Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Natural Light for Picture Taking

Coast Chimes kaleidoscope glass and copper wind chime
Glass and Copper Kaleidoscope Wind Chime
available at Coast Chimes
Taking good pictures of my work is definitely one of the biggest, if not the biggest, challenge. But it is so important, I know I need to keep trying.

After determining that my indoor photo studio lights were not doing justice to my works with glass (okay for beach stones, driftwood), I moved back outside to take advantage of natural sunlight. Side-by-side, it was immediately clear that natural light was far superior. So I retook all the pictures. I was somewhat happier with the resulting images-- not thrilled, but less unhappy. I thought early morning, blue sky, indirect sunlight, was the best.

But there was one last kaleidoscope wind chime that I forgot to take pictures of. So although yesterday was quite overcast, I decided to get it done. Well, it turned out that the overcast sky was better than blue sky!

Now I think thin white high clouds are the very best. Today is more thick, grey clouds, so I don't believe that would be any good. But you can be sure that the next bright cloudy day, I will be back out there, trying to capture the perfect image.
Top section, Coast Chimes wind chime
Top Section, Detail Image, Kaleidoscope Wind Chime

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snowy Wind Chimes and Suncatchers

Snowy Wind Chime, From Coast Chimes
Customer's Snowy Wind Chime Picture

I love when my customers send me pictures. However, it is always a slightly strange feeling to see my work in a foreign setting! This one especially struck me, as we have been enjoying spring-like weather here on the Sunshine Coast for several weeks, and one tends to forget that many other places are still mid-winter.

People often do not think of wind chimes and suncatchers in the winter. But look! They can really add a bright spot to your garden-- colour just when most needed. What a beautiful contrast! And Coast Chimes wind chimes and suncatchers are truly ideal, as being constructed from all glass, copper, first growth reclaimed red cedar, they are very durable. So add some wind chimes to your winter garden, and enjoy a splash of colour!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Photographing My Work

Blue glass with copper wind chime, handcrafted, Coast Chimes
Blue Glass with Copper Wind Chime
available at Coast Chimes - inspired by nature
I am thinking of investing in an extra-large bottle of Advil. Photographing my work has never been easy for me. Back in our old house, after years I sort of figured it out. I took pictures in our solarium, which I could only do in the late afternoon for the best light. This made for a challenging time in the fall and winter, as we get a lot of rain and even more cloudy days during this period. Sometimes it would seem the sun would never shine again, as my fresh creations piled up, waiting for a little light for me to photograph them. At least when the sun did shine, I could (sometimes) get some pretty decent shots.

Then we sold the house and moved to a rental where it proved next to impossible to get any decent pictures. The light was always wrong. Also, the backdrop was not ideal. Fortunately, that only lasted for seven months.

Getting into our new place, for a while I happily, and naively, thought all my problems were solved, since I created a photo studio and invested in some quasi-professional lights. As is so often the case with my photographs, those early pictures that delighted me became turned out to be less than optimal, as my eyes began to see many issues. The backdrop sheets were drab. The light was not bright enough to really show off the glass. Those I put new backgrounds in, like the ocean, looked phoney. Sigh.

So I started taking pictures outside, where at least there would be bright sunlight to show the true beauty of my glass. Alas, my wife decided to get an early start on digging up the small yard, in anticipation of the amazing garden beds she would make in the spring. My picture taking space shrank, and shrank. Now I have one little corner-- happily, it turns out to be the best corner!

I found many of my images were not in focus. Time to read the camera instruction booklet, and check on photoblogs. (Ha, probably should have done that first thing-- but I'm not like that.) I learned some tricks, and wish I had read this stuff years ago! Live and learn.

Now I just have to learn a bunch more, wait for decent light, hope the constant breeze we get from being so close to the ocean dies down a little-- and then, maybe, just maybe, I will get a few decent pictures. That will certainly be when my wife builds the fence-- further diminishing the quality of my limited background opportunities! Oh well. I do the best I can.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Photographing my Work

Glass and copper wind chime. Five copper chimes. Beach stone clapper. Inspired by nature.
Glass and Copper Kaleidoscope Wind Chime

Coast Chimes

Since moving from our old house, picture taking has been a major headache. It was always a challenge, but lately it has been a real problem. I moved inside to a photo studio, but the lighting was not nearly as nice as sunlight, especially for my glass pieces. Then outside again, which was okay, but I had to learn about the light on the new property. Then my wife started digging in the garden, which is very small, and I had to move again, and learn about the light, again.

I have a little corner with no dirt piles, an okay background, and on certain days, at certain times, decent light. However, we live on a hill with the ocean just below, and this, it turns out, creates interesting air currents (wind), and so it is a fun time trying to get a shot without the windsails flying around, the chimes twisting, the whole subject turning!

I have a ways to go, in my photo struggle. Right now, I am going out to struggle some more.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wind Chime, Natural Beach Stone with Copper

Natural Pacific Beach Stone Wind Chime: Naturally Beautiful!

Wind chime, copper, beach stones, handcrafted.
Beach Stones with Copper
Available at Coast Chimes

At our new home, we are only a minute from the beach. There is a walk which takes me down to the beach, along the beach, and then up back through a trail in the woods. I go several times a week.

It's an interesting walk, because one feels remote from civilization. There are several points where you do not see houses, or hear traffic. I like that a lot.

It is not the best beach combing on the Coast. There are not stones, such as those in the wind chime pictured above. Although there are plenty of stones, few are of the sort (smooth and rounded) that I like to use in my work. But that's okay. Other beaches with better stones are not far away. So this walk is for pleasure-- a break from my work. That's kind of a good thing, actually.

Monday, January 13, 2014

New House, New Workshop, New Website

Coast Chimes business location, new house.
New house, Coast Chimes

I haven't posted here since November 9, 2011-- how time does go by!

My excuse is simple: I've been too busy!

We sold our home and lived in a rental for seven months, while building a new one.

Above is a picture of our new house. The upstairs is living area; the downstairs is my workshop, and office / photo studio. It was a job and a half building it, but it is wonderful, now that it is (almost) done. Especially nice is having the entire ground floor as workshop, office, photo studio.

It was also a job trying to maintain my wind chime / suncatcher stock and sales, while all this was transpiring.

Things are finally settling down. I look forward to a calmer year.

I had time lately to completely redo my website: Coast Chimes. It is much easier to navigate, much faster, and it has a better shopping cart.

Below, a screenshot of the homepage of my new website. I hope you will have time to visit it, and enjoy the new layout.

Picture of the homepage of Coast Chimes website.
Picture of the new homepage of Coast Chimes