Chester Art Fair

Dipping your big toe into the Craft Fair pond is ok if you are prepared to put in the time and money, stand behind a table all day and not make any where near enough to live on. I have dipped my big toe in the Craft Fair pond, found the traders very friendly but the shoppers very tight with their money.

I have 2 VIP tickets and 10 weekend tickets for those who REBLOG this post. Good luck.
If you are trying to make a living out of your art it is quite disheartening when shopper after shopper looks through your work, has a chat and then walks away empty handed, no matter how hard you try to sell them one of your fabulous photos. Looking around there are various options open to you, give up, carry on as you are, look for exhibition space or go for bigger more prestigious art fairs.
I decided to ‘have a go’ at the Liverpool Contemporary Art Fair, nestled among the galleries and established artists from all over the world and it was great! As it is a ticketed event you knew that who ever stopped by your stand was actually in the market for some new wall art and had the ready cash burning a hole in their wallets. The fair prints the tickets, has the website, hires the space and stands, invites the VIP’s and you use your social media to advertise and turn up.
That’s why we decided to do another and signed up for the Chester Art Fair.walking on water
Deepbridge_Arts_Fairs_Chester_2015_
Chester Arts Fair

Advertisements

Wanderings with Chris……. down the road to the nature reserve

I think this is the first wanderings with Chris post of the year, we haven’t been out very much because of ill health and commitments but it was a beautiful spring day, the sun was shining and we just had to get out of the house and go for a walk. For the past few years i have been battling with Fibromyalgia and arthritis in my hip and knee so walking is very painful and slow and Chris has had problems with his legs too so our walk down to the nature reserve was slow! Just before we went in through the gate we stopped for a look out over the fields towards Greasby and there posing majestically in the pond was a Grey Heron. Major excitement! I managed to get 20 or so shots before it flew off to the other side of the pond, i’m not convinced that they are totally in focus as i didn’t have time to use my tripod but what a beautiful bird!
The nature reserve is actually reclaimed land, back in the distant past when i was a child it was actually the local refuse tip and over time a dip developed which filled with water. I can remember during one winter taking our dog down and walking out onto the ice that had formed on the pond, looking back we are really lucky the ice didn’t break under us. When the council decided that the refuse tip was ‘full’ they landscaped and a group of local families asked the council if they could turn it into a Nature reserve. After a great deal of time and hard work they dug out the pond, planted trees and rushes, added an island in the middle and soon after the wildlife flocked to it. It’s even stocked with fish.
We had a slow walk around the pond and i managed to take quite a few photos, there was lots of blossom and spring flowers and ducks, geese etc, i can’t wait for the babies to appear, cute little chicks to photograph and be chased away from ūüôā We have a couple of buzzards which i would love to photograph but i don’t know where they roost and they fly way to high for me to successfully photograph. We had a lovely walk and on the way home bumped into a lovely lady called Diane and her horse Aztec, Diane let me take some photos of her with Aztec, i hope she likes them. Hopefully with the nice weather over the coming weeks we will get out more, with or without children, i cant wait to see where our adventures take us next.

Oh the trauma!

Once upon a time i was content with a book then we entered into the computer age. I was content to read, well anything really. Now it doesn’t seem right if i haven’t been on some kind of computer gizmo during the day. So when my laptop went blue screen imagine how it felt. Empty hands, still fingers, inactive mind, blank stares. Three whole days without facebook, twitter, wordpress, photoshop! I had managed to steal some time on Saturday, last weekend, and fought my way down the promenade in New Brighton to take photos of the spectacular tide and then there was no laptop to process them, oh the trauma! Now however my laptop is back, working so much better, damn you McAfee, all i need know is time. Time to download, process and fall in love with my new photographs. As soon as i have you will be the first to see, until then, well, they are a well kept secret. ūüėČ

