Sunday, 23 February 2014

Week Eleven: Colour Me Crazy

So it is getting late on a Sunday and I've not yet done the things I need to do. And the Italian Internet Gods have had a sense of humour again. They do this. Super fast when I'm farting about doing nothing, but if I want to do homework or this blog or catch up on Call the Midwife or buy passes for Comic-Con, it slows to a crawl that makes a three-toed sloth look like Speedy Gonzales. Did I date myself? Probably. So does THIS WHOLE BLOG. Whew. That's out.

Day 1 (71): 17th of February
Days off are grand. Less so when there is work to do at home, but who cares? It's a day off! That said, I let it get away from me like I was in it to win it. I think the below shots reflect the letting things slide angle. Even Mondays off can have the Mondays. The evening sky was pretty good. Didn't even mess with this one.

This I did mess with. Because it is silly. And a bit creepy. I get to see this demon smile every time I look out into my garden. Thank you, Wall-building Antonio. Thank you for giving me something to haunt my every dream.

Day 2 (72): 18th of February
In celebration of something, my house alarm decided to have a tantrum. The repercussions of this were that when I got home, my key set the alarm off, rather than turning it off. Then it was an all out battle to shut off the brain-melting, conniption-inducing racket. Four hours later, the problem was fixed. Was able to get an answer for the age-old question of, "how many Neapolitans does it take to change a lightbulb?"  The answer is seven. One alarm technician, three brothers, two sons, and one daughter to supervise the male efforts. Oh, and a ladder, much arguing, and many cigarettes. The fellow up the ladder only almost fell off twice. While I waited for that joy to commence, I caught this little dear on the wall of my house. Inn't he the cutest? Cue spider-phobe nightmares. For you. I'm waaaay too cool to be frightened of a little spider.

The sky was rather cool in the evening, too. So there's that. Do love some sky porn. Not v exciting, but ah well. My brain melted out my ears thanks to the alarm, so there.

Day 3 (73): 19th of February
The quality of the below is entirely dependent on how close one looks. These rather long days at work make the taking of decent photos rather more difficult. Not just because of the late hour I get to leave, but also because my Brain works rather less well after all this. And the equation of computers + Italian internet equals my desires to attend Nerdvana stymied for now. Piss on it. One more shot. Other kinds of shots are below. First, the garage when I leave at night. Looks slightly creepy, no?

How's about I make it blackandwhite!!.... duh duh duh..... Find your car, now, smartarse... IF YOU DARE...

And because I've completely lost my mind... a candle on the kitchen counter.

Day 4 (74): 20th of February
Not sure what even to say here. This may be another of those "skip on to the next day" days. I had massive homeworks to do and this was the best my brain could fathom during a period of mental rest and let's face it. It's not great. Call it "Nerd Things"

"Nerd Tools" because I had schoolbooks and a new comic and shoes.

Day 5 (75): 21st of February
This was a gargantuan effort. My earlier back spasm left me in a state best left undescribed. Once I was vaguely able to be upright, I went for the simple. A session with my guitar, which in this instance was better for my neighbours, as it involved only taking photos, rather than my playing. This first one I got more or less right and didn't even need to edit it.

This one took an edit or two, but meh. My Kingman (her name's Felix) looks good in grey.

Day 6 (76): 22nd of February
Not going to lie. Much of this day was spent horizontal, and not for the fun reason. Damn this body for not bouncing like it used to. Still stiff and sore as something incredibly stiff and sore. They told me this would happen. But the magic of the drinking bird made me feel better. OK. Not really. But he is fun. Even when not drinking anything.

Day 7 (77): 23rd of February
Weird day. Weird weather. But got out for a bit and found a neat spot in what we call "toxic farmland" where there were cool trees and the clouds were all cloudy. I cropped out the bit that looked a bit funky - thus the odd shaped photo. But not much of an edit. Should have taken the tripod and filters, but them's the breaks.

And the 'zact same thing, but looking all crazy. Thank you gratuitous Lomo filter.

