Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Flowers

The latest fun foto challenge from the talented Cee is flowers and I am really happy to be able to share photographs taken recently in my mother in-laws garden.

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge graphic

Street View Treks – About – Google Maps

I’m a bit slow off the mark, a friend introduced me to Street view treks of Venice and now I am hooked. Not as good as being there, but it takes me back to some very happy places and opens my eyes to other travel opportunities. Check out Street View Treks – About – Google Maps.

48 hours

We’re back from a quick trip south to attend a family wedding, it takes roughly six and half hours to drive to Port Macquarie in New South Wales so we had roughly 36 hours at our destination. Leaving the dogs at home with a dog sitter we loaded up the car and headed off, feeling guilty for leaving them but knowing that it would result in less worry all round. The drive south took much longer than anticipated as a result of two separate accidents on the highway, at one point we had to turn around and head north west before finding an alternate route south, adding an extra 100kms or thereabouts to our trip. By the time we reached our destination it was well and truly time to enjoy a cold beer and a glass of wine.

My mother in-law and her husband had moved into their new house, located in a rural area much closer to my family it makes travelling between the two locations much easier. Their new home is on acreage, the gardens are huge and overgrown but it is easy to see the potential and I know that they will enjoy turning it into something wonderful. Surrounded by trees the birdlife that visit the backyard are amazing, varying from the common noisy minor to magpies, eastern koels, rainbow lorikeets, satin bowerbirds and scaly-breasted lorikeets. Murphy the labrador and Sammy the border collie certainly seem to like the new place, plenty of sticks for Sammy to fetch and Murphy was pleased with his discovery of a kangaroo leg from the bottom of the garden.

The wedding was a wonderful opportunity to get together with family and the ceremony was conducted on the pretty grounds of Cassegrain’s Winery in Port Macquarie and the reception held at a local Returned Servicemen Club (RSL). The weather had been pretty miserable up until the morning of the ceremony, it was a relief to see the sunshine for such a special occasion. Even though I wasn’t there to take photographs, it is unusual for me to attend any event without my camera in hand and I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to get photographs of my immediate family together, plus I love weddings 🙂

Getting home on the Sunday seemed to take forever, but it was a much faster trip and I know that the time went slow because I couldn’t wait to get home and see our fur kids. The last 48 hours was a bit of a blur, lots of love and laughter and plenty of photographs to remind us of the fun.

Swell: series two

As promised, part two of my series of photographs from the 2012 Swell Sculpture Festival and there are still a few more to come.

No, the ice cream truck wasn’t a sculpture but I love the ‘retro’ appearance and who doesn’t like enjoying an ice cream by the water.

Marty and Sam’s scrappy adventure photobook

Marty and Sam's Scrappy Adventure - book cover
Marty and Sam’s Scrappy Adventure – book cover

It is almost 12 months since we returned from our European holiday and it has taken me about 8 months to complete the first photobook titled Marty and Sam’s Scrappy Adventure. Why so long? Well, the book has roughly 800 photos spread over 200 pages and I wanted to include some of our story plus a few historical facts so that anyone browsing through our photos would know what they were looking at, including my husband. Between us we took about 5000 photos over 8 weeks, the first book was designed to encompass our entire trip and include all the ‘happy snaps’, you know the sort, self portraits taken using the one arm stretched out, slightly blurry photos of a tasty meal and photos of the hotel room and/or sign. I’ll do separate photobooks with a city, country or regional theme, such as Tuscany and Umbria, Paris and Germany.

Software also played a huge part in creating the photobook, I have a Mac at home but a Windows PC at work so I had to choose cross-platform software, preferring to download the software and create the album than uploading photos and creating them online. Friends have used Blurb, Momento and Clickonprint and all have been happy with the results, I had used Snapfish previously but that was for a a family album and all the photos were already uploaded to that site so it was relatively quick and easy plus they 50% off photobooks at the time. In the end I went with Blurb, here is why:

  • Clickonprint doesn’t provide a Mac version and I didn’t want to spend time familiarising myself with InDesign or creating layouts in Photoshop.
  • Photobook Australia had good reviews especially with regards to quality of output but I couldn’t get the photos to sort in order of date taken and the software itself was a bit clunky.
  • Momento are Australian and produce great quality books most of the time, my friends had a few problems with them but still choose Momento over other companies. The application is one of the easiest ones to use and you get a high quality product however the cost of a large format, 200 page book was cost prohibitive.
  • Snapfish only have the online service and with 800 photos to upload and organise I knew the process would take longer because it is reliant on bandwidth speeds. The application isn’t as flexible as some of the others either.
  • In comparison Blurb’s BookSmart software is relatively simple to use, the application sorts the photos by date taken, and Blurb offers value for money for large books with over 100 pages and the reviews were mainly positive. For an A3 size, 200 page book I paid just over $1AUD per page including shipping from the US and I received it approximately 2 weeks after uploading and ordering.
Double page photo spread
Double page photo spread

There are a few other digital printing companies offering photobooks in Australia: PicPress; Digital Print Australia; and Albumworks, as well as large companies such as Harvey Norman, Target and Big W but I didn’t want to spend any more time researching and testing applications. There is a great blog that reviews the different products available, it is call PhotoBookGirl.com and although the reviews don’t include Australian products many of the products are available for Australians to purchase.

I’m quite happy with the final product from Blurb and my husband is thoroughly enjoying looking at the photos and being reminded of the different places we visited. Once upon a time I would get all my photos printed individually and then place them in chronological order in an album, writing the details of location, etc would take forever but I did it because I knew that I would find joy in going through them again and again. Photobooks are so much easier and having a book of images and stories to flick through is much nicer than viewing them on a computer or digital photoframe, printed photographs also outlast the technology so printing your favourite photos is essential. Would I use Blurb again? Definitely, especially for large books with lots of pages, however I have already started creating smaller books (fewer than 100 pages) in Momento and am loving how flexible and easy it is to use.

Different photo layouts available
Different photo layouts available
Photos and text
Layouts for photos and text

I’d love to hear about your experiences with photobooks. What products or applications have you used to create your photobooks and would you recommend them?