Friday, March 1, 2013

Tips for Taking Great Sunset Photos

A lovely young woman who was very dear to our family, passed away several years ago, the result of a tragic car crash.

An avid and talented photographer she looked at life through the camera lens with the same vitality she brought to life.  With her dimpled smile and her infectious laugh she inspired others to see the humour and fun around her, while her accomplished shots of the world around her inspired others to see the beauty they often took for granted.

One of Sarah's favourite subjects was sunsets. Such an obvious choice, with their vividly unique and always changing colours, she loved to try and find a way to capture their essence differently than others might.  Never far from her camera, she was always ready when her keen eye saw the right moment and place.

It was fitting therefore, that after her passing a camera club, of which she was a member, decided to hold a photography contest in her honour. Though the show has been held ever since with various themes,  that first year the inspiration was based on Sarah's love of sunsets.

A lot of people share her love. And the colours and scope of a beautiful sunset, or sunrise for that matter, make them the perfect photographic subject. Of course, there are ways to make yours stand out from the rest. Dozens of links can be found with tips on how to make this happen. Here's a sampling all in one place for you:

DPS How to Photograph Sunrises and Sunsets

NYI of Photography How to Take Great Photographs of Sunsets

DIY Photography Sunset Photography

Digital Photo Secrets Sunset Photography

Improve Photography Tips for Stunning Sunset Photos

PictureCorrect Sunset Photography

photo tuts+ Sunset Pictures Made From Home

Wikihow Photographing Sunsets

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cruise to Warm Places With These Photos

Well, one more dumping of fresh snow has me dreaming of setting sail to sunny climes in paradise.

With a few weeks of certain winter remaining for the northern regions, no matter how optimistic we try to be about the season's departure, there's still plenty of time to enjoy a cruise on open seas with stops at tropical destinations.

My son worked on a ship for several months as part of the entertainment crew one year and while it didn't leave him yearning for a sailor's life, there's no denying he enjoyed the experience. It took him to beautiful places where sun and fun are the priority.

Though I'm not a big traveller I'd have to say a cruise is probably on my bucket list — certainly at this point after getting snowed on yet again. Pictures of floating on azure waters, coming into port in places where clear skies, sandy beaches and palm trees are the norm fill my head these days. 

Such pleasurable images of ships and the places they take us are sometimes enough on their own to chase away the winter doldrums.  If I let my imagination go I can, for a brief time feel the warmth on my skin, absorb myself in the calm and quiet.

Let's see if this photo collection has the same effect on you.

iCLIPART.com Cruise Ships and Tropical Destinations Photos

iPHOTOS.com Tropical Cruises Photos

Acclaim Images Cruise Photos

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Economical Online Image Editing Software Options

Nothing's perfect. At least not to everyone. Not the image you find to use in your projects nor the photo you took. 

A photographer friend of mine loves to 'play' with her pictures, adding text and clipart to them, fading hues or transforming them almost entirely to black and white while adding just a splash of colour.  Another shutterbug buddy is a purist, preferring to let the camera achieve the finished result. 

Neither is right nor wrong as far as I'm concerned. It's all a reflection of their individual taste and preference.  Beauty, as we all know, is in the eye of the beholder. Not everyone sees the same thing when looking at a Monet.  And what catches someone's eye in one style of photography might do little to excite the person next to them.

How fortunate we are then that technology provides us with the means if we choose to create our own idea of perfection.  Image editing software helps us put a personal stamp on illustrations and photos, or tweak them so they exactly suit our needs. Here are some recent discoveries and familiar friends:

IMAGICphoto Photo Enhancer

Inkscape

Photo Pos pro Free Photo Editor

IrfanView

PhotoScape

paint.net

GIMP Image Manipulation Program

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fabulous Spring Photography

Spring! It's the perfect word for a season that puts a bounce in your step.

Once upon a time, before tie-dyed and patchouli, I was a very little girl who welcomed the falling leaves in autumn with the enthusiasm one would expect from a tot celebrating a birthday at the end of September.  But, as time went on, and I grew up,  I became less excited about shortening days and this annual prelude to bitter cold and barren landscapes.

In spring we see rebirth and rejuvenation.  Bones that throb with the chill of winter, suddenly return to normal as the warmth of the sun seeps in to soothe.  Colour abounds and brightens the outdoors, while open windows freshen indoor rooms that have been sealed away too long.  Even the buckets of rainfall that often accompany spring give a sense of washing away the detritus and replenishing the natural beauty around us.

There's no question that every season has its beauty. But, really, who couldn't love a time of year replete with images of bunnies and bonnets, pastels and new blooms? In case you need to refresh your memory here are some wonderful collections of springtime photos.

iCLIPART.com Spring Photos

Acclaim Images Stock Photography Spring Images

photo tuts+ Spectacular Spring Photographs

iPHOTOS.com Spring Collection

National Geographic Spring Landscapes

Monday, February 25, 2013

Illustrations to Take You Away From Reality

Life has a way of making you forget the magic. Worn out from work and other outside pressures, besides seeing too many of the world's rougher edges on a day-to-day basis,  can make happily ever after a little hard to believe.

As anything else in life, however, how much we let it get to us, how jaded we let it make us is entirely up to us.  With a little imagination and a little bit of the idealist in your makeup it's not so hard to keep some enchantment going.

I'm a bit of a princess, which, besides translating into me being a tad high maintenance, also defines me as a romantic. I do believe in happily ever after, Santa Claus and leprechauns. It was my great pleasure to read fairy tales to my babies, and now theirs. I love the idea of a magical forest where spirits dance,  knights slay dragons,  princes save princesses from palaces,  and evil sorcerers are always vanquished.  There's certainly nothing wrong with taking yourself away from the real world now and then.

And these collections of images take you away to enchanting places and to the mythical, magical people who live in them.

iCLIPART.com Mythical Collection

iPHOTOS.com Mythical Illustrations

Acclaim Images Fairy Tale Collection

ClipartGuide Fairty Tale Illustrations