Thursday, June 28, 2007

Playing with photos in Painter

Polish Roman Catholic Church ttv

On flickr there is a group called Noise and Dust Through The Viewfinder - on it I found the overlay I've used here by Nesster

The idea is to fake what one sees through the viewfinder of a camera.

However I also played with multiple exposures of the same subject as I thought that this was the ideal place to use the HDR effect. Most people use either specialist software or photoshop to create this type of image - as I haven't got either I'm having a go imitating it in Corel Painter IX.5 and not getting close but loving the effects anyway!

HDR is intended to create an image that is more like what sees than what the camera sees but mine are coming out a good deal less real.

Here are some more:
Looking South

New Redland School

How real is your life?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What's in my bag?

What's in my bag?

Jo has just divulged the contents of her bag and suggested other do so too... so here is mine.

A couple of months ago I moved from a relatively large bag to a really small one, however that one couldn't take the strain and I soon had to buy a new one. This is a good size, big enough for what I consider essential without being so big that I'm tempted to put in things that really would be better put in my backpack or shopping bag.

My bag contains:

paper hankies, a camera, sunglasses, mobile (which is almost never switched on - for emergencies only!), comb, keys, wallet and pen

I'm interested to know what you keep on you, what is essential to your existence - in either your jacket pockets or bags... so go on tell me what's in your bag (or those pockets)... or better yet blog it and then let me know you have!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Buying a Car...

Photograph of a Q-reg car (which means its one of a kind) altered in Painter IX.5. I like to think the Q stands for Quirky. I don't know whose car this particular one is I was just drawn to it in the street and love the radiator grill!

We've been trying to buy a car. We haven't got one yet.

For the last ten years or more we've been very lucky and had Jim's brother's second company car for which we paid monthly, but for which we got a real bargain. Now, at long last, his wife wants the second car - I'd imagined that we'd stop having it as soon as they got married so that's about 7 years extra we've had it!

Now its bye-bye super-duper BMW (even if we always did go for the cheapest!), new every 9-12 months, taxed, insured etc without more effort on our part than simply paying the monthly charge and hello... well what?
  • Jim wants a car that he can easily put his band gear in (bass amp, bass, loads of other bits and bobs...).
  • It must fit on our drive (which is not long).
  • We need something reliable as neither of us knows the first thing about fiddling with cars (and that's despite the fact I grew-up on a garage... my father would be horrified at my total lack of knowledge in this area!)
  • And no where near as expensive as a BMW!
The first question is should we buy new or used. In the dim and distant past I've done both before. I was happier with the new car in many ways as the second hand one had problems which it was much harder to get the dealer I bought it from to fix... though they did in the end. (Even longer ago I also had absolute wrecks and have no intention of going back to one of those if I can help it!)

As I said I'm not a car person - but I can get into researching anything (or so I like to think!) - so I have the current issue of What Car?. What caught my eye was the "Shock Report" on the cover about who gets the best deal from car dealers - men or women. Then I read the report.

How many men and how many women would you send out to find out whether its men or women who get the best deals?

And what other aspects do you think you might need to take into account? Maybe age, perceived class, accent, perceived wealth, perceived attractiveness, smell, knowledge about cars, car currently driven, postcode, previous experience in negotiation, shyness...

So how many of each sex would you send out then? 100? 50? 20? 10?

What Car? clearly think they can tell from sending out just one man and one woman! In the report they do admit that negotiating skills vary from person to person but they continue to plug their result as showing that its men that get better deals than women.

Given this abstracting from an overly small subset what use is the rest of the "information" in the magazine? Am I right to abstract from this single example of a very poorly researched article into assuming that all their car tests are equally one-sided?

Of course two cars of the same specification from the same manufacturer are a lot more likely to be similar than two randomly selected men (or women) - maybe that is where they have gone wrong.

My main conclusion is that if there are two of you - go and negotiate separately and take whichever the best deal is that you can get between you!

So far we have test driven a nearly new Vauxhall Meriva - it has fabulous storage space - Jim especially liked the flat space available when the back seats are down. But it seemed hugely expensive compared to new ones available via brokers on the web. And the salesman wasn't budging on price for either of us!

Have you any experience of buying via a net based broker?

And any suggestions for other cars to look at?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Some art at last!

Wire Sculpture

Wire and wooden beads plus the wooden table below.

Inspired by Elizabeth Berrien's Wire Sculpture Tutorial I got doodling with some wire - however I really wanted to add in springy bits and other objects so I did.

Ever since Jim and I went around the Sculpture exhibition at Trull House at the beginning of May I've been getting more and interested in doing some sculpture again. I did an OCA Sculpture course long ago and discovered then that I was most drawn to assembling things rather than carving, wet clay or moulding. I made enough at the time to also realise that sculptures are not as easy to store as pictures are - even when you are just at the maquette level - so working in a medium where you can take photos and then reuse the parts also suits me well!

I'm going to "doodle" in wire (plus other bits) for a while because its lots of fun.

Any idea what this one might be (or become)?