observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

  • Welcome to my photo journal

    Living on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada Diane loves the scent of forests and rain, the rhythms of the sea, and holds discoveries and stories in high regard.

    Where mornings begin with a drum roll! --Diane M Schuller

    Updated on random Mondays ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    Photography Tip: Learning about Raw

    Are you one of those who keeps wondering about Raw or what Raw is in terms of your camera and taking photographs? Does the thought of using Raw intimidate you? You’re not alone.

    These days even the point-and-shoot digital cameras have the ability to shoot in RAW format. RAW is not just for the professionals; it’s just as relevant for the serious amateur photographer since it provides added control & editing adjustability producing richer, more vibrant photos. Raw mode does not compress the images (the way jpeg or tiff does, for instance) leaving them completely unprocessed.

    Here’s what helped me fully understand the RAW format and how to take advantage of its capabilities.

    For those wondering about camera Raw, this is a great source for learning about shooting raw:

    Getting Started with Camera Raw: How to make better pictures using Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

    In this book, Ben Long speaks to the photographer in simple terms, explaining logically all the way through. Nothing to be intimidated about. He covers the real basics progressing all the way to advanced editing in camera raw. You’ll learn what Raw is, how to choose a converter, image editing basics, workflow, and a great deal more. I’ll list the chapter titles for you so you can get an idea of the subject areas he covers:

    1. Getting Started
    2. What is Raw?
    3. Image Editing Basics
    4. Getting Started with Camera Raw
    5. Workflow
    6. Advanced Editing in Camera Raw
    7. Shooting Raw

    The book is geared towards both beginners and intermediate levels and covers camera raw whether you use a PC or a great Mac! You’ll wonder why you haven’t been shooting in Raw all along! Go ahead, click the book title text above to find out more about this helpful book.

    {This is the first of a series of tips on photography that I’ll share here. To be sure to not miss any of them, please add this blog to your RSS feed (see right sidebar) or to subscribe click on the “Blog info” button up at the top right of the screen then click “Subscribe to blog”.}

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    October Tea (even in November)

    {I realize we’ve entered November but I couldn’t let this go by.}


     From page 48, Everyday Sacred: A Woman’s Journey Home

    by Sue Bender:

    October Tea

    One day, in search of something else, I found a book called Wabi Sabi. Wabi sabi are the Japanese words for a feeling, an aesthetic that is hard to describe. I read:

    “Wabi sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

    It is a beauty of things modest and humble.

    It is a beauty of things unconventional.”

    A friend, a student of the Japanese tea ceremony, mentioned “October tea.” She said it’s one of the most important times of the year for tea, the most wabi. November celebrates the new tea, but October is the time to use up the last of the old. Instead of letting it dribble out, or be thought of as the dregs — “We cherish what remains of that which is in the process of passing.”

    This month only, mismatched dishes are used. The utensils are ones that have been broken and repaired. “Not just repaired, but carefully and beautifully mended,” she added.”

    – # –

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    Autumn in Alberta Mosaic


    Most of these photos were taken in September and early October NW of Hythe, Alberta although one or two are near Grande Prairie, Alberta. The colour is long gone up here now and we’re hunkering down with heavy sweaters, parkas, and gloves awaiting the depths of winter.

    With this shift in seasons, it’s now time to enjoy comfort food, oatmeal, hot chocolate, nights around the fireplace, and weekends curled up with a great novel. What do you look forward to as the season shifts?

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    Best Shot Monday

    Can a photograph that is not perfectly focused and cluttered with a busy background be a “best shot”? I say yes, if the particular moment caught is priceless.

    While covering a first birthday party recently, these two guests — sisters — were caught in a warm cuddle. Now that is a moment of life’s sweet ordinary don’t you think?


    Best Shot Monday is the spark of Tracey Clark over at “Mother May I?” Show me your best shot.

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    The Leaf Perspective

    As some of you know, I love Shutter Sisters and am continually being inspired, encouraged, and challenged by this great online venue for women passionate about photography. Today Andrea Scher, in her Superhero Photo Challenge urged us to get down with our camera on the ground and take some photos of leaves. Well, way up here in northern Alberta the leaves are all gone but I had already done this in early October. Here’s a few of the photos I took that lovely autumn day a few weeks ago … the leaf perspective:

    I also posted this one at Flickr for our (Canadian) Thanksgiving in early October though I admit for that particular one I had lifted the camera a couple inches off the ground.

    Do you have a favourite among these four? Please let me know and tell me why! PS: this template, unfortunately, requires you head back to the title bar to leave a comment — sorry if it’s inconvenient but I am so grateful for your feedback 🙂

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    Rising, one ribbon at a time

    “Dawn is a friend of the muses.” ~John Milton

    “I’ll tell you how the sun rose — A ribbon at a time.” ~ Emily Dickinson

    Having lived through cancer and having lost a dear parent to cancer far before her time, I’m reminded that each minute of our lives is so precious. Like a sunrise, life moves on and changes moment-by-moment. Occasionally when I am still I find I ask myself these questions, “Would I be happy with what I had accomplished if I were to die right now? Have I done my best and sought the vision I believe so deeply in? Have I asked for forgiveness from those I treated unfair? What part of my life feels incomplete? Would I have some regrets?” I know I’m not alone in this introspection — perhaps you too have asked yourself similar questions.

    What’s more important than asking the questions, are the answers and how we act upon them. Today I will begin by being still before dawning a new horizon and seeking to take action where I have work yet to be done. I can feel it — this dawn greets a beautiful day. Yes, I can see such beautiful light along the horizon!

    {“October sunrise” Photo taken in front of our home NW of Hythe, Alberta – Canada}

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