Tag Archives: photography

Not Top 10

According to the Australian Geographic, the Bernese Mountain Dog is not in the Top 10 of Australia’s Most Popular Dogs. And it’s not in the Top 10 of the Most Intelligent Breeds of Dog, according to the University of British Columbia anyway.

If you live in Australia, you may be forgiven if you’ve never even seen a real Bernese Mountain Dog, they are quite unusual down under.

However, there are few at the local dog club, and they tend to draw everyone’s attention at the Christmas party, when they are dressed up and pull a little cart, especially built for the occasion, to help Santa, tinsel and all. Quite adorable.

Even though I am from Europe and have spent considerable time in the Alps, I have not seen too many of these dogs either, but I have met Suzie, who was my model the other day for a colour splash dog silhouette. She is really only a puppy and therefore looks quite slender.

Bernese Mountain Dogs should be ‘good-natured, self-assured, placid toward strangers and docile‘, all of which Suzie is. Desirable traits for any dog regardless of breed, but even more so for a dog that can reach up to 50kg and more of weight.

If you want to read more about the Bernese Mountain Dog and its history, have a look here.

In the meanwhile enjoy Miss Suzie’s silhouette in hues of blue and purple, with red and yellow splashes xx

bernesemountaindog

 

 


Digital Ironing

It was very exciting when a client hired me to digitize a large part of her collection of her late mother’s fashion illustrations.

Fashion illustration was the main form of advertisement for fashion designers, clothing manufacturing companies and department stores. The designs were not only displaying the styles of their day but also a certain lifestyle.

The collection I worked with consists of fashion illustrations from the mid 1930s, fashion sketches on full double-sided magazine style spreads from the 1940s and 1950s, and lots and lots of smaller ‘practice’ works. Women’s faces and figures, hairstyles, hands, gloves, shoes, house dresses, evening gowns, aprons, underwear, handbags, beach scenes, scenes with children and babies, neatly sketched bottles advertising the benefits of face lotion and powder, ladies’ fashion patterns, advertising for ‘floral seer sucker frocks’ and ‘toddler straw bonnets’. Full page drawings enticing the women of the time to buy dresses in ‘linens, to take you through the summer in cool, crisp perfection’ and beautiful evening gowns which were ’emblazoned with the royal signature to put you in the mood for the festivities of coronation year’.

Did I mention I love my job? I spent many happy hours photographing the vast array of sheets of lose papers of all kinds with overall very little damage. Mostly, the sheets have yellowed with age and there’s always the odd specks and stains. And odd paper sizes. The most damage consisted of creases and folds and bent pages.

My brief was to digitize, not only for safekeeping and convenience of sharing the images with family abroad, but also to enable the client to use some of her late mother’s works to create anything from wallpaper to pillow covers to greeting cards.

For privacy reasons I cannot show you too much of this collection, but I have put together some links for you to have a peek at. They should give you a great idea of the beauty I had before my eyes that day 🙂

Fashion illustration from the 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s.

As I mentioned the most damage was creases and bent pages. I show you a few examples of what I mean:

DigitalIroning

DigitalIroning2

I call it digital ironing. It may seem like a quick fix and move on, but it’s not. And being me, there’s a lot of fine tuning and coming back to the same work several times because I may have overlooked something. And there’s always the danger to ‘overdo it’ in Photoshop, especially in this job, where the brief was to maintain the original character of the work, so I tried hard to get each image as close to what it would have looked like on the day it was created.

DigitalIroning3

But yes, creases = digital ironing, you get the picture 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sweeten the Deal

Children are my main subjects when it comes to portrait photography.

In my experience, very few children are totally keen and relaxed and eager in front of the camera. Ideally, their parents are in the adjacent room sitting on the couch very relaxed, flicking through my photo books and product displays, while I start my little routine, where I take the children into the studio and ask them to help me set up this and that and move a chair and turn on the studio lights.

But even so, most children can feel very ‘put on the spot’ in that situation. And I am supposed to, within minutes, make them totally love the situation, me and the camera. I do admit that I am struggling with this part of my job.

We may use the big mirror to check their hair and practice silly faces. I have some props, sometimes parents bring a book or a toy, but mostly their brief is to have the child smiling their happiest, most natural smile and looking fully into the camera.

I find that even the very shy, fearful or grumpy children do everything you ask them to, but they will not look at me or the camera and they certainly will not smile a natural happy smile. I have gotten some very odd looks by parents while I go through my repertoire of children’s songs or nursery rhymes where I appear to make silly mistakes with the words, I’m getting inexplicable hick-ups, speak in animal language and have even resorted to the fart-app. I know, I know.

