about More Musing

We are focusing on building a community, bringing the Mortal Muses photographers together, and making the world a bit smaller. On this page, you will find mission: MUSE, muse university and special features.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

* muse flash*

We would like to thank everyone for your support during our 9 Days of Inspiration.
We hope all our posts and wonderful guests left you feeling INSPIRED!

and the winners are...

Day 1

"Expressive Photography" book by Shutter Sisters - Jennifer (Cardboard Sea)
  Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography, By Brenda Tharp - Vickie Cunningham

Day 2

"Favorite Flowers" postcards by Kat - Anita @ Going Coastal
  Rainbow umbrella - Emma of TreehouseJukeBox

Day 3

"Speak the Truth" print by Rachel Awes - Alison of left in front of right
  Art Print by Iro (Ivy) Nassopoulos - Holly (Soupatraveler)

Day 4

Fracture-mounted print by Mosey - Prairie Girl Studio
  "Expressive Photography" book by Shutter Sisters - Jan

Day 5

Photo-autobiography "Photo Nomad" - And Miles to Go
  "They Only Eat Their Husbands" book by Cara Lopez - Chelsea of Hearts and Scars

Day 6

"inspire" bracelet - AnnGeeDee
  Vintage Argus Seventy Five Camera - Kyria of My Eye on Things

Day 7

Nigella Lawson's cookbook "Kitchen"- Elflyn
  This Moment e-course by Mindy Tsonas - Katja Maki

Day 8

11x14 print of "dewy grass" by April - Jamie of Lyrical Journey
  Slice of Life Project e-course by Darrah Parker - Urban Muser
Day 9

5x7 archival print by Michel - Cristina
  Texture Collection #1 by Kim Klassen - Oliag

To claim your prize, send me us an email with your contact information to mortalmuses at yahoo.com.

Thank you all for musing with us!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

what inspires you? - the inspiration studio

mission: MUSE - "what inspires you?"
by guest muse kim klassen

Inspiration...usually surrounds me ...it seems easily available, in fact it’s somewhat endless. I am blessed with a wonderful sunny studio space.... full of art supplies and pretty things. Wide open spaces to walk and reflect.  I have a family and home I love.  There’s the whole online world of endless inspiration! I truly have so much to be thankful for.  As an artist and photographer i am constantly inspired by one thing or another. 

When Tammy asked me to write about inspiration it seemed like a no brainer.  I mean, there’s the Inspiration Studio, full to the brim with inspirational contributors. There’s the Café with all kinds of amazing people popping in and sharing their love and encouragement. But as easy as I thought it would be...it just wasn’t.

Basically, it’s been one of those weeks.  For no particular reason...you know the kind... When a funk just hits you and won’t go away.  I have felt rather uninspired and really quite blah.  Not enough so that I stopped creating.....but not my usual over ignited, crazy inspired self.  So I have been going through the motions sort of speak. 

But, there has been one place this week where I have felt myself...where all was right again.  That was out on the trail with Ben and his ‘cousin’ Sophie... breathing in the cool, crisp air...soaking up nature, and watching the 2 of them play.  Their tails wagging... pure JOY! The funk would lift, and once again, all was right in the world.

So when I looked up the definition of Inspiration I smiled to myself:

Inspiration: definition: the drawing of breath.

And I thought... Yes, the drawing of breath...that is exactly what happens when I leave my work and escape to the trail....I really, truly... BREATHE.  ‘sigh’...such a beautiful thing.

I believe the trail, especially this week has been my saving grace.  If I didn’t have Ben here...wagging his tail, eagerly waiting for me to put on my shoes and coat... I would not have made it off this chair.  I would have said... not today...and just plugged away...grumble, grumble... 

Today I celebrate my pets...Ben and our sweet  Andy boy, before him...Sophie too...One of the best gifts life has given me.  And I celebrate breaks from routine and work...fresh air (even when it’s cold and miserable out)...  giving us a chance to regroup and carry on.

Kisses to you, sweet Andy in Heaven... I miss you.....

The simple love of our pets...such a beautiful thing. 
Here’s to fresh air, longs walks and our pets.... simple, pure and truly inspirational...

