Friday, 29 January 2010

...a necklace of incomparable beauty...

I spotted this as I drove past this afternoon and didn't have a camera with me other than my iPhone which is useless.

I've Googled the line, but haven't found out if it's a quotation - perhaps it's an original thought.....

I went back again later and although the full on sunshine of earlier had gone away it still looked great. I had to park very illegally and hover suspiciously on the opposite side of the road with my camera waiting for a break in the constant stream of traffic. I think it was worth the wait!

The Birthday Banner Season has Started!

Steven Clarkes, originally uploaded by Eyeshoot Photography.
This is the first one I've seen for ages, I suppose plotting an outside event in the sub zero snow and ice is a little taxing.

This beauty was on the same roundabout where I usually find them.

I'm looking forward to plenty more in 2010.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Love is in the Air......

I've been having fun with some artful props making for the very first time, some images for the marketing frenzy of romance which is St Valentine's day.

I purchased a greedy number of packets of Lovehearts and borrowed a Scrabble set from a neighbour (thank you Amanda!), set up my little studio on the bedding box in the living room next to the mean shelf I laughingly call my study and played.  Here are some of the results.

Love You - $35

I Love You - $35

Monday, 25 January 2010

Back from Holland and nice and busy!

We're back from our weekend in Holland, it was pretty relaxed with plenty of chatting, cooking, eating and drinking.  The general sloth was punctuated by a bracing walk on the beach on Sunday morning.  It had snowed overnight and there was a scenic sprinkling  - not too much, there was no trouble on the road to cause any grief, but it was very pretty and the first time I've ever been on a snowy beach.  The light was super soft and the sky seriously grey so I am hoping that I can do some magic with the pictures which I shot and that they don't just look flat and dull.  I'll be able to have a bash at them on Wednesday if I don't get sidetracked by marmelade making as I managed to find 3kg today and they will need some attention pretty soon.

I my absence this weekend I've sold two prints on A4 and one 20x30 print so am very happy!  The two small prints are all wrapped up and ready to post tomorrow and the big one has been emailed to the lab for them to do their thing.

Also while away my work was featured on a beautiful blog called Apple and Eve which is definitely worth a look (but not 'till you've finished here!).

Paper willow spoons

Amanda's from Somerset and has some great cashmere in her shop - just what our cold necks need at the moment!

Singing in the Rain

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Spring 2

Spring 2, originally uploaded by Eyeshoot Photography.

I'm still willing Spring to arrive......

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Black and White and Red All Over......

I like the drama in this Treasury and that my Red on White print has been featured!

A few of my favourites

The dramas with my printer continue.  I've had this problem previously and it's driven me crazy as I try every variation I can think of.  Perhaps I'm being too picky - we all know that a print on paper will never look as gorgeous as it does on the screen, even with soft proofing.  Maybe to someone who hasn't seen the computer image the printed image will look fine?

Here's the one I'm experimenting on now which to me looks great on screen but the print looks a bit dull with the branch in the bottom left corner being much less visible than in the image below, sort of a bit less luminous......

Spring 1

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

To cheer myself up on a very dull day!

I've been playing with my Flypaper Textures today and after literally hours of messing around with this one I have an image I'm really pleased with. I messed up with the saving and managed to flatten the image so all of the painstakingly created layers have vanished....oops.

Then I printed it out following my usual steps image to InDesign to PDF to print selecting the appropriate paper profile in the print dialogue which always works. Except when it doesn't, and that was today. The image came out dull, flat with very little definition and detail. Disappointed? Yes, very, mainly because it's my lack of technical know how around printing/profiles etc letting me down again.

I really dislike having printing problems as it's such a slow process to work out what's wrong, not to mention the 'waste' of precious ink and paper.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Featured on Red Bubble!

Not a Front Page type of Feature, but in the rather nice Art North West Group.  I've only found out about it today and here it is on the group's front page with many other great pictures.  Mine's second from the left on the top row.

I Heart You - The Evolution.

I've revisited one of my old Morocco graffiti images, it's one I've always liked for the both simplicity of sentiment and execution.  I've Photoshopped it to death, it's been cropped, layered, texturised and generally abused and I think I've improved the original.

Here are the before and afters.


Sunday, 17 January 2010

Another go at Texturising.....

Here's my next effort with the texturising thing, I'm not so sure about this one. I've always liked the image but never quite been able to make it work, I've TtV'd it in the past but not really liked that either.

At least I'm learning some new PS stuff while I'm experimenting.

Cow parsley in the snow.

Yet again I'm having a go at the 'texture thing' which I'm so intrigued by. I've found some very interesting blogs with tutorials and links to plenty of free to use textures and I've found a set which I'll buy when I've got my head around the whole practice.