Most children will eventually laugh, but they will not look at me or the camera, even if their life was to depend on it. I have tried lens buddies, frankly I’m not a fan, they may work really well with very small children but with the 3-5 year old-ish ones I’ve used them for: no such luck.

Eventually I realized I have to sweeten the deal. I’ve heard of photographers who use M&Ms as bribe, but I’m not sure I want to photoshop chocolate off teeth in post production, plus, these days a lot of children are allergic to chocolate.

Years ago I found an article and had made a note about it. Finally I have re-created this great idea. It’s pretty self explanatory: buy Pez dispensers, use scissors to cut a slither off their feet on either side, slide into flash hot-shoe of camera.

Because it’s such a small item (unlike most lens buddies), the children will have to focus to really see it. And Pez lollies are gluten and lactose free, therefore not an issue with food allergies. And no chocolate teeth, yay.

So there’s my 5 cents worth of wisdom when it comes to photographing children: sweeten the deal 🙂

 

SweetenTheDeal


Not Like Van Gogh

Time again to say thank you to all and everyone who goes through the troubles of following the journey of az pictured, whether it be on the blog, Facebook, Instagram or with the Lens Cap Chronicle, my very own newsletter.

This journey would only be half as much fun if I had to make it alone. I may only be a small business, but I put my heart in soul into my work. Not like Vincent Van Gogh, who said ‘I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.’ At least I hope so 😉

So here’s to you all and my thank you comes with a little visual treat, showing all the latest Instagram posts of mine, that have been featured on some of the collaboration fun sites that I follow.

If you want to check them out and get some creative juices flowing: @hiyapapayaphotoaday, @rainbow_wall, @tv_neatly, @shotwithlove, @seekthepositive, @365_today, @keepingwiththetimes, @its_my_week

IGThankYou


Free Your Photos

I know, I know, I keep saying it too often. But there you go, it’s my mantra. As soon as I have more than 200 photos on my phone I get twitchy and start sorting, deleting, backing-up and printing! Don’t even talk about my computer ….

revamp1

Yes, printing. It seems to get largely forgotten these days. And seriously, I have no idea why. So when I spotted this large collage frame for very little money, it was mine. Very little money is good, of course, but it also has its downsides (my framer probably rolls around on the floor just about now, in despair).

revamp3revamp5

Let’s list the good things: the price of course, the frame itself is quite sturdy, the glass is not glass but perspex, which makes the whole thing less dangerous and lighter, and the two bevel edged mats inside the frame are cut perfectly and neatly and look pretty. And a variety of sizes for photos are available. Noice.

The not so great things: a variety of sizes for photos are available (sometimes, having too much choice is not a good thing), the hooks in the back are hm a bit flimsy maybe, time will tell, there is only one piece of backing, which means the whole thing will warp, the photos will warp, even the little ones. And with so many photos, it will be a fiddly job to get them perfectly straight and have nothing sliding around.

But alas, this frame was meant to be a decoration item to display some of my photography in the rumpus/guest room/games room/waiting room just outside my studio, and as I intent to change photos regularly, it would do for now.

It took me quite a while to select photos that somehow work together and work nicely with the colour scheme of the room.

Once I had them printed I took my time to position them, stick them down with photo friendly glue and sticky tape. I inserted a second large piece of backing to really fill the back and make the whole thing tighter and prevent warping. And voila.

As I’m always trying to support small business, and handmade as such, and Mum’s in business especially, two pillow covers are from TWIG, and the mobile is from CocoCooie.

revamp4revamp6

Now this waiting area for siblings or parents while I’m busy doing a shoot in the adjacent room is very comfortable indeed  🙂

 

 


Getting Ready for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away.

As a Mum I don’t much care about this ‘Mother of all Days to celebrate Mums’, although I confess I did drop a hint or two. With soccer season in full swing I’m usually just glad if we have time to sit together for a nice lunch or afternoon coffee.

My own Mum is far away, and any gift is long in the mail, and a double gift it is, too, as her birthday is May 7th.

As a photographer, Mother’s Day has been on my mind for months. A few very organized clients have purchased Mini-Shoot Gift Vouchers and a fair few of my photography greeting cards will be given to Mums, too.

For the first time I’ve participated in a shopping guide, and what a fine shopping guide it is. Check it out: Mother’s Day with madeit.com.au. 21 pages of fabulous items and ideas, but page 3 is my favourite, just saying 🙂

And of course, being the Mum of a furbaby counts too on Mother’s Day.

MothersDay

Let’s not forget Dad’s though. I seriously feel sorry for any father who has a birthday on Mother’s Day. That’s where this little beauty comes in.

MothersDay2

Above acrylic blocks and the dog silhouette print are available in my store. For session gift vouchers or photography cards please contact me directly.

 

 

 

 

 


Time Flies

So they say and it is true.

