Monthly Montage – April

In April I shared quite a lot of photographs.

There were a few from my garden, four from the Photo Challenge: pond, lunch, arch and nature. I also shared my recent entries for Monochrome Madness. Easter was the big event of the month and I shared my Easter never-ending card, gave away some crochet cross bookmarks I had made, in a Giveaway, and showed you a couple of photographs of the Battenburg cake I made instead of a simnel cake this year.

Last but not least, I shared my latest ideas for Celtic cross bookmarks that had grown out of my Celtic plaitwork bookmarks, a pattern for a Celtic placemat to match my Celtic coasters and a neat pack-away string bag that I made from someone else’s pattern.

All things Celtic is very much my obsession of the moment.


Monochrome Madness offerings

All these photographs are the ones sent to ‘Monochrome Madness’ so will enlarge if you click on them.

This year the Photo Challenge has rather distracted me from working on monochrome photographs but I have managed to send in fourteen pictures over the last few months. rainbow-junkie-3-1-beeI love photographing bees and take every opportunity to do so. This a part of a photograph I took at Criccieth.

rainbow-junkie-3-3-cityI missed a week and I think this was probably a theme week – City. I expect you can recognise that this was taken in London.

rainbow-junkie-3-4-cameliaThis is the first of a few flower photgraphs I worked on. It was a camelia that had fallen off a bush just up the road from me.

rainbow-junkie-3-5-bee-in-flowerAnother bee photograph as well as a flower one!

rainbow-junkie-3-6-mahoniaThis is a mahonia flower. There is a bush I pass when going to the bus stop.

rainbow-junkie-3-7-closedAnother theme week I think – Closed. This is the door of the nearer of the two churches in my parish.

rainbow-junkie-3-10-roseMissed two weeks this time but found another of my flower photographs (I love photographing flowers as well as bees!) This time a white rugosa rose.

rainbow-junkie-3-15-roseFour weeks missed. This is a white and deep pink rose that I found quite delightful.

rainbow-junkie-3-16-movementI think this must have been a theme week too – Movement. Taken on the day I went to Christchurch.

rainbow-junkie-3-18-ceilingMissed a week. Thought that this ceiling looked even better in monochrome. You will find it in the West Gate museum in Winchester.

rainbow-junkie-3-22-the-butteryAnother three weeks missed. My visit to Chichester last summer. When I stopped for a coffee and something to eat. I think it was called ‘The Buttery’.

rainbow-junkie-3-31-beautifulEight weeks missing this time; becoming a real struggle to even remember to send in something. Another photograph from Chichester. An art exhibition in the Cathedral.

rainbow-junkie-3-32-in-the-woodsManaged to remember. A monochrome version of one of the photographs taken when finding a Photo Challenge photograph for ‘Wild’. Taken on Southampton Common with my phone.

rainbow-junkie-3-37-turretsGave up trying for the next four weeks but this is the first of this year. Taken last summer at St Catherine’s Chapel, Abbotsbury.

I hope to manage to find something every week from now on!

Monochrome Madness (Year 2: 40-52)

I’ve added a gallery this time with photographs and commentry on each below.

The first of these photograph was taken at the same time as I took the ‘Winter’ photograph for the photo challenge. Rainbow Junkie - (2-40) WinterNot much to say except that I thought the curved building and lamp post added extra interest.

The next week I wasn’t sure what to send but I though this photograph Rainbow Junkie - (2-41) skyhad an interesting sky.

Still lacking inspiration, I decided that this photograph I took while at my daughter’s for Christmas translated well into monochrome.Rainbow Junkie - (2-42) starMy granddaughter made the star! (I also liked the feathery bird decoration)

The next week was a theme week – ‘Curves’. So I went back to my favourite fence. Favourite fenceand photographed one of the clusters at the top of the poles. Rainbow Junkie - (2-43) CurvesIt’s the one by the tree actually.

For the following week, I was pleased with another photograph I took at Christmas except that the light had been so low that it was very grainy. So I started playing around with it (using effects meant for coloured photographs actually) and came up with this. Rainbow Junkie - (2-44) artyI don’t normally do ‘arty’ but I thought I would be bold for once.

