Tuesday, 25 December 2007
We wish you a warm and very MERRY CHRISTMAS.
This is the Santa the old gent was looking at so lovingly in 'Christmas Spirit', my previous blog.
Santa's head moves and the hand holding the card.
It was bought as a prop. I have my grandchildren here this Christmas and brought it out for them after all those years, aahh to see those little faces, wonderful...
Have a magic time, take care of each other and yourself, Magda.
Lolove, M, (*_*)
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
4. VALSE TRISTE
5. TEMPORAL BEAUTY
6. THE BIG BLOOM
7. THE BIG RED AND WHITE BLOOM.
8. CORNUS ALBA
9. CURVACEOUS CURVES
10. THE 3 CALLAS
11. BLOW YOUR TRUMPETS
Photography is an Art, a way of life, of thinking creatively and seeing life, it is my passion, mental and emotional nourishment. All I can say is experiment, experiment, experiment... the exposure is irrelevant because each flower, the light source is different, just like for people and everything else!
I love flowers, they are neither shy nor temperamental, just extremely ephemeral, and that is one of the things I like to capture and eternalise, their beauty.
All flowers are beautiful, some through their shape some through their colour, some through both, just like with people, however, I noticed over the years, that some flowers are more photogenic than others... just like with people…
Fresh flowers, a fresh idea, a fresh image.
For professional work, the flowers have to be PERFECT, luckily, for my free work, I love a bit of 'imperfection', adds interest and is less boring!
I love gardening, seeing plants grow, unfurl, bloom, and rain-damage doesn't make a flower less appealing to me because it's not 'perfect'!
I like the natural light too, but that is another blog for later! I've been working on this project, 'Flowers in the studio' for years, an ongoing process. and an absolute joy to do. Hours well spent, I hope you enjoy them. I love trying out all kinds of lighting using flags and cutters, so indeed as little DIGITAL HELP as possible, except for ‘cleaning up’ dust speckles or minor cosmetic
I've been working on this project, 'Flowers in the studio' for years, an ongoing process. and an absolute joy to do. Hours well spent, I hope you enjoy them. I love trying out all kinds of lighting using flags and cutters, so indeed as little DIGITAL HELP as possible, except for ‘cleaning up’ dust speckles or minor cosmetic
Make it your own! Continuously experimenting and playing with light, I love the textures and tones, taken in the studio, playing with light, flags and cutters to get the desired effect of chiaroscuro... also with emotion and a sensuality of 'you're making my toes curl'?
I often have several arrangements for the different takes, yet often I have previsualised it so well, that it takes ONE shot!
I wanted dramatic lighting for this series.
Paul and I love working together whenever we can, the lights set up, hand measuring the light, then a quick try (before it used to be with Polaroids) with the digi (Nikon D70/200, nikkor Macro 60mm).
It is always the same, once you have an idea for the studio, you get in there, see something else, and something else again, wonderful how inspirational it can be.
The feeling I get when I see the results… they sing to me, rich and sensual both in tones and forms.
Photographed the way I like it, minimal dof, fading away in the dark, black bg, it gives it a lovely sense of mystery...
I wanted to capture the mystery the red rose seemed to hold. I gave it a dramatic sidelight, some just stroking the rims of the petals and going off into the deepest darker corners. Flowers.
I know, not everybody's cup of tea, but I think there is a 'need' for creative photography, if not for you... for me... LOL.
The Roman goddess of flowers, gardens, and the season of spring is Flora.
The Greek goddess of spring, flowers and nature is Chloris.
Flowers have been cultivated and bred for their beauty and their perfume from earliest times and have accumulated a vast and intricate treasury of symbolic associations derived from legend and folklore. Individual flowers have been celebrated in heraldry (rose), in religion (lotus), and in politics (violet) and have become emblems for many countries, including Switzerland (edelweiss), France (fleur-de-lis), Scotland (thistle), and the United States (the state flowers).
In modern times, we cultivate, buy and love to have flowers and blooming plants around us for the colour, it has become a part of our ‘interior design’.
Flower lovers will know that there is a flower language.
