Saturday, April 30, 2011

WAW #8 - Sports

Ok, I admit, I was dreading this week's weekly assignment. I am not really a "sports-person" in any way, shape, or form. I had no idea how I was going to get shots of sports with out looking like a total weirdo or pervert. And in fact, because recently I have had some very bad experiences with certain "overly-competitive sports-people", the few sports that I was involved with have become quite negative experiences.  So, I decided to bend the "rules" just a little and took a very loose definition of the word "sport".
I spent the Easter weekend with my family and had a blast playing outside with my nieces. Kids love games and they will play them just for the sake of playing... there is no smack-talk, no put-downs, no exclusion, no favouritism... just fun. These are the kind of sports that I can enjoy (Biking, Pop Goes the Frogio, Frisbee, & Bean Bag Toss). And clearly they take extreme concentration as indicated by the perfectly placed tongue in each photo.

All photos taken with my Canon Rebel XS. Photo Mosaic created with Big Huge Labs

Monday, April 25, 2011

WAW #7 - Liquid

I am really, really behind on posting. Between a week without internet and a lovely long weekend out of town with the family, I'm afraid that I have been neglecting my blogging duties (but at least I am still posting, which is more than I can say for my fiancĂ©e).

So, without further ado: Weekly Assignment #7 - "Liquid". When we first got this assignment I immediately thought of my H2O-Oh-oh-oh post from a little while back. I have noticed in the past that I do have an affinity for taking photos of water - in whatever form I can find it. So, I had to remind myself to use this assignment to teach me something new about either photography in general or about my digital camera, not just to take more pictures of fountains or lakes or ponds.

One thing that I really enjoy about my digital camera (as compared to my film cameras) is the ability to take a ton of shots and just play with all the settings to try things out! This is why my Liquid assignment turned into me sitting in The Wallflower Modern Diner (delicious and totally affordable by the way, you should really go) snapping photo after photo of... wait for it... my water glass! I know I am such a nerd. Which, by the way, is exactly what Jeffrey said to the waitress when she tried to drop off our food but didn't want to interrupt my intense photography session. Luckily, The Wallflower is "nerd-friendly" (her words, not mine) ;) Here are the results:

I also had the chance to play around with my friend Michelle's wide-angle/macro lens and came up with this liquid shot.

And though I didn't take this photo for or submit it to our assignment group, it happened to fulfill two assignments - Liquid & Bokeh! More bubbles to come soon. :)

Next Weekly Assignment - Sports. This one should be tough...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

WAW #6 - Bokeh

I am seriously behind on my weekly assignments and like a guilty student, I am stressing to catch up. Luckily we have a flexible group leader who was willing to give us a week to do just that ;)

Our weekly assignment #6 was to play with bokeh. Our good friend Wiki defines bokeh as:
"the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light." [...] Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas. However, bokeh is not limited to highlights; blur occurs in all out-of-focus regions of the image."
 Basically when there is an in-focus object (usually) in the foreground while the background is blurred. This is usually achieved with a low aperture and creates a shallow depth of field. 
I thought that this assignment would be a cinch because these types of shots are what my Olympus does best, and since I started out shooting with my Olympus, I think that my eye defaults to these types of shots. I love up-close detail shots with a blurred background. For example from my Olympus Pen F:

But, shooting bokeh on the digital seemed to be a whole other story. I had a brilliant idea which completely fell flat (it included our Light Bright which surprisingly did not work as well as one would think for creating cool blurred light backgrounds). By the time I abandoned the Light Bright idea I was frustrated, and it seemed like I could not get anything to work. I managed to get a few "blurred background" shots but they felt forced and uninteresting. See -

Then, just when I had given up and was focused on other things (namely Weekly Assignment #7 - Liquid, and testing out a wide angle/macro lens attachment from my friend Michelle), bokeh seemed to be everywhere! 

I think it might go back to my troubles with shooting in low-light. I just couldn't get things to work in the near dark, but in sunlight or natural light it came easily. I guess maybe this is somewhere I should really focus my efforts. Next Weekly Assignment - Liquid!
P.S. Here is one of the failure Light Bright shots... just to satisfy your curiosity. The Light Bright actually has a little picture of a man with "Jeff" & a heart written above it. I did it when we first started dating and we haven't changed it since.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ice Cream & Puppies

Today didn't start off well. But it got better. Mostly thanks to ice cream & puppies (and a couple of wonderful friends).
These are our friend Michelle & Jeff's puppies. Over spring break we went for brunch and a walk with them around Queen Elizabeth park. The puppies had just been neutered and had to wear cones, but they faired quite well, still enjoyed the walk and even managed to pose for a photo. Though I did learn that puppy cones create serious light reflectors (oops!).
Today, just as I was feeling discouraged, they came running into my classroom and it literally made my day (along with the chocolate ice cream Michelle & I indulged in at lunchtime).
Proof that puppies and ice cream can cure all your problems.


