Friday, 29 July 2016

Flight of the Bumblebee

Disclaimer: Not an actual bumblebee.

Usually, I would have participated in the theme challenge on Delightful Aberrations this week.
However, this week I've not had time to properly think about the prompts and come up with ideas--I've had too much else to do, and some unforseen busted-up-router-related jobs to deal with!
Also, as you read this, I am on a trip (being a nerd at an anime convention), which has taken away the majority of the time I'd otherwise have to participate.

So instead, here's a blurry bee with some mostly-blurry lavender.
I took this photo a couple of weeks ago when tinkering with my camera. Though it's really blurry, I like how it turned out, with the tiniest piece of lavender in focus and the different levels of focus on everything else.
Despite the lack of focus, I found my eye was still drawn to the bee, which I guess is why I like the picture!

Hopefully I'll be able to join in with the challenge next week!
In the meantime, here is a bonus, more in-focus bee. I'm not sure what type of bee it is--maybe aphidae or honey bee?

Tasty flowers!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Snapping my Fingers

Following on from my music-choosing method of the past few weeks, I'm once again opting for two acts from the same country. This time around, it's Sweden!

Two Trees
This folk duo come from Stockholm, and popped up on my radar via Twitter!
Their music is very simply-formed, with male and female vocals accompanied by an acoustic guitar. The vocal harmonies are very sweet-sounding, with softly-sung English lyrics.
Their music videos are also pretty simple, but they really suit the music!
I couldn't find much about them online, though it seems that one member is working on a solo project.
Two Trees Official BandPage

Linda Pira
A rapper from Hässelby, Stockholm, Linda Pira ended up on my listen-to list after I...Googled for Swedish musicians. (Yes, this is actually how I find music sometimes!)
The music videos have a lot of the sort of imagery and camera usage that I'd expect from the genre, and are fairly engaging to watch.
I don't listen to much rap music but enjoyed this! The songs are very melodic, with a beat and tempo that has me wanting to dance!
By the way, the title of the song embedded here, 'Knäpper mina fingrar' can be translated as 'Snap my fingers'! Listen out for mentions of a few famous musical names!
Linda Pira Facebook

That's this week's new-to-me listening done!
Challenge tag (artists heard so far)
Challenge playlist (via YouTube)

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Music From a (Not So) Cold Country

This week has been the hottest of the year here, with temperatures maxing out around 35C.
To anyone in a regularly hot country with houses built with air-con or malquaf, you might think, what is she saying, that's not hot!
But this is the UK. We're used to rain, we're used to temperatures around 20-25C in the summer, and our climate is damp. Meaning that the summer ends up really muggy and stifling. Our houses aren't built with air conditioning; they're built to withstand the wet winters. They're built to keep heat in.

Which is why this week, I looked to a country known for its cold climate for my music challenge! I doubt Finland is particularly cold right now, but I can at least dream of cooler climes!

Without further ado, here's this week's new-to-me acts:

This rock band formed in the early 1990s, and despite numerous member changes is still going!
There's a bit of an alternative/punk edge to their music, and they seem to have created a broad variation of sound, from the song above, Valot pimeyksien reunoilla ('Light on the Edges of Darkness'; translation here) which has a softer rock sound, to Palava pensas ('Burning Bush' according to google translate; no translation found so far) has a harder tone.
I like the vocals in this music, and enjoyed the visual aspect offered by their music videos. Will be looking up this band again!
Apulanta Official Website (Finnish)

Another act from Finland,  this pop/soul singer is also a record producer, and has been active since 2000.
His music isn't the sort I usually seek out, but I really like his voice. (By the way, translation for the above song, Amen, can be found here.)
The videos I watched have a good visual narrative, and some had some great scenery too. Both are things I like in music videos!
Although this isn't my usual kind of music, I did find it a comfortable listen--actually pretty well-suited to the hot weather we're having right now!
Kasmir on Facebook (Finnish)

That's it for my listening this week! To see the acts I listened to on previous weeks, check out my goal 29 tag. Or if you're just up for the listening, you can find my goal 29 playlist right here.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Hansel and Gretel and the Labyrinth of Salt

The Salt Labyrinth
It's theme challenge time of the week again, and this time I got my photos taken early!

