Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Abstracts

We are a house of four internet users and each month we pay for internet connection and most months it costs more than it should be due to the fact that 'someone' has downloaded more than they should. 'Someone' is always nameless because 'noone' actually did it. This left us wondering - did 'someone' actually download lots or do we have 'someone' helping themselves to our wireless network?

Being as our network is secure and the password is not one that is easily remembered (with the exception of one of us) and certainly wouldn't be easy to guess, the chances of anyone working out what it was and helping themselves to our bandwidth is not likely. So the obvious answer is to get a router where we can monitor and even restrict how much bandwidth each user gets. By doing this we can identify who 'someone' really is and indeed if 'someone' is more than one person!

Ok so we install monitoring software and now I can no longer upload my blog photos from my laptop. No I am not 'someone',  but the monitoring has effectively slowed my laptop connection which is down the other end of the house and goes through a second router to get wireless to the first. Yes we have the ability to slow down connections now but this is happening without that being set. Somewhere the connection has slowed down between the two routers.

Last night I thought I would set up our new wireless vodem that we got for when we travel and upload via that and wouldn't you know it... it didn't work! Ring the help desk and get told to go back to the shop as they had not keyed it into the system to be activated. So until the connection is sped up, or the vodem is activated my blogging is restricted to my main computer. The upside to this is that I usually write more at this computer so you will get more to read!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Playing with Abstracts

Well we downloaded the updated drivers for my monitor and after installing it was so fuzzy I couldn't even read what I had typed. So I walked away in frustration and left it for the husband to fix - he's good at fixing things. Eventually after he restored it to factory default settings, I had a functioning monitor again.

Today the weather was downright nasty. Gale force winds and torrential rain forced us to stay indoors today. This of course ment I had to get creative to be able to shoot some interesting photographs for this blog. Our camera club has an abstract competition coming up so I started playing around with some abstracts.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Heretaunga Park

After surviving the crowds at the Boxing Day sales in Lower Hutt, we headed out for a quiet walk at Heretaunga Park with the camera. It seemed at first as if even the birds had headed into town to go shopping as they were nowhere to be seen when we first arrived. However having realised we didn't have a dog with us, one by one they eventually came out of hiding and back into view of the camera.

The pukeko had their young in tow and were constantly calling to each other. The young birds didn't have the bright red on their heads like their parents, I assume that comes later with maturity. I will have to do some research on it and let you now at a later date. I am kicking myself for not going to the park earlier in the month when the chicks would have been smaller but I have to admit I completely forgot about them. Oh well, next year.

We sat for a while and watched the ducks - which don't usually excite me enough to photograph them but as they got used to the fact that we were not going to feed them they started actually more natural in their environment and I managed to get a few shots that I am quite happy with.

It was about the time I was looking at the duck images that I realised that my monitor is displaying the photos as being soft of slightly out of focus but when we moved them onto the second monitor they were sharp as. I thought my eyesight was going but it was the monitor at fault, not old age. I have probably been over-sharpening some of my images and it does explain why my soft photos all print out perfectly sharp! So while I am writing this I am also busy downloading driver updates to see if we can improve the display somewhat. Wish me luck!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Lights

Christmas seems to have crept up on us this year with out us really noticing. Last night I realised that it would probably be the last chance for me to get out and photograph the Christmas lights. As soon as it got dark we headed out with the camera and tripod just as the wind started to pick up.

By the time we reached the street with lots of lights it was almost gale force. There were even warning signs of high winds on the Rimutaka Hill as we were driving there. So the outcome of this is that I didn't really get any steady shots of the Christmas lights at all but I got some great abstracts!

My posts over the holiday period may be even more erratic than normal but I will attempt to put something up from time to time during out road trip so watch this space! A safe and happy Christmas to you all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A December Wedding

December weddings are always an unknown when it comes to the weather. It is typically a month of unpredictable weather. So we were a little concerned when the day started out with low cloud, rain and wind, however as it turned out the afternoon was a stunner!

We were perched on top of a hill overlooking the ocean Saturday afternoon to photograph a wedding. Nick and Olga picked the perfect venue for their ceremony, the sun shone, there was a gentle breeze (not normal for Wellington!) and everything was perfect.

Afterwards we moved down to the beach proper and played on the rocks for a while. We all had an awesome time and it shows in the equally awesome images!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Part of yesterday's shoot was the family dog.  Boots is a 16 year old terrier complete with grey hairs and a fiercely protective nature. Having photos of the family pet can be just as important to some people as having photographs of their children, so it is essential to ensure the family pet is in some of the family groups.