This is one of my recent snowy pictures and I think this looks quite nice (It's gained two hearts on Etsy from just five views in about an hour, which is pretty good!).

As well as the 'texture thing', I've been playing with the 'PS Action thing' as well.

This image was created following instructions from Coffee Shop using a texture from Shadowhouse Creations and I'm grateful to both creative people for sharing their techniques.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Books Which I Read Last Year.

I meant to make this post last week.....

Here's the embarrassingly short list of books which I read in 2009, I think that thirteen is the least ever. 

1. Notes From An Exhibition by Patrick Gale
2. Glittering Images by Susan Howatch
3. Glamorous Powers by Susan Howatch
4. A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer
5. Daughters of Jerusalem by Charlotte Mendelson
6. Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders by Giles Brandreth
7. The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
8. World without End by Ken Follett
9. Dissolution by CJ Sansom
10. The Chimneysweep's Son by Barbra Vine
11. Dark Fire by CJ Sansom
12. Emma by Jane Austen
13. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Some of these were great, most notably the Ken Follett which was a storming sequal to The Pillars of the Earth, and my enjoyment of CJ Sansom's Shardlake books continued, I believe there's a new one out this year.  The Susan Howatchs' were re-reads of the first two of a much loved series of six, perhaps I'll dig the others out this year.  2009 saw me read my first Barbra Vine, it was mainly on the plane coming home from Crete (one of my favourite reading environments) in the summer after picking it off the very well stocked shelves in the little hotel where we stayed, I loved her writing style and it's nice to know that there's plenty more of her work out there to explore.  The Sarah Waters was an oddly unsatisfying read, the book didn't really resolve itself in my mind, there was too much gloom and doom really, I like the way she writes, and I loved the period details, but this no way lived up to the spellbinding Victorian novels of her early years.  Emma was much as it always is, a pleasure to read especially after an unsatisfying and irritating new television adaptation.  There was some drivel, notably, the Giles Brandreth and the Jeffrey Archer, but none the less, enjoyable drivel!  The Daughters of Jerusalem was strange, small and disturbing, but I liked it very much - I cannot recall where it came from, I certainly didn't buy it, but I'm glad that it turned up on my shelf.

Back in the good old Live Journal days when I used to read for hours and hours I regularly read up to forty odd books every year.  I spend so much more time in front of the computer now (Etsy, Facebook, Blog, Twitter, Flickr), I can't believe that I spent so much less time in front of the computer back then, LJ was a major obsession and passion to me for years, perhaps there's just so much more to do online these days.....It's not just a computer based distraction causing my lack of reading, there's the fact that I've been going out working with mum for two full days a week for seven months or so, meaning no computer or anything but driving and drawing on those days.  I don't really recall reading in the evening all that much either in the past, if we're at home together in the evening, we'll watch the telly together and I like to listen to the radio in bed, so I think bedtime reading was negligible back in the day too.  There's so much more telly now, that I think when I wanted a break, in the past, I'd pick up a book rather than give into that sort of passive aggressive knowledge of all those hours and hours of television I've painstakingly recorded for moments of boredom.  I can appreciate that I'm just busier these days, but thirteen books is pathetic and I must do better this year!

Two lovely Treasuries

Out of the Clouds

The Treasury shares its name with my print Out of the Clouds which I shot in Crete last summers.  I wonder which came first, my print or the title!  I love the colour palate used here, so delicate and there are some lovely pieces too.

She's Lovely, Isn't She?
By Nemeton and the FHF Team

The FHF Team is the Frit Happens Etsy Street Team and they're all about offering the best in artisan lampwork, fused glass, and jewellery from the UK & Europe on Etsy.  She's picked my Love in a Mist print which I'd sort of forgotten about, it's a really good seller but not so much in the cold winter months, hopefully it will be popular again this year!

Thanks to both UK based curators, I hope the snow's treating you both well!

I made it out to the gym this morning after wimping out yesterday, I decided to go off the motorway and the road was fine, if a little slow.  I had a splendid workout and have used up a tidy 770 cals which is a very good thing.  There were a few new faces which is inevitable in January, but it's always quiet in the mornings.  The gym is in an odd area of land, it's some sort of wetland I think - there are often fishermen around lurking in the grass, you can spot their shelters, umbrellas and rods.  It was obviously snowy this morning, but the long grasses and trees were so beautifully frosted that it literally sparkled against the blue sky.  I'm very tempted to go back later with my camera and boots and have a potter aobut.  I'd never seen snow sparkle like that before, it was real Christmas card stuff.

I thought I'd go home via the motorway, but something nasty had obviously happened and there was a police car blocking the slip road and it was shut.  I wonder what happened.  I got home very slowly but in one piece!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snowmen, lots of great snowmen!

