Category Archives: photography

Haiku: Up Close

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Tiny, dried, brittle.
I have not overlooked you.
I see your beauty…

I recently took this photo with my iPhone using a macro lens.  A macro lens on an iPhone, you say?!  Yes! Hubby gave me 3 tiny lenses – that attach to my iPhone – for Christmas.  What a treat!  I was lucky enough to receive a fish eye lens, a zoom lens, and a combo macro/wide angle lens and have been having fun experimenting with them.  I hope to post more photos taken with these lenses in the coming months. They’re available at photojojo.com if you’re interested.

(I’m not affiliated with the company in any way, just a lucky gift recipient.)

Warm regards,
Melody

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Haiku: Tidal Sunset

sunset

Soft and rippled clouds –
colorful waves in the sky.
The day is ending…

I hope you’re having a great week thus far, dear readers!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Another Look: Haiku

Welcome to a new installment of Another Look!  This post is designed to share a handful of goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries.  I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before.  Today’s category is haiku!  Just click on the name of the post to link over…

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It’s the Little Things
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Nature’s Lace
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 A Santa Barbara Morning   
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Often Overlooked

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I hope you’ve enjoyed these poem that I paired with some of my photographs.  Please feel free to comment with a haiku of your own!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Another Look: Odds & Ends

Welcome to a new installment of Another Look!  This post is designed to share a handful of goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries.  I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before.  Today’s category is Odds & Ends!  Just click on the name of the post to link over…

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A Flower for Neva Lenora
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Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: Roller Skating
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Mad for Movies!
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Santa Ana Artists Village
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Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: The County Fair
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Dim Sum – Yum!
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What are some of your favorite “Inner Child” activities? Please comment and share.

Warm regards,
Melody

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Another Look: Travel

Welcome to a new installment of Another Look!  This post is designed to share some goodies from my blog’s archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries.  I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before.  Today’s category is travel!  Just click on the name of the post to link over…*

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A Photographic Tour: Peru

 

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A Photographic Tour: Ireland

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A Photographic Tour: New York City
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A Photographic Tour: Kansas
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A Photographic Tour: New Orleans, Louisiana

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My wish list of places to go includes Italy, India, Thailand, Scotland, China, New England in the fall, New Zealand, and many, many more – just about any place that isn’t ridiculously dangerous.  Which travel destinations are your favorites, dear readers?  I’d love to hear about them – maybe I’ll add them to my travel wish list!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Another Look: Photography

Welcome to another installment of Another Look!  This post is designed to share a handful of goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries.  I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before.  Today’s category is photography! Just click on the name of the post to link over…

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6 Simple Tips for Taking Better Photos
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Harvesting Bounty at the Farmers Market
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The Joys of iPhone Photography
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Visual Nutrition
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I hope you enjoy these posts.  Please feel free to comment and share any photography tips you find helpful when you’re behind the camera.

Warm regards,
Melody

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Haiku: A Change of Seasons

summer

Summer is coming.
Warm days blurred, simple pleasures.
A sensory feast…

Though I’m not a fan of the heat, I do enjoy some of what summer brings.  Clear, starry nights.  Gardens bursting with edible bounty.  More sunlight, “longer” days.  Independence Day, sparklers, and fireworks. Barbecues. Ice cream cones. Fireflies (which I’ve only seen in-person once when visiting the midwest). Crickets singing late into the night.

What are some of your favorite things about summer, dear readers?  What do you look forward to as summer approaches?  Please post a comment and share – I’d love to hear…

Warm regards,
Melody

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6 Simple Tips for Taking Better Photos

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Once upon a time, I was a snapshot photographer.  I took tons of pictures, and they were good – but they weren’t great.  I started “applying myself” around ten years ago, and have improved a lot since then.  Today I’m going to share how you can improve the photos you’re taking with these 6 helpful hints.  I don’t profess to be a pro – and my photographic schooling is limited to one six-week adult education course that taught the basics – but I have developed my eye and some practices over time.  Hopefully this information will help you, too.

1. Always Remember the Rule of Thirds

Per Wikipedia’s wisdom: The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts such as paintingphotography and design.  The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.  Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.

In other words, don’t always frame your point of interest in the dead center of your photo.  Sometimes it’s called for (and believe me – I love symmetry more than the next gal) but you’re likely to have a more interesting photo if you compose your photo so that the point of interest is at one (or more) of the intersecting points.

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2. A Fancier Camera Isn’t Necessarily Better

The best camera in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t compose careful, mindful, interesting photos.  So don’t focus on getting new equipment – focus on using what you have well.  A relatively simple point-and-shoot camera can still do a great job.  For example, I used a Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Digital Elph when I traveled to Peru a few years ago, and still got some amazing images.  Sure, I would’ve loved to have taken a DSLR with multiple lenses, but for safety and for simplicity’s sake I took a camera that fit in my pocket.  If you have a point and shoot camera with a decent macro feature on it (look for the little flower symbol), you’re probably good to go.