The following week I totally forgot to send something. As you can see I was having difficulty knowing what to provide and after the one above I think I just relaxed and forgot that it was the time to send the next one.

The next week, realising that I had forgotten to send one for the previous week and feeling that I ought to take a new photograph rather than using ones I had and wanting to try something different I took this.Rainbow Junkie - (2-46) - tea setIt is a close up of a candle topper. Not quite convincing but quite charming I thought. The spout had been broken and glued back but the magic of photo software corrected that!

Another theme week: this time ‘Straight’. I remembered this path (taken the same day as the one for Monday’s Photo Challenge but not as photogenic.) Not my usual style of path photography but taken precisely because it was so straight! Rainbow Junkie - (2-47) - StraightI had taken this photograph for the ’52 week photo challenge’Rainbow Junkie - (2-48) - Conversationbut thought that it worked well in monochrome. So why not use it twice!

With my mind now busy thinking about getting new paving for my garden, once again I forgot to send anything for week 49.

But I went out with my camera and took this for the following week. Rainbow Junkie - (2-50) - BuildingsI liked the different shapes and styles of the buildings. The one on the left is part of the Civic Centre, the sloping one is the new Sea City museum and the one in the distance is a new university accommodation block. This was actually taken quickly just to see what was possible with the intention to come back and take one at a different time of day but I think we had a lot of rain and the opportunity didn’t arise. You can see the light reflected from the windows of the Civic Centre onto the wall of the museum.

I did send a photograph for week 51 but maybe I sent it too early because it didn’t seem to appear. I won’t show it to you now as I may use it in future.

The last photgraph of the year for what was another theme week – ‘Close up’ was this. A small piece going cheap at the green grocer’s.Rainbow Junkie - (2-52) - Close-upIt is a ‘close-up’ of some Romanesco broccoli. (My son refused to believe it was broccoli and wouldn’t eat any! but I had provided plenty of the normal sort.) I just loved the fractal nature of it’s growth and the logarithmic spirals.

And here is a link to the first week of Monochrome Madness Year 3


Monochrome Madness (Year 2: 27-39)

Here is another three months of my entries for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness.

Since photography is not my primary hobby, and for lots of other reasons, I do not get out to take photographs every day or even every week. Holidays often provide the best opportunities for photography and so you will find that most, though not all, of these photographs were taken while on holiday, especially my recent Danube Cruise.

(I think previously I have scaled down the photographs when putting them on my blog, to save space, but here, to save time, I have used the originals so if you click on them you can see them as originally submitted.)

This first one was taken for a themed week where the theme was ‘coutry’. I had to dig deep for this one and found this which was taken a long time ago in North Wales. Rainbow Junkie - (2-27) countryThe next week I chose what was one of my favourite photographs from my Danube cruise. The trompe l’oeil staircase from Melk Abbey.Rainbow Junkie - (2-28) spiralstaircaseThe following week I found another very different photograph that I took on board the ship. Rainbow Junkie - (2-29) black knightI thought that the reflections showed up particularly well in monochrome.

Of course many of you will have seen the colour version of these photographs.

Here we have Budapest parliament at night. Rainbow Junkie - (2-30) BudapestEven more dramatic with the high contrast.

The next week was another themed week and this time the theme was ‘clouds’.

Coincidentally I had only recently taken this photograph from St Catherine’s Hill near WinchesterRainbow Junkie - (2-31) cloudsparticularly to capture the delightful cloud formation.

Back to my holiday for the next week with this quirky photograph of a couple of autumn leaves. Rainbow Junkie - (2-32) leavesWithout the colour the different textures stand out more clearly.

Now you won’t have seen this photograph unless you follow Monochrome Madness, as I didn’t think the colour version was worth sharing, but I thought it made an interesting semi-silhouette in monochrome. Rainbow Junkie - (2-33) statueThis you may well have seen. Rainbow Junkie - (2-34) EsztergomI thought the two birds added an extra touch which showed up well in monochrome.

The following week was another themed ‘approaching Christmas’ week where the theme was ‘bells’. Luckily I had taken this on the cruise. Rainbow Junkie - (2-35) old bellsMore themes for the next three weeks.

