Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas Holly

My wife loves to include sprigs of holly around the house as part of our christmas decorations and luckily we have a holly tree in the garden. Well actually, it is in next doors garden but it is very close to the fence and its branches overhang to a degree. Enough to give us a few small twigs every year.
However the number of berries on each branch is sometimes a little hit and miss.

This year has been a tremendous year for the holly berry harvest, good for us and even better for the garden birds. Before we took too much off for the decorations I took a small series of photos to preserve the memory as it has been such a good year, probably the best I remember.

Here is a sample of the images:-

I also had a new laptop over christmas and in playing around with the new software, I have made one or two adjustments to some of the images, only very minor edits but fun nevertheless. An example is:-

cute little bells, or what?

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sunset From My Back Yard

From time to time we all see fantastic sunsets, and many of us even rush to pick up our cameras to try and record the event. What is it about this natural happening that stirs us so very much?

What ever it is everybody has one or two in their photographic collection. I am no exception, here are a few shots taken in my back garden.

I am also very fond of painting this subject, it usually makes for very dramatic art, I use water colours and pastel mostly but have been known to use other media now and again. I always feel that the real thing can be so much better than the artistic interpretation because as an artist I feel constrained to make the sky seem real. Of course the answer is to claim artistic licence, or that the subject was actually an example of the aurora borealis, or similar. Or just show a photo of a sunset like the above.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Christmas cards from my photographs on Zazzle

This is almost an established way for me now, of making money from the images of photographs I have taken. Hoping for some share of the money flowing around this christmas I have been designing a few christmas cards on Zazzle. Of course most photos taken over the christmas period are of family and friends so I am a little lilmited in using photos from past christmases. One I have made use of though is of the christmas tree, and it makes quite a deccent card tho' I say so myself. Here is the product on Zazzle:-

christmas tree greeting card card
christmas tree greeting card by ArtyfaxCards
View other Christmas Cards

I have made a promise to myself to take a few more generic christmas themed photographs this year, looking forward to next year's batch. More examples coming soon, so watch this space.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Earning money for my Photos on-line

After a busy end to the summer and  a break in the sun, I have returned to add yet another potential earner to the mu internet profile. Again I thought, "why not try to earn money from my photos". As I have said more than once I take many photos on days out and around the garden, these are basically for fun and I do not have the high end camera which could compete with professionals on the stock photo sites. However, there is Redgage, a site which claims to monetise your existing web content and pays you for your social activity. Sounds good? It does seem to work for some members. However like many of the opportunities for earning money on the internet, it is I believe a case of working to build up a portfolio and looking forward to a small passive income stream in the coming months.

After three weeks including a weeks holiday, I have earnt close on $5. Doesn't sound much I know but I hope that it will build up exponentially as I add content to my Redgage account. Over the past few days I have been adding content ( mainly photos and links to other sites) at a rate of 5-10 items per day. This could be easily sustainable over the next few months. The bulk of this has come from having a photograph featured, but with a current total of 110 items, I have been earning up to 20 cents per day. Over a 12 month period this could be $60 but with more content who knows? Higher rates of earning from the items could double or quadruple this amount and more featured items would considerably add to the amount. Yes, I know this is still small beer but this is for very little effort and no outlay. In other words a passive income stream which may well need little extra effort and produce for a long time to come.

I will try to keep the blog updated regularly with details on how this works out. In the meantime why not check out these links and see for yourself how Redgage works and how my earninigs are coming along.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Putting my "fun" photos to work

As you will have seen in my last post, I have a Zazzle store ( a print-on-demand site) which I had started to use to try and sell my art work. In fact there are at present three stores, which are catering for different ranges of products.

But I thought, "hang on! Why don't I use some of the many photographs to create products and put these onto products." So I have been doing just that. Sure, I take photos for fun, but there is no reason I can think of not to use these to try and make a quick buck. So why not. Here are a couple of examples:-
Standing Stones print
Standing Stones by ArtyfaxProducts
See other Standing Posters
This is a printed canvas, which would look good on any wall

have a big hug card
have a big hug by ArtyfaxCards
A greeting card which you can personalise
or make one of your own on zazzle

Fruity shirt
Fruity by artyfax
Join's clothing affiliate program
Lots of styles and colours that you can select with this image.

Ok that's enough advertising for now but I can't promise not to  mention Zazzle again especially if it starts to become profitable. You can read about my early experiences on Zazzle on my Squidoo web page (lens), My First Steps With Zazzle. I also have a new blog which is devoted to this new hobby, making money, LOL.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

In the walled garden, Coughton Court

Missed posting these images of statues when I took them, a little while ago now. I was taking photos of statues and there were a couple of bronze ( I think?) examples in the walled garden at Coughton Court, Alcester, Warwickshire. So just to keep up a record of statues, I am photogrphing here they are: Unfortunately, I have no information about the statues and their history (if any)
I also saw this "window" in the hedges with a view of the main tower of the house, I rather liked the shot, although this is a heavily cropped images.
In fact I liked this so much that I started playing around with it in Photoplus, there are of course many software pakages which will do this, and this is my completed effort. In a few words, I selected the tower and copied it to another window whilst I toyed with adding BLUR ( zoom blur on my software) to the original. I then pasted the tower back over the top of the image. As I had extracted it from the image in the first place it left the blur effects showing on the greenery.
This is a modification that I have showed before. I tried to explain the process on my Squidoo page, Photomanipulation Of Digital Photographs Using layers . I actually used this previous image on one of my ZAzzle products: All good fun!!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A Day At Stowe Landscape Gardens.

