Happy New Year

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is drawing to a close and that we are looking ahead to the new year. I hope you will be blessed with good health, prosperity, creativity, fulfillment and all you wish for.

When I was in Kyoto, Japan, I was lucky to see people of all ages happily strolling in gardens and admiring the profusion of cherry blossoms. Since before the 8th Century there have been many meanings attached to them. For me, they represent freshness, rebirth, growth, and, sadly when they fall, the end of the wonderful moments in time when we are touched by their exquisite beauty and grace. It’s a reminder to be optimistic, make plans for happiness, seek what is good in each day, and to let things go when the time has come.2015 New Year eCardI made this e-card with a photo I took of a cherry blossom last spring. There is a small rural road, not far from my place near Ft. Langley, BC, lined with cherry and plum trees. I try to go there every year to make images before the blossoms fall.

Wishing you all the best and Happy New Year!

To see more of my images, please visit my website http://marionmccristall.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved


Looking Beyond the Obvious

Sometimes we go places with our camera in hand and expect to capture images of the usual or those similar to what we have seen before. We may look for iconic scenes or subjects but forget to take the time to see what else may catch our eye.Sintra National Palace POR 2014 BWI’m back from spending a month in the charming village of Sintra, Portugal. I was fortunate to attend the annual Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk on the grounds of the National Palace with 20 friendly Portuguese photography enthusiasts. Our leader, Jose Antunes, (http://joseantunes.com) gave us some guidelines that included only capturing images from within the grounds of the palace but not inside the palace or gardens where entrance fees were required. Kelby Walk pigeon feeder POR 2014 BW It was fun to walk along the lane at the back of the palace and see the ruins and overgrowth. I also enjoyed people watching and capturing some scenes of young and old having a good time relaxing or exploring the environment.Kelby Walk man cane POR 2014 BWTo see more of my images from the walk, check out my new eBook, Two Hour Challenge, at http://issuu.com/marionmccristall. Kelby walk title page copyNext time you’re out with your camera, I hope you will take a few moments to look more closely and make images of things that do not normally catch your eye. You may be surprised at how interesting it is and enjoy the fresh new photos you come home with.

Please visit my website http://marionmccristall.com to see more photographs and slideshows.

Some of my photographs can be purchased at http://marion-mccristall.fineartamerica.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Once upon a time … a Photographic Journey in Portugal

Every photo, every “once” in a time, is also the beginning of a story “once upon a time. ~ Wim Wenders

Sharing stories and images of everyday activities as well as exciting adventures is one of the many ways we remember them and re-live the experiences again and again. Sometimes when we travel it takes a while to sift through the rich memories and countless photographs to bring it all into focus.Village Street POR 2014 A collection of some photographs from my recent trip to Portugal is ready to share with you. I’m thrilled that the tour I organized was such a wonderful experience for everyone. Jose Antunes, our expert photo pro and guide, and Fernando Picarra. our friendly, extra driver, were encouraging, patient, and more than willing to help all of us create images that will give us memories for years to come. Jose took this photo of me as we were walking towards the sea in Ericeira, a colourful, little fishing village on the Atlantic. Marion McCristall Tour Leader in Portugal by Jose AntunesI hope you will take a few minutes to enjoy my photo essay with images ranging from seascapes to quaint villages, palaces, botanical gardens, Roman ruins, and more of the treasures that “say” Portugal. Click the link to view “The Charms of Portugal, A Photographic Journey”. https://mccristall.exposure.co/the-charms-of-portugal

(Click on images in the article if you want to enlarge them.)

Note: If Portugal is not on your list of places to visit, you’ll want to add it. However, you must be careful as one visit there can captivate and charm you and you’ll likely find yourself returning and telling your own story of “Once Upon a Time”.

