Sunday, 29 June 2008

Green Thumb Sunday - All Things Allium

This week seems to be a beautiful but smelly one! Alliums include garlic, onions, chives and shallots which have some of the prettiest flowers and seed heads in the garden. This year Mum has a bumper crop of chives and they are flowering like billy-o :)
She had the ornamental alliums last year and this year only 2 have produced flowerheads but oh my gosh - what flowerheads they are - at least the size of a football (soccerball) if not bigger! I couldn't take a macro shot if I tried - they are that big!

And somewhere in my garden photo trips this year, I have also shot some self seeded garlic - at least I think they are - they smelt divine in the dappled shade after I'd brushed past them which is what made me notice them. I remember clearing some longer grass away to get the photo so I must have missed them on the first walk by. The ornamental allium is now hanging up to dry so I will shoot that later - I think it will make a wonderful abstract especially if I just focus on one seed pod.
The second photo in the previous post is also this allium - I managed to get the macro lens right in between the flower spikes and just focused on the ball at the centre - I like it :)

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Day2Day - Ordinary Beauty

I haven't blogged too much about Etsy recently but one of the Uk'ers has started a new group on Flickr which I thought would be a good idea to try. The lovely Abi has a shop over on Etsy where she sells bags and clothes designed and made by her. I bought one last week just in time for the We Make London fair so I could take my chunky camera without the even chunkier camera bag!
Anyway, the Group is called Day2Day and the challenge is to take 1 photo each day, Monday to Friday then possibly blog about it. As it's the first week, I've not been very organised and haven't really built up a theme - at least not intentionally - but they've all been macro shots in my garden so I suppose that is a theme! So here they are - week 1 Day2Day
I'm going to try to think of a theme for next week - or at least a more cohesive group - like a set that will go together nicely.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Green Bug Thingy

Not sure what this little critter is but it looks like a bit like a grasshopper to me or maybe it's a cricket but I've never seen a cricket so I can't say! Anyway, I was playing with my macro lens and have decided that it's a tricky pest (the lens, that is) especially without a tripod. These shots are hand held but even so, the depth of field is so shallow, huge chunks of the picture are out of focus. It's definitely going to take some getting used to as most of my favourite shots are fairly straight, in focus type shots not arty-farty, soft focus, abstract ones.

I've been working on some more abstract shots though so once I've processed them, I'll post them here for some opinions :)

As for the question I posed the other day - yes, the tulip one is the photoshop soft focus one. The rose is almost straight from camera.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Green Thumb Sunday - Mystery Plant Revisited!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some photos of a mystery plant in Mum's garden and asked if anyone had any ideas of what it may be. Well, Mum's been away on holiday to the fjords of Norway and guess what? She managed to find a similar specimen and I've googled it extensively and can confirm (at least, going by the photos) that it is a Saxifraga Longiflora - there, learn something new everyday huh? Here's the photos again to save you scrolling back :)

It's still going strong at the moment but according to the Saxifrage Society, it will die back once it's finished flowering. Propagation is via seeds so we are going to keep our eyes open and hope it produces some seeds before it dies. I'd love a couple of these dotted around my garden and as I'm only across the road from Mum, the conditions should be similar enough for it to survive. Mind you, it originates in the mountainous Pyranees so my mild little climate should be OK.

This post is brought to you by the wonders of modern technology (or Bloggers scheduled postings) as I'm off gadding about in London, meeting a load of lovely girls from across the country at a craft fair. See earlier post if you're curious! :) Catch y'all next week, Happy GTS

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Experimenting with Abstracts

I've been having a play with some of my photos and also using my macro lens to achieve the same effects. I sometimes feel that everyone is photographing flowers in these days of good digital cameras at reasonable prices so perhaps I need to distinguish myself from the crowd a bit more.
Trouble is, I'm not art-trained - never done a course in anything artistic so I feel at a distinct disadvantage to those who have arts related degrees and seem to know what they're talking about! I look at a piece of art or a photograph - I either like it or not. I don't go looking for hidden meanings, alegorical references etc or need to understand what the artist was thinking about for me to like it! I guess art appreciation is a learned skill - but if it means I can appreciate a stack of bricks or half a preserved dog as Art, then maybe I'll just stick to what I like :-)
So one of the photos above is photoshopped, the other is straight from the camera (except crop and small levels adj, no blurring etc) - which one is which do you think?

