Tuesday, September 28, 2010

isolation on white


after going through all the pics from zumba mastercalss with Naomi Mokoena I figured that this one might just be isolate-able. I caught a lucky break there - the tips of the hair were against a relatively light background, and Naomi is dark-haired, otherwise it won't work at all. I did have to spend some time with selection tools and eraser, but not excessive one

However, my predictable conclusion was that maybe I don't want to do that again :) shots for isolation are best done on plain background and with good light to start with. Then it's doable in a couple of clicks, like here. But it was a nice challenge and it worked reasonably well

I can't really explain why the reflection, except the angle was such (Naomi was on podium) that the soles of her trainers are flat and horizontal - necessary condition for half-convincing reflection.

Monday, September 27, 2010

spooky beauty


don't know about you, but for me full-face mask are always spooky, even the most beautiful venetian ones.
fortunately, the one I have is small, so it's not so scary. but when pics are taken, the scale becomes unclear, with expected effect.

It was very weird to look at people in full masks and costumes the only time I went to carnival in Venice (years ago). They would chat merrily between themselves, and laugh, and while body language will say "I am happy and relaxed and chatting with my friends", the masks will maintain that slight haughty smile that says "I am so not interested in anyone, I am the most beautiful creature for miles around"

white mask and black mirror on shutterstock

Sunday, September 26, 2010

reflective one


I don't know what to write here, really. Pepper was very bright and shiny and my "tabletop" setup suits this type of object very nicely and that's enough reason to make a picture

upd: and it was yummy :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

black and, er, sort of white


It seems that I am slowly but surely going off monochrome images. I used to convert to monochrome a lot, which was not altogether unconnected to the fact that my very first digital camera produced an awful lot of digital noise and incorrectly exposed images (well, the last bit was my fault too). Monochrome conversion was a handy way of hiding those defects.

Sure, there are situations where pictures are asking to be converted, but it happens less and less somehow. Even in where the color is very difficult to handle, it feels a shame to destroy it altogether.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

zumba masterclass


some pictures from zumba masterclass yesterday in Chilford Hall with Naomi Mokoena (lady in grey above with her back to the camera) hosted by Natalia Bull (heading the dancing line in the next picture). Participants enjoyed it :)

It was interesting to see how my old cannon 5d will perform in these rather extreme conditions - the hall is quite large with high ceiling (bounced flash useless) and lit with not very bright (to put it mildly) and mixed light. I had to push ISO up to the maximum in some cases (1600, may the god of photography forgive me), and have the diaphragm open to the maximum (also not ideal on my lens, but lesser crime in comparison with that ISO). Pictures came out extremely noisy and colors are off and seem unfixable, short of converting to black and white (mixed light!). Pics had to be reduced dramatically and are only good for the web, but I like them anyway.

I still have, oh, I dunno, half a thousand of them to look through :)



Monday, September 20, 2010

it is doing it again


our oldest orchid plant is starting to bloom again. it's one of those objects in our house that paid for itself many times over - I just checked how many images of it I have for sale and it's quite a few(there are some different plants in that search result, but still a few)

well, hope it'll turn up as photogenic this time and will sell just as nicely or better again

Saturday, September 18, 2010

zumba demo in Saffron Walden - ahead only


There was zumba demonstration on Saffron Walden market square. It was by my zumba instructor Luisa Curbelo (lady in blue belly dancing scarf), and she was joined by another instructor, Natalia Bull (one in bright yellow trousers).

It was sort of chilly today, but the workout is so energetic, everybody who took part looked hot, not cold.

A few very young girls joined, (one in pink tutu!), which looked very sweet, but I didn't take any pictures, so as not to upset parents by accident.

I must say I myself find zumba excellent fun- considering I never liked really liked fitness, it's saying something I guess.

All the dancing, skipping and jumping was done on the big white letters on the road spelling "ahead only", which seems oddly appropriate




Tuesday, September 14, 2010

spring lake


Somehow this summer passed without us renting a summer house in Scandinavia. I loved it last year in Denmark, but this year it didn't happen. And we missed mushroom-picking this year, too. Blogs of my Russian friends are full of mushroom-hunting reports and pictures now, after the heat and smog of summer went away and beautiful autumn arrived.

Never mind, there is always next year.

This is not summer or autumn in Denmark, this is spring in Norway, but still.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Healing mud of Nin


I was hesitating somewhat before placing this picture, since I don't know those guys, but decided that their privacy is protected enough by their poses and mud layer. Plus, I turned lady's head away. Plus it is a public beach, of course, it's just I am always very hesitant with photos of strangers.

Anyway, what you see in front of you is one of the beaches of Nin. On the map below is the one to the left from the Nin bay entrance (upper left corner). The dark blue shallow lagoon below it on the map is filled with this black sticky stuff, and as you come to the beach, you see plenty of people smeared with it. It's relatively quiet place at the moment, but I strongly suspect that once this large-ish project I just found about is underway, it'll be lot less accessible and a lot busier.

I don't quite understand what the mud is supposed to be healing, but well. Looks like good fun anyway.

Beaches of Nin are nice, though, mud or not. Visually, they not as striking as ones on Fuerteventura, and not at all as clean, but they have shallow sand access to calm water, and that' a definite plus on most beaches in Croatia I've seen so far.

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photos from Croatia for sale at shutterstock

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bridge The Gap


Arco Iris was drumming today at the finish of Bridge the Gap charity walk.

