Ocean Colour Scene

Cee’s topic for her latest midweek challenge is ‘calypso (ocean) colours’. This exercise in the rule of thirds is of a jet ski racing up and down the coastline of Abu Dhabi along the Corniche.

CMMC 8 February 2023

52 Week Smartphone Challenge: 32 Frame within a frame

This week in the Smartphone Challenge we’re asked for a shot that’s framed naturally.

Can do. At the side of our garage a line of trees separates our property from a neighbour’s field, in which he grazes some of his horses.

52 Week Smartphone Challenge: 32

52 Week Smartphone Challenge: 8 – Leading Lines

This is week 8 of the Smartphone Challenge being hosted by Khürt at islandinthenet.com, and we are looking for Leading Lines – more specifically, how they can be used to show the concept of infinity.

In the nearby town of Confolens there is a little bridge over a small tributary of the Vienne river. The parapet on the right provides a leading line, while the bridge itself, as well as providing an interesting reflection (itself a nod to the concept of infinity) obscures the course of the river, adding an element of mystery to the image.

Or something like that.

52WeekSmartphoneChallenge: 8 Leading Lines

Somewhere to lay your head

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week has the theme of ‘Any kind of house’.

Well, I suppose everyone needs somewhere to live – although probably not in such a grand edifice as this at Chateau Villandry.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge : Any kind of house

Mundane Monday: Bottles

I thought I’d return to the Mundane Monday Challenge hosted by trablogger.com. In a new departure, we’re to get a theme for each week, starting this time with ‘Bottles’.

This display outside a shop in Sarlat, in the Dordogne, is certainly colourful, although I prefer the colour of the bottles to their contents: an aperitif flavoured with salted caramel. I think I’ll stick to pastis, thank you very much.

Mundane Monday Challenge 1 January 2018

Mundane? The New Frames The Old

Another entry for the Mundane Mondays challenge hosted by PhoTrablogger.

Close to Circular Quay, in the heart of Sydney, you can still see some of the original stone that must have welcomed the First Fleet, although most is now concealed behind more modern brickwork:



Ropes and Rigging

I’m participating for the first time in the ‘Mundane Monday’ challenge hosted by PhoTrablogger. There are two aspects to the challenge: to find beauty in mundane objects and/or to place the mundane in a beautiful or interesting frame.

This image takes the second option. It was captured while on a late afternoon boat trip on Sydney Harbour a few years ago. The canoe at the centre of the photograph is a fairly mundane object in itself (although it was nice of it to be orange against the blue water). However, the rigging in which it is framed provides the real interest and – literally – focus.


Composition: The Outtakes

We’re having what the French call a pause pour reflexion in Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge this time around. A time to think about the ground we’ve covered already and also an opportunity to show some images that didn’t quite make the cut for posting under the various topics that we’ve dealt with in the past months. Here’s a selection of mine:


Now, what is this a picture of? Is it the building on the right (the apartment block in Abu Dhabi where we lived for ten years)? Or is it the glass-plated building on the left? Or perhaps it’s the reflection of the former in the latter?


Diagonal Lines

I used an image of two giraffes in my first posting on the topic of diagonal lines, but I could equally have used this profile of a horse – one of many in the fields around here.


Now two images that cover more than one aspect of the various topics we’ve looked at so far:

Leading Lines & Analogous Colours

A hillside vineyard near the village of Ay, in the Champagne region  shows blue and green together, as well as leading lines


Geometry and Contrasting Colours

Orange and blue dominate this image of a seal at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Obviously the balanced ball is one geometric shape but the curve of the seal’s body is like an arc of a circle.




Something in the human brain is attracted to symmetry; we find it – almost always – aesthetically pleasing. And, as Cee points out this week, it can appear in many different guises.

To begin with, here are two images from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The first is yet another (no apologies though) chandelier, pictured from below, which is an example of circular symmetry, while the second is the top of a dome, which is obviously an example of left/right symmetry.

Although symmetry is an important element of Islamic art, it also features extensively in secular situations in Arab countries. Here is part of the seawall on the Abu Dhabi Corniche and – more prosaically – the underground carpark of the Dubai Mall.

It’s also possible to see symmetry in multiple subjects: like these two conjoined kites from the Blond airshow and a set of measuring jugs from a museum in Sarlat.

And finally, the symmetry of reflections on the Dordogne River


Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge: Symmetry

Lessons learnt

This week, as part of her ongoing Compose Yourself Challenge, Cee Neuner has offered up five of her own photographs for participants to offer a critique and, if they choose, edit themselves. I like to think that I can take it as well as dish it out, so although it seems a little churlish to ‘have a go’ at the work of someone who does so much for the photoblogging community, I’m going to take up the offer. It’s at times like this it’s important to remember that there’s all the difference between critique and criticism.

As Cee points out, all five of these images are straight out of the camera, with no post-processing whatsoever. In my view, there’s something that can be done with three of them, although with ‘Coloured Chairs’ and ‘Taxi Cab’ I’d just be inclined to press ‘delete’ and move on. Perhaps they illustrate Cee’s dictum that you should never take just one photo.

As for the others, I’ve done my own editing on them and present the before and after side by side, with a few notes on what I did and why.


  • Photography 101: Horizons should be horizontal
  • The setting sun is blown out, and the rest of the image is underexposed. I cropped out the left hand side to eliminate the glare and also  whatever it is at top left (it surely isn’t the subject).
  • Moving around the sliders lightened the remaining image, bringing out more detail in the foreground as well as enhancing the colour of the sky.

Red Umbrella

Anything red is pretty much guaranteed to make a good subject (as well as the classic foreground object), but in the original the umbrella is a bit lost somewhere in the middle, so I cropped it to put the umbrellas in the left third of the image, and also bring out the diagonals of the wall and pavement (sorry, ‘sidewalk’). A bit of punch from boosting Clarity and Vibrance and I think you have an interesting image.


  • This is a fascinating door, although I think the image would work better if it was taken from directly in front (a problem I always have) as it’s impossible (at least within my limited abilities) to get all the verticals in the image properly vertical. I’ve straightened it as far as I could.
  • I also cropped to remove the distractions on the left side.
  • The picture was obviously taken in bright sunlight so looks a little washed out. I adjusted exposure by -1 stop and played around with the tone curve to increase contrast and detail, and also enhance the colour of the door.