Friday, 20 June 2008

We Make London - crafts and chat going bonkers!

What's that, I hear you ask - well, some very lovely talented Etsy ladies have got themselves organised and arranged a craft fair and there's loads of Etsy gals going to visit so between the sellers and all the Etsy visitors - it should be a very fun and noisy, chatty day. Most of us chat regularly over on the Etsy forums so we all feel like we know each other. I think the most fun thing will be the names - given some of our online nicknames and how we abbreviate them online, how are we going to remember everyones' real name?
On a marketing note, I've designed some bookmarks to add to the promo goody bags and I'm actually quite pleased with them. I wasn't expecting them to turn out so well in that format - I'm not a trained designer after all so I didn't really know what I was doing. What do you think?

Sunday, 15 June 2008

The Big Bang - new blogroll and some link love

I was meandering through some of the blogs I read regularly and came across this Big Bang thingy over at Kathy's blog PhotographybyKML. Followed some link to investigate and thought 'oh what the heck, let's have a go' so here it is. Just follow the simple instructions and maybe pop over to link #1 to see how it started and you're in too.

*Start Copy Here*
You do not have to be tagged to play along. This game is simple and so are the rules.
1. Copy from *Start Copy Here* through *End Copy Here*
2. Add your site(s) to the list. Just be sure to post the "Big Bang" at each site you add.
3. Tag or don’t tag, your choice, however, the more tags you create the longer the list will grow.
4. Let me know your blog’s name and url by leaving me a comment HERE. I will add you to the master list. (If you would like a scroll box code, leave me your email address and I will email it to you.) Scroll Box Example. (I decided not to use the box for the Big Bang for ease of copying.)
5. Come back and copy the master list back to your site, often. This process will allow late-comers to get as much link benefit as the first ones in. Once you are on the master list people who have participated earlier will update their bookmarks and help everyone lower than them out on the list.1-Attitude, the Ultimate Power 2-Juliana's Site 3-Rusin Roundup 4-Grow Rich Along With Me 5-Comedy Plus 6-lynda's loft 7-Amel's Realm 8-MAX 9-Speedcat Hollydale 10-Mariuca 11-Complain Complain Complain 12-Mariuca's Perfume Gallery 13-Life Is A Roller Coaster 14-Sugar Queen's Dream 15-First Time Dad 16-Life 17-My Life 18-The Painted Veil 19-My Thoughts 21-Little Aussie Cynic 22-A Nice Place in the Sun 24-The Down Side OF Up 25-Ladyjava's Lounge 26-Cat Tales 27-moms.....check nyo 28-Colorado Baby 29-It's a Woman's World 30-ENLIGHTENED BITS 31-My View of "It" 32-My Reviews and Finds Along the Way 33-Our Hep Chat 34-Rantings of a Woman 35-The Callalily Space 36-Mom Knows Everything 37-Hazel 38-Chronicles and Tales Unlimited (RED) 39-From the Mouth of Jabber Jaws 40-Sunny Side Up Foodie & Lifestyle 41-Carmel Corn 42-Daily Stock Picks 43-The Whole New World 44-Wifespeak 45-Slavery Bliss 46-Rooms of My Heart 47-Unpredictable Life 48-My Life, My World 49-At Your Service 50-All About Ebay 51-Everything Amazon 52-Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out 53-My So-Called Site 54-New Wife Blog 55-Tendre Poison 323 56-Nick's Bytes 57-My Scratch Pad 58-Choc Mint Girl 59-Life Is Just Around the Corner... 60-Amori, poseia, art... virtuali by Hanna 61-Maryannaville 62-monaco - monaco's 63-Nyumix's Blog 64-read my mind - my keyboard monologues 65-Shower You Children With Love - The Right Way 66-Secret Agent Mama 67-Pinaymama's Diary 68-Answers to the Questions 69-Work of the Poet 70-A Total Blog 71-My life, my hope, my future 72-NORTE 73-A Window to Our World 74-Life as a Mom 75-FIELD OF DREAMS 76-lisgold 77-See Me for What You 78-Caught in The Stream 79-Pinay Mommy Online - My Home 80-foster me up 81-CRUEL VIRGIN 82-Garden of Moments in Blog 83-So Cute 84-Love Everlasting 85-WeLcOmE To My CriB 86-WELCOM TO PINAYSMILE'S JOURNEY 87-Ice's Icelog 88-Jenny's Wandering Thoughts 89-Hobbies and Such 90-Sweet Paradise 91-Mommy's Gibble Gabbles 92-Rusin Review's 93-My Small World 94-Little Peanut 95-Online Ramblings 96-My Mood My Feeling 97-BLOG it with ALLEN 98-Entertainment World 99-Let's Go Singapore 100-Firelynx 101-Catsy Carpe Diem 102-Every Beat Of My Heart 103-Always Da Fresh Princess 104-Listening.. 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Astrantia - in all their Glory

