Our Brisbane photoshoot …

Sunday saw a bunch of us from our Grafix club venture into Brisbane for a photoshoot. Some grungy graffiti would be great, old warehouses or allies also on our list but generally we’d out on a recce to spot some good places to return …ideally we should be in the city for early morning street cleaners or later in the evening for the lights but hey! The idea is to gain some experience & knowledge of street photography!

Travelling from Glass House we met at Caboolture for the 8am train. Weather for the day is gloriously sunny.

Some of us don’t travel PT regularly, if at all, so just getting our train ticket was an exercise in itself!!! Speaking for myself over the 5 years I have been in Qld I have only braved the Qld trains once. Rocking up to the ticket window my request for a “return to city please”‘ was met with a “sorry we don’t do return tickets” …  uh???  Over the past few years Trans Link has introduced a new system  … Go card & not being regular users of PT we knew squat about this system but hey no problems the ticket master was about to enlighten us! It was after all his duty to sell us the Go Card!

Listening to his spiel & attempting to absorb it all we got the gist that, indeed, it was going to save us money which in my book was good. For the next 20/30 mins (just as well we arrived early) we were ‘entertained’ by this fellow … his jovial, appealing manner was just what was needed to  explain the whole process … he went out of his way to answer all our question & to make darn sure this group of – dare I say ‘befuddled’ ladies- understood just how to use the card & the pitfalls we should avoid.

Go cards swiped & all our new found knowledge filed away somewhere to be retrieved when required we headed off for the train … hopefully we put a smile on M’s face  as he certainly had us chuckling :D

At this stage we had no definite plan of attack however by the time we arrived at Roma Street station all was sorted we had the makings of a plan … we would split in 2 – some went straight into the city whilst the rest of us visited the Roma Street Parklands … all to meet up at Southbank for morning tea … sounded like a good start to our day!

I was part of the 3 who went to the parklands …we were very lucky to catch many of the plants showing off some brilliant colour a very pleasant surprise amongst the drab tones of the city buildings. I had not been here before & was suitably impressed. From the gardens we could either walk to Southbank … a long walk … or hop a bus & with our new Go card we could do that at no extra cost provided we moved on within an hour! With this in mind we used the hour to look over the gardens & see if it was worth a full day’s return visit … & yes it definitely is … there is a nice looking eatery for coffee & lunch!

Our hour up we searched out a bus … too easy one was right there so we boarded & headed for Southbank … getting the hang of this Go card!

Southbank is still in repair mode from 2010 floods & we felt there wasn’t much here today that was of interest to us. There’d been no call from the others so we wandered around for a bit. Time for a  lens change & whilst stopping I pulled my phone out to check & whoops there was a text message along with a missed call! The others had arrived at the Art Gallery & not particularly interested in Southbank so we made our way there to meet for coffee. More people around now & the day has warmed up somewhat … a glorious winters day … well warmer than a winters day more like spring which is only round the corner!

After a couple more phone calls miss directions & directions we finally meet up & by now thirsty & hungry … it’s almost lunch time … we catch up & enjoy coffee & lunch.

Our group has grown as we are joined by three more … after a chat & all refreshed we split up again & go on our way. Our group head on into the city for a wander & look see. As in most cities there are many interesting buildings such a shame we are losing so many through neglect! We wander the streets clicking away … there’ll be a lot of perspective issues with this lot:) … buildings on a lean … a tilt shift lens would be great!!!!

With our feet telling us it’s time we make our way to the station for the train home.

A very enjoyable day was had by all … will be added to the growing list of places to be explored again … maybe a weekend so we are ready for the early morning activities – no people only garbage trucks & road cleaners & the evening lights!

Cheers, Annette ;)

Brissy Compo

My new toy …

Well after months & months of wishing & hoping I now have my new toy … no its not any spanking new camera lens – I wish – or a medium format camera – wish again not much on my wish list ha ha ha  … but a toy that will save me sooooo much time & whole lot less grrrr’s, argrrrs, no’s!!!! & frustration!