A favourite quote:  ‘may I be the kind of person my dog thinks I am’

xo kim klassen
Leave me a comment today to enter the drawing for my
30 high res textures and 6 textured overlays. (300 dpi, measuring 12 x 12") Textures were created from original background paintings, inked papers, old books and images of the aged goodness found in our antique home.
NEW TO TEXTURES? I invite you to watch my basic how-to video on applying textures in photoshop.

Interested in learning the skinny-mini of Image editing? My FREE Photoshop Skinny-Mini eCourse course begins November 8th.

Friday, October 29, 2010

what inspires you? - baked bree

mission: MUSE - "what inspires you?"
by guest bree

What inspires me?

Everything inspires me.
When I have a hard time finding inspiration, I stop looking for it.  And then it usually comes. 
Taking a good look around my surroundings. 
Eating something exotic. 
Reading a good book. 
Talking to an old friend or meeting new ones.  
Spending time with new families, or old ones. 
New babies.
Looking at art.
Spending time outside.
Or on the couch with my family.
Loving deeply.
Experiencing sadness.
Laughing until I snort.
All of these experiences make my life richer and for that I am inspired.

Do any of my inspirations resonate with you? Leave me a comment for an extra entry to win a spot in Darrah Parker's Slice of Life e-course, posted earlier today. 

Thank you for inviting me to muse with you. 

- Bree of Baked Bree

bakedbree.com is a recipe blog that focuses on eating as a family using the best ingredients and still saving some room for the occasional treat.

Make sure to visit her blog to enjoy the wonderful recipes and gorgeous food photography.

Give her some extra love for being featured this week on the front page of the Betty Crocker website!

what inspires you? - slice of life

mission: MUSE - "what inspires you?"
by guest muse darrah

I spent many years looking outside of myself for inspiration. The grass was always greener somewhere else. Looking back, I now realize that my wandering spirit came from a dissatisfaction with life as it was. I spent my twenties moving across the country, from apartment to apartment, from coast to coast, from job to job, all on a quest to find happiness. To find inspiration.

Everything changed the moment I picked up a camera.

Peering through the lens of my beloved camera, my wandering spirit went on an internal journey through the depths of my heart as I began a new adventure through the uncharted territory of my everyday life. Armed with my camera, I photographed the seemingly mundane and average things – my home, my cat, my meals, my mess – and discovered that these things were not average. In fact, they were special – because they were mine.

These days, I find inspiration in the most unexpected places. I no longer have to travel to distant places to find beauty. I now know that it is right before me at any given moment. All I have to do is open my eyes and my heart to the possibilities. And if I’m lucky, I’ll have my camera with me to capture it.

My passion for photographing everyday life has turned into a MISSION. I have discovered a little slice of heaven on earth – and I want to take you with me!

That is why I created the Slice of Life Project: Capturing the Everyday in Extraordinary Ways. In this six-week online workshop, you will dig beneath the surface of your everyday life with your trusty camera by your side and unearth the beauty that has been there all along.

The Slice of Life Project starts January 3. Early-bird registration is happening now. Click here to learn how you can receive the early-bird, reduced rate!

What do you find inspiring in your everyday life? Leave a comment here and let us all know what inspires you. Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing for a free registration in the Slice of Life Project!

Thank you for inviting me to muse with you.


Darrah Parker is a Seattle-based portrait, family, and “slice of life” photographer. Armed with her camera, she is on a constant search for the joy in everyday life, beauty in the over-looked and under-appreciated, and the magic in simple moments. She lives with her musician husband in Seattle and can be found most days at a coffee shop or farmers market, usually with a camera in hand. She shares her photography on her website and thoughts on living a creative life on her blog. She sells fine art photography prints in her Etsy shop and is available for portrait sessions in the Seattle area and beyond.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

what inspires you? - write pink!

mission: MUSE
by guest melissa

Where do you see or find inspiration?

This month, I am seeing inspiration in the color pink. In the strong women who have taken the rather effeminate and dare I say weak color pink and turned it into a powerful Army of Women.

I have read their stories of Love and Strength.

I have been inspired by the stories of mothers, grandmothers, and sisters.

These strong Pink Warriors have shown me how to laugh through the tears.  How the power of many women coming together and standing strong can change the course of our furture.

I see pink and I am inspired. How about you?

