Testing out my new camera

20 07 2014

In preparation for my ‘bucket list’ trip to the NZ and the US in October/November, when I *know* I’ll be taking lots of photos , I decided to upgrade my digital camera (I had a Canon IXUS 400 that I bought around 2002, which had a 256 MB CF memory card). I purchased a little ‘point-and-shoot’ compact camera — a Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 — for just under AU$150 (the 32 GB Micro SDHC card was extra).

And today I went into the garden to test out some of the features such as the 5x optical zoom, the panorama feature (no public pics from that as yet as I was photographing my house and I don’t make those pictures public). I haven’t tried features like burst (lots of photos in rapid succession, which would be ideal for sports or moving animals etc.), or effects such as focusing on a colour and making all the rest of the background black and white.

I was really pleased with how these first photos came out — this little camera (it only weighs 100 g!) packs a punch. I haven’t retouched ANY of the photos below — they are as they came off the camera and as I saved them onto my computer. The only thing I did with some of them was crop out some of the background to centre the object better, and/or make a duplicate in my photo editing software, then crop out even more to better show things like the raindrops. I also didn’t resize them any of them or adjust the angle or apply any effects. As it rained overnight, quite a lot of the photos caught the raindrops perfectly on the flowers.

Click on a photo to view it larger.

King? Protea — one has a cropped version to show the raindrops and inside; the other is cropped to show the raindrops on the outside of the flower.





king_protea04  king_protea05

Strelitzia (aka Bird of Paradise) — I have several of these plants in the garden. Most are orange, but there’s at least one that’s yellow, and a HUGE one that’s white (not in flower yet).







Unknown protea — this is just a bud and no more than about 2 inches (5 cm) across, ready to flower. I just love the Fibonacci sequence in this bud! The bottom one is a bit blurry, but it shows the Fibonacci sequence better than the others, and also the size of the flower in relation to dead leaves on the ground.





Pink Diosma — this plant has TINY little pink flowers and I didn’t think I’d be able to get a decent photograph of them. The bees were buzzing around, but were hard to capture. That said, each of the photos of the diosma have at least one bee!

diosma01 diosma02

 Update 28 July 2014: Some pics of a freshly cut lemon. Standard auto settings on camera, no post-processing except cropping the image.




Community Quilt 155

20 07 2014

This large quilt was unusual in that it was made up of 9 large rectangles of fabric divided by white sashing strips. From the ‘hand’ of the fabric, I suspect the rectangles were screen printed. I liked the almost Japanese feel of the fabric, with the indigo and the stylised chrysanthemums (that’s what I saw, anyway;-) It was quite a large quilt.

How to quilt it? I had some thoughts when I first saw it — perhaps uneven parallel lines almost like a tartan? Perhaps large circles or wreaths? My thoughts on this waxed and waned, but what didn’t change was my idea to quilt it using fluoro (neon) thread. I auditioned a few threads against the fabric, and while I quite liked fluoro orange against the dark blue, I decided to try something different and blend a fluoro lime green and fluoro pink! I’ve only stitched with two threads once before, and I was a bit hesitant as the weight of the combined threads through the needle eye might cause shredding or breakages. But I worried needlessly — the two threads I chose worked PERFECTLY through the size 18 needle I used, and I didn’t have a single thread issue across the whole quilt.

As far as the quilt motif went, I decided to follow the organic roundness of the flowers (or are they fireworks?) and do a mostly rounded motif, with some ‘flames’ scattered between. In the end I did lots of spirals, segueing into flames and/or bubbles. I really liked how the threads played together — despite them being fluoro pink and lime green, the overall effect is a sort of thick yellow, and it’s only when you get close that you can see the different threads weaving around each other.

One final thing — if you’re ever handing off your quilts for someone else to quilt (or if you’re going to quilt them yourself) PLEASE make sure that ALL pins are removed from inside the quilt layers. I ran over a small safety pin a couple of times and was just very lucky that I didn’t break a needle, jam the needle in the bobbin case, and/or throw the timing out on my machine. Had the timing been thrown out, it would have cost me a 4-hour round trip to the city plus about $50 to $100 to get it fixed!! That’s one expensive safety pin!

(Click on a photo to view it larger)










The back:



The tiny safety pin that I missed, which was buried inside the quilt layers:




Threads used:

  • Top: Both Isacord 40 wt threads — colours 1940 and 6010
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide pre-wound bobbin (60 wt, white)