I set my local PC man a task with a list of my ‘needs’ & budget for a new PC. He went about it with much gusto as he does & came up with a solution to which I took purchase of Friday. Mind you I had to prize it away from him he was so impressed with it’s speed!!!! :wink:

From the minute I turn on the power the system is up & running before I sit down no waiting, no more thinking ‘while that’s waking up I can do this this or that’ … that may change as over time I’ll no doubt clog it up, but while it’s new & clean I can enjoy :)

Won’t go into all the techy details as that is the other side of the fence for me. But needless to say it is 64bit & I now have 8 x more memory & have the option to grow more – twice as much more! Now all this new grunt power can be either good or bad – the bad or negative is it means I now have to set my alarm to get off my butt & move around – some chores will be relegated to ‘later’ as before I could do then in between recoveries!! the good – well where do I begin: my coffee intake will drop  (don’t have to walk away when things go slow), less wasted time retrieving programmes from their walkabout, fewer versions of the same file (I found I was having to save a file part way through flatten that new one & continue with my edits – in the end I could have 2-3 copies of the same file my PC couldn’t save once I got to intensive layer work) the new auto recovery has been a blessing & saved me oh so much time hopefully I won’t be needing that quite as often! Cross my fingers I won’t see that dreaded ‘not enough RAM’ message quite so often … if at all but that’s asking a lot! Then there are the simple tasks: I can now use a brush larger than 900px & quick selection works – yes:) I can also allocate a ton of RAM to PS & I can use the adjustment brush in LR with no lagging … so much more.

I can now be scanning slides & continue working on other files … finally my 100000’s of slides & 100000000’s of negatives may just see the light of day … at least take their first step & get to the PC with the chance of being put to paper:)

Wow has it all come down to this … it is so sad to be over excited with a toy that chains one to a chair!!!! :-?

My new PC came clean … only the OPS no added extras … it’s amazing what we get used to with a system bought from the shop pre-installed with so much garbage we don’t use or need. I can install what I want no excuse for a scrappy system … who said that ;)

More time for creating not waiting!

Cheers Ian :)

Add odds …

Taking time out to look back over what has taken control of my time over the past couple of weeks.

Replaying it in my mind yet again I find I have covered some old but new territory … when I say old I go back to the days I was involved in producing a newsletter … since then the software –  understandably – has migrated through several updates … hence the new territory!

I recently attended a CS6 Road Show where I was blown away with all the new development in the aptly named ‘Responsive Design’ arena. Accessing the internet over the new mobile devices means design now must be adaptable to fit the different screen sizes. Ideally creating these flexible designs should be achievable with the minimum of fuss … namely designing one website/page/doc that ‘resizes’ to fit across all mobile devices. Enter the fluid/liquid layout. Yes I know liquid layout has been around for years but now designers can easily design one to fit all … so to speak! Awesome. Interactivity & animation have also been given a complete overhaul & now soooo much easier to create especially for those of us who are logically challenged where code is way out there in the land of … dare I say … geeks … I’m speaking about myself here! I have designed our own websites so I do have minimal HTML & CSS knowledge but as I said very minimal & very basic so to me it all presents an exciting challenge to think that maybe just maybe I can now create something above basic on my sites … a lot of these smarts can now be done in HTML5 & CSS3 … wahooooo !!! If you attended the road show for inspiration it was there for the taking … a designer with ideas constantly flashing through their mind here was brain overload … there was so much inspirational ‘stuff’ demonstrated & I didn’t even get to the video presentations where I believe there is more awesome new developments! The guys made it look so easy of course & no doubt it is if you know which button to click … guess that’s part of their sell!

Back home & is this timing or what? We have been presented a project … just the excuse I needed to delve into In Design & check out all … well some … of the new smarts. We did & so with that completed are looking to do some more creative work.

I have probably given myself several months work as I now want to adapt Adventuredefender  & my photographic site  so they are easily viewed over tablet, mobile & laptop. Maybe I can redo our journals … display them as a booklet/magazine add some interactivity even videos … the possibilities are endless … only limited by my imagination & my ability to come to grips with the new capabilities the software offer! Image galleries hummm I’m not quite sure how they will be viewed on a phone … will need to do some research on those!

