Portugal 2016 Calendar

A little gift for you

Portugal is an amazing country with fabulous vistas around every corner. I made an 8.5 x 11 inch 2016 calendar as a little gift for you to download to your computer. I have thousands of images so it was hard to choose just six. Share my calendar with a friend and feel free to print it and put it up so that you can see a year at a glance. Enjoy.

All best wishes for 2016!

MarionPortugal Calendar 2016

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



Portugal Through My Eyes

Today I’m happy to share the May edition of FOTOdigital with you. In an article called Portugal Through My Eyes, Jose Antunes included some of my images from my time in the Sintra area doing photography with him in 2012. You’ll find it on pages 15 to 36. It brings back fond memories of an amazing trip. http://issuu.com/joseantunes/docs/fdmayl14_issuuFOTOdigital May 2014 title page

I’m still sifting and sorting through the photographs I took the end of March when I led a group of photo enthusiasts there. There are so many that it is taking me quite a while to edit my favourites. I plan to have them ready to share soon.

I hope you enjoy the article, and others in FOTOdigital, and sign up to receive Jose Antunes’ inspiring monthly ezine. It’s free and enjoyed by thousands of readers all over the world. Jose writes photography tutorials for a variety of online sites as well as eBooks. He takes small groups on outings to learn more about photography and to capture images of the fauna, flora, seascapes, and landscapes of the remarkable area of Portugal he lives in. http://www.joseantunes.com

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

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Persistence with a View

Have you ever entered an art or photography competition?  It is a bit unnerving and it’s often hard to choose which images to enter. I don’t view myself as competitive by nature but I do like to receive feedback to help me find out how I’m developing as a photographer and to learn tips and techniques that will help me improve.

Rooftops in Paris       Theme: Architecture

On the Street in Marrakech, Morocco Theme: Street Photography

Recently I received recognition for my persistence and achievement by entering photographic competitions with my camera club.  Each month there is a theme which helps us to stretch and grow as a photographers. We not only get scores but verbal critique from one or more of the judges.

On the Beat in Chuisi, Italy
Theme: People at Work

Grand Palais Paris
Theme: Interior Architecture

I’ve been a member of Langley Camera Club for four years.  We have about 130 members and enjoy three meetings per month.  We have in-house competitions once per month where we can submit up to two photographs.  Our club also accepts submissions for entries into 13 competitions that are held across Canada.  I have been fortunate in having several of my images selected throughout the year.

Gentle Beauty in Essaouira, Morocco
Theme: Open

The Judy Daniels Award of Excellence is awarded once per year to members who achieve the highest aggregate scores from inside and outside competitions.  I was thrilled to receive 1st Place for the year 2011-2012 at our Awards Ceremony on Oct. 17.

A pic of me being presented with the Judy Daniels Award of Excellence and trophy by our club vice-president, Glen MacKenzie on Oct. 17, 2012

It’s fun to go out and about with my camera in search of scenes that capture my imagination.  For me, the joy of creating images far surpasses the reward of winning competitions. This lovely recognition has inspired me to continue to seek feedback.  If you are interested in learning more about photography, I encourage you to find out about photo clubs in your area.  The people are friendly and it’s always great to be with others who enjoy it as much as you do.

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.

Impressions in Sepia

Some of my sepia images were recently published in a two page spread of the magazine of the Canadian Association for Photographic Art. The spring issue of Canadian Camera magazine was waiting in my mailbox when I got home from Portugal. It was a very special moment to flip through the pages and see my photos published.

School Girl in Nairobi

Sheena Wilkie, the editor-in chief of this excellent magazine, did an amazing job of making my photographs stand out on the page.  Canadian Camera is published four times a year and I am very pleased and honored that my images were chosen for the Member’s Portfolio.

Symbiosis in the Garden

Our magazine is only available for CAPA members so I’ve attached three of the images that were included in the article.

Final Rest in Finn Slough

Try changing some of your coloured images to sepia with photo editing software.  They will look stunning framed with a double white mat and classic black metal frame. Impressions in sepia can become yet another way to express yourself. Enjoy!

