Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Stories overlapping and intertwining

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

I’ve just started reading Trinity: a novel of Ireland by Leon Uris, as I finished The Professor and the Madman this morning, and this was one my DH expressed an interest in my opinion of. I’ve seen novels by Uris before, but not read any of them. At the moment this is sharing the opening set-piece of Dubliners: the wake of an old man, respected in the community (if not by all), as viewed by a young boy connected to his family. I haven’t got far enough in it to say more than that as yet. Already, though, it’s got my DH and I discussing Irish history again, which is never a bad thing.

Still, if I’m to get to even having read a quarter of last year’s total books (320), I do need to get a move on, as I’m at precisely a fifth (64) today. Not that anyone besides me does or should care about that…

37. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling

I believe I was given one copy of this and offered two or three more. Not sure if this says more about me or the book (I was being offered once read copies, where the purchaser thought it unlikely they’d reread the book). It is perhaps more of a book of children’s fairy tales than might be expected from Hermione’s fascination with it in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but for those who enjoyed the Harry Potter series in its totality it’s certainly worth reading once, and for more than the sake of completeness.

38. Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon

After 2008’s reading of the original American version, this was me going back through the series as I knew it originally. As I pointed out then, they are only fractionally different. I still love the story and the writing in this series, but on this reread I was getting disturbed by the huge amount of violence (sexual and non) within the books, so it may be awhile till I go back to them, presuming I do. I haven’t even got hold of or read An Echo in the Bone (the newest book, which came out this September just gone) because of this.

39. What Diantha Did by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I listened to this back to back with Mr Hogarth’s Will, as described two days ago, and since they have some overlapping themes I thought I was going to get them thoroughly mixed up, but I think I have them more distinct now than I did at the time!

Unlike Mr Hogarth’s nieces, who are educated to provide for themselves, and then turfed out to do so, Diantha has to do a lot of persuading of her family that she be allowed to try so to do (so far so like Agnes Grey), especially since she has a young man desperate to marry and look after her (so not like any book I’ve come across before the current generation). This is a clever, practical, principled young woman with her own plan of action, to benefit many women young and old, who will not be deterred from her path, especially by those she loves.

40. Posing for Portrait Photography: a head-to-toe guide by Jeff Smith

One of those random books I read for work, but I like to think it has and will help in my snapping, even though it’s decidedly written for those in or going into professional portrait photography. (I did some ‘proper photography’ courses in school, after learning a lot from my father, but these day I use an automatic digital camera mostly to record my crochet here and on Ravelry, and otherwise to snap pics of friends, family, and touristy stuff.)

Oh, and while I’m discussing improving photography skills, I just came across a really interesting photography blog. It is aimed towards proper photography, but those of us trying to get beyond ‘just snaps’ (again) can learn and be inspired too.

Photos, if few words

Friday, 26 September 2008

Finally found my computer cable, but I’m still short on time, so I’m going to recap the end of Bruno’s visit (he’s now on his way to Germany, and the next teddy is coming my way – Luna, by the way, is back in London, but not with me) mostly in pictures, and leave catching up on the books even longer.

These were the directions we found on the way to our train:
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Syd is now at least done enough to make friends with, although he is still missing most of his extremities.
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We got out into the countryside, and saw some views.
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It wasn’t cold, but Bruno did get a bit windswept.
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Reading bits

Sunday, 24 August 2008

I’ve been avoiding the boring part of my filet pattern (I do more when travelling to outings or sitting about with people) by doing a good bit of proofreading (and some formatting) over at Distributed Proofreaders over the last few days, increasing my skills and pushing through some slow-moving French works. I don’t usually read much directly from Project Gutenberg – mostly I listen to Librivox works that use texts from PG, but as I don’t want to commit to recording, this is still a good way to give something back. I’m also enjoying actually using my French.

I couldn’t do that over Shabbos, however, so instead I retreated into nostalgia, reading through a gorgeous book my grandparents gave me on my third birthday.

237. Baby Animals by Jane Burton

As the introduction admits, this is really about baby mammals, rather than animals in general, but it’s no less informative or cute for that. Burton is a great photographer, and I rather like how she’s themed the pages. I’m presuming I’ve read the text cover to cover before, at some point, but I really couldn’t swear to it!

A blurred view

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

My bag is remarkably empty of crochet projects at the moment (I purged it of the four I had been carrying around, but evidently went too far) so now that Luna’s bag is well and truly finished I began a log cabin style table mat from the same string. If I don’t fall asleep first I’ll take and add some pictures once I finish writing this entry.

216. Women’s Costume of the Ancient World by Paul Louis de Giafferri

This book is a great idea, pulled together (so far as I could tell) from extant murals, statues, bas-reliefs and so on of a few thousand years ago. The problem for me is the ‘flowiness’ of many of the costumes. I don’t believe images of wild Bacchante tell us how women actually dressed. But this is a very impressive collection indeed.