There is oh so much to learn just with these new devices alone. I need to figure out – how to turn it on, find the settings to set it up so it stays on longer than 2secs, email from it, take photos with it, work out what app does what & do I need it, then after all that sync the devices … what …  & just where did that file go to? !!!!! That may just take the rest of my days! Not to mention keeping abreast with all the updates – both device & software – to run everything I need, to do all I need to do. Also up there is the ever need to backup all that I’ve spent my time on creating … I have to learn & understand a new backup regime for our highly prized fine art images.

Talk about a Technological explosion   Arrrrrrrrrggggggg!!!!!

In the mean time my little herb garden is being strangled with the dreaded ‘farmers friends’, these Olympic games have encroached on my reading time & I wouldn’t be surprised if my worms had left home to seek out someone who loves them!!!!

Upon reflection I begin to wonder why I feel the need, why I feel I must understand all this new fandangled technology & then on top of that dream up a practical, useful use for it! Why do I think I need x number of devices that all do pretty much the same thing? After all we’re currently going through the ‘we must have this device to survive’ period so what I learn today is updated tomorrow … my brain doesn’t work that fast & is that how I want to spend my precious time?  Why am I trying to conquer the world in my late years when all I want to do is travel our vast beautiful country & capture some unbelievable images?  Then of course there is the flip side to my debate … a completely different direction to my thought process & that is that we are producing by far way too much ‘stuff’ & have been for years … far outstripping our resources. There are so many of the same shop which in turn are filled with rack upon rack of exactly the same ‘stuff’ … they cannot keep pace with all the new gear … & where is all the old stock going??????? But as I say that is another debate!

Meanwhile I shall plod on with my tasks & dream of the time we’ll be cruising the outback roads soaking up visions of our amazing Oz …

When Time Stood Still …

This week our Beerwah Grafx monthly challenge is to capture ‘When Time Stood Still’ through the camera. I though I must have a couple of these in my collection somewhere!  I set about going through my images & yep I found several that would work. Haven’t done too much PS work in the last few weeks been concentrating on the glass negatives I had been given to scan & restore for a book.

As it turned out my biggest challenge was holding check to my patience & gently handling my old faithful PC through editing my large raw files. Spent a lot of time sitting on my hands or just walking away from the screen. I didn’t have to carry out too many steps in either of my programmes before I found I was pushing them too far … many times PS threw it’s hands up & went walkabout resulting in several restarts!!! Got to say though with all the amazing new enhancements in CS6 my favourite right now is the new option to save every 5-10 mins … the recovery … can’t count the number of hours those recovered files have saved me … thank you Adobe.

Here are a couple of edits!

Online follow up on my restoration thoughts

Well well it’s all up there you just have to search … I followed up my thoughts on restoring old photos by carrying out some online research … surprise surprise I found just what I was looking for. Don’t you just hate it when someone takes your thoughts & puts them into words you had in mind but just couldn’t get streamed logically!!! :-) No really this guy puts my question out there … mind you he has had several more years of experience than I!

To restore an image or not?

More on retouching / restoring old photos

This photo restoration has got me thinking … hummmm … & the more I think about it whilst looking at family photos the more my thoughts turn to; does this photo really need restoring? will my attempts do justice to the photo? how much will my edits alter the look & character of the photo?

I don’t have an issue with marks on photos that have appeared due to wear & tear … I don’t feel the need to ‘clean’ them all off. None of our family photos have been stored in controlled atmospheric conditions so no doubt I will find ‘ageing’ marks on many of them – such as mould, stains or, as in the case with slides, some sort of colour degradation … unfortunately a regrettable part of the ageing process if the photo hasn’t been kept in a controlled atmosphere! Creases & torn corners … possibly tagged under wear & tear!  Sticky tape … ummmm that amazing discovery way back when … this unfortunately leaves an ugly residue & to me needs some thought … but then again it is part of history!! I know there are some really cleaver people out there continually working on new developments to make software extremely cleaver but I feel it is still very difficult – if nigh impossible – to retain the texture of the paper & the granulated look of film through cloning & spot healing!

