2019-10-31: Month in Review

October’s topic of the month

October was a freestyle month, and really was a mixed bag of Sunday posts.  A couple of posts that focused on leopards (which happen to be my favourite cats), some photo art using owl images and to round it off some examples of different weaver nests.

What’s new this month

We are deep into autumn now, with days growing short and the temperature getting colder and colder.  I’ve again failed on my mission of getting out and capturing any images locally, which again feels like a massive missed opportunity.  So really, not a lot new to share.

5 favourites of the month


Head on over to my gallery page for more of my favourite images.

What’s coming up next?

For November I am going to focus my Sunday posts on my very favourite animal (next to my dog, of course) – elephants.  It just popped into my mind, and I like to try to go with my intuition.  There might be some photo art combined in there too, we shall see where inspiration takes me.

For those of you that are printing out the half fold or clipboard style calendar pages, here are your links for November and December:

Full Page Calendar for November and December

Half fold calendar for November and December




Month in Review – September 2019

September’s topic of the month

I chose to work on my artistic impression images this month.  Mostly, I wanted to dive into the new Topaz Studio 2, and also just have a chance to play around and have some fun with my images.  Working in Studio 2 proved to be a non-starter, but I certainly had a great time exploring and creating interesting images.

What’s new this month

I’m sad to say I didn’t fulfill my goal of actually getting out shooting this month.  As the weather is quickly turning colder and darker, I know this has been a real missed opportunity, but I can’t go back in time, only move forward.  I am hoping for a combination of free time and decent weather soon so I can actually put my camera to use.

5 favourites of the month


Head on over to my gallery page for more of my favourite images.

What’s coming up next?

I’ve not actually chosen a topic for October; I think it will be a freestyle month.  I still have a lot of bird images I would like to work on, and I have been really enjoying playing in Topaz Studio creating my artistic impression images, so we’ll just see what happens.  Check back each Sunday for a new post.



2019-09-01: August in Review

August’s topic of the month

I chose bird’s for the month of August, partially with the (misguided) hope that I would get out shooting some of the local birds.  Unfortunately, work and life got in the way of that, and the hummingbirds have come and gone this year without my taking a single image of them.

I really enjoyed focusing on birds though, and I still have a lot of images to go through, so I am sure it is a topic I am going to revisit.  I did a lot of the bird image edits in Topaz Studio, as I find that the AI Clear function is excellent for bringing out detail in feathers, without the image ending up looking crunchy.  It makes some images so easy to edit it almost feels like cheating!

What’s new this month

All work and no play are making Jen a very dull girl indeed.  That’s not really true; I have been getting out golfing and enjoying the last of the summer-ish weather, but my photography blog is not really the place to be talking about my golf game!  I haven’t picked up my camera a single time the month of August, and I absolutely need to change that moving into September.

5 favourites of the month


Head on over to my gallery page for more of my favourite images.

What’s coming up next?

I feel like getting creative this month, so I am going to concentrate on sharing some of my artistic impression images this month.  I have a few I have already flagged as candidates for editing, and am looking forward to the task 🙂  Topaz software, where I generally work on these types of edits, has released a new version of Topaz Studio, and I really need to learn how it works, rather than looking at the icon on my task bar, and using the original version instead.  Hopefully this will force me to spend the time watching a tutorial or two on how the new software works, and get it into my workflow.

For those of you that are printing out the half fold or clipboard style calendar pages, here are your links for September and October:

Full Page Calendar for September & October

Half fold calendar for September & October

2019-07-31: July in Review

July’s topic of the month

I chose Babies in the Bush as my topic for July.  Elephants definitely topped the list for the most babies seen while traveling, and given they are my favourite, I was absolutely thrilled with that.  Wild animals have such a struggle to survive, and so many young animals healthy and thriving was one of the highlights of the trip.

What’s new this month

Other than taking a few pictures of my dog while he was playing in the yard, I’ve not had my camera out at all this month.  After spending most of May with it not more than a few feet from my side, it has felt strange to go back in the other direction again, and not be taking any images at all.  The search for a happy medium continues!