I am finding myself at the computer so many hours of every day yet I don’t seem to find the time to write much for my blog.

I’ll have to do better again.

On the up-side, being so very busy, and even busier in the weeks leading up to Christmas, is a good thing. It means my little one-woman business is establishing itself a little bit better all the time. Happy days.

Spending so much time at the computer editing and creating, I continue to find great joy in the ease of Instagram, which -for me- has nothing whatsoever to do with the computer, as I don’t use big camera photos on there, but only smart phone images, which I can edit sitting on the couch with my feet up.

I found myself a little group of pages that I follow and where I participate in their daily or weekly themes when I find the time. The good thing about Instagram is that the world won’t end if you didn’t manage to catch up for a couple of days, like it does on Facebook, where you’re seeing your statistics plummet into oblivion if you neglected your pages just for half a day. I have largely given up paying too much attention to the Insights, because it’s quite depressing sometimes to be honest, but Facebook tends to send those kind reminders ….

Anyhow, as Instagram makes my heart light and still feeds my creative eye and mind, I felt it was time to send some thanks to those that engage with me there, with a snippet of some of my posts that were featured on other sites, yay 🙂

InstagramThankYou


Part of Our World

This post is totally unrelated to photography, but totally related to az pictured’s daily fairings during school holidays, which just finished for us.
You see, my young one is a great singer. Choir boy, soloist, rock-star in the shower. And he has this tendency to burst into song ….. constantly and always and everywhere. Sometimes with no break for hours. Of course, he doesn’t even realize, that he’s singing. I am used to be working largely in silence and solitude. So when he’s home, shut doors are just not enough in this blue board house of ours.
Naturally, I love him to bits, he’s my baby boy, my fairy child.
But at the end of those school holiday song days that feel like they are 20 hours long, my mind is going in circles with bits and pieces of a gazillion songs, all started or partially sung, and none finished.
Just for fun, I spent two days writing down his musical bursts. Read them and feel free to test your musical knowledge, figuring out song titles/band names/stage pieces/advertising slogans/snippets from movies ………
And then imagine hearing this list back and forth, with a plentyful of ooohoooo’s and aaah aaah, lalala’s inbetween.
You are welcome 🙂

You gotta put your hands in the air, yes your hands in the air, doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo
Somewhere beyond the sea, somewhere waiting for me, I’ll go sailing.
The pines were roaring on the height, the winds were moaning in the night,
We must away, ere break of day …
YOU SHALL NOT PASS!
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
I think she’s got it, I think she’s got it
Hm hm the fresh food people, bringing fresh food to you
I need a dollar, dollar, a dollar is what I need, yeah yeah
And she will be loved, she will be loved.
Papa, paparazzi
Take on me, take me on, I’ll be gone in a day or twooooooooo
Doesn’t that sound familiar, doesn’t that feel close to home, doesn’t that make you shiver.
Settle in to play ‘do you remember so and so’,
Number three is never say her name
Hold on, if you feel like letting go. Hold on, it gets better than you know.
I’m gonna take you for a ride on a big yet plane, hey hey
Tonight we are young, let us set the world on fire, we can go higher aaaaahhh
Degrumph went the little green frog one day, and the frog went grumph grumph grumph,
But we all know frogs go ladidadida, ladidadida, ladidadida
You’re unpredictable
Hey Mr Tallyman, tally the banana, daylight cometh we wanna go home
I don’t care, I love it. I don’t care, I love it, I love it
We will, we will rock you, sing it, we will, we will rock you
I love rock and roll, put another dime in the juke box baby, I love rock and roll,
take your time and dance with me
My life is brilliant, my love is pure, I saw an angel, of that I’m sure,
Forever young, I wanna be forever young
I won’t hesitate no more, no more, it’s not ok, I’m yours
High and mighty alone we are kings, whirlwinds of fire we ride
Providence brought us the crown and the ring, covered with blood and our pride
I am a gummybear, a yummy gummybear. I am a yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy gummybear, oh yea
Who will buy my sweet red roses, two blooms for a penny,
Any milk today, mistress, any milk today mistress, two blooms for a penny
Who will buy this wonderful morning? Such a sky you never did see!
Who will tie it up with a ribbon and put it in a box for me?
I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing, ’cause everyone listens when I start to sing
I’m so grateful and proud, all I want is to sing it out loud
Red: the blood of angry men!
Black: the dark of ages past!
Red: a world about to dawn!
Black: the night that ends at last!
And this is what she had to say, a pearl necklace, she wants a pearl necklace,
she wants a pearl necklace
Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!
Be a man, you must be swift as a coursing river, be a man, with all the force of a great typhoon, be a man, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon, of the moon
Prince Ali – fabulous he – Ali Ababwa, genuflect, show some respect:
Down on one knee.
We go together like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong
Remembered forever as shoobop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom
Chang chang changitty chang shoobop, that’s the way it should be, wha ooohhhh, yeah
And it’s not easy to be me. Up, up and away, away from here, well it’s allright
You can all sleep sound tonight, I’m not crazy, or anything
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave
With what you wanna say
Down, down, the prices are down. Down, down
You got the moves like Jagger, I got the moves like Jagger, I got the mooooooooves like Jagger.
Collecting your jar of hearts, tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
And she will be loved, and she will be loved
What do you want from me? What do you want from me?
Can’t read my, can’t read my, no-one can read my pokerface
Come on Barbie, let’s go party
In the circle,
I can go the distance,
Strangers like me,
Part of your world

