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



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

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

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 Tour In Portugal


I am thrilled to share with you my exciting news!

I have put together a Photography Tour in Portugal March 20-27, 2014 and you are invited to join in for an amazing 7 days of photo exploration in sunny and picturesque Portugal.

What’s Included:

Expert photography instruction with Jose Antunes (www.joseantunes.com), renowned Portuguese professional photographer, who will take us to some of his favourite places

Tour led by Marion McCristall, award-winning Canadian photographer, with experience on photo tours in France, Italy, Kenya, Morocco and Portugal

A full day guided day trip to the beautiful city of Lisbon

7 nights accommodation at Colina Flora (colinaflora.com), 2013 Winner of Award of Excellence, eco-friendly, top quality B&B in the hamlet of Pe da Serra near Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Meals: 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 3 dinners with wine

Airport pickup & transportation during the tour

** Airfare not included **

Tour Highlights:

– Dramatic seascapes
– Fairytale castles and palaces
– Quaint white washed villages
– Capuchos, 16th Century Monastery
– 200 year old Sao Pedro Sunday Market
– Early morning and late evening photo opportunities
– Classical architecture, stunning views
– Historical sites & cobbled streets in Lisbon
– The romantic Sintra National Palace Cabo da Roca lighthouse

To Register:

March 20 – 27 2014 Tour Cost:
$2700 per person (single sharing or double)

Please email: hello@marionmccristall.com or check out my website for more info www.marionmccristall.com

To download full itinerary and registration forms please click here: Photography_Tour_Portugal

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.

Sea Foam and Crashing Waves in Portugal

Sometimes life takes you to places where you know that you were meant to go.  The Sintra area of Portugal charmed and seduced me with stunning seascapes, fresh air breezes, quaint villages tucked among rolling hills, and lush forests dotted with impressive granite boulders.

The Atlantic seacoast near Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers up vistas of incredible natural beauty.  There are many bays and sheltered coves with golden sandy beaches nestled between high walls of craggy cliffs.  Each is unique and begs you to stay awhile and listen to the crashing of the waves and the calling of the birds.

In March, I was there on a photographic journey and studied with the well-known Portuguese photographer, Jose Antunes.  http://joseantunes.com We visited the seacoast in both the misty early morning and glowing late afternoon light.  The waves crashed on the shore and danced in the light with vibrant colours of blues, greens, and turquoise. The sea foam twirled and swirled as it pounded the shore.  It was hard to tear myself away from watching the waves roll in, each one bigger than the last, only to curl up, crest, and be spent on the shore.   I would say repeatedly to Jose, “Just one more,” and finally agree to move on to explore a new locale or site.

Sam Abell wrote, “Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment, this very moment, to stay.”  Jose provided me with countless opportunities to experience the joy of being near the sea. My images  keep those moments alive for me and I can use my senses to conjure up the impressions in an instant.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before I can return for a longer stay to relax and create even more memories of this remarkable, nature inspired area of Portugal.

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