Something to Ponder about. Blog about Arts, crafts, Cooking Travel and Photography
blogging, Photography

Friendly Friday Challenge Returns

The Friendly Friday Challenge is a fortnightly challenge co-hosted by myself and Sandy from The Sandy Chronicles.

Get Ready for the Friendly Friday Challenge

The first challenge for 2021 will commence this coming Friday 29th January over at Sandy’s blog.

Friendly Friday Challenge 2021

We are opening up the challenge a little more this year, making its focus not purely on photography but making it a little more varied, a little more open and interesting.

Every other week we will post a topic to inspire a post featuring a story, a photo, a recipe or anything else that captures your imagination.  

You can post once, twice or as many times as you’re inspired by the topic.

Sandy and I will take turns in posting challenges.  Keep notified  by following both our blog’s at  Something to Ponder About  and  The Sandy Chronicles

How to join the Challenge

  • Write a post titled ‘Friendly Friday- xxx Prompt name xxx’ with tag ‘Friendly Friday’
  • Include a link to the original Friendly Friendly Challenge post on the host’s blog
  • Optionally, you can include the latest Friendly Friday Challenge logo. Download it here.
  • Comment on the host’s Friendly Friday post, so that other readers can find and read your response.
  • Remember to include a link to your post in your comment. This will guarantee a visit, in the event the automatic ping-back does not work.
  • Visit other Friendly Friday entries by following their links. It’s fun!
  • Follow the host blogs to see future Friendly Friday Challenges

The Benefits

  • Increase your exposure in our blogging communities
  • Inspire and be inspired by diverse blog articles
  • Challenge your creativity
  • Make new friends and keep in touch with old ones

Are you joining in this year?

blogging

Friendly Friday Challenge Review 2020

As we are on a break from our regular weekly photography challenges, my talented co-host, Sandy from The Sandy Chronicles, highlighted some extra special photographs from Friendly Friday 2020.

Most Popular Friendly Friday Post for 2020

My favourite theme for 2020 was: Yellow. It was also the Friendly Friday Challenge post that received the most comments! Here’s my favourite yellow photograph:

Colours are fun and laid back themes for our photography, as the colour yellow has a such a ‘sunny,’ disposition. Yellow objects always brighten up any room.

Re-visit the original Friendly Friday – Yellow theme or Sandy’s 2020 Friendly Friday Review in case you missed them the first time around.

Kyoto, Japan

Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge

The Friendly Friday Challenge for 2021 will return January 29 over at The Sandy Chronicles with a slightly altered format. What will that be?

We will tell you soon!

Until then, keep clicking those shutters!

Friendly Friday Photo challenge
bridge effects
blogging, Photography

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Smoke and Mirrors

Elise Davies was writing about mirror photography on her blog recently. Apparently it is quite a trend on a nefarious app, that one that imitates a clock! Yes, that one.

Elise likes how using mirrors in her photography:

diverts or reflects something else within the image whilst keeping focus on the models also.

Elise Davies

Mirrors can reveal something different or be a reverse reflection of the chosen subject.

Friendly Friday Challenge Prompt

The challenge this week is to post photo/s of, “Smoke and Mirrors.”

It might be a magic illusion, a symmetrical reflection, an accidental or deliberate set-up shot, or an image within an image.

It is really up to you how to interpret the prompt.

illusion-street performers

Trondheim river
Trondheim, Norway
Credit: pixabay.com

How to Join the Friendly Friday Challenge

To join in add a linkback, (aka a ping-back), and a Friendly Friday tag to a new post or link, addressing the prompt, then return to this post and leave a comment with your published link, as pingbacks are notoriously unreliable.

If this is your first challenge, there are more detailed instructions on how to join the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.

My Friendly Friday Challenge co-host will provide the prompt next week, at The Sandy Chronicles.

Friendly Friday
Rosemaling art
blogging

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Practice

cold fish
Guitarists often practise daily out of sheer joy

Developing Muscle Memory for Photography

Who would have thought muscle memory had anything to do with photography? Scott Bourne explains that, just like musical ability, practising with one’s camera is vital in aiming for that perfect shot, or lots more perfect shots! Scott explains:

During the pandemic, I am practising my modal scales on the guitar every day and I am handling my camera every day. I see the benefits right in front of me. Both my musical ability and my photographic ability have improved. If you do not use them, you will lose them.

So give this a try. Grab your camera and your camera manual. Open any random page in the manual and then whatever it describes, do that with the camera. Not only will your muscle memory improve, your knowledge of your specific camera will improve and then all that stuff will simply go away and drift into the background while you use all your brain’s conscious processing power to SEE and compose the next great image.

https://picturemethods.com/

What do you practise?