So as I scan in a photo & look at it I am faced with that first thought … does the photo need any restoration? If the answer to that is yes then my next thoughts/questions to myself are where do I begin & how far do I go? Again this is all personal. The final ‘output’ of the photo … whether it be put to multiple uses or for printing alone are all points to take into consideration! Of course if you are restoring for someone else then you must follow their wishes … maybe with a little guidance along the way … if they will accept it!!!!:)

If I do decide to do some work on the photo I will always duplicate the image & work on a copy … retaining the original scan as a record – untouched. Which then introduces the twist … this edited image is now a different image to the original!!!!!

There must be some protocol out there … must search online & find some thoughts from the pros!!!!

Cheers for now … Annette.

Retouching old negatives

This week has seen me doing something new with images … scanning old glass negatives & retouching them slightly. Although I have many old family photos to scan & edit I haven’t gotten round to it as yet.

However recently I was very fortunate to be able to offer my services & scan some old glass negatives for a friend producing her family book.

The negatives were very old & to my untrained eye looked in remarkable condition. This turned out to be true as after scanning them I found very few major blemishes on the main subject. Most of the degradation was around the edges … but that seem to create an interesting effect as a border. Must add here that the scanning process in itself takes some time as each negative took at least 30 mins & some longer!! I scanned each at 2400dpi.

Having done very little of this work, & only then on the odd image, this presented a new challenge for me … so once they were all scanned I began my work.

Not knowing really where to begin my tool or tools of choice were the clone & the spot heal tool in PS & as, like I said, the images were remarkably ‘clean’ that technique has worked out well for me so far. The new PS has some great new air brushes so I will experiment with those a little down the track & see what effect they produce.

I love manipulating my images to produce the look I’m happy with but this is something different … still subjective I need to be careful!

When cleaning up old family photos I guess a couple of thoughts go through my mind … how to get a clear image & how to retain the character & look of the era.

In the final result I want to be able look at the photo & see the person or the subject clearly but also feel the ‘character’ of that old image. It goes without saying that the subject is the main focal point & should be kept in context as much as possible & cleaning this area is important. However I also feel that retaining the ‘atmosphere’ those images portray is very important. To me cleaning every single solitary speck off the image is going too far … preserving the feel & texture of the paper without ‘flattening’ it helps show depth & gives the picture character. You can smooth out too much & totally loose the whole feel to the photo … brush lightly!

As I said these negatives were pretty clean but I have seen some double exposed or very damaged they could be very challenging … much to learn!

Can’t post any images up as yet as they are not mine … when I work on mine I will put some up!

Volunteering …

I am but one of several volunteers here at the Beerwah library who give tutorials to locals on anything to do with computers, mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, camera to name just a few … at least anything we are up to speed with. To many in our area all this new technology can be both intimidating &‘frightening’ & the pressing feeling of the need to have such a device that allows then to remain in contact with friends, family & grandchildren pushes them to a purchase. After taking that first step, often a huge confusing step, they then need to know how to use ‘it’.

That is where our library comes to the fore. Both staff & volunteers set time aside to offer group tutorials or one on one tutorials for such learning. Usually these tutorials cover pretty basic stuff to help get them up & going with their new gadget. Occasionally someone will throw in a curly challenge covering a new area to us … this is good for it keeps us learning as well!! We have a variety of requests; from those who know nothing at all of what their new device does, those who just need the basics to get them started, those with a problem that has had them frustrated & floundering & those who need a little more. Most of the time it’s the basics & if there are any issues usually there is an easy fix & they leave happy. If we can point them to some extra tutorials on the internet all the better. We know they are well on their way & we’ve done our bit if we don’t see them again for a while … then sometimes they return down the track with their next step!

I find it incredibly satisfying when I see eyes light up & my ‘pupil’ go away with the ability to communicate easily again … especially with their grandchildren … wondrous. However it does scare me big time when I see how some of these folk use the internet! … teaching internet safety is a major must! Today I have a lady for basic computing.

Grafix Club Outline demo

This week in our grafix group two of use are demonstrating line drawing. My demo will be how to add an outline effect to an image & if time show how to quickly add a sketch effect. These are the results good fun to play with.

