Saturday, 29 June 2013

How to understand your new camera

Have you ever bought a new camera and then got it home and wonder where to start with it?  When I bought my Canon EOS 550D  I was overwhelmed with where to start.  There were so many buttons and dials I didn't quite know where to start.

This is my baby

It can be over whelming seeing the thickness of a manual and trying to figure out everything means.        I sometimes think the manuals are meant for highly evolved photographers who have been taking photos for years. 

So here are my tips when you buy a new camera.
  • When you are looking to purchase a camera ask the shop assistant as many questions as you can before you buy it.  Try and get a basic understanding of how it turns on and how you can take a photo.  
  • If you are looking for gadgets on a camera make sure you ask before you buy.  It is very disappointing to get home and find out it doesn't take black and white photos and that is just what you were after.  Take a list if you need to
  • Explain what you want the camera for.  If you tell the sales assistant the purpose of the camera you are more likely to get a camera that will work for you
So you have now bought your camera and you have it at home.  It is sitting there teasing you.  Where to now?  
  • The first thing I always do is figure out what I actually need in the box.  I get rid of any recyclable packaging and rubbish.  I read all the pamphlets to see what is advertising stuff and what is needed for the running of my camera.

This is my camera's manual.  Over 3/4 of it was in another language

  • I rip my manual apart throwing away anything which is in another language.  It doesn't seem quite so overwhelming to read a manual that is 1/4 of the size
  • I put everything in it's case. I always buy a case that can fit everything in it including cables and my manual.then I know where everything is and things are less likely to get lost.
  • Next read the manual.  Learn how to do the basics of turning on the camera and how to take an picture on the automatic setting.  This means you can start to take photos. BUT
  • Carry on reading the manual at the same time.  It is amazing how little we know about our cameras.  Most cameras have handy little features that we not ever know about unless we read our manuals.  
  • Re read you manual every few months 
  • As you are reading your manual try each new feature as you read about it so you understand the function fully. 
  • Experiment with your camera. Use the things you learn about in you camera manual.  
  • Try not to just use the same setting every time you take a photo.  They have different features for different types of photos and different conditions.  Use them
  • Look up on line your camera brand and model to see what else you can find out about it.  Chances are that someone has written a blog or done a you tube tutorial about your camera that could help you out.
  • Go to the library and see if there are any books than can help make using your camera easier.  I find children's books are the best if you are only just starting using a camera.
  • Check out all the software that comes with the camera.  Some of it can be quite basic but effective for a beginner to use.  
  • Have fun with your new camera.  Take a page from a child's book PLAY!!!!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Photography this week: Autumn at the Hamilton botanical gardens

The Hamilton botanical gardens are beautiful in every season. Autumn is no exception.  The red of these leaves were just stunning from every angle.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Sketchbook this week: Garden doodling

Garden doodling

Why doodle?  Why sketch every day?  What is the point of all these sketches?

  • It gives so a huge amount of inspiration to use for art work
  • Improves hand eye coordination
  • It is relaxing 
  • Promotes healthy brain development
  • Improve your drawing capabilities
  • uses imagination and creativity

  • It give a satisfaction of making something beautiful each day that doesn't get eaten up or has to be re done
  • It gives you good thinking time
  • I can escape from problems for a few minutes
  • I can express my self very simply and easily
  • It is a quick fix for creativity

I doodle or sketch when ever I get a small moment of time.  I can just pick it up and put it down when every I want too.  And I can doodle where ever.  It is totally portable
  • "I like to doodle in the morning,  doodle in the night,  doodle in the evening underneath the pale moonlight"


Monday, 24 June 2013

Little cardlets

One great way to make art or practice art is to do it on old business cards.  It is quick,  effective and great way to practice new techniques.

How to make a cardlet

Paint a base colour onto the white side of the business.  If both sides have colour on them paint first with white or black gesso paint to block out all the underneath graphics.

Add some sort of texture.  I have used old sequin waste on mine and a foam roller on damp paint.  This lifted some of the underneath colour off the card while it was wet.

Add more texture with a stencil brush and small stencil.  I have used sequin waste again with a different colour paint.

Stamp an image on the card.

Then use a black or metallic pen to draw on the dry art cardlet.

I have used a white,  black....

.....silver and gold pen.  

this is another series I have done using the same colour background and different coloured metalic paints.  

Using the pens I have tried out different ideas for stitch  over the same design.

Each art card can be treated differently or be part of a series or can be totally different and unique.

Have fun creating something new today

Catherine xxxxx

Friday, 21 June 2013

Photography this week

A sneaky peek at some photos I took at a recent wedding.  I helped to do the bouquets.  I was very pleased with how they came out :)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Sketchbook this week

I am really enjoying the freedom of zentangling all my garden doodles.  I like being able to pick it up and put it down with so much freedom.  It is great not to have to have too much concentration to make an effective piece of work.

Flower power Zentangle

Leaf Zentangle

I have also been creating some wee little cardlets do I can experiment with different paint techniques.  They are made with metallic paint,  acrylic paint,  stencils,  stamps and different coloured pens


Monday, 17 June 2013


Everyday I try and do some quilting practice.  I use a very small format of 15cm x 10 cm.  It is really manageable to get a little quiltlet completed in under 1/2 hr.  It is also a great way to experiment with new colours together, new patterning and new ways of design.

How to make a quiltlet

  1. Cut up some printed material with random blobs of paint on it.  The pieces of fabric I am using at the moment for my little quiltlets are just pieces of fabric I didn't want to create into any works of art, so I just cut them up for my quiltlets. 

2.  Cut up a small piece of batting and backing fabric just a wee bit larger then the front piece.  Place on top of each other.  There is no need to pin or baste together as it is so small.  

3. Decide on the stitching you want to do.  I wanted to experiment with straight lines and  contrasts on the 2 quiltlets I made.  I used a very dark red thread so it the quilting would pop out.

4.  Experiment with different stitches on the machine.  Most of them never get used in quilting and yet they make a really nice effect.

5.  I wanted to really get a strong contrast in the shapes in this quiltlet so to contrast with the lines I added 5 circles .

The second quiltlet today was quite a contrast of colour,  texture and pattern.  This one was stamped with a a few different handmade rubber stamps.

I followed the same basic design as my first quiltlet with rather a dramatic difference in results.

The fluro yellow didn't stand out quite so much on such a busy background.  

This piece was is moving and busy and the first piece was more solid and stable.

It was a good way to see how thread works on different fabric and and pattern.

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