Thursday, 23 September 2010

For the chocolate lover - Chocolate Panda Shopping Bag and more...

New design at my Zazzle store...

Chocolate Shopping / tote bag

Don't you just love chocolate? If you can't be without it, here's a great bag for getting all your chocolate purchases home! Or maybe one of your friends has a bit of a chocolate habit? If so, this is perfect for them.

The design features a lovable, cuddly Panda, with fur made from chocolate - a great combination.

The text is fully customizable and as designed (which you can change) reads "Just big enough for this week's supply of chocolate !!"

The environmentally friendly canvas bag has a wide bottom that makes it perfect for groceries or larger items (of chocolate!). It's made from durable 340g cotton twill and has cotton web handles reinforced with stress-point stitching. Dimensions: 33cm wide x 39cm high x 18cm deep

See more of my gifts and greetings cards using the Chocolate Panda design. So yummy you'll want to lick the screen!

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Playing with perspective

For a while I've been meaning to do a vid tut on straightening perspectives. I set out with the intention of getting a shot I could use for it...

Ah those best intentions...

I know you all like me to keep my vid tuts as simple to follow as possible, so I was after a clean shot with rather strong perspectives that could be put right with a couple of adjustments. As I found out later, to make this possible in future I'll really need to use a tripod and spirit level to get the shot perfectly horizontal.

Or I might cheat! More on that later...

Anyway, when I got the shots into the digital darkroom (and spent ages straightening the perspectives to boot!) I found that I'd naturally taken a couple of my signature shots.

Bell Tower Nappy

Pardon the title - but that's basically what it is. The scaffolding structure is to prevent debris falling on the heads of folk or their cars as they come and go from the visitors car park, on the other side of the tunnel. It's just an extra precaution as they work on the refurbishment.

So, what attracted me to this viewpoint and shot? On top of all those lovely shapes, patterns and textures in the stone, I really liked the almost complete darkness of the tunnel and the way it framed the wall on the other side of the courtyard beyond. Although it's a shame I wasn't observant enough to wait another 7 minutes :)

Overhead Protection

Here's a close up of the nappy. I liked the interaction of the triangular forms created by the deep perspective, also the lighting coming through on the underside of the boards and, finally, the wonderful contrasting textures of the stone and wood. In the digital darkroom, my processing was all about enhancing those features.

Thanks for sharing your time with me and my monochrome struggles! I hope you've enjoyed looking :)

Oh, about that cheating I mentioned. I think I might take the top shot and apply a couple of perspective adjustments. If I make the resulting shot the one that I start with in the vid tut, well I'll then know it only takes a couple of moves to correct. That way, I'll be able to keep the viewer's concentration on the technique itself and not have them distracted by too many of my clumsy attempts to get it right!

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

White Dartmoor Pony Portrait

Ok, so when I said it was the last Dartmoor shot in my previous post, I fibbed a little! Only a little mid-you because it came from my last-but-one trip to Dartmoor. Actually I've got a few more left to do from both trips still in the digital darkroom and I'll post them as and when...


I'm no expert but from what I do know it does have the look of a pure bred Dartmoor Pony about it... ..and it was shot on Dartmoor!

I had to darken down the image a fair bit first and then emphasise those glorious textures in the mane and the musculature of its body.

To do get the emphasis I was after, I dodged the highlights and burned down the midtones a little. There were a couple of small distractions that had to go—some blades of grass that were reflecting the light too brightly in the foreground and a piece of bright litter behind its bum.

I hope you like the end result as much as I do :)

More to come so visit again soon!

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Monday, 13 September 2010

Last from recent Dartmoor photo shoot

I thought I'd treat myself with this shot...

Infra-red treatment

The tree was quite surreal in itself, just surviving in its struggle against the prevailing wind; bent over so far that the trunk weaves close to and even into the ground!

I had been meaning to have a play with an infra-red approach for quite a while, and during the processing of this shot, it became more and more apparent that this would be a great shot to try it out.

That's what I meant by treating myself—a little experimentation without thought for any commercial aspects, just pandering entirely to my own tastes.

Surreal Horizontal Tree

In the dying, golden-red rays of the setting sun, it could almost be that the tree is rising, reaching to bathe in the explosion of light before the light shrinks back once more and is enveloped by the encroaching night.

Well, that's what it says to me, anyway :)

I did a little dodging and burning in Photoshop (around the tree leaves and the top edge of the trunk, just to help bring your eye through the shot). If you've kept up to date with my blog, you might have spotted that I've used the techniques from my recent video tutorials, Centering A Viewer's Attention and Perfect Contrast in this one.

I hope you've enjoyed sharing the image with me. Watch out for some from Royal William Yard soon...

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Dartmoor Trees in black and white

As promised yesterday, here are the shots in b&w

Wind-formed Trees

This is the first, a tree making the best of the wind-swept moors. Totally bent over by the prevailing winds, this is survival on the edge!

Dartmoor is such a gorgeous place when blessed by the heat and stillness of a summer's day. Late in the summer it cools rather quickly once the sun begins to drop, as it did on this day. Even though the scene was brightly lit by the golden rays of the setting sun, there was more than a little chill in the air.

Growing Up Is Hard

I've given this already high-contrast scene even more of a boost to accentuate the harsh environment and the wind-swept nature of the tree.