Want to be inspired? Follow the links, there are giveaways attached to all of them as part of Bigger Picture Blogs Write Pink! Are you a survivor or has one inspired you? We are sharing our survivor stories Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, on Thursday we are hosting a link up so you can share your stories and tributes.

Leave me comment for an extra chance to win a spot in Mindy's ecourse at Wish Studio (see post from earlier today) and visit Bigger Picture Blogs for a chance to win a gift from The Vintage Pearl.


Melissa is the co-founder of Bigger Picture Blogs, blogs at Peanut Butter in my Hair, and is a contributor to the just released book "From the Heart" - A Collection of Stories and Poems from the Front Lines of Parenting available through Write for Charity.


The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and the Avon Foundation for Women, a global leader in breast cancer research, joined forces to launch the Love/Avon Army of Women.

We encourage you to spread the word about this wonderful project, support the wonderful ladies at Write Pink!, purchase and proudly wear the Beyond a Cure Pendant available for only $5 at Army of Women.

what inspires you? - wish studio

mission: MUSE: "what inspires you"
by guest muse - mindy tsonas

Written On My Heart

Living a creative life, I am always sharing my story through words, art, images and experiences. Capturing and sharing what brings me joy is an integral part of my daily practice and it both fills my well creatively and sustains my whole being personally. Creative expression is the air I breathe, the water that flows all around me, and is the place where I dwell in every moment. Though creating is only part of the equation.

Sharing who we are and what we create is where the real magic takes place, and in this brave offering therein lies the catalyst for everything in life… inspiration, togetherness, joy, healing, support, enlightenment, growth and so on. After all, a song that is written and never sung aloud is just a seed of the symphony or the chorus it could be. In everything we create with our hands, our actions, our minds there is potential, and this potential can never be realized until we send that possibility out beyond our grasp.

Often I find myself walking a fine line of keeping close to me what is most precious and private, and offering to the world what might be meaningful, enriching and touch the hearts of others (though it’s all meaningful, really). There is a deep trust in knowing that all of the human experience is really universal. I try to remember that what I encounter in my own life might be what helps to shake loose and tumble free happiness, discovery or validation in another. So I create and I share and I pour myself into this virtuous circle of giving and always receiving.

Here I offer you what is written on my heart today, in this fleeting but expansive moment of every possibility.

Can you feel it?… What will you create and share?

Leave me a comment and be entered to win one free registration to my very first ecourse THIS moment which launches in November of 2010.

Thank you for inviting me to muse with you.

- Mindy

A contemporary bohemian, Mindy Tsonas is the founder and Creative Director of the wishstudio where she loves to craft unique ideas that bring people together and inspire them to embrace the very best in themselves and in one another.


live the life of your dreams by loving the life you have
november 15 – december 16th, 2010
with mindy tsonas

during this busy time of giving, give yourself the gift of
THIS moment and stay grounded in what really matters.
on our 5 week creative discovery, you will…

read about some of my own messy and raw life experiences that helped me to find my place in this moment, changing everything


download THIS moment Workbook pages filled with
inspiring projects, practices and activities


create a clearing in your life for better understanding and greater acceptance
allowing you to begin letting go of expectations, pressure and guilt


experience a deeply supportive and kindred community,
with a safe space for you to open up and explore

gather beautiful wisdom and insight from special guests
sharing their own THIS moment insights


discover every possibility of THIS moment… and transform your life!

THIS Moment will take you on an eye opening, heart spilling, and meaningfully creative journey!  the 5 week ecourse includes:
  • daily posts (mon-thurs.) filled with images, essays, and stories from my own life, as well as from special guest who’ve shone a light for me along the way, will serve as your inspiration and guide.
  • accompanying daily downloads, which will become the pages of your very own THIS moment Workbook,  with prompts for you to scribble words, make messy and meaningful art, as well as practices and creative projects to help keep you focused on the true beauty of your life… right here, right now.
  • a printable piece of art that will serve as your THIS moment Manifesto, to hang somewhere special and remind you to practice the present.
  • a private space for sharing your art and thoughts with class participants. here, you can make connections.
*take advantage of early bird registration ($60) from now until nov. 5th!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

what inspires you? - mosey

mission: MUSE - "what inspires you?"
"muse university" special edition with giveaway
 by muse mosey
a special re-post from mosey along

I am constantly inspired, both by the artistry and spirit of those surrounding me, and sometimes by a moment or a visual that catches my attention during the day.  I specifically went looking for inspiration this past weekend and was not disappointed.