Piss poor bodies that fail and Internets that fail and Thirty-year-olds that fail notwithstanding, we carry on. Keeping calm ideal, but not entirely necessary. Just don't make too much a fuss, ok?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Week Ten: Just Look up and Relax

Ruddy car wreck. Ruddy Neapolitan who hit me. Ruddy delayed onset back pain. Enough to make one truly annoyed. Regardless, there's things need done and jobs need finished. So on with the dance, as they say. Aided by modern medicinal tactics. This week is all about the world as seen from one's back. Not in the 19th century euphemistic sense, mind you. More the "I've fallen and I can't get up" sense.

Day 1 (64): 10th of February
Minimal editorialisation this week. I'll keep that promise as much as possible. I do find it a stroke of genius what was passed to me at work for a suggested theme. This one was pretty basic. Took my ibuprofen and dropped (OK, settled slowly) to my back on the living room floor, camera in hand and kept it simple. Just an upside down shot of the window drapes.

Because I was unsure about that one, and because the other shot I took was truly stupid, here's the first again but in sepia.

Day 2 (65): 11th of February
Muscle relaxers are interesting and wonderful things. Going all gooey like people say one does when in love. But a bit more literally. That plus slurring words like a person with dysphasia or perhaps a drunk. Today's piccie came from a desire to experience the cool of the entry floor on the back. And not make you see seven photos of the same bit of ceiling. Thus, looking up the stairs. Note: the entry floor was not as nice as I thought, and I just noticed that I need to clean the floor again.

And the hall / stair light.

Day 3 (66): 12th of February
Eff this week. The snit reared its ugly head again (enabled by drugs and exhaustion), and I drafted an epic vent-mail to my best friend, with desired results. Best friends are wonderful for always being on one's side when one is feeling abused and generally mal-treated. They know when to offer advice and when to just be outraged and indignant along with one. Am a lucky gal. Oh, and finally found a good use for the Fisheye lens I've had for a while and never figured how best to employ....Observe. The boudoir...

I get far too much joy out of seeing my whole ceiling in one photo.

Day 4 (67): 13th of February
Hurrah for nice weather and Fisheye lenses. Though I've not yet sorted the absolutely best way to use the fool thing, am having a bit of fun with it. And my hammock. How I've missed it. See what I mean?

Day 5 (68): 14th of February
Happy Friday / Papa's Birthday / Valentine's Day! I just love the sweets that come from Hallmarky holidays like this. And the memories of getting my dad pink teddy bears for his birthday. Since the morale police stepped in and ruined the plan for a four-day w/end, and my trip to Paris fell apart, I see a lazy next few days, punctuated by physical therapy, alcohol therapy, and homework. And Photos. 

Another. I like the light.

One more view. Still cool light.

Day 6 (69): 15th of February
First of all...holy hand grenade. Just this guy. How cool and huge and cool is he?

Now, a cat's eye view of life outside.

So nice to hide in the bushes. The felines were simultaneously highly entertained, confused, and a bit indignant at my crawling about in the garden.

Day 7 (70): 16th of February
Got such poor results in the theme shots I decided to scrub it. Looked downward instead for a bit. And got this pile of stuff at a nearby farm, a shot I am strangely attached to. So much so I did two kinds of edits. A straight black and white...

And a faded photo from the past look.

And I got this great little set of gorgeous yellow springy flowers. The light was awful and too bright, so I had to monochrome-ish grey fade thing in the edit, but they are still v pretty.

So this week has been a strange, watching-someone-else-live-my-life sort. I've half a mind to be cross about it, but really, these things happen. Makes what will come in the future (whatever that is) all the better for not being this. So long, of course, as it ticks most of my various prerequisite blocks...  Here's to the future.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Week Nine: Mostly Mitigated

Generally pleased with this week's results. There are a great many things about photography that make it ideal for those of the introverted kind. It is a kind of voyeurism of the world, coupled with the safety of viewing moments in time from behind a lens. Blogging, on the other hand, can bring with it abject terror, for all the reasons introverts will understand. The slew of "will anyone like it?" "this is probably a waste of time" "if anyone bothers, they'll just judge me..." thoughts. What has that to do with this week? Nothing in particular, I guess. Really just a thought in line with the madness of my recent Life frustrations. Probably should go put the kettle on. I feel a cuppa coming on.