First ‘elves’. I thought I would have to miss out on this but I created the photograph below from part of a photograph I had taken when we had gone to the Isle of Wight the previous year. Rainbow Junkie - (2-36) elvesIt was one of a series of dramatic presentations in glass fronted cases in a most unusual garden.

With the next theme of ‘angels’ I did think of using one of my angel bookmarks but decide in the end that this angel from St. Michael and All Angels’ church in Lyndhurst was much more photogenic. Rainbow Junkie - (2-37) angelThe last theme was ‘Christmas where you are’. I had intended to go down town and see what I could photograph but having to stay in on several mornings in the hope of getting the heating fixed, I didn’t have the time and so used this which had been my second choice for last year when we were adding a touch of colour. Rainbow Junkie - (2-38) KingsSince these are the three kings from my knitted crib, it certainly fitted the theme.

I had one last monochrome photograph from the cruise that I had thought would look good in monochrome so I chose that for the last photograph of this post and the first photograph for 2016. Rainbow Junkie - (2-39) passagewayI thought that it was quite a good choice as one looks forward to a new year.

Monochrome Madness (Year 2: 15-26)

I actually forgot to send a photograph for week 14!

These will be in week order as they don’t really fall into categories. No captions as they seem to drive everything crazy.

During this time I was trying to think of creating something that was different to before and worthy of a comment and I did manage to get a comment quite a few times.

A flint from the wall of the ruins at Old Sarum. It looked like a horses face I thought – a bit of fun!Rainbow Junkie - (2-15) flintNext week another picture from the ones I took when I went to Old Sarum but this time I aged it by creating a sepia tone.Rainbow Junkie - (2-16) cottageI even removed the road markings!CottageThe next week was a theme week – “K”. Well what do you do for “K”? So I thought “Knitting”! Well that would be easy for me but instead of just photographing some current knitting, I remembered this photograph I had taken of an art installation whose subject was knitting. I had been very pleased with the original.the blue jumperso I converted it to grayscale.Rainbow Junkie - (2-17) thebluejumperAfter this I wasn’t quite sure what to do. But continuing the nostalgia idea from the week before the theme, I simply arranged a tinted picture of my mother as carnival queen and some postcards of her old school and photographed that.Rainbow Junkie - (2-18) memoriesThe next week I thought I ought to go back to regular monochrome photographs and chose this one, another that I had taken when I was in Lourdes up on the hill in the mist. It had been amazing how everything was drenched in dewdrops.Rainbow Junkie - (2-19) after the rainI softened the edges as I thought it concentrated more attention on the flowers.

What to do next?

Well the following week I could use this one I had taken in Oxford recently. Again I softened the edges as I thought it gave it a more dreamy idyllic look.Rainbow Junkie - (2-20) the bargeFor the next week I could use another recent photograph taken of my granddaughter at Corfe Castle.Rainbow Junkie - (2-21) ConcentrationThen another theme week. This time “Bridges” I had taken a photograph of a bridge in Oxford that I quite liked and would have taken some of the many bridges in Southampton, if I had been able to find the time and energy, but in the end I felt that nothing I had could match this bridge across the river Mawddach for interest. (Taken from the train during my holiday at Tywyn.)Rainbow Junkie - (2-22) Barmouth bridgeI had been saving this up in case we ever had a theme of phone photographs as I rarely use my phone to take photographs. This was something I just had to capture one morning on my way to ‘Crafty Coffee’. It would have been better if I could have caught it when the sun was brighter, but although I went back hopefully the next couple of weeks I never got a better one.Rainbow Junkie - (2-23) ShadowThe idea to take this one was partly inspired by a ‘steel wool’ photograph that someone had sent in for that week’s Monochrome Madness. Though mine was much easier as all it meant was taking a few photgraphs of the fibre optic lamp in my sitting room and choosing the best one.Rainbow Junkie - (2-24) LightEver since I worked at the Optoelectronic Research Centre at the university I had wanted a fibre optic lamp and I found this one in a charity shop. (Of course the ORC worked on glass fibres and this used plastic ones.)

I had taken a few photographs in the garden the week before when not sure what to use and decided that this was quite interesting for the following week.Rainbow Junkie - (2-25) small quinceWeek 26 was another themed week and this time the theme was ‘urban’. Urban isn’t really something I do much of and the weather had turned very wet but I found this photograph from the day I went to Oxford that I hadn’t used before.Rainbow Junkie - (2-26) cityIt is a view from Southampton railway station looking up the hill to the city centre. I liked the way the bridge over the railway framed the road and the traffic.