In the middle of San Francisco's first torrential rainstorm of the season, I was lucky enough to take part in a workshop on Through the Viewfinder (TtV), taught by the incredibly talented Andrea of hulaseventy.  She has long been an inspiration to me, capturing exquisite images on Polaroid, digitally, and using the TtV technique.   After some time in the studio we were supposed to be doing a photo walk in the Mission neighbourhood.  Yes, even though it was raining.  With wild wind.  In a downpour.  I think I might have even seen the wicked witch of the west blow through once or twice.

brownie reflex canadian versionI haven't been able to say this about many things lately... but I
 had FUN.  The workshop included making a cardboard contraption to fit our twin lens reflex cameras, and let me tell you a roomful of grownups with tape and scissors and cardboard channels the glee of craft-time in kindergarten.  Then we spread out through the studio and hallways and stairwells, and ultimately outside, to test our abilities to look down through the lenses of two cameras - our digital camera and the vintage twin lens reflexes.  This was an exercise in patience, since the twin lens reflex reverses the image like a mirror further confusing how to aim at what you're shooting.  You also are not looking FORWARD through a viewfinder, but DOWN.

The technique requires three things - a digital camera, the cardboard contraption, and a vintage twin lens reflex.  Mine is an Argus Seventy Five, which I purchased from Etsy.  Once the cardboard contraption - a rectangular tube - was constructed to fit my Argus, it took great effort to combat my innate clutziness by holding the Argus with my left hand, contraption fitted to the top to block out light, and my digital camera in my right hand shooting down the tube.

A sampling of the images I captured that day.  More here.

It may sound complicated, but it's not as brow furrowing as it sounds.
Russ Morris, who has been influential in developing and popularizing TtV, has a tutorial on making the contraption (I love that word) and getting started.  See his tutorial here.  If you purchase your own vintage twin lens reflex, it does not have to be operational - all we're using are the viewfinder and the lenses.  Your own digital camera captures the actual image through the twin lens reflex.

Brownie Reflex Portrait

Look at Muse Tammy's photo to get the idea - although she's not using the contraption (best word ever!) this photo of her son is taken by her DSLR pointing down at the viewfinder of the twin lens reflex.  Get it?  Yay!
The day was inspiring, Andrea was inspiring, my fellow photographers were inspiring.  And bonus, it was just good plain FUN.   There is a Flickr group devoted to TtV, and even one on RedBubble.


To encourage you to give it a try yourself, I'm offering a vintage Argus Seventy Five as a GIVEAWAY today.  And come back and show us your images!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

what inspires you? - cara lopez lee

mission: MUSE - "what inspires you?"
by guest muse writer, editor and photographer
Cara Lopez Lee of Girls Trek Too and Writing by Cara



I’m feeling uninspired today, so my first inclination is to avoid the subject of inspiration. But what better time to write about it? Some writers who lose inspiration suffer from writer’s block. I’ve never come down with that particular malady. Sometimes I do write tripe, but the words keep coming. This may be because my early training took place in TV newsrooms, where writer’s block wasn’t allowed. Reporters who miss deadlines get fired, so I developed the habit of writing whether I felt inspired or not.

I find inspiration in myself - even when I'm feeling blue for no accountable reason.

Yet sometimes the words are hard to come by. When I’m struggling, it helps to go back to basics. That’s when I write “Dick and Jane sentences,” ie: “See Dick Run. Run, Dick, Run!” If I can’t tell a story creatively, I tell it un-creatively: “A family’s house burned down. A little girl stood outside in her nightgown and cried.” If I write this way for a while, soon the logjam breaks and the words flow again. Later, I go back and rewrite the beginning: “The little girl stood outside in her nightgown, staring at the place where she used to sleep. She cried, no longer having a room where she could wake up from a nightmare and feel safe.”

Inspiration sounds joyful. But in the case of writing about a girl who loses her home, inspiration is not a happy thing. Still, for the writer it is there, fueling creativity, just as oxygen fuels that imaginary house fire. What is this inspiration composed of? My experiences, even if the experiences are sad or confusing. So to be inspired, I must seek to experience.

