more info on what goes on here in McGilly World

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adventures in White Balance

One of my biggest obstacles in my photography in the early days (and today if I'm honest) is the getting
the white balance correct. I didn't even realize to begin with how far off I really was, sometimes I
even thought that the color casts looked pretty cool, giving my pictures some kind of ambiance! Duh!
There are filters and effects for that, you can't do a photograph justice when your white balance is all over the place.

I recently found a great video on You Tube through a site called; check it out here.... it's for the D90 but you can get the idea for your own camera. I personally prefer the preset because I feel it gives you a better balance of true color than the little auto settings you can use, but the quick set icons also work really well. I also sometimes use a tip from Ken Rockwell and use the cloudy setting even on a pretty sunny day, works well at least with the D90.
So ignoring the general ugliness of the above example, you can see the difference, the first was on a totally incorrect pre-set that I was using in another room (worked well in the other room btw) and then I quickly flicked it to incandescent light and voila... a truer duplication of the colors in my kitchen. Now if only I had chosen to present this in a more beautiful manner than a Krups toaster and a skanky hairbrush!!!! The monkey's cute tho'.
My point is clear though, if you want to take some lovely pictures you can concentrate on all kinds of details but if your white balance is off your whole pic is shot. Hope you enjoyed this episode of "stuff I sometimes forget about even though it's paramount in good photography!!".
Do you have a little sticking point? feel free to share, we all learn from each other!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Texture Tuesday....

This week the challenge was to use KK's Golden texture.... I love how delicate it is. 
for more texture tuesdays go check out Kim's blog... 


Funny Faces

Pioneer Woman Photography | Ree Drummond
Just popping in today to share my appearance on the PW blog...the competition is funny faces and I just knew I had to submit the pic of ashley and the bubbles. I'm just a wee bit excited !! Just a teeny weeny bit....well a lot, its made my day.
How is your Monday coming along???
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

i do....

Last week I jumped in at the deep end and helped a friend of mine shoot her first wedding... it was my first too of course...regular ramblers already know I am just getting started on this foray into pro or really semi-pro photography.

I can't think of anything more nerve racking than photographing someone's big day, and boy was I in for a shock at how demanding and exhausting the whole thing was!!! I couldn't even think straight at the end of it, but it was well worth it. I have a long list of things I learned from the experience and a list of things I'd like to try next time. I told another photog friend of mine that I am realizing the thing I love about photography is that you never stop learning, there's always something to discover, play with and give your own spin. I have a couple of other weddings tentatively scheduled for the end of the summer which is exciting.... so watch this space.

I think I'm a real romantic at heart... I love a good wedding... don't you? 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fresh Tomatoes......

I know a lot of bloggers are also quite self sufficient in that they grow their own vegetables and fruits, seems like we've come full circle from the seventies and once again it's trendy to have a garden.

Well, I very gingerly hopped aboard said horticultural bandwagon and decided to grow my own tomatoes this year, mostly because of the fact I have found it incredibly difficult to find a 'mater with the flavor of the ones we eat in the UK.  Yes, I know it's really unfair of me to disparage the American tomato so much but I will, mainly because I maintain that the need for such mass production in this country is affecting everything even down to the little common tomato. I want some flavor and color by God and I'm gonna get it!!!!!

and here it is my little 'mater lovers... all juicy and red and delicious... just demanding to be paired with a little piece of crumbly, sharp cheddar and a crisp white wine. I would also like to point out the incredible color is straight out of camera is totally ROCKIN' thanks to all that lovely Nikonness, no help whatsoevah from those good peeps at Photoshop. It's been a little challenging to keep my one tomato plant going, what with the watering thing and all... I just don't need all that responsibility but thankfully I have two slaves daughters who will gladly mess with the hose for a while each evening; then there's those meddlesome squirrels to contend with but over all I'm super impressed with my darling tasty treats. Where will this lead.... prolly nowhere... but for now I'm  imagining a fruit and veggie stand at my local Farmer's Market!!!

Tip of the day;  if you put a couple of Rolaids in the soil it will help keep them disease're welcome.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

quote of the day.......

"I'm not a genius. I'm a tremendous bundle of experience"....R. Buckminster Fuller.

Now if you want to learn something new and interesting you'll google R Buckminster Fuller and enrich your mind that much more!

Have a wonderful Wednesday..mmuuwwaahhh!!!!
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Texture Tuesday... sweet peeps edition

OK this is my second attempt.... I did the first post on my other blog!!! URGH!!! more haste less speed.
So here's my effort for the sweet peeps week, using Kim's Serendipity texture, I applied it twice and used at clipping mask to take it off her skin. Hope you likey!!!!
Check out Kim Klassen for more texture love.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Well, well, well... looks who's all grown up...... seven years old and just as special as the day she was born.