For me, I practise my art techniques – that is: painting and drawing and blogging, of course.

I can never produce anything of substance, if I do it once every three months or so. If I do it daily, or as often as I can, – I notice a HUGE improvement in my skills. I paint in a particular form of traditional Norwegian and Dutch art, called Rosemaling and Hindeloopen style. I have been practising this for many years, on and off.

I transfer the painted articles to custom print on demand fabrics and merchandise as a hobby.

Lately, I have also experimented with a Japanese/Chinese technique painting bamboo forms with a soft brush.

Norwegian rosemaling art
Norwegian Tine or Lunch box in Rosemaling

Don’t let your skills languish. Keep them sharp with practice, either in or out of home.

rosemaling tutorial
Painting Telemark scrolls with a flat brush

Weekly Photo Theme – Practice

This week for Friendly Friday, I challenge you to show me your interpretation of the theme “Practice,” in photographs.

Dutch Traditional Art Called Hindeloopen

Photographs in mobile, SLR, or point and shoot are all acceptable formats.

What are you practising with your camera’s eye?

Composition, Exposure, Shutter Speed, Subjects?

Perhaps it was something you practised in your past?

Music, Sports, Art or Public Speaking? Post something from your photographic archives, perhaps?

Experimenting with Japanese Bamboo painting

Instructions for Joining the Friendly Friday Challenge

Friendly Friday Instructions in detail

Do include a pingback and leave a comment here with a link, so all readers can find your post! I look forward to seeing what posts you come up with for this week’s prompt.

Sandy will post the next weekly prompt. Stop by and see what she comes up with next Friday.

Coolangatta Australia
blogging

Friendly Friday – Anniversaries

September seems to be the month for it.

Wedding anniversaries, Relationship anniversaries, work anniversaries and special occasions.

I suppose I shouldn’t be all that surprised.

September is Spring in this part of the world and for those that dislike winter and cool mornings, it is cause for celebration when the earth turns towards the sun again.

Brides choose September for their weddings.

Do they do that in the North as well?

Weekly Friendly Friday Theme

Friendly Friday challenges you to look back on your own Anniversaries. Where were you last year, six years ago, ten years ago or more?

My photo archive indicates I am frequently found close to the water on my Anniversary.

The wild surf at Greenmount headland, at Coolangatta draws us in.

A surfer was taken by a shark right at this point, just two days ago.

A father in his 40’s who surfed here every day. He was rescued, taken ashore but paramedics could not save him. The shark, believed to be a Great White, left its tooth embedded in the bite mark on his surfboard.

On our anniversary visits, I rarely went in for a swim, preferring to walk in the shallows and then past the old Shark Tower monument, which was erected in the 1960s for lifesavers to use as an observation site.

From that point, I would follow the boardwalk through the pandanus trees around the headland.

  • beach

Even though we have nets to protect swimmers, the killer shark appears to have swum underneath the six-metre nets that line the shore.

The irony of the local name: ‘Snapper Rocks” Hotel and Surf Club, does not escape me.

Join in with the Friendly Friday Challenge

Add a Friendly Friday tag, to your anniversary post, including a pingback, or if that is confusing, read the full instructions on joining in with the Friendly Friday Challenge.

Please remember to leave a comment below as pingbacks don’t always work.

Next Friday, Sandy will have another challenge for us.

Happy Anniversary.

grass amongst mangroves at the beach
Australia, blogging, Photography

Friendly Friday Challenge- Splendour in the Grass

So often we walk around in nature failing to notice the details, the grass under our feet.

Subtle changes in colour and appearance indicate the passing of the seasons. Many varieties of grass remain invisible, yet are an integral part of the natural landscape.

Senga Grass at Mt Hakone

The theme for this week’s Friendly Friday challenge is:

‘Splendour in the Grass’

grass in close up Australia

Using Grass to Frame a Landscape in Photography

In photographic terms, grass can be used to frame the shot or make an interesting feature in the foreground.

This ‘Moon viewing,’ photo captured during the Tsukimi festival in mid-Autumn, in Japan.

Japanese Senga Grass Fields at Mount Fuji

The Japanese find Splendour in the Sengakuhara Pampas Grass, by strolling along a walking trail, at the western side of Mount Hakone. For it is here that the changing colour of the tall grass offers stunning vistas. In November, the grass turns a shimmering, silvery gold. Wedding proposal and selfies abound at this time of year.

Australian Splendour

In Australia, a country fringed by blue oceans, you will find grass the colour of sunburnt earth, which often makes me yearn for the vivid fluorescent green grass of wetter climates.