This is as true of life itself, as it is of creativity.

A few friends tell me I inspire them, and sometimes it embarrasses me. The Dalai Lama is inspirational: a spiritual leader banished from his homeland who continues to teach love, peace, and patience. Temple Grandin is inspirational: an autistic scientist who became a pioneer in the humane treatment of livestock. As for me, only two tiny things set my life apart in any way: 1) I don’t let fear stop me from doing what I want, and 2) sometimes I want different things from other people. I love to travel, so I travel, even when I fear the unknown. I love to write, so I write, even when I worry that I’m not up to the task. It doesn’t take much to achieve that level of inspiration – just a willingness to reach out for yourself, and to reach out to others.

I recently worked with a young homeless woman on a film project, and a few weeks later, she vanished. 

I recently worked with a young homeless woman on a film project. We learned a lot from each other. A few weeks later she vanished. I spent an evening looking for her, phoned a few times, and then moved on. Soon I’m going to teach a writing class for middle school kids. I wonder if we’ll inspire each other. I wonder if any of them will disappear. Either way, I’ll keep moving on. Is this all there is? Discovery, inspiration, loss, new discovery? Perhaps. But the inspiration remains.

My memoir, They Only Eat Their Husbands, comes out next month, a goal I’ve worked toward for years. Yet when I contact bookstores, literary organizations, and the media to set up events and reviews, most have no idea who I am, and some find my calls a nuisance. I’ve always known that life isn’t about the destination, but the journey. Yet I see now that this doesn’t just mean the destination is secondary – rather, the destination doesn’t exist. It’s like the horizon: a distant line beyond which I cannot see, and which recedes as I approach.

For me, it’s not in looking forward, or in looking back, that I find inspiration. It is in looking next to me and seeing who is there, learning who they are, and discovering what we can offer each other. I find inspiration in everyone who is part of my life: the husband who travels with me, the homeless woman who vanished, the school kids I have yet to meet, and in myself – even when I’m feeling blue for no accountable reason except that I’m entering a new phase in my life and don’t know what comes next.

I find inspiration in the husband who travels with me.

I live between yesterday’s losses and tomorrow’s horizon. So, as a writer, I write from that place. It’s the emotional weather of day-to-day life and love that fuels my characters and scenes, whether they’re fictional or real.

Although I see inspiration in the world around me, the ability to see it must flow from the wellspring of self. It flows from the part of me who believes that from nothing I can create something, even from moments of ennui or depression. Ultimately that ability will lead me back to joy. Creating from my soul always has. I count on it.

I leave you with this question...  "Imagine you have no fear, what adventure would you begin?"  Leave me a comment and one giveaway winner will receive a signed copy of my new book.

Thank you for inviting me to muse with you. - Cara


Cara Lopez Lee is the author of They Only Eat Their Husbands: A Memoir of Alaskan Love, World Travel, and the Power of Running Away, coming November 15 from Ghost Road Press.

She's also the creator of the Girls Trek Too blog, dedicated to inspiring women to approach life as an adventure.

Writing by Cara - If you need a hand in telling your story, you can rely on Cara's 20 years of professional writing experience. With Cara's help, you will achieve your creative vision, clearly communicate who you are and contribute to others, through the art of simple and eloquent writing. Everyone has a story... Let Cara help you tell yours.

Monday, October 25, 2010

what inspires you? - lyrical journey

mission: MUSE - "what inspires you?"
by guest muse Jamie Shaw
of Lyrical Journey


In this post I'm featuring photos by talented friends whose work inspires me.  First up this amazing photo by Clare B, check out her blog and photography tutorials!

What inspires you?  What causes you to pick up your camera?  What muse speaks to you when you sit down to the computer to edit a photo or write a post?

For me the answers to these questions come quickly and easily (most days):
  • The beauty of nature - I grew up in a tiny town surrounded by nature, but now find myself living in cities.  I find taking the time to get closer to nature again makes breathing, thinking and creating easier.
  • Travel and exploring new cultures - Thanks to my job, I get to travel the world and I truly see things differently having lived on the other side of the earth.  My home, clothes, jewelry and art are more colorful and reflect the impact these cultures have had on me.
  • Spending time with friends and family - I'm blessed to be surrounded by talented and loving people who encourage and inspire me with their talents and joy for life.
  • Good music - If you've ever ready my blog this one won't surprise you.  I believe music is as essential to life as air.
The final answer on my list is more recent, but has rapidly become vital to my creative soul: Blogging and a supportive community of artists.