The gardens are owned by The National Trust although the house is still owned by the family. At the time that the gardens were first laid, the family was reputed to be wealthier than the king. It really shows in the follies and buildings in the gardens. You need a good day to really get around and see everything, there are some astonishing sights. Entering via the shop, the first thing you see as you wonder down the path is a Greek Temple and this sets the expectations up for the day. The people we talked to were not disappointed. Although I took my usual range of photos, I have included three of the major follies here, if that is the word for what are a lot more than what the word is usually used to describe. Here I show the Greek Temple, The Palladian Bridge and the Gothic Manor. All Astounding properties but the latter actually takes paying guests - one to thing about!

OK, a little food for thought. No clever photos this time ( if ever???) just a couple of great sights to see if you ever get to visit this wonderful place near Milton Keynes.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A day out, visiting an NGS garden

Last Sunday week, we visited a village near Alvechurch which opened a number of gardens on the NGS, National Gardens Scheme. Volunteers open their gardens to the public for a day and donate money raised to charity. Our visit just happened to coincide with this years summer here in the sunny UK.
We were pleased to see a heron on a short walk down the near-by canal whilst waiting for the official opening time.
here's a very much blown-up shot, in case you didn't believe me. Unfortunately I do not have an optical zoom on my cheapo camera, this is the sort of time when I wish I had not been so tight.

This is me on the canal bridge, showing the crowds gathering in the village. And of course every English village has a pub!

One very large garden had a stream running thru it and a path alongside the stream. The above photos show the path both ways from where I was standing.

This was a lawn which was very much to my liking, the garden was on a hillside and shaded all round by mature trees. It was such a quiet spot, even in this village miles from anywhere. Even the visitors did not find it whilst I was there. I loved it.

There were many other gardens but most were quite small, in keeping with the size of the cottages. they were well designed and well planted but I had been spoiled by our previous visit to pump cottage and so did not take many photos on this visit. That is not to say it was not an enjoyable day out, six gardens - all very different - made it a very interesting experience but........

Sunday, 17 July 2011

My Garden in Flower

One of the things I love doing is to photograph the flowers in my garden. Not so much because I love flowers, although they do make gardening worthwhile, but because of the memories of happy and peaceful sunny (?) days at home that they represent to me. So here are a few photographs taken ths year between April and June.
 Pieris ( flame bush)
 Japanese Maple
Digitalis (Foxglove)

Is there any more to say? Some of the images above are obviously not flowers but leaves, however I love colour however it arrives. I nearly didn't include the last shot, the foxglove, because it is in very poor focus but I do love these flowers. Such stately blooms and this year for some reason I have had one white flowering plant instead of the purple which I usually get. I have never planted any of these but they obviously self-seed and I always leave one or two to come to fruition for the display and to make sure that I get more the following year.

In fact, I am forever pulling up seedlings of trees and shrubs which have presumably been deposited by the birds which we have in profusion in the garden. We are not far from the countryside, being on the edge of a very rural setting and see lots of animals as well as the birds birds. Bats, moles, foxes, frogs are all to be seen in our garden. I keep a small pool which has become home to the frogs and have a pile of grass and leaves behind one shrubbery which I think was built by hedgehogs, although we havae not seen them this year yet. Our garden has lots of flowers but it could well be called a wild garden. Perhaps a few shots would clarify this description, maybe the next post?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A Day out at Pump Cottage Weatheroak

Yesterday, my wife and I visited one of the gardens open to the public on the NGS scheme, Pump Cottage at Weatheroak. The first time that we have been there although it is very near to where we live. I was absolutely gobsmacked.

The owners have taken a one acre plot and made it into a wonderland. The use of the space to contain so many small areas joined by meandering paths is amazing. So many different areas, including follys, bog garden, streams, a boating lake ( not sure if that is within the one acre boundary?), formal beds and wild flower areas. It is almost possible to get lost and once you are past the first part of the garden, the cottage is almost iinvisible, you could be miles from anywhere. Definitely one to visit if you like gardens you can explore. I took more photogrpahs than I think I have ever done before at one of these open days.

A small selection of my photos follows:-

I loved the rustic nature of this old outbuilding and the texture on the door where the paint was peeling.

What a wonderful backyard! I could imagine many lazy days out on the pool in this boat.