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3. Get Up Close & Personal: MACRO

And speaking of macro, I love shooting close ups.  If you’re familiar with my blog and/or photography, you know this already.  And while not everyone likes the close ups and detail photos as much as I do, it’s important that your camera has the capability – in case the mood strikes.  Want a close up of the texture of a ribbon you’re using on a craft project?  Macro.  Want to share the lovely center of a diminutive flower you stumble upon while out on a walk?  Macro.  Do you want to share the surface texture of your most recent baked dessert with your friends, family or blog readers?  Macro!  The macro features on my cameras are indicated by a small flower symbol.

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4. Eliminate Distractions!

Sometimes, particularly in fast-moving situations, you have to just snap the photo and take what you get.  However, if you have time to compose your shot carefully and make a few adjustments, look carefully at your shot before taking your picture.  Are unsightly elements ruining your shot?  Sometimes shifting a foot or two will remove a lamp post, a trashcan, or a parked car from your shot – making it much more pleasing.  Scan your shot for things you don’t want included, and adjust to remove them when possible.

Here’s a good example: While taking photos in Kansas, I came across an aged sign post with beautiful coloration.  My first photo, shot vertically, captured the colors on the post but the cars and buildings in the background were distracting.  By shooting horizontally (landscape) and pushing in so the post filled the frame, the photo became more interesting and more abstract.

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5. Photograph Children & Pets at THEIR Eye Level
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Photos of children and pets are much more engaging when they’re taken at your subject’s eye level.  It can be good to shoot from above if you’re trying to clearly establish their size in relation to the photographer, but the viewer will be drawn into the photo more if they’re seeing the child or critter at eye level instead of hovering above.

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6. Look for Interesting Perspectives & Angles

Take time to play and look for interesting angles when taking your photos – particularly when shooting buildings, nature, and scenery.  For example, when photographing a tree don’t just shoot it from straight on from a distance.  Why not walk to the base of the tree and shoot straight up the trunk?  The same suggestions apply to a building.  Taking a photo from near the base of the building will provide a unique perspective.  By using different angles and perspectives when taking photos you can capture details and sights that many pass by and miss entirely.

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Questions?  Comments?

Please let me know if you have any questions about what I’ve shared above.  I personally respond to all comments posted on my blog (giveaway comment entries excepted), and am always glad to hear from you!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Haiku: A Sure Sign of Spring

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Lovely daffodil,
your sunshine yellow cheers me.
Cup, petals, and stem…

Daffodils are one of my favorite things about spring, and I look forward to their arrival each year.  I don’t have a yard to plant in, so this small bunch of daffodils was a very happy find at the market! Displayed in a Mason jar on the counter, these beautiful blooms are helping me enjoy the spring season.

What are some of your favorite signs of spring, dear readers? I invite you to comment and share…

Warm regards,
Melody

 

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“Mark of Wisdom” Collage

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I love using a variety of materials in my collages, and this new collage – featuring a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson – is certainly made up of a variety of materials.  New, old, smooth and rough textures, a photo, text, and even foreign language text!  I used one of my own nature photos as the central image.  I’ve thrown a bit of everything into this collage, including bamboo “clips”, metal tape, netting, and masking tape.  And though the materials and textures are varied, I think the overall composition is harmonious.

In addition to using a wide range of materials, I enjoy using found objects in my work, and in this case I found three smashed, scratched, and rusted bottle caps that became three of the main decorative elements for the collage.  I found them in a parking lot, tucked them into the cup holder of the car, and eventually worked them into this collage.  I’m often drawn to damaged, imperfect things.  Things with history.  Things with character.  And though most people wouldn’t have even noticed the mangled bottle caps, or would consider them rubbish if they did see them, I saw their beauty and potential and snatched them up off of the gravely pavement.  Proof that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure…

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Curious about how I made this collage?  Here’s an overview:

Print an original nature photo onto photo paper, trim to your desired size. Print quote onto cardstock, trim to desired size.  Tape along all four sides of both the photo and the quote with narrow silver metallic tape.  Use a tracing wheel to add texture to the silver frames, then distress these frames by peeling up some of the edges, and by adding black metallic rub-ons.  Slide bamboo “clips” onto one corner of the photo and quote.  Set the image and quote aside.

Glue pale green handmade, textured paper onto your substrate/base.  (I used an 8′ x 10″ canvas panel as my base.)  Tear a strip of text, and glue along the left side of the collage – top to bottom.  Attach a 5 inch-wide piece of yellow netting over the text, allowing enough length to wrap the excess around the top and bottom and secure to the back.

Punch four holes in each of three found, flattened bottle caps, and stitch an “x” pattern onto each one using black embroidery thread.  Attach the bottle caps to the collage using Pop-Up Glue Dots.  Attach the photo and quote to the collage using Pop-Up Glue dots as well.

“Frame” the collage by taping each side of the collage with two layers of masking tape.  Treat each corner with a diagonal layer of masking tape as well.  Accent the masking tape frame with black and gold metallic rub-ons – apply with your finger using a light touch.  Finish the collage by signing in the corner, and by applying a blank sheet of cardstock to the back to cover what you’ve wrapped around to the back.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the materials or my creative process, dear readers.  I always love hearing from you…

Warm regards,
Melody

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