PS For the record: the music taste in our house is eclectic at best. Nothing is off limits. It’s part of our world.

PPS When I say the ‘young one’, he’s not too far off being a teenager, and there is an every so slight change in his lower register already

PPPS If you’re puzzled by some of the song combinations you might want to check out this link and this one, they might explain a lot


Pink Me

Early paper and ink quality wasn’t all that great and, unfortunately, when you’re looking at your old colour photographs from long(er) ago you’ll notice they’ve mostly turned a weird mush of yellows or pinks. They are likely otherwise undamaged, but the discolouration is usually not very pretty.

Like in this photo from my collection from the early 80s.

As I’m in the process of resorting and reprinting and digitizing all of our private photo albums, every now and then I’m tackling a few photos in Photoshop and fix them up.

Now, it sounds a bit easier than it is. With this particular photo I have the great advantage that I have a memory of this day. I remember it was taken just after the summer holidays, when a small pop up studio set up in the local mall. My mother used to take me there almost every year to get my portrait done and have the prints go to the grandparents as Christmas presents. It was a good idea to do it well before the festive craze (I know now where I’ve got that from) plus having portrait photos taken just after summer, before the long winter pale sets in.

So, I remember my then favourite top as being very pink, I also remember that I would have been quite tanned from many weeks at the Italian Riviera, with my hair going very light.

All this helped a lot when I set out fixing the colours in this image. There was no other damage, no cracks or weirdness, so it was really just about getting the colours right.

Obviously, this process is much harder when I don’t have a memory about the occasion. When restorating the colours in clients’ images it requires sometimes a bit of emailing back and forth, to get the exact tinge of a dress, of a flower bouquet, of the hair.

But for now, this ‘pink me’ is all good again.

PinkMe


The Most Important Rule for Food Photography

During our Open Day visit at The Little Black Cow Farmstay a few months ago, we got to see, amongst many other wonderful things, an old butter churner. It was a funny coincidence, as I had already planned of making our own butter at home.
Every school holidays there are a few new recipes being tried out. Some stick with us forever and become family favourites, some remain a one off.
Ages ago I watched Matt Preston doing one of his cheat recipes on MasterChef and printed myself that recipe from their website: No Prove Bread with Butter and Raspberry Jam.
Well, jam is not exactly difficult and I make it regularly, I was more after the bread and the butter.
Bread making is lovely and a journey. For years and years I used to make our own baguette and it was just to die for. But bread making takes time and one cannot rush the proofing, and the kneading is a labour of love. I cannot do it when pressed for time or feeling hectic …. therefore it hasn’t happened in a long time.
This No Prove Bread was too easy, and absolutely wonderful. Not really a dense type of bread, more a Ciabatta, but oh so yum.
And we made our own butter. I don’t have one of those fancy kitchen machines, I still have a handheld mixer which has done me great service and I would never want to exchange it for anything else. Let’s just say it has personality.
Gotta love it when recipes are vague. Looking easy peasy in the video, the words only read ‘Mix until mixture splits’, and I think we almost got to the end of my poor handheld mixer. After looking at lovely thick, creamy, swirly waves of thickened cream and sourcream mixture for what seemed like ages, within half a second the whole gorgeousness turned into watery slush with bits in it, which was of course the butter.
We made garlic & herb butter out of it, that was to accompany our freshly made bread and the barbecued steaks that were sitting in their marinade.
It would have to be a strange person who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread, so we tested it with Nutella. Yum.
As it was evening and neither the right time nor the right light for an elaborate photo shoot, I had great plans of doing that the next day. Half a loaf of bread was meant to be left for that.
Unfortunately it grew legs. The teenager and the husband confessed. My apologies for their greed 🙂
And so I have discovered the most important rule for Food Photography: make sure there is enough food to take photos of

So all I can present you with are some measely shots from my phone. I was requested to make the bread again for a Sunday morning, so I have two more photos, minus the yummy butter.

Bread1

Bread3

Bread2