5 favourites of the month


Head on over to my gallery page for more of my favourite images.

What’s coming up next?

For August, I am going to focus on bird photography.  I got a lot of interesting captures while I was away, and perhaps I’ll even have a chance to get out locally and get some bird images before all of my summer birds start heading south again.

2019-06-30: June in Review

June’s topic of the month

June was topic free, as I worked to try and get back on track after holidays.  I’ve actually found that to be a little bit of a struggle, and still haven’t really found my routines again.

What’s new this month

June felt like it flew by, and I certainly didn’t accomplish as much as I would have liked with my photography.  But, the summer months are fleeting, and I am trying to spend as much time as possible outside, enjoying not needing to bundle up in three or four layers in the morning to take the dog for his walk.

I’m slowly working my way through my image catalogue from my travels, going through my process of starring the images I want to review further.  So far I am only halfway through my two star session, but I have taken a break from that on occasion to do a little bit of editing to share on the blog.

5 favourites of the month

What’s coming up next?

I was visiting with a friend a couple of days ago, and she was talking of her love of baby elephants and lion cubs.  So, a month dedicated to babies in the bush seems as good a topic as any 🙂

For those that are printing out the calendar pages; the links for July and August are below:

Full page calendar for July & August

Half fold calendar for July & August



Month in Review – April 2019


April’s topic of the month

April was topic free, as I was trying to work through my image backlog, and just post whatever I felt like at the moment.  And, I am happy to report that I met my goal of getting all of my image backlog edited before heading off on my next adventure.  I finished with less than 12 hours to go, so it was cutting it close, but I am happy to have a clean slate to return to when I get home.

What’s new this month

The snow has finally melted, the temperatures have started to warm up, and I even saw (but didn’t photograph) my first hummingbird of the year a couple of days ago.  I am looking forward to spending some time outside capturing the hummingbirds when I return home from holiday.

5 favourites of the month

What’s coming up next?

I’ll be traveling in South Africa in May, so my regular posts may be a bit sporadic at best.

For those that have been printing out my calendar pages each month, below are the links for May and June:

Full Page Calendar for May & June

Half fold calendar for May & June

2019-02-28: February in Review

I know it is a short month, but February sped by very, very quickly.  And very coldly as well, despite my picking the topic of warm to focus on for the month.  We still aren’t out of the cold, wintery weather up here, but I keep telling myself that it’ll happen any day now.

February’s topic of the month

I chose the topic of warm because looking at the near and long term forecast through February, I just couldn’t see myself getting out to shoot too often.  So instead I went through my unedited image archive and found images from warm places, and warm scenes that made my heart happy.  Perhaps not the most imaginative topic for the month, but at least it got me working through some of my archive.

What’s new this month

All work and no play has made this a pretty dull month!  Hopefully March will be a bit more interesting.

As promised back in January, my calendar pages for March and April are available if you would like to download them to use either in a freestanding calendar holder, or something like a clipboard wall calendar.  I’ll be posting the pages for May and June in the April Month in Review post.

Click here to download the March and April full page calendar

Click here to download the March and April half page calendar

5 favourites of the month



What’s coming up next?

For March, I have decided that my topic will be Signs of Spring.  I’m going to do my best with this one, and may need to use my creativity, especially since -28C is showing on the forecast for Saturday overnight.  Eeek!

2019-01-01: Happy New Year!

One of the projects that I undertake in December, for myself and a few family and friends is creating custom calendars; formatted both for hanging on a wall (I use a clipboard) or smaller sized to fit in freestanding wood blocks.

This year I’ve decided to share them on the blog, for anyone that would like to have one.

January and February for the half fold calendar is shown below.  They are sized for 11″ x 8 1/2″ paper; I use cardstock to print them.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 2.13.39 PM.png

There isn’t a particular theme to the calendars this year; just images that I enjoy looking at and that bring back memories of wonderful times traveling.  I hope that these will brighten up your wall or desk a little more than a freebie calendar from the bank 🙂

Click here to download the half-fold calendar for January and February

Click here to download the full page calendar for January and February

March and April will be included in my February Month in Review post.