I started blogging  simply to share photos and stories of my travel with my family.  I was an occasional blogger with no plans to change.  Then my cousins took up a challenge to blog every day for a month.  She inspired me to do the same.  At the end of the month, I discovered I loved the discipline that came with regular posting; I also found myself (a natural homebody) inspired to live a more active life as I searched out things to do that would provide something more interesting to write about than watching TV or reading (both things which I LOVE.)

A few months later, I participated in Creativity Bootcamp, where I connected with like-minded artists and bloggers from around the world, including many of the Mortal Muses.  They inspire me through their blogs, photos, art and their warm and welcoming spirit.  Their work inspires me to keep developing my skills behind the camera and in photo editing.  I'm still very much a beginner, but many of these new friends still take the time to send tips and encouraging words my way, this support gives me the inspiration to keep working at it, even when the muse has disappeared.

 Photo by the brilliant and sweet Kristine of Blue Elephant Photography

More recently, Mortal Muses has become one of my favorite places to visit each day.  I know I'll walk away richer and inspired by both the photographs and words of the Muses and the members of the community they have built.  I've also found a community of artists discussing and seeking inspiration daily at Kim Klassen's Inspiration Studio, where I'm lucky enough to lead a discussion about music each week.  The amazing community there encourage and participate as we seek inspiration through music.

What inspires you?  Please share some of your ideas with the rest of us in the comments section - you never know when one of your comments or suggestions will inspire a fellow artist!

 Photo by the talented and generous Justine Gordon.

I'll leave you with an example and a song - because it wouldn't be a blog post from me if it didn't include at least one song.  I was introduced to this incredible song by Prairie Girl and as I've shared this song with others, I've received notes telling me how it inspired them, truly proof that inspiration is paid both forward and back.

Wild Horses - Susan Boyle.  Not only is hers an inspiring story, her rendition of this song will give you chills.

I encourage you to become an active member of Mortal Muses and the greater community of online artists.  Seek them out, take the time to leave a comment and words of encouragement, in return, you'll receive more inspiration than you can imagine.

Jamie Shaw

Today's More Musing Giveaway is a second copy of Expressive Photography: The Shutter Sisters' Guide to Shooting from the Heart.  Leave a comment to be eligible.

We are having nine days of giveaways and special guests. We will be drawing the winners from the comments left during the entire 9 Days Of Inspiration from all three pages and announcing them in a special *muse flash* on October 31. Make sure to visit the Everyday Beauty and main Mortal Muses pages and comment each day for more chances to win. Good Luck!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

what inspires you? - domestic stories with ivy

mission MUSE: "what inspires you?"
by guest muse - Iro Nassopoulos (Ivy)
About what inspires me let's see...

I'm inspired a lot by travelling, the different cultures I get to know and especially the architecture of the cities, the design which might be predominant in each of them.

I also love nature and adore interiors which incorporate natural materials and a similar colour palette....I'm ever in love with natural light and white as a colour which includes them all.

Human nature and the experience of various emotions and feelings is also a means of inspiration, especially when it comes to expressing emotions through art...not only is it therapeutic, it can also be very creative.

Finally, I'm inspired by the concept of love and how this is translated in our every day lives...from our jobs to the important close people in our lives, to the environment where we live, to our behaviour, thoughts, to the every day routines we choose to engage in.

Love as an expression of art

Love of wire: art installation made of wire, repurposed ceramic pots and sand. It was made back in 2004, when I somehow decided to express my quest in finding love, experiencing and realising what it actually is also through art.

Autumnal Love: a photograph of a handwritten (in a stich like manner) with silver ink "Love" on dried autumn leaves

Cupcake Love: handwritten with chocolate "love", on cupcake forms
The depth of love : a photograph of the art installation mentioned at the first picture.

Thank you for inviting me to muse with you.  I hope that I inspired you today.  For one lucky commentor on the blog, I am offering one of the three prints, shown above, as a present.

