Self assignments

pattern chairsWhen I was taking photography lessons,  our instructor would always stress the importance of going out to implement what we learned.  A great way to enhance  your photography skills and your creativity is to give yourself assignments –  something  to focus on.   Sometimes  you venture out without having any  idea what you are going to shoot. However,  it is better to decide before what your daily assignment would be.  This way you will be more aware of what you are looking for and will be focus on that. Create a variety of themes by choosing a different assignment each time, for example, one day shoot  ‘patterns’,  another day ‘color’ etc.

colors and shapesThemes of the assignments can be:

  • repeating patterns
  • lines, shapes, colors
  • moving objects
  • reflection
  • shadows
  • silhouettes
  • texture
  • rule of third
  • depth of field
  • angle and much more

These kind of assignments will help you boost your creativity, improve your composition and  your photography skills.

 

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My assistant or else the bag holder

path B&WWhen  you go out for a project you need an assistant to carry your things, so it can be more comfortable for you and you can be focused on taking pictures. My main assistant  is my lovely husband and I should  admit that he is good at his job; well, most of the time. While I’m shooting, he carries the empty camera bag and my purse that’s filled with my personal belongings. So far so  good.

However, he is always  in the visual field and as a result he is in most of the photos. So I have to retake the same photo without him and sometimes it is time-consuming. At other times, he is not always around especially when I need him. For example, if  I need something from the camera bag, lets say the soft cloth to clear the lens, he is far away. I ddevin  B&Won’t know how my assistant will cope, when I will acquire more  gear, like tripod or different types of lenses! I am not complaining that much, am I? Ok, maybe  just a  little! There’s also a positive side to this. For example, he enjoys being in nature and he doesn’t complain when it takes me too long when shooting things and, plus, he keeps me company. I should also admit, that sometimes,  when I think that the composition looks good, I include him in the picture on purpose.  But that’s only a few times!

Yarn wrapped bottles

glass bottle yarn - love Another hobby of mine is crafting. And this project is one of my favourites.  I decorated my living room with these yarn wrapped bottles of ‘LOVE’.  We  had learned this technique   at elementary school in art&craft. It’s probably a kid’s craft so if you have children, this is a another way to spend some creative and quality time with them and have a good time yourself.  Plus, It is very easy.

Materials you will need:

  • glass bottle yarnglass bottles or jam jars
  • yarn or thick thread
  • white adhesive (mod podge)
  • paint brush
  • scissors
  • for the details – leather cord, ribbons, buttons, zips, piece of cloth, flowers, wire e.t.c

Apply the adhesive  with the paint brush on the bottle. Start wrapping firmly the thread/yarn around it, until the bottle is completely  wrapped. At the end you can decorate your bottle with flowers,  letters, butterflies and other things you like.

Be creative and have fun!

My first steps in photography

As photography is one my passions, buying a good dslr camera has made the bucket list. There was nothing wrong with my Nikon coolpix s2600, but I wanted to take it  to the next level. I wanted to be more creative and it was about time.  For the last year, I have been taking intensive online courses in order to get better and learn in depth the world of photography.

As of January 2015, I am  using my new DSLR Nikon D3300 with nikkor 18-55mm  kit  lens and I am very satisfied.  Most probably I will need  more types of lenses and some additional gear.  The good thing is that we are  a ‘Nikon family’ – my father, my sister and I – we can borrow and use each other’s gear.   At the end I will see what gear I will use or need the most  and I will write it first thing in my bucket list!

No offence to other manufacturers; I’m pretty sure that their cameras are as good as the Nikon but as I said above – it’s a family thing!

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Corn husk dolls

Every time I am visiting Slovakia or Czech Republic, I always buy these handmade traditional corn husk dolls. Not just for me, but I give them as small gifts to friends and family. I like them very much. They are cute, interesting, small and very light-weighted, so its easy to carry them with you home. You can use them as a home decoration and a small souvenir to remember the country you had visited.

A little bit of the background

I didn’t find much information. Just that during the second half of 20th century, the production of corn husk dolls had developed and turned into a traditional industry in former Czechoslovakia. As the name implies corn dolls, are made of dried corn husks which are joined together with thread – all made by hand. Some of them  even carry small objects like flowers, basket, bread – made with real dough e.t.c. Slovak rural life  was a big  inspiration when creating the dolls, so it became the main theme. They are sold in souvenirs and folklore shops.

My mum has a lot of corn husk dolls. She created a small miniature village with corn people on a shelf in her living room! These photos are from her collection.

I don’t have space in my apartment to place them – as small as they might be – so I keep them in a drawer. I know, not a good place to keep them. They should be in plain view. Some day I will find them a place! But I have a corn lady bookmark that I use  when I am reading a book.

A small memory of Slovakia!

Best tea ever

I should admit that I’ m not a big fan of tea! I only drink tea when I’ m sick, when I don’t find anything else to order or when I  visit friends and they offer tea. However, if I am going to have tea, I do prefer herbal green tea or fruit flavoured.

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We are often going to this cafe – Coffeeshop Company – close to our apartment next to a shopping mall. I think is an austrian cafe branch here in Bratislava.

The other day we went there for a coffee and I saw a leaflet  of their new fresh herbal tea. It looked fantastic and it seemed like the kind of tea that I could drink. I was curious  so I gave it try. It was savouring!

Of course the same evening I had a sore throat and I got a flu. So I realized that this was the reason why I wanted to have tea at the time.  Needless to say that I passed the next days at the Coffeshop drinking tea! Without a doubt, it was the best tea I ‘ve  ever had! 

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Love lock

When I was walking around Bratislava, I passed through a small pedestrian bridge – before the entrance of the old town at Michael’s gate. On the railings I saw a lot of lockers with some initials and hearts on them. I saw the same thing on a platform near the river Danube. So I took some pictures and as soon as I got home, I searched for information about that habit.

love padlocks

And here’s what I found

A love lock or love padlock is a padlock which couples lock to a bridge, fence or a gate  to symbolize their love. Usually the names or initials of the couple are written on the padlock, and its key is thrown away to symbolize unbreakable and everlasting love.

History

The history behind that tradition comes from a sad tale located in Serbia at least 100 years ago, and it refers to the Bridge of Love (Most Ljubavi) in the town of Vrnjačka Banja.

And the story goes like this:

Nada, a local schoolmistress, fell in love with a Serbian officer named Relja. After they committed to each other, he went to war in Greece (World War I),  where he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu. As a consequence, they broke off their engagement. Nada never recovered from that  devastating blow and after some time she died due to a heartbreak from her unfortunate love.

love padlocks

So young women from Vrnjačka Banja who wanted to protect their own love, started writing their names together with the names of their loved ones on padlocks and place them to the railings of the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet. The keys are thrown into the river below, so they cannot be found ever again. And  evidently the bridge acquired the name Bridge of Love.

In the rest of Europe, love padlocks started appearing in the early 2000s.

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