As usual, this is for the art & photography challenge over on Delightful Aberrations.

This week, I decided to combine three of the five prompts: curl, accompany and salt.

I drew a labyrinth using salt, and these two little vintage dolls were my models.
They make me think of Hansel & Gretel! 

Lost, In Thought
Labyrinths like these, on a grander scale, are a space for prayer, meditation and reflection. A labyrinth has only one path, which follows a curving line--the way in is the way out. In googling for a good explanation, I found Sacredwalk, which has lots of information on the history and use of labyrinths!

In folklore around the world, salt is considered able to dispel evil--witches kept at bay, demons cast out, faerie-cursed people cured, travellers protected from evil spirits, and more.

Nothing particularly technical to write about this time. I shot these with a Nikon D3300, and whilst setting up the shot discovered that salt is a messy substance to draw designs with, despite a handy pouring spout!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Home Grown

So far with this challenge, I've mostly looked overseas for new music to listen to. I've listened to pop from Burma, Yemenite folk music, rock/metal from Iceland and three European bands with the same name.
This week, I decided to look a little closer to home, with two acts that hail from Brighton, UK.

Fragile Creatures
I found this indie/rock act when surfing around the internet. Their music is at a relaxed tempo but pretty catchy with lots of guitar melodies woven into each track. The lyrics are clever and the vocals remind me of a couple of other bands I listen to, so I pretty much instantly enjoyed this act!
What's a little different with this act compared to a lot of others that have come under my radar, is that they have a keyboardist! Having seen bands-with-keyboardists perform before, I'd imagine this makes a real difference to their live sound, in comparison to bands that have a keyboard backing track. But maybe I'm being biased, because it's cool to see something beyond the usual vocals/guitar/bass/drums lineup!
Though I can't find much information about them online, I did discover that they released an album earlier this year, so at some point I might be parting with more money...
Fragile Creatures Official Website

My Digital Enemy
I heard about this dance music duo through a fellow volunteer (who said I probably wouldn't like the music... More on that in a moment).
All over the internet, they're plugged as being seriously cutting edge in the world of house music. Knowing zip about the genre, I can't comment on that, but their facebook has nearly 50k likes, so my guess is they're doing a lot of things right.
The catchy beat, bouncy tempo and vocal samples make these tracks great for dancing around, so I can see why they're popular. As for whether I like the music, I actually do. This isn't music I'd go to for general listening, but if I wanted a bit of music-induced energy, or something to help me focus on another task, this is the kind of thing I'd go for!
My Digital Enemy Official Website

If this doesn't demonstrate the variety of music available in just one city, I don't know what does!

Check out my music tag for more acts listened to for this challenge!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

A Note on the Water

C sharp in 100ml

I nearly didn't participate in the art & photography theme challenge on Delightful Aberrations this week. Though I have ideas, I also have a bug (of the ill health kind) so haven't been feeling up to taking pictures.
But since I had my phone and a glass of water to hand, I decided to wing it, so I'd at least produced something, even if the pictures were terrible.

I chose the voice theme, and ended up with the images seen here.

B flat in 150ml

My idea was to capture the vibrations a voice causes in water. I would have done this more differently if I'd been feeling better (starting with a container bigger than a glass!) and I'd have used a camera and a model rather than the front camera of my phone and myself.

Anyway, these are the two final pictures. I'm not pleased with them, and if it wasn't that I'm stubborn as anything about keeping up with stuff I've begun, I wouldn't post them!
For the record, the notes mentioned in the picture titles are chosen at random for the sake of a title; I think the notes I actually used were about an octave apart.

Here's a bonus, using the same layer-style method as last weeks pictures; this time I used the 'linear light' style on one picture when they were overlaid:

Close to the centre of this picture, it almost looks like a frog emerging from water, doesn't it?!

Monday, 11 July 2016

I Would Walk 500 Miles...