Actually, and this is me being completely candid, she's way more special now than the day she was born. The day she was born was a stormy day in Florida and we didn't know if she was going to actually make an appearance that day. You see, Ashley was born in the summer of 2004 and it was a turmultuous year weatherwise, hence her nickname of Hurricane Ashley, she was a force to be reckoned with from the beginning. Having said that it was a tall order living up to the reputation of Tropical Storm Sydney, the elder sibling who had already set the bar for wonderful kid and all around heart stealer.

Still since the early days of being second in command, Ashley had held her own and gradually became a showstopper in her own right. I used to think that Sydney was the most beautiful and intelligent little girl I had ever laid eyes upon, although I tried hard not to be "one of those mothers" I couldn't help but mention the wonderful accomplishments of my lovely daughter. Then Ashley came along and although she was just as cute as could be for the first three years she never quite lived up to the incredible acheivements of daughter nunber 1. Until of course she set about changing the world all by herself.

Ash was quick to walk, very quick to talk and amazingly speedy to steal the hearts of those around her. She was our second child and even though I initially thought one could never really love their second as much as the first I found myself equally in love with both of my gorgeous, smart and witty children. It's incredible to watch them grow and jockey for their position in life, each of them battling for first place in the hearts of their parents and family.... one day they will realize without a doubt that there is pleny of room for both. Still, I recognize the competition, I was the youngest of four, it seems that every day you want to prove yourself to be better than one's siblings. I hope that they do know I love them both equally, be it for different reasons, I will never be able to choose one above the other.

I look at the pictures I take of them growing up and I hope to capture a moment, capture what I see in them every day. I hope that one day they'll look back on these pictures and it will stir a memory in their minds, a reflection of how they felt in that very moment of time. I have no idea if they will even be able to imagine how I felt, as their mother, probably not, still I hope these pictures will help to piece together their childhood. I cannot believe how time passes so quickly, and how, at seven, my baby can look so grown up... but guess what? we can still cuddle on the couch and she will still kiss me and tell me she loves me when she feels it neccessary and thankfully that's quite often.

My heart swells when I think of these little girls I adore so much.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday....

Today I am linking up with Miss Buckle's Thankful Thursday... I feel it's time to be appreciative!!!

I am thankful that....

dinner is served..
fun with friends at the Y is easily accessible....
bright pink toe nails help to show off tanned feet....
tomorrow is Friday!
my husband understands I don't like him looking over my shoulder when I blog...

Fun in the sun

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A tribute.... to a friend I never had the privilege of actually meeting...

If you know someone, only in an online capacity, do you still know them? Should you still be entitled to grieve because they are gone too soon? Should you allow yourself the tears, the lump in the throat, the quivering chin? 
Is it your right to have your heart broken by the loss of someone you know only through some lovely exchanges in email and chats online and in sharing each others creativity?

Today I learned of the unexpected death of a fellow blogger, Charlane, she was taken from us too soon and that my friends is a fact. I know it's a fact because on many occasions we talked about getting together and having a little 'blogapalooza'. We planned to take pictures, and talk, and laugh and share our experiences with one another, me hoping to learn from her amazing talent and she no doubt hoping to share her knowledge with someone younger who obviously needs the benefit of her amazing abilities. Of course, life happens and you tell each other, well maybe in the fall when it's cooler, or maybe in the Spring when there's less going on... maybe after the next business trip, the next family vacation... and so it goes until it's entirely too late... and all too soon .... she's gone. 

It's been a very strange few hours since I learned the tragic news, I have gone through a myriad of emotions and thoughts about the last exchange we had... actually... just the other day I had checked on her blog and saw that she was extremely busy and had a lot to look forward to. I remember typing a comment something like apologies for not stopping by, thinking about you, will email and catch up... but the comment was not there when I looked today. Did I not hit the "submit" button? How many times has that happened in my haste to keep up with my onliners??  I was a little confused and thought, well at least I know that her last post was a very happy positive one, but honestly most of them were, that's the person she was, upbeat and positive. 

I was probably  definitely wallowing a little in my own feelings of sadness and grief wondering what in the world could have happened? I'm like that, it's all about me see.  But then, out of the blue the UPS man arrived at the door, and I was embarrassed to be seen in such a sniveling state on a Wednesday afternoon but I didn't bother to offer an explanation. He left and I opened the package which was the most beautiful box of cookies... in a bright green and yellow box with a lovely ribbon. They looked divine... and I didn't have my camera on me... should have used the phone but it seemed they deserved more justice than my crappy phone camera. Immediately I saw it as a sign, I know I'm weird with all my signs lately, this is the comment on Char's profile; Life is too short to waste a single day, eat cookies, dance when no one is looking and try to be as happy as you can. 