Monochrome Madness (Year 2: 1-13)

As we approach half-way during the year, I was thinking that when we got there I would share my submissions for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness for any of you that might be interested. However I realised that twenty six photographs all at once might be a bit much so I am sharing for the moment just the first three months of entries. (The year is not the calendar year just the second year since the topic started.)

I am grouping them by topic though the titles give the number of the week they were entered. (These are reduced in size from the originals to save space and fit the blog.)

I started the year with this photograph taken from the boat, when I went on a cruise down the Nile.

Rainbow Junkie - (2-1) Sunset on the Nile
Rainbow Junkie – (2-1) Sunset on the Nile

I love flowers and so there were flower entries.

This is a photograph I took of some “Tetra Rose” clematis I had in my garden before it grew too big.

Rainbow Junkie - (2-2) Clematis
Rainbow Junkie – (2-2) Clematis

I thought that I had shared the colour version with you but I realise now that when I did the posts on ‘My Rainbow Garden’ I never completed it with the pink and white flower photographs that are not, of course, part of the rainbow.

And this is one of the chrysanthemums that was in the ‘Mother’s Day’ flowers this year from my daughter.

Rainbow Junkie - (2-5) flower
Rainbow Junkie – (2-5) flower

I liked the way the yellow chrysanthemum picked up the light.

And though it is not exactly a flower, I was very pleased to finally get what I thought of as a satisfactory photograph of a dandelion head because it was growing in front of an old fashioned lamp post painted black.

Rainbow Junkie - (2-12) dandelion
Rainbow Junkie – (2-12) dandelion

I also like photographing birds, especially swans, so there were two swan photographs.

This one from the river Itchen at a point I always think of as almost a beach

Rainbow Junkie - (2-3) Swan
Rainbow Junkie – (2-3) Swan

and this from the Cemetery Lake on the Common.

Rainbow Junkie - (2-13) reflections
Rainbow Junkie – (2-13) reflections

Included as much for the look of the water as the swan.

But I also submitted this picture of seagulls taken at Tywyn some years ago.

Rainbow Junkie - (2-6) seagulls
Rainbow Junkie – (2-6) seagulls

I love capturing water as a glassy moment.

There were some more architectural shots.

The first two from the time I went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in France.

Rainbow Junkie - (2-11) cross
Rainbow Junkie – (2-11) cross

(This was taken at the top of a hill on a very misty day.)


Rainbow Junkie - (2-7) Dome
Rainbow Junkie – (2-7) Dome

and, closer to home, this one of a window in the Civic Centre in Southampton.

Rainbow Junkie - (2-8) Window
Rainbow Junkie – (2-8) Window

One week I ran out of inspiration and put together a few crochet related items and ‘aged’ it

Rainbow Junkie - (2-10) crochet (sepia)
Rainbow Junkie – (2-10) crochet (sepia)

Finally, we also had two weeks which were themed. I have shared these with you before but add them for completeness.

The first theme we had was ‘MM’ and I produced this fairly predictable response. There were another few similar ones.

Rainbow Junkie - (2-4) MM
Rainbow Junkie – (2-4) MM

And ‘Fences’taken in one of the city centre parks.

Rainbow Junkie - (2-9) Fence
Rainbow Junkie – (2-9) Fence

I don’t normally add captions to my photographs but I found by doing so if I wanted to edit the text around the photographs it sometimes caused strange things to happen and the caption would move from being a caption to being separate text and also the text above a photograph would suddnely be found to be below it.

Has anyone else had this experience?

Working to a Theme

As you probably know, I have been joining in with Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness and this week we had a ‘theme’ which was ‘MM’.

A natural choice perhaps but at first I felt really stumped. Had a few crazy ideas that might have worked if I had a car or lots of time then saw an old Mother’s day card from my son and came up with this.

0338-startThe final monochrome version.0338-MMHad a bright idea and refined it to this!

0338-MM2I then decided that maybe I should do something really obvious, and maybe less forced, and bought a packet of “M&M’s”.

