Memories of Istanbul

I have countless images in my photo library that call out to be edited and shared. Now that I have finished my photo essay on Portugal, https://mccristall.exposure.co, and created an eBook on Lisbon, http://issuu.com/marionmccristall, I am starting to process some of the images I captured during my recent visit to Turkey.

Sultanahmet Mosque

Sultanahmet Mosque

Istanbul is a fascinating city that blends modern and old worlds on both sides of the Bosphorus Strait. Formerly called Constantinople, it has been inhabited for thousands of years and includes land in both Europe and Asia. Everywhere you turn there are remnants and artifacts of previous civilizations as well as incredible museums, mosques, bazaars, and markets. There are limitless rich treasures waiting to be explored and enjoyed by visitors and those who live there.

Below are three images I will be including in my photography eBook on Istanbul.

Sultanhamet Mosque also known as the Blue Mosque

Sultanahamet Mosque also known as the Blue Mosque

Doorway in the Blue Mosque

Doorway in the Blue Mosque

Fresco in the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora

Fresco in the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora

I hope you have the opportunity to visit this vibrant, amazing city one day. I’ll post a link when my Memories of Istanbul eBook is complete and ready to share. Enjoy.

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

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

 

 

 

Photography Through the Eyes of Others

Going on a small group photography tour is an exciting way to see a specific location through the eyes of others. Being in the presence of those who have a passion for making images can get our creative juices flowing and inspire us to think about what we’re looking at and how to tell the story of what we see.
I lead a photography tour in Portugal in March with Jose Antunes, an esteemed photographer and writer there. As our photo guru and guide, he helped us hone our photography skills and took us to special places where he loves to photograph. During the week we explored everything from landscapes and seascapes to small villages, city life in Lisbon to 2000 year old archaeological artifacts and geological formations from 72 million years ago.FOTOdigital July cover 2014The summer issue of FOTOdigital is online now. Jose showcased a selection of images that my group took during our week in Portugal in the spring. It’s so interesting to see how unique we are and how we pointed our camera at different things that caught our eye.
When you go out with your camera be sure to look at your surroundings with fresh eyes and see what you can capture.
Enjoy photographs taken by our group from Canada, (Gerry, Kitty, Norah, Judith and myself,)  in FOTOdigital, (pages 14-47 and 50-63,) and share the link with your friends and family. https://issuu.com/joseantunes

Check out Jose’s website for more information on day tours, eBooks, and the Lightroom and Photoshop courses he offers. 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

Enchanting Portugal Photography Holiday

Jose Antunes and I have organized a fabulous photography tour in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sintra, Portugal, and the surrounding coastal area. Our one week photo holiday will include scenic seascapes and forests, visits to palaces and gardens, and the ruins of the 16th C. Capuchos Monastery. We’ll also enjoy a day trip to vibrant, bustling, historic Lisbon. We’ll visit places of extraordinary beauty, (natural and man-made,) have fun. laugh and share days filled with adventure. Details at www.marionmccristall.com

Take a few moments to enjoy this beautiful eBook Jose created to inspire us. We will have the opportunity to photograph some of these awesome sights during the tour.Portugal Enchanted LandClick on the link below to read the eBook by Jose Antunes, Portuguese professional photographer, writer, instructor, and tour leader. http://issuu.com/marionmccristall/docs/portugal_phototour_promo2014_issuu_

Our week of photographic opportunities and study is limited to six participants so that everyone will benefit from Jose’s expertise and teaching. Photographers will come away with stories to tell of wonderful experiences, stunning images to share, and a desire to return to Sintra as this fairytale land captures everyone with her charms.

Photography Tour in Portugal, March 2014,  information, terms and conditions, and registration details are available at http://www.marionmccristall.com

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

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Photography Mystery Box Challenge

A few times a year I get together with some of my photography friends. We usually go somewhere that has great image making opportunities and then enjoy lunch afterwards.

This time I decided it would be fun to try something different. I sent out an email asking them to join me for a Photography Mystery Box Challenge. I created the idea based on a concept on Master Chef where the home cooks must make restaurant worthy meals from surprise ingredients found in their mystery box each week.

In the box: pears, stones, seashells, candle, antique tobacco tin, sheer white fabric, terracotta plant pot

In the box: pears, stones, seashells, candle, antique tobacco tin, sheer white fabric, terracotta plant pot, tall clear jar with spring-loaded lid

I asked everyone to bring a box with a maximum/minimum of 10 items that could be suitable for a photography close-up or still life. We met at park by a nearby river so that we could have water in the background. When everyone arrived, I put a number on each box and then we drew numbers to see which collection we would work with first. The guidelines I created included that we could set up our camera gear and tripod first, and then, when I said, “go” we had 15 minutes to get things out of the box and start creating tableaux. We could use one of the items or up to all of them and make images in that short time-frame.

