Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Photography - Still Life and Shaping

Light, Shadow, Shape

Natural light helps shape the image as does the shaded areas. Each pear reacts differently to the highlighting. Still life studies have been used by many artists to make an object appear three dimensional in a two dimensional representation (a sketch or painting).

Natural light coming from the side:

Pears, a study in light by DG Hudson, Image 1

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Looking from above, we see how the trio of pears vary individually in their response to light, shadow, and the reflection in the window. We see colour in the objects but the reflections show mostly green, like a ghost image.

Lighting from side reveals details on top of object:


Pears and Natural  Lighting - by DG Hudson, Image 2

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Pears in sunlight. Bartlett Pears. The shading and light which define an object are easy to see. Keep this in mind when photographing any subject. What will be in shadow and what will be in bright light? When the object has light behind it (back-lighting) you may need to use another light source to fill the main subject. In daylight this is occasionally needed.


Extreme closeup of whole objects
Light comes from side and above


Pears, Close-Up with Lighting by DG Hudson, Image 3



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Do you search for objects or location images to photograph? Are you a fast photographer just trying to capture a moment in time, or are you trying to satisfy an artistic urge? Do you take photos with a camera or with your smartphone, or a device other than a camera?

Reality: most people nearly always have their phone in hand, but not a camera. . .

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Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by, posts are updated as time permits.  These posts about photography are to help those who like taking images but need a few basics about the composition, lighting and placement of objects, location and various subjects. 

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Memories - Summer Beaches

As August draws to a close and the leaves begin to take on a bit of colour. . .

I thought of beaches, since I'm always drawn to water sources, whether river, ocean or lakes, but oceans are my favourites. These images are from my archives. I may have been inspired by a program I saw on the effects of global warming  and how that will affect our oceans. 

What is it about a beach that draws us to it? Is it the sand, or is it the water,with its power of the ocean, and the calmness of the inlets? Is it the sound the wave makes as it slaps the sand and then withdraws, gathering itself for another attempt?

Whether you are familiar with east coast or west coast beaches, island beaches, European beaches, there's something about the salty air and the continuous rushing of the waves that invigorates or relaxes, depending on what you do while at the beach.

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Daytona Beach, Florida, has been popular for decades as it was one beach where auto races used to take place. Cars can still drive on certain areas of the beach.  There is a retro boardwalk here as well, which is at the other end of the beach. 


Daytona Beach, Fla. and Retro Hotels, by DG Hudson
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A city beach, this one is English Bay in Vancouver. The Pacific Northwest has rockier beaches, and there are always logs washed up which are recycled into usefulness on our beaches. We use them to sit on, to put our gear on and to lean against . . .




Vancouver's English Bay near Seawall by DG Hudson

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These are some of the beached logs of the driftwood type, seasoned by the waters of English Bay and beyond. . .Vancouver, BC


English Bay Beach, ft of Denman, Vancouver, by DG Hudson

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On the Dry Tortugas, an island park 70 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida, a beach where nothing can be taken as a souvenir, as this is the site of Ft. Jefferson, dating from the 1800s. It has been declared a natural preserve and national park site. You get there via boat, or catamaran.

Dry Tortugas Beach (off Key West Fla) by DG Hudson

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St. Augustine, Florida, one of the oldest settlements in Florida boasts a lighthouse and gorgeous white sand beaches to highlight the quaint town and its fort made of sea shell walls.

St Augustine, Fla. Beach by DG Hudson

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What beaches do you remember? Did you visit any beaches this summer? Are you sad that summer is winding down?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by. Apologies for the sparse posts, due to time restraints. 

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References and other related posts:



http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2013/06/the-tide-that-pulls-east-coast-florida.html

Key West, Florida
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/08/key-west-florida-vacation-to-remember.html

Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas
http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2014/07/history-fort-jefferson-and-dry-tortugas.html

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memories - The Cliff House in San Francisco

Looking out over the Pacific Ocean in California, since the late 1800s, a sentinel stands. . .

The Cliff House in San Francisco, CA, late 1970s, by D G Hudson

The Cliff House is a restaurant perched on the cliffs just north of Ocean Beach on the western side of San Francisco, California. It is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Don't miss the room-sized camera obscura* on the terrace of the Cliff House.

This location embodies the essence of the west coast - the ocean splashing at the shore, sea lions which sun themselves on the rocks below, and great fresh seafood dishes. I ordered Bouillabaisse. The Cliff House looks different now. So does the beach. Nature likes to change the shore with the help of storms and erosion. We were there on one of our trips to San Francisco, California.

