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The Land of Magic

Workshop

This time I will share some of my pictures that I have taken during  Elena Shumilova’s workshop and edited for this blog. To those who haven’t read my previous posts about the workshop, there are two links:  https://inesemjphotography.com/2015/10/23/back-to-the-north-inishowen/ and  https://inesemjphotography.com/2015/10/30/elena-shumilovas-dream/

To start with, I want to make it clear that I have never had any intention to copy Elena’s style, but I did wonder how she makes all her images to look so warm and alive, and how she brings every single detail of her composition to perfection.  I wanted my photographs to be perfect too :). I did learn some of Elena’s techniques, I came home enriched and joyous,  but I know that it is just a beginning of a magic journey, where hard work and inspiration walk side by side.

Elena’s workshop encouraged me to use my painting skills in my photography – something that I do very seldom, and only when it is absolutely necessary.  Elena says that to know is not enough. It will take time and experience to learn what opacity and brush size to choose, and where to put a stroke.

I was playing with Photoshop, and want to share the pictures I have edited straight after the workshop. Some are heavily painted, some just retouched. There are no added textures or presets – I have only used Photoshop brushes and painted manually. If you don’t mind, could you please tell which of the images you like better.

This is Sean. I know, I know, it is impossible to take a bad picture with Sean as a model. I am so grateful that he agreed to model for us, and sure he deserves a better portrait than this one I took on the run. Sean is a musician, a local Father Christmas, and one of the nicest men I ever met, with a personality larger than life.

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I have always had a love for backlit scenes. Unfortunately we got that thick cloud sitting on the horizon –  there goes the golden and dreamy light… This one got a little bit of light though.

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In this image, I painted the background more deliberately, making it look like watercolor.

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In the opening image, I painted it a night. This is the real scene, with just a basic editing.

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In the end of the day we are all exhausted. Tried my best to squeeze a smile.

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Some more photographs to acknowledge our beautiful models.

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That’s it from the workshop. In my next blog I will share some pictures of Inishowen –  the land of magic and beautiful people.

I had been on the road many hours, and did a lot of thinking ( it is probably why I had missed my turn and got lost somewhere between County Cavan and Monaghan)…

As we are living our life, unpleasant things happen. We may meet some people or groups of people who act unethically and mean; who destroy others with lies and themselves with envy. We can get hurt. We can be targets or collateral damage victims. There is some ugliness always lurking in the shadows, but you know what? The rest of the life is magic! Most of our life is magic. I would be a fool if I let this perfect life to be overshadowed with bitterness and negativity. This precious, exciting, glorious life! Sadness, and even frustration takes over at times, but the magic has never failed me – after every unpleasant experience something wonderful happens.

I would love to share another few links as a Thank you to all of those who made that weekend unforgettable.

Strand Hotel, Ballyliffin – highly recommended!  http://www.ballyliffinstrandhotel.com/

Famine Village  – photo shoot location  http://www.doaghfaminevillage.com/

Malin Stables    https://www.facebook.com/malin.stables

Transportation   http://www.ghostsnake.com/bradleys/index.htm

Clothes    https://www.facebook.com/Mc-Os-Vintage-284538278256601/?fref=ts&__mref=message

Irish TV  http://www.irishtv.ie/

And again, thank you Elena Shumilova and Brendan Diver, and all our beautiful models! More workshops scheduled for 2016, including two in the USA ( Long Island and Orange County).

More to follow…

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Like a child

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Children are my favorite people. I love to see them happy and protected,  but often I see them neglected and abused.  They are “inconvenient”, “economically worthless”, “unwanted”.  Their parents regret having them, and are itching for them to move out so that they can finally get some “life”.  For this post I have collected a few quotes and videos related to children and “being like children”.

The words of Kahlil Gibran are very often quoted and discussed.

A nursing mother asked the Prophet: Speak to us on children.

This is his answer.

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

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You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,

and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

so He loves also the bow that is stable.

We cannot make our children in our own image and likeness.  We have to give them freedom to grow.  But there is something else in this poem, that I find very important. Our children are given to us, which means, we will have to account for them.

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Teenagers are also children, and they are entitled to our love. They do not want to listen to our words very often, but they certainly see our example. Even if people tragically make wrong decisions, any effort their parents have made is not in vain, and pays off.

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”
L.R. Knost, Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages

Every war takes countless lives of innocent children.

Janusz Korczak, a doctor and author, was a principal of a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw from 1910-th.

