Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I found this bit of snow which had collected on an aspen leaf that had settled in the evergreen tree at the park.

Its been a few days since it snowed and the temperature has warmed up so I see a bit of ice forming on the bottom edge.

I found it a nice image on my walk yesterday.

Jeopardy is one of my favorite shows and I watch it every day.

Of course, Alex Trebeck has been hosting for long time and it was very sad to hear of his passing.

I will miss this Canadian smile, kindness and class as he hosted some many people on this game show. 

No gimmicks just great show.

My first Granny Square since the 1980's.  I had to do a lot of research to find a pattern that worked for me.  Before the internet where would I have seen a pattern for crochet?

There used to be monthly magazines which you bought monthly. They had all kinds of crafty and food ideas.  This is the Christmas Helps from 1980.  I found a traditional Granny Square pattern in it.  And it is all contained in a single entry.  I was finding on the internet the information was spread over a few pages and no print file was available.

I made home made Ginger Chews recently.  I had discovered some packaged ones which tasted pretty good.  One of my favorite flavors in food is ginger so I went on the web to see if I could find a recipe.

I found Fiery Ginger Chews recipe which is very yummy.  It reminds me a lot of pulled taffy we used to make when I was a kid.

They are very sticky and I decided not to coat them in icing sugar as suggested.  I just wrapped them in wax paper.  

Very yummy and good for coughs and nausea as well.

The Macro Monday Challenge on Flickr this week was Spiky.  A lot of options for this challenge.

I found bottle brush trees, push pins and pods from the potpourri.

You can check my photo stream SMDPics to see the image I submitted. 

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #106 and 

Mersad who hosts Through my Lens #266.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

How To: Photographing Bottled Light

My aunt shared with me a You Tube video a while back by one of her favorite photographers - Harold Davis.  It was how to Photographing Bottle Light.  I just loved it!  Check out his videos if you are interested.

I am offering my experience with the process.

Materials needed: Colored bottles, color for water in clear bottles, sunshine, a camera with a macro lens or at least a good macro setting and a very clean white surface.  I will cover some options in each area.

Colored Bottles or containers - wine bottles, vinegar bottles, olive oil bottles, condiment bottles, etc.  Check the kitchen and cleaning supplies.  I found the dark green olive oil bottle did not light a lot of light through so great job for oil maybe less effective for this process. But use whatever you find and see what happens. Think of colored vases as well.

Clear Glass - bottles or vases of clear glass can be used with colored water.  

Glass texture and pattern - some texture or pattern in the glass adds to the refraction of the light.  I had a small etched vase where the etched areas became almost black.  Not what I wanted.

Color for Water - I have lots of liquid acrylic so that is what I used. Harold used food coloring.  It needs to concentrated and transparent.

White surface - It must be CLEAN and smooth.  The material should not absorb the light.  I used foam core board which worked well.   It needs to large enough for the light to be refracted beside the containers. 

Light - I found bright sunshine the best.  Any artificial light I used did not produce results I was happy with.

My experience with stemware was not very successful.   

Setup is entirely up to you.  Does the light go through one bottle to the next creating new color? Do you want the shape of the glass to play a part? Compose your art as you wish based on light, shape and color.

Very Important - You are photographing the light on the white not the light through the containers. 


Here are some examples of the photos I took over 2 photo sessions.

Post Processing: I had to trim all of my images because I could not isolate the light from the container.  All of these have been brighten and had some adjustment in the color saturation.  Rotate the image as you may see something you could see from the other direction.

Now, I don't have the imagination that Harold has to see objects within the abstract shapes.  Maybe that will come in time.

How about photographing the light through the glass?  Anything goes really.

This one has the large blue bottle in front of the olive bottle with an artificial light behind the olive bottle.  The bottles are overlapping creating the bright green color in the center.  It was nice to have the 2 small dots in the bottom right hand corner to provide a git of a focal element.

I would encourage you to experiment!  All you have to lose is a bit of time and colored water.

I am so glad I tried this technique!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Lest We Forget

The Remeberance Day Poppy on my winter coat which will not be worn today.