Every sentiment is expressed in one form or another by delicate blooms. Of course, even the experts disagree on the "true meaning" of many flowers and most have different meanings to different people. So, while all flowers convey thoughtfulness and love, a gift of flowers for a special someone will always create its own personal meaning, too.
Paul knows how much I love flowers and as there's not much going on in the garden, he often buys me flowers.
I think he chooses them in the secret hope that I'm going to photograph them, hihi. And he's right, I DO!
I WISH YOU A BLOOMING GOOD DAY, M, (*_*)
1. Unfurling the divine mystery of perfection which resides curled, often unseen, within the heart of every human being. Its center well protected by many layers, the rose died like so many, without ever opening, without releasing its secret.
I wanted to capture the mystery the red rose seemed to hold. I gave it a dramatic sidelight, some just stroking the rims of the petals and going off into the deepest darker corners.
2. French: muguet, lis des vallées
Dutch: Lelietjes van Dalen
... an erect low-growing plant of the genus Convallaria (C. majalis).
3. A detail/macro of the red tulip.
There are no secrets... it only took me years of experimenting in the studio.
4. I opened the packet and saw this one tulip with a petal torn, it looked so sad... Valse Triste (by Sibelius)...
5. The heart was already dead... a gorgeous, large, duotoned bloom of Chrysanthemum.
Tempus fugit is a Latin expression meaning "time flies".
Frequently used as an inscription on clocks to remind us that life passes FAST, tic...toc....
All is fleeting and so ephemeral...
The expression was first used in the verse Georgica written by Roman poet Virgil: Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, which means,
"But it flees in the meantime: irretrievable time flees".
The flower still full of beauty to me...
6. A client bought and renovated a beautiful Victorian house, they wanted photos for the rooms of Victorian (style) flowers, portrait format, but of course I tried all kinds after I'd finished the commission.
Chrysanthemum: the big blooms often duo toned, collectively known as kotengiku or antique chrysanthemums.
7. Same as nr.6 in colour, what do you prefer?
8. THIS IS A PERSONAL FAVOURITE. I was after that feeling of 'old print' It is a specific light, sometimes people think it is underexposed, but no, this is what I wanted!
9. Zantedeschia, commonly known as Calla.
This one seemed to curl with pleasure and love the light which brought out all the different lines of colour.
10. Zantedeschia, usually called calla or arum lilies( when white), they are not a true lily.
It is named after Italian botanist Francesco Zantedeschia.
It looks like
a. a family, with the little one pushing; mama, are we going yet?
b. I was interested by the lovely curves, the light on them, concentrated, but saw that, like people, they feel 'strong' as a group?
c. The 3 tenors was the 'humorous' aspect... La Calla one of the greatest sopranos?
Thursday, 29 November 2007
I had to dig deep for that one, in every sense, it was a very special, moving and private moment.
Sometimes a unique and special moment presents itself in your life, it stays with you forever!
Once again it shows how important emotion is in an image... if you can capture it?
Wherever I upload this photo or show this to anyone, people respond to it in an overwhelmed and touched way, it leaves nobody untouched.
We had a photo gallery and it was just before Christmas.
I was doing the window dressing and had decided, since Christmas is greatly connected with children to use that as a theme.
I bought one of the electrical Santas holding a candle, moving his head, with a very kind and jolly face, totally new then, a huge success, kids kept dragging their parents to see it.
It was in the morning, cold and driftsnow flying, nobody in the streets yet, although the angels were already singing the carols over the tannoys.
Santa was doing his thing, I was giving the framed images a last wipe, when I heard a gentle thump and I looked up to see this sweet tender moment.
This elderly gent stood there, looking with the joy of a child in his eyes.
I grabbed my camera, I saw I had one shot on a 400 asa left to take this one off image, I also did not know how long he was going to brave the elements, turned out he gazed for quite some time.
Always keep the child in a small corner of your heart, never let go of that wonderful feeling...
May your day be full of goodness, Magda (*_*)
Sunday, 18 November 2007
Like so many of my fellow photographers, I KNOW why I am behind the lens and not in front of it, tee hee, lol!
It is not a bad thing, it helps me in understanding clients who feel the same, I can empathize with them, they soon feel more at ease!
However, what if you have an idea, you want to try out something, a new lighting experiment, or even, you are by yourself on a beach, you see a scene... no MODEL!!! What do you do????????