Kindest Regards,
Iro - Ivy
flickr, blog, shop, twitter

About Iro: (Originally from Athens. Currently in Frankfurt, Germany) She is a decorator, interiors consultant, a crafter,an ever learning, self- taught photographer, a former teacher of English, also having majored in Psychology... most of all a person who lives and breathes through love for all aspects of everyday life and her passions.

As seen at:  Apartment Therapy, decor8, Divas and Dreams, re-nest, sfgirlbybay, simple hue, unplggd

Saturday, October 23, 2010

what inspires you? - the kat eye view of the world

mission: MUSE - "what inspires you?"

"muse university" special edition with giveaway
by  muse kat sloma 

exploring with a camera - Inspired by the Rain

With the change in seasons, in the places I've lived the last 12 years or so, we wave good-bye to the consistently sunny days and welcome the wet. Rain will be a consistent part of life for the next few months as winter comes on, with the occasional break in the monotony for snow or sun when we're lucky. A rainy day is a great time to curl up under a blanket, with a book and a cup of tea. It is also a great time to get out and photograph!

A while ago I wrote a blog post that said when life gives you rain, you should take photos anyway. Today let's explore the ways to capture the beauty to be found in the rain...

The light is completely different in the rain. First off, it's usually cloudy during the day, which provides softer, indirect light. Second, the wet surfaces reflect the light in completely different ways than dry surfaces. The photo at the top of the post is a good example of this - the leaf and the stones are highlighted by the reflections of the light. What would be an interesting composition for it's contrast when dry, gains even more interest for the way the individual elements stand out from the light on the water. 

This photo from Orvieto, Italy is a daytime example of how the wet ground reflects the light, drawing your focus along the ground from the bright doorway in the top left down toward the scooter in the bottom right.

The wet ground in this photo of Bath, England at night serves to contrast and highlight the row of benches along the sidewalk. As I mentioned in my Exploring with a Camera post on Night Photography, wet surfaces at night can add much needed light for taking photos at night.

Not only is the light reflected, but you can get great image reflections as well with a smooth surface or a puddle. The thin layer of water on this smooth concrete makes a wonderful mirror for the leaves on the ground.

This puddle in Piazza San Marco in Venice serves to reflect the geometry of the famous tables and chairs, making a more interesting composition than the tables and chairs alone.

And while we're talking about puddles, how about capturing some splashing through them? Of course, this image is a bit more sedate than most puddle-splashing pictures, a capture of Italian rain fashion more than splashing but you get the idea. The movement of water in the puddle along with the reflections makes the photo more than just photo of rainboots.

Out in the rain, look for ways the water moves across and off surfaces. This restaurant table was so highly polished that the rain water beaded up into interesting shapes, a nice backdrop for the flowers.

Look for the drips ready to fall...

Look for the drops that grace the leaves.

It's also fun to capture people in the rain. They are more "anonymous" with their hoods and umbrellas, hunched up and hurrying along. I like to capture groups of colorful umbrellas, as on this bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Or the lone traveller, trying to get someplace at night in Venice. People with umbrellas are quite the artistic staple, if you look at paintings through history.

Here we have quite a few different elements that I love in one rainy shot... umbrellas, multiple reflections, at night, and it's Venice. How could you go wrong?

There are so many ways I have yet to capture the rain, these are the images I'm still looking for:
- Looking out of a window covered in raindrops. Focus on the drops, with the scenery out of focus behind.
- Rain spilling out of our very cool dragon-shaped rainspout or off the edges of eaves.
- The rain in a downpour - I want to figure out how to capture the "look" of the world when you look through rain.
- Drops of rain splashing in puddles - oh those perfect, rippling circles just tantalize me!

So, how do you do shoot in the rain without ruining your camera? Here are a few tips:

1. Use an umbrella. If you have someone along with you, ask them to hold it over you and your camera when you shoot. If you don't have that option (or don't want to ask your companion to hold your umbrella every 15 seconds), a bigger umbrella works better than a small one for this "solo" technique: Rest the handle between your neck and shoulder with the umbrella resting on the top of your head. This will enable both hands to be free and your camera to be covered while you shoot. It does take some practice though, but try it out.

2. Find sheltering spots. Store awnings and overhangs, doorways, under trees, etc. can be great places to pause and have a little bit of protection from the rain while you shoot. Watch out under trees though - the drops might be less frequent but they are often bigger!