I am grateful to those who serve today, for those who served, did the right thing, made sacrifices,

and some lost their lives for the freedoms I enjoy today. Lest we forget!

Monday, November 9, 2020

Sylvia's Simple Shots

My aunt and I went on a last photo trip to the Lois Hole Provincial Park before the snow came.  We started at the Riel Recreation area and walked over.  I had hope the sun would come out but nay it did not. It was hard to get highlights on the eyes.

We found still a lot of birds - Canada Geese, Gulls, Tundra Swans, Coots, and ducks. There was other wildlife as well thinking the same I expect.  I was surprised the birds were still here.

Here is a munching muskrat.  There were many of them sitting on bits of ice that have started to form on the smaller ponds.  I love the water drops on his fir!

No beavers today though they are around.

This is the only sighting of the Wilsons Snipe this year. It's been a few years since my first shot of this bird.

It was feeding along the edge of the river so the angle of the shot was not ideal.  

I have not been doing a lot of take out food. I guess tired on my own cooking also. I was having a hankering for War Wonton soup from my local restaurant.  I was lucky that despite not having ordered ahead I did not meet anyone in the tiny lobby as I waited for my order to be prepared.  It was super delicious as always.

This is what breakfast looks like these days.

I decided to reduce the amount of dairy products I consume.  I had yogurt which has been replaced with peanut butter to get the protein I needed.

I am still having cream in my tea.

Almond milk or coconut milk are the alternatives I have been using for quite a few years.  Love the cashew milk as well.

We had our first big snowfall on the weekend and I see that the magpie that has started visiting was here this morning.


Recently, my aunt shared with me a webinar by photographer Harold Davis - Bottle Light.

I thought it was so cool!  

My first attempt did not so well but this morning with the biggest light available - the sun I managed some shots I was happy with.

I will prepare a blog post with more information in the next little while

I have direct sun for about an hour in the morning if it is shining at all. 

This book - The Lace Makers of Glenmarra by Heather Barbieri is a great book.

A book about women - mothers, daughters, best friends, sisters, and strangers who come from away and enter our lives and their relationships.

There is heart break, good times, teaching, learning, new ideas, and taking risks to improve life.

It is set in wonderful Ireland and the main character is Kate Robinson from Seattle who is taking a trip she planned with her Mom but things changed and she is doing it alone.

There are men too - some hardworking, some abusive, some lazy and taking advantage, some with very rigid opinions and a father who spoke up when it mattered.

I would recommend this book!

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #104  and 

Mersad who hosts Through My Lens #265.

 The challenge for the Flickr Macro Monday this week is Puzzle. You see a few pieces of a jigsaw puzzle here.

Check out my Flickr Photostream (smdpics) for the image I submitted.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

2021 Photo Calendar - Nature

I found a few new to me bugs this year!  A good variety of subject matter for this calendar.

01 Pond Reeds                                 02 Milkweed Beetle                  03 Pussy Willow

04 Ink Cap Mushrooms                   05 Mallard Duck - Male            06 Bubble Bee

07 Red Turnip Beetle                      08 Phoebe                                   09 Rust Lichen

10 Water Drops                               11 Common Skipper                   12 Lady Bug

They are for sale on the Calendar Page.

2021 Photo Calendar - Garden Flowers


This calendar features blooms found in our gardens.  I am grateful to those who plant flowers where I can photograph them. 

01 White Anemone                       02 Peony                             03 Lavender

04 Hosta Bloom                            05 Tulip                               06 Double Click Cosmos

07 Chinese Globe Flower             08 Forget Me Not                09 Sunflower

10 Red Stem Filaree                     11 Red Poppy                     12 White Geranium

They are for sale on the Calendar Page.

2021 Photo Calendars - For the Birds

 My 2021 Photo Calendars are ready!

I am really pleased with the bird photos I took this year!  The calendars are 4x6 printed on photo paper and include 12 monthly pages and 1 index page.  