To see more of my photography, check out the Galleries in the Portfolio section of my website http:marionmccristall.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Photography Quick Tip 3 ~ the Rule of Thirds in Composition

A well known photographer, Ernest Haas said, “The camera doesn’t make a bit of difference.  All of them can record what you are seeing.  But, you have to SEE.”

Each photographer gets to choose the elements included in a photograph as well as those that are made less important or excluded. During the Renaissance, painters created a simple formula for helping the viewer to focus on the main subject of a painting while at the same time allowing their eyes to wander around it.  They discovered that a person does not simply stop and look at the centre of a painting but is generally curious about everything that is within the frame.

Photographers use the Rule of Thirds to help draw attention to the centre of interest, focal point, or main subject of their image.

Imagine a grid of two horizontal and vertical lines, equal distance apart…like tic tac toe…and notice the four points where these lines intersect. Studies have shown that the human eye naturally sees the area of one of these intersecting points before moving through other parts of an image.

Thinking about the composition of a photograph before you press the shutter can make your images more appealing. When you’re looking through the viewfinder to set up your picture, take a moment to think about what makes the strongest element in the scene and place it on one of the locations where the horizontal and vertical lines meet.

the dock placed in the centre of this photograph is not nearly as pleasing to the eye as in the location in the image below

the dock placed in the upper right allows the eyes to notice it first and then wander through the rest of the scene

Of course, this is not a fixed rule but rather a guideline to help image makers.

Each photographer will use their own creative expression in choosing the composition.  However, if you’ve always been placing your main subject in the middle of the frame, give the Rule of Thirds a try and you may develop stronger images that your viewers will enjoy.

Below are two images of pears.  In the first, I placed the pears in the middle of the frame.  It is definitely pleasing to the eye.  But, take a look at the photograph below it.  By giving the pears more space within the frame on the right and placing the focal point on the left, the image is stronger and allows the viewer to take their time and explore the image.

the pears are centered in this image


the pears are placed in this composition using the Rule of Thirds

“My theory of composition?  Simple: do not release the shutter until everything in the viewfinder feels just right.” Ernest Haas


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

Art Prints

If you’d like more information about  Fine Art America, click on the link below.


Artist Websites

Make a Calendar from the Pictures You Take

Have you ever thought you’d like to make a calendar for yourself or friends from some of the pictures you take?

There are many ways to create calendars online, through commercial printers, and by gluing your images to ready-made blank calendars.

You only need glue dots, some favourite pictures, and a blank calendar

I recently made some calendars for gifts as well as one for my office.  For an Italian theme, I used pictures I took when I was in Tuscany and Rome last June.  I chose horizontal photos to fit the calendars and printed them in 4 x 6 inch format.  I like to make them with different themes such as spring flowers, still lifes, waterfalls, and so on.  Black and white images also make stunning calendars.

A lion for March

a lion for March

I suggest you print more than 12 different images so that you have lots to choose from for each month of the year.  Lay them out on a table and start thinking about how they would look in your calendar.

There are many kinds of glue and stickers available but I prefer glue dots as they only require one step and they come in different sizes…I use the “mini” ones. At the back of the picture, I attach glue dots on each corner and in the middle of the top and bottom…try not to let them touch the front of the photo or other objects as they are very sticky.    Once the glue dots are in place, center your picture within the frame…one for each month.

Press the photo to the glue dot and it attaches easily to the back of your picture

Take your time to center the picture within the frame

To help each picture stay in place, I lay a blank piece of paper over top and gently press down with my hand and then remove it. This also reduces the number of fingerprints.

And….there you have it….a lovely calendar for your office or friends.

Tuscan Landscape

When you take pictures throughout the year, think about which ones would look great in a calendar.  I store them in a folder on my computer until the creative spirit hits.  Although calendars typically start in January, you can give them as gifts up to a couple of months later so that others can still enjoy your images.