Cloudy Mirrors

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
Khalil Gibran

I love mixing two mediums, surfaces and colours together, particularly with photography and have been experimenting with this recently, using jewellery, mirrors and beautiful patterns. This is something I did recently, a compact mirror reflecting a cloudy sky, hinting at something philosophical and whimsical. Neither the mirror nor the clouds dominate the picture, and you’re left with something that feels almost like a painting.

cloudy

These beautiful gemstone compact mirrors are available to buy here.

London Film and Comic Con 2014

My sister and I were able to visit the London Film and Comic Con this weekend, over Friday, Saturday and Sunday (we just went to the Saturday event, though), which was a really fun experience, especially as this is the second comic-con showe we’ve been to after the MCM London Comic Con last year. The event was held at Earl’s Court and showcased a number of things – I love that Comic Con has now become much more than just comic books and superheroes. This one covered film and TV series, comic books, computer games and also fiction books. There were a number of TV and film celebrities available for photos and signings, and also comic book artists and book authors who were in attendance, ready to sign their work.

DSC_3683

My sister had the foresight to buy ‘Earlybird tickets’ – which still meant queuing up but it meant that buy paying a little extra, we could get into the venue at 9.00am, which we managed to do. While queuing we saw a huge variety of costumes, merchandise and cute little children dressed up as Supergirl/Superman/Spiderman/that little girl from Dispicable Me which were a fun prelude (and a sign of who the real fanboys were).
When we finally got inside, the place was already busy and there was lots of things to see and visit. The venue was divided into different ‘zones’ for varying interests as well: the Book Zone, the Comic Zone, the Anime Zone, the Video Game zone, the Cosplay zone and Artists Alley, alongside the talks, celebrity photoshoots and signings which were going on, not to mention various raffles, stalls and competitions.

As always, this year’s Film and Comic Con was full of costumes which had been really well thought out, I loved some of the originality of costumes, not to mention the attention to details which made some of these look really good (a lot of them stayed in character too, Chewbacca spent the whole time growling and making squealing noises everytime we went past him).

The celebrities were a big appeal for us. We managed to see most of them with the exception of Carrie Fischer (Princess Leia in Star Wars) who we missed, and comic book legend Stan Lee, who was in a separate area and which we would have had to buy extra tickets for (which were expensive but still very popular!) Below are just some of the celebrities we saw, there were a lot more which I haven’t included! We recognised pretty much most of them, partly because I watch too much TV and also because some of these people were pretty cool. The celebrities all seemed really nice and down-to-earth, which was great to see.

There were also a lot of talks going on during the day with various actors and writers, my sister and I are big Sherlock fans (the British version) and there was meant to be a talk called ‘Sherlocked’ with the writers and producers of the show, which we wanted to attend. However after we took one look at the huge queue and the fact that it would be at least an hour and half wait, we decided not to go (and just stream the talk online at home!) – it was just too hot and would have made the long day longer, if we hadn’t been fasting it would have been worth the wait.

I loved the fact that there was a separate section for YALC – Young Adult Literature Con, which was apparently the first one in the UK. I’m a big book-reader and aspiring author, and it’s always great to see support out there for people who want to write. There were also a lot of names I recognised, many from books I read as a teenager whom I was a big fan of like Malorie Blackman, Darren Shan and Patrick Ness, who are pretty well-known.

And of course there were hundreds of stalls, booths and tables to buy all sorts of things, comic books, costumes, gadgets, computer games, toys and souveniers. We kept an eye out for anything we wanted to buy, but some of the things were a little pricey (I wanted a comic-book print dress but wasn’t really prepared to spend £65 on it), but it was still good to see the buzz of people selling all sorts of things.

My sister and I spent a lot of time looking at various comics, gadgets and quriky stuff, and we ended up at the table of an emerging artist, Hameed Catel, creator of kirucomics which we had a good discussion with as he told us the premise of his two comic book series (and also sold us one, which he also signed!) I really like the idea of both of his comic series, one about a young thief who is suddenly given powers, and who doesn’t behave as heroic as he should, which sounded pretty funny – the Champion of Dema graphic novel is the one we bought. He also told us about his other comic series which was waiting to be published, about a detective called Hani. We both really liked the idea of this one because it seemed more Middle-Eastern based, and also very Muslim-friendly, goodness knows there aren’t enough Muslim superheroes out there, although it’s a growing niche! The series is still waiting to be published very soon, I’ll post about it as soon as I hear more!

DSC_3675

We also stopped to play a few vintage arcade games, as well as look at the latest games being released (I beat my sister at Pacman, naturally). It was good to see people of all ages at this place, there were an area of old-style arcade games grouped together which gave an arcade-feel, as well as lots of computer and television monitors around with the more modern games.

