Tag Archives: photography

Art by Instagram – Sharing your Artistic Streak with the World: Colours and Seasons

I love images – photographs, paintings, evocative writing,
and art that create the essence of something real, whether abstract or realistic.
I’m an artist of words, pictures, photographs, and sculpture,
and Instagram has been one of the ways I share my creativity with the world.


I enjoy capturing moments and photography is the easiest way to do that, even easier since the advent of digital cameras, apps, and editing software.  Beautiful images soothe the soul, and I love being able to share them so readily.

Recently, as I scrolled my Instagram feed, I noticed how the seasons rule the colours in my photographs. It’s easy to recognise the season by the colours rippling through the collections of pictures. It’s subtle, but it’s there…


Spring © Lisa Shambrook

Spring erupts across the pictures in deep bluebell lilacs, pale pinks and white of daisies, and blossom and spring flowers, daffodil yellow and clean greens with new growth and hope.


Summer © Lisa Shambrook

Summer hails with beaches, blue sky and crashing ocean waves, deep rose pinks, lilacs and summer flowers, and magical rays of sunshine.


Autumn © Lisa Shambrook

Autumn brings deep berry red, gold, russet, crimson, and brown of crunchy, fallen leaves, warm colours and cosy pets, scarlet apples and night lights, and shimmering silver frost.


Winter © Lisa Shambrook

Winter arrives with night-sky indigos and blues, glittery frost and gleaming snow, jewel tones and hot chocolates, bare trees and the colours of cold and chill and warm blankets.

The seasons have their own colours and tones and I love being able to scroll through them…

You can find me on Instagram @lisashambrook and I share more pictures on Flickr.

Which season owns your favourite colours?  

Self-Confidence and the Selfie

We live in a selfie society, note: I said selfie, not selfish.
If you look around at any given moment while you’re out and about,
you are likely to see someone taking a photograph with their phone.
And often, if you’re with young people, you’ll see them whip out their phone,
hold it at an odd angle, grin and take a selfie or two – or three – or four – or lots…


Cameras on phones are a given and most of us carry a phone with us, not only as a means of communication, but also as a record keeper, journal, diary, clock, educator, newspaper, personal stereo, entertainment centre, and, of course, a photograph album.


All my selfies…gaining confidence © Lisa Shambrook

I grew up in a time when trying to take a photograph of yourself pretty much meant setting up a tripod and a timer on your camera then posing in front of it. I mean, did you ever try taking a pic of yourself at arm’s length with a Kodak Instamatic? The biggest revolution in cameras I saw, as a child in the early eighties, was the invention of the Polaroid and an instant picture at your fingertips. But none of these were suitable for a quick snap of yourself, even less indoors unless you wanted to be blinded by the biggest flash cubes ever!


Selfies the old fashioned way – getting someone else to take photos of you! And how it usually turned out if you tried yourself… © Lisa Shambrook

I used to bribe my brother or get my Dad to come and take pics of me as I posed in my latest outfit, and they’d get bored fast as I said, “Take another just in case that’s blurry, or if that one doesn’t come out…” or the old, “Take a few so I can choose the best one…” or “I blinked, take it again!” Then there was the waiting and the expense. I’d send my films off to the printer in Bonusprint’s big envelope with a cheque, and sit and wait for the pictures to be returned. Can you remember that moment, opening your pack of 36 plus photos and flicking through them? Yep, and there was always the inevitable, “Well, at least there’s one or two good ones.” or maybe there weren’t and you curl your lip thinking, I’ll never look that good again and I didn’t get a decent print!

So, today we have it easy, you can snap a selfie within seconds, and if it’s rubbish or blurred you can delete it, and you can take as many as you wish until you get the one you like.  And even if your favourite isn’t quite as good as you hoped, hey, there’s always Instagram and you’ll find a filter that does you justice!

When front-facing cameras on phones became the norm, over the last decade, I watched as the selfie society grew, and I watched with fascination as my two daughters sat taking multiple pictures of themselves. I say I watched in fascination, not as a criticism, but because I struggled to do it myself!

I struggled for several reasons. One, because I came from a more restrained time, when posing for multiple selfies in public just wasn’t done without someone accusing you of vanity. Two, I lacked the self-confidence to take pictures of myself in public. And, three, I just could never make the damned angle work whenever I tried!


My children can do it! © Bekah Shambrook, Dan Shambrook, Caitlin Shambrook

My daughters would reel off picture after picture, deleting what they didn’t like and keeping what they did, and sometimes the pictures they took were so stunning, I wished I could do the same!

I had to overcome my sensibilities to be able to take a good selfie! I have had to be able to step outside myself and conquer shyness. I’ve had to become more comfortable with myself, with expressing myself, and not feeling vain. My daughters have taught me that I can be comfortable in my own skin and I can celebrate who I am. Taking a good selfie has increased my self-confidence.