I thought that I would identify the birds included: 

01 Bufflehead Duck - female    02 Red Wing Black Bird - male      03 Downy Woodpecker

04 Black Terns                           05 American Robin                        06 American Coot with chicks

07 Black Capped Chickadee      08 American Avocet                       09 Cedar Waxwing     

10 Hooded Merganser - male     11 Barn Swallow Fledgelings        12 Black Billed Magpie

You can find them for sale on my Calendars Page.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I captured the seed pods of the Field Pennycress last week on one of my walks.

I love how the sun backlit the pods and the seeds are so visible.

We still have nice weather and super temperatures so walking is still good.

Several days have been very overcast so not so great for photography.

This is the second book I have read by Patrick Taylor. This one set is later than the first one I read but this is book one in the series.

The practice has been purchased by Dr. Fingal O'Reilly the intern that came to work with the original doctor.  Now, a new intern named Dr. Barry Laverty comes to practice medicine in Ballybucklebo.  Mrs. Kinky Kincaid continues to be the one to keep the doctors fed and generally the house organized.

The young doctors starts to learn the human side of practicing medicine.  How who the patient is dictates to some degree what medicine is needed. Dr O'Reilly has some very creative approaches and Dr. Laverty brings some new medicine to the practice.   Great book and high recommend it.  

What a wonderful book - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.  

A man who recently retired gets a letter from an old friend which prompts a walk across England.  He believes as long as he walks she will live. His adventures, lessons learned, and troubles are included in this story.  

There are a few surprises along the way.  I loved reading about well know English locations as he passed through. 

I would highly recommend this book.

I have decided to add a savory snack to my list of regulars.

After considering hulled sunflower seeds which would disappear too quickly I revisited sunflower seeds in the shell.  These will not disappear so quickly as I have to work to get the goodies inside.

I have been hoping to buy a large bag but was only able to 210 g / 7oz bags so far.  I manage to keep to my 1/3c serving at a time which takes about 20 minutes to eat.  Then I am satisfied and move on to whatever else I am supposed to do.

Loving it!

Leaves from my walk recently.  I put the Swiss Chard one in there for the fun of it.  

Amazing how things continue to grow.

Sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #103 and Mersad who hosts Through My Lens #264.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Ghoulish Halloween

 Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween. 

This photography technique is Pareidolia in which the photography captures a face in everyday objects. 

This is  a day lily seed pod and it was great that the 2 top were empty and the mouth was still full. A ghoul face with spider webs! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Sylvia's Simple Shots

A red barn on my road trip to the country a couple weeks ago. 

It was before the snow came.

I loved the red and green colors - dare I say the Christmas colors.

We have had snow and last night it rained and now it's all gone again.  I guess it will not be white for Halloween at the end of the week.


It was very interesting to read another of Amy's books.  This one takes place in China in the early 1900's.   Violet is the main character who is growing up in a courtesan house owned and managed by her mother Lulu who is an American.  They are living in Shanghai in the International Settlement under China's last imperial dynasty.  They see the collapse and how that affects businesses and trade.  They see the consequences of the 1918 Influenza epidemic.  It was eerie to be reading about that one during this one.

This is a story of strong relationships between female characters.  Violet suffers a long heartbreak, tragedy, betrayal in her young life. But with faithful friends she makes it through.

I really enjoyed the book.

Another set of skeins of yarn for my afghan.  

Beautiful blue color from my sister. 

Will have to work on finding an actual pattern for a classic granny square. 

I have owned this set of hooks since my early twenties.  Nice to some things last a long time. 

This is the crane that is used to build a new high rise close to my place.  I could not see it this summer because of the leaves but now I can see it pretty well.

I manage to get it sparkling in the sun through the trees one morning. 

Construction has not really slowed down here during the epidemic.  Glad to see some people kept their jobs. 

I will have to take a walk and check out how tall the structure is becoming.

The Flickr Macro Monday Challenge this week was "One Color".  You can check my Photostream (SMDPics) to see my submission.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I took a walk yesterday with extra layers on just to get out of the house and see something other 4 walls and give my leg some exercise.

There are a lot of leaves on the ground and they make a lovely sound when I walked through them. 

