Tree’s are my my connection with mother nature, a source of spiritual connection and joy. I ordered two more for my birthday, to add to my growing collection. I talk to them all in the morning and I believe this is helping these outdoor beauties to live and thrive in my home. If you grow trees I would love to connect, I’m often left with questions which I cannot find answers too.
calamondin citrofortunella – I over-fed this small orange tree last winter and had to prune it right back. I’m amazed that it has grown back so well, and two new branches are beginning to grow at the top of the trunk.
Ficus Carica “scone” – I also over fed my fruit bearing fig tree, however I didn’t need to prune it. The three branches have foliage that is in different health. One of which, the smallest on the right, has been poisoned, but is still producing foliage. The left hand branch is doing the majority of the growing.
Apples and orange tree – thesr trees have been grown from seed.
Olea Europaea – a new edition and a birthday present to me.
Ficus Benjamina – The first tree in my collection. A combination of growing this in a grow tent and over feeding meant that it shed most of its leaves. I didn’t think that I would be able to rescue it. It’s grown about 10cm this spring and is probably ready for re-potting. It’s wonderful to see this tree return to health.
Oullins Golden Gage – Another birthday to me. This plum tree was delivered with many broken branches and clearly hadn’t been watered properly in the weeks leading up to delivery. However, I’m sure that some of the branches are health enough to promote some growth.
Yesterday was my birthday, which I don’t normally celebrate. However, this year was different. My cousins L and G wanted to celebrate it with me, and I felt it was important to let them love me in this way.
We went to the London Wetlands Center, probably my favourite place in London. Here are just a few photos from the day out.
It feels like my mental health has been quite challenging recently. The paranoid thoughts and feelings have been a struggle, although shifting from intense paranoia, which is terror and panic, down to self obsession, which is accompanied by anxiety, has been a blessing.
Today has been better still. A day of relative comfort, peace and some joy, with a bit of anxiety in the mix.
I followed my morning routine, which includes my embroidery (the butterfly is beggining to pull together), and then I went to St James Park.
The amazing thing is that I have to wear these hideous hospital boots to protect the pressure sores on my feet, and the park was packed, and I was fine.
I took my Olympus OMD EM10 MK iii, with the Mzuiko 60mm f2.8 macro. I’ve come away with 3 photos that I like of a pochard, a red crested pochard, and my favourite was of the female red crested pochard. Very sublime and no red crest. I can’t post those as yet as my computers not up and running.
The wind was blowing petals and other bits of plants and trees, sorry I don’t know the name of these “other bits”. They kept getting stuck in my throat and causing me to cough. Here’s one of the little blighters.
Brief:-Now that you’ve seen how to make a photomontage with newspaper cuttings, search through your archive of images to make a photomontage with your own photographs. Photomontage requires a playful, experimental attitude to exploring different arrangements, so don’t try to be too ‘tidy’ or perfect about your final result. Decide on the different picture elements: the background, the different parts of the environment, objects different people in the environment. Think in terms of depth: fg,mg, and bg. When you’ve completed your photomontage, photograph it or save it as a finished image.
Things That Matter
I’m surprised at how short a time this take me to complete. Just a few hours this afternoon. Clearly the practice of using Photoshop is paying off. During other pieces of coursework I have used Photoshop to create montages of differing styles, one was made from several hundred photos that I had taken of street art (here), and another which combined faces (here).
It’s been enjoyable for me to connect with what matters to me. It can be easy to get bogged down with some aspects of life, which become detrimental to others. The background picture reminds me that my passion is photography. It’s become a vital part of regaining my health. Macro photography helps me to chill, to forget the things which can disable me, and to help me get present. The two family members are amazing. We never knew each other until I neared the end of my twenties, it was a chance meeting. But we lost contact and then a real life miracle happened. L was robbed in the street and she flagged down a car, the driver took them home so the police could be called. My photo was on the mantelpiece. I’m so grateful to the man who robbed L. L and G are amazing, if you’re reading – I love you deeply. The gannet is representative of birds, nature, birdwatching and wildlife photography. How can you not love a bird? The car is flying – events photography – I love the action, the fast pace of photographic technique, pushing myself technically and creatively. I’m feeling very grateful as I join some of the dots of my life.
