Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Cabled Scarf and Photography 101 ~

I am so happy to finally have this scarf off the needles!!!  While it's been a labor of love, and the yarn sinfully seductive to knit, the cabling did take forever.  We're talking years here.  Not full time, obviously.  Think more short but regular forced marches.  Ah, but what a scarf it is and well worth the effort!

Since this is a very straight forward cabling pattern I thought instead of discussing the pattern I would talk about another hobby related to blogging namely, photography.  When I began blogging back in 2007 I had no particular interest in photography and I took pictures solely for the purpose of documenting my knitting.  But over the years taking pictures has slowly evolved into more than just a means to an end.  While it is certainly related and complimentary to knitting, I am finding it enjoyable to take pictures of everything from landscapes to Simcha (my dog and favorite subject!).

I also believe that the ability to communicate through pictures is increasingly becoming a necessary skill in today's world.  Above and beyond documenting knitting (important as that is) everything from your profile picture to the images you upload are your "voice" in an Age of Photomedium.  Don't worry if you've not heard that term before.  I just made it up.  But don't miss my point.  It is important for everyone to become fluent and comfortable in expressing themselves with and through images just to keep up with the times.

If you are like me, you have probably come to the realization that taking a nice picture whether of your knitting or otherwise is more difficult than you expect.  But there are some basic rules and helpful tips that can greatly improve your pictures.  Recently I have come across several professional photographers who share helpful tips for amateurs and I recommend visiting Jeff Sullivan Photography and Rick Sammon Photography.  Not only are they amazing photographers they also really seem to care about helping others improve their photography.  I've added these links to my sidebar and as I come across others I will be adding them to a growing list of helpful photography sites.

As a first step to improving your photography skills I recommend that you try an exercise that I do myself and I think is an excellent way to understand the importance of lighting to pictures.  Choose a subject and photograph it several times throughout the day and/or in different locations but do not download any of the pictures until the end of the day.  When you download your pictures all together you can more easily compare the images and see how the different lighting effected the picture.  Understanding the importance of lighting is the first step to improving your photography skills.

It also helps to consider the composition of your picture and whenever possible avoid taking a picture on a wrinkled surface such as I have done in the picture below.  Whoops!  Alas, life and photographs are rarely perfect.   And that's my final point - don't be too hard on yourself - it's all in fun.

Particulars:  Cabled Cowl designed by Olga Buraya-Kefelian (blogs as Olga Jazzzy); 3 skeins Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino; US 7 needles.  My only modification was to knit this with the goal of wearing it as a scarf rather than a cowl.  It was too bulky to be comfortably worn as a cowl for our temperate Southern California winters. Block dimensions 56" x 8." 

N.B.   There are two distinct styles of photographs on this blog.  Steve takes all the pictures of me wearing my knitting and any picture without me in it is taken by me.  I am also proud to point out that the floral painting in the top picture is an original art work of Steve's and it makes me smile to see it every day bringing color and beauty into our home.

Summer DIY Crafting ~

Painting a bird feeder is a fun and quick craft project and a perfect way to welcome Spring and migratory birds.  For this project I simply bought an unfinished bird feeder at a craft store (Michael's) and after sealing it with Gesso I decorated it with acrylic paints and filled it with wild bird feed.

And look!  There's already an interested bird!!!  You might recognize this feathered friend from my post Blue Bird in Wool Felt.  Despite a near death experience in the jaws of Simcha this little bird hopped out just as chirpy as ever.

Until next time, be well and love well and embrace all changes that time brings from the changing seasons to the ways we interact with each other.


Willow said...

What a beautiful scarf. I can see why it took so long: all. those. cables. Wow!
Thanks for the links to the photography blogs. I'll look them up. The teacher of the class I recently took said that 'lighting is everything'.

gMarie said...

I take horrible photos. I have no patience for it, but I really need to learn. The flip side is I really hate having my photo made.

You, however, always look beautiful in every picture I see of you. Steve's painting is wonderful. The scarf is beautiful. But where is that lovely dog? g

betty said...

It's a lovely scarf, and the photos from both you and Steve look great. I'm always impressed with how even the lighting in the photos of you wearing your knitwear.

My problem is, I absolutely hate having my picture taken, both by myself (using a tripod) and by others. I generally avoid having my picture taken in social gatherings, and try to make sure that my image is never tagged in any facebook photo or anywhere else. I never show my face in any social site profile photo.

This mus indicate some deep psychological issue!

Tracy said...

LOVE the scarf, Claudia... the color is perfect too! I've not done cables in a while. I can image this did take some time! You are very right about the important of photography these days. If one is active online in some way, photos become part of one's expressive voice. It takes time and care to learn how to use one's visual voice. Your insight here were great sharing--thank you! Steve's painting is sooo beautiful, so cheerful! And your birdhouse is so sweet. You are a creative super-couple! :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

SissySees said...

Another beautiful knit!

I'm not taking many photos these days, and when I do, they're almost always with my phone so... Thanks for the reminder that photography is an art.

The Knight's aunt paints birdhouses. I don't enjoy much of anything associated with painting, other than observation!

Renee said...

such a beautiful scarf!
photography is a very strong expression of self, I love how you've embraced it and shared yourself with us.
memories are sweeter with an image to capture them

Susan Weaver said...

Claudia--beautiful scarf as well as the painted flower backdrop! Also, many thanks for posting the various photography links. It is still a new medium for me and I'm always looking for ways to improve my budding skills.

Anonymous said...

Love your glamorous pose in the first photo! Looks like another great and cozy shawl for you!

Anonymous said...

Really interesting post, Claudia. Steve is really talented. Your scarf is beautiful. Such wonderful stitch definition. Which brings out all.those.cables. Congratulations for finishing it! And thanks so much for the photography links. Chloe

Anonymous said...

Wanted to add that all those cables were worth it! Chloe

Hilary said...

I bet it feels WONDERFUL to have that scarf off the needles (I hate having projects hang over my head like that...and I have several!) -- and, not least because you now get to wear it! It's absolutely gorgeous.

Speaking of gorgeous...I love Steve's painting. SO COOL. What a multi-talented household!!

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Thank you all for your very nice comments on the scarf and Steve's painting! Only fellow knitters can truly appreciate all the work that went into those cables LOL Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter celebration ~

Barnabas - bed and breakfast blogging said...

love it Claudia, as usualy you look very glam and I love those morning glory flowers. I take literally hundreds of photographs - I started doing a "daily walk" photo set on facebook and it's just amazing how when you scroll through them quickly you can actually see the seasonal colours change - like one of those old cartoon books we used to make.

Gail said...

A beautiful scarf Claudia! Oh the patience that you have! Photography is a love of mine and rarely do I get to spend time learning about all the new techniques! Happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

This scarf is incredible. I love it (as you can see I am having fun becoming familiar with your blog!)