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Lensbaby – Art of the Blur https://artoftheblur.com Celebrate the unseen Wed, 20 Mar 2019 21:05:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 The Garden of Beautiful Bones https://artoftheblur.com/2018/10/04/the-garden-of-beautiful-bones/ https://artoftheblur.com/2018/10/04/the-garden-of-beautiful-bones/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 18:47:05 +0000 http://www.johnmeephotography.com/?p=14570 I’m a member of a Facebook group called The Lensbaby Blog Circle. The idea is that we all write a blog post once every month that documents a day or project shooting with a Lensbaby lens. This is my post for September. You can follow the rest of the circle at the bottom of this post or see my other Lensbaby posts here.


Tuam Mother and Bay HomeBetween 1925 and 1960, 796 infants at the former Bon Secours Mother and Baby home in Tuam town died and were subsequently secreted away in a septic tank. The facility was a maternity home for unmarried mothers and their children. There were many other such “homes” in Ireland at the time and the fate of many of those that entered is only now becoming public knowledge.

The Tuam home was run by the Bon Secours Sisters and averaged 22 deaths per year – ranging from one death in 1958 to 53 in 1947.

The remains of the infants lay there, in the septic tank for decades, unknown, unmarked and uncared for, until 2012 when the tireless work of local amateur historian Catherine Corless uncovered them.

Causes of death range from congenital debilities, to infectious diseases and malnutrition. Apart from two, there are no burial certificates. It’s thought that the death certificates of some infants may have been falsified to facilitate adoption.

The question of a suitable memorial at the Tuam site is now being looked at by the Tuam Home Graveyard Committee. Meanwhile, you can visit this piece of ground surrounded by a stone wall and marked by a simple shrine.

I visited the site a few days ago and read the names of some of those babies. Their ages range from 10 minutes old to 7 years. I don’t have the words or pictures to express how I feel about this. The silence from the Catholic Church and the Pope over this crime against humanity has been deafening.

You can read more about the Tuam Mother and Baby Home here and here. You can read their names and ages here.

Tuam Mother and Bay Home

Tuam Mother and Bay Home

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Let us remember: What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.[/perfectpullquote]

Tuam Mother and Bay Home

Tuam Mother and Bay Home

Tuam Mother and Bay Home

Tuam Mother and Bay Home

Tuam Mother and Bay Home

Tuam Mother and Bay Home

Tuam Mother and Bay Home

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Read The next Lensbaby Blog: Janet Broughton [/perfectpullquote]

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A touch of red https://artoftheblur.com/2018/07/19/a-touch-of-red/ https://artoftheblur.com/2018/07/19/a-touch-of-red/#comments Thu, 19 Jul 2018 12:21:05 +0000 http://www.johnmeephotography.com/?p=14193 I’m a member of a Facebook group called Lensbaby Blog Circle. The idea is that we all write a blog post once every month that documents a day or project shooting with a Lensbaby lens. This is my post for July. You can follow the rest of the circle at the bottom of this post.


Mmm, the monthly Lensbaby blog. What to shoot? What to write? Usually, I like to include a good mix of both words and pics. This month may be different – let’s see how it goes. l only got out once with this lens in July – so far, and here are the results.
I do try to get out and shoot people as often as I can but because of life commitments – theirs and mine, it doesn’t happen as much as I’d like.

However earlier this month, Tony, Mary, Rachel and myself did manage to get a few hours together to shoot. This project would involve all the photo gear – cameras, a variety of lenses, triggers, receivers, softboxes, reflectors, lights, light stands and some kind of theme. But I did pack the Edge 80 and managed to get a few shots with that. Here is a selection of them.

“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

Usually, on my photoshoots, I like to keep it simple. Pick a theme. Pick a location. Pick a colour. This day, the (loose) theme was femininity, the location, an old church, and the colour was red.

Thanks to Rachel and Mary for all the rolling around on the cold dusty stones, and the hands. I have a thing about hand placement. 🙂

Girl in red dress

Except for some colour correction, I use minimal editing as there is often not a lot to do when shooting with the Lensbaby. I composed tight to bring the viewer closer to the scene so that they could almost be a part of it, and the moment.

girl

I wanted Rachels hair to be blowing free and her eye to peep out from under it. It was a happy accident that the wall on the right side stayed in focus while the left side is blurred out. I usually shoot with the edge 80 wide open. It’s sometimes tricky to get in focus, what you actually want in focus.

 

girl in red dress

Often when you look at a photo, you instinctively know it needs to be another way. I rotated this shot because I believe it works better this way up. I’ve done this before and sometimes it’s all the difference a photo needs to make it “right”. I’d suggest trying it with some of your images. it’s easy to do in Lightroom – just hit Cmd/Ctrl + square bracket.

