Category Archives: Experiments

Grass Lake Planet

I’ve been experimenting with “small planet” pictures. This is a picture of our lake. We went out into the middle of the lake, and I took photos while I turned around, and eventually had a 360 degree view of our lake. Then I used Photoshop Elements to put them together as a panorama, and then into the small planet. You can see my shadow, and my husband standing on the ice. Our house is behind trees somewhere around the 3 o’clock position.

The following is the original panorama that was made by stitching the pictures together. You can find out how to make a small planet at Gavin Hoey‘s tutorial.

Learning to shoot HDR at Niagara

When we were “behind the falls”, we were able to see Niagara Falls through some port holes. It was interesting seeing the ice buildup around the falls, and I was enjoying taking some photos. It wasn’t long until a man came along and asked me if I was taking HDR photos, which means taking 3 or more photos of the same thing: one very dark, one very light, and one at a normal exposure. You then use a setting on your photo editing program to put them together as one picture. This helps when there is a lot of contrast between areas of your photo.

He had a Nikon, I had a Canon – but I was able to find the setting on my camera. I was only going to set the exposure one stop above and below, but he told me to do 2 stops. It’s interesting the different places where you learn something new for taking pictures, and if you’re open to suggestions, you can learn new things.

I’m still learning – these are my first attempts. Niagara Falls was definitely interesting to see from this view.

I still have lots to learn. This next one was interesting, but a tripod would have helped. It’s hard to hold a camera in the exact same position for three photos, even with the continuous setting on. However. the photo shows how beautiful the falls looks when it has ice and snow around it.
We are to worship the Creator, not the creation.

Learning to use a Snoot

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to try using a Snoot with a couple of children. A snoot fits over your portable flash, which is what I was using. It also fits over a studio light and lets you control the direction and the radius of the light beam. We had a lot of fun with it, but I find I have a lot to learn about it and my camera too. My camera had a difficult time focusing at times, so even though I took quite a few pictures, they did not all turn out. I eventually went to manual focusing, which helped.

You need to have the person sitting with their face towards the light, but not necessarily looking at it. This is easier to do with adults than with children, but they were enjoying themselves so it was a fun session. 

This first picture has Christmas lights in the background. He was having a good laugh over how I wanted him to sit.

And, of course, he decided to have fun with the photographer. 
His sister enjoyed posing for the pictures too. In this one she is looking just to the side of the light, but it looks like she is looking right at the light.
I enjoyed this last one. She had been wearing a blanket around her head, and I said she looked like Mary, so she is posing as Mary. She didn’t want to smile, so I said she could pose, but not smile. She certainly took me up on that.

I’ll have to try doing some more of this … will need some volunteers to sit and pose for me. I’ve tried doing this with a teddy bear, but I can’t get the bear to pose for me. He just sits there. 


I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; 
I will sing praises to You among the nations … 
Psalm 57:9 

Experimenting with Milk Drops

This week I had the chance to work with water drops and milk drops. I still used the plastic bag with the small hole to make the drops. Some of them were into a pan of water while others were into a champagne glass (filled to the top).

Working with milk is different, especially for the lighting. I usually use one flash to the side, and it is aimed at the background. I found that I had to add some light to the other side so that it wasn’t all in shadow. I think I could still use a stronger light on that side.

This first picture was the drop going into the pan. The reflections were from a backdrop with red and white lines.

You can see the background more in this next picture. This drop is into a champagne glass. It’s interesting to see the difference in the drop when it is milk. The reflections on the surface look different too. 
The next one is a drop into the pan. The reflection had hearts on it.
The background in this one is a red plastic sheet.

The last one has a white background. I was playing around with making it high key. I still need to work on this area.

Many of these look similar, but they are still all different. We may look similar to other people, but we are all different. God has made each of us unique, and He loves each one of us.

God created man in His own image, 
in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:27

Taking Photos with my Smart Phone

What is the camera like on the iPhone and SmartPhones? I’ve had the opportunity to use an iPhone 4, and now have an HTC Raider. Each of these has a front facing and rear facing camera. The front facing camera is an 8 mp on both of these and have similar features. Can they take as good a picture as my Canon Rebel T4i? I don’t believe so, but I do think you can take some pretty good pictures. 

