thankfully Mother Nature really worked with me one week with a great bear sighting as well as a doe and fawn, giving me new images to edit and share.

I tried heading back to see if I could capture a mountain bluebird image this year, but after a bit of a heat wave here in Prince George, the bluebirds and swallows were all gone from the nesting site.  There’s always next year!  Sadly the heat wave also spoiled the plans of the nesting robin; she abandoned the nest about a week ago; I guess they know when the eggs are not viable.

 

What’s new this month

I recently discovered that you can send free e-cards through my gallery.  That’s completely free, no strings attached.  So if you see an image you like and you’d like to share it with someone, check out the feature.

Simply head over to the gallery, click on an image, and look for the E-Card option on the top right corner.

 

Five favourites from this month

 

What’s coming up next?

The topic I have decided to work on for August is exploring editing with Skylum Luminar.  I bought the program a couple of months ago and haven’t really used it in depth, so this will be a chance to do some research on how to work with the system.  I’ll share the resources I use in case there are other Luminar users out there also looking for some tips and tricks, and share the images that I work on each week.  I plan to do this one month with Topaz Studio as well, as I never used the Topaz Suite to the full potential, and the move to studio has left me even less confident.

2018-05-31: May in Review

May’s Topic of the Month – Painterly Effects

The photo project for the month was painterly effects, and I really enjoyed getting to play around with impressionist and watercolour effects to some of my images.  I think my favourite was my post from May 27th that showcased elephants.

What’s new this month

Photographically I had a few things going on in May.  I finally invested in the Fuji 100-400mm (and a 1.4x teleconverter) and I am really looking forward to getting out and getting the feel for a new lens.  I’ve really been lacking in the actual photo taking the last few months, concentrating more on editing what I have already shot, and that is a trend I definitely want to change.

I also said goodbye to my Adobe Creative Cloud membership this month.  I moved away from Lightroom some time ago, and wasn’t using Photoshop enough to justify the monthly expense.  I use On1 Photo Raw as my main editing suite, and also have Skylum Luminar and the Topaz Suite.  It is interesting to play around with new combinations of software; my editing may take longer in some cases, but I am thinking about things a lot more and how I want to create my image.

Five favourites from this month

What’s coming up next?

For June I have decided to concentrate on bird photography.  Our weather has warmed up and we have some summertime visitors, plus I have the new lens I want to work with.  I am really looking forward to getting out and capturing some bird images to share.  I’m not looking forward to battling the mosquitos, but that’s just part of life in Prince George in the spring and summer.

 

 

2018-04-30: April in Review

 

April’s topic of the month – Wide Angles Only

I would say that this topic was a failure, at least for getting out and shooting more.  I should have known better than to set myself a target that required getting out and shooting when winter still hadn’t released it’s grip, and being outside was of no real interest to me.  There were some silver linings though, in that I finally got around to reviewing and editing video from my trip to East Africa.  That was a lot of fun and I don’t know if I would have done that otherwise.  I was digging deep to find anything that remotely fit with my topic.

What’s new this month

I’ve been working on some new designs in my Vida shop.  Here is one of the new items I have added in the past month.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 9.24.23 AM.png

 

I’ve also added a few new images to my gallery pages.  If you haven’t checked them out, please do and let me know what you think.  Like anything, it is a work in progress.

Five favourites from this month

Despite feeling like my Wide Angles project was not a success, two of the images I shot are in my favourites for the month.  I’m sure if I looked at these images yesterday, or tomorrow, the choices would be different, but these were the ones that caught m eye.

What’s coming up next?

I haven’t decided yet on my topic of the month for May, so check in Sunday and find out what I’m going to go with.  Looking through my list, painterly effects caught my eye, but I almost feel like I should be saving a more computer based topic for when the weather turns cold again in the fall.  We shall see 🙂