I must say that I didn't really read the walk website before we went, at least I didn't read it thoroughly. For some reason I assumed that we will be there for both start and finish, so I though - well, maybe, if the weather will be nice, I might join myself, etc. It turned out that we came to the right place (start and finish being at the same spot), but the wrong time, walk starting at 9.30 and us turning up at 11.

Anyway, if we are still here next year, I might join. It appears to be an excellent value for money, as it were (if such thing can be said about charity event) - the route goes through a few colleges, and it's great photographically, plus at least one of them is normally charging for admission. And the walk is good for you. And you have satisfaction of knowing that your money go to a good cause, of course.

And incomparable Arco Iris expects you at the finish. I mean, it doesn't get any better than that, surely.



Wednesday, September 08, 2010

forest elf


Not sure if the results are to everyone's liking, but I had fun with this picture. Hair proved to be a bit of a challenge, with only Photoshop Elements at my disposal (if I understand correctly, it's a lot easier to make custom intelligent brush in fully fledged Photoshop, but I don't have that)
Actually, I know that results are not to everyone's liking - the model made a face when he saw it. He graciously agreed that it's ok since nobody should be able to recognize him (or so he thinks, anyway)

you can see the entry into POTY competition here. Feel free to vote and/or leave a comment

this image at shutterstock

Monday, September 06, 2010

Patrouille de France


we did catch Patrouille de France on Saturday - about 5ish they were on. Their display was great, and standing where we were, it also felt very, very personal - those jets are whooshing by like there is no tomorrow.

I believe from this picture you can see why we mistook them for red arrows on Friday - there are eight of them (Red Arrows fly eight when one pilot is not available, and that's what happened on Saturday), the outlines of the jets are not dissimilar, and the colors of the smoke they trail are the same. And sure there are differences, starting from the color of the planes, but in the distance you can't really see that at all.

I read up on them a little bit and was very surprised and pleased to find out that the team is headed by a woman - Virginie Guyot

And of course I do have a shot with them doing a very similar curve to the previous picture, but I think there's enough curves for a bit.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Duxford air show today


ever impressive red arrows display over Duxford museum today. They are going to kick off the display tomorrow at two, apparently, so there is still a chance to catch them over this w/e.

Yesterday a jet team was doing a display very close to our house. We immediately assumed that they were red arrows, except when they flew really low, I saw that the jets are in fact blue. I was somewhat perplexed, but decided this was a new look for red arrows (Blue is New Red, you know). They did some figures that I didn't ever see the Red arrows do - a heart pierced by an arrow was one.

Today it transpired that what we saw yesterday was French aerobatics team - Patrouille de France, and they will perform today only. Problem is, nobody seems to know what time. We are assuming they'll close the show at about 5, so we are heading back to Duxford soon.

Friday, September 03, 2010

last day of holidays


Timur is sitting by the sea organ, looking completely and utterly bored with sun, sea and everything around him

I am not sure whether this is something many people feel, but for us, a lazy week by seaside seems to be some sort of cut-off. After that it gets boring and all everybody wants is to get back home. We stayed for nine nights - two too many, it seems.

From my student (long-gone) days, however, I remember that if you stay by seaside for about two weeks, some sort of "second wind" arrives and it feels like you can stay there forever.

Alas, I didn't have hols that lasted over two weeks for a long time, so I didn't have the opportunity to test whether it feels the same now as it did all those years ago.

photos from Croatia for sale at shutterstock

Thursday, September 02, 2010



while in Zadar, we bought a stripy article for everybody, except (sob, sob, sniff) for myself.

Here you can see two of those things, worn by Timur and Yuri on our last day in Zadar, while they converse about something or other. Their conversation tends to consist almost solely of quotes from movies and books known to both. Occasionally those quotes are not even words - that's when they (especially Timur) try to convey the story by sound imitations ("and then he like KAABOOM!")

We stayed in Zadar itself for the last night before going back home. Our flight was in the evening, so we left our bags with the landlord and slooowly went around the town for one last time, with stops for icecreams, long lunch and drinks.

The place for the last night was found via "aquarius" tourist agency in Zadar. It actually proved quite difficult to find accommodation in the area beforehand via the internet, but once you are there, it's easy - just go around asking at tourist agencies that there are a few. If you feel energetic, you can even shop around and look for the right balance of price and quality, but we didn't do that - it was very hot and prospect of walking around with our bags didn't appeal. Incidentally, the trick of easily finding a place to stay while on the spot works in one more place I know of - and it's Scotland of all places. Except in Scotland, you go to one tourist info and they do it for you, while in Dalmatia different tourist agencies seem to hold different lists of properties.

No matter, it all worked out in the end

photos from Croatia for sale at shutterstock

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

olives in the middle of nowhere


this old olive garden is along one of the roads that lead from village called Kozino (I can't put the right accent on "z", so probably the most appropriate spelling is Kozhino) to the sea.

Village itself is not far from Zadar - about 5 km, on the main road to Nin. Looks like the original village didn't came down to the sea, but now there is a strip of new developments next to the seaside and it is joined to the old village by at least two steep-ish short roads. Once you get to the sea it's a bit disappointing - the seabottom is stony, with inevitable sea urchins. There is just one cove where bottom is sandy, but it is still fringed with stones, so you have to negotiate those before you can feel the sand under your feet.

Having said that, the apartment that we rented there via one of tourist agencies in Zadar was the most comfortable of four places we stayed in over those nine nights. Another plus side was that Nin, with its truly sandy beaches, was not very far and local buses did take us where we want to go - not always quite on time, granted, but we were never in a hurry anyways.

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photos from Croatia for sale at shutterstock