It can be difficult to organise the children and the dog and still get a balanced photo but in the end it is just a case of doing your best and hoping that you have something that will make the family happy when they view it.  When we were finished taking the family shots I took some time to get some individual shots of the family pet that they could treasure for years to come.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Children at play

Put three young cousins together at a playground and then expect them to pose for the camera. Yeah right - sounds like a Tui ad doesn't it. Actually photographing the boys at play was just as much fun as getting them to pose for the camera. I much prefer the natural look you get from children when they are not focusing on what the camera is doing. These three all had very practiced faces that they put on when you ask them to smile, the trick to getting the good shot was to wait until that look was relaxed.

I particularly like this playgound with all it's bright colours that give a fun feel to the shots. The tunnel provides a fun frame to a portrait and the whole photoshoot is more fun for the kids because they get to play at the same time.

Wild Weather

We had a meeting planned with friends at the Magpie Lawn at the Botanical Gardens yesterday. I had never been to that particular part of the park so took my camera along with me 'just in case' I found something of interest to photograph. The weather yesterday morning was wild to say the least - the wind was really strong and accompanied by rain for the most part. Thankfully by 4pm when we were to meet it had cleared somewhat and there was no rain.

So we found the Magpie Lawn (which had no magpies anywhere!) and our friends were already there enjoying a picnic. I looked around to see if there were any birds about to photograph. I could hear a few Tui and another bird that I wasn't sure of but that was about it. The wind had obviously chased them to calmer areas of the park. Then I saw a bird land on the ground in front of me - quite a distance in front of me I might add, and by the time I got close enough to lift the camera it had flown up into a tree.

I am sure the birds have this pact with each other. Every time they see me they stay just out of reach of my lens. They tease me and flit past with such speed that it is impossible to focus on them, let along push the shutter on the camera. I did manage to get this one shot with full zoom and still the Rosella managed to turn its back on me.

I wandered around looking hopefully into the trees and eventually gave up. But there were other interesting things about. There was a bumble bee busy with flowers, some pretty wild roses and what I know as 'shivery grasses'. So all was not lost, I got my photography fix for the day. I have a kids portrait shoot in another park this afternoon so watch this space for some fun playground shots.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Playing with Photoshop

I am a photographer, not a graphic artist. I am always happiest when I manage to achieve the desired look in camera because I have no idea how to achieve it in post processing. That doesn't stop me trying though and lately I have been playing with Photoshop a bit more. I don't necessarily know how I get to where I am but if the photo looks good then I don't really care!

The following are some of my quick plays with Abigail's photos. Before and after shots.

There is so much to learn when it comes to post processing photographs, I am enjoying hunting out tutorials when I have the time to sit at the computer. I will continue to share my results and welcome any advice or tips that may help me.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Abigail - 6 months old

I first photographed Abigail when she was just a bump in her mother's tummy, then again when she was around two weeks old. Now she is six months and she has to be the easiest baby I have ever come across. Even when she is really upset all you hear is a whimper from her and only for a few minutes. She is back to smiles in no time at all.

I was going to show photos of our Christmas tree but I am sorry to say I haven't finished decorating it. The tree is up and taking a huge amount of room in the lounge but it does feel like Christmas now. I hope to finish trimming it tomorrow and then with a bit of luck I will have some photos to show you.

Our flights are booked now for our Bay of Islands trip so if any of you know of any great photographic opportunities that I just shouldn't miss while there please let me know. I have never been to the far north so am really looking forward to exploring unknown territory.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's December!

December is the month where we all get excited about Summer holidays, Christmas Day and New Year celebrations. It's time off from the stresses of work and the hustle and bustle of day to day life. It's time to relax and have fun. For me it is also a time of remembrance.

December 1976 one of the most special people in my life left us. I was very close to my grandmother and her passing is something that I always remember in December. The following December when I was pregnant with my first child I remember thinking that if she had just been with us for a little bit longer she could have met her first great grandchild. I have a lot of great memories of my grandmother and I know they will stay with me forever.

December 2004 I got married! We are coming up for our 6th anniversary of being married this year and the 13th anniversary of being together. He planned it so we only have one anniversary date for him to forget and to date he hasn't forgotten it yet. It's hard to forget something special when it happens in December because there is always so much going on and so much importance put on that month of the year.

December 2007 my father left us after a battle with cancer. I sat with him for his final week at the hospice and was there with him when he passed. In December I always remember Dad, not just because that is when he left us but because of the fun times. I remember the Christmas parties at his place of work where he was always busy when Santa arrived. Little did I know at the time that inside that Santa suit was my father! Year after year I sat on Santa's knee and thanked him for the gifts he gave us. Thanks Dad :)

Now we are at December 2010 and the Christmas tree is going up as soon as I have the time to do it. My new (last year) BBQ is going to get a dust off and we are going to celebrate family and being together this Christmas even though we are spread over two countries. Christmas is all about families and having good times together. I am going to make it my mission this Christmas to get my camera out and record as many of those special Christmas moments as I can. Watch this space for the results!

In the mean time, enjoy some more of last weekend's photo shoot.