A new look – for a new season

Do I look different?

We’ve been using this blog for about two years now and I (Ian) thought it was time for a (northern hemisphere) spring clean. Those of you who look at the blog using a PC/Mac/browser will see a completely new look.

I felt that we were wasting too much screen space with the administrative stuff on the right side of the screen, so the new theme puts all that material at the bottom. For that, we get bigger text and, most importantly, more space for photos. I’m indebted to David Oare and his wonderful blog about the travels of Wanderlust for inspiring me to use (well, mostly copy!) this particular theme. Thanks Dave!

I’m also going to make a slight change in how I distribute the blog in that I will also send a notification to my (Ian’s) Facebook page when each one is completed. Of course, if you want to get notified with a short email, just put your email address in the subscription box, now at the end of each posting (!) and all will be taken care of.

The other major change is that hopefully, we will keep more up to date this year.

Some Photos

As the main reason for making the change was to get better exposure of our photos, I thought I’d just put a few favourites in this post, some you’ve seen, some you may not.

The first is a bit of a trick, taken from the top of the IJzertoren, from three posts ago.

Little boats on River IJzer at Diksmuide

Little boats on River IJzer at Diksmuide

The “toy” effect is an optical illusion, based on using a technique called ’tilt-shift’. It’s not hard to do with Photoshop (I use PS Elements) and there are iPhone apps (in the link) that do it too.

I was really pleased with how this photo eventually turned out. It comes from our visit to the Escher gallery in Den Haag. There was a wonderful central stairway and as Esher had a bit of a ‘thing’ about stairs, I thought this would make a good subject.

Escher stairwell; royally decorated stairs; strikingly illuminated by the chandeliers.

Escher stairwell; royally decorated stairs; strikingly illuminated by the chandeliers.

With Lisette above, I peeled off three exposures. I knew I’d have to do some HDR work because the brightness of the chandelier, the wall feature and the atrium at the top of the stairs couldn’t be rendered properly with the much darker stairwell. I used the multiple layer masking features of Aurora HDR Pro to bring out, what I think, is a pretty faithful representation of the scene.

It wouldn’t be fair to have a blog posting without Catharina, although, in this case, it’s actually Neo Vita. This is now our go-to photo for showing her off, taken in 2014 in the Dutch town of Dieverbrug.

Neo Vita in the early morning in Dieverbrug

Neo Vita in the early morning in Dieverbrug

Unfortunately, at the time, I had somehow managed to get the lens (well the UV filter) greasy and the smudge gave a not very pleasing misty effect. Off to PS Elements with a plugin actually designed to deal with out-of-focus issues and that brought the scene back to sharpness without any significant ill effects.

Well, I’d better be off to make the theme changes and get on with fixing the loose ends that need tidying before we leave for Catharina – in under two weeks!

 

2 thoughts on “A new look – for a new season

  1. Love the new format, the gorgeous photos…and the challenge to cook with duck confit! You have made living vicariously on Catharina – and traveling through France and Belgium – ALMOST as good as being there. Your blog has meant additional revenue for Canada’s lotteries as purchasing a weekly ticket (and dreaming of buying my own barge) has become a mandatory part of my ‘To Do’ list.

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