“Children are not the people of tomorrow, but are people of today. They have a right to be taken seriously, and to be treated with tenderness and respect. They should be allowed to grow into whoever they were meant to be. ‘The unknown person’ inside of them is our hope for the future.”  Janusz Korczak

When the institution was sent  to the Treblinka extermination camp, he refused to leave his orphans  and went to the gas chamber with them. He told the children to wear their best clothes, and take with them a favorite book or toy, as if they went for a trip.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”
W.B. Yeats, The Collected Poems

The life is tough, but  it is much easier to bear the burden of life if you have good memories of your childhood, parents and grandparents.   Make these memories for your children to strengthen them at the times when they need to be strong .

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“Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.”— Rabindranath Tagore

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“Children see magic because they look for it.”
  ― Christopher Moore, writer

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The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him. – Pablo Casals, musician

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“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” – John F. Kennedy

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“When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments — tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become.” Louis Pasteur

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We all know that there is a little child in us. All our experiences and ages are preserved in us.

Act as a child when you feel it is a right time to do so. It might make the world a better place.

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

You don’t necessarily have to have your own children, it doesn’t make much difference (go back to the first quote). About 25% of world population are children. You may be their relative or neighbor; you may be physician, senator, president, baby food manufacturer, movie maker,  writer,  teacher, farmer… Just don’t do anything that can harm them.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful day!

Year is running out

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This year is running out, and there is still so much to do! Finishing projects and fixing things in a hurry doesn’t seem to be neither productive nor satisfying. Sometimes the front looks OK, but the back tells another story… like in this picture… Well, lets don’t press too hard on ourselves: it might take years to realize that some things look better unfinished. 

There is something I call perfection, though. It is a video clip that I share every Christmas. When I watch this video, I feel like everything falls into place; my questions and my doubts get a perfect answer; vanity dissolves; harmony returns. Music and Art are perfectly woven together, and I am sure you will enjoy watching and listening to it, all of you, regardless of your age, religion or familiarity with arts.

Mike Masse is a former attorney who began performing once a month at the Pie Pizzeria in Salt Lake City in 1993, and did it until recent years when he moved to Colorado with his family. Now he is a full-time musician, performing in different states. Check out his  web site  : there is his gig schedule, and you might find him near where you live.

Mike also performs live with the former members of the band Boston, Barry Goudreau and Sib Hashian. Here is a great piece, More Than  A Feeling (1976) for you to enjoy.

This is a fantastic acoustic cover of Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” performed by Mike Masse & Jenny Oaks Baker.

So, it is what I am doing today instead of “finishing and fixing” 🙂 I am listening to the music I enjoy.

This is Dublin in December.

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This is an old farmstead in the mountains.

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I love Irish music. Its roots go back to the medieval times, and one of the best examples is Wexford Carol. You can listen to this traditional Irish Christmas song sang by The Palestrina Choir of St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin.

Listening to the beloved hymn, I think about the coming year 2015. I cannot believe I have lived so long, but I don’t mind to keep on living.

The year 2014 has been both successful and devastating. They say 2015 will give us a break.  We will see. There is a song  I really like: Muse, Time is running out,  from their best album Absolution.  It is difficult to say what the song is about: Matt Bellamy himself is not sure…

Matt Bellamy: “It’s just about feeling that the last moments of your life are running out and… it’s more about the emotion itself: being suffocated, feeling that your last chance is being taken away from you by something that’s outside of your own power, and you can apply that to society, a relationship, your religion or whatever”

I like the song, but it makes me feel uneasy when I think it might be about something that is coming – something that is outside our power and control; something that can affect us in a bad way. So, may be lets think that it is simply about a mad love with a woman of destiny 🙂

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What  I really want to say  –  the truth of the matter is that the time is truly running out. Gradually.

Thank you for listening to this very different selection of music with me!

Tip of the day: This holidays, take some photographs that are out of your usual genre. Discover yourself 🙂

inesemjphotographyHave a great weekend!

WORKSPACE BLOG HOP

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The Half Eaten Mind and his human Vijay invited me to participate in the Workspace Blog Hop. It means, I have to reveal something about myself and  the place I am blogging from. Thank you, Vijay!

I moved to Waterford city just a month ago, so my working space has not yet achieved a stable and respectable look. My books are still packed, and some of my stuff is sitting in my friends’ garage.  I haven’ t yet decided either I stay here another couple of years, or keep moving.

I have a one-bedroom apartment and work in the living room. This is the table I work at: I prefer my working place being ergonomic rather than comfy. Two windows – on my left and on my right- provide enough light during the day.

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A HP laptop, two external hard drives and a handful of USB memory cards  – it is all I use for writing, editing, storing and carrying around my files. Plus a printer and a scanner.

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This is a fragment of a surface, random. All the surfaces in this room look similar 🙂 Except my table. The table is bare: I have pushed things off the table with my elbows enough to learn the lesson.

So, this is pretty much everything about my working space.

I don’t have any pets – it is enough to ask my friends to take care of my cacti plants when I am away. I have 17 cacti plants.

