A reflective time at Cornwall Park

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Good morning from a misty grey Hastings.

Yesterday was such a beautiful spring day, not a cloud in the sky and no wind either.  Perfect weather for photography.  So I headed down to Cornwall Park and wasn’t disappointed in the range of photos I took.

The waters were so still so that they became mirrors and the reflections were just awesome.  I am fascinated by how ripples can distort the reflections and turn them into something resembling nightmares or have a gothic feel.  I take a lot of photos like that as they make great backgrounds for digital scrapbooking after they are edited.  With the light yesterday I got a lot of great photos to add to my collection.  My son and I plan to develop an app to use these as background papers for smart phones.

Anyway this above photo is taken at the Chinese Garden.  Hastings has a sister city in China and this area is dedicated to this.  There are a couple of pagodas and bright red colours which reflect really well.

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I have taken a few photos of this bridge where the reflections are totally distorted which are rather striking but yesterday it was just like a mirror.  A perfect reflection.

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Here you can see the ducks enjoying the sunshine.  This is a great peaceful place for a picnic lunch, a serene sanctuary in the middle of the city.

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Here is another angle of the same pond but focusing on the Chinese trees that frame this pond.

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Around the park are small ponds which little fountains.  As there wasn’t any wind the reflections with the bright sky were just breathtaking.

Bathing beauties

 

I just managed to catch these bathing beauties before they flew off.  They were really enjoying their bath.

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Everywhere I went there was so much to take in.  I have a polarising filter on my camera, but I can rotate it to get the maximum images on the reflections.

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We have small canals running around the park with hobbit like stone bridges.  These two photos are taken from one bridge but looking in both directions.

Since the light was rather bright and harsh it make taking photos of flowers very difficult, but with no wind the reflections I caught made my day.  That said, I did get some really great backlit flowers and leaves, but they will keep for anther day.

Now,  though, I have to be careful as I managed to get a bit sunburnt, even though it is only October.  So I will have to go out earlier now to avoid the full sun.

So cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

 

 

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Gorgeous spring colours

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Good morning from another beautiful spring morning in Hastings.

It has been so warm and windless the last couple of days and it makes going for a walk a pleasure.  Spring has well and truly arrived and the gardens are really starting to show of.  The senses are been inundated with the sweet smell of new blossoms as well as the vibrant colours which is so lovely after a grey winter.  I am now just discovering what a beautiful flower the peony is.  There are a couple of gardens that are just a mass of colour.  They make a fantastic show.

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What can spoil a lovely walk is not having enough battery juice in the camera or too small a memory card.  Everywhere I looked there was something to take.  I left at around 10 am but by midday the light was getting too harsh, leading to hard shadows so maybe it was just as well that the battery had died.

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I did try and use the strong sun to silhouette the flowers a little to get different textures on the flowers themselves, or as in the second photo to highlight the hairiness of the plant.

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I also worked on my focusing skills.

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Then there are the hazards.  The bees are out in force.  I have to stand right back and try and zoom in on flowers when the bees are around as I am allergic to them but they epitomise what spring is about.

It is a real pleasure to go out and see the perfusion of colours and signs of life, and with my favourite music helping me along it is a great way of relieving stress.  A way of living in the moment and trying to capture the memories on a memory card.

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

Satisfaction of life

Satisfaction of living

 

Good morning from a lovely sunny Hastings.

I love going out for walks just to see how beautiful the world is through my camera lens.  I love to see the bright colours of the flowers and to smell them and really appreciate the beauty around us.  It is a wonderful way to relieve stress.  I put my favourite songs on and just go for it.  A couple of hours later I arrive home uplifted by some of the beautiful sights I have seen and hopefully have on my memory card.  I am getting well known along the routes I go as I stop and take photos of colourful gardens.  I have had the owners come out and talk to me which is a little bit embarrassing but generally people are really nice about it.  It is the men who get quite uptight that I am standing on the footpath zooming in on some flowers, but the women have been really nice.

I have an idea in my mind usually when I am taking the photos as to how I would like to show up the beauty.  Not always successful but the success rate is improving.  This is a lovely garden just full of snapdragons.  All the embellishments were taken there as well.  Firstly I had the background image of the garden itself.

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I had some trouble with the opacity of the background when it came time to add the text.  In the end I just deleted the layer and started again.  I right clicked on the small lock icon on the right in the layers panel and then I found the opacity button.