I grabbed this shot below while Tony was working with the girls. I liked the moment they were creating. It’s a composite of 2 shots – both taken a few seconds apart but with two areas in relative focus. It was a bit of a rush job and I know I could have done it better – but, there you go. :-/

two girls dressed in red

And lastly, one more upside down shot. I’ve often found that doing this can often change the expression on a persons face. So that’s my Lensbaby post for this month. Short and sweet!
Feel free to leave a comment or share this post. I’m quite happy to share my Lensbaby and ICM tips and tricks with anyone on the workshops I hold. Follow along the blog circle and read the next contributor.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Read The next Lensbaby Blog: Seonaid Teal [/perfectpullquote]

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A Day in Connemara https://artoftheblur.com/2018/03/30/a-day-in-connemara/ https://artoftheblur.com/2018/03/30/a-day-in-connemara/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2018 13:05:33 +0000 http://www.johnmeephotography.com/?p=13969 I’m a member of a Facebook group called Lensbaby Blog Circle. The idea is that we all write a blog post once every month that documents a day or project shooting with a Lensbaby lens. This is my third such post. You can follow the rest of the circle at the bottom of this post.


So, earlier this month a few of us headed out for the day. Camera bags were packed and we drove in the direction the car was pointed. There was no plan or itinerary, other than to take some photographs and enjoy ourselves. Peter drove and ferried Liz, Kevin and me around the west.
We would continue until we saw something of interest, get out off the car, shoot it and move on. We headed south-west towards the coast and the ruggedness of Connemara.

a road in the evening sunshine

The road home in some evening sunshine. This was shot from the front passenger seat of a moving car.

The weather was typically west of Ireland – changeable and unpredictable. The day started off overcast and this would be enough to deter many photographers. But this group were determined to make the best of whatever Mother Nature threw at us and as it turned out, the weather improved greatly as the day wore on.
As photographers, we should be able to use our techniques and eye to make something of whatever scene we are presented with, whether there is “perfect” light or not.

The dictionary tells us:

Perfect – adjective

having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

Perfect – verb

make (something) completely free from faults or defects; make as good as possible.

And while I like dictionaries – they’re full of lovely words and their meanings, well – they’re just a little too perfect for me. They never seem to take into account the “human” psyche. And, in fairness that’s not their purpose.

irish fields and the ocean

Striping was common throughout the west of Ireland many years ago. The land was divided into long strips and apportioned to different people.

And so it is with the Lensbaby. Many will argue that its characteristics are imperfect, that blur is imperfect, that the depth of field is imperfect – which all goes to make an “imperfect” image. Indeed, many people that see these photos just cannot get their head around the fact that they are not fully sharp.

They think, why have a camera that can take technically perfect photos and then produce these? In fact, that’s one of the reasons we always want to upgrade out gear -to get a better quality image. Then, why take a step backwards and make pictures that are blurred, out of focus, under-exposed, contain flare or light leaks or are just vague?

A barn in the sunshine

My preference is to use the Lensbaby Edge 80 at the extremes – f2.8 and with the composer tilted to the max. For me, the image then becomes more about the essence of the scene.

Photography is a funny old game

Many get into it because they fancy taking some pretty pictures – something that will funnel a creative urge that is inside. Others will want to record the world as they see it – in all its realistic beauty. I kinda fall into the former group – I liked the idea of taking and making pretty pictures.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Whenever I show these type of shots to people, or at my local camera club, there is usually a mixed reaction”[/perfectpullquote]

The purists will not get them – why would he shoot a photo of a lovely place that is blurred or not realistic?

There will be those that think I’m a bit odd and humour me. Thank you. 🙂

And there will be a small cohort that can see the aesthetic or thought process at work.

And then, there’s often a nagging doubt inside of you that thinks this is like The Emperors New Clothes. That the beauty of the images is only visible to those that can truly appreciate it … and that we are therefore deluding ourselves. :-\

Person walking on hillside

Liz is almost lost in the scene. An indication of how you can be – out here in the wilderness.

So, whether you come down on the side of purism or someone that beats to a different drum, let us all go out and enjoy taking our pictures and recognise that enjoyment in our fellow photographers.

Don’t be concerned with what others think of you but be authentic, be willing to take the road less travelled if necessary, and be willing to stay connected to your core.

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Do follow along and read the other posts in the circle. Feel free to share or comment. Thanks for reading this far.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Read The next Lensbaby Blog: Ute Reckhorn[/perfectpullquote]

 

 

 

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