I took the following picture at a local marina when we were picking up our boat. It was hard at first to get a good exposure, but I found a place in the camera where you can change the settings such as exposure, which helped.
What I do like are the instant effects you can put on the pictures you take. The effects are done very quickly and are easily saved on your phone and shared. 

The next picture was taken with the phone, but I did some post processing in Photoshop Elements 9.

I opened this next one in Photoshop Elements, but only added the frame and signature. No other edits were done.

Sunset at Voyageur Provincial Park, Ontario
So, do I think it’s as good as my bigger camera? No, but it is a handy camera to have available wherever you are. It can take photos of God’s creation and we can rejoice in seeing the wonderful things He has made.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities
—His eternal power and divine nature
—have been clearly seen,
 being understood from what has been made, 
so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

Portrait Sketches

I’ve had this sitting on my desktop for awhile, and thought I would put it up this week. 

I worked some more on changing photos to sketches, and chose some portraits because I thought they could work well in this format. The directions (see a previous post: Bird Sketches) I’m following are easy to use, but it takes some practice to get the effect.  I’ve learned that you need to use a photo that is fairly light. It does not seem to work as well with very dark objects. I’ve always enjoyed sketching, so this is a good combination for meEach of these have turned out differently as I’m learning and experimenting. 
Each of us is different, just as the photo-sketches have been different, mostly because I am still  learning. God has made each one of us to be unique. You and I can celebrate those differences and enjoy them. 

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
Psalm 34:8

Bird Sketches

 During the winter, I wasn’t taking too many pictures because I was working and  inside more. So, I looked through the internet to see what other things I could try with some of my photos that I have already taken. The internet provides many opportunities for us to learn from others. There are examples and tutorials to follow and you can try different techniques, learn about photography, etc.. I’ve enjoyed following some blogs written by other photographers and learning from their experiences.  

I saw a tutorial for making photos look like a sketch.The instructions I followed are at . Isabel Cutler’s work is amazing, and she does an excellent job explaining how to do this in Photoshop Elements. I use Photoshop Elements v.9, and even though this program has several guided edits, I chose to do this one in full edit mode. I tried this with several photos of birds that I’ve taken over the years.

 I’m still working on this, and will try it with some portraits that I have done. I’m also concentrating on trying to make it look more like a sketch. 

God has given birds for us to enjoy. When He made the earth, He could have made only one type of bird, but instead He provided us with many, many different types of birds. Each one is beautiful in its own way, even the vultures and crows. We can marvel at the way God has created them.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. 
Praise the LORD.
Psalm 150:6

Skates in a Bubble

I was asked by a friend to do a picture for her for a Skating Programme. She wanted to have a pair of skates in a bubble, and gave me a model pair of skates about 3 inches high. I was able to take a picture of the skates in the homemade light box that I have, and while I was doing this, I played around a bit with the lighting. It was hard to decide which picture of the skates to use, and because the background was white, I had to be careful “cutting” out the skates. The water bubble wasn’t too hard as I had a new container for the water to be in, and wanted to try it out. Putting the two together as a composite photo was a bit challenging.

 This next one was done with darker blue and gold as these are the colours she asked for. I prefer the clean look of the lighter blue caused by the tungsten setting on my camera, but I also like the look of the darker blue.

I wasn’t sure if she wanted the full reflection of the water bubble, or just part, so in the post processing, I did both for her.

Finally, I thought I would try it with 2 bubbles, even though I didn’t think this was what she wanted. This is the one that I like. I think it would also be interesting to put a skater inside the bubble:)

And … her choice? She chose the dark blue pictures. I’m not sure which one she will put on the programme. She seems happy with the pictures.

Skating is a good physical exercise for people, and we are encouraged to have physical exercise to have a healthy life. More importantly, we need to have a healthy spiritual life, one that honours God in every aspect of our lives. He loves us and wants us to be committed to Him.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things,
 holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:8