Then you have 2 choices... no image... or you, yourself have to be the model! That's why I acquired so many 'self portraits', but I've learned a lot through it... I still don't like it... but it was worth it!
Photo 1. sometimes you have to be 'you own model'. if you want the image!
A shell or a piece of stone, a small mark in the sand, camera on tripod... result, tee hee.
Photo 2. One of my favourite places to stand and stare...
I took the shot using the D70's remote control to trigger the self timer. I placed a stone in the sand near the water's edge. Composed the shot and prefocused on the spot, I then set the self timer on my camera for a 20 second delay, which gave me just enough time to trigger the camera and run down and stand on the spot I had marked. It took me a couple of takes, you can see the prints where I was too much to the right!
Photo 3. IN CAMERA.
I'd set up the lights, my Hasselblad on a tripod, the Nikon F4 with 24mm lens, on another tripod looking onto the mat glass of the Blad. You still with me? hihi.. Marked everything on the floor, where I had to stand exactly, cable release in my hand or under my foot(pump). Not for the fainthearted hihi.
Needless to say I ended up with a whole series of pics, it was fun.
Photo 4. Another lighting exercise in the studio.
This is b/w Polaroid which gives you not just the instant image but also a 4x5 negative.
This image is part of an ongoing photo book project on ‘soul mirrors.’
I always prefer natural light, but studio light has its advantages, anytime, anywhere…
This was taken late at night, I had already tried quite a few different set-ups, wanted something different, this IS the one.
Camera used: Techn Cam 4x5
Lens used: Rodenstock 180
Film used: Polaroid 55 pro neg. 4x5
The frame is natural, from the torn-off Polaroid paper.
Photo 5. I brought in the garden lights ( 8 plastic tubes with LED lights inside), decided to have some fun with them in the studio again. Here I'm using 2 tubes, I tried different techniques with the studiolights, to freeze me=washed out the lights too much.
So, the old joke was always that photographers do it in the dark! Here's PROOF!
Thanx ! M, (*_*)
Thursday, 15 November 2007
I love colour photography because I see the world in colour…
I love black and white photography, because it strips the ‘reality’ out of the image, it leaves the naked truth, without the frills and ‘distraction’ of colours, just tones that add to the emotion, the all important ingredient, for me, in photography.
The slow waltz, gentle, easy gliding across the dance floor.
Every Monday afternoon there is a ‘dance’ meeting at one of the old halls.
The ladies and gents duly arrive on time to have a great time, all done up and ready for a good time.
The music begins soon after the greetings and laughter.
The dance floor fills up very quickly, I notice a lot of ladies partnering up, there are not enough men for all of them, a few sitting on the side, I smile, nothing ever changes, some guys remain shy forever or only know one dance….
It’s a great atmosphere; I talk to them, hear what this means to them, the joy, the banter and yes, sometimes love is in the air.
Again, nothing ever changes…
Then the music starts, a couple walk hand in hand to the middle, take the stance, their dance begins, nobody else, the rest just watch.
PUT ON YOUR DANCING SHOES
I went there for a project, they love being photographed, well, most of them.
This lady wore her comfortable dancing shoes, but the moment she spotted my lens going to her feet, she stopped me, no no, wait...
Out of the bag came the 'newer' ones, they had not been properly broken in, yet.
With delicate gestures she closed the strap across her ankle, while her gentleman friend sat patiently waiting for the next dance.
A genteel world that is fast disappearing.
I seem to go in HCB (Henri Cartier-Bresson) mode when I'm in those places...
I chose the grainy film Ilford HP5 especially for this.
VALSE LENTE TOO
This lady, one of the first to arrive at the dance hall, was well liked and cherished.
She was obviously just there to see and enjoy her friends dancing.
I had already taken several shots, and sat down on the side to absorb the whole atmosphere; when out of the corner of my eye I saw movement.
The one foot was moving with the tune, the stick tapping the beat, the rest of her body still, her face ecstatic.
I wondered where she was in her memories, for a moment I saw the young girl emerging, a youthfulness in her shining eyes.
The music stopped, applause, her shoulders sagged a bit; she leant a bit more heavily on her stick.