So my friends although the label said something else, I saw it as a sign from my friend, a reminder that although she's gone her spirit lives on in so many ways. I will treasure the advice and encouragement she has given, especially with my newly formed photography business. Char was the first one I turned to for advice and as ever she was very happy to help me out, for that I'm eternally grateful. 

I celebrate you my friend, I hold dear the place you occupied in my life and heart, I will miss you tremendously but will always hope to follow your shining example of friendship and giving. I promise to pay it forward and be glad for the time we knew each other, and yes I'll eat cookies and be happy.

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a little something "extra."
–Jimmy Johnson 

Wordless Wednesday....

Monday, June 13, 2011

TextureTuesday with Kim Klassen

This is the kind of Texture Tuesday I like...anything goes!!! 
I find it difficult to control my ADD/OCD/sheer lack of discipline to work to 
a set theme! must try harder!


So here's my offering, it's an old picture but one that I really like. 
I love that she has a kind of far away look about her and the way the hat
sits on her head. 

I used Kim Klassen's Serendipity on this one, just enough and not too much. 
It still has the warm colors and sunlight. I am still very much in the early stages of working with 
textures but it's easily something I can mess with for hours given the chance.
Head over to Kim's site for more Texture love!! 

What’s your passion? The sequel…sequel...

So, over the last few days I have pondered on the question posed by my good friend Spud, what's your passion? I'm linking to her post and presenting an answer of sorts.... gather round and make yourself comfortable.

Ever since I was young I wanted to be a photographer (kind of) or a writer (kind of) or combine the two and be a photojournalist (kind of). Nothing has ever been an actual passion for me. It was always luke warm with me which is weird because I am sort of an all or nothing person and tend not to be a wishy-washy fence dweller. I think that my career aspirations were wishy-washy because I honestly really wanted to jaunt around the world taking pictures and writing about my experiences whilst being taken care of by my uber-rich aristocratic husband; and no I don't mean it was a daydream... it was an all out technicolor fantasy of epic proportions!!! That's what I was passionate about, being free and answering to no one and marching to my own tune. Unfortunately those high hopes didn't amount to much when I finished school and started a career with the Civil Service. Meh... how in the heck did I let myself get caught up in all that desk job melodrama I will never know.

Since that time there has been enough going on in my life (a lot of it very exciting I might add) to keep me occupied if not totally passionate. I seem to have concentrated heavily on my family and their needs for the past ten years and although I have dabbled in hobbies here and there it wasn't until recently I rediscovered my  love of photography and writing.  I pleaded with colleagues and co-workers to let me produce monthly newsletters, I tried to be ultra-creative on crafty little committees in various groups I was involved with...
I even got hooked on scrap booking for a while, which by the way I was almost completely passionate about; while I had to time to do it! Enter child number two and my return to work and that was the end of my Creative Memories era.... deep sigh.

And then I found Blogger... oh what a revelation it was to me. Here I could write about crap going on in my life and post pictures and tell my story. I had originally intended it to just be kind of an online journal which people could read if they felt so inclined, but it has turned into so much more than that for me. It reignited in me a purpose and a means of stretching my abilities in writing and in photography and ultimately in connecting with other bloggers all over the world allowing me to do what I do best... make friends.

So maybe, just maybe I'm passionate about blogging (and all the little tangents associated with it) I have a love hate relationship with it. I actually get really fired up when I write something I think of as being halfway decent.. and then there are times when I have no ideas, zilch, zip, nada and it feels like there's something in the pit of my stomach, frustration is a horrible, horrible thing. That being the case I can only conclude that to have this spectrum of emotions about something must mean that I am in fact passionate about it. Now, don't get me wrong, I"m well aware that I should be doing myself more justice because to be perfectly frank, there has been some drivel on this blog of late. I attribute it to lack of time and concentration; I really need to give it more thought and planning than I do... sigh, sigh, and sigh again. At the end of the day it's what I love and if I continue to learn from it and enjoy what I discover through blogging then I'll continue to do it, my blog is two years old... that has to account for something, right?

So... your turn, think about it, find your passion, feed daily and let it grow....

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Not my passion.....

Hate to be a downer here but I'm about to launch a rant.... recently Chez Spud has been talking about "passions" and what it is that gets you all excited. Well how about the shit that doesn't get you going? Here's some food for thought... and my apologies to Spud... yes I'm taking the negative on this.. it's been a while since my snark has had a chance to air itself.

TV.... so sick of the freakin' lack of imagination quite apparent in todays programming. I mean, American Idol... please... you've had your day and you're scraping the very bottom nae butt cheeks of the barrel and you ain't coming up with much. This formula has also been stretched over into other crap talent shows, didn't we already do all this??? Theres' nothing new... move on before you turn into a sad old circus act.