3. Keep your camera protected between shots. Work out a system that enables you to quickly and easily but your camera in and out of your bag. I carry my camera across my body, and my camera bag the same way. I can take my camera in and out of my bag easily, so when it's rainy I can put it away between shots but easily get it out for the next one. Another thing I will sometimes do, especially when it's light rain, is just tuck the camera between my body and the bag. It's mostly protected but easily accessible. When it's heavier rain though, I keep it in the bag!

4. Use a camera cover. You can buy rain covers for your camera, but I've found them to be kind of pricey and I don't want something bulky I have to carry around "just in case" it rains. Another practically free alternative for an SLR camera is to use a plastic grocery bag (you know, the ones you get in just about any grocery store) and a rubber band. Tear a hole at the bottom of the bag near one corner, this is where you put the lens looking out. Use the rubber band to secure the bag at the end of your lens, then just wrap the bag up around the camera with the handles coming around the back. When you want to shoot, just open up the handles and hold the camera as normal inside the bag. It might look weird, but it's cheap and easy, and a spare bag wrapped up with a rubber band does not take up much space in your camera bag.

5. Don't worry about a few drops of water on your camera. I don't. A few drops on my equipment have never hurt anything - I just make sure that it doesn't get completely wet. By keeping the camera mostly protected in the ways I've described above, my equipment has remained in good working order even if I shoot in rainy weather. Keep something soft and dry handy to wipe off the lens though, you will experience drips now and again!

Now that you are armed and ready for the weather, I would love to see your rain photos! Stop by The Kat Eye View of the World next Thursday to link to your rain photos (recent or archive) in the "Share Your View" post. Whatever you do - don't just put the camera away when the clouds start rolling in. Enjoy the different photo opportunities that the rain provides.

Leave me a comment and be eligible for today's giveaway...  this gorgeous rainbow umbrella to be used as a fun photo prop or for Exploring With A Camera in the rain.

Remember this motto - "When life gives you rain, take photos anyway!"


repost by - Kat

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Friday, October 22, 2010

what inspires you? - creatissmo lab

mission: MUSE - "what inspires you?"
by guest muse jožica rade

"where i live" special edition with giveaway

One of the things that I like about living in Slovenia is the nature. The forests, the sea, the hills, the rivers, lakes and the mountains. Everything you want is there for you just in an hour or two by car if your starting point is in Ljubljana, the capital.

In the fall, the trees start to get these adorable yellowish-reddish-brownish colors that make you warm at heart and make you feel like a child again. There’s just no way to stay inside the house, the child inside you wants to go out, he wants to run into the forest where he can listen to the murmur of the wind and leaves, smells the mushrooms and looks for chestnuts… Fall is a perfect season for enjoying in the nature, for hiking and trekking and other outdoor activities.

Slovenia has many hills with great views from the top. Many hills have churches on top, so besides hiking, you can enjoy in cultural sightseeing as well.

The hill with the church Sveti Jakob (806 m) is one of the favorite hiking spots near the place where I live. If it is sunny, you can go there in every season of the year, even the winter when the hill is covered with snow.

Because of its position, it is usually sunny, even when there’s a dense fog in the valley. From the hill there are some beautiful views on the towns Medvode and Kranj,and you can even see the Alps, if it is not too cloudy.

I usually take my camera with me when I go on a hike. There is always something that catches my eye and wants to be captured as an inspiration. A little bug, a dried flower, interesting texture, gorgeous colors… - so many little details that make me happy and represent a celebration of life! I love it!

But this is only one of many hills in Medvode area and in Slovenia. The signpost at the road shows how many options you have if you start your hike in one part of Medvode, but there are many, many paths to choose from in Slovenia for many tastes.

Come and visit my blog to see other places that I’ve captured with my camera and if you ever visit Slovenia, you are welcome to contact me and we can do a photo-tour together. 

Until next time.

Jozica (Creatissimo) of Creatissimo Lab and Creatissimo in English

What inspires you about where your live?  Leave me a comment today to enter the drawing for today's mission: Muse giveaway item, a copy of Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography, By Brenda Tharp.

We would love to see where you live.  If you would like to join in, send an email to mortalmuses [at] yahoo.com.