Valse Lente too.
Wishing you all a great day and thanx for viewing, M, (*_*)
400 iso b/w film, wet darkroom developed and printed.
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
HOLDING THE FUTURE
THE FLORAL DANCE
If you are as passionate about photography as I am, passion as in LOVE? Then HOW can so many be so sloppy today? With all the wonderful 'tools' that we have at our disposal, all meant to make it 'easier'?
How can anybody upload an image with the spots from dust bunnies not removed?
How can anybody upload an image with a skew horizon?
Too many good photos are being 'spoiled' by overcooking or just not bothering to remove the dust specks or small eyesores?
What you are hearing is pure frustration!
If you are one of those who claim to have fallen in love with the medium, then, treat it right!
Treat it tender and with respect.
Treat it with the love it deserves.
Treat it with care!
ALWAYS clean up your bg( THE FLORAL DANCE)! After taking a portrait, we all have small blemishes/ mosquito bites, small cuts or wounds, take care of it, yet not something like a mole which is a characteristic of a person (HOLDING THE FUTURE). If you don't ENJOY it, don't do it!
However, even if it means a lot of work( THE ITALIAN JOB)! If you think it is worth it! Do it!
NEVER upload an image that is not 100%. Treat each site as you would a gallery, because that is what it is, you put up an exhibition! People come visit and judge!
So THINK AND CHECK before you put any photo up anywhere!
Thanx, M, (*_*)
Monday, 8 October 2007
THE ENCHANTED WOOD 2
To my grandchildren, on a visit from the Continent, this was an enchanting and enchanted wood!
They collected coloured leaves, ran through the rustling carpet, conkers and chestnuts, pinecones, saw the squirrels race up the trees, all the things that kids love.
They already are quite used to the smaller digital cameras most people have and how to take photos, This was taken on my Nikon F4, with 400iso film, it has a ‘special’ back so each time I took a shot, they came running to ‘see’, I had a lot of explaining to do!
Soon, there will be a generation that will not know what film is, a darkroom, negs?
Now that they have more of ‘an understanding’ about photography, my lovely bunch are more and more interested and more curious in some of the ‘tricks’ and creativity, especially my granddaughter.
After the ‘normal’ shot, with my camera on the tripod and while the shutter was open I moved the camera upwards creating the blur effect (Enchanted wood 2). They thought it was magic!
I like it because it’s such a lovely blend of the autumn colours with the tree trunks so strong.
The ‘essence’ of autumn. I am trying to be continuously and consistently creative in my photography. Trying out things, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t… I learn from both experiences!
And the joy (forever) and the feeling when it DOES work, is to be felt, cannot be explained, hihi.
I wish you all a clear day and THANK YOU, Magda (*_*)
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
There are no secrets in photography; you can find EVERYTHING in books, and now on line, on courses...
First the ‘learning’ process, and yes, I still think it is of the utmost priority and necessity that you know the basics about light and photography, after that it only took me years of experimenting in the studio. That’s where the individuality comes in!
When you start out in the beginning, you hit it with everything you've got, like all things in life, hihi, now it is less and less.
Just one spotlight set up in the position so that the light catches the edges and part of the flower... until I'm happy... a black bg.
A BLACK bg has been a 'signature' for over 10 years now when virtually nobody did that, you can see it all through my pf, good to see so many 'enjoy' it.
Just to EXPLAIN how it came about FOR ME?
It stems from my paintings, one day I did a flower border against the black painted bottom of a house in Flanders (used to be very common), for a client.
I moved the idea on from oils on canvas to soft pastels on black, from there to the studio-photography.
I use cutters and flags to shield and play with the light.
Photography can be a creative Art, a way of life and seeing life. For me, it also very often an urge, when I get that feeling, the embryonic idea, then the need to take it further, a passion seems to take over, I can rationalise everything else (except clients) away, without any sense of guilty responsibility, And everything has to ‘wait’ till I have the desired ‘result’!! Mental and emotional nourishment, great satisfaction or enormous frustration at my inability and shortcomings, I don’t always win!
All I can say is experiment, experiment, experiment... the camera, the lens, the exposure are irrelevant because each subject (in this case a flower), the material, circumstances, light source is different. Make it your own!