Wishing everyone a fantastic year ahead.


2018-10-02: September in Review

My goodness did September ever slip by quickly!  Here we are at the start of October, the leaves are already bright yellow and littering the ground around my home, and soon the birch trees will be complete bare in preparation for winter.

September’s Topic of the month – Topaz Studio

September has definitely been another good month for editing for me!  I’ve really enjoyed diving into the Topaz Studio program and learning how to use it effectively.  I’m starting to determine where Topaz falls into my editing process, but I think that will become even clearer after exploring my topic of the month for October.

What’s new this month

It seems to be a usual comment for me the past couple of months, that I have not created as many opportunities to get out and shoot as I would like.  I have been getting my camera out a bit during my daily walks to try and capture some of the brilliant yellow autumn leaves before they are all blown away, but I’ve not had a chance to review and see if there is anything there worth editing and sharing.

5 favourites for September

What’s coming up next?

After two months of deep dives into different programs, I’ve decided that for October I am going to edit series of images, comparing the capabilities of On1 Photo Raw, Luminar and Topaz Studio.  I think as people contemplate adding new tools to their editing process, or making a change to the software they are using, it is helpful to see how different programs compare to each other, and some of the relative strengths and weaknesses.  I’m going to do my best to pick images with both some serious challenges (exposure issues, heavy noise, challenging environmental conditions) and ones that need relatively little editing at all.

2018-09-03: August in Review

August’s Topic of the Month – Editing with Luminar

I didn’t get out and take many images in August, but I feel like I learned something during my month focusing on editing in Luminar.  The obvious one is that I have learned how to work with a new software program, which is a skill that I am looking forward to honing further in the future.  But taking that step back from the routine of editing that I created when I moved from Lightroom to On1 has been very beneficial in helping me to slow down and really see an image.  To figure out what I really like about it, and how best to accentuate that.

Not having the familiarity with the functioning of a program, it takes longer to edit.  You need to search around a bit to find the tools that you need to create the look that you want.  I’ve needed to really slow down and think about what I am trying to achieve; perhaps an image needs the appearance of more sharpness or the colours are flat and not how I recall them to be.  From there I’ve needed to find the best tool available to me to make that happen.

It’s also been fun to play around with shots that weren’t necessarily keepers, just to see how well the program works.  It’s pretty easy to edit an image without issues; it’s being able to make good something that is interesting to me that was shot under less than favourable conditions, or with less than ideal camera settings.  Being out in nature, there are times when the light isn’t going to be where you would like it in relation to your subject, or the colour cast on an animal will have it look strange.  I want to be able to correct those, and a host of other situations, because great moments are always happening, and I’d rather have a shot than no shot.

So while I still have much to learn about the software, I now feel comfortable using it and I know what filters to turn to first to correct different issues.  There’s still lots to learn but I think my month of Luminar was a great success.

What’s New this Month

I’ve let a few things slide as I have been trying to use as much time away from work that I can enjoy what little summer we have had.  So right now, I don’t have any new items to show you on Vida and I haven’t posted anything new to the galleries this month.  But, if you haven’t checked either out before, there will be something new for you to see.  So feel free to pop over to the gallery and check out some of my favourite images (to date), send someone a free e-card, or maybe buy yourself something beautiful to decorate your walls.  If you’ve not checked out my Vida page before, on that site you can find textiles featuring some of my images; there are tops and wraps, bags and pillows, and scarves to keep your neck cozy as the cooler weather approaches.

Five Favourites for August

What’s Coming up Next?

For September, I am going to take a dive into the Topaz Studio program.  I’ve managed to use the program a couple times, but I don’t find the interface intuitive at the moment, and haven’t been able to make it do what I’d like to do just by playing around with the program.  Topaz has so many different programs that are part of Studio, such as impression, which I love to use for my artistic impression images, so I am looking forward to creating some interesting images to share.

And with that, it’s time to bundle up and take the dog out for a walk.  Because right now, it feels like Mother Nature has turned the switch on summer to off.

Have a great day everyone!

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