Category Archives: Photography

Stop and smell the flowers.

Time was, I used to rush around like a headless chicken, day in, day out. I had places to go, things to do, people to see, targets to meet. Rush, rush, rush.

Nowadays, it’s a completely different story. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m tired, I sleep. And in between those events I fill my day with whatever I happen to be doing. Which could be jumping on my bicycle and going for a long ride. Or staying at home writing this blog. Or at the table trying out new crafts. Uploading more artwork online for my Licensors. Creating more art. Updating my Society 6 shop (oops, I admit I really must get back to doing that!). Practising my tarot and oracle card readings. Playing the piano. Hugging my hens. Playing with my dogs. Shopping.

My point is, at some stage you just got to remember to stop and smell the flowers. Okay, the saying is about roses. But you know what I mean. Make the time to slow down from the mad everyday mayhem, take a deep breath, close your eyes. And just be. Enjoy being in the present. There’s no hurry. There’s nothing more than just yourself being mindful, being in the Now.

Today was one of my long bike rides…to get to Bunnings to buy replacement mouse traps and rat poison. Ummm…not very Zenlike in my thinking, you’re thinking. True. But when you lift up the roof of the Japanese Quails’ shaded area and find not 1 but 8 quivering mice staring back at you with their little paws held to their shocked faces, (all except for the one who’s holding onto a stolen quail’s egg), and when Mr Rat in the ceiling above your bedroom keeps you up at night with his rolling bowling games and tequila slamming parties, then something has to be done.

Anyway, moving swiftly on. Along my adventures today I took time to enjoy some flowers. One was a surprise Dutch Iris growing in a pot where “Stick” my Frangipani was. I thought last year’s bloom had died, but obviously the plant had other ideas. It even had fresh morning dew still on its petals when I took my photos of it. Such a tart! 😄

image

image

image

image

image

image

While in Bunnings (my local mega hardware/garden centre), I saw some pretty cherry and almond blossoms.

image

image

image

image

image

image

And then on my way home, I noticed this purple flowering bush outside a house, so I stopped to take some photos. If anyone knows what plant this is, please do let me know! It’s gorgeous. I also managed to photograph a few bees doing their thing. I love bees.

image

image

image

image

image

image

(All images here are straight out of my Samsung Galaxy S4’s native camera, and unedited. Great mobile phone, the S4!)

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

MY ORACLE CARDS PROJECT: THE JOURNEY SO FAR

A short while ago I hatched a grand plan to create my own deck of Oracle Cards. I blogged about it here.

Now I’ve created about 20 such virtual cards, so I’ll share them with you. You can see how some work better than others, I’m constantly learning as I go along. Creating the imagery is only part of the whole process. I still haven’t gotten round to writing the explanation or meaning of the imagery. That will come. Also, I have to research the practical logistics of getting my cards into print.

So, here are some of my “Practice” Oracle Cards. They may or may not be the end product…I might add a black border all around each image, or more key words at the bottom.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Echinopsis

Echinopsis is the scientific name for a large genus of cacti. I have one small plant in a pot by my swimming pool, which I hardly ever paid attention to until a few months ago, when suddenly I noticed that it had sprouted some rather pretty little flowers. Sadly, the flowers didn’t last very long. But my curiosity was piqued enough for me to search on Google for more information about my little cactus and its relations.

Cactus flowers are really beautiful, is my conclusion. Here are some of my favourites, from Google Images.

Echinopsis_madame_pele_blooms_810

Echinopsis_cv._Galaxy_13804_l

969-echinopsis-quotsputnikquot.preview

Brigittes_Beauty

959-echinopsis-kermesina-x-purpureopilosus.preview

Princess_Anne

Echinopsis_Aiko

Echinopsis_mammillosa_fl_810

echspach

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I also found someone online who is obsessed by Echinopsis, to the extent that he calls himself “Echinopsisfreak”.  His name is Greg Krehel and you can read all about his obsession with Echinopsis on his blog here. Be sure to click on his time-lapse videos there showing his Echinopsis plants blooming.  They are truly spectacular!

I feel a new addiction beginning…

Greg Krehel is also the man behind the site dedicated to Echinopsis, http://www.echinopsis.com. Below is an excerpt from that site:

What’s an Echinopsis? A type of cactus originally from South America that features amazing flowers … amazing in at least four ways:

– The flowers of most Echinopsis varieties are incredibly colorful … often featuring two or more hues working in harmony.

– The flowers are often giant … 5″-6″ in diameter … and frequently dwarf the cactus that grows them.