Day 1 (57): 3rd of February
At the moment I find myself in the midst of an ongoing dialogue with my inner six-year-old. Little Annie wants nothing more than to be in a snit, and just let everyone know how cross she is. Grown Up Rhiannon knows far better and realises that only bad things come of snits. Such as bad photos. Please do not let this opening salvo turn you off from the rest of the blog. Snit Mitigation failed upon arriving at the olde villa. So there is this. "That's no moon! It's a novelty garden paver!"

And sadly this. Or not sadly. The fool creatures are part of my life, like it or lump it. Same goes for evening light, I suppose.

Day 2 (58): 4th of February
Got a chance to get back to my old skill set - teaching. Do love teaching. A little rusty, but like getting back on a, errm, pair of skis after many years (not quite bike smooth). Maybe rollerblades. I miss rollerblades. Am shameless about my history with and long love of the fool things. Even that time in the seventh or eight grade I rollerbladed out the bed of my dad's truck several times and broke my retainer on a go that didn't end well. Don't even care that "blades" aren't cool anymore (were they ever?). Also learned today that I have an accent. An Idaho accent. Not even sure what an Idaho accent sounds like (I imagine like... me). Typically people tell me I have a strange accent that sometimes sounds British (but generally is just odd). All part of the Verbal Chameleon Defense Mechanism. That, and being raised by a Brit and watching too much of Auntie Beeb's programming. Thank you, Doctor Who, Sherlock, IT Crowd, Primeval, MI-5, Broadchurch, State of Play, Collision, Doc Martin, ISIRTA, Monty P, Fawlty Towers, etc etc etc. This is the same rose tree photographed before, but now it has a great single flower at the tippy top like a Christmas tree topper. So I did some variations on the thing. Witness the droplets... it rains rather a lot anymore. And the almost greyscale. I really love this effect.

The light in the little break in the rain was pretty neat. No edit needed, just the warming filter on the lens.

This one is pretty true colour. Switched to the UV lens filter this time. Then I gave it a little vignette just for effect.

Day 3 (59): 5th of February
V disturbing dream last night. At one point several horses let themselves out of the pasture in the middle of the night (a nightmare in and of itself). Then one of them locked himself in a cupboard and when I went to take him back, he was in two pieces. TWO PIECES. WALKING INDEPENDENTLY. And my boss came out of the tack room and said "oh, he does that every night" as though it were perfectly normal for a horse to separate like two frat boys in a mascot costume, running off after different cheerleaders or ice cream vans. Then I was somehow in a Bourne film that turned into an Edgar Allen Poe museum on a subway car. My life. Effed. In Dream State. Thanks, brain. On that note, got a great Poe-ian shot of Dark and Stormy clouds (and gosh look at those clouds!). Again, no edit needed (a frame because... just because).

Not sure what prompted this one. Had to stick my camera through the fence, as I forgot my keys to open the gate, and didn't even look through the viewfinder. Then edited to match the D&S theme from the other photo.

Day 4 (60): 6th of February
Not going to lie. This week is kicking my posterior. Early starts to late finishes, and back pain that would down a lumberjack (who sleeps all night and works all day). So right into the pics, then, eh? Got out on the late end of the day, and trotted up a level in the parking garage (only dodged one car in the process) to grab this shot of Dear Old Vesuvio. And a bit of the Naples area below in the waning hours of sun. Silly tree on the right kinda spoils it, but ah well.

And this is the view from said parking garage ramp. Looking up one might think one was in an old War I made it look more like that.