If you’re interested in doing some photography in Portugal, contact Jose Antunes to arrange individual or small group outings. http:joseantunes.com

To see more of my images, please visit my website http://marionmccristall.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved



Inspired by Spring Flowers

Spring is such a remarkable time of year. Although we may have lots of windy days with showers of rain, there is a promise of newness that gives us fresh optimism and joy. The flowers start by peeking out from under the earth and, before we know it, they are standing tall and waiting to be admired and photographed.   Poppy in Bamboo Grove Glades May 2014Jose Antunes, my photography mentor and friend, gives workshops on flower photography. I recently tried one of his techniques that involves using a zoom lens and am pleased with the results. I’ve always been a fan of shallow depth of field with flower images and really like the soft backgrounds I was able to get using my 70-300mm lens. The flowers look like you could reach into the frame and touch them.Flower5 white blossoms May 2014You don’t have to go very far to find flowers to photograph. They could be growing wild on the side of the road, in a nearby park, or in your own backyard. I like to choose a single flower to focus on. I take my time and explore various angles, look for the light touching the petals or leaves, and check to see what is behind the flower to create the most pleasing effect. In this image you can see that I was able to capture the purple salvia against a backdrop of yellow daisies.Glades purple salvia3 May 2014I like the juxtaposition of the purple flower and turquoise and green muted colours in the background of this exquisite yellow poppy. It had just stopped raining and soft light fell on the petals and raindrops.Glades orange poppy1 May 2014If you’d like some photography tips and to learn more about ways Jose creates beautiful flower images with everything from a point and shoot, to a smart phone, to a DSLR with a long lens, check out his newest eBook, The Best Secrets of Flower Photography. It’s only 7.50 Euros which works out to about $10.50. You’ll enjoy his images and be inspired to go out and create your own. http://joseantunes.com/my-ebooks

Jose is a professional photographer and writer who offers a variety of photography workshops in Portugal as well as online tutorials. http://www.joseantunes.com

To see more of my images, please visit my website http://marionmccristall.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Abstract Photography

Abstract photographs typically fall under the category of fine art photography. I often use this form of photography to express a visual language that does not depend on a realistic portrayal of specific subject matter. I allow colour, shape, texture, and line to capture my imagination, move me, and draw me in. It is at that point that I press the shutter.

I recently entered a photo competition where the theme was “Abstract”. I enjoyed the challenge as I have hundreds of images that I have created that are not easily defined and, hopefully, leave the viewer enjoying the simplicity or vibrancy without having to wrestle with making sense of it all. We know these are bubbles but I like the abstract qualities of shape, light, and uneven pattern they create. soapbubblessteveston_SnapseedSometimes I make my own photographic abstracts with light painting. I created this one in a completely dark room with coloured glow sticks. With the lights on, I chose the focal length and aperture and selected a long, eight second, shutter speed. Once I turned the lights off, I used a cable release to press the shutter and set to work swirling and twirling the sticks in front of the camera. Magic.Kinetic Locomotion l_SnapseedShadows create really interesting abstracts. These wires were crisscrossed in front of an old, weathered building in Vancouver. I added a slight glow effect in Photoshop to enhance the graphic elements in this picture.Crisscrossed_SnapseedWhen I think of Morocco, I am reminded of all of the amazing sights I saw. I really enjoyed the vibrant colours and textures and this image showcases the beautiful ones that caught my eye.Vibrant Colours of Morocco _SnapseedLines, patterns, and symmetry can be found almost anywhere. They could be man-made, as in this industrial looking picture, or in nature. Think of stripes on hosta leaves, dew drops on a spider web, reflections in a puddle, the skin of animals such as giraffes and zebras, or waves lapping at the seaside. The list is endless and they all lend themselves to abstract image making.Symmetry_SnapseedI hope you will feel inspired to go out and experiment with your camera and imagination and make wonderful abstract images. Relax, have fun, and enjoy the creative process.

To see more of my images, please visit my website http://marionmccristall.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Inspired by Winter

Winter is a great time of year to grab your camera, dress warmly, and go in search of some images that inspire you.Canoes Fraser River WC Vig4x6_SnapseedThankfully we don’t get very much snow on the west coast but the fog has been very mystical. I took this picture of canoes bobbing on the water of the Fraser River near Fort Langley. The fog moved in and out as I tried to capture the soft morning glow on the boats. I added a slight watercolour and texture effect in Photoshop.

