Life is Bloomin’ Good….

We are in the midst of enjoying a lovely holiday back in the U.K.  A much needed holiday but I haven’t done much cooking.  Instead we’ve been enjoying the diesel gala and walking our pins off.  The weather has been absolutely wonderful and I’ve taken the opportunity to indulge in a bit of photography with my SLR.  

With the gala there were some pretty sweet setups with cameras, my husband teased me saying I had lens envy.  😊.  True enough!  Though this post is a quick one to share some photos I took of flowers, I will be doing a post on the gala.  


The cat is a neighbourhood cat that is just desperate for belly rubs.  Soft thing.  Tomorrow we’re popping over to France by ferry. We’re in need of wine.

Oooh I Got a Photo Light Box for Christmas!

On my Christmas list was a tripod for my camera because once winter comes and the dark night starts way too early my photos start getting bad.  I’m faced with countless photos ranging from way out of focus to just on the shaky side and I’m stuck trying to pick the best ones.  Forget natural light because it’s dark by then.  I did have one person say just turn out the lights you’ll be fine.  It was dark.

My lovely husband went a step further and bought me a light box kit!

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I was so excited to try this out and got the chance to yesterday.  My goal is to improve my photography skills so I can hold my own with Roger at Food, Photography, & France and Stefan at My French Heaven.  Their styles are what is in my head when I envision what I want my photos to look like.  My plan, once the tree is removed is to set up a mini photo studio in the round part of the parlor so when the natural light is available I can use it and when it’s not the box will be set up.  For the photos I took, the light is as it is shown above.

I took a few pictures in the window as finally we saw some sun!  The first one is in direct sun which can be very harsh but works for some things and the second in indirect light for comparison.

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With experimenting I found it to be very interesting.  One, because I’ve never actually taken a course, I have a steep learning curve.  Not surprisingly my best photos are outside where it is hard to screw up nature.  Right now using automatic settings worked best.

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But I played around the manual settings to see what happened.  I find I need to be more patient as the longer exposures came out blurry.  Turns out I’d set it up and click the remote without letting the camera stop moving.  I may have to get a sturdier tripod but I want to see if I can make this one work first because it is a good size.  So many photos were deleted in this experiment!  One thing that threw me was that on the manual settings the crystal was showing up yellow.

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So with a bit more mucking about I found in the white balance menu a tungsten choice.  I clicked that and the yellow went away.

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Obviously it is high time I downloaded the manual, ahem.  🙂  Just playing with it a bit yesterday showed me that this kit will be a huge help to me and I can’t wait work on the set ups for the photos for my posts.  Now perhaps I can translate what is in my head to the camera!

I Blame my Daughter – Why I’m Hooked on Instagram

It started innocently enough.  My daughter and I were in the car chit chatting about various things and I asked her what her friends were picking for social media.  My daughter is in middle school and at that age where it starts to get crazy with all the things her friends are doing.  I’d read articles how Facebook might not be “cool” so I was curious.  She mentioned Instagram was big in her group.  Instagram?  That photo thing?  I knew about it of course but not in a social media context.  Clearly I had to do some research.

The cool thing about my kids is they never do the “but everyone else is doing it!” whine so we do try to do things for them when it is age appropriate.  And they know the rules.  If they are on the internet guess who they get to be friends with?  Me!  Or at least one of the parents.  🙂  So I thought hey, I’ll check it out, join, then have my husband set up the laptop in the den for her to use.  She doesn’t have a smartphone or an iPod Touch.  I mean those things are $200!  Which boggles my mind when I see how many kids out there have them.

First roadblock.  You need a smartphone.  Nuts.  There had to be a way.  I thought well maybe I could put her pics on my iPhone and she could use that.  Oh no, pics only go one way.  So after much digging and looking about I figured out we could use my android tablet.  Woot!

Second roadblock.  Apparently contrary to the belief you can load pics from your computer directly to the tablet via the usb, you can’t.  You have to use the mini SD card.  And a SD card adapter because my computer doesn’t take the mini size.

Third roadblock.  I have no idea how old her phone is as her mother gave it to her used.  (I’m the bonus mum, lucky me!) But like all cameras I’ve hooked up to my computer we could get the pics off of it.  Except hers.  Facepalm.  The computer didn’t have the drivers for it.  So it got passed to my husband who works with computers for a living. (thank goodness)  He figured out she had a mini SD card in her phone.  So to make this work she has to remove the SD card and put it in the tablet.  Then for the tablet to read it you have turn off the tablet and turn it back on.

And we were finally in business!  And through all this I really got hooked onto Instagram.  I love taking photos and am having a blast with the filters.  It is a really quick way for me to get a creative fix during the day.  I thought I’d share some of what I’ve taken so far.

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I love taking pictures of flowers but this one of the bleeding heart is my favourite.

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This weekend they had a festival at the Wyman Tavern to showcase the 1700’s and there some really interesting things to take pictures of.  Including the fruit and veg they used as dyes.

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I did find an interesting bit about Instagram.  When you use filters it saves a copy for you as a square.  But if you just upload without filters it doesn’t save a square copy so this one I uploaded didn’t change parameters.

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I am curious if any of you do Instagram and what you’ve found.  A big question I have is does it drain your phone battery?  My battery life is terrible all of a sudden and wonder if it is because of the app.  I did keep my username as ourgrowingpaynes if any of you would like to see what else I’ve posted.  And let me know yours as I’d prefer to follow those that I’m familiar with and we have similar interests!  🙂