Snowdrop Possibilities

Yesterday I broke out the light box to take some pictures of some snowdrop flowers from our backyard. It was a fun little bit of time spent while Sprout was sleeping. The background of the first 3 shots is the lid from a cookie tin. As I spend more time taking pictures using the light box I am beginning to foresee new possibilities with it.

I posted my favourite shot over on my photoblog for yesterdays picture.

Overhead Beans

Highlights from a photo shoot I did at home today in my light box. I made some mods to the box to make it easier to work with. Today all I did was cut down the depth, so it was more square. This works much better now. Next time I will make some cutouts to recess the lights a little. I think I will also cut a top flap so I can take overhead shots too.

All pics are here. These are some coffee beans that I am sure to enjoy another day.

Photoblog Result

I started a new blog, a photoblog actually.

Something Erin pointed me at a while ago, and I have been thinking about on and off a little. When Jan 1 rolled around, I decided to take on Project 365 proposed by Photojojo. Photojojo itself is a cool site in that it proposes lots of neat and interesting things to do with your photography.

The premise behind Project 365 is that a photographer takes, and posts a picture a day. Originally I had thought about posting the pics here on muddylaces, but with the amount of traffic this project will entail, it will completely consume any other content I put up on muddylaces. The end result is an install of the latest Drupal release at This new blog will be dedicated to photography projects, and all other content I wish to publish will still get posted here.

Project 365 is definitely going to be a lot of work, but so far it is going well. A couple times so far I have taken the pics later at night than I would like, but that is OK. I plan to start taking a camera with me to work, and other places I go, and hopefully that will help me out. Lookout people!

Go check out!

2006 Photography in Review

Goodbye 2006, hello 2007. It is time for my annual New Years photography in review. In retrospect I didn’t take as many pictures as previous years. Actually, I did take a lot of pictures, but there were more snapshots and less creative photography, mainly due to the birth of my son which took up a lot of my free time. I am aiming to get back into the creative groove for 2007.

Without further adieu, here are my top shots, month by month, from 2006.

January Favourite
I took this shot out at Sooke Potholes while shooting with the photoclub. This shot was accomplished by having a long exposure and while the aperture was open, zooming in quickly. It looks like there is one shot superimposed over another, but this was done entirely in the camera.

February Favourite
Another shot while out with the photoclub. This time at the Esquimalt Roundhouse. I really like the lines in this shot, and how they all converge.

March Favourite
Such a dramatic contrast. Taken after a freak hailstorm blanketed our area under a half inch of ice, the freshly risen tulip looks like it is struggling under the weight. Tulips and ice are an odd combination.

April Favourite
I took this in my dining room. This flower was part of a bouquet. To achieve the spooky petals appearing from the dark, I underexposed at least 2 stops.

May Favourite
I caught this sight at the Highland Games near our house. This gentleman looked so serious and proud. Contrast that with the smiles in the background.

June Favourite
I set out at night to take some images of the midway that was in town for Buccaneer days. I saw several photographers out that night, and it was quite a nice night for shooting. As you can tell from the shot, and from the EXIF data, this was a long exposure.

July Favourite
This is absolutely my most favorite shot of my son to date. The seriousness on his face cracks me up since I remember how much he was splashing just moments before. The water drops on his cheek are evidence of that fun.

August Favourite
The start of Ironman 2006. I had two friends who did this race, so the start was something special. This shot shows a lot of drama. The starting gun has gone off, and some competitors have started their race, yet other have to wait for the crowd before them to get out of the way. A frantic pace, with people standing around.

September Favourite
So well camoflauged, yet this critter stood out so well. I spotted this guy while out walking Yoshi at Island View Beach.

October Favorite
Another planned shot that I loved the result of. This was shot in a pumpkin patch while out with the photoclub. I love the shading, and how well defined the water droplets are. The black and white suits this image perfectly.

November Favourite
I tried to captrue a snowstorm in Victoria. I didn’t get too many shots of the snow, and this one was just as it started falling. This was shot through my front door.

