Gull fascination.

There’s something about birds, their eyes, the texture of the feathers, the freedom to soar on the wind, or dart about the garden (just out of reach of my mostly incompetent cats). Having handled hens regularly – I have 4 in the garden – and had the chance to feel the lack of weight of a bird of prey on my fist, birds fascinate me. When I first got my DSLR camera, one of my first adventures was taking pictures of birds, preferably in flight where they are, usually, their most majestic. Often they are moving so fast that all I capture is a blur, but now and then something special happens.

But at the beach, the gulls soar, and hang in the wind, posing, waiting for their picture to be taken (or for a chip to drop!) Their flight is so economical they use the slightest breeze and seem to hover.

Herring gull, wings spread

Yes, most images here are watermarked, sorry, but I have to protect my work.

I am particularly pleased with the Herring gull there. It’s just hanging in the sky, so sharp, so clear, you can imagine how soft those feathers are. You can see the focus in it’s eye as it scours the beach and path for stray chips, and you know that beak will cause so much pain if it caught you.

The gulls around my local coast are an ongoing fascination. I could spend hours watching them, camera in hand, missing perfect moments….  Then sometimes I’m fast enough, and it all falls into place.

I added some images to the Gulls gallery. All images in this gallery, so far, have been taken around the South Wales coast, close to Swansea.

As always, any comments are welcome.

Preparing images – Focus

It’s been quite an eye opener, the different requirements for the various photo selling sites, and there are numerous “How to” guides littered around the internet. This isn’t one of them, this is an anecdotal rambling about part of what I have learned as I started out.

First take some images that you are really proud of, that you think are the best you can take, considering where you are on your photography journey, and the equipment you have available. Don’t worry too much about having the right camera, tripod, lenses etc. These things will help, but they’re expensive and you can gather things like that as you find you have a need for them.

Take your images with the highest resolution you can, get a nice large file – several mb size is best. Most of mine start out over 10mb.

The first thing I do is to check if it’s an image I like, and is worth the time to work on to prepare for submission. I skim through using the Photos app on windows 10 which gives a nice viewer where I can zoom in and have a good look at each image. I delete loads at this stage.

Is it in focus?

Examine your chosen image in detail using something like photoshop – there are plenty of image manipulation softwares out there, some are free, some cost, but you will need to use something.

Look at your picture at 100% – yes, it’ll be so zoomed in you can only see a small fraction, but you need to go over it with a fine tooth comb, so to speak. Check that every detail in the main subject, or main area, is in crisp, sharp, focus. If it’s not, the image will be rejected. Pick a different image, or take more pictures. But trust me, some look beautifully sharp until you zoom in to 100%, then you can see the blur.

That rose, looks lovely at low resolution, looks great in print on a greeting card, but zoom in to the original image and the petals are fuzzy. This is not one to blow up to hang on the wall.

Yellow lilies with water drops

Whereas, these lilies (which have been passed as good for shutterstock, are beautifully crisp even at 100%.

So, first check your images are in focus throughout the subject area, and I’ll ramble on about other things to check and look for, another day!

Approved Shutterstock Contributor!

With the idea of expanding my potential customer base, and widening areas of trade and sales, I applied to become a Shutterstock contributor, and I was approved!

The process was relatively easy, and after a few rejected images – for various reasons – I have a small portfolio available for sale.

https://www.shutterstock.com/g/Sarmorrow

I can’t find a way to link to a gallery of the images, but I’ll keep looking for a way. There are a variety of images there, but mostly wildlife and flowers – which I love. Do go and have a look, and let me know what you think!

Tiger

I’ll be researching other stock photo sites and will link to them when there’s a portfolio available.

Save

All done, for this year.

Well, that’s that for another year. The final assignment is handed in and there’s no more editing, nothing more to be done. It’s either good enough, or it isn’t. (this is the moment when I suddenly realise I should have said something in the report, or could have said things better… It’s always the way the mind works.)

But it’s done, handed in, and out of my hands now, which means I can turn my mind to other things. Like which images to include in the next round of greeting cards!

Possible images can be seen in the gallery below, and I will consider other suggestions as well. You know, if you want trees, or a beach, or hot air balloons, or something. If it’s something I can get to, and if I can get a good shot, then I’ll consider it. No promises, but I’ll consider the suggestion.

What I’d like you to do is have a look at the gallery and let me know which images you would like to see as greeting cards. I want to pick a maximum of 10 and to be able to offer packs as well as single cards. Your input would be greatly appreciated!

Reflection in a Cat’s eye

I love this photograph of my cat, which is why I decided to include it in the initial range of greetings cards. I was adjusting and testing some settings on the camera, and she wanted to get in on the action. I did manage to narrowly avoid having her nose print on the lens!

But look at her left eye.

close up eye

See? A reflection of my hands and camera, captured in the pupil of my cat’s eye.

