Saturday, 21 September 2013

A Second Photobook

I received my Photobook of Lake Como last week.  I am so pleased with it that I have been doing one of the South Island of New Zealand which I finished at lunchtime and sent off.  It was thanks to a reader of this blog that I learnt about Jessops photobooks  You download the software, work on it at your own pace (which means you can save it and come back to it) and then upload the finished product.  Here are some of the pages:

I feel these books are particularly good for photos of art works.  I seemed to have a lot of them on this occasion and it certainly makes it easier to study them rather then just having them on the computer.  The fourth photo is of friezes on a monastery wall and I was able to take the photo of the whole wall and then put the details on the same page.  Brilliant.

I am very pleased with the quality of the photographs and the endless possibilities for different layouts.  I have to admit that I have had a couple of problems with the South Island, though.  I did the Trans-Alpine train journey and took lots of photos through the windows.  For some reason the template did not like most of them even one which another on-line company had accepted for a calendar.  So I have just not used them. I particularly enjoyed working on this second one because I stayed in Hokitika which is the setting for 'The Luminaries', the book by Eleanor Catton that has been short-listed for the Man Booker prize and tipped to win by a number of reviewers.  The setting feels much more real because I have been there.

I also have a 'work in progress' on Venice.  At some point I plan to do one of the North Island of New Zealand but I have many more photos than I had of the South Island so I may end up doing a separate book of Wellington.  As these books are not cheap, I am not doing them of every trip though.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Late summer at Ding Dong

Today I think autumn has arrived!  It suddenly feels much colder and time to put away the high summer clothes. But only a week ago it was still summer so we went up to Ding Dong mine, about a mile from here.

Ding Dong is an old tin mine that stands on one of the highest points on the Penwith moors and is visible from a great distance.  The surrounding area is covered in bracken and heather although the summer flowering heather is just about over.   There is also brilliant orange mombretia (crocosmia to gardeners) which grows wild everywhere here.  It used to be a constant battle to keep it under control in our holiday cottage garden so now I refuse to plant any of it in any colour.

At the far (northern) side of the moors is Carn Galver.  Well worth climbing up for the views it provides of the north coast and the narrow coastal plain.  You can just see the peak in this photo.

The field system here is reputed to be oldest in Britain and to date back to the Iron Age.  Very small fields were created by clearing the stones and piling them up to form walls.

In the middle distance in the photo above is the village of Zennor which is famous because D.H.Lawrence and Katherine Mansefield both rented cottages there during the First World War.  People thought that the lights they showed (no electricity of course) were signals to the Germans because D.H.Lawrence's wife was German!

The field system appears emore clearly in this shot of one of the farms.

Back at Ding Done the umbelliferae (parsley family) are now drying out, leaving interesting combinations of colours.  These photos said ' weaving' to me as I could imagine lines of colour blending and intersecting.

Many of the artists in this area are inspired by the lines of the vegetation.  As I did not have any drawing things with me, I took photos that I now need to manipulate in Elements or print out and draw from.

Ding Dong is also a great area for wildlife, especially birds.  At certain times of the year flights of migrating birds swoop overhead as they leave the UK for warmer climes.  On this occasion we saw a lot of different butterflies as it has been a good year for them: tortoiseshells in different forms, some blues and even a bright yellow one.  But photographing them is another matter!  And my husband saw a weasel which came out of the undergrrowth onto the path, took one look at him and disappeared again.

Sunday, 1 September 2013


From time to time I think I should make one or two photo books of my best holiday photos, using an on-line company.  After all, you never look at photos that are just stuck on the computer. Photobox, who do my Christmas calendars, is one possibility.  The calendars are brilliant.  My sister uses Snapfish so that is an alternative.  This week I decided I really should get my act together so I spent hours and hours sorting through my photos of the specialist art tour I took to Lake Como in 2011 and making a folder that I could upload easily. There was an interesting mixture of photos: the usual 'snapshots' of the landscape

a few shots of people as 'local colour'

lots of the various art works we studied such as this fresco

and sculptures on churches

and finally, things I saw that said 'Design' to me.

This is fruit on an ornamental palm tree.

I am afraid that I have not got much further with this project, however, because the website drove me mad!  I like to be 'arty' and arrange the photos one by one so that they make sense by subject matter and theme.  I have not done a photo book before and it told me I had to put all the photos in order before I dragged them into the boxes.  You are given possible arrangements by date or title in alphabetical order.  This is not what I want!  So at six pm on Friday I gave up.  I guess I will have to phone them and try and find out how I can do it.  I was prepared to be annoyed by the automatic cropping but not having total control of the layout is hopeless.  

I had already made a folder for Venice and I have the beginnings of ones for New Zealand but the finished products are expensive so it has taken me literally years to decided I can afford it.  I could always simply order prints and put them in an album but I do not think it is the same.

September Calendar

1 September today and time to turn the calendar over.  Here is the photo that we will be looking at this month.

I took it on my 2008 trip to New Zealand.  I spent a few days in the South Island with a friend.  We went by train to the West Coast which neither of us had ever been to. We stayed in Hokitika and one morning I got up early and managed to get some really good photos of the river and even Mt Aorangi (Cook) which was well over a hundred miles away.  This was a sculpture on the beach.  I have no idea if it is supposed to represent anything but it was very striking.