About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Welcome back to ABC Wednesday, created and hosted by the inComparable Mrs. Nesbitt and assisted by her courageous coven of crazy and cackling characters, including moi from Canada! First off, I would thank to thank so many of my readers who commented on my previous post (Background) and praised my photo of the pumpkin patch. I didn't mention it, but it did win a challenge on Red Bubble for the month of October, and I celebrated it as my first win for any of my photos!

This week, I'd like to discuss "composition." There are three main rules around composition: the rule of thirds, the golden section rule, and the diagonal rule. I checked out various websites and chose one that seemed to be concise and simple to understand. You can see it here. You can click on any photo to enlarge it.

The rule of thirds is based on the fact that the human eye is naturally drawn to a point about two-thirds up a page. Imagine your photo divided into nine equal sections. When lining up your shot, make sure your main subjects are lined up at the intersection points, rather than centered. See photo below from the website.

Here are a few of my own photos that I think show good composition by using the rule of thirds.

The next rule is called the Golden Section Rule. This means that certain points in a picture's composition automatically attract the viewer's attention. Imagine your photo being divided into nine unequal sections. Each line is drawn so that the width of the resulting small part of the image relates to that of the big part exactly as the width of the whole image relates to the width of the big part. Points where the lines intersect are the "golden" points of the picture. See photo below from the website.

And one of my own photos:
The final rule for composition is the diagonal rule. This means that one side of the picture is divided into two, and then each half is divided into three parts. The adjacent side is divided so that the lines connecting the resulting points form a diagonal frame. According to the Diagonal Rule, important elements of the picture should be placed along these diagonals. See photo below from the website:

And a couple of my own photos, far from perfect as I've been working on trying to keep my camera straight and not on a diagonal:

There you have it - my contribution to Round 10, Week 3. I hope I haven't bored you completely to death and that you'll leave a comment to let me know if you're still compos mentis after reading all this. Ciao until next week.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


As I look back on the photos I've taken over the past few years, I notice that I'm getting better and better shots. Why is this? Before really getting into photography as a hobby, I simply looked at something and took the shot. I did not consider the background at all. Even now, I sometimes get so excited about something that I forget that taking the background into consideration can make the difference between a photo and work of art. So what do we look for when we factor in the background?

The first thing to do is scan the background of your shot and check for colours and lines that might clash with your subject. Next, if your camera has the capability, throw the background out of focus by using depth of field. This is best done with a manual digital single lens reflex camera. Mine is not a manual, but I do have the capability of choosing some aperture settings. Also, you could either move the subject or move yourself to get a better angle (see previous post). One of the most effective ways to deal with background is to fill the frame with your subject. I love using my macro and super macro settings and will discuss this when it's M week. In addition, you could go out to take photos with your own background. For example, take coloured sheets of card stock with you or a variety of coloured fabrics to act as background. Finally, there are lots of different photo editing software available. I use Photoshop Elements and really enjoy fooling around with its capabilities. Not that I do all these things every time, but I can sharpen the focus, adjust the contrast, lighten or darken shadows, and play with colours by changing the hue, temperature, and saturation of a photo. Also, I can crop and resize the image.

In the following photo, I took a shot from the boat as we were cruising past Steveston Village. I recognized the location as one where L and I frequently go and sit in our sun chairs to relax, read and watch the boats go by. Pajos Restaurant is there, too, where we'll buy fish and chips to nibble during those long, lazy summer afternoons. Looking at it now, I see so much more than what I wanted to shoot. There is not only the tree, beside which we sit just above the rocks, and the restaurant, but also in the shot there are cars, a condo, telephone poles, the mountains, and an airplane taking off. I never noticed these things at the time.