Birch
Birch Trees and Grass in Helsinki – so green

Australian deserts display different kinds of saltbush grass.

Australian Desert grasses and Saltbush

In the arid conditions of the Australian landscape, plants have adapted to grow under extreme conditions, such as the grass tree.

Grass Trees in Australia

Grass Trees in their natural habitat

A relic of the Age of Dinosaurs, Xanthorrhoeas, also known as the Grass Tree, grow very slowly and are resistant to bushfire. In fact, fire helps the grass tree produce its flowers. They also have a unique symbiotic relationship with the soil. The presence of a mycorrhizal microbe in the soil around their roots allows them to flourish, even if the soils are nutrient-poor.

Grass Trees in the Garden

Grass Trees are highly sought after in Australian horticulture and as such are often illegally removed from their natural locations. They fetch high prices as ornamental plants. Little do the owners realize that if the soil in their garden does not contain the mycorrhizal enzyme, the grass tree that they paid so dearly for, will wither and die.

Imitating Nature in Growing Grass Trees

Here’s a secret that an old-timer once told me. Take a cup of brown sugar, put it in a bucket of water and water your grass trees once a month for two years with that mixture. The sugar feeds the mycorrhiza and gets it going and your grass tree will survive.

www.abc.net.au/gardening

Create a Friendly Friday Challenge Blog Post

Everyone is welcome to join the Friendly Friday Challenge with your own interpretation of the theme.

Add a pingback to StPA and tag your post with ‘Friendly Friday – Splendour in the Grass.’ Then return to this post and leave a comment below listing your post’s published link.

There is a full set of instructions on how to join the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge on my blog header. This challenge runs until next Thursday.

Last week’s Friendly Friday Challenge initiated some excellent contributions, with the theme of ‘Markets,‘ over at co-host Sandy’s blog.

Would you like to join in this week?

Friendly Friday
blogging, Travel

Friendly Friday Challenge – Market

It is quite ironic that my Friendly Friday Challenge Co-host, Sandy, should give us the prompt, Market this week as I was just looking through my photos of the wonderful Market Hall, in Helsinki, Finland.

Finnish Markets

Where the Hungarians are spoilt for choice in varieties of Paprika in their markets, Helsinki is spoilt for choice in terms of Salmon.

Me, being Australian, have only really known three varieties of Smoked Salmon – Tasmanian, Norwegian and Danish Smoked Salmon.

My eyes opened as wide as saucers when I saw the contents of the cabinets in the Helsinki Markets, the day I arrived in the Finnish capital.

I remember it is not just ordinary salmon, because the thing that struck me about Finns, was that they had taken Salmon to a whole new level, like as in Heinz 52 different varieties.

Now I love Salmon, so I was pretty happy with this, until I realized how hard it would be be to choose which one to buy! I needed help to choose between Tsar’s salmon, Cold Smoked Salmon, Flamed Salmon, Lemon Salmon and Rose Pepper Salmon, etc. and in the end, feeling rather befuddled, I settled on Cured Salmon with Basilic. With a large helping of Salmon Soup? How could I resist?

salmon soup in helsinki
in helsinki

You need to know that the people of Helsinki eat a good deal of fish, freshwater fish, that is. Even sometimes three times in a day. So when I think of Helsinki, I think of Salmon, and lots of it.”

StPA – forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/helsinki-travel/

Polish Markets

In Poland, you may not see as much Salmon, but you will see a delicous form of smoked Sheep’s Cheese and lots of traditional style products for sale in Zakopane in the Tathra Mountains.

Zakopane

Japanese Markets

In Japan, the markets were absolutely full of many varieties of seafood. For the Japanese, seafood is a staple. It is a shame my travelling partner dislikes fish!

Australian Markets

Meanwhile back home in Australia, the sun is shining, (as always) and the markets continue with a Covid safe plan for the moment. For how much longer, we are unsure.

Redcliffe Esplanade
Pre Covid photo of Redcliffe Markets
Friendly Friday
Photography

Friendly Friday Challenge – Close Examination

Explore the finer details of your photos through Close Examination.

Use Macro Mode, Zoom in, (a little), or crop afterwards to take macro and close-up photographs.

beard of a schnauzer dog
They are not called Schnauzers for nothing. ‘Schnauze’ means muzzle in German.

This photo was a little too close for comfort.

geiser Iceland
Waited for a while to capture this one

Photographic Tips – Improving your Macro Photography

  • Check the composition of your photo
  • Take multiple shots
  • Use Manual mode or focus if you can
  • Stabilize your camera as much as possible – (a tripod or solid base helps)
  • Move the subject, not the camera
  • Try adding the effect of different backgrounds
  • Check your depth of field for focusing

I got a bit fancy with the Canva templates, but the close-up, above, of the little mushrooms, were very worthwhile to highlight. So delicate sitting atop their thin stalks, they appeared to defy gravity.