Because I didn’t want to lose the embellishment arrangement and text I saved it and added it to the image.

Living well

I find it is less stressful to save as I go to avoid the problem of starting all over again.  Learnt that the hard way.

I have also learnt about adding a three dimensional look to the embellishments by adding shadows.  It is amazing the difference it makes when the shadows are added.  My daughter said it wasn’t necessary but then watched as I added some shadows and then she said it does matter.  I still get amazed at the transformations from flat images to a more three dimensional look.  I have been studying the Dummies Guide to Photoshop Elements 10 just to learn my way around the different functions and brushes.  Here are the individual embellishments.

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Here is what I mean about the shadows.  Here is the ivy I did the other day.

 

Ivy 2

 

Ivy 2

 

Now you can see the difference it makes with the shadowing.  It is rather dramatic to see the transformation.  That is what I love about photography and editing.  It is very addictive.

Cheers and have a nice day,

Raewyn

 

Welcome to my little world, Cornwall Park in Hastings, New Zealand

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This is my first real post so I have decided to introduce the world that I live in and what inspires me.  I live in Hastings, within a 10 minute walk to Cornwall Park.  I love going there as it is like a separate world within the world.  I walk there and there is the constant drone of traffic and noise from our busy lives.  But I get inside the park and all I can hear is the sounds of the native birds and the more common sparrows and black birds.

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The is the duck pond from Toamoana Road.  I collect the crusts from our bread and go there to feed the birds.  It is never the same.

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Depending on the time of day there is can be a frenzy of ducks diving for the bread.

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I have learnt to look out for certain behaviour as well to see if I can take more interesting photos, rather than just ducks and more ducks.  In saying that my iPhoto is clogged up with duck photos.

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At the moment it is spring so that the ducklings are starting to appear. I also love the way the mirror affect of the water is so interesting.  The ducks are almost lost in this photo.

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These photos were taken around 1 PM with no clouds in the sky so that the water reflections were just awesome.

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As I said before there  are a lot of birds as well.  Once I had sort of mastered taking photos of ducks I moved onto birds.  The bird in the scrapbooked image celebrating New Zealand is our native Tui, also called the parson bird for the white feathers under it’s beak.  As it is spring time the birds are really going crazy with their mating calls and swooping around the trees.

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Further down from the pond is the Chinese Garden.  Hastings has a sister city in China and this celebrates it.  It is a very peaceful place with little picnic areas.

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As you can see the reflections are just amazing.

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This is a little area with native bushes, in particular the golden kowhai which the tuis love, along with the sparrows.  I have been spending a lot of time here hunting down the elusive fantail but so far I haven’t been able to catch them to my satisfaction on camera.  They are like butterflies and just flit around from tree to tree.

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On leaving the native bush area you follow a small man made canal where the ducks also hang around as well.

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There are just so many opportunities for taking great photos.  I have been focusing on the reflections lately.  They make great scrapbooking paper.

New Zealand has a different light to other parts of the world and the colours of our native bushes are quite distinctive.  I have discovered how easy it is to do digital scrapbooking with iScrapbooking.  The only problems was finding colour ways  that match or coordinate with my photos.  So I am now using my own images as background paper and have also learnt to do my own embellishments so that I can give my scrapbooking a distinctive kiwiana feel to them.  Here are a couple of other pages I have done with my own images.

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This is a silhouette of a tui among the kowhai branches.  Even the accent papers are images I have edited using Photoshop Elements 11.

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This image just struck me when I was looking back towards the native bush area.

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The daffodils are nearly finished now.

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We don’t really have a good garden, just the same flowers everywhere.  So I have a reputation of being this dodgy snoop going around with a super zoom and taking photos of other peoples gardens.  Even the embellishments are from other gardens.  My husband is waiting for me to get arrested sometime.

We had such a lovely warm day today.  Tomorrow is supposed to be different.  Rain.  The problem you may well ask?  We have our annual blossom parade tomorrow.  Hastings is known as the fruit bowl of the country and every year in September we have a festival to celebrate the coming fruit season and harvest.  It is a great carnival and family event and the atmosphere is just brilliant.  Not the same though, if it rains. I will be there with my camera to record it so watch this space.

Cheers and have a great night.