When I embarked upon Foundations in Photography I preferred Lightroom over Photoshop. I still find Lightroom to be my go to for digitally developing my photos. However, my personal creative development has had a seismic shift, by following other creatives blogs I have started to explore mixed media art and production. I have an exciting developmental journey ahead, and I need Photoshop for the development of my creativity.
Brief:- Create a series of photographs that include deep shadow in much of the frame. You could achieve this by using a black backdrop or by exposing in high contrast light as in Part One Project 2 (Shadows). Choose about four final images. In Photoshop, place the images on top of one another and change the Blend Mode to Screen (removes the black from the image) of the images above the lowest image. Experiment with Luminosity and Color blending modes. You may also want to reduce the opacity of each image. Move them around with consideration for the sense of depth the image represents and try to create a final composite.
This has been an enjoyable exercise. You’ll be surprised to know that I followed the brief, and then deviated from it somewhat as well.
Lets begin with my favourite. For the first composite I have included three subjects that bring me pleasure, although for different reasons. They create a conflict of emotion for me as well, due to the negative impact that heavy industry and aviation have upon nature.
I broke from the brief for this, because I knew what I wanted to portray and the brief wouldn’t have got me there. The bottom layer was the bird, and I left the blend mode as normal, the second image is the coastal heavy industry at Tees Port, I altered the blend mode to screen, and the third is two aircraft from Armed Forces day in Scarborough, in which I altered the opacity. To remove the backgrounds in the second and third photos I have used the background eraser and changed the brush to Kyle Spatter Brushes – Spatter Bot Tilt. These are free brushes that I had previously downloaded. I progressively lowered the flow and opacity with the brush to try to create a more natural look. The final image is very small because the birds eye was such a small part of the original photo. It’s far from perfect, but it still says something to me.
The following two photos were made by following the brief, although I did find that I needed to mess around with the blend modes to get the effect that I found to be most effective. I will show the originals first, in order from the bottom layer upwards.
The above is my favourite out of five different attempts that I made from the same three photos. The church and the blue background appear as if they could be a stylised satin wallpaper. The bottom right looks a touch messy, but you know what, I like it. It has a surreal and smokey feel and the colour blends in with the blue. The difficulty was removing the obvious line over the vase, from where two layers were not aligned. I can’t remember which brush I used, and It hasn’t come out to bad here, except for the area below the vase.
This hasn’t worked as well. Although it isn’t obvious that I have blended the edge between two layers, it is clear that something has happened. The brush was meant to disperse and weaken the edge, which it has, but not my best work. If I could have somehow blended that edge more proficiently then the overall quality would have been pleasing.
A great exercise and one that I am very pleased to have given a go. It’s interesting to notice how I have developed with layering in Photoshop. More practice required, but I will feel better equipped and more confident with experimenting in the future.
Please click on any photo to see a full size image
The Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) is one of my favorite sea birds. It has a beautiful blue eye which us set against a pastel yellow nape. They nest in large colonies and are very territorial. Gannets mate for life and return to the same nest year after year.
The Common Guillemot (Uria aalge) is a member of the Auk family. It spends most of its life at sea and the only time that you will find ut on the land is when it is breeding. These birds are very pretty to look at despite being quite plain in appearance.
The Puffin (Fratercula arctica) is one of the most beautiful sea birds, and one that brings the crowds to RSPB Bempton Cliffs. It has an unusually shaped beak, which is has bright orange streaks and has saw like mandibles. The serrated beak means that the Puffin can catch many sand eels at the same time and they cannot subsequently fall from its jaw.
Kittywake with chick
I love to see the new chucks sitting upon the nest and being attended to by their parents. This photo is of a family of Kittywakes, and a hungry chick.
Some of these people had incredibly large lenses, and I am aware that they cost several thousands of pounds. I was left wondering whether their lenses really made photos any better than what I have taken today? I suspect not, I have a few high quality photos that I am really impressed with.