Friday - aka white fluffy light reflector!

P.S. Our internet has been down for a few days so I am a little backed up on posts. I will catch up as I can. I am also going to hound Jeffrey to post some of his wonderful photos. I have to say, it is good to be back :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Have you ever been to Finch's on West Pender downtown? If not, you need to go! They serve the most amazingly delicious baguette sandwiches wrapped in brown paper and tied with raffia. My favourite is the pear, blue brie and prosciutto. The cafe itself is also incredibly endearing with mismatched tables and chairs, rustic exposed beam walls, a chalkboard menu and "grandma-like" knick-knacks and books cluttering the old shelves. The space is cozy and inviting. It does get quite busy at lunch time, so try to go on off hours.
Over spring break I got the chance to meet my friend Mandy there on her lunch break. Since it was packed, we took our sandwiches to-go and ate them by the water, but while we were waiting I couldn't resist snapping a few shots with my Olympus Pen F.
~ M

Damn it, now I have a craving.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I grew up as a dog person. I never really understood the point of cats; they didn't really seem to do much and you couldn't really play with them - I just didn't get it. Until I got a cat when I was in university. Now I understand and appreciate the personality, companionship, and just sheer amusement that comes with a cat.
A few years ago, I had to give my cat away and it absolutely broke my heart. Luckily, I was able to give him to my grandparents who live in the Kootneys. I tell you, that was the best thing I could have done for my Bobby Kitty and for my grandparents! He is so incredibly spoiled and well taken care of now (he gets way more attention than I ever could have given him), and my grandma just loves to dote over him. Not to say that I don't miss him all the time (cause I really do), but I appreciate how happy they all are together.
I took these photos of him while I was back visiting over Spring Break. And I don't care what anyone says about cats and long term memory... he totally remembered me!
All photos taken with my Pentax K1000 and expired film. (Sorry again about the quality on some of the shots)
~ M

P.S. Isn't he a darn handsome cat? He has such a good face and profile. So regal.
And yes, he is hanging out in the laundry basket in that last shot. Cute, right?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Je t'aime!

3 years ago today, I took a chance on a stranger who I met online.
We met for coffee, which turned into dinner, which turned into a second date, which turned into an inseparable couple.
1 year ago today, that man got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Today he is my best friend, my love and the most amazing man I have ever met.
Today I count my blessings that I could be so lucky as to spend my life with that amazing stranger who I met 3 years ago today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

WAW #5 - Self Portrait

This week has been a little crazy which means that I am a little behind on posting my weekly assignment (bad teacher!). This week's assignment was "Self Portraits". I had all good intentions to do something other than a reflection shot, since I have done several reflection shots with my film cameras, and I wanted to push myself to try something new. I had all sorts of big plans, but then got sucked in by one of my silver necklaces and earrings lying on the table... I just couldn't resist the reflection! Well it turns out, I actually learned a whole lot about the different settings on my Canon Rebel XS DSLR in the process... and learning about my digital camera is one of the main reasons that I am doing the weekly assignments. So, mission accomplished!
Here is what I learned.
1) My Camera has different flash settings for different light sources (i.e. fluorescent, natural, etc.). I will need to remember this in the future when I actually need it.
2) That the ISO setting on my digital camera is my friend (and I need to get to know it much better!) This lesson learned is simply demonstrated by an example.

Taken with flash - ISO 100

Taken with flash - ISO 1600

Taken without flash - ISO 100

Taken without a flash - ISO 1600
A higher ISO can mean sacrificing quality of grain (or noise level) or colour, which you can see in the clarity of table in the photos with flash. The lower ISO has less noise. However, I couldn't get a self portrait with the flash on and didn't have enough light to get a clear shot at the lower ISO. In the photos with a flash, the higher ISO was definitely a better choice.

Jeffrey has also been participating in the weekly assignments intermittently. These are his Self-Portrait shots that he did with the automatic timer on the DSLR. I was his assistant and we had fun playing with the ISO and flash settings.

Auto-timed Self Portrait - With flash ISO 100

Auto-timed Self Portrait - Without flash ISO 100
~ M & JR

Sunday afternoon coffee

There is something so satisfying about sitting in a cafe by yourself, enjoying the bustle of the world around you, while sipping a delicious vanilla latte, and nibbling on a pastry treat.
~ M

These photos were taken with my Pentax K1000, but I stole Jeffrey's smaller lens which has a macro function. I kind of really like it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Welcome one and all to our world... a place where wonderment and imperfection are essential to living. A place where we explore the world through the lenses of our old and new cameras alike. A place where we can muck about and share our musings with you. Thank you for indulging us.
~ Melanie & Jeffrey Roy

Melanie & Jeffrey (aka MelRoy) - Pentax K1000