217. London: The Panoramas by Mark Denton

Fabulous photographs of London on the larger but still human. I really enjoyed the section at the end with brief notes on each photo. Denton appears to prefer long exposures which turn movement ghostly. I especially like the Impressionist appearance of “Autumn, Tavistock Square” and “Horsechestnut, Thames Path” which both show leaves in a blaze of colour. The Tavistock Square one features several people sitting reading on park benches, so they are all in focus, not having moved particularly, but the branches overhead were evidently swaying in a wind, and float as a beautiful mass through the air.

218. Great Lives: Marie Curie by Philip Steele

A very important woman whose family devoted themselves to the greater good. The science you need to know is explained clearly, and there’s lots of context on the state of women’s education and the changing political status of the countries Curie lived in. (And yes, the ‘Great Lives’ moniker is backed up rather than argued against in this instance.)

Time to catch up

Sunday, 29 June 2008

It’s Sunday, and I don’t have anywhere I have to be, so I shall finally talk about those days of books!

183. The Kingfisher Atlas of the Medieval World by Simon Adams. Illustrated by Kevin Maddison

Unlike many such books, this really does mean the World in Medieval times, rather than Europe. Every continent gets at least a few pages, dependent on how much the empires and nations are known to have changed during the timeframe. The book is beautifully illustrated, with hand-drawn maps of the area and empire(s) under discussion on each double-page spread. Each map features small pictures and captions of interesting events and places within the larger area and period, and there is a paragraph or two of general overview on the page as well. There are also a few pages of more general introduction with more text and some photographs as well.

184. Remembered: The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission by Julie Summers and Brian Harris (photographer)

One of those books I would surely never have picked up and read cover to cover, but it was worth it, as it’s well written and fascinating. I’m trying to cultivate the sense of being interested in, roughly, everything, while retaining the discrimination to not have to put myself in the way of what will only desensitise me.

The history part of the book is not over-sentimentalised, but still brought tears to my eyes when facing up to the sheer scale of death and destruction of individual lives, families and stories. The historical photographs are well chosen and contextualised within the text, and the new (full page) pictures of the cemetaries as they are today are both beautiful and informative, as well as often informative. One thing I did not find out from either the book or the CWGC website is what part, if any, they play in the burial and commemoration of soldiers of more recent conflicts than the First and Second World Wars.

185. International Organisations: UNICEF by Deborah A. Grahame

Informative and well produced, with an American focus.

186. Patricia Lynch: Storyteller by Phil Young

My mother read Patricia Lynch‘s books when she was a child, then got me some of the reprints when I was, and has now passed on this new biography. The first section is very heavily based on the autobiography, A Storyteller’s Childhood, which to me is the most memorable of the books I read, but I really didn’t know anything about Lynch‘s adult life. I hadn’t realised she was quite so prolific as a children’s author (nor did my mother), – it unfortunately seems she’s out of print – nor that she was so involved in the politics and struggle for women’s suffrage and Irish independence as a young woman. Hopefully this book will awaken enough new interest that some new editions of the books will come out.

187. Wildlife Monographs: Polar Bears by Dr. Tracey Rich & Andy Rouse

This one has also made me think again about children’s fiction, but this time books I’ve read far more recently: Chris D’Lacey‘s Icefire series. (Polar Bears, squirrels, hedgehogs and dragons.) (I am purposely not linking first to his own website, as it opens up with noise, which I hate, but now you’re warned, at least.) Anyway real polar bears are fascinating and beautiful in their own right, and this book, as the others in the series, displays and explains them very well.

188. Wildlife Monographs: Puffins by Heather Angel

The new author is noticeable in the style of the book, although the structure is the same. When I was a child I thought puffins were young penguins, not a similar but separate species of bird, from the Northern rather than the Southern Hemisphere. (Because of these people, of course.) Anyway, this misconception had previously been cleared up, but I still knew very little about the northern birds, so it’s good to learn more about them.

There is one more book on the list already, but I’m leaving that to the next post for a reason. I might even get it up today.

A Minimum of Awe

Monday, 2 June 2008

Taking a quick break at work to post my book of the day.

148. The Red Volcanoes: Face to Face with the Mountains of Fire by G. Brad Lewis and Paul-Edouard Bernard de Lajartre

There are a couple of general introductions to volcanoes and their beauty, and then to the two volcanic areas and communities portrayed here (Piton de la Fournaise, on Reunion, and Kilauea in Hawaii), but mostly the amazing photographs speak for themselves. I don’t know why, but I was especially struck by the photograph on pages 110-111, of a lava flow over Kamoamoa beach.