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History of the Cliff House in San Francisco

The first Cliff House, built in 1863 was modest. Presidents and prominent Frisco families would drive carriages out to Ocean Beach. When high society abandoned the Cliff House, it remained a favourite of the tourists and other locals, but it also became known for scandalous behaviour of a sort not divulged. . . (a lot of things might have been scandalous in those days)

Adolph Sutro, a local millionaire, philanthropist and later, mayor of San Francisco, lived on his estate at Sutro Heights overlooking the Cliff House.  He didn't like what had happened to a once venerable establishment, so he bought the property in 1883 and leased it to someone who could bring it back up to standard and bring back the local families. That also meant to clean out the riff-raff who had slipped in through the cracks.

The site seemed doomed when a dynamite explosion occurred, triggered by the schooner, Parallel, which ran aground on January 16, 1887, severely damaging the Cliff House. A chimney fire in 1894 destroyed the recently refurbished property. In 1896, Sutro had the Cliff House rebuilt in the French Chateau style with eight stories, four spires and an observation tower 200 feet above sea level. It wasn't a hotel, but an establishment for elegant dining, dancing and entertainment.



The Cliff House, French Chateau style, c. 1900, PD


In June 1907, the Cliff House was leased and remodeled again by a group of investors.  On September 7, 1907, just prior to reopening, the most beloved of all the Cliff Houses burned to its foundation. This exquisite building had survived the 1906 earthquake only to succumb to a raging fire that destroyed it in less than two hours. 

The Cliff House refused to give up. . . as did its investors.

Once again, the Cliff House was rebuilt in a neoclassical design at a cost of $75,000.  This third, more modest version of the Cliff House reopened on July 1, 1909. In 1918, military orders signed by the President of the United States shut down the Cliff House once again. The order stated, ". . . all establishments within a half mile of military installations are to halt the sale of liquor."

Then came PROHIBITION, the death knell for liquor establishments. So, in 1925, when a 'dry' Cliff House lacked its previous draw, its owner at that time shut down all operations. In August 1938, a remodeled restaurant reopened. The site became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1977.



The Seawall and Steps Leading to Ocean Beach, c. mid 1970s, by DG Hudson


The steps shown in the image above may have been built in the 1920s, but I couldn't find any current information showing them now.  The initial purpose was for a seawall with steps for low tide to help prevent the power of erosion. In the 1970s when they were still intact, beach goers used to sun themselves on the wide steps.

With many storms, and the continual beating of the waves, erosion may have caused them to crumble into ruin, beaten by the mighty Pacific Ocean. If anyone living in the San Francisco area remembers them or knows what happened, please leave a comment to enlighten us. In the photo above, you can tell the size of the steps when compared to a human figure which is sitting on the top edge of the wall.

From the 1940s (first image below) and 2009 (lower image)



1940s Cliff House and 2009 version, PD


The 21st Century Cliff House

Perched on spectacular cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Cliff House stands as one of the jewels of the San Francisco's Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Extensive renovations to the 1909 building restored the Cliff House to its original neoclassical architecture. Some of the photographs which can be seen in the restaurant show the history of the site and more than 200 autographed photos of dignitaries and movie stars who have visited this landmark.

As if to confirm that history, renovations have uncovered a marble staircase and part of the original carriage road from 1914. This is now a walkway around the property. The world famous Cliff House should not be missed if you visit San Francisco. 

Two restaurants are featured at the Cliff House, the casual dining Bistro Restaurant and the more formal Sutro's. The Terrace Room serves a Sunday Brunch buffet. There is a gift shop with historic memorabilia and the intriguing camera obscura* on the deck overlooking the ocean.


Interesting Notes :

More than thirty ships have been pounded to pieces on the southern shore of the Golden Gate below the Cliff House. (per Wiki)

The area immediately around the Cliff House is part of the setting of Jack London's novel, The Scarlet Plague (1912). Jack London also sets the meeting of Maud Sangster and Pat Glendon Jr. here in The Abysmal Brute (1913).

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Have you heard of The Cliff House in San Francisco or visited there? Do you know what happened to the old wide steps by the seawall that led down to on Ocean Beach? Do you like San Francisco?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond.  Thanks for visiting!
BTW, 'Frisco is one of my favourite cities, and very much like Vancouver, BC.