– They frequently appear in flushes of multiple flowers opening at the same time.

– Most types of cacti produce just one flush of flowers each year. But Echinopsis can produce flush after flush of flower for as long as the daytime temperatures remain above 70F/21C.

Echinopsis is pronounced Ech … in … op … sis. But where does the name come from? Once you understand the its Latin roots, you’ll discover the name makes great sense.

“Echin” comes from the Latin word “Ekihnos,” which meant both sea urchin and hedgehog.  (Yes, it does seem like Latin speakers way back when might have come up with distinct words for these two pretty different creatures, but apparently they did not).

The “opsis” at the end of Echinopsis is another Latin word, one which means “resembling” or “appearance.”

So Echinopsis means hedgehog resembling or sea urchin appearance. A very accurate description for this genus of cacti that are often ball shaped growing to about 6” in diameter and, yep, covered with hedgehog-like and sea urchin-esq thorns.

 

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

RETROSPECTIVE : SURREALISM

I do love a bit of Surrealism in my photography. Back when I was on the iPhone 3 and 4, in 2012, I created quite a few Surreal images. I can’t for the life of me remember what my favourite iOS Apps were for creating these effects, now that I’m no longer on an iPhone. (I believe FilterMania2 by Dropico was one of them). But I sure do remember that it was a lot of fun creating these wild and wacky images and making people guess what they represented.

Anyway, I’ve found some of my favourite surreal images from 2012 on my external hard-drive. Been having a bit of a trip down Nostalgia Lane lately lol. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I did grow a box of mushrooms, and many of the fun guys made it into my photos LOL). Enjoy!

IMG_0317

IMG_4961

IMG_4962

IMG_4963

IMG_0306

IMG_2115

IMG_8051

IMG_8094

IMG_2103

IMG_0579

IMG_0324

IMG_8085

IMG_0564

IMG_0345

IMG_0329

Artist Inspiration : JACKY PARKER

Jacky Parker is another photographer after my own heart. Her beautiful flower photography serves as an inspiration to me. Jacky only took up flower photography in 2005 whilst studying for a diploma in horticulture. By 2008 she had already garnered so much recognition that she was awarded the “RHS Photographer of the year” title.

4

try-a-little-tenderness-jacky-parker

Web_14

234

Click here to visit Jacky’s website.  Those wishing to license Jacky’s images may do so on these sites:

GETTY Images : http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?assettype=image&artist=Jacky+Parker+Photography

ALAMY STOCK http://www.alamy.com/default.aspx

22_jacky_parker

1234

123

red-poppies-field-jacky-parker-photography

A selection of Jacky’s work on canvas can be purchased on these sites:

GOOD EARTH CANVAS: http://www.goodearthcanvas.com/hakusha/

FOTOVIVA ART PRINTS http://www.fotoviva.co.uk/

10477691066_65f25c9b16_b

Jacky-Parker-Spring-Dream

flat,550x550,075,f

654

Photographic Prints and Canvas of Jacky’s photography are available from:

FINE ART AMERICA : http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/jacky+parker/all

SOCIETY 6 http://society6.com/JackyparkerFloralArt

 

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Artist Inspiration : MAGDA WASICZEK

Those who know me know that I have a passion for flower photography. Especially the dreamy, surreal type, where magic and reality blend seamlessly, leaving the viewer with just a sense of awe and enthrallment. The Polish photographer Magda Wasiczek delivers the goods, and then some. I can never tire of seeing her photographs, and luckily for me she’s very prolific! Magda doesn’t just do flowers, though, her subjects are tied to Mother Nature and include spiders, grasshoppers, ladybirds, caterpillars, butterflies, snails, shells, fungi, dewdrops, rain, snow, etc. She also photographs newborn babies and underwater sea creatures, as well as macro photography.

I wish I had 1/100th of Magda’s talent!

Here’s how Magda describes herself, excerpt taken from her own website:

INTERNATIONAL GARDEN PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2012
Photography raising awareness to the beauty of nature to me, I’ve learned to see things invisible, to enjoy a million small details, which previously did not pay attention. First of all, it became my way of life and the cure for all evils …I do not know who or why, what strength created the world that surrounds us. I know that it is an unusual and fascinating in every smallest detail that is a miracle. It is not my priority showing the world exactly the way it is. There are many other photographers who do it better than me. I want the audience to present my vision of the world, this idyllic paradise of fairy tales. I hope that looking at my pictures, for a while, wake up a child inside of them, because the world in the eyes of children is always more colorfull , fascinating, mysterious and full of surprises.