At one point I tried photographing the packet.

0338-rejectBut decided that was too easy.

So went with this.

0338-chosenI did think about arranging them so only two of them showed the ‘m’ side but that was awfully tricky so this had to do!

Our next theme in a few weeks time will be fences. Should be easier I think.

Monochrome Madness – my entries

From time to time I have talked about Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness posts and my entries. She has now reached week 52 and it has been decided that we should all send our favourite entry so far for a great favourites gallery.

Here is a link to her post –

I haven’t an entry for every week as I didn’t even start contributing at the beginning and I have had a couple of breaks for different reasons but here is a gallery of all my entries.

I found it very hard to decide on a favourite photograph for week 52 but in the end I decided on the one of the butterfly.

ButterflyHave you thought of trying Monochrome? All entries are welcome to Monochrome Madness.

Colour or Monochrome?

Thursday is my day for more off beat posts, so here is a photography post.

Since I have been submitting pictures to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness I have become more and more interested in the difference between what makes a good colour picture and what works better in monochrome and would like to share some of my observations with you.

Let us start with a couple of pictures that I feel work just as well in both.

Here is a photograph I took recently on the Isle of Wight. I was especially struck by the progression in size and colour from one donkey to the other.

Donkeys (colour)

In monochrome you find a similar progression.

Donkeys (monochrome)

I like taking pictures with a framed view – This one was again taken on the Isle of Wight – from under the pier.

Under the pier (colour)

The frame and the slightly misty view works well in both I think.

Under the pier (monochrome)

However if we look at one of my favourite photographs of Southampton Common in Autumn.

Southampton Common in autumn (colour)We find that in black and white it loses interest because the original relies on the mix of greens and golds.

Southampton Common in autumn (monochrome)In monochrome it is rather insipid.

I tried the same comparison with one of my more recent Autumn pictures though and found a different situation.

Here the shadows are the most important part of the picture

Autumn shadows (colour)

and so in monochrome the shadows are maybe even more emphasised.

Autumn shadows (monochrome)

and especially if you increase the contrast.

Autumn shadows (monochrome-more contrast)

The colours of the original are also important in monochrome photographs.

A rose that is creamy white in the original

White rose (colour)

becomes a clearer white in the black and white version

White rose (monochrome)

but a red rose

Red rose (colour)

becomes an uninspiring dark grey.

Red rose (monochrome)

However a photograph that I took on the Isle of Wight that I rejected for my post as uninteresting with no focus,

Looking out to sea (colour)

I felt had more unity in the monochrome version.

Looking out to sea (monchrome)

And although I don’t think this is a bad photograph in colour

Fly in a flower (colour)

I think it is even more striking in black and white.

Fly in a flower (monochrome)

I am not a professional photographer (obvious I know!) but a happy amateur.

I would be interested in any tips or comments you have on the subject.


Monochrome with a touch of colour

As you may know, I have been sending in pictures for Leanne Cole’s ‘Monochrome Madness’ posts.

The suggestion is that for Christmas we should submit a photograph that is monochrome but with just a touch of colour.

I decided that I had better work out the best way to do this.

I use Corel Photo Paint for editing my photographs. I got a free copy of version 4 with my first colour printer and upgraded to a cut down version of 7 later. I don’t know what the current version number is but I am still happy with 7.

As an experiment I started with this (or rather the full size version).

Original photograph

Made a mask for the red heart with the magic wand tool and the brush tool. Then copied the masked part.

Masked part


Removed the mask and converted the photograph to greyscale and then back to RGB colour. But of course they both look the same!

Greyscale version

Then the magic bit!

I pasted the copied masked part which copied itself to just the right place and Yay!

Final image

I realised of course that not only would this not do for a ‘Christmassy’ picture but that people might not see the difference between this and an ordinary colour picture as they weren’t to know that one of the hearts was pink.

I also tried the one glass ball on the Christmas tree idea – ever so easy to mask a round ball! – using a photograph I took of my Chrsitmas tree last year.

Christmas tree

But this won’t do either as it isn’t much of a colour photograph and makes a very muddy uninteresting monochrome one.

At least I know how to achieve the effect but I will have to think about what I could find to photograph if I am going to have an entry for that week.

What would you photograph?