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References:


Cliff House Wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_House,_San_Francisco

Cliff House History
http://cliffhouse1.reachlocal.net/history/index.html 

History of coastal erosion at Ocean Beach
*Camera Obscura: a small round building with a rotating angled mirror at the apex of the roof projecting an image of the landscape onto a horizontal surface inside. (also: a darkened boc with a convex lens or aperture for projecting the image of an external object onto a screen inside.) 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_obscura

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Image Credits

Two images of the Cliff House in the 1970s by DG Hudson, and property of DG Hudson.


1900 Cliff House Image

One of the most reproduced Cliff House photographs, it depct the Cliff House around 1900 illuminated by a looming thunderstorm. Image attributed to T. Imai.
http://www.cliffhouseproject.com/photos/storm/storm.htm

This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.

1940 / 2009 Cliff House - double image

I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the Public Domain.  This applies worldwide.  In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so: I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore, A Review

It was the blue of the biblical paintings, the only ones considered worthy of such a vibrant colour. In the beginning, that is.

A Comedy D'art involving Art, Artists, and the colour bleu. Is it possible that there may have been a conspiracy involving the expensive and hard to acquire 'bleu'? OR did it have supernatural properties? Here is one alternate history of the colour bleu by Christopher Moore. 





Sacré Bleu

Why is blue, especially the ultramarine blue purchased from the Colorman so special? Ultramarine, a blue that captivates and seems to control at times. Many artists know the Colorman and the Woman, even when they keep morphing to fit the era. . . Anyone who touches or inhales the fumes from the paint seems to suffer in some way - from time lapses to broken relationships, but to understand how you will need to read this quirky story which should appeal to anyone who likes art. The art world isn't so sacred that it can't be spoofed.

The Colorman character is a perverse, weird, rather repugnant type. He's been around for centuries. But the Woman, who usually accompanies him, can be what you want her to be, as long as you keep using the blue paint.  She can help make you famous, at a cost of course. 

This book is part mystery, part history (alternate based on reality), part love story and highly amusing. The main character, a young baker-painter Lucien, who is joined by the dapper and diminutive Henri Toulouse-Lautrec on an investigation to unravel the 'supposed suicide' of Vincent van Gogh. They also want to find the inspiration for the Sacré Bleu colour. What gives it the special qualities?

Appearing in this book are the artists who had transactions with the Colorman: Vincent Van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. This is the cream of the Art world in the late 1800s. There are scenarios with each artist as Henri and Lucien try to track down the colour's paranormal qualities.

Sacré Bleu is Moore's irreverent look at the Art World, written in his usual style and highly entertaining to read. I enjoyed it and would recommend it. This book will make you think twice perhaps when you see the vibrant colour blue in a painting from now forward. I remember all the Biblical styled paintings I saw with that colour in the Louvre Museum in Paris.  Hmmm. It is a gorgeous blue. . .but the only one which makes you a better painter is from the Colorman.

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Have you read any of Christopher Moore's writing? Have you ever read or been aware of this book, Sacré Bleu? Do you like humour overlapped with irreverence? 

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by!

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References:

Sacré Bleu - definition
A French expression of surprise, exasperation, or dismay. It is a very old fashioned French curse, which is rarely used by the French these days. 

https://www.chrismoore.com/books/sacre-bleu/ Christopher Moore's site

http://www.thelocal.fr/20140902/french-language-swearing-curse-words-sacre-bleu-merde Info on the term 'Sacré Bleu'.
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Photograpy - Outtakes

Don't throw those outtakes away!
Use them as tools to determine how to capture a better image.

What makes an outtake an outtake? 

Clutter in the background, vague subject matter, improperly focused or incorrect lighting.


For each of the photos in this post, I'll identify some problems and pointers. There are three things that should always be considered: composition (placement of subjects in image, light (exposure) and clarity (sharpness).


Montmartre Vista

Problems: unknown people cluttering shot, nothing readily identifies this as Montmartre or Paris. As a slice-of-life shot, it's acceptable, but a better vantage point could make a difference in the framing or composition. This location is right below Sacre Coeur.


Montmartre near Sacre Coeur, Paris, Fr. by DG Hudson
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Versailles

Problems: Crowd scene image at Versailles Palace clutters image (this was an extra large group of tourists, per our guide) The golden impression of the gate is diluted and no detail can be seen. 


Wide angle gives more of a view, but reduces detail. (Black is the clothing colour of choice. . .which serves to highlight the contrasting golden hues of the gilt)  Waiting until the crowds clear and getting a closer viewpoint would enhance the detail, and the focus on the towering entrance gate.


Versailles and Tourists, France, by DG Hudson


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Is Traffic Going Beneath the Eiffel Tower?