There are still those who believe vanity is a part of our selfie society, and to a degree it may be, but I also believe this next generation has become more self-confident, bolder, stronger, and accepting. And those are qualities I wish to emulate. This Millennial generation, on a whole, is a brighter future, a more compassionate band of peers, a younger generation who want to include everyone, who are accepting and generous, and who aren’t afraid. These are people who want to be heard, who will fight for their beliefs, for equality, and for human rights. They accept themselves, they accept who they are and are much more comfortable within their own skins than my generation and those before ever were!

They can snap selfies and laugh at themselves, and can use social media to inform and grow, and can, I hope, in the future create a more forgiving and a more loving society. I do not believe the selfie society is a selfish one. A large percentage of selfies include others, groups gather together and take a selfie, a record of the moment, the occasion, the people. Selfies are about people, individuals and groups.


Selfies celebrate family and friends © Lisa Shambrook and Bekah Shambrook

I am no longer embarrassed to take a selfie, to record myself at a moment when I feel good about myself, or I am somewhere I want to remember, or I want to grab my nearest and dearest as close as I can so we can all fit into a picture together.

My ability to take a selfie has grown with my confidence, and as I become happy in myself, I am able to celebrate who I am, and, you know, as much as it’s great to grab a quick shot of the sunset, or of a beautiful flower it’s also fun to whip out my phone and catch the moment, my moment! I can be beautiful too.


When selfies work © Lisa Shambrook

Do you like taking selfies?

How do you put yourself in the picture?     



Creative Feature: Alyson Fennell Photography

Photography is a passion of mine, especially nature and flowers, so this week’s Creative Feature brings you nature in close-up form!

Dandelion Diamonds - Alyson Fennell Photography

Dandelion Diamonds – Alyson Fennell

Alyson Fennell is an amazing photographer and her close-up pictures of flowers have totally captivated me over the last year or two. My own flower pictures are mobile phone snapped, fun and generally instagrammed, but Alyson’s are magical! Take a look at her Royal Crescent photograph and you’ll see where the magic resides, and you’ll understand why the Royal Crescent Hotel snapped up the pictures for their Christmas cards. Be entranced by Alyson Fennell.

Alyson Fennell

Alyson Fennell – Photographer

Alyson Fennell – Photographer

What inspires you?

I’m inspired primarily by Mother Nature, the greatest artist of all! What amazes me is that I can find beauty anywhere from the wild slopes of Dartmoor, to a humble window box in a city centre. Flowers and leaves always beckon, no matter the environment or season.

You frequent some beautiful gardens, do you plan your photography or is it spontaneous?

I find that if I plan too rigidly, and if I try too hard, the magic sometimes disappears. Indeed, some of my best shots have been spontaneous ones. The key is to be sensitive to those moments, when I feel the flowers are calling out to me,

Do you have favourite colours, flowers or techniques? Do you prefer close-up flowers or landscapes?

I gravitate towards flowers, without question. They are such ethereal beings. That said, in my search for some of the more elusive ones, a stunning landscape will appear and I can’t help but swing into action with my camera!

The exquisite ‘The Royal Crescent’ and ‘Dandelion Diamonds’ are two of my favourite works of yours. What do you consider your best work to date – do you have a favourite piece?

My favourite pieces tend to change quite often, but the red tulip series is always in my top 10. I am also very pleased with the clematis image on the homepage of my website, among others.

I love the diversity in your pictures from triptychs to landscapes to mirror images and even the occasional famous face. What are your future plans with your photography?

I hope my work will touch people around the World, whether it be in galleries, in advertisements, in hotels or at art fairs. One of my goals is to be able to travel far and wide with my photography – especially to the Valley Of Flowers in the Himalayas.

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be?

You did say money would be no object!! I’d commission an architect to design a beautiful home for me in the South West. I lived in Totnes for some time, and it is such an inspiring part of our lovely island.

A lovely insight to your inspiration and process, thank you Alyson! You can find Alyson and her exquisite photography at her website www.alysonfennellphotography.com. You can like her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @AlyFennPhoto.

Alyson’s Bio:

Hi, my name is Alyson Fennell and I’m a Fine Art Photographer based in Bath. I began my career as a hair and make-up artist in London, working alongside some of the most celebrated international photographers. Having gained invaluable knowledge and experience in this environment, I have returned to my original passion for photography, combining a love of nature with fine art.

I have recently exhibited my work at the Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath.

To stock my greetings cards or prints, email alyson@alysonfennellphotography.com

* Please do not use or copy any of these photographs without permission from Alyson Fennell.