A walk in the mist with Chris

Opening the curtains to a lovely misty day i decided that i would drag my poor husband out for a walk and a photographic expedition but where to go? I¬†don’t¬†know why but i usually head down to the nearest body of water, must be my¬†fishing¬†family roots, though this day i¬†didn’t¬†want water, i wanted landscape, trees, anything as long as it was land based. So i decided to drag Chris and his sore leg to Thurstaston Hill. It is ¬†a dog walkers heaven so you have to be careful where you walk and there are always people there and we were not¬†disappointed.¬†We only realised later that the children we encountered¬†legitimately¬†had the day off for the voting and not because they were skipping school.¬†Chris is a great writer, very talented and he also likes to take the odd photo, so he wandered around snapping away with the camera on his phone and spouting soppy¬†nonsense¬†as usual. I wandered around looking and i must admit, moaning about the lack of inspiration. ¬†It took a while but eventually i started to ‘see’ and i think i managed to get some nice images. The mist hung around nearly all morning and being so high up when we looked out over the Wirral it was wreathed in mist.

Thurstaston has its own ‘Rock’ in Thors Rock. We had a wander around there, through the trees and heather and wondered at the beautiful vista of ‘The Wirral’. I think i am pleased with my photographs, i like the views over the trees. Its actually looking over to Wales but you cant see past the mist. I hope you like looking at where i live, it really is a beautiful place.

An experiment with ISO

Today the house is quiet, (apart from the plumber as we are having a new bathroom installed) so i decided to have an experiment with the ISO settings on my camera. I have an image in my mind that i am working towards, i think i need more experience behind the camera before it will come out, please keep in mind i have only been using a digital camera for the past 10 months, so i have been taking bracketed photos of my hearth at different ISO to see what would happen. (I do know, i just want to SEE it)
So for those in the know, skip this part or add your own comments. What is ISO? Not to make me look stupid i went to http://www.geek.com/digital-camera-buyers-guide/iso/ and asked them. Their reply was ‘Simply put, ISO is the measurement of a camera‚Äôs sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO number the more sensitive the sensor is. A higher ISO number means that a camera will be able to shoot images in conditions with less light. ‘ But we know that a high ISO means noise BUT can that noise be useful in a photograph or not? Below i have five photos of my hearth each bracketed to a correct exposure, -2, +2 and using a different ISO setting. I then loaded them into photomatix and used the tone mapping and creative button.

This image is at 100ISO

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image is at 200ISO

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image is at 400ISO

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image is at 800ISO

 

 

 

 

 

 

and this image is at 1600ISO

 

 

 

 

 

 

The images become more and more ‘noisy’ especially in the blacks, so i guess that is why we always use 100ISO if possible!

I used tonemapping as i want to get as close to the image that our eye see’s as possible, this is why i am experimenting, i want to be able to produce HDR images that look like the real deal, not something thats been tinkered with in photoshop. I think i am getting there, i know that at some point i will need to update my camera for one that automatically brackets the exposures as you do get movement when you do it¬†manually. But for know i am content to experiment and¬†hone my skill with what i have.

Finding the flavors of Autumn

Sunday and Chris and I are off driving around Wirral on a lovely sunny day, we wanted to find the flavors of Autumn, the colour, the crispness, the floaty leaves, the beautiful reflections. Cough cough, can someone tell the trees in Wirral its time!
We went to Rabymere, its owned by the Angling Society people so you cant walk around it and anyway the trees were still green, we went to Dibbinsdale Nature Reserve, green trees, we went to Portsunlight in Bromborough, better but not great, we went to Caldy (mega rich big houses, i could tell you its where my Dad grew up but the wrong impression would be gained. He did grow up there but was the gardeners son ūüėČ ) We went to Arrowe Park which was also ok. BUT not what i wanted. Am i too early for autumnal colour? Will it happen or is it going to be a ‘damp squib’, come on trees put on your Autumnal shades, Canada and America will not outdo us! anyway i can’t afford to go there just now. I think i will leave it a little longer and try again, you never know it may be we are just having a late Autumn.
If that is so, one thing, why are the trees alongside the roads changing colour? Pollution?


Night photography?

Last night i got ‘itchy feet!’

I wondered how i would manage taking photos at night, in the dark. So, as Chris (my husband is @clawfish) was at work and i had said i would pick him up at 9pm, i decided to wander down to West Kirby early and while waiting go and take a few photos, in the dark!