We ventured out today in the car to test the waters and see what all the fuss was about.  The main roads were fine (so I could have got to the gym if I'd really wanted to!), we pottered into town with no mishap and I happened to notice masses of snowmen, as well as the usual unexciting ones and the ones whose heads seem to have been kicked in there were some real beauties.

Chatting to a friend in the Northern Quarter I was tipped off to a 'snowman fashion show' in a car park surrounded by flats.  It was a sight to be seen, there were snow dogs and rabbits as well as various strangely shaped creatures, all very impressive.

Others were shot along Burton Road on the way home.

This one's at the entrance to our flat where, as you can see, the road's closed and has been for over a month now.  It's comforting to see that the area is being properly guarded! 

I really liked this one, if you can't make it out, the sign says "All right son, mine's a pint of mild" and rather oddly, he looks just like an old man.

The snow rabbits have arrived - the snowmen need to watch out for their carrot noses.

Oops, this one's just waiting for a nibble.......

 Outside Silver Apples on Orchard Street in West Didsbury, with a lovely expression on his face.

I can't understand how this one hasn't just fallen over, it's pretty big and must weigh plenty, but it's just hanging there in mid collapse.  I'll bet it's on it's side by tomorrow!

I don't think these girls made this one, but they posed very nicely for me!

If you've liked these snowmen/rabbits/things there are more on my Flickr, click here for the full set.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Red on White.

Red on White., originally uploaded by Eyeshoot Photography.

Here's one of the pictures taken in the snowy cemetery today - it's now a brand new print in my Etsy Shop.

It's a bit perverse to post this photo....

Foggy, originally uploaded by Eyeshoot Photography.

....considering that there's about seven inches of pure white and almost untouched snow covering my patch of Manchester this morning. This was taken on Christmas Day morning when it was very foggy and most of the snow had gone on the road but not anywhere else.

Manchester has ground to a halt today, buses, trains and planes cancelled. I think the main roads are okay, but side roads will be a nightmare and I don't intent to attempt to drive anywhere.

We will be trudging our way over the road to the Southern Cemetery soon to take some pictures though, I'd really regret it if I didn't.

Watch this space for some snowy pictures later!

Monday, 4 January 2010

First Etsy Front Page of 2010.....

.... I'm hoping for plenty more!

Mine's the pretty pink pick and mix print in the middle.

Basil with red rubber?

Red Rubber Bands, originally uploaded by Eyeshoot Photography.

I've been sporadically photographing the red rubber bands which adorn our streets here in the UK. They are dropped by postmen all over the place and if able to, when I see one in a nice composition or on a nice surface, I'll snap a picture which generally gains me some very odd looks.

I particularly like this one with the leaf to the left which looks just like basil to me.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

First Treasury of 2010 and it's Dr Who themed!

After the excess of Dr Who last night I was amused to find my Dalek print in this appropriately Who themed Treasury this morning!


Exterminate by Eyeshoot $35

Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year's Eve at home.

Often on New Year's Eve we're very happy to just spend the evening at home with some nice food, fizz and usually Jools Holland on the telly - how middle aged does that sound!?  Going out becomes a hassle as you've got the taxi issue if you're not offered a bed by your hosts and that's a pain and a dull end to a nice evening, so that's why we often stay in.  This year we were planning the same but our neighbours called to say they were coming home and did we have plans so of course we invited them round and two more friends so I was planning a meal again.....We had three omnivores, one fish eater and one pregnant lady, so no meat, raw fish (was thinking of sushi for a starter), no raw egg (was considering chocolate mousse) and no unpasteurised cheese.  So a menu was forming:

Spiced pumpkin laksa.
Nice a spicy and coconutty, a perfect soup for a cold night, I'd never done this before and wasn't too thrilled with it, there was a subtlety of flavour lacking somehow, a late addition of nam pla made it a bit better.  Everyone seemed to like it though.

Whole baked salmon with tomatoes and salsa verde.
A tried and tested favourite, very simple but impressive.  It's a whole salmon filleted into two pieces, laid on a bed of tomato, capers and garlic, with a layer of salsa verde making a filling between the two pieces, then baked in the oven.  The hardest part of this is serving it as it's nearly impossible to slice through two seperate pieces of soft fish with a differently textured filling.  It totally fell apart, but tasted lovely!


No cooking involved, not heavy or filling, nice easy finger food to nibble.

We played the Logo Game after food and helped along by several bottles of fizz, the baklava, some Carluccios chocolate stars and a smattring of advertising and marketing people who knew almost every single answer we arrived at midnight very happily.  We popped out on to the terrace in the freezing cold and crystal clear night with Jools in the background (we had to fit him in somewhere) had more fizz and watched the fireworks erupt around us.