Playing with Pictures

Photoshop…sugar-coated deception or sweet creative reality?

mist early morning river mist sun glow grey bright

Early Morning River Mist © Lisa Shambrook

I’ve been playing with photographs for many years. I got my first Kodak Instamatic camera when I was twelve, and used up my first whole roll of film taking photos of our local neighbourhood cats and squirrels in the local park! I’ve never had an expensive camera. I went from a standard 35mm to ‘borrowing’ my daughter’s Fugi Finepix S5700.

I love that mobile phones now come with a camera which was a defining moment in my life as was discovering Photoshop!

It’s been said that using Photoshop is cheating, but I prefer to believe it enhances and helps, rather than cheats! If you’re lucky you can take a stunning shot and there it is…but more often than not, my efforts need a bit of tweaking and editing.

I took this shot early on a cold November morning, and the resulting photograph was a little more saturated, but a slight tweak with Photoshop levels took it right back to the image my eyes had seen that morning.

Photoshop can capture the image you originally saw. It can create art and it can be fun!

I recently saw several examples of amazingly well edited photography which looked stunning…

Elena Shumilova

These beautiful photographs taken by a Russian mother Elena Shumilova of her children and animals amid Winter magic… and here’s a link to her stunning work on Flickr…

Dave Engledow

And wonderfully surreal photographs by a father, Dave Engledow, the World’s Best of his day-to-day life with his baby daughter…

Erik Johansson

And amazing photo manipulator Erik Johansson, check out his mind boggling work here, here and on his website.

You can find more of my photography at Lisa Shambrook The Last Krystallos on Flickr…

the-shutterworks-wordpress-com-photoblog-the-last-krystallosAnd if you’d like to see more fun and fabulous photography, take a look at the photos on The Shutterworks Photoblog… we welcome you to our photo fun!

Instagram vs Streamzoo…Photo Apps

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
I have a thing for beautiful images and I enjoy manipulating photographs, so when I got my smartphone one of the first apps I picked up was Instagram, a popular basic photo editing app, and I was keen to experiment! 

I like taking photos, from snapshots to more arty work, so when Bekah blogged about several editing apps here on bekahcat.blogspot.co.uk I thought I’d get in on the act…

After using Instagram for a while, she found a new app called Streamzoo and I quickly tried it out myself. My problems with Instagram are that it’s very basic, and I found myself wanting a greater variety of effects as I used it. I didn’t want all my photos necessarily square either! Now don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram; particularly ‘Amaro’ and ‘Earlybird’ for washed out effects, ‘X-Pro’ and ‘Lo-Fi’ for vibrancy and colour, ‘Brannon’ for a darker look and ‘Nashville’ who wouldn’t like the movie border effect?
But, sometimes I wish the borders could be interchangeable with the photo effects.
I’ve also had a problem with Instagram not fully uploading the edited picture at times. Resulting in only half a picture ready to be posted with the rest blacked out. I cannot find a resolution to this problem, and it appears to be associated with Samsung phones. Grrr. And you may quickly realise that Instagram is not a company easily contacted. Its online presence is extremely minimal, with only a homepage and basics, everything is done on your phone or tablet.

So, to Streamzoo, it’s easy to find and download, via your application store, and sign up to. You choose a photo in the same way as Instagram and then you see the differences. Its first page allows you to choose the crop you desire: none, custom, square etc then you move to the next page and choose your filter, using the tab at the base of the screen, these are like the Instagram filters but with a more arty feel, I loved the ‘Masterpiece’ filter. There are several B/W, sepia options, including a favourite of mine ‘Classical’ an ‘old’ texture.
After that comes your choice of border, again by clicking the tab at the base of the screen. There are fifteen borders, again much more artistic and varied. Then there is a Tilt-Shift option, which was new to me, but can change the whole definition of your photograph, picking out areas to highlight. Lastly you get the option to play with the colours, hue, saturation etc of your image before naming and uploading your finished picture.
Streamzoo is a little harder to figure out on the social aspect, Instagram is easy, upload and it’s published to your stream and all those following you can see it. From there you can share it online. Streamzoo is not set up well for social networking. You need followers, but it is less well-known and harder to find followers, though once you have five followers you can actually use the app at home on your computer/laptop as well on your phone or pad!

So here are my experiments:

Photograph taken by myself with a standard digital camera on macro setting and no photoshopping.
Instagram, cropped with ‘Hudson’ filter and border.
Streamzoo, no cropping, ‘Masterpiece’ filter and ‘Fancy’ border.
Three images with different looks. And just for good measure I thought I’d show you one of Streamzoo’s B/W options:
Streamzoo ‘Classical’ with ‘Curl’ border.
I tried using this photo with Instagram too but it wouldn’t fully upload, perhaps a problem that Instagram may fix in the future…
So…have a go, download, upload and have fun…and follow me on either app as: lastkrystallos 
Note: All photographs (except logos) by Lisa Shambrook 
(Please do not use any without permission)