 

Throughout the venue were plenty of displays, from books, TV series and films, and all pretty spectacular. I love the Sherlock set (I have no idea if its the original one, but I wouldn’t be surprised), and the Batmobile (something my nephews would love).

Because we were fasting, we didn’t want to spend all day at the Comic Con and left in the afternoon after we had spent time looking at everything and stopping again to peeki again at several celebrities. It was also a really warm day, and as we walked out of the building back to the Underground Tube station, we could see the queues of people waiting to come in were still getting longer and going down past the roads – it really was astounding how popular this London Film and Comic Con is, and how far people travelled to come.

DSC_3808

All in all we had a good day, and it was interesting to meet various fans who interpreted film, TV and comics in their own way. I don’t think I’m as big a fan as some of the people who attended, but it was fun, and who knows, maybe next time I’ll go in costume!

Giant Paper Flowers: A Tutorial

I came across a tutorial a while back about making giant paper flowers, and thought they were beautiful. They make unique bouquets for brides and they look striking, big, pieces of colour which can make a whole picture and also add a bit of fun.

I found the idea of giant paper flowers pretty inspiring, and my hands itched to try making one for myself, so I did and here’s how it turned out. I didn’t realise how fiddly the whole thing is though, so be warned! And you also need a LOT of floral wire and glue, and lots of patience, as it took me a few hours to make this rose (mainly due to waiting for glue to dry, pieces to be lined up etc etc.)

So here’s my tutorial on how to make a giant rose, although I can’t take all the credit as there was a very good tutorial here by Green Wedding Shoes, which was easy to follow, as well as the original step-by-step by the Martha Stewart blog. Please ‘scuse the carpet background, pictures were taken in the Spare Oom (which is currently unoccupied in my house and has decent lighting), it’s a good thing you can’t see the mess all over the floor and the newspaper scattered around.

DSC_3563

You will need:
• 1 Roll of floral tape (I found mine on eBay)
• 6 x 18-gauge floral stem wire (again, from eBay)
• 4 x sheets of doublette crepe paper for petals, size is 10 x 49 inches per sheet (I bought mine here, but you don’t HAVE to use doublette paper because it’s not cheap, plain crepe paper works just as well if you don’t want the two-tone effect)
• 1 sheet of Doublette crepe paper in green for leaves, calyx, stem
• 1 round pencil (any colour, I don’t mind)
• Craft glue (I used a standard crafts glue which seems to work on everything, including my fingers)
• Crepe paper templates (download from Martha Stewart)
• 3 x copies of teardrop template
• 8 x copies of the heart-shaped template
• 2 x copies of the leaf template
• 1 x copy of the calyx template (the zig-zaggy one)

DSC_3520

DSC_3536

DSC_3566

And here’s a baby for scale, and my finished rose. She wouldn’t let go of the carrot, too busy nibbling it, but I like to think that it adds character to the whole picture.

20140420_172330

Let me know if this is something you ever end up trying – I’d love to know how your attempt went!

Reflected Buildings

So I was walking across a bridge near my workplace while the sun was setting, and thought I’d take a quick snap of the way the buildings on one side of the bridge was reflected on the glass panes of the bridge. I like the end effect of this photograph, the buildings and colours were reflected so that it looked like some weird alternate reality colliding with another one (although I would have preferred a space-ship or two as well in the background!)

So although this is an everyday image that I walk past nearly every day, here’s a different twist on it. May you ever look at your world-view in a different way each time you look at it (and happy Monday!)

20131028_163109Also part of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

Pics & Tricks: Perspectives – A Car View

It can be interesting to play around with angles of an object to create an optical illusion which can change perspective with different views. One of the things I’ve learned over the years as I’ve gotten more and more interested in photography is how to present an object and make the most of what you see (and think you can see!)

This is a car that I took a photograph of today, which I took from the front to get a flattering angle – the red of this car looks beautiful:

DSC_3432

So now you’ve seen the car, here’s what it really is, a toy car! (to be fair, it did look plasticky from the first picture, but I couldn’t hide that!) When the picture is taken from the top and further away as a whole picture, you can see what it is, rather than distorting the picture to show another reality.

DSC_3435

So here the pictures are side by side so you can see the difference in angles and zoom – there’s a different effect created in each right? I’d love to try this out with big (and smaller) buildings and landmarks, to see the different end results you get from various angles – something for future posts, I think!

carAlso part of this week’s Photo Challenge: Perspectives

Weekend Pretty…Rainbow Silhouettes

I’ve been playing around with sunlight and glass (mainly my jewellery at the moment!) to see what kind of results I get, particularly because I love the beautiful, vibrant rainbows which are refracted onto the surface. These are just some pretty rings with crystals and stones which reflected onto the plain surface that I positioned in various angles to get the best light from. Here’s a few of my better shots of the silhouettes and the rainbow colours:

DSC_0891

DSC_0892

DSC_0900

I played around with these to combine the shadow images in one picture so that there was a complete montage of silhouettes and rainbow reflections. I’m not sure if the end result is better combined or rather than with each one separate, but I still kind of like it. While this has given me an interesting exercise to play around with, I think I have a lot more to experiment with in terms of lighting, colours and using different objects – so perhaps more pictures coming soon!