Problems: An Image of the Eiffel that appears to show traffic going beneath.  This a result of foreshortening of the distance, but no traffic actually goes beneath this icon. In addition: the  very top of the Eiffel Tower has been cut off in this image (a sacrilege) and traffic is given precedence over the monument. 


This image takes advantage of optical illusions caused by distance and vantage point. Changing the distance (depth of field), the height of the point-of-view, and the framing of the Eiffel Tower will improve the results.

Eiffel Tower and Traffic in Paris, by DG Hudson

In summary, you can improve your images if you take more time to compose, but in a snap-and-shoot situation, you have to go with your instincts. Practice improves almost everything (sports, art, writing, etc.) These were location images, but portraits and interior photographs also need some preparation for images appropriate for various types of publication (blogs, articles, contests, covers of books)

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Do you work at improving your photography, or do you just hope for the best? Not everyone wants to take the time to compose a shot, but the payback is a much better photo.  Remember how artists who painted in the open, such as the Impressionists, had to wait for that perfect light?

Do you use your own photos for your blog when you can? Is photography an adjunct to writing or do you sell your photographic work to make it available for use by others?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for visiting! 

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All images in this post taken in Paris France, by DG Hudson. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Collectibles - Scenes 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 

Since few have time to read many blogs during the busy holidays, here's a photo post with a sampling of arrangements using Christmas collectibles . . . the whimsical, the hand-crafted and things I like.  Our old faux Christmas tree was too large for our new space, so this year I improvised. . .decorating mantels, and other areas with family favorites.



Mantel decorations, by DG Hudson 2015





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'Thomasville', our Christmas Village


Christmas Village, handpainted by our family, image by DG Hudson


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Angels made from yarn and large beads:


Angels hanging about by DG Hudson

May the new year bring peace and more calm to our planet.  Wishing all of you who visit my blog a Happy Holiday season in whatever way you choose to celebrate it. I'm looking forward to new experiences and more writing. See you in 2016!!

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Are you ready for a New Year?  Are you glad this one is over or was it a great year for you? Do you try to make your collectible Christmas decorations look the same every year or do you try to change it up?

Please leave a comment if you visit, so I'll know you were here. I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by and Best Wishes for the New Year!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Photography - The Little Ones and Historical Images

Capturing Innocence

How do you get the animals to add a little interest to the image? Put a couple of kids in front of them. 


Children, Turkeys, and Geese - A Pastoral Portrait by DG Hudson

The image above was taken with a SLR camera before the digital age, when visiting relatives who live in the country. There are a lot of details in this photo. Note the bandage on the chin of the child in the pink T-shirt. She fell while riding her bike that morning. That tells us she is no frail little girl, but an active child and likely has brothers who she tries to imitate in their activities. (In reality, she has several brothers and is the youngest in her family).  The child in front is a cousin of hers and is under two years old. Judging by her expression, she appears not to care whether she's in a photo or not.

As for the animals, they demand attention: the white geese are squawking - where's the food, the baby turkeys are curious - what's going on. Don't miss the little baby turkey looking around the girl in pink on the left side.  I didn't even notice the antics of the various fowl in the image when I took this photograph, as I was concentrating on the two girls. It was the first time I had seen little baby turkeys. They don't look so edible at that age and size. 

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Capturing History and Style

A historical photo can also show important details. This image was taken circa late 1880s or early 1890s. This young woman is of Canadian First Nations culture and is a relative of our family on my husband's side.

Woman, First Nations Culture, BC, Canada, prop. DG Hudson

The young woman in the image above lived in a simple time, in the country away from the Big City. She is dressed as suits the interior western culture and her time. She wears a Canadian maple leaf pin with pride on her scarf. Taking a photographic image during those times was a big event and having a portrait done meant you wore your best or neatest clothes. Ceremonial clothes would have been saved for band (tribe) events. These are practical, durable, no fuss clothes. The plain rough wood background accentuates the portrait.

The no-nonsense hair style shows a no-nonsense woman who could out-fish most of the men, and lived to be the ripe old age of 96 or so, still sharp in mind. It is said that she sang to the fish, calling them. Birth records were sketchy during the late 1800s and in smaller towns and on native reserves were kept at the local church. She married a First Nations man who came to the Nicola Valley in British Columbia, a man who led the First Nations posse of four men who tracked and captured Bill Miner, a disreputable outlaw and the first train robber of Canada. 

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References:

Billy Miner, 'gentleman' outlaw:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Miner

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