Because She Blooms

The rose is without an explanation; She blooms because she blooms.
– Angelus Silesius

Last week, my husband arrived home from work with a lovely surprise for me – a big bunch of red roses! I’m not massively into flowers as a thing (the smell of flower shops freaks me out, which is apparently weird) but I do love red roses. There’s something about the richness of the colour, the velvet-soft petals, the way my cats don’t seem to want to eat them (my cats eat everything) that makes red roses all-round perfect flowers in my eyes. Even as they start to wilt and fade, they turn from scarlet to burgundy to black. My inner teenage goth still influences a lot of my taste.

I wanted to photograph the roses in a way that showed off their colour and softness so macro photography focusing on one part of one flower seemed like the obvious choice to capture those details. To add a bit more light to the picture, I freehand painted silver glitter onto the edges of some of the petals and took the photo under bright natural light from a window.

The colours are what they are. I haven’t enhanced them at all because although I often process my photos in a way that plays on the vibrancy of colours, I wanted this rose to look exactly how it actually looks (apart from the minor loss of image quality that has occurred in uploading the photo to WordPress, but such is the nature of the internet). I shot the photo with my Polaroid macro lens attachment on my Sony Alpha a550 dSLR, my favourite combination of tools.

I hope you’re having a wonderful week filled with beautiful things <3

Prints of the image above are available here.

seasons

See more July beauty in Jesh St Germain’s Seasons linky.

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Ello’s New Android App Is Lovely!

Ello is my favourite hidden gem on the internet. It’s a social network (without advertising!) for creative people, or at least that’s the idea. It has a beautiful, clean interface that’s perfect for showing off visual art and I love sharing my photography there. Because it’s still quite new and doesn’t have a bazillion users yet, it feels like a tight-knit little community and I love it. Sure, it doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter’s frenetic rate of new content posting but what is there feels really well thought-out and worth looking at. Maybe Ello will one day become a place filled with random chatter, but it isn’t that yet and I hope it manages to stay how it is even as its user base grows.

I’ve been waiting for Ello to bring out their Android app for a while so I was super excited when I opened my email today and found that it was now ready to download and use. Obviously I headed straight to the Play Store and got it immediately. I haven’t spent much time playing with it (yet) but I really like how the site’s minimal look and intuitive function translates to a mobile app. Everything makes sense, instantly, and it looks gorgeous (that’s my profile screengrabbed on my Sony Xperia Z2 up there). I expect nothing less from Ello but it’s always good when something lives up to your expectations!

If you’re on Ello, come and find me at @rockstarvanity. If you’re not there yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up and share your creative wonders with a new audience!

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Crystal Macro Photography

There’s something soothing and lovely about a crystal. Even if you’re not into the idea of crystals actually meaning something, they’re still beautiful to look at and calming to hold. Something about the smooth surface and organic shape of a crystal just makes me happy in my hands. I have a little collection of small tumbled stones that I’ve gathered over the years. Some were bought and some were gifts. They usually sit on my living room altar and I realised today that I’ve never actually taken photographs of them, even though I’ve spent lots of time admiring them.

The pictures in this post were taken with a Polaroid macro lens (I swear, I will never get bored of this thing – best £25 I’ve ever spent on photo gear!) on a Sony Alpha a550 dSLR under natural light from the window on a sunny day. Yes, we sometimes have sunny days in Scotland and I’m really lucky to have a south facing window so I can take advantage of the beautiful afternoon light that streams in.

Now that I’ve seen these crystals on a different scale, I have an even greater appreciation for their beauty. Just like every occasion when I’ve taken a macro photo of a familiar object for the first time, I am in awe of the detail that becomes visible. It’s like an exploration of the world and it changes the way I look at things. If you get a chance to play with macro photography, I highly recommend it. I guarantee you’ll start to see the world differently.

The crystals pictured here are, from top, amethyst, citrine, obsidian, rose quartz and tiger’s eye (click the links to see prints available for purchase).

Close-up photograph of a citrine crystal. Shot with a Polaroid macro lens on a Sony Alpha a550 dSLR.

Close-up photograph of an obsidian crystal. Shot with a Polaroid macro lens on a Sony Alpha a550 dSLR.

Close-up photograph of a rose quartz crystal. Shot with a Polaroid macro lens on a Sony Alpha a550 dSLR.

Close-up photograph of a tiger's eye crystal. Shot with a Polaroid macro lens on a Sony Alpha a550 dSLR.

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Find Creatives: A New Network From Portfoliobox

You know Portfoliobox, the totally epic place where my photography portfolio lives, the one I rave about the awesomeness of? On 13th June this year, they launched Find Creatives, a new networking site. It’s kind of like LinkedIn, but geared towards creatives. It’s kind of link Behance, but focused more on finding photographers, designers, artists, stylists, architects and models in specific areas. You can even search for people on a map!

Find Creatives: A New Network From Portfoliobox

As well as location-based searching, you can search by type of artist and also by status (student, freelancer or selling art). When you’re browsing from the front page, you can view a selection of profiles by Featured (I have no idea what the criteria is for Featured profiles and it doesn’t explain this anywhere that I can see), Most Recent and Most Appreciated (Appreciation is similar to Liking). You can choose to browse with different thumbnail types and amounts of profile info too, which is really useful.

RockstarVanity at Find Creatives

The profiles themselves are slick and minimal, easy to update and add Projects (images, videos or collections or images and videos) to. If you’re already a Portfoliobox user, you can even import your entire portfolio to Find Creatives to get you started. Like everything Portfoliobox does, the design is gorgeous and clean. Everything works intuitively, all the features have a clear and obvious purpose, and there’s no extraneous clutter.

I joined up a few weeks ago when one of the lovely people at Portfoliobox got in touch to let me know that they’d imported all my content and set up my profile for me. All I had to do was tweak it to suit my preferences and activate it so that it appeared live on the site. Because I’ve written about Portfoliobox before, they asked if I would be interested in writing about Find Creatives, but I received no payment or any other incentive for writing this post. As with everything I write about or review, I’m genuinely interested in the service and happy to talk about it anyway!

You can find me on Find Creatives at findcreatives.com/rockstarvanity

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Perfect Memory: A Tiny Wearable Camera

I am seriously lusting after this awesome little gadget right now! The people at Perfect Memory got in touch recently to let me know about the Indiegogo campaign for their new product. The campaign is now fully funded (yay!) and heading into materials and sourcing preparation, so the Perfect Memory camera is one step closer to production.

As well as being sleek and jewellery-pretty, the camera can be operated remotely with a smartphone app which is awesome if you’re a bit obsessed with mobile photography (like me!). It shoots still pictures and video, including an advanced timelapse mode, which can be edited using patented autoedit technology. It’s even possible to share and livestream footage directly from the mobile app.

As part of my job involves live coverage of outdoor theatre festivals, I would absolutely LOVE one of these little gadgets. The fact that it fits existing action mounts makes it even more flexible and useful. I’m already thinking about what I could attach it to for unique views of events as they happen. I’m also excited about its potential for creating art as well as capturing moments. It looks like a wonderfully versatile tool and a real game-changer!

I received no payment or other incentive for this post. I’m genuinely interested in the product and if I’m able to get my hands on one (once there are a few more in existence) I’ll post a review here to let you see it in action.

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