Electronics... now don't get me wrong, I truly adore my little ingenious electronic nik naks... where would I be without my cameras, my laptop, my ipod etc?? but really, you people aren't giving us a freakin' nano second before you come out with something else. Let's take a moment to rest on some laurels here shall we? Give a mid lifer like me a chance to get to know her devices before the next one comes out, I mean, why don't they just slow it down, it can't be good business sense? Surely Apple has a gazillion obsolete items that they now have to move at a lower price while they produce more of the newer stuff which probably has cost a lot to develop and make. Just slow it down people because I'm telling you one day we're all gonna say ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!

The Weather.... what's the deal man?  Horrid winters; hot, dry summers; tornadoes and hurricanes. I've about had it with this shit. Just ask my patio pots... all withered and nasty full of dead pathetic plants. Thanks a lot nature, good job there ace.

Kids... they think they know it all don't they?  Where they hell does my ten year old get off asking me if we have flood insurance????? Did I ever ask my mother that kind of impudent question? hell no I did not. Flood insurance is a personal, grown up matter and should not be discussed openly with the kids. Sheesh.

Well that's it... rant over. I'll try and muster up some positivity before tomorrow and maybe do a post on just what my passions actually are.  In the mean time, this is what's been getting my goat.. how about you???

BTW... this is a pretty good way to vent your frustrations!!! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Odds & Sods from home

How lucky I am. I feel a little happy dance coming on. 
Being an ex-pat is nice n all, you know, having the best of both worlds.
If you're going to be anything Anglo/American is the way to go. 
The most fabulous thing of all is when I get little gifts in the mail that are 
sent remind me of home, I LOVE it. 

Sometimes I feel like a little girl again when I open the packages and when they are
full of things like sequined Union Jack pillows I am positively giddy. 
My little Burberry teddy bear in particular approved of this accent pillow, a nice
little addition to the chair he occupies in the corner of my boudoir! 
Thank you big sissy for my lovely gift, I adore it.

Then there was this surprise parcel in the mail...... from a fellow blogger no less. 
If you're a regular here you'll definitely recognize this mug.

Yes it was sent to me by non other thans Spudballo... check it out there where it 
honestly looks a lot better but I'm doing all I can to make it feel at home Stateside. 
I thought I had been keeping up with Spud's whitterings rather well until I just 
scrolled through her blog looking for the link. I'm sure she squeezes in posts after 
the fact because I seem to have missed quite a lot, and although one can never totally 
keep up with every blog, Spud's is one you ought to get to more than most.

So my dear friends, should you find any little trinket in your travels that may remind
me of home, don't hesitate to send it to me. I am easily pleased and just adore
getting things in the mail, especially unexpected little treasures like the ones above. 

I'm also known to stuff a gift or two in the mail myself so you never know! 
Happy Thursday Tous Les Monde. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

There is light... at the end of the dark, dark tunnel.

Camping lantern, originally uploaded by McGillicutty1.
Someone very near and dear to me is going through what I can only describe as sheer hell at this time... well for a while now actually. I would not wish this type of misfortune and anguish on anyone, not even the vilest of characters.
She's a pillar of strength and a beautiful soul, I can't imagine anything worse than being thrust into circumstances beyond your control and feeling that helplessness as you struggle to figure out an escape. I rack my brains for solutions and tiny pearls of wisdom to offer comfort at this time but just keep coming up empty. I feel inadequate as a comfort and find myself hurting for her on a regular basis. It's just a horrible and heart wrenching situation that can't be rationalized no matter how hard you ponder, analyze or break it down, and believe me I have tried all of the above.

I'm not a good at having no solutions, after all for every problem there is an answer, there has to be, otherwise how do we go on? How does she go on? what choice does she have? Every day is another blank page, a day filled with opportunity, that's what I believe. One day will be her day, her opportunity, her golden ray of sunshine when she's released from all this purgatory into a life of love and happiness, peace and security.

The lamp is my gift to her... a symbol so that she can hold on to the knowledge that there is a light at the end of the darkness, it's not a tunnel, it's complete and utter all encompassing darkness, but the light will come. I'm holding out hope with everything I have. So my friend... I'm on your side... I don't always have words to comfort you but I'm using all I have to support you from my corner, this light will soon be yours.

Wait... wtf is this?

So, been gone a week, just a little short break with the kids while they
are on summer vacay, something for them to talk about when they get back to school.

I'm back and what the hell happened to Blogger????

I'm gonna have to check all this out before I do a proper post and I don't have
time this morning, the real world beckons. (bleuugghhh, hate the real world)

in the meantime, check out TN. 

Talk at ya later!!!!!