Sunday, 30 January 2011

Spring Madness Freebie Prize Draw!

[Update: That's this month's freebie prize draw closed to new entrants now. You can still rate, recommend, review, tweet, fb like, blog about it etc. to improve your chance of winning. You've got until the weekend, when I'll be doing the draw. Good luck!]

As some of you who are past winners will already know, this is a great chance to own some of my signed originals.

Valuable give-away prizes

It's been well over a year now since my last freebie prize draw. With January almost over and doom and gloom just about everywhere you look right now, I thought I'd do my bit to cheer up your New Year by announcing my most valuable give-away yet!

Where's the catch?

There isn't one! This is part of my marketing campaign to get my work "out there" and to get the word spread about it. With your help, by taking part, you'll give my website and photos much more exposure — just what a struggling artist needs, hehe!

The Prizes

The top prizes are two of my ex-exhibition fine art images on canvas, signed on the back by me to show they're originals. Not only those canvases, I'm also going to give away 3 second prizes of signed, mounted fine art prints of mine, all lovingly created in my home studio.

Hold on to your hat, I'm not finished yet... 5 lucky people will win a 5-pack random selection from my fine-art postcards, to either collect or send on to deserving friends.

And finally, on top of all that, 10 lucky people will win a 5.1cm square Rope Knot fridge magnet from my Zazzle store:

Yes, 20 prizes in total! How's that for Spring Madness?

How to win

So what do you have to do to be in with a chance?
  • Only people who have signed up for my newsletter are eligible..
    if you've already joined my blog or signed up to my website with Google's Friend Connect, just check your settings for my site (click your "face", choose options, site settings, messaging, and make sure you're set to receive my newsletters)
  • Send an email to with yes please in the subject
    — this will give you your first chance of winning!
  • Lots of other chances are to be had:
    • get over to one of my mono, colour or flora galleries and rate, recommend and / or review your favourite photo there, saying what you like about it
    • come back to this blog post and leave a comment saying what you've done
    • ..or stumble the photo you like, tweet about it, buzz it, post about it on your own blog, facebook, squidoo lens... etc...
    • whenever you leave a comment on my blog post saying what you've done, that's another chance you get!
So rate, recommend and review, blog, link, tweet, buzz, facebook and stumble as many photos as you like, another winning chance every time!  But please only do this with ones you really like.

Will you win one of the freebies?

Ok, so how do I select the winners? Simple...
  • From those on the mailing list who reply as above, I randomly choose two winners for the canvases
  • From those who comment on my blog post as above, I'll randomly draw the remaining prize winners
Winners will be announced in my next newsletter and on my blog after the freebie draw closes on Valentine's Day.

If you are one of the lucky winners you'll need to email me a delivery address to send your gift to. If you're nervous about revealing your home address, it's ok to give me a PO Box number or business address, it's your choice.

Good luck — remember, you've got until Valentine's Day!

If you know someone who you think would like to take part, point them to this posting so they can get on my newsletter list. They'll get the chance to sign up for it when they join my blog or sign up with Google Friend Connect on my website.

[Edit] I've now added a panel at the top of the right hand column where you can see past newsletters and sign up for it (do it, do it NOW!)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

A timeless story - Man and His Dog

I managed to squeeze one more out of those shots I mentioned in my last post. I didn't think this one would work but I was determined to give it a go as it was quite promising.

Man and His Dog

I was really drawn by the way Mans' face was hovering in the light just above Willow's head as he watched her posing — his expression was perfect for it.

I had to fight again with camera shake and noise - ISO 1600, f4 1/15th second but I think I've just about coped with it ok in the digital darkroom.What do you think?

Man and His Dog

This is Willow, owner of her human master, Mans. She really is a gorgeous dog, alert, adorable, sort of obedient but a bit slow on the uptake sometimes!

I'd love to hear from any other folks owned by Pomeranians out there :) So don't be shy, say "hello"!

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

Saturday, 15 January 2011

A battle with noise

These shots are the only two that were worth rescuing from a whole bunch, maybe 50 or more..

A lesson in being prepared

I half-heartedly took my camera bag around to some friends with the intention of seeing if I could get some shots of their Pomeranians. They have three, a mum, Bonnie, and her two puppies, Hamish and Willow. I've featured a shot of Hamish before but didn't really have a decent one of Willow.
But being half-hearted, I didn't check my gear before I left and when I got there and dragged out my bag I found I didn't have any batteries in my flashgun —doh!

Anyway, the only thing to do was to bump up the ISO to the max (it was late evening) knowing I'd get noisy images, but what do you do? The on-camera flash casts harsh shadows so that was a no-no, so I din't really have any choice. Even at ISO 1600, the colour one was f5.6 at 1/13th second and the bw one was f5.6 1/6th of a second.

I'm so glad the lens has in-built image stabalization!

Anyway, without more ado, here are the shots that made it...

Willow Exerting Mind Control "You will do as I say...!"
Willow is a real cutie and a bundle of fun. She has loads of energy and, in common with poms everywhere, seems to have an uncanny way of letting you know what she's thinking, just by looking at you in a certain way. Sometimes when I'm there I get the idea that it's us who are being house-trained by them.

You know, getting up and opening the door for them. Getting up and letting them back in again. Getting up and following them to the patio doors when they seem to be asking you to look at something. Getting up and opening the door for them, letting them back in again... and so it goes on!

I Do Look Pretty!
..but you can forgive these beautiful creatures almost anything. Just look at her pretending that there's something interesting taking her attention just out of shot. Something to add a little bit extra, a little bit of alertness and tension - like she could dash off at any moment. Like a pro model! Honestly, they're more intelligent than you'd credit!!

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

Friday, 7 January 2011

RNIB Raffle Donation

Happy to help a local fund-raiser...

In aid of ...

..the Royal National Institute for the Blind.
Some fine, upstanding degree students over at City College, Plymouth, have put together a fund-raiser Salsa evening, culminating in a raffle. It's on the 21st Jan, so if you're local, there's still time to get a ticket!

So I got a very nice email before Christmas from a lady called Nicole, asking me if I'd like to contribute a piece of artwork for the raffle. Well, filled with the Christmas spirit, how could I refuse?

In all seriousness, my gran suffered from all sorts of sight problems and always had nothing but praise for the way the RNIB helped her, so I'm glad I was able to return the favour.

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, so, although I've got a fair selection of my work taking up space rather than being on gallery walls (there you go, a sign of the times), it meant that there was a good selection for Nicole to choose from when she arrived to collect. I helped and we finally settled on a framed version of "Ships May Come and Go". It looks similar to...

Ships May Come and Go

I hope it works out really well for them and lots of money gets raised for this very worthy cause. If you're local, do get along - who knows, you might even see me there!

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

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year! Save 20.11% on Mugs, T-shirts and Posters! - UK only

Happy New Year!

The one you've been waiting for! Save 20.11% on Mugs, T-shirts and Posters! Get over to my store and choose something special for yourself, friend or family. Go on, you deserve it!

Hurry, offer ends January 5, 2011 at 23:59 GMT
When you get to the checkout, use Code: NEWYEARSSALE
full offer details here

May 2011 bring you the best ..and the strength to deal with it!
~~Mark (Highton Ridley)


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