My blog beginnings …

Blogging … yes well … to blog or not to blog that is the question my dear grey bits … & if one does decide to blog the next major question is what does one blog about? I have been pondering both these questions for some time now … not being of the writer genre I don’t have any idea why I wish to begin, but from the onset, for some reason, I thought blogging was a neat idea & something that possibly I could get into if I could just settle on a topic!!!!

Bingo … lying in bed one Sunday morning I suddenly remembered, as you do, that I had forgotten to go somewhere the previous Tues … a local meeting I had, had every intention of attending. Whilst replaying the previous days over in my mind attempting to bring to the fore what I could possibly have been doing to forget said meeting another thought crept in … I thought hummm this is not good my days all blend into one here, there appears to be no delineation between them.

What to do me thinks? Would writing down what I do each day help me keep a more visual picture of my doings & goings? Well maybe not writing down everything every day but you know! I know there are calendars & diaries & yes I have a calendar & I use it … obviously not that day! … but no I don’t write a diary never been one for that. The light bulb … that’s it, I say to myself, that could be the basis of my blog … I have a website which at present needs revamping so that will be it … yes!

We all shrug our shoulders & glibly talk about how as we get older the time just flies by … the days, weeks & months morph into one long span of what … time? !!! Right now my minutes become hours, hours become days & the days become years … woooow what happened in between … just where does my time go!!! . … surely I must be doing something with this precious commodity … I appreciate the fact my time is not always filled with practical useful stuff but there must be some positive achievements there somewhere?! Now I’m not worried that I don’t achieve anything productive or positive I know I do it’s just it would be nice to be able to sit at the end of the week & say OK that’s what I have done this week.

Well beginning now June 17th 2012 I will make a concerted effort to ‘journal’ my time.

Writing on the computer is probably best as I can hear my parents groaning at my penmanship as being totally illegible … that I must agree with … the advent of the computer has meant putting pen to paper became a distance memory & my once legible writing is well simply illegible!

It’s true when I say I have never written up & kept a diary … that is until recently.

When we purchased our first 4wd 2008 we decided to design a website written round the modifications carried out on our proud new possession  truck … dubbed our ‘AdventureDefender’ … I then went a step further & decided to write journals around our travels … not quite sure why maybe so we have some written memories & photographs to read & peruse in our quiet years … & perhaps also just maybe our children or grandchildren will be interested some time in their future to read about their Mum & Dad’s or Grandparents’ adventures around Oz! Guess you could say those travel journals were the beginnings of my ‘diary’ writing & in some ways could be an attempt at early blogging minus the online comments!

There’s no doubt untold millions of blogging diaries out there & what I am adding is perhaps but another … none the less I am thinking maybe it’s not such a bad idea. In broadening my writing to include my daily, weekly & monthly comings & goings I’m attempting to put some focus back onto my days & allow me to keep track of what I actually do with my time … productive or not … help produce a visual account that will allow me to look back & say OK that’s what I did then & oh OK that day was a day for reading or oh that’s when I created that image … show me that my time is not one huge chunk of ‘empty space’. Writing regularly serves another purpose … learning a new task … writing … should help keep my brain active & push back the possible onset of the feared days of a mushy brain :)

Don’t get me wrong I’m not worried about getting older I have no control of that but I do have control of how I fill my time. At present a good deal of my time is taken up on the computer learning about photography; how to use my editing programs to create some fine art photography from our images; transcribing our journals from the illegible scratchings written taken along the road of our journeys & not to forget keeping our websites up to date. I also love reading … that includes books on photography, families / women who have carved a life living in our Australian outback, who done it physiological thrillers. Often as not I have some music playing … what it is depends on what I’m doing at the time.

My ideal vision of just how to fill my days … apart from the usual needs of seeing & staying in contact with family, many of whom I unfortunately do not see … is to travel & explore our amazing, vast country Ozz. To live out there & experience such diverse climates that ravage our desert, coast, mountains & forests … to spot some of our unique native wildlife  … & to do all this with my life long partner right there beside me is my ultimate dream. As I say growing old as such doesn’t worry me but keeping my mind & body active & healthy  trying to make each day count is I’d say very important.

So there I’ve begun my first blog …