Have a wonderful day, filled with love and thanx for your visit, M, (*_*)
1. Sensual: the petal of a red tulip, just some edge lighting.
2. I made this photo with a giant slinky.
Another eyeteaser, I really had a lot of fun with it, always the child at heart... thankfully.
I love all the vibrant colours in this funky and temperamental 'model', it is 'alive', misbehaved a lot and got entangled quite a few times, oohh give me children and animals any day, tee hee!
Mind your eyes, don't jiggle this about...
3. Oil and vinegar. Glass is one of the most difficult substances to photograph; my challenge is to use the reflections in a positive manner so that they add to the image.
I love using different oils and vinegars in the kitchen, so over the years these glass beauties have now become part of a collection, the first was the 'ball' cruet in front.
4. The painting where the idea originated from, now almost 20 years ago.
5. This is one in a series for an exhibit; the series was called
No model was harmed during the making of this image.
These are flowers believe it or not, like little lanterns, about the size of a tennis ball. Very prickly.
I've always loved the reflection on the back.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
2. 2 with water, 1 with sand
3 the way it used to be.
4 The station master with a display of old luggage
5 Engine 30926 leaves.
6 I ran alongside as the steam train was leaving the station..., it made the driver smile,
7 The stoker
8. The stoker's hand, looks like a charcoal drawing...
9. FROM A BRIEF ENCOUNTER, an air of mystery and romance forever linked with that classic A Brief Encounter...
The driver was smoothly reversing the train out of the station,
10. The driver11. Bye, off in smoke.
All in good cheers, I’m writing this with a big smile.
PHOTOGRAPHY comes from the classical Greek
Grafein=to write, to paint.
1: the act of taking and printing photographs.
2: the process of producing images of objects on photosensitive surfaces.
3: the occupation of taking and printing photographs or making movies. (Dictionary.com)
Like everything else, you need the tools of the trade…
Camera, light and ACTION!
Note I wrote camera, no distinction, it is my firm conviction that it is the person using the tools that is responsible for the result.
So that whole squabble and debate about film/digital, I WILL NOT EVEN GO INTO THAT NOW! Because it is irrelevant, just like the whole 'debate about brands', Canon versus Nikon, how silly.... I have and still do use both, often. Oke, digital is winning, but I still think that film has a 'natural' moody (colour/grain) quality that you have to 'put in' digital? Digital has other qualities, but that is really for another blog.
My camera HAS to be me my partner, I must love it straight away, I must love the feel of it immediately, we are going to work and have fun together, I must be able to rely on it, make it give me the results I have in my minds eye, my creative brain!
Give me any camera and I’ll do you the job, that’s a fact not a boast, been there, worn the T-shirt, bla-bla-bla!
Personally, far more important, a good portrait depends on my ability to communicate with the subject, my rapport. No matter the person, age, country, religion or any other circumstances, the success rests on how I approach the situation, the light and most importantly, my state of mind. Surprised? You shouldn't be!
The Greek have a lovely word: logiki... people sense the mood you are in and will respond accordingly.
It does not come easy to me, because I’m a shy person.
BUT, IT IS A BARRIER I OVERCOME EACH TIME.
If I can put them at ease, often simply by empathizing about the fact that I do understand, because I also do not like to be photographed, relax them, often by explaining what is going on, why a specific light or lens, they get interested and into it. Be strong but not overpowering, be kind and understanding but keep that gentle strength (and when it is a NO, ACCEPT IT! Nothing can work in such a situation).
You always have the hopeless ones (like, for example, hihi, photographers, radio-people, now I know why they are just a voice!!), but the TV-people are difficult in a different way, as soon as they sense the lens, they give you the ’stereo-type, standard' smile, which is also not what I want.
Often on sites, portraits are less appreciated; I think most people are scared? On the other hand on the website it is by far the MOST VIEWED section!
I had a comment once;
“I usually don't click on portraits because I don't know much about them (but I hope to someday). But this is a classic that gives me lots of ideas on how to do them!”
Someone else wrote:
“And Magda is a professional with many years experience. Most of us amateurs (enthusiasts=the new title recently) are still learning and finding our feet.”
