Category Archives: Composition

Q is for quadrilateral

Q is for quadrilateral. Lots of quadrilaterals in this case. Although technically the curve on the slats of the airconditioning vent make them something other than quadrilaterals. We will just pretend they are straight.



Photography: Editing skintone, first attempt!

This is my first attempt at altering skintone in Photoshop.

I found a photo of my son taken when he was first born. It’s just a point and click, but I love it. Probably because it evokes so many memories. Tiny fingers and toes, sleepy faces, so delicate and struggling to learn a new way of living. I feel like I want to protect that newborn baby even though he is now 10 months old and much more rough and tumble! Such a fleeting time in our lives, I am glad it was captured to remember with clarity forever.

I thought since I am trying out ways to edit photos in Photoshop that I would see if i could improve the skintone in the original photo. I used a tutorial I found here.

I found it fairly complicated and I bumbled my way through. I think the results are OK. I will have to go over it several times so that I understand more about what I am actually doing. I think only then will I be able to do it with any confidence.

Here is the final result. Hopefully you can see a difference! I could, but I put them next to each other the same size to check.

O is for orange

O has to be for orange doesn’t it?! I just happened to be standing near our fruit bowl while I was pondering today’s photo. I decided ‘something’ wanted me to photograph the obvious. I guess there is a challenge in that too. How to photograph objects considered not very interesting in interesting ways.

Anyway, here are my oranges. I think there is some sort of harmony here, it makes my eyes happy. That’s my general test, heheh.


Might go and eat my photo.

Photography: Instagram

I don’t use Instagram as much as some people, but if I’m messing around for fun I do post some photos. Its usually ones that weren’t good enough and I hope that the filters will help somehow. The results are varied. I thought these turned out fairly well.


Industrial warehouses at the docks at Largs Bay.


The Pub at Largs Bay has really interesting architecture, especially for a Pub?!


You can find the images here via Instagram.

Photography: What do people like to look at?

I love images.

I see shapes, colours and light and the combination makes my brain sing happy tunes.

Good composition makes them all come together like a symphony. I can look at a photo of anything and as long as the combination is right I like it.Case and point: I love this photo of…hay. Yup, I love it. Thanks very much David Webb for thinking to photograph it!

While my favourite subjects will always be my family, I loved yesterday’s adventure to the docks and photographing industrial buildings. I also love taking photos of wildlife, although I confess I find that difficult with my iphone. A zoom would be really useful sometimes, as would a camera with a fast shutter speed. I equally love taking close up photos. I have a real enthusiasm for taking a normal object and trying to make it into an abstract artwork.

I wonder whether I am in the minority though? I suppose most people like to look at photos of people they are emotionally attached to, but I am interested in the other photos.

Do people like to look at photos of people they DON’T know? nature? animals? machinery?

I’d love to hear your thoughts? What do you love to see and why?

Do I need to be carrying an extendable ladder in my handbag?…seriously!

I was out driving again. I drove down a road through some farming country and there was a whopping, great tractor ploughing (or what ever it was actually doing?!) a field. Great shot! I pulled over the car which woke up the kids (damn it, predictable!) grabbed my iphone and tried to see the vision in my head through the phone screen…nope.

I was not high enough. It started me looking. I have been known to climb hills, trees or whatever else is around to get the right angle. I have been heckled by men drinking beer while I have been balancing on my husband’s shoulders to get that angle. By the side of the road in the middle of nowhere there was no climbing to be done.

So my question is this,

Do photographers carry a ladder with them?

It may or may not sound ridiculous to the photographers amongst us, but I would love to know what people do to get the right angle?!

Now I will have to dream of that tractor and it will haunt me until I get another equally good shot of a tractor. If I had just had a ladder I could¬† be haunted by something more interesting…like sea views….. or chocolate cake.

Photography: musings from the mangrove mud

I have had a reasonably interesting past week. I went to the zoo and then on the weekend our family went to the Mangrove boardwalk for an excursion. E who is two, loved it. His father is a science primary school teacher and so it ended up in a science lesson! E took ages walking along the boardwalk throwing the seeds that had fallen on the boardwalk into the mangrove mud to make a new tree.

The mangrove roots stick out of the mud to get air to the trees in high tide.

Strong midday light and extraordinary mangroves with lots of detailed branches made it hard to get a good shot of the boardwalk.

One of the mangrove seeds E was so fascinated by. It is a shame my iphone thought it knew better than me and refused to focus on the seed, instead choosing the plank of wood behind. Interesting choice iphone.

You know I got artsy. I liked the shape and contrast of this corner of the boardwalk.

My husband noticed this. I knew I married him for a reason! haha I love that he always keeps an eye out for anything that looks interesting and they are often good too.

The steep decent from the lookout above the canopy.

Explorers R & E.

Playing with filters. I took this photo of R while walking along and I knew he wouldn’t like it, so it got death by filter!

The Marina near the entrance of the boardwalk. After waking up to rain and fog it turned into a beautiful day!

I found a still life on the way in. I love the colours. I was talking about harmony in a post about composition using colour throughout to bind the areas together. The yellow tones in the wood are repeated in the paint and the water in the terracota pot.

I even found interest in the junk on the side of the track.

Oh man!!! YES! I photographed the drain in the bathroom! I thought it looked interesting and actually said a lot about the bathroom. There was NO LIGHT in the bathroom. An unattended place, it was pitch black on the inside except for the light that came in under the crack under the door. Fortunately, being a mother feeding a baby, I am expert at moving around in the dark. And I liked the shadows.

Poor little guy had to spend his time in the stoller again. He is way too curious and mobile for a boardwalk with a drop off into mangrove mud!

I am…wishing everyday was excursion day!

Studies in Composition: translating the work of the masters of art into photography

We can feel if a photo is “right”. I’m talking about composition. If something is off you can tell, but sometimes it is hard to figure out exactly what has gone wrong. For this reason while I am trying to teach myself about photography I have been thinking actively about composition in the hope that when I take a photo instinctively, the work I have done thinking about composition will rub off and magically appear in my photos! Ha!

When I think of composition I confess it’s art that comes to mind. Probably a throw back to high school. Nice to know something stuck.

So I decided to do a bit of research into composition in artwork thinking that if the Masters of Art couldn’t help me out, noone could.

Here is what I learned (very briefly).

Rhythm, Balance & Unity.

Rhythm helps to lead the eye around the image using the repetition of shape and/or space. ‘Dynamic’ varies it up while retaining balance (a bit more quirky) and ‘controlled’ is more evenly spaced (more traditional or classical). Too hard for me to explain well, here is a link that shows some good examples in existing works of art.

Balance gives a sense of equilibrium to the image. It can be symmetrical (we know what that means)¬† or asymmetrical where although the objects on opposing sides are different, their visual ‘weight’ combines to give a balanced feel. There are many ways to achieve balance using the obvious like shape and colour or less obvious by contrasting areas of activity with areas of space. Van Gogh gives a basic example of using colour to create balance in his image of shoes, here. If you cover the orange tongue of the shoe on the right the image becomes unbalanced.

Unity creates a link between different areas within an image. Colour is an obvious way to achieve this, but any repeat would so the same. Texture, exposure, the list would be endless. While looking for examples of Cezanne still life images I stumbled upon this blog post, check it.

This is not my information. I first learned about it here. Then did some more digging. I suspect I could spend years on this alone. I will try not to, I should really pick up some toys and do the dishes.

Now I just need some time to try out the practical application for this information.