Monday, January 31, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Why I like high ISO

deep cove
Last week Seth and I went on a photo walk with Amanda as part of a (very thoughtful) Christmas gift from Teresa. There was only one other German lady in the group (the aim is to keep it small) so it was great to get some contact time with an expert. We spent the first hour chatting about photography basics which are relevant to both digital SLR cameras and many 'point and shoots' as well; aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance and the next hour practicing manipulating these and some other techniques such as panning (taking a photo of a moving vehicle so it is clear and the background is blurry...) and something else I can't quite remember the name of. It was a great refreshment on some important basics and intoduced me to some new things as well. I'm keen to try "light painting" so stay tuned for some of that.

One point Amanda made, and I have heard this over and over again, is that while a high ISO (probably 800+) on a film camera can have a cool, film grain effect, generally on digital cameras it's not advised to use anything above 400-800ish. As a guide my camera has a range between 100 and 3200. I use high ISO often when shooting in low-light. I actually quite like the look and think it is a good alternative to using a garish flash.

More information on ISO if I'm starting to sound like one of those jargon people that annoy me. This is from Amanda Kerr:

ISO stands for “International Organization for Standardization”. ISO is an indicator for the film’s (or in the case of digital – sensor’s) sensitivity to light. The lower the number the less light the sensor can ‘grab’during your exposure time. You would use a low number ISO like 100 for shooting in bright daylight and the higher numbers like 400 and 800 for shooting in low light. The higher the ISO the more chance there is of getting noise in your image, so when shooting with a digital camera keep your ISO as low as possible to avoid unwanted noise. Adjusting ISO should be your last resort, but without adding external light (i.e., flash) sometimes cranking the ISO up is your only option. NOTE: Nikon shooters of older Nikons like D200 need to be extra careful as these cameras can be quite noisy.

While I would be silly to think the experts are wrong, I think ISO is a great tool. I am going to try and prove, to myself and the experts that high ISO photos can be artful and excellently unique inspite of and because of the 'noise'. The one at the top of this page is from the other evening in deep cove, after the sun had set, which I think captures the clouds beautifully. It really was blue like that. ISO 2000. Here is another high ISO favourite of mine. Below are some panning photos. I know they're not perfect, but I'm working on it:
red car again
yellow car
Market bike

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meat Pie

meat pie 2
meat pie
It's Australia Day in Australia today so Josh made meat pie for dinner. (Note to Jimmy, see opposable thumbs :)

Friday, January 21, 2011


snow footprints double
snow misc double
snow stump double
snow playground double 625
snow swing
Yesterday morning we slept in. I was sure I'd heard it raining all night so was very pleasantly suprised when I raised the blinds to see that it was white outside. I'm glad the weatherman didn't predict it. It was like a little gift from God now I think about it. I jumped about excitedly like a silly idiot. Today it is raining again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meet our friend Zorro

snowing 625
Snow boots
Zorro the raccoon came and shyly introduced herself a week or two and we know she's been back since because after the snow on Tuesday night(real snow falling here) we found her footprints. (Aren't Josh's blue eyes stunning!) I was sorry I couldn't take more snow photos but my camera battery was on it's last legs. (I have since bought an adaptor for plugging in our Australian things.) Snow is wonderful and soft. Looking up into it at night it looked a bit like the angels had ripped open a giant feather pillow and they were tumbling down so gently.

The blue gumboots I bought at a thrift store along with dry stockings the day after the snow because it was so slushy that it didn't take long for my leather boots and socks to soak right through. 2nd day snow is still fun but turns from soft to hard and icy.
red wagon light
red wagon people
The light and people at table are from a cafe called the Red Wagon which I love. It's 50's diner style with bottomless, organic, fair-trade drip cofee. It's our Grub St in East Van.
branch 625
wooden table
happy old men
Branch from a walk, lovely wooden table, friendly table of old men
Berries and crushed almonds
Berries and ricotta
honey doughnut
Raspberries and crushed almonds, raspberry, ricotta and brown sugar and lastly a favourite of mine. One good thing about these sticky things is that it's a fair walk to get there. Yesterday I took an especially long and beautiful way there, finding some new pathways through the woods. That might have helped me justify having a second...