I came across this article where Magda explains how she got into photography, and what inspires her:

Wasiczek’s photographic story started with a 1998 business trip, from which her husband returned with a Nikon N70 film SLR. A gift celebrating the birth of the first of their three children, the N70 quickly became an expressive tool in Wasiczek’s hands. She captured her child’s first years with such sensitivity that soon other parents were hiring her to photograph their kids, and now she’s made a career of it.
As her camera skills improved, Wasiczek made the journey from children’s nurseries to meadows and gardens near her home, where a more unusual photographic vision evolved. “My photos aren’t literal representations of flowers,” she says, “but are the record of impressions that I experience, impressions of color, light, and shape. I look for visual effects to represent those impressions.”
These effects might be background highlights that will defocus into stars, rings, or moons, as well as colors that can be saturated or otherwise tweaked into something otherworldly.
Instead of individual blossoms or tidy bouquets, Wasiczek is drawn to chaotic meadows and gardens with unkempt wildflowers that live up to their name. These are places that evoke memories of dashing around her grandmother’s garden as a child. “I really miss the old picturesque flower gardens with typical Polish natives like mallows, nasturtiums, sunflowers, poppies, and helleniums,” she says. Now everything is mowed, pruned, aligned, and contained, she laments, within neatly trimmed borders.
“When I go into the meadow or garden, I look around. I often sit there to sharpen my eyes,” Wasiczek says. “Within the jungle of grass and plants, I try to find a theme that will inspire me. I soak up the smells of the meadow, its sounds, its light, and I wait. Maybe a butterfly will flap by, or I’ll notice a ladybug climbing a leaf, or drops of dew will sparkle in a shaft of sunlight.”
When this happens, she picks up her camera and plays. Wasiczek’s favorite time is from late afternoon until sunset, mainly for the light. “By nature I am an owl, not a lark, so for me the perfect time is when the low sun of late afternoon beautifully illuminates the plants and gives them warm, golden colors,” she says. She’s inspired by this light, especially after rain.
“The very low-contrast light created by a cloudy, gray sky is also good, but its effect is different,” she continues. “It’s best for making bright, pastel photos. I don’t like strong sun, and the only thing that will draw me out of the house at noon is a flock of butterflies passing through.” Wasiczek avoids flash, and prefers to reflect ambient light onto backlit or shadowed subjects with a compliment of small reflectors and mirrors.
As much as she likes the golden hour, Wasiczek will also wake before dawn to shoot. In these moments, insects are just stirring and not as likely to fly off, and dew drops put on amazing light shows. “On mornings bathed in dew, the flowers look like they’re studded with diamonds that shine in the first rays of the sun. The views of this spectacular phenomenon can be breathtaking, but they’re not for sleepers. In summer, you have to be up and out on the meadow by 4 a.m. Otherwise, you miss it,” she warns.

Magda’s website is very comprehensive and well laid-out, with her photos arranged according to category. I highly recommend that you pay a visit there to see why I’m so excited about her.

Here are just a few of my favourite photos by Magda Wasiczek, that I’ve taken from Google Images:

Photo-with-snail

5

12644_magdawasiczek

glorious-macro-photography-of-nature-by-magdalena-wasiczek-27

wasiczek11

tumblr_mqtgq0BU6o1s9poh0o1_1280

Magda_Wasiczek_G111-002

DSC_6441-900bn

55

macro-photography-magda-wasiczek-4

 

http://www.magdawasiczek.pl

Flower photography. Absolutely fabulous!

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

RETROSPECTIVE : FLOWER PHOTOGRAPHY

I was going through my external hard-drive recently, looking for my Cemetery Angel images (yes, really) from 2011, when I realised that I hadn’t really put any of my old iPhoneography images on my blog yet. I cut my teeth on an iPhone 3 and then 4, before switching to a Samsung Galaxy S3 (now S4). The iPhone’s memory capacity being limited to what it is, I had to continuously do image “dumps” from my camera roll to an external hard-drive. These days, with a 64GB SD card in my Galaxy S4, I only occasionally move my images from my camera roll anywhere. Things are so much easier to find on my S4, thanks to the ability to create and add folders and sub-folders within the smartphone itself.

