Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Cats on Tuesday...

Quite an eventful week for the cats.  Cath and Helen came to lunch which ruined Charlie's day and didn't do much for Pepper either.  Both are martyrs to their nerves.  Mrs P took it in her stride of course and Posky lapped up the worship from more adoring females.  I then discovered that PETA had also used Mrs P's photo for Feline Friday too!  Despite this moment of fame she did blot her copy-book somewhat this morning by asking for seconds at breakfast and then throwing up in the hall.  Hey ho...  

As Pepper and Posky featured in Cats on Tuesday last week it seemed only fair that I featured the other miscreants this week.

Here's Charlie doing his...
'I've thought of a plan so cunning you could
stick a tail on it and call it a weasel' look.

Mrs P and Charlie ignore each other...25/366
This is just unheard of!
Not a brilliant shot but an even of such rarity
deserves to be recorded.
This was Charlie trying to menace Mrs P off
'her' blanket.  Mrs P is obviously made
of sterner stuff, and Charlie caved in first and got down,
at which point Mrs P moved to the middle of the blanket and
spread out so he couldn't get back up!

Mrs P with the new lens... 24/366
... and this is her looking triumphant
about the whole thing...
'We shall fight them on the cat blanket...'

The first and last shots were taken with the new 50mm f/1.8 lens - I am positively swooning over the lovely depth of field...

For other kitty news visit Gattina's Cats on Tuesday.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday...

Again it's been a busy, busy week... quite a lot of ups and downs in it too.  We had an offer to buy our house (hurrah!), but it was too low (boo!), so we said no.  I finished editing the photos from the shoot with Ace, and it has made me even more in awe of Lightroom - wonderful software!  I also got to try out my new 50mm f/1.8 lens which I love - it is so sharp, and I love the DoF it gives.  Now I just need an idiot's guide to my MAC and I might be back up to speed with the technology that surrounds me :O)

Coffee time...
Cath drinking again...

Cath and Ace
... and another for this prompt as this one makes me smile :O)

Path through the trees
Stand Alone...
Not so much standing as
walking alone really...

David with book
... and yet another! 
Honestly, you wait all week for one
Scavenger Hunt shot and then 
four come along all at once...
This is David standing alone in his own
world (it's a photography book)...

Something old...

What is artificial, and what is real?
Profound or what??!?

Iron gate
Repeating Pattern...
Iron gate leading into
Holy Trinity Church, Stratford upon Avon,
(the present building was begun in 1210 although there
was probably a wooden church there before that.
  Some local author is buried there too...)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Cats on Tuesday... Let's hear it for the boy :O)

Last Friday Posky had his official birthday - we don't know his actual birthday so we count the day we brought him home from the RSPCA as a day of celebration instead.  It was 16 years ago - can you believe it???  That probably means he's about 17 years old as he wasn't a small kitten when we got him - but age has not withered him, nor custom staled his infinite variety,  he's just as gorgeous as he was then if a little slower at getting around. (And if anyone can say what Shakespeare play that almost quote is from they can have a gold star and/or a virtual tin of tuna for any literary felines reading this).

As a bonus on his birthday, PETA chose Posky's picture to be featured on their Facebook page for their 'Feline Friday' slot.  So three cheers for Earl Grey!

David and Posky  18/366
Posky takes advantage of special treatment on his birthday
and uses empty human head as pillow.

Posky in the sun on New Year's Day

 'My main accomplishments are
 being beautiful and famous, yet remaining modest...'

Pepper upside down
Because she can't stand being left out
of anything, Pepper wanted to make
a special guest appearance upside down
to say happy birthday to her bro'...

Visit Gattina's Cats on Tuesday to see what other blogging felines are up to...

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday...

Needless to say my being organised didn't last long - the best laid plans etc etc etc.  I did manage something for all of the prompts even if one was from the archives. 

Photo-editing wise, well I managed to download trial versions of Elements 10 and Lightroom 3 so have a few more toys to play with this week :O)

View from the office window... 9/366

The view from the building where I work - 
it doesn't look as good as this in daylight :O)
This is the archive shot.
I'm at work when the sun sets at the moment
and only managed this the week before last by sticking my camera through some bars,
then through a blind, then standing on one leg to see the sunset
and hoping I was focussing somewhere near it.
I couldn't face doing it again.

Ace 20/366
Black and White...
This is Ace - how gorgeous is he?
I did my first ever pet photo shoot on Friday
and Ace was my model.
Please don't mention to the cats that
there's a dog loose on 'their' blog.

Helen  21/366 And since I'm feeling reckless, here's another b&w.
This is Helen watching the Snow Leopards
at Twycross.
When I told her I'd taken this
she said she just hoped she looked pensive rather than gormless.

IMG_4774  112 pictures in 2012 #23 Technology
A Day in my Life...
'Nuff said.

The beautiful Ace once more...

These hearts were on sale
at Twycross - I love those colours.
(£4 each - bargain!) 
And they're
pretty heavy so they could
double up as a weapon if the
recipient of your 'lurve' didn't
show his appreciation.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

WW... How to take that M&Ms shot...

Live, Love, Travel

Well I said when I did my first Wordless/Wordful Wednesday post that I wanted to up my photographic skills this year and try and share what I was learning.  Because of the more than kind reaction of people to the shot I took of M&Ms for Scavenger Hunt Sunday I thought I'd show a 'behind the scenes' look at how I did it.  Bear with me on this - I've never done one of these before so if there's anything obvious that I've not said then please let me know.

What I used...

First I got a bowl of brightly coloured sweets - because the M&Ms have now disappeared (!), I've used a tube of smarties for illustration purposes here.  The M&Ms were brighter in colour and there were more of them, ideally I'd have a lot more sweets in the dish.  Then I placed a CD cover on two glasses over the dish - the aim is to put some distance between the CD cover and the sweets to create a blurred background.  For the droplets I used a syringe - but a dropper etc would be fine.  (The strange shadows in this shot are caused by the kitchen worktop down-lighters!)