I love the way the trunk rises and falls in its growth. Each time it makes some upward progress, the prevailing wind forces it back downwards again, so it has ended up snaking along the ground in an interesting way.

Two Trees on Dartmoor

This was taken only a few metres away at the other end of the raised bank from the first. These two trees have fared much better, so must be out of the full brunt of the prevailing winds. It's hard to believe that just a few paces can make such a difference!

I hope they were worth waiting for after my little tease yesterday :)

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Hot out of the digital darkroom

After an internet outage for a few hours, I emerged from my digital darkroom...

Late summer, Dartmoor

At the beginning of August I managed a half-hour on Dartmoor.

I'd wanted a standing stone circle or just some impressive standing stones but only managed to find these. The light was my friend in the end but it did take a while.

A thin band of dark cloud lying above the horizon was blocking the rays of the evening sun when I first arrived, but I could see that as the sun set, it would burst through into that layer of cloud-free sky on the horizon.

Dartmoor Ruins and Tree

I used the time looking around the site, checking out various angles and perspectives. I took a few test shots while waiting for the sun to peek under those clouds. I was starting to get really cold (doesn't take long for a thin rake like me, hehe!) when the sun finally burst through in all its glory.

So I ran around the various places I'd already sussed out, firing off shots and doing my best to keep camera-shake to a minimum as I went.

Dartmoor Old Archaeology

I hope you like the way these have turned out. I'm quite pleased with the way they have caught the low light of the sun—one of the reasons they call this time of day the golden hour.

I'll tease you a bit now... I've done another two taken in the same location as black and white—I couldn't resist it and they were great for it.

Peachy indeed they are—but you'll have to wait until tomorrow for them...

Until then, Cheers ~~Mark

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Friday, 10 September 2010

Desiderata on Fruiting Wild Oat

Since starting my store on Zazzle (American version here) my top best-seller has been Desiderata on a variety of images - almost 50 so far and counting... Well, I finished another one...

Fruiting Wild Oat

This is one of my favourite colour images, gentle autumn pastels and a beautifully crisp wild oat, seeds near to bursting from their husks. The image's theme echoes some of those in Desiderata and makes a beautiful accompaniment to it.

One of those is the representation of the young adults that the verses are aimed at, by the seeds about to burst from their husks.

When those seeds emerge, everything will be fairly cushtie, but in the out of focus brightness of the real world there are many surprises, joys and pitfalls awaiting them.

I think one of the reasons this appeals to teens (and adults, too!) is that it doesn't particularly ban anything and it arms you with unbiased advice that's good to have when faced with anything that life occasionally throws at you from left field.

And for this reason it gets past those rebelling, disorientating youthful hormones and sinks in, no matter how surly they look when reading it!

As for the look and feel of the prose, the text uses three layers of goodness - the back-most is a Gaussian-blurred version to give it something to "sit" on, the layer in front of that is a drop "shadow" of the text to provide contrast and some sharpness. The layer on top is the real text, now beautifully readable in all areas of the image and matching its hues.

So, how do you like it? Is it appealing, with harmony and balance between image and prose?

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Coordinated Wedding Stationery

I'm proud to announce my new page dedicated to Bridal and Wedding Stationery
(trumpet roll.....)

Total Weddings

The hand-picked (by me) Zazzle stores that I've featured all specialize in coordinated sets of stationery in many gorgeous designs. Each can be customized or personalised with names, invitation details etc., and many allow for a photo of the couple to be included.

Each featured storekeeper also offers a bespoke design service to tweak the stationery to your exact needs, if needed.

And with Zazzle's fast service and superb customer satisfaction guarantee, there's no place better to buy!

So if you or someone you know has some wedding bells in the not-too-distant future, pass this link on to them—it's so good, it could even count as your wedding gift to them!! Ok, maybe a bit cheeky :)

So, here it is Total Weddings, check it out and you'll see what I mean—some really breathtaking designs for the bride-to-be. Enjoy :)

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Hooray for me - a raft of new sales!

Forgive the pun in the title - I didn't notice until after, hehe!

New off- and on-line sales!


After a very poor summer in the bricks and mortar galleries, I decided to have a "tag sale" at one of them to test the water. (There's nothing special about the name "tag sale" it's simply one where you attach a luggage tag with details of the sale price to each item.)

It's only be on for around 10 days at Martin Bush's gallery in Royal William Yard (map) and I've already sold three framed prints. So it seems to be working :)

The three I sold are Fuel Terminal Railway, Sutton Back Lane and Haystack and Tracks:

On-line via my Zazzle store

I've been selling a slow but steady stream of products using my fine-art in my Zazzle store. Here's an example of a recent sale: a framed canvas of my "Desiderata on Lake's Edge" piece.

What's new in store?

I've been designing some fun cards, party invites and trick-or-treat tshirts, ready for Halloween. And I've been up to my usual trick of composing some groaner-verses for the cards :) Well, you've gotta laugh, ain't you?

(click on any you're interested in for more details)

Just thought I'd share :) Have a great week, all!

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Up to 60% off in my Zazzle Store - Hurry, ends soon!!

Zazzle are having a labor day sale, valid until this coming Monday

Get your coupon code

Labor Day Weekend Sale! Up to 60% OFF! Click For Code (opens in a new window, shows Ts&Cs)

If you've had your heart set on any of my posters, shoes, t-shirts, bags or aprons, now's the ideal time to buy with up to 60% off the net price when you use the coupon code!!


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