There were big snowflakes falling for a few minutes.  In my neighbourhood we don't have snow on the ground yet.  I am surrounded by many areas that do have snow on the grassy areas.

I took this shot from very near the ground to have some good depth of field. 

Love the few snowflakes captured at the same time.

This is "Frank the Owl".  He is a multicolored glass figurine from Piers 1. He was rescued by my sister from the trash and donated to me. 

I love his big blue eyes.  He is very cute and has no chips or damage of any kind.  Thank you sister. His body is multi - colored glass with orange feet and beak.

I love glass despite that at times it is hard to photograph.

The navy yarn arrived with my sister from my Mom's house.  This is what I will assemble my new afghan when the squares are complete.  

I checked my old files this morning. Wow, I did a lot of crocheting in my twenties. Many were given away as gifts. I have 2 which stayed with me.

I have documented what yarn I used but not the size of the crochet hook or the pattern.  I will have to get started and do some sample squares to get them to 6.00 inches.  

Thanks to my sister again I have had 3 meals of turkey dinner.  Turkey with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts and dressing with garden fresh carrots. 

It was very good and another thank you to my sister.

On my walk yesterday I stopped at the recycle center and rescued these 3 books from a box.  I will quarantine them for a couple of weeks.

I have been reading a lot being at home so much so I need a regular injection of new ones.  I think our libraries are open but I have not been visiting them.

Winter has come very quickly to our area.  These flowers were still around.  The first is Pink Yarrow, the middle is a dried Echinacea or Cone Flower and there were still roses and buds.


"String" is the challenge for Flickr Macro Monday today.  The photo on the left is one of a few I took for the challenge.  It is a clay button with a jute bow.

You can check my Photostream SMDPics to see which photo I submitted. 

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #101  and Mersad who hosts Through My Lens #262.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I have been laid low with health issues and finally this week my energy is back.

I have gotten very few shots of Blue Jays but last week I got this one.

I was so excited.  He had been foraging on the ground which helped me spot him.  I did get a few shots on the ground but would prefer a tree shot.  

He then accommodated me and sat there for a very short while before he flew off into the wild blue yonder.

I finished this book during my low energy phase.  It is a memoir so a true story.  A woman of the world but struggles with mental health.  When she decides to settle down and have kids she suffers a miscarriage first then has a baby but by then the partner is gone!

She builds a group of people to be her "family".  Her mom and brother are involved but there is the nanny Tita which I believe saved her life.  She became an employee, a partner, and a friend during the critical first 3 years of her baby's life.  There were several others who came in and out of her life at critical points.  She had the capacity to embrace these folks which is wonderful.

Great story of adapting, going with the flow, discernment, hurt, process emotions and just moving forward when you are lost.

This is an afghan I crocheted in the 1970s.  Can you tell?  The oranges, the browns were primary colors in that period. 

Interesting how being sick makes some things clearer.  I have decided that I would like a more "me" afghan for my bed so I put the call out of free yarn when I researched the price of new.

My aunt dug through her stash and donated some.  My Mom called the other day and said she had some I could have.   I have no idea how much I need so I will have adjust along the way.

This is the stash I was given with no orange or brown visible.  

I have to dig through my box of patterns to see if I can find the original "granny square" pattern and the size of hook I used.

I have decided to assemble the squares with navy which Mom has donated.

Great watching TV project for the winter.

This book I gave up on about half way through.  Having sex is what everyone here is doing and that is mostly what the author was focusing on.

Not my idea of a great book.

I am back to getting outside for photos.  This is a pond on my road trip this week. Decided to head to the country rather that compete with people at popular destinations.  We still have Canada Geese here as the weather overall has been great. No frost or s**w yet. I love the reflections of the old sticks of wood in the water.  A goose feather where they had been bedding down.

The challenge at Flicker Macro Monday is Translucent.  Here, I have shot a glass star behind a textured glass tile.  I love how just the wire which is closest to the tile is in focus and the rest is not.  You can check out Photostream SMDPics to see the shot I submitted.

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #100 and

Mersad who hosts Through my Lens #261