Day 5 (61): 7th of February
Finally a day of beautiful weather. And an end to the crazy (work) week. Got another shot of Vesuvius, but this time from the top of the garage, and with only a silly cloud to spoil the shot. The sky had a great blue to it, and I needed the lens hood for the mad sunshine going on. Again a border added for balance. And it looks a bit like a postcard.

Another shot from the roof. This time toward the "downtown" area and the water. I sometimes forget how close we really are to the Mediterranean. Cannot tell from street level. Think I got the composition a little better with this one... This rule of thirds things is starting to sink in.

Day 6 (62): 8th of February
Startlingly gorgeous day. Spent the morning being impressively lazy. Then spent a couple hours outside with the Olympus. Many many shots, so had to pick just a couple. Starting with the treetop rose again. A few days on and it still looks pretty good. Loved the blue sky. Almost too bright, and rocked the hood plus UV lens filter.

Same through-the-fence rose as before. With better light and no editing. Still hood and filter.

This guy was following me around the whole time, as was his brother. Got great light and he finally sat still long enough to not get blurry face (in this shot, at least).

Day 7 (63): 9th of February
Back to total shite weather. Blowy and rainy and grey and yeck. And I have to run errands and do homework and finish this and get fuel. Homework.... guh. Why do I need a Masters again? Minor break in crap weather, and these were the result. My landlord's mother has a bit of land across the way, and right now it looks like this. Not an easy shot to get, as the wind she was a howling and there was a fence in the way. Went a bit mental with the edits at first, then took a breath and just saved the thing as is (with a silly border, but whatever).

This, sadly did not escape the clutches of Me on an Edit Binge. But it is a grim subject, so I thought a grim edit was apropos. All I really did was darken things and add a touch of grey.

I've noticed these entries've gone a bit chatty and not about photos. I'll try to make that not the case in future weeks. This week I did try. With varied success. As with the pics, I suppose. I've also discovered that I am OK with re-attacking past photos, either to get a different perspective, or just to attempt a better end result. Again, with varied success. But all part of Growing, no?

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Week Eight: Don't Toy With Me

Had big plans for a shape-themed week, but as is my femaley and bloggery prerogative, I changed my mind when I got home. Have always been envious of those who take neat pictures of toys, and avoid the look of an eBay listing. Should probably provide a surgeon general's warning about the dork level associated with the toys below, but it seems a bit redundant. I will attempt to make the photos themselves not too lame, as a compensation. Will certainly wave the nerd flag, as well as the "I'm thirty but still have toys" flag. I have grownup toys as well (motorbike, nice camera, laptop, truck, money), but am not above kicking it with my bobbleheads and misc fan-related merchandise. One must have a modicum of shame in order to be snobbish about such things.

Day 1 (50): 27th of January
There are days when the world sneaks up behind a person and secretly drains the oomph right out. Not nice. And it seems always on those days there are all the meetings in all the different places. Found myself leaning against the railings on a stair and was not sure how long I'd been there. Enough whinging, though.  This I like to call "Tools of a good man's trade." That name came to me just as I hit the pickle button. Do wish either or both of these really did their fictional jobs. How brilliant would that be. If only we had more good men like the ones that wield these tools.
 A Black and White, for good measure, and for to get my skills with same improved.

This is all rather silly, but ah well. Somehow this edit made me sad. Amazing how changing the light balance and saturation can have that effect.

Day 2 (51): 28th of January
Recently several of my photos have won awards on Pixoto (a photo site wherein photographers vote on each others' work). Two that have been raking in appreciation for day, week, month, and year awards are sadly pics of my cats, but two pics from this 365 Project have done quite well as well, and one of my faves from the year just got a top 20% for 2013. Pondering how to take it (still learning to accept praise, OK?) but am working on the being flattered part. Nowhere near being a "good" photographer, but must be doing at least a few things right, at least part of the time. Note to self: sort out what that is. Setting scenes is something I need to do rather better, and that is part of the motivation / inspiration for the below. Somewhat recently I received the two items in the photos, and had a moment of insanity that resulted in the scenario you will witness. Took a few tries to get decent focus and light, and even tried the dreaded fisheye lens (a project for later). A scary twist on childhood icons (Pac-Man, PEZ, and Muppets). Poor guy... didn't see this happening. He just offered the nice yellow face a PEZ...

