Happy New Year!

Not sure why but I have not had as much energy for writing for my poor neglected blog. At the time of writing stranded in Fort Erie due to my sister getting the flu and a significant snowstorm. I don’t drive so I can not assist on getting us home!

It has been very busy with camera club, family and the holidays. Plus a few changes at work including one unexpected resignation. Still adjusting to not having a person whom I highly respected and was a great supporter of me no longer working with me. Tough it occurred just as I was goodbye to the President of our Canadian company, a man I knew for 14 plus years.

Everything changes in time just seems there have been a lot recently and more on the horizon. It is making me think and very restless. Time moves at a swift pace and approaching my second half of life is a scary thought. Never thought I would be single, no kids, and no real dates in eight years as I move closer to 40. Finances are pretty scary too, I try but need to try better on savings and retirement.

Trying to stay focused on my photography but it has been a bit of a struggle both for time and creativity. Camera club position entails administration work, emails and keeping lots of stuff organized. Fun but when you add leading workshops, outings and other extras it gets a bit crazy! Been a few challenges but trying to tough them out.

Newest hobby is trying to get back into film. Have managed to acquire a Canon AE-1 and a Konica. Have the Canon ready to go but not the Konica yet. Canon will be fun, it has a long range telephoto, a macro and a 50mm. A good selection of lens. Also have a variety of film mostly 400asa just to start. Hoping a group of club members who like the idea of “going retro” can meet up early in the new year.

Other than that need to stay focused on reaching a few goals in the New Year. I am not big on putting them in stone but will post the ones I manage to succeed at!

Here’s to 2013 bringing love, happiness, prosperity and lots of fun challenges.

Happy New Year!

Andrea Gimblett

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Reboot

This is the toughest blog post to write since I have neglected it since March! Not that I haven’t tried to write a few but have to say life has been pretty busy. Between work, the camera club and personal stuff not whole lot of time to keep the blog up to date.

Moving forward going to try and post more often but with shorter posts. Going to try and post quick moments in time I want to remember and share. Hopefully this will be easier to achieve now that I have a working computer!

I will begin the new style of posting shortly. I just need to sort out which events to start with first.

Stay Tuned!

2012 Wedding Prep

Its been a long while since I posted but I have to confess I have been super busy. I spent most of the first two months of 2012 prepping for a wedding shoot. I did it for experience and for good friends.

I never learned so much so fast and although not everything went as planned overall it was a fairly successful day. I rented two lenses for the weekend a 24 – 70mm F2.8 Carl Zeiss and a 70 – 200mm f2.8 monster. To assist with using the telephoto I bought a monopod (which I love!). I shoot Sony so those were my only two choices.

Based on personal style I was less then happy with the 24 – 70 lens. Experience would have helped but I found photos to be soft, not out of focus but clearly a look I am personally not so fond of. The telephoto on the other hand gave crisp, clean photos even at f2.8. Would have used the telephoto more but I was shooting in tight quarters at a hotel. Not a lot of room to use a telephoto at max zoom or use the monopod.

Funny story and with apologies to the rental place I thought there was a problem with the 24 – 70 lens when I was shooting at 30mm (50mm or so on my cropped frame camera). Discovered it was a glitch with the Lightroom 4 beta. For some strange reason after I reopened Lightroom out of focus photos were now fine. Gave me a bit of a panic attack and a whole lot of anxiety. At first it felt like I failed an exam! All is fine lesson learned when using a beta.

Now the fun part editing, although most just need some cropping and not a lot of fixing. Which is great news because in years past editing took more time than shooting!

Will share photos soon.

The Conversation

Blog: Have you forgotten me?

Me: Ummm no just a little crazy at the moment

Blog: Excuses Excuses

Me: Promise I will post soon just not sure when or what

Blog: Oh lovely

Me: Sorry!

Blog: fine write soon though or I will exact some sort of punishment

Me: Ummm ok be back soon

Hitting The Wall

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Quietly sitting her waiting for sleep to come but have lots of thoughts rattling around my brain. It is slowly dawning on me that I have hit a plateau with my photography or maybe better described as a few forks in the road.

My creativity, ideas moving a forward a mile a minute, technical is more of a slow grind. This what is causing some of my frustration. I create good solid photos when I take a deep breathe, calm the nerves and try to stay simple. When I try something a little more outside of the box it gets complicated.

Have been improving get much better shots to work with now. Which then I unleash my creavity using Lightroom, Color Efex Pro 4 and Photshops Elements. I have achieved some success in creating photos more like I invisioned with post processing (see Niagara Cottages) Just wish I could do more in camera.

Struggling greatly with adding flash to my knowledge base but again it is hit and miss. Know my rebel ways are not making this easy, there is one remote trigger for my Sony. Not even sure if it is shipping yet. Can use flash wirelessly but haven’t quite got that managed, Still struggling with TTL, rear & front triggers and adjusting for room lighting.

Know I just need to keep at it but tough when I do a lot of my photography in isolation. Had one great camera club outing to the zoo which I did figure out a few new tricks. Just wish I could afford some of the more expensive workshops but for now way outside my budget.

For now one big goal is to read the stacks of photobooks sitting on my floor. With the hope that something provides an ephinany, new direction or motivates me to try something new.

Will do a more detailed post when I get a little more downtime! For now its off to bed.

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Crazy Month of November

Been awhile for posting but have to say it has been a crazy month! Not a whole lot of photography but lots of work and personal stuff. Decided to post before I turn 38 tomorrow. You know I am getting old!