Next I placed droplets onto the CD case at random - you can experiment with how big the drops are.

M & Ms 11/366
Now for the exhasperating part...

I shot from directly above with my camera set to manual focus using a 55mm lens and with the widest possible aperture.  I also put a macro filter on the lens.  Then it was a case of focussing on the drops and moving backwards and forwards until the sweets came into focus within them.  Don't give up if you can't get it first time - (I tried a few different arrangements of drops until I got one I liked).

Editing wise I was pretty limited as I'm still bereft of my software on the MAC, so I used PIKNIK (Flickr's photo editing site), which is amazingly good!  All I did was boost the colours and contrast and clarified it a little - plus the obligatory sharpening.

That's it! Hope that's useful and you have fun giving it a go (by the way I saw a great version of this on Flickr with hot air balloons in the droplets - brilliant!).

Cats on Tuesday...

They're back!  The new all improved iMAC flavoured cats!  The news (!) this week is that Posky had his fur clipped on his belly as it had become more knot than fur - David held him whilst I wielded the scissors and he was a lot more co-operative than certain black and white cats would have been.  And talking of which... Charlie and Pepper had some kind of war going on over the weekend and so both now have small scratches on their faces.  And Mrs P tried to get us to bring her food to her on the chair to save her having to walk into the kitchen - that will be NO then!  Perhaps most newsworthy though is the fact that Mrs P and Posky shared the white fluffy throw - something that neither of them have yet recovered from.

We've been experimenting this week with the Little Photo app on my phone which gives some great effects to photos - if you've got an Android phone then check it out - it's free too which is a always a bonus :O)

Mrs P...
This is her
'I am vastly disappointed in my servants...'

Posky and David...
David needs a shave - Posky no longer does. 

Two curly cats...
Posky and Mrs P sharing.

And no she doesn't really have a big giant head!
All above photos taken and processed on my phone.

Charlie... Showing his non-Peppered profile
as he feels shame that he got smacked
by a girl.

However Pepper has no
qualms about showing the 'ENORMOUS'
scratch that Charlie inflicted upon her

For more kitties visit Gattina's Cats on Tuesday.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday...

Another Scavenger Hunting week is over - and for once I managed to plan ahead slightly for a couple of the shots.  Although Mac the knife is a joy to behold I am still missing my editing software that is on my PC as I have none on the MAC!!!   EEK!!!  

Winter Wonderland...
Can I just reiterate that WE HAVE HAD NO SNOW!!!
This is vexing me intensely...
I had to drag this from the archives - in fact
it was taken on 19th December 2010.
This is far too long a time to not be able 
to take snowy pictures.

M & Ms 11/366
How did I do it?
I put the sweets in a dish, balanced a CD
case on two glasses over it, then put
droplets of water onto the case and
shot down through it.

Off to Mount Doom - be right back...
Off to Mount Doom - be right back...

Flower in ice... 14/366
A flower frozen in ice. 
What I discovered doing this was that it's quite difficult
holding a block of ice up to a lamp with one hand in an oven glove,
whilst you're trying to take a photo with the other.
It ended badly and I got wet.
I don't really like to talk about it.

Stacked up...
Jaffa cakes in a stack...
To be followed shortly by
Jaffa cakes in David's mouth :O)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Friday Photo...

A week when we got MAC 'The Knife' up and running, when I went for my annual check-up at the eye hospital and was pronounced fit for purpose, when I saw the Doctor to talk about the weird things happening to me with that medication we don't talk about, and when Pepper failed to get me up in time even though she does it every other morning without fail.  

Wet bench in the sun 12/366
Bench in the sun...
So what if the highlights are blown?
There are sparkles everywhere
so I don't care!...

When the boss is away, the minions will take a break given half a chance ;O)
It's been a busy week (take 2)...

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Normal service will be resumed asap...

Apologies for the lack of posting this week (and especially to fans of the cats who might be missing certain moggies)... we have just made the change from PC to MAC and have only just got the interwebz back.  I have still been snapping away and will hopefully be back on full power tomorrow... xx

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday...

Oh my that was a culture shock.  The first week back at work after the Christmas holidays - a week that saw me get such weird side effects from tablets my Doctor prescribed, that I decided to stop taking them, only to get equally weird withdrawal symptoms!  Whatever... it didn't stop me picking up my camera - wasn't that terribly British stiff upper lipped of me? ;O)))

The woman in black... 7/366
One Colour...
This my friends is my new evening coat.
I got it in a (what's the term that is fashionable?) 'vintage' shop.
It's black velvet - it has a hood that makes me
feel like a heroine in a gothic novel,
(or a madwoman in an attic depending on your pov).
When I twirl around - which I feel the need to do every now and again, 
it swings around in an extremely satisfying manner.


A pox on housework is what I say!
Yes I put my beloved 7D in the washing machine for this shot.
Always important to take it out again before switching machine on.

Look children, David is sad.
Look how sad he is.
Why is David sad?
Because he was greedy and drank all the coffee.
Oh dear, never mind,
Barbara doesn't give a fig as she prefers tea anyway.

And the sequel...
Look children - now David is happy!
He's still thirsty but now he doesn't care!

Sequin Garland - 4/366
One Dozen...
Ok, I admit I might be pushing it a bit with this one, 
(what the heck, it's my blog),
but there are ABOUT a dozen sequins in this picture.

It's David's cake...
How much do we think is left now hmmmm?

More of the snow leopard...
... and a Snow Leopard.
All I'm saying is it LOOKS soft and cuddly...


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