Anyway, in 2011-2012 I went through several phases where all I photographed were flowers, flowers and more flowers. I took hundreds of photos of my favourite flower, the Erythrina Lysistemon, A visit to a Koi and Water Lily farm yielded hundreds of images of Water Lilies. Orchids, Roses, Australian Wildflowers, Sunflowers, Aeoniums, Lilies, Tulips, Pansies, Lantana, Dandelions, Daisies, Agapanthus, Purple Geishas, Anemones, Poppies, Rhododendrons, Hibiscus, etc etc – if it caught my eye, it went into my camera roll. At the peak of my obsession with flower photography, I would even visit florists and ask for permission to photograph their flowers!

Here are some of my processed iPhone images, for what they are.

IMG_1758 IMG_1810 IMG_5961 IMG_1778 IMG_1753 IMG_8454 IMG_8118 IMG_1925 IMG_8152 IMG_1910 IMG_8556 IMG_8552 IMG_5991 IMG_6001 IMG_6126 IMG_4253

A World in a Drop of Water

I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine : I have a Pinterest board dedicated to Water Drops. Seriously, I do. I find water photography fascinating, particularly Macro and Liquid Splash photos. With Macro water drop photography, you can often really see an entire World reflected in just that one drop of clear, sparkling water. I really admire photographers who are able to capture that drop at precisely the right moment, or find that perfect necklace of spider’s web dew, or present a perfect flower within a tiny raindrop.

The other day I was looking through my collection of Pins, and I’ve decided to share with you some of my favourite Water Drop Pins. I stand in awe of the many superlative Macro photographers out there, as reflected by the following images; some of the photos are not Macros, instead I’ve chosen them for their sense of otherworldly beauty, or for their beautiful Zen stillness. I love being a Pinterest curator!

Here are some of my favourite water drops (courtesy of Pinterest and all credits to the photographers, naturally):
image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Artist Inspiration : Eiko Jones

I came across this startling image whilst browsing Pinterest the other day, and immediately went “Whoa! What on earth is that?” Well, not exactly in those words, lol, but if you see the image yourself, you’ll know why it got that reaction from me.

1012wallpaper-week-3-1_1600

It’s of tadpoles swimming underwater through water lily stalks in Cedar Lake, Vancouver Island, Canada. The photographer extraordinaire is Eiko Jones. National Geographic Magazine featured this shot in its “Photo of the Day” page online on January 2, 2013, and again in its Editor’s Choice section in its magazine, in April 2013.

Check out Eiko’s photography website for more information about his work.  He specialises in predominantly underwater photography, although he does occasionally undertake above water work too.

http://www.eikojonesphotography.com

More photos of Eiko’s superb work here, courtesy of Google Images and of course copyrighted to Eiko Jones:

tadpole-swarm DSC-0721 W020131018581340246308 Sunlight pours through the fronds of kelp floating on the surface of the ocean. Lily-pond-UW 410 _DSC2999 richmondreef3

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Artist Inspiration : Ruud Van Empel

Chances are you’ve already seen this wonderfully iconic piece of photographic art:

image

I’ll bet anything that you then wondered whether it’s a real photo, or whether it’s the result of meticulous Photoshopping? Well, wonder no more. This is indeed a digitally manipulated photo collage by Dutch artist Ruud Van Empel, whose surrealistic yet entirely plausible photographs straddle the genre between photography and art. A real genre-bender.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruud_van_Empel

http://www.ruudvanempel.nl

The Wikipedia entry on Ruud describes his photographic techniques thus:

“Van Empel’s working method is a complex one. He photographs 4 or 5 professional models in his studio and takes many detailed photographs of leaves, flowers, plants and animals. The models pictures are mixed with these images using the Photoshop program and with clothes photographed separately on a tailor’s dummy. In this way he creates new images of mainly children, in black and white, set in a paradisiacal environment”.

The image above is titled “Fern Forest in Jamaica”. Why this is so, I’m not sure, because those are not ferns. Regardless, this is surely one of the most famous “Is it a photo or a painting?” images around.

I love the crystal-clear clarity and sharpness of Ruud’s images, the almost illustrative look that one might perhaps see in a fantasy comic book, the brilliant contrast between the colours he uses. You know the people are real, yet Ruud has managed to make them look surreal and out-of-this-world. Such is his mastery of his medium, and his genius.

Here are more examples of Ruud’s work, taken from Google Images:

this-World-30 tumblr_mb0vj4dNUY1qz9v0to1_500 world25_l Venus #5 connection-2010 ruud-van-empel-dawn4 rudd-van-empel-2010 processed_b51aa3f2b48a168e97d1b8169d0aa9fe

A couple of examples showing Ruud’s images in situ, just to give you a sense of scale:

24kips02-500 11_120323_Knokke_0060

And finally, a photo of the great man himself:

ruud_van_empel

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow