Saturday, February 11, 2017

Packing Christmas and more photography

I  missed last week's update due to my work schedule invading my normally quiet Friday morning.  Yesterday I had a migraine and napped through my blog time, so here I am... coffee in hand on Saturday.

Roughly 17 years ago I got it in my head that I would have an expansive Christmas village for the holidays, and I would - of course - paint all the individual pieces myself.  The original "plan" had been to pick up one new building a year, paint it over Thanksgiving weekend, and add it to the village.  A couple years into the project, the company making my brand of houses went out of business, so I bought up all that I could at the craft store.  Then I found leftover inventory online, so I bought that too.  Some years I manage to paint a new whole piece, some years I can only sneak in a small villager to add... most years I start the pieces prior to Thanksgiving with the intention of adding them for the season, but they end up sitting to the side until New Years due to travel or gift projects taking up time... or both.  This year was both, plus we traveled for New Years, so my partly-done village pieces were not completed until the end of January.  Upon confirming the final coat of gloss was dry on the pieces last weekend, I set to work to pack them up... failing to get a photo of the 5 villager pieces that I painted this year.  For what it's worth, here is my 17 year old village as of this season (minus the 5 new additions, which I'll have to photograph next year)

The train is a new addition this year.  It is not to scale, and it is made of plastic instead of plaster, but they were on sale at the local craft store and I couldn't resist.  We haven't set up the big train set in years, and I enjoy a bit of choo-choo whimsy over the holidays.

In sewing, I'm nearing the end of my sea-turtle wall hanging which I'd started last spring, just stitching the sleeve to the back now and it will be ready to hang (once I buy a dowel for it)  I have not made it to a neighborhood craft club meeting in nearly a year, December's was scheduled on a band concert night, and January was cancelled due to the hostess getting a stomach flu.  I am hosting this month, and a fellow crafter has asked to learn needle felting so I'm currently working on a couple of examples for that night.  This - and the Christmas village delay - has helped me to procrastinate on the epic bird quilt plan of mine, however just this morning I'm thinking I might pull out the fabric for the embroidered squares and begin cutting those down to size.

I have managed to make good progress in photography.  I've caught up on editing/uploading the random "in between long vacation" DSLR photos that I've collected over the past couple of years.  I was a harsher critic on myself this time, which is especially difficult when it comes to the bird photos.  I have many "snaps" of birds which I enjoy only because of the species of bird in the shot, but in terms of a piece of art on the wall, they are not that great.  Cutting out the shots that I was emotionally attached to in that way, and only posting what I thought were also good compositions, greatly reduced the volume I had to upload.  I've also meandered through my growing backlog of uploaded images and reduced or removed many images that I now look back on and have decided are not up to par.  Perhaps someday I'll scale back a larger portion of the site - things I shot on the older lower MP camera - but for now I see little harm in leaving the older stuff up.

We had snow last week, and as I had some film to burn in my Graflex pinhole, I decided to set it up near my bird feeders and take some long exposures.  Calculating the exposure for snow was tricky, I took several meter reads off of surrounding mid-tone objects, made my calculations, and took 30-45 second exposures.  The best image out of the lot was this:
This is heavily cropped in, though I set the camera up at the edge of the porch it captured quite a lot more landscape than I wanted.  There are 3 birds which stood still long enough to show up on the film, although there were about 8 birds fluttering through this image throughout the exposure.

The first half of the roll of film were the shots I'd exposed in January during our visit to Fort Worden.  I'm very happy with this shot for several reasons:
I'm happy with the composition of this shot.  I knew I needed to get closer to my subject with this camera, and I managed to do just that, the camera was wedged between the boulders right at the water's edge.
I aimed the camera down and put the sky's horizon line right along the top of the view finder, figuring the film plane would end up capturing more than I could see, and I was correct.  
I timed the exposure to capture one good wave coming up over the rocks, which gave me the white ghostly mist over the dark boulders, but smoothed out the otherwise rough water.
I calculated the exposure correctly - always a challenge!

And lastly... when I loaded the film I turned the dial an extra half turn before setting the film counter - this did give the lab enough film to load without fogging my first frame, but I still had plenty of space at the end of the roll for the last frame.

I am itching to get out and get more shots with this camera, but the weather lately is working against me.  I'm not opposed to heading out in misty/soggy conditions myself, but given the age of this camera I don't want to risk damage to it.  So for now, I have to be patient.

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