Photography has been on the back burner although I still need to sort 400 plus photos from a fundraising event at the end of October. Then need to edit which I hope won’t take too long. This event was a challenge for lighting for an indoor event. Did discover reflector tape can mess with a camera’s sensor!

Managed to submit four photos to camera club’s first competition. Improved on scores a touch from last year but this going to be another rough competition season. At the rate I am going I will be a novice till I am old and grey. You need a certain number of award of merits (AM) and honorable mentions (HM) to move up. My record stands at one AM and one HM from last year! Biggest issue is judges who will not “think outside the box”, break a rule you get deducted marks. On the rare occasion you do get a few judges who award for creativity but not very often.

This months biggest task has been dealing with the aftermath of a second flood in our apartment. This time the floor lifted in several large spots, ceiling stained in living-room and kitchen counter warped. Thank you to parents who arrived at 9pm at night from Fort Erie on a Wednesday to assist with clean-up! We had to wash every dish in the cupboards, dry out a stove and dry out lights.

This all occurred in the middle of me having to complete an emergency work project. Thankfully had an understanding boss since I had to work from home or take time off to deal with management, arrangements, keys, clean-up and packing (plus unpacking).

The big adventure was having to move two adults and three cats to a guest suite for several days. Two of our cats, Mickey & Rajah have never been anywhere but here. Mickey also has a big aversion to carriers. Mickey and surprisingly Cleo weathered the move like pros. Both adjusted fairly quickly. Rajah on the other hand was not pleased. Spent most of his time in the guest suite in the bedrooms. He was also not feeling the love from the ladies of the house. He got hissed at a lot and Mickey even swatted him a few times. Never seen a cat so glad to be home, Erica who carried him in the elevator (and is now deaf from yowls) watched him jet out of the elevator and impatiently bang head on door for in.

The two adults were okay other than having no internet at night and watching TV old school. Basic cable with a very small TV. Erica’s biggest concern was missing sweeps month. She jury rigged the TV in our apartment to be plugged in and attached to cable. Workers did not unplug cable and nothing was missed much to my sister’s relief.

Apartment looks pretty good, floors are shiny and ceiling is white. Only wish building would hire true professionals. My toes and ball of foot are immortalized in varnish unless I can figure out how to fix! Hadn’t realized a puddle of varnish (workers spilled?!) is still semi-soft. Warm sunshine and a warm foot was all that was needed to put my mark on the floor. New rule socks at all times till floor cures.

Next will be finishing up fixing the flood damage. Realized just as we finished up the last of the packing the kitchen ceiling is now peeling and cracking. Just praying that none of our plaster walls crumble like after the first flood.

Plus some decisions will need to be made about the lights that took the brunt of the water damage. Sister’s favorite ceiling fan has been soaked twice. Remote controls fried the first time the second time has added to corrosion. Only problem fans are expensive so this will have to wait till next year. Kitchen light is in okay shape will be fine after a good cleaning but will need to reassess next year too. The only light needing immediate replacement is a floor lamp, base crumpled and at the moment is being held up by a wall!

We now have the cleanest apartment in Toronto if not all of Canada. Good thing too since there is a party this afternoon. Nothing like a previously planned birthday party to speed up unpacking, reorganizing furniture and clean-up. For those who have asked will post photos of apartment as soon as I get a moment.

Crossing fingers the rest of 2011 to be uneventful, although I probably just jinxed it!

PS Had to write this while dealing with a very clingy Cleo. She was determined to interrupt my typing by banging elbow and rubbing head on iPad! At the moment she is finally napping quietly beside me. Phew!

Discovery and Learning on Thanksgiving Day

It’s been awhile seen I posted but it has been really busy the past few months. I took on a special project at work, plus my photography and my duties at the camera club. Been challenging but I have been learning in leaps and bounds both at work and with my photography.

I have made the biggest leap forward by learning how to use filters in Color Efex Pro 4 (www.niksoftware.com) and figuring out Photoshop Elements 10. Still need to have a strong photo to edit so continuing to learn how to handle my camera. I am struggling to learn manual mode on my camera which is frustrating and a big skill I need to master.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in October so my sister, mom and I took a drive to Niagara on the Lake. We decided to take the long way home via the Niagara Parkway. My sister noticed out of the corner her eye a sign for something called Willowbank. After turning around my sister headed down a dirt road for which I was wondering if we were trespassing. Then in front of us this huge house appeared. Thankfully even though Willowbank Estate (www.willowbank.ca) is a restoration school the public are allowed to tour the grounds and during off season the interior. The house is being restored and repaired. Due to some structural issues the third floor is off limits as told to us by one of the students who is assisting with renovations on the house.

This is where a wide angle lens (28 mm), filters and elements came in handy. Took a fairly good shot of what is actually the front of the house but is referred to as the back of the house after the 1930’s renovations.

After doing basic fixes in Lightroom, took photo into Color Efex Pro 4 and applied a recipe I downloaded. Recipes is a wicked feature in the new software, you can apply multiple filters to get the perfect look. Adjusted recipe to fit photo then transferred photo to Elements. After several failed attempts finally figured out to fix lens distortion, remove picnic tables and take out the bare bulb over the door (probably at one time this would have been a chandelier).

Now I have to resist the urge to go back and try new techniques on past photos.

Happy Thanksgiving!