Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fun with Photoshop - Instagramming it

One of the things I did after my birthday was to swear off social media for at least a week and I did it. That included instagram. I was using this a lot. Too much. I had to reformat my iphone and didn't even add it back on to make sure I didn't use it. Why? Because I was letting my phone be more creative than myself. Sure I composed the picture, chose the subject and chose the filter but it didn't seem the same. I wanted a more hands-on process and to have a photo with more quality. In stepped my birthday present to help with this and make me not use my camera phone. I love my Sony NEX-5. It can travel so easily in my purse and weighs next to nothing. I go out at lunchtime and take pictures and it's great. Back to being more creative.

Having a bit of time this weekend I thought I would try some almost instagram-like photos and here's an example. This is a photo from our trip to Bordeaux in October. I applied some lomography-like colours and added a frame. And it is good enough quality to print. Stay tuned for more.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fun with Photoshop - Black and White


After having weekend plans change, I finally had some time to get down to playing with my photos and photoshop. I have also been catching up with a back log of photography magazines and I decided to follow some of the tips in Digital Camera's feature on Black&White Masterclass. This is from issue 120. Now, this is a bit on the extreme end although the clouds were pretty menacing. We were biking along the river in Bordeaux when a storm appeared out of nowhere. We can laugh about it now but after not being able to find a spot to ditch our bikes (they were part of the velib' system), I was starting to worry about a waterlogged camera. I could dry but my camera would be the worse for wear. I covered my beloved Sony A55 until we finally pulled over for some shelter. Never think you can beat a storm or that it will get better.

Here I've worked with the channels mixer to isolate a certain colour to bring out the drama in the sky. Many curves layers and masking later, this was created with some added dodging and burning and some added noise.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

More baking

I love the internet for finding things. It's difficult to remember the times that you would have had to search cookbooks for recipes and then still find nothing for dealing with the two things you need to use up. The two things in this case were buttermilk and cranberries. All I had to do was google those two things and up came this muffin recipe. So that was our breakfast today. I added a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg to the recipe. I may try lemon rind next time.

Now I just need to use up these pears before a new shipment comes tomorrow in our organic box.

It's a quiet Sunday but after the last few Sundays, I'm happy with that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Sunday started off with a lot of promise. I got the mango frozen yoghurt in the ice cream maker and then I baked this bread - soda bread with dark chocolate chunks from a Jamie Oliver recipe. And I was already to use my new tagine for the first time. But Zoe had other ideas and we ended up at the vet. She's now recuperating at home. Oh and I don't think the mangoes were ripe enough. I'm not happy with the frozen yoghurt. That's two not so great batches lately.

I've also just realized that the photos I took on Saturday were not RAW but jpeg. Hate when that happens. We had a great day walking along Queen Street East in Leslieville/Riverdale and checking out the French bakeries.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Playing with HDR

I've been meaning to see what all this HDR stuff is myself for a while now especially since I got CS5. It's pretty neat stuff (it seems late in the game to be saying this). I haven't gone for the over-the-top stuff, yet. I remembered bracketing some shots in anticipation of this when I was in Paris in 2010 so I thought I would play around with these photos.  I kind of liked playing more with the softness and creating something pastel-like. I know I could have done that in Corel Painter but not with the same highlights and shadow work.

It has certainly intrigued me and I plan on doing more especially using it to cope with differing lighting conditions like indoor photography. My DSLR (Sony A55) also does in camera HDR so it's not as crucial for compensating for different lighting conditions in Photoshop but some extra, minor adjustments would probably help too.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My muse

Zoe the cat

Well not really but she always seems to be beside me and she's great for testing out a new camera. My favourite is the lower left since she looks a bit drunk. Obviously she's not. I caught her mid yawn. I was also just playing with Photoshop, as usual, and adding a high key look with texture and border for this "collage."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A day at the beach

Well it is just beginning to cloud over but the sun was out and shining almost as much as this past Saturday when we walked down to the beach and I took these photos (I may post more when I get someone's permission). It was like a spring day in January. Bit chillier today but I should have gone down to the beaches this morning to photograph that wonderful sunrise. Sunrises are starting to happen earlier and earlier these days...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cooking and photographing

Well I'm certainly liking the new camera and it even went to work with me today. I went out at lunch and made sure I took some photos and even discovered a new little street.

Narrow house on a short street near McCaul

But before that I, on Sunday we were cooking and baking. Here are some of the results.

Hubby-made cake with apples

Roasted dinner
I hope to continue going out a lunchtime and taking pictures while exploring the neighbourhood.

The Grange at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Camera and the Social Networking Diet

Well yesterday was my birthday. I won't go into details as it was a bit bleak but I did get a wonderful present from hubby. So I will take more pictures but ones with higher quality (raw capabilities) than my point and shoot (but more portable and lighter than my DSLR).  I am now the new owner of a compact system camera and it's pretty awesome. So maybe expect more updates and more photos? I'm going to try to take it with me everywhere. I want to not rely on my iphone for photos anymore. Don't get me wrong, iphone is great for photos but there are sometimes that I wish I had the quality there for some images and ways of manipulating the photos without losing quality as well. Now I have the answer. Today I took some photos of the new Loblaws after buying myself a cake (a day late but that's okay).

Along College on the streetcar

love the bright colours in the store

reminders of its past

Beginning today, though, for a week or more I will not be checking facebook, twitter or instagram. I think I need a break from knowing someone went to Starbuck's and the like and maybe, just maybe, I'll focus more and take more photos. Well it's an experiment. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Post Christmas

Well I broke with tradition this year and took the decorations down before the 5th. To fill the void I made sure to buy some flowers and some extra candles. It actually didn't feel so bad the first night without Christmas lights.

We did a lot of cooking during the holidays. Hubby made some fantastic French onion soup and I made cassoulet for New Year's Day.