December Favourite
I got this composition at Macaulay Point park. I was walking Yoshi and we made our way to the beach. It was a drab day with high overcast skies. I spotted this vibrant green patch of weed amongst the burnt logs and driftwood.

Photography Frames

One geek photography topic I have been following for quite a long time is digital picture frames. I take a lot of pictures. Besides displaying them on my website(s), I’d like to see them at home. A perfect thing for this is a digital frame that cycles through a collection of pictures.

I have been keeping a collection of links to digital picture frames over on delicious. Here is my collection. I have felt that in the last few months there have been an increasing number of announcements of new frames. I finally feel that for the price of what you get, they are worth it. Some of the features are pretty cool too, but some are bad.

Watch out for the ones that require a subscription or an account on a server to download pictures from. Sadly these still exist and the problem lies with what happens to the company if they go under, or decide to exit the market? Also, you need to upload your pictures to their server, and for me there lies a problem with ownership of the file (forgetting that it takes time to upload somewhere then download to the frame).

K.I.S.S. I don’t want much in a frame, but I do want a good quality picture. The features I want in a frame are these:

  • AC or DC power
  • large and bright screen
  • internal memory
  • memory card capable

Not much there. Some of the other things cool features that I have seen:

  • wi-fi access to picture collections
  • rss reading of picture collections
  • video playback
  • remote control
  • motion sensor to disable the frame while noone is in the room

I hope to pick a digital picture frame up in the next few months. They have been a novelty for a while, but now I think I am at the point where I would find it useful.

Project Directions

Woke up this morning to the sounds of rain, and a feeling of being sick. Bad combination for photoclub. The shoot this morning (a pumpkin patch) was cancelled and I was left with a lot of time on my hands.

I decided to finally embark on the light box project. I headed out to Michaels to get some foam board and white masking tape, and left the store without the tape (no white). I zipped to Canadian Tire and grabbed a couple clamp lights, and some bulbs. Then it was assembly time.

I didn’t really follow the directions that I originally read, and in retrospect I should have. There are a couple tips in there about the size, and cutouts for the light clamps. Those are easy to retrofit. Also, once I get some white tape, I can mask off the inside seams. The final one is that I need more light in it. It is a little dark. I may also try getting different bulbs. The ones I got are still quite yellow, and I had to set a custom white balance before shooting.

Here is another tip for would-be DIY’ers. When you cut foam board, make sure the knife you use is very sharp, otherwise the cut will not be smooth.

Here is my end result:

Not bad for a couple hours of time (shopping included).

So, being a rainy day, having a freshly made light box, and having a camera waiting to take some pictures, what is a photographer to do?

Read on to see the pics.

Of course it was after I got the pictures onto my computer I saw all the dust marks. I will fix that before my next shoot. For now I don’t feel like trying to edit those out.

The best part is that now I have a place to shoot when it isn’t so nice outside. This will be an insteresting creativity experiment too.

Ocean Sunrises

While in Nanaimo for Thanksgiving I happened to catch a wonderful sunrise. My mom had an amazing ocean view, and the sunrises can be spectacular. These shots were all taken within a few moments of one another. It always amazes me how quickly the light can change, and how that can affect a picture.

I wanted to take the pictures, but I was too lazy to go get my shoes and jacket on. It was quite nippy outside, and the deck was wet. Instead I stayed inside and shot through the glass. I can see a few artifacts of this (no polarizer either), but that is what I get for being lazy.

For this last shot I used the timer function to ensure I wasn’t in the shot.

Offloaded Erasing

:grr: Don’t you hate it when you format your camera’s card before realizing that the pics that were on it hadn’t been offloaded yet?

Don’t you also hate it when you realize this after you have already taken a bunch more pictures on the card forever permanently erasing the pictures in question?

I tried using Image Rescue 2 by Lexmark to recover what was on the card, but no luck. The pics are gone. I took enough pics to forever lose the accidentally erased ones.