My wife has some funny ideas of what constitutes a good picture, this is one of the many secluded seating areas around the garden.

A lovely rose, I liked the way that the numerous petals seemed to hide to the stamens, how do the insects find them to pollinate the flower?

Also lots of statuary, mostly small stuff but I do love it as you will know if you have read mnay of my previous posts.

My grateful thanks to the owners for a wonderful afternoon out. And the home-made cakes were delicious.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

My new Zazzle store and blog

I have started selling products on Zazzle using photographs I have taken. Zazzle is a Print-on demand site, ie they make a product when it is ordered by the customer, they do not hold stocks. So I can design hundreds of products using my photographic images and hopefully sell a few. For example:-

Let's Rock and Roll mousepad
Let's Rock and Roll by artyfax
Browse other Guitar Mousepads

You are also welcome at my new blog describing my experiences on Zazzle, hope I will see you there.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

A short break at the Red Lion, Addebury

After my recent knee operation, a total knee replacement surgery (TKR) my wife and I were in need of a little rest and relaxation. We chose a hotel which was quite close to home so that I did not have to suffer any problems with travelling as the amount of movement in my knee was still very limited, and this was a hotel which was part of a chain we had used quite extensively, so we thought we knew what to expect.

The hotel was the Red Lion at Addebury, an old coaching inn on the main road right on the village green. A delightful spot just a little spoilt by the volume of traffic although we did not suffer any noise with the windows closed despite looking out over the green. We enjoyed a wonderful 3 day break and spent a very relaxing time there. The hotel as you would expect was a little "olde worlde" with uneven floors and winding corridors and the stairs, well something else.

This was the stairway from our floor to the bar and restaurant, quite an issue for me at that time. There was an alternative but I managed by taking it very carefully and slowly. The alternative route took us on a tour through the hotel's first floor and again the age of the building was very apparent. This next image was of a decoration behind a now disused fireplace, I quite literally fell in love with it. The building could make money by opening as a tourist attraction.

I have just noticed the fire extinguisher. Something that I could have claimed as a deliberate mistake to use as an example of how not to compose a photograph, but I will own up to it. After all, I am only taking photographs for fun, LOL.

We spent a little time touring the local shoppong centres ( for my wife!) and bought a load of bargains in the nearby Banbury town centre. It seemed as if everywhere was having sales with massive reductions, something I guess is attributable to the economic situation. Although, other shopping centres in the Cotswolds seemed to be doing much better with the tourist trade, which seemed to be doing quite well.

I took a few photographs but this one of a music shop window is one that I liked, because of the colours and I have to say the subject matter. The widow display seemed to me to have been well composed, no pun intended. I have actually used the photo in an article that I have posted on Squidoo, "How To Write Memorable Song Lyrics"

Thanks for getting this far and allowing me to get this off my chest, back with more "fun" images soon.

If you feel like visiting the cotswolds ( a favourite haunt of mine) then you might like to consider a tourist guide book such as this from Amazon.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A couple of fun photos taken in a garden open to the public near Bromyard, UK. The name of the garden is The Bannut, named after a walnut tree which is in the area near to the house. It used to be a commercial nursery but the owners retired and opened the garden to the public. Well worth a visit.

This is a very amusing garden sculpture which I loved. I couldn't resist a quick snap.

Another amusing little area of the garden, this one was mainly hidden by a fence and trees but if you followed a path to its conclusion you found this preposterous scene. The gardener obviously has a sense of humour.

Have you seen my article on Squidoo, Is all photography art? This obviously isn't - but it is great fun.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

alternative images

This is a quick post to try and explain extraction and layers to alter an original photo, which can be seen on this lens on Squidoo.

The original photo spoilt for me by the leaves on the left

A very rough and ready extraction to clear the background

The original is blurred and the extracted image is overlaid to create a new image.

The photomanipulation was done in Photoplus, free version. It was a very rough and ready extraction to show the idea behind the final image, it is not a problem with the software.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A pot-pourri of images

I seem to still be having problems with getting posts up, but I do have an excuse, I have just had a knee replcement op so have not been taking pictures - except of my scars and I don't think that would interest you. Anyway, do you love tombstone statuary. Here is an angel I shot recently but can't remember where. In fact I am wondering wether it is my shot at all or wether I found it and have saved it for  my art work. But I do love it, so I am including it as an example of this gendre:

The next is a flower photo, a day lily  -sorry I don't know the latin name without looking it up. We visited a number of gardens in Birmingham, Selly Park and they alll had wonderful day lilies out in glorious colours. This is one of them.

the last is on the same trip, in this garden the owner had made a point of installing as points of interest groups of items and hanging things ( paste jewellry and similar glittery stuff) from the trees My wife really loved the idea and I can see next year ...........................well, if it works I will be back with more photos

Don't foget my Squidoo Lens, Is all photography art. I would love to see some more comments which add value to the discussion in the guest book Thanks for getting this far, and hopefully appreciating my photos.