In this next shot, I had quickly pulled over to the side of the road because the field was so bright and beautiful. However, I was worried about all the cars passing and took a quick shot, not taking into account anything except the little girl dragging her pumpkin away. You will notice (and I think this is a bit amusing) two men standing around chatting with cameras around their necks, one lady walking away, and another little girl lagging behind her. Also, if you look beyond the field, you will see a bit of the city past the treeline and mountains in the far distance. I actually like this because you are able to see just how close my neighbourhood is to Vancouver. We live in a semi-rural area, but with city conveniences near at hand.

I took this shot over 5 years ago when I was travelling in Sicily. We were at the Valley of the Temples where you'll find the remains of eight Greek temples. I took several shots of this particular one (the Temple of Castor and Pollux) and finally got up as close as I could to block out the background of the city of Agrigento behind. However, I do like this shot as it shows the incongruity of the ancient ruins and the modern city so near to each other.

And one more shot, this time of me standing in front of a sign in Cardiff that reads, "Wales The Happy Country." It was pouring rain and my friend said to go stand by the sign and he'd take my photo. Now when I look at it, I see the dragon (symbol of Wales) plus the shop windows that we didn't stop to look at while there. Next time I'm in Cardiff, I will try to find that shop again and go in to look around. In this case, I'm glad the background is there, even if it hadn't originally meant to be.

Thanks to Denise Nesbitt, our bold buccaneer, for creating ABC Wednesdays and for keeping it going for nigh on 5 years! It has become international and more and more people are contributing each week. Mrs. Nesbitt's bright and beautiful assistants take turns producing each week's beginning post and will take a break in their day to visit all the other posts. So do consider bonding with us by clicking here to see each week's contributors.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A is for ANGLES

All aboard for Round 10 of ABC Wednesday? Awesome! For this round, I've decided to focus on learning more about photography. I took an informal class for 12 weeks in the fall and learned quite a bit but, naturally, there's so much more to learn. The next class doesn't begin until March, so in the meantime, this will help me to keep everything front and center, continue learning and practising, and share some of my photos.

At first, I was going to do "aperture," but since I'm not using a manual SLR, but rather a digital with some manual settings, I'm going to use the word "angles" instead. Try experimenting with photos by getting right down on the floor or the ground, sit on a chair and look up...waaaay up, or climb on something and look down. Tilt your camera one way and then the other. Try out different angles and try to get shots with angles in them. I know, I know, people will see you and think "what on earth is that person doing???" but who cares? With a camera in hand, pretend you're a professional with a contract for some high-class magazine and just go for it. When you look at your shots on Photoshop or other software, you'll see that most of the shots are awful. However, sometimes you'll get it just right and give yourself an A+ for effort! And you'll even learn from the awful shots!

Here are just a few shots where I was attempting to shoot angles.

Go ahead and attempt your own shots with angles. And while you're at it, remember Mrs. Nesbitt who gave us the very first ABC Wednesday and has kept it going for almost 5 years! She sure gets an A+ for all her endeavours, along with her able-bodied A-list of aides! To check out ABCW, just click here and join in the fun.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Z is for ZEAL

It's hard to believe that we're already at the end of Round 9 in ABC Wednesday! Actually, it's quite timely, since we've just started a new year - 2012 - and hopefully, like me, you all have a new zest for life. Although the weather may be cold, wet or white, let's all find something to get excited about - make snow angels, buy some new wellies and a new brollie and sing in the rain, or experiment with taking photos during a dark, grey day. It won't be long and we'll see snow drops, hyacinths, narcissi, daffodils, and tulips! So don't sleep away these dark days of winter, but rather get out and about with a zealous attitude!


Zeal is like promiscuous purple pansies.

It looks like playful, chattering chimpanzees.

It sounds like giggles that turn into hoots.

It smells like French fries and tropical fruits.

It tastes like Snickers and sugar and spice.

It feels like daring delight rolling the dice.

Zeal is enthusiasm for everything in life.

Continued thanks to our zippy leader, Denise Nesbitt, who created ABCW and with her zealous group of assistants, continues to keep us on our toes. Please join in the fun any time you wish, but this would be the perfect time now that we're starting Round 10. Just click here to check us out.