And really, there was nothing he could do... Pacman does have an insatiable appetite (it has been decades and he still chases pills / pill-shaped things).

Day 3 (52): 29th of January
Only a couple days into this theme and I am doing rather a lot of head scratching (though that may be related to elsewheres in my life). Am pondering how far to take it, and whether I will get anything out of it, skills-wise. Also may run a bit out of material. Thought I had more of my silly things here in Italy, but most apparently were either victims of the Great Goods Grab of 2012 or are in storage in Fallon, NV. Hmmmmm. The below set up is a bit of a re-attack on a previous shot. I'd originally wanted to do it outside, but by the time I got home it was dark and a bit miserable outside (and I was soon for beddie by). Thus, the in of doors, but there may be another attempt to take the toys outside. For now, shot one is Rainbow Dash attempting to mediate what could become a bad situation of "exterminate" vs "delete." Fingers crossed...

This is the schoolyard shot, with the Daleks gossiping about the Cyberman's new friend...SO uncool. We've all been on one side of this or the other...

Day 4 (53): 30th of January
Odd energy sort of a day. Lots of strange vibes everywhere I went. Sometimes wish I weren't such an emotion sponge. Must be because I bottle my own, so the Universe feels the need to affect me somehow... Naw. People just need to learn to keep it to themselves unless it serves a purpose. Hmmm. Yes. That sounds right. Excessive moodiness / miserygutsness is never necessary. Ah well. Moving on. Keeping things to the point, the below represents what it was like being a Mini driver. Particularly when in traffic with Large Vehicles. Like a nightmarish version of the Italian Job. With TIE Interceptors.

This was not the traffic they were looking for.

Day 5 (54): 31st of January
Sometimes the demands and expectations levied on a person are so obscure(d) that a body could simply not know they are there, never you mind what they are. This can complicate the task of satisfying same. My my. What a load of whinging. Should be ashamed of myself. Sorry about that. Here's a photo instead. I must've put these goggly eyes on nearly every surface within the house, but this is the least crap shot of the bunch. Nothing like goggly eyes and an excessive black and white edit to make a normal clothes cupboard look like something from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

Day 6 (55): 1st of February
W/ends that follow crap weeks are often, through no fault of their own, the victims of bad moods. Poor things. They just want to help. What we have below is my attempt to change up the backdrop and totally muddle all sorts of fictional characters. And play with light and focus a bit. In this case, I'm not sure that Toothless is on board with training against the Hulk. There are limits... not that the Doctor knows what those are...

Once again. Poor Toothless seems unsure about this... Hulk just wants to ride the dragon (not like that, mind you... although...). And sorry about the funny shadows. The light trick was not so good this time.

Day 7 (56): 2nd of February
The day of the Superb Owl. Am on the fence about who I care to win. Love my NFC, and I'd love for my Niners to have lost the Playoffs to the team that eventually won. However, it is hard to root for the Seasquawks... Ah well. We'll see. Game doesn't even come on here until midnight and change. And I have prep for the week to do and do not get the late start that everyone else is allowed. So, photos. Legos are brilliant. Therefore the following. A clone trooper just out on his rounds. First the snails. Insert joke here...

Come on! Of all the times to spring an ambush.Do you see the blaster?

That dealt with, a little misunderstanding about a chest full of gold... and a huge looming orange feline in the background...

Do we really need to involve the cops? I wasn't trying to steal anything!

And to top it all off... speeding? Really? How fast do you think this thing goes? Of course I have permits for the weapons...Lemmie just see...

In summation, this was an interesting experiment. As usual, some shots came out pretty great, and others not so much. In a week where my experiences can only be described with melodramatic terms (and as such I will spare you the gory details), I suppose such can only be expected. If my writing back in the day reflected my moods, it only follows that my photos would do the same. Better luck next week, no? Here's hoping.