DSC_0900 - Copy

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let there be Light

I’ve posted before about the values of light in photography, and I haven’t really changed my opinion since my last post. I though I’d focus this post on landscapes and castles (especially since I’ve been to a few beautiful castles in the past!) to show how light can be importantly, although this depends on how you use it and the end effect it gives.

I find that castles give interesting variations

1. Rochester Castle
This was a fun castle to visit, mainly because of of all the rocky places to climb and the dark hiding places. When I visited, the weather was pretty overcast so gave all of my pictures an overall gloomy, dark look. I think this went well with atmosphere of the castle, so I chose to go with my ‘no-flash’ philosophy here and liked what I ended up with – the dark crevices and corners were just as dramatic and effective as the rocky walls and open windows. So i think this is a great way of showing how light can also be effective when there’s not a lot of it.

war (1)war (3) war (2)

2. Hever Castle
I liked this castle because of how green and lush everything looked (although it helps that I visited in summer time). I haven’t edited these pictures at all, because there was no need – everything looked beautifully colourful and the lighting for these landscapes are just perfect to me – they set off the colours well and the shadows are still part of the picture of make it more ‘3D’. This is opposite to the pictures above where the focus is shadow, here light is more illuminating and brings out the colour more.

hever (1) hever (2) hever (3)

3. Leeds Castle
I visited this beautiful place with my family, and have a lot of fun memories here, because there is a lot of atmosphere, beautiful peacocks and a giant maze to discover. The pictures below show a mix of light and shadow, and again are unedited, which has an almost romantic effect on the features of the castle. I also like the fact that the light doesn’t hide the flaws of the castle, like it’s cracks, but uses the shadows and lines to add a bit of character.

leeds (1) leeds (2) leeds (3)

Over the years, I’ve gotten into the habit of not using the flash on my camera to make use of the light and atmosphere in a landscape – and the pictures above only show my why this works for me. I’d like to play around with flash lights and colours to see what I can end up with, but I think for me, no-flash will always be the way to go!

Part of the Weekly Photo Challenge for this week

MCM London Comic Con 2013

I mentioned before that I visited the MCM London Comic Con, which is a big comic convention that takes place in London twice a year. While it’s not as huge as the San Diego Comic Con, it’s still pretty popular, and draws a huge crowd with interests in drawing, comics, gaming and various films.

We spent the day looking at comics and merchandise for sale, meeting comic book artists and seeing hundreds of fans in costume (known as ‘cosplay’), and generally had an interesting day. I’ve always wanted to go to a Comic Con but have never had the chance, so it was a different experience for me to see various different groups of people get together and have fun.

Here’s a few pictures of the hundreds I took, some of the costumes we saw were just mind-blowing, with some really great detail. I don’t have a single favourite costume because there were far too many, but among my top favourites would be a girl dressed up as Cersei Lannister from the tv series Game of Throne (and looked spot on!), and a girl dressed as Storm from the X-Men, white contacts and all!

Stormtroopers against the horizon at London Comic Con…!

I attended the MCM London Comic Con today, which was great fun, not least because of the amazing, detailed costumes worn by a lot of the fans. I’ll be posting properly about the Comic Con in a couple of days, but in the meantime here is one of my favourite photographs that I took at the Comic Con.

I’m not sure if it’s because of the awkward posing of the Stormtroopers, the fact that the backdrop of the Royal Docks behind make an almost anachronistic setting (it’s not the Death Star, is it!) or even the fact that I wanted to (and almost did!) dress up as Darth Vader (the hijabi version) for the Comic Con that makes this picture memorable for me – but I do think these were one of the many highlights of the day : )

DSC_3417Posted for this week’s Photo Challenge – Horizons

A Black, White & Blue Saturated Peacock

I know, I’ve used this image before, but it really is one of my favourites! This week challenge is all about colour, or rather saturation, and I thought I’d play around with colour again, this time fade the centre of the peacock’s bright colours into grey-scale and black and white, to make the centre stand out more.

I don’t often use black and white pictures with colour as focus, as sometimes the colour can be distracting or may not look very effective, but I love the vivid blues here and the splashes of moss green.

What do you think of this effect? Any ideas of how I could play around with it some more?

DSC_0723 (2)