I finally found out what this flower is called! It's an Astrantia and I've seen it in deep wine colours through to pale green/almost white. It spreads pretty well and looks after itself aapparently which is probably why it's also called Hens & Chicks (not to be confused with the Sempervivum's). Not much to blather about today so just enjoy the piccies :)

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Just a couple more - I promise :)

Just a couple more piccies from the Open Gardens day - there were quite a few garden ornaments and statues around - these two were nicely lit by the afternoon sun but many of the other were either completely overgrown/overshadowed or too way out there for my liking.

What I'd really like to know is... why are so many garden statues of naked or semi naked ladies? I'm guessing these are based on some classical (and probably famous) statues of a certain era but I don't understand why an 80 year old lady would want these staring at her from the corners of her shrubbery! Now don't get me wrong - I'm not a prude or embarrassed by nudity (remind me to tell you about getting changed in a busy public car park one day!) but I suppose my classical education must be severely lacking or something. I just don't 'get it' when it comes to stuff like this.

I have a garden statue but I haven't photographed it for some reason - maybe I should do that and post it so you can tell me you don't 'get' my taste! LOL

Monday, 9 June 2008

Green Thumb Sunday (on a Monday)!!

I missed yesterdays GTS due to a stonking headache - caused ironically by being in various gardens all afternoon! Each year, there is an Open Gardens event in my town in aid of a local hospice. I make it a point to attend but have narrowed it down to 3 or 4 gardens I visit almost every year. This year I was on my own as Mum is away (cruising the fjords - lucky moo) so I just did 3 gardens - 1 of my favs and 2 that were near but new to me. Here's two of my favourite photos of the day :-)

Both of these are slightly different to my usual approach. I caught the late afternoon sun just dappling these plants and decided to try it. I think the geranium was particularly successful - I love how the light just catches the top right of the flower and sort of lights up the rest. The fern is just cropped slightly - no other post processing at all which is unusual for me. I usually do a few minor tweaks just to improve contrast and general balance between shadows and highlights but I actually prefer the untouched version this time.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Anyone know what this is called?

Mum's got this lovely spiral succulent type thing in her garden. It's been doing well for years and I often use it as the basis for some abstract work but this year - it's flowered and oh boy, what a show! The flower stem/bud/sprout thingy started off in a rather limp phallic manner but it's standing very proud now ;-) LOL

I love the soft effect on the close up shot so I'll pop over again and try to get some more of those - so dainty. The whole flower spike is about 12 inches tall (30 cm) and we've got a funny feeling the whole plant will die now.

We've had loads of really heavy rain this week so the iris' have been hammered but the rhododendron is in full bloom. Quite a bit paler than I expected after seeing the colour of the buds but it seems to be thriving in the extra wetness (just as well really)!