Do you think I’ve stopped learning? I probably work harder at it than most, trying out different, new light settings and techniques.
You must all realize that, like in everything else, there’s also an ever changing TREND.
You only have to look at the family/school/wedding portrait of 50-20 years ago!!!!!!!!
I say it time and time again, there are no secrets!
I upload some images of portraits I took last Saturday! The steam train was late, I'd been told: 'no luv, not t'day anymore'. I photographed some details at the old station, I heard the whistle, Had to run all the way back. By the time I got to the driver and stoker, they were about to reverse away, I was able to 'establish' a quick rapport (often people get a fright when they hear I have a foreign accent, which is an additional obstacle, some freeze!), give them a card so I'd be able to send them some prints, took some portraits, ran alongside, a few more... It was over, right out of A Brief Encounter.
Enjoy your photography, make good use of, play and paint with light, in your FREE photography take images ONLY for YOU, overcome barriers if you have to...if you can...
Thanx, M, (*_*)
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
In West-Flanders, one of the provinces that form
Here I was in ‘de Westhoek’ (the West corner); it is the area of the North French border, the corner between the
Yes, Le plat pays, where I was born…
It was the first of August, at the height of summer.
A gentle breeze came from the sea, the distance shimmering with the heat from the land rich in harvest.
The light was too harsh to photograph ‘well’.
But it was now or not, what would you choose when you are there?
In this world where everything is in the fast lane and rushed, where we have no time to ‘stand and stare’ anymore so it seems …
I see so many arriving at some beauty spot, jump out of the car, stretch their arm, look for a couple of seconds, take a few shots and off, on to the next.
Meandering along the tiny canals, the old waterways, aimlessly, wherever, taking in the beauty, we arrived in a typically Flemish village. The small church in the middle, surrounded by an old graveyard, a few houses circled around, to the left the road ends at a Belgian military cemetery.
If you want to hear the sound of silence, that is the place to go, or so one would think?
The rustling of the poplars and light breeze waves the leaves of the trees and we can hear sparrows twittering nearby, their chorus changes into a chirping frenzy, probably to warn of danger to the birds sunbathing in the soft earth, between the carpet of green and the rows upon rows of headstones, uniform, with the Belgian flag enameled into the stone, above the names, the age, the rank.
All those young lives curtailed, so much sadness, the silence has descended within me.
Under a row of poplars is a bench, I sit and day dream and wait for Paul to take his images. It is so peaceful.
We head back to where we left the car, not saying much, thinking a lot.
We try the small church, to our joy the heavy door creeps open with a low groan, a coolness greets us, the scent of incense, and more silence.
Except, there is music playing, hardly disturbing the silence, it is a soft classical melody, with the waves of the sea.
The soles of our rubber shoes squeak on the cold shiny blue stone ashlars floor as we walk around.
I go and sit on the front row, the sunlight streams through the windows, creating pools and patches of warmth and colour. I sit and stare once more, soaking up the atmosphere, looking, seeing new things constantly. In places of worship there's a special mood, a serenity that envelopes one.
The light patterns of the donated window attract my attention, families used to give out of gratitude, if someone had survived a grave illness for example, their prayers had been answered.
The walls are white with some stone left visible in places, it all speaks of sobriety.
How many were baptised in this little old church, how many got married… how many were buried here, part of the Roman tower under which I’m sitting dates from the 12th century?
It is hard to believe that during the Great War this church survived, in the middle of the battle-fields.
Time has stopped, I am at a zenith of peace.
After a while I pick up my camera, check the settings and from where I sit, I take my images, the altar with the fresh flowers, the organ with the shiny pipes and rich wood… the shutter of the camera sounds like a gun so loud.
I walk around and see the wood-carved ‘family’, an old silver lamp without the candle, but the door is open, I photograph the holy-water font which looks cracked and sober.
I look back one last time before the heat and brightness hits us, we pass the old graves with the rusted crosses and fading portraits.
We drive off in silence, still tasting the timeless moment.
My advice to any photographer here is, if it is something that is not ‘a moment’, absorb the mood first, look and you will see, then, take your photos with the emotion and attention they deserve…
Thanx, M, (*_*)