Crisp, chilly mornings are perfect for catching the frost on trees, leaves, and fence posts. Below is an image of an exquisite stand of aspen trees a short drive from where I live. I used digital editing software to give it a more painterly effect.Frosty Morning Aspens_Snapseed

Fog, people, and railway tracks created a perfect combination for this moody image. I was out early one morning and waited for action on the tracks before I made this photograph. I have added a glow, similar to the Orton Effect, to give the image an ethereal look.foggy day railway tracks Orton_SnapseedA playground teeter-totter was waiting for someone to come and play on this snowy day. Luckily I got there first and captured this shot of beautiful pristine snow piled on top of it. The illustration effect was added in Photoshop.snow teetertotter park TZ_SnapseedNow it’s your turn to create a little magic. Take some winter photographs, upload them, and use your artistic flair to try out some creative effects in your digital darkroom. Have fun!

To see more of my images, please visit my website http://marionmccristall.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

I am wishing you a holiday season of peace and joy.

Take time just for you and reflect on the year that’s coming to a close. Plan for a New Year filled with just the right amount of adventure and countless moments of contentment.Winter Berries Christmas eCardAll the best,


To see more of my images, please visit my website http://marionmccristall.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved


Summer is a time when our senses come alive with sights and sounds of bustling farmers’ markets, children playing at the beach, kites flying high in deep blue skies, and people filling parks with their blankets and picnic suppers.

When I go out with my camera I see vibrant colours of wildflowers in meadows, lush vegetable gardens, light filtering through cedar groves, and tourists, gelato in hand, stopping to enjoy local attractions.

I am drawn to try to capture it all and create photographs that tell the stories of what I see. When I take my time, I also like to make images that separate an object from the cacophony of summer delights and focus only on it. I call this simplicity.Daisy quote BCLight and shadow are a photographers best friend.This exquisite daisy was growing in a cluster under the shadowy eaves of a barn. It caught my eye with the light falling over the top of the petals. I zoomed in to make this lovely photograph. I added a slight texture and quote using photo editing software.

When you’re out taking pictures, try to capture just the simplest element of what you see.  You may be surprised and delighted at the beauty of it all.

To see more of my images, please visit my website http://marionmccristall.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Digital Memento Surprise

I had a lovely surprise when I received a digital memento of a photography trip I took to Portugal. I studied with Jose Antunes in the most incredibly beautiful Sintra area in March.  I was so engrossed in my own image making that I didn’t notice Jose taking pictures of me.  I was delighted when he emailed me an e-Book he created that shows me taking photos as well as some of the scenes we both enjoyed.  This is a unique memento that I will treasure.

You can read the e-book here eBookMarionMcCristall_V2web

I created a slide show of some of my images called The Charms of Sintra and the West Coast of Portugal. Take a look. http://vimeo.com/43288246

E-Books are great way to share your travel images with your family and friends.  Jose created this one in Lightroom 4. It’s time I tried making an e-book as another way to share my photography and adventures. Thanks to Jose for his encouragement and this wonderful digital memento of my trip.


Art has a poetry and language of it’s own

Photography is one of the ways I like to express myself.  This is an exciting time for me as I’ve finally finished my photography website and I will be writing posts to share some of my thoughts and experiences about my journey in the world of photography.

My Portfolio on the website is a representation of the kinds of things I like to take pictures of.  I have included galleries called Visual Poetry, Creatures, Life, Black & White & Sepia, and Travel.  I will be changing the images on my galleries from time to time so please bookmark it and check back. http://www.marionmccristall.com

Some images are close up and personal and others show landscapes or people at a distance.  Take a moment to check out my  Black & White & Sepia Gallery.  I love the tonal contrasts, graphic qualities, and the artistic interpretation provided in monochromatic images.

Hopefully some of my images will help you find your own artistic language and a way to express it with your photography.

Some of my images can be purchased at Fine Art America.

Art Prints