Assignment time.

It’s almost the end of term, the end of the first year of this 2 year diploma in digital media. We’ve done some bits of image manipulation, a lot of website building – go on, take a look around, you’re browsing the results – and a lot of behind the scenes web work too. There have been shenanigans, much giggling, a few swearing moments. Work has been lost and reconstructed. Lessons have been learned, and new ways of doing things have been found.

Last time I tried to integrate Woocommerce into a wordpress site I struggled with the look, the design, the specifics of the integration. Not this time. With more understanding, it wasn’t easy, but it was easier to fit the pieces together. I think it works quite nicely.

I’m half way through the course, and next year promises to be even better. It’ll be hard work, but I’m told there will be more of the creative image manipulation side of things. I’ve enjoyed re-creating this site, and will enjoy working on it with greater understanding of how it all fits together.

So now I’m blogging rather than cracking on with the 1500 word final assignment… Wish me luck?

Hay Festival 2017 – Twice.

For years I’d been aware of the Hay Festival, and always thought I’d like to go. You know, one day, just to say I’d been. Oh, yes, I went to Hay, once… But I lived too far away, and the distance, the expense, and 2 young children… It just didn’t happen.

Then we moved to South Wales, and Hay is about an hour’s drive away – and I still had youngish children, and a very limited budget – so I still didn’t go. There was that constant nagging feeling that Hay was maybe not for me, that I’m not a Hay type of person. That, I’m somehow not good enough to be there. Hay is a festival for literature, for the academic, the intellectual. Not for me.

Two years ago Cerys Matthews was there – and I had no idea what she was doing, only that I wanted to see whatever it was. So, I got tickets, and went. Just on a whim, on impulse, just because. She was part of a panel reading Dylan Thomas poetry. She read poetry, she talked, she sang, and I surprised myself in how much I enjoyed it. While waiting for the show, I wandered the festival, soaked in the atmosphere, wandered into Hay-on-Wye town and ambled about a bit. I didn’t not fit.

This year I spotted Amy MacDonald was playing. I first came across her when she sang for the returning athletes after the Olympics in 2012, and I’ve liked her music ever since.

So, as 2017 seems to be a year of, sod it, let’s do it, and I had a teenager and friend who wanted to see her too – we went. After a long day in work, we made it to Hay in plenty of time and had a little wander. It was quiet, security was tighter than before, but we were expecting that after Manchester. But the atmosphere was alive with creativity. Amy was brilliant live – a show packed with old favourites and new material, some politics, plenty of laughter, and some joining in.

Amy MacDonald

We had a great time, and both teens wanted to go back for more of a mooch around the books, the stalls. Today we gathered a car full, and we went back.

Welcome to Hay

It was packed, crowded, buzzing with people. There were armed police among the crowds but no-one seemed bothered. We wandered for a couple of hours, and it may sound silly, but I can almost feel the creativity starting to spark again. I’m starting to wonder, what’s next?

Hay flags

Greeting cards – new ideas

After a lovely day out last week, I have a few images that I think might make striking greeting cards to add to the range, but I’d love some input from you.

I’ve added the images to an album on my facebook page, and to a gallery on this website too. All you have to do is either like the images you would like to see included, or comment on the gallery – links to both are below.

Facebook album

Website Gallery

At the end of each month I’ll check the likes and comments and add up the votes and then decide how many new cards to add.

Thank you

Thank you all so much for helping test the new shop. There were a few wrinkles to iron out, as I suspected, and as is the purpose of such testing. But I think we have them sorted now. Should you come across any issues please let me know and we can try to solve them as quickly as possible.

There has been extensive work behind the scenes, and repeated testing and edits, but there comes a time when you have to just take the plunge and declare, “It’s as ready as it can be.” So, with no fanfare, no blowing of trumpets, no rolls on drums, no applause…. I can declare the Sarah Barnard Webshop, Open!

open

Feel free to come on in, have a browse, and use the code open25 at checkout to get 25% off your order as an opening offer.

This offer is not valid in conjunction with any other coupon or offer, and can only be used once per customer. This coupon is only valid until Friday 26th May 2017.

50% off greeting cards and ebooks.

Right then folks, I need to test my shop. I’ve tested it with paypal sandbox and I think it looks all ok and good to go. It look like it’s all working as it should and transactions seem to be going through properly, but I want to test it with real people and real sales.

So, if you want to help out, and give it a whirl for me, put the code “50testmay” into the checkout and that will give you a whopping 50% off any greeting cards or ebooks you purchase. Your purchase is real, and you will receive whatever you order. The code is only valid until midnight on Friday and I’ll be posting any orders out on Thursday, and again on Saturday morning.

Any feedback on how it all works, or anything that doesn’t work as it should, would be fabulous.

Thank you for visiting! Why not check out the Greeting Card Ideas images in the Galleries? Dismiss

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