Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Fisheye Christmas!!

 Jeffrey and I's birthdays both fall in December and with Christmas at the end of the month as well, December ends up being a month full of celebrations, family and presents. This year since we are spending Christmas in Alberta with Jeffrey's family, so my parents came down to the coast to visit us during my birthday weekend to celebrate our birthdays and Christmas together.
We dined out for my birthday, had family over for brunch and even hit the Vancouver Christmas Market (though the market nearly didn't happen because of my mom's bad knee, but she was a trooper and we made it out for just a quick lap around to help get in the Christmas spirit). For Christmas, my parents got us a fisheye lens for the digital camera and I have been having fun playing with it ever since!
So here are our Merry fisheye Christmas wishes to you and yours!
~ MelRoy

Jeffrey hams it up for the lens

So many beautiful displays! These are actually soap!

An overly happy, but adorable Gingerbread Man greets vistors

An old time carousel for the kiddies

Giant nutcracker statues keep an eye on things

What are you looking at?

The giant Christmas tree- I can only imagine how beautiful this is at night

WAW - Ornaments & Holiday Lights

Over the holidays we received two weekly assignments that were a little time sensitive (so folks like me couldn't procrastinate like usual) - "Ornaments" and "Holiday Lights". Though I guess the "Holiday Lights" assignment could probably be put off for a few months before people actually take down their light displays in March or so. ;)
The majority of my ornament photos were taken back at home or at the Christmas Market. I had high hopes of getting some better ornament photos at Crazy Christmas Lady's House (a friend of Jeffrey's family whose house looks like Christmas literally exploded all over it!), but because there was so much stuff, I really had a hard time focusing on or creating good framing on any one thing.

I haven't been able to get many holiday light photos either as we don't have our tripod with us, and the cold Alberta nights don't lend well to holding a camera still for a long period of time (if only I could stop shivering). For now, here is my favourite shot from a neighbor across the street from Jeffrey's parents' place.

I really wanted to try out a homemade "shaped bokeh filter" on the Christmas tree lights, but we'll have to see if  a) I can actually pull it off, and b)  I manage to find the time to do it. In the meantime, we found a neat pair of glasses that look similar to the old 3D movie glasses but actually make any lights look like stars. I was playing with them and wondered what would happen if I put them in front of my camera lens.
Here is the result... fun, hey?!

Friday, December 23, 2011

WAW - Zoom & By Request

Last summer the Weekly Assignment was to ask other people for "requests" of what they would like to see us photograph. My friend Aleta asked for a "zoomed out" photo in which each shot gets progressively more and more zoomed out until it finally reveals a larger frame shot. The request was inspired by a book we used in our post-graduate studies during the summer called "Zoom" by Istvan Banyai (here is a summary or a video of the book). Of course Banyai's zoomed out pictures are far more impressive; but I think I managed alright with the assignment (even if it is only a few months late). This was one of the toughest assignments yet, because the settings for a close-up are quite different than the settings for larger framed shot. The toughest part was adjusting for the lighting and white balance to maintain similar colours as I got further and further away; but I definitley learned a lot about the settings and abilities of my camera.
Conveniently, a few weeks after the "Request" assignment, Michelle chose the "Zoom" subject for a weekly assignment. So yet again, I get to hit two assignments with one post. Boo-ya!

This is the Christmas tree at my in-law's house. I love the little village built around the bottom. I actually took some photos of this with my Olympus Pen F two years ago when we were back for Christmas. This gave me a neat way to look at and photograph it again.

Photos taken with DigitalSLR Canon Rebel XS, Mosaic created with PhotoFiltre
p.s. I am adding on this mini zoom-mosaic that I did at the Crazy Christmas lady's house (as in "crazy about Christmas" not "mentally unstable") just because it is fun. Those little blurry figures in the middle are little figure skaters that spin around on the mirror when you turn it on. More on the Crazy Christmas Lady to follow.

This mosaic was created with Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WAW - Message

I can't believe that it has been over a month since I have posted here! The madness of December (and the lead up to it) really seemed to be multiplied in our house this year between me finishing up my post graduate program (yay!), the end of the school term, a big move for Jeffrey at work, both of our birthdays, a visit from my parents... oh yeah, and that whole Christmas thing too. But now we are officially on holidays and relaxing in the snowy homeland of Jeffrey at his parent's place in Alberta. I intend to do some serious photo-catch-up.

So to begin, a weekly assignment from ages ago - "Message".

I feel that I am extremely fortunate to work at a school that values and encourages altruism in all sorts of ways. We are school a of mixed means and the emphasis is often placed on helping others in whatever way you can. In fact, part of our school motto is - "Take care of others, Take care of yourself, and Take care of this place." I mean, doesn't that just sum it all up in the simplest of terms?
And so I went to work armed with my camera and tried to capture in whatever way I could, the ways that this important message is shared.
Three of my students who participated in the "Vow of Silence" put on by the Free the Children Campaign. Students go silent (no talking, no texting, no emailing, etc) for 24 hours to raise awareness for children in the world who can not speak up to protect their rights.

A rainbow of student & teacher hands in our main foyer, each one indicating something they have done to "make the world a better place". Isn't it beautiful?

My dear friend Michelle (organizer extrodinaire of Weekly Assignment Wednesday) used another example from our school for her "Message" assignment as well. She featured photos of students participating in the Love Is Louder Campaign earlier this year.