In the box: leafy lettuce, basil, bottle of wine, large basket, balsamic vinegar, patterned serving bowl, tomatoes, garlic, shallots, box of spaghetti, wooden spoon

In the box: leafy lettuce, basil, bottle of wine, large basket, balsamic vinegar, patterned serving bowl, tomatoes, garlic, shallots, box of spaghetti, wooden spoon

After time was called, we had to put everything back in the box and move on to the next one. It required quick thinking, careful selection of objects and their placements, as we worked to make our images. The light kept changing from shade, to dappled sunlight with clouds overhead, to bright, so we had to reflect on which camera settings would give us the desired look. We were pleased at what we accomplished in just 15 minutes.

teapot, carnations, tea cup and saucer, cookies, antique kitchen implements, orange and white tea towels

In the box: teapot, carnations, tea-cup and saucer, cookies, assorted antique kitchen implements, orange and white tea towels

While enjoying our bagged lunches, we talked about how interesting and challenging the Photography Mystery Boxes were. We looked at a few of each others’ images on our camera LCD screens and were surprised at the amazing variety of images we created.

pears, white napkin, yellow napkin, bamboo cutting board, blue plate, antique knife, oval plate, orange checkered table cloth, straw basket

In the box:pears, white napkin, yellow napkin, bamboo cutting board, blue plate, antique knife, oval plate, orange checkered table-cloth, straw basket

I’ve written a list of some the items that were in the box below each image so that you have an idea of what I selected to make my photographs. Each of my images have been edited with software and I have added a slight glow and watercolour effect. You can see some of the colours of the river in the background.

antique kitchen implements, egg beater, sieve, garlic press, cherry pitter, teapot with flowers, cup and saucer, rectangular plate of cookies

In the box: vintage kitchen tools including egg beater, sieve, garlic press, cherry pitter, teapot with flowers, cup and saucer, rectangular plate of cookies

This would be a great idea for you and your friends to try and any kind of camera will do. Being with friends who love photography, laughter, and fun were the best parts our Mystery Box Challenge and we all agreed to try it again.

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

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Inspired by Freeman Patterson

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Lone Tree in the San Juan Islands – Marion McCristall Photographer

Freeman Patterson is one of Canada’s pre-eminent photographers. He is known world-wide for his excellence in photography, writing, and teaching, and has written several outstanding books. He lives in New Brunswick and was in Vancouver recently to give workshops for photo-enthusiasts.

I have enjoyed Freeman’s photographic style and teachings for several years.  One of my favourite books is “Photography and the Art of Seeing,” and I was fortunate to attend his daylong seminar on Saturday. Freeman spoke to photographers and other artists about the building blocks of visual design and principles of composition. He emphasized the importance of understanding these when framing a shot.

Tulip Waves - Marion McCristall Photographer

Tulip Waves – Marion McCristall Photographer

Throughout the day, Freeman showed us slides that represented his use of light and dark to create tonal contrast.  He spoke about line, shape, perspective, and texture, as they are made visible through tonal and colour contrast.  He recommended doing everything you can “in camera” at the moment you take the picture. He showed slides that inspired us to think more about the importance of balance, rhythm, proportion, and dominance as they apply to image making.

Rhythm of Sea Waves - Marion McCristall

Rhythm of Sea Waves – Marion McCristall

When I look at many of my photographs, I can see his influence as I captured images of my surroundings and various types of subject matter.  I call these my “Freeman Inspired” images. He encourages photographers to take pictures that show how they feel.  He said, “Art is like dreaming, only you can dream your dreams.”

Whispers in Red - Marion McCristall Photographer

Whispers in Red – Marion McCristall Photographer

Freeman creates a vast array of images including exquisite visual photographs with multiple exposures and panning. He is an accomplished, celebrated, nature photographer and has won many accolades including the Order of Canada.  Take a moment to learn more about him and his vision at his website http://freemanpatterson.com

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

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Photography Quick Tip 4 ~ Give Your Subject Room to Move

You don’t take a photograph, you make it.  ~ Ansel Adams

Do you ever feel as though the photographs you take are too jam packed and almost like you can’t breathe looking at them?

There’s a reason for that.  Subjects with eyes such as people and animals need room to gaze or look around them.  For example, when a person is facing the camera and looking to the photographers left, place them on the right of the frame. In the photograph above, the couple was looking off into the distance so I gave them plenty of room to look left, right, and straight ahead. Objects that move such as bicycles, cars, and trains, need space to move forward or in to.

Take a look at this swan picture.  You can see that it’s crammed into the frame and creates a negative tension within the viewer.  Without even knowing it, you feel as though the swan is stuck and has nowhere to go.

The photograph below is much better as the swan has room to move forward or even paddle around.  I like to think of this as “active space”.  (If you read my previous post on the Rule of Thirds, you will also see that the composition is such that the swan is placed at the point where the vertical and horizontal lines meet in the bottom, right third of the frame.)

This photograph is more pleasing to the eye as the swan has space to move in to

Here are some more examples of giving subjects space resulting in images that are more pleasing to the eye.

Remember to think about “active space” as well as the background and what is behind your subject as you plan your images. Keeping this in mind when you set up your composition helps to create more depth and balance in your photographs.

Before you press the shutter, think about the composition and give your objects plenty of room to move.

Composition guidelines are helpful to photographers as they go about the process of picture making. The basic tips I’ve posted can be useful as starting points and to stimulate our thinking. We are free to create and express our vision in ways that move and inspire us.

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” ~ Elliott Erwitt

If you would like to see more of my photographs, check out my website on Fine Art America.
Art Prints