Since April, I've been working on a goal from The List that really got me out in the fresh air!
028. Walk at least 3 times a week for 3 months
As I wrote when I first blogged about this goal (over a month after I started, because I did so rather unwittingly), I decided to start my weeks on a Tuesday, as that's how my walks fitted in best.

Some weeks I've managed to walk almost daily; other weeks I've only just squeezed in the required three.
But I did it!

Green = Days Walked
Unfortunately I didn't manage to track all of my walks, so I don't have data on distance, time and calories for all of them.
However, I can safely say that in the past three months, I've walked over 200 miles, burning off a good 12,000 calories!

Though some of my walks have been around residential areas or cities, most of my walking adventures have been out in the beautiful Sussex countryside.
I've seen the tiniest lambs grow larger with each passing week, I've seen wild rabbits, horses, cows, and of course good old alpacas.

Despite all this walking, I've still yet to explore all the local footpaths, and several of my walking plans haven't yet come to fruition. Weather and bad health have got in the way of those, but eventually, I will walk all the places I'd planned to!

But now, I can tick this goal off the list, and put my feet up.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Death, Angels & Greetings from Romania

As of last week, I'm over half-way through my music challenge! Yay!
I'm actually surprised at myself for keeping this up so long, though pleased to have found so many awesome new artists.

This week, I did the same as last week and picked a country, then listened to two artists from that country. This time around, it's Romania, and the two artists couldn't be more different!

You may remember that I previously blogged about two other bands with the name NOX. This time, I listened to the Romanian death metal band. I can't say that their music is my thing. I don't mind the instrumental side of it, but the vocals aren't my cup of tea!
It was difficult to find much in the way of information or even music videos, only some pictures on their facebook page, through which I found they don't look as dark as I thought they might, based on their sound.
N.O.X Facebook

This pop/dance act from Bucharest was formed by two composers in 2005, and reached number 3 with its first single and grabbing the number one spot with several of its later releases.
I don't ordinarily listen to dance music, so it's difficult to comment too specifically on any similarities to other acts or nuances within the music. To me, it sounds like you'd expect dance music to sound, only slightly gentler: you could relax to this music as easily as you could dance to it.
Their videos are high quality and visually interesting; it's obvious that this act is under the wing of a label with lots of money!
I could easily go back and listen to more Morandi, particularly when I want some music to help me concentrate!
Morandi Official Website

That's it for this week! See all the music I've listened to for this challenge on my goal 29 tag. You'll find Burmese pop, singing robots, dancing grannies, and much more!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Up the Downs

Yesterday, I went into South Downs Garden Centre at Hassocks. Now, beyond a couple of cacti and some stunted chives, I don't do gardening.

But I wasn't there for the garden stuff.

Instead, I headed into the Heritage Centre (where I've previously eaten some tasty cake) and for the first time checked out their Mezzanine Gallery.

The current exhibition is Up the Downs, an exhibition that features images of the South Downs National Park, created by several different photographers.
I found out about this exhibition through instagram, as I follow one of the photographers whose work was included.

I went there with little information about the exhibition, and expecting a random selection of scenic, postcardy shots...boy was I surprised. (Not to mention delighted!)

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Dose to Comatose...

One Drop for a Long Life, Two to Shorten It, Three to Stop Time...
Last week, I didn't participate in Delightful Aberrations' theme challenge, because I didn't get around to it. But for Week 14, I managed to get my brain into gear and pull something together!

I used the theme dose and had Jill Tracy's 'The Fine Art of Poisoning' stuck in a loop in my head all the time I was taking photos and editing them! (Said song is where the subject line for this post comes from!)

The picture above was made from layering up three separate images in Photoshop Elements, and changing the layer style of the top two images to Hard Light.

Add Sugar to Taste...
Of course the whole concept of these pictures was to go for that old-fashioned poisoning scene. I know, I know, it's totally cheesy. I was feeling morbid and uncreative.

Let None Go To Waste
I used my iPhone for these images because it was to hand, and I've got photos on my camera that I'm procrastinating over editing!

The deadline for this week's challenge is today, and I shot these this afternoon...cutting it a bit fine, aren't I!