Two things I didn't photograph but stopped to enjoy - a wood-pecker whose tapping caught my attention. What a strange piece of creation. And a very small grey squirrel making squeaking sounds like an old 90's computer game. I think he was trying to impress a much bigger, grey, lady squirrel.

Cured of the study bug

Did I say I wanted to do more study? Not to worry, I've been cured of that.
Cured of the study bug 625
I went along to a lecture with Josh last week for a subject I'm really interested in. It's called the Christian Imagination. It's about the theology behind art, and using art to explore theology. It includes a visit to a monastry, a local sculptors studio, singing lessons, dancing, poetry and more.

And yet half of the assessment is a response to the readings. A lot of readings. And that part really scares me. Because the readings are heavy. The type you have to read and then re-read. Some are olden day style too, they just don't read smoothly to me. And poetry. Perhaps I'm not a real artist if I don't understand poetry, but to me it's like strange modern art. I find it so cryptic. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to poetry, I just don't speak that language.

Josh read me a quote from one of his text books which had way too many big words in one sentence. It made me angry. I feel like it is pompus and elitist the way "educated" people use exclusive language that the average 'Jo' can't understand.

I took a 4 year teaching course and it took me until near the end to work out that the 'pedagogy' they'd been talking about all along just meant 'teaching'. Why on earth can't they just say that then?

I think people at universities make up words.

So, all of this to say that I no long desire to study. BUT I do desire (and plan to continue) to learn and read and be taught by inspiring people.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Beautiful Brisbane

After all of the devestation of the floods it is so beautiful to see photos online this morning of voluteers in their gum boots and to read of communities getting together to bake. Beautiful Brisbane. That mud can't hide your shine. I'm so proud to call you my hometown.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Song Dong's mum

The other day we visited the Vancouver Art Gallery and I was really struck by this installation. I have hoarding tendencies, which I had to defy when we cleared our lives of lots of things to move to the other side of the world. I'd like to try and live a lot more minimalistically from now on but I think it's going to take a bit of work. This exhibit scared me - to think that I have the tendencies to collect this much. And yet it was beautiful. Generations past (like my grandparents) have stuck by the motto "waste not, want not". They've been through difficult times and learnt to be ingenious, thrifty and unbelievably resourceful. Another extreme is the "throw-away" attitude prevalent today. There has to be a mid-point somewhere. This really made me think.

Quote from Vancouver Art Gallery website. All photo's sourced here.
"Song Dong’s monumental installation Waste Not is a collaboration between the artist and his mother, Zhao Xiangyuan. The installation comprises the frame of his mother’s house along with all of the everyday objects she meticulously collected over the course of her lifetime: a collection of over ten thousand worn and broken objects, each one with unlimited potential value. Together, the assembled materials—clothes, books, kitchen utensils, toiletries, school supplies, shopping bags, rice bowls, dolls—were used, recycled, and saved. Meticulously arranged in careful groupings throughout the exhibition space, the objects form a miniature cityscape that viewers can navigate around and through.

Waste Not—or wu jin qi gong in Chinese—describes the philosophy of life for a generation of people in China, of which Song Dong’s mother was a part, who grew up during the Cultural Revolution with the experience of displacement, poverty and the constant shortage of goods. The installation stands as a record of his mother’s life, as well as a tribute to his father’s death."
Along a similar theme I came across this fascinating book at the library of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design at Granville Island: OBSESSIVE CONSUMPTION.
obsessive consumption side on
Author/artist Kate Bingaman Burt documents her daily consumption over 3 years in this illustrated book. Everyday sundry items such as parking tickets, packs of gum, shoes, electricity bills and burritos sketched alongside their price. It really is astounding laid out like that to see how much we consume. How much our identity comes from what we consume. And yet in a beautiful way each of those items "tells a story" Kate describes. Here are a few recent examples from her flickr.
01.08.11 / Ginger Ale Six Pack
01.10.11 / a bunch of paint brushes
I love how simple and clear her images are. Do you have any thoughts on saving, hoarding, throwing-away or consuming?