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I would love to have a pet though. Any critter.

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My new contract forbids me to keep “any living creature” in this apartment. Yes, it is a quote.

I live in the medieval center of  Waterford city, next to the oldest buildings. One day I will make a separate blog about Waterford, but for now I just want to report that it was a great sunny morning here, and I walked through the city center for my “cardio with a camera” and took this picture.

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And this one too: it is a shop across from where I live, and it is reflection of my car in the window.

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Sure I am moving around for my photography rather than stay at home.  Sometimes  I am lucky enough to get an assistant for the test-shoots.

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Now you have an idea about my blogging  space and the world around it. I might also add  that this is mostly a pedestrian zone, clean and quiet. Most of the noise is coming from the Cathedral when they are ringing their bell:)

I have to pick up some of you to join the Workspace Blog Hop. It is not as you are forced to write all these things about yourself, but I give you this opportunity 🙂

http://indahs.com/  Indah

http://believeinadream.com/  Kellyann

http://whenwomeninspire.com/   Christy

http://aquileana.wordpress.com/  Amalia

http://studiocandelabra.com/  Linda Sue

http://oncemorewithforeboding.com/ Tony Single

*

A wonderful blogger The Crafty Lady in the Combat boots  nominated me for a One Lovely Blog Award.  I am always humbled to receive awards from people who are so good at what they are doing. Thank you so much, for your kindness!

There is about the nomination:

The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for those newer and up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and also to help the new blogger to reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “lovely” by the fellow blogger who choose them. This award recognizes bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to connect with their viewers and followers. In order to “accept” the award
  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  • Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.
  • Nominate 7 bloggers you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog.

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Here are seven facts about me – they are truly the facts 🙂

1. My favorite people are my daughter and two grand daughters and my son in law;  2. I love many other people; 3. I read every night even if it is one page; 3. I love music and play the piano when I have a chance; 4.  I love my Micra; 5. I  love earthly colors; 6. I  love nature and creatures; 7. I despise fake individuals and stay away from them.

Now the nominations:) Thank you for your wonderful blogs!

1. http://postcardpieces.wordpress.com/

2. http://dorisbolliger.wordpress.com/category/blog-posts/

3. http://prolificdaydreamer.wordpress.com/

4. http://littlechomper.com/

5. http://cynthiasreyes.com/

Photography tip of the day:  When you store your files the names of your folders matter a lot. Start with a year followed by a month; then write a key word/words so that you know what is there in that particular folder. Don’t make huge folders;  divide them in parts:  2014-05-30 Moab – Devils Garden-Part I

inese_mj_photographyHave a great weekend!

Our times of triumph

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When I was very young, I used to read a lot. Some episodes impressed me so much that I replayed them in a real life. As we all know, life and fiction are not the same, so I used to get in trouble on many occasions.

In that particular book, two teenagers, a boy and a girl, had climbed onto the roof, and lying on their back, watching the passing clouds dreamed about the future. The scene looked so appealing that I immediately jumped to action.

Next to my Grandma’s cowshed there was a small annex used for storing a week supply of hay bales; adjacent to it, under the same roof was a chicken coop. My plan was to climb a stonewall, then get up on the annex roof and from there climb on the cowshed roof, high enough to set up the scene as desired.

And I got there, laid out a blanket I brought with me, and sat staring into the sky. My future did not send me any hints. The roof was hard and rough, but I lied down hoping it might help, as per book. Still, my mind was blank. The clouds just passed by, I had spotted a few animal-like shapes, but it was clear that there was no excitement in it, my back hurt and I was getting bored and annoyed. I think it was the day when I learned something about a good literature and a fake literature. On my way down, the roof caved in and I fell in the hay – lucky me. My Grandma was so happy that I didn’t kill myself that she baked a plate of biscuits for me, and we decided to keep the story in secret, for our mutual good.

Later, in my bed, I was dreaming about the future. In my dreams I was a famous artist, and all the children books were illustrated by me. One scene followed another, all in beautiful, rich colors; people and animals did look like people and animals; there were sun spells, fresh breeze, pouring rain and flowing water, and it was all real. I made it live; I was that magician.

Very often we learn the life’s lessons in a hard way. Very often we get slapped in the face, and our efforts don’t impress anybody. But there are the times when we feel like all the spotlights are turned on us, and all the praises and admiration in the world are expressed for us, and these are our moments of triumph even if no one else knows that.

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Pictures of my Grandparents and me. In the last image (1914) my Grandma is the one who is standing.  The baby is my Great Granddad’s daughter from his second marriage. I named my daughter after her.

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Photography tip of the day: For Nikon users starting out 🙂

http://photographylife.com/which-nikon-prime-lens-to-buy-first

inese_mj_photographyHave a  great day!