I had spotted that the Wro restaurant had plenty of people in, so decided to go there first. I had an idea of what i wanted to accomplish so set up my camera on the¬†tripod across from the restaurant. I figured that if i started with a 3 second exposure and work from there, bracketing the shots, then i would surely have something to work with as i had decided i wanted to have an HDR effect for this picture. So just as i am setting the shot dont a gaggle of giggling women just have to walk in, around, under and over my view point. Sorry’s¬†all around as they click clicked across the road and finally i can take the shot. I wanted car lights in too so i waited, didnt have long, and took the shot. (There is the cereal killer thing again) I have processed the pictures now and have come out with a b/w and a colour HDR picture.

I then wandered down to Marine Lake as i had an idea for the promenade that i wanted to see, if, it would work.  As i walked down to the sea, well river Dee, i began to realise just how dark  it actually was. Im not one to get spooked easily but when i heard multiple young voices i began to wonder if i was doing the right thing, going into a dark place with my camera equipment, on my own.  But it was a group of supervised kids walking through West Kirby, once through the gaggle of gossiping kids i then walked to the water and immediately what comes to mind? Sharks and wasnt it a good job they dont come out on to the land but the image of jaws jumping out of the water and snatching me off the walk way wouldnt go and i wasnt anywhere near the water, such is my imagination.

I set up to take some timed exposure shots of the promenade down towards the sailing club on the water side of the lake, i started with a 3 second exposure and ended with a 30 second exposure, i bracketed the exposures and after processing i have ended up with these.

As it was really dark i found it quit difficult to focus the shots and processing them i know i have ended up with quite a lot of noise, that is something i need to figure out how to clean up but overall i feel pleased with what i have accomplished and i am definitely going to  be going out in the dark again, though next time i may just take Chris!

Escaping the mad house

I had an urge to escape the mad house i call home, i craved the peace and quiet of my own company, a letting go of the responsibility of  being a wife, mother, carer. So i grabbed my camera and my new tripod, the other one fell to pieces after only a few months. Side line, i bought a Manfrotto tripod which is pretty neat. And i headed down to Gilroy Rd nature reserve.

Over the last 12 months or so i have been photographing specific scenes there, a gate which i find¬†fascinating, a stand of trees, the pond, all at different times of the year and using varying techniques. ¬†The sun was shining and it was a lovely day, not overly hot or cold either, the sky was a deep blue and the clouds interesting shapes, how i was looking forward to solitude and my own company. First up was the gate, i had decided to try a multiple exposure HDR ¬†technique as i was pretty sure it would look really great and just as i am setting up for the shot, well lets just say all of the dogs on my side of the Wirral decided to take their owners for a walk. I HATE taking photos when people are watching me, i feel like my privacy is being violated, so i waited and taking my time took the shot, sounds like a cereal killer ūüėČ

I dont know about anyone else but when i am in photographer mode i look at things in a different way, all of a sudden even the smallest of things took on a different view and i was quickly taking  photos of anything that took my eye. I wandered down paths and around bends stopping at interesting views and looking at the wildlife flashing past too fast for me to photograph. I was so enjoying the peace and tranquility that i was very startled when a young lad walked around the bend in the path carrying his fishing gear, nearly tripping over me as i am kneeling down, butt up, trying to focus my camera. I dont know who was more embarrassed, me or him! It turns out a dozen lads had decided that the day was too good to waste on computer games and thought it a good idea to fish the pond, even though they know, im sure, that the pond is a no fishing pond. Still, they were not disturbing anyone other than the fish and i dont think they were all that successful anyway.

Several wonderful hours later i wandered back home to my responsibilities again, i felt so much better after my ME time and i knew i had several good shots, i only had to pries my laptop from a childs hot sweaty hands and i could transfer them off my memory card and ooh and ahh over the images.   I decided to use photomatix to merge the images and photoshop to tweak them, its an ongoing thing but i am very happy with what i got out of the afternoon. Below is a sample of my work, there are other images on my flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/klawrenceuk/ if you want to see them through the year, I hope you enjoy them, if you do, or not, please leave a comment.