And now for a slideshow of flowers:-

  • Snow pea insect
  • cape gooseberry in paper case
  • burst of colour

I added a frame around the pumpkin leaves. It may have been edited with Snapseed, but it is from my archives, so I can’t be sure. I do like the way you can see the furry hairs on the pumpkin leaves. Glaucous is the botanic name for hairy leaves, I think.

Pumpkin leaves in macro
It is all about the detail

“Taking pictures is savouring life intensely

every hundredth of a second.”

duggal.com

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Close Examination Prompt

Now it is your turn to write a Friendly Friday post with the theme, “Close Examination.”

Don’t forget to tag your post and link with a pingback here, so all readers can find your post.

Sandy, will have another great prompt for you next week.

Join the Friendly Friday Challenge.

Friendly Friday
shadows
blogging

Friendly Friday Challenge – Shadows

Sandy’s prompt for Friendly Friday reminded me of a visit to the Skansen Museum in Stockholm,where I felt the presence of old world shadows.

In the midst of a Swedish winter, the shadowy silhouette of the bell tower in Stockholm’s Skansen Museum was an imposing and slightly daunting sight set against the crepuscular morning light.

Swedish farm houses were dark and the winters bitterly cold. Many families lived in the same house for generations and the darkest corners of the room echoed with imagined shadows of the past.

Skansen’s Farm labourers cottage

Taking refuge inside, farmers and their labourers would enjoy consuming a hearty meal, particularly at Christmas.

For those who have Swedish heritage, visiting Skansen is a way to bring history alive and feel more of a connection with the past.

Linking to Friendly Friday- Shadows

shadows

Sandy is hosting the blogging challenge which runs until Thursday, this week.

A new prompt will be released here at StPA, next Friday.

eye
Photography

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Capturing a Feeling

How seriously do you take your Photography?

Is taking photos just a whim, a bit of fun? A hobby you would like to improve? Or a serious pursuit? Whichever category you fit into, (or don’t), we notice photos that are striking, ones that capture attention, (pun not intended).

This old portrait captures a strong emotion in the eyes

Scott Bourne has some thoughts on the magic behind photography and it was his post that made me re-consider how we take photographs.

Do we snap a shot just as a record of what you saw?

Do we compose for interest?

We might even find an angle that portrays a little more emotion, particularly for street or portrait photography.

If so, we convey a feeling through the photograph to the viewer.

Great ocean Road
Not the standard tourist stop portrait

Scott explains a little more of what he looks for in a photo:

Unfortunately, in today’s instant gratification-hungry world, it’s rare to find someone who will look past the superficial to find something special. Everyone just wants a magic camera, or lens, or camera setting or post-processing, preset. Unfortunately there is no magic anything. What there is well, that is all about SEEING. I want to encourage you to “feel” your way to a photograph.

Scott Bourne – picturemethods.com
daisy

Some people have an eye for photography. Others have to work to develop it. Regardless of your camera budget, if you do have an eye or can develop it, your photos will attract attention.

seeing
Such expression in this cropped photo of eyes.

Friendly Friday Theme – ‘Capturing a Feeling’

This week for Friendly Friday, when you take a photograph try to compose to capture a feeling or emotion.

If you are using your archival photographs, you might crop a photo or edit to exhibit a particular mood that you wish to create.

Today for example, we made a new friend.

A young magpie landed on our fence, literally right behind our heads, as we sipped our morning cup of tea. The bird was bold and curious and his reward for that, was a morsel of cake. We watched his confidence and trust, in us, slowly grow as I hand-fed him a small piece of ham.

I cropped the following photograph to create a feeling of intensity, of concentration and to convey the beginnings of trust in the bird’s eyes.

After tasting the morsel of carrot cake, he must have thought his luck had changed.

I like the contrast of nature and the stark white and ultra modern built environment behind, but feel that some editing would help the photo stand out. But today, I left it as is. What do you think?

This afternoon the bird returned with his mate, who was much more cautious about the ham and preferred a lawn grub or two which is far better for them, anyway.

Posting a Friendly Friday Challenge?

Don’t forget to comment here, tag and pingback to this post.

Instructions on how to join the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge

Friendly Friday

I will be back in two weeks time with another prompt. Next week, for Friendly Friday, you will be in the able hands of Sandy, my Friendly Friday co-host, who will post next week’s challenge.