Everyday Beauty

Monday, 12 May 2008

118. A Vision of Yemen by Sheikh Hassan Al Thani

This is a fabulous collection of photographs of Yemen, by a skilled photographer. There are many views of the landscape, which I hadn’t realised was so green, but also portraits of men, boys, and one older woman. Fully covered anonymous women do appear in a few urban settings, alone or in pairs (this is not a book to look for crowd scenes in). Every house, and most items of clothing, appears to be carefully embellished, with simple and effective patterns.

119. Decorative Stencils by Kathryn Collyer and Carol Daniel

My mother gave me this very informative book/kit a few years ago, but I’ve never had/taken the opportunity to use it. I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned that part of the reason I’ve been so quiet over the last week or so is that my housemate and I are moving. Anyhow, there’s an old battered bedside locker in my new room, that’s dirty and covered in splashes of paint, which the landlord told me to throw away, unless I wanted to repaint it — he has got me a better one either way — so I’m thinking about doing that, and trying out stenciling it. The base colour is very similar to the walls in my room, so if I can I might retain that and then decorate it. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Keeping Warm

Monday, 7 April 2008

Pink Log Cabin crocheted blanket draped down to feet

I actually took this picture last night, but the extra length I added tonight wouldn’t show up any more. I should really get on with my little Dogo, but what with the snow yesterday and today (it didn’t stick beyond 8am this morning) I’ve been working on the blanket. I’ve been working it straight from my old knitted thing, ripping that as I go. (I’ve had some much appreciated help with the frogging, to keep that about a foot ahead of what I’m crocheting.)

It is now just about big enough (certainly wide enough) to cover me while I laze/read/sleep on the sofa on Shabbos afternoons, which is what I wanted. It could use a bit more length yet, and I’m dithering between stopping then and making a baby size one to give away, or going on to make a (single) bedspread size. Knowing myself it’ll probably be the latter!

97. Dogs by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

I still don’t know all about the range of pedigree dogs in France, let alone the world, but I do know a whole lot more than I did before this book. The photographs are both informative and expressive, as well. It is one of the short-haired dogs in this book that inspired my unfinished amigurumi. There are a fair few longer haired ones whose basic shape is entirely invisible and so would be difficult to model. The text is by dog experts, and gives good overviews.

Picturing nostalgia

Thursday, 27 March 2008

88. Shutting Up Shop: The decline of the traditional small shop by John Londei

Now this is a great book. Londei did the original photography and research in the 1970s and 80s, capturing an already endangered species of business, and then going back in the middle of this decade to find the shops and shop owners/workers he had photographed two and three decades before. Most of the shops had closed down, and many of the owners and employees had passed away in the meantime, but a couple have continued as they were, and a few more in a different form.

What’s going on?

Sunday, 23 March 2008

I’m off for a short break for the next two days, so I want to catch up with some stuff now. I am aiming to bring the laptop, and definitely the new camera, but in any case I could probably get online each day even if I don’t manage to.

85. The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

This has been one of my favourite novels (along with its sequels certainly my favourite series, by my favourite author) since I was about 14, and I was overdue on a reread (I have no idea how many times I’ve been through the series). Looking back, the most empathetic characters in this book don’t tend to recur in the further Lymond Chronicles (the two most compassionate, Christian Stewart – a real person, if I recall correctly (although I can’t find any evidence for this, and may well be incorrect) – and Gideon Somerville – certainly fictional – will be dead by the opening of Queen’s Play), but the intriguing ones all do, and tend to become more intriguing too.

I’ve probably had a very minor crush on Francis Crawford since I was fourteen, but with maturity, or even just a careful reading of the text, comes a realisation that he would be a very very difficult person to deal with day to day for most people. Unless you’re in a Catherine D’Albon role, perhaps. But that’s not until book 6 (Checkmate), and I really shouldn’t be referring to it here, just in case people only have read Game of Kings, as you really need the character development of the next five books for his love life to make sense. I’m wittering. Which is something Francis would certainly never do. (Except maybe near the end of this book when he’s with his brother.)

86. The Will by Chaim Greenbaum

Another of the multi-period Jewish novels (seriously, for a good while there are FIVE time periods being told – two during WWII, one in the 1960s and 70s, and two in different months of 2002) but it isn’t a bad thriller, and the morals make sense, mostly.

And now to my crochet, even though I haven’t done any over Purim or Shabbos.

The blanket is coming on. (And is pink, as my nice new camera recognises.)

The February mat is now into March, although not very far as I simply haven’t been keeping up with it. I was in a hurry to take this picture, so it isn’t lying flat at all. The shape of at least two of the sides is rather good.

The NatCroMo game is going well for everyone whose photos I’ve seen. Most of those are on Ravelry, but one person who isn’t on there yet has sent me some of her pictures, which I’m going to put in a separate post. Really beautiful.
I did take a very quick photo of the Seraphina’s Shawl, but the picture came out horrible, so you’ll have to wait until I can take a better one! Perhaps in daylight. I’ll be taking it to show my mother what I’m doing with the alpaca yarn she gave me.