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Vibrant Versus Vintage

I rather belatedly want to share my summer holiday photography! I selected my favourite photos centered around flowers and insects, and decided to experiment a little with the editing. Some already had vibrant colours, so I wanted to see how far I could push the saturation before the subjects looked like infrared radiation scans. With others, I wanted to see if I could transform them by sliding the saturation to the other end of the scale, to give them an almost vintage feel. So here you will notice a mixture of rich reds and ruddy reds, smiling yellows and sandy yellows… I feel satisfied that I have discovered some new editing techniques, and I think that I am somehow improving upon my attention to detail. Enjoy xxx

Note: please click on photos to view them in a larger format. Trust me, the quality will be much better if you do!

October

How thou hast deceiveth me with sunbeam
Smiles and a golden moment of youth
When thou shalt in turn strip bare of this dream
This whimsical facade masking a truth
So grey in grace as in crippling tears
Of thunder queens by kings’ charcoal clouds choked
Thy blustering temper invokes a fear
Whence darker days soon will smother with smoked
Quilts frenzied urbanscapes of trembling souls
None sweeter than mulch does your name to my
Taste buds delight, whilst pond’ring upon foul
Omens summoned to cast the world awry
O when will spring bound rejuvenation
Reap its distant blessing of salvation

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Flora Into Focus

Another nature-inspired photography expedition! I’ve been exploring more of my camera’s settings recently, and in this collection of photos, you’ll notice that I’ve tried to capture (parts of) plants in the foreground, while the backgrounds remain abstract and out of focus. I wanted to highlight the subjects by making them sharper, to stand out from the general foliage. I’m no expert in composition, but I’m satisfied that these comply with the criteria I’d set out to investigate on my travels. These images were taken abroad (though I did wish we grew birds of paradise in our back garden) which is why some of the flora looks quite exotic. To you, they may be ordinary photos of plants, but right now I’m just continuing to experiment with my camera, and trying to be artistic…

Divergent Premiere: Top Ten Soundtrack Songs

When I first read Divergent, about 4 years ago, I fell in love with the story. When I found out that Neil Burger was going to direct a film adaptation of the dystopian novel, I couldn’t have been more excited about the project. No matter how mainstream this franchise has become, it’s still MY THING.

Divergent hit the cinemas in the US on 21st March, and finally it’s the UK’s turn to welcome the film to our box offices, this Friday! In honour of this, I have decided to create my own playlist of songs that I would use in the Divergent soundtrack.

I have not heard the real film soundtrack*, so this is purely based on my own imagination and ideas about themes and moments from the book. I know it’s subjective, but to me, these songs have lyrics that are relevant to the story, and so I look forward to sharing them with you. The order in which I have compiled this list reflects loosely the chronological structure of the plot.

1) Map of The World – Plain White T’s

Tris has yet to discover her true identity. She struggles to find out where she fits in, not just faction-wise, but in the grand scheme of things. She feels insignificant, especially as she’s Abnegation-born, and has no sense of freedom until joining Dauntless. She has never had the opportunity to think for herself or about what she wants. This song is about Tris asking herself what matters to her and where her priorities lie. Where does she fit in?

2) Welcome To The Black Parade – My Chemical Romance

The title of this song is like symbol for Dauntless members; they are like a parade of black-clad soldiers. As well as the black clothing and tattoos, the ‘black parade’ represents the display of confidence that comes along with a Dauntless attitude, and the darker side of society. To me, this song is all about Tris realising her responsibilities and the implications of choosing Dauntless over Abnegation (which would have been more acceptable). It’s like Tris’ calling to the faction and a ‘welcom[ing]’ once she has been initiated.

3) What Are You So Scared Of? – Tonight Alive

Four is a very strict instructor, and taunts Tris at first for being a Stiff. This challenging voice is prominent throughout the song, although it could also be an internal voice in Tris’ head, forcing her to conquer her fears when she lacks confidence. This could be a fitting song for the moment when Tris decides to be the first jumper, to prove herself worthy. She needs to realise the consequences following her choosing ceremony, and that with bravery comes selflessness. Also, everyone is scared of something.

4) On Top Of The World – Imagine Dragons

Tris starts to develop early on in her Dauntless training, as a person and as a fighter. She knows that she can’t give up and become Factionless, so she tries her best to fit in and make Four proud of her. On the ferris wheel, Tris feels quite literally ‘on top of the world’ and it’s nothing like she’s ever experienced before. She encourages Four when he admits that he’s afraid of heights, and enjoys the thrill of learning who she truly is.

5) Undisclosed Desires – Muse

Tris is not a confident and head-strong character when she starts off in Dauntless, but now she knows how she feels about Four. In this song, I feel like there are two voices: Tris’ and Four’s. Tris explores her thoughts about her love for Four, and admits her passion to herself, which scares her. Four wants to make Tris feel safe, secure, and above all, beautiful. They forgive each other for being ruthless and accept each other for who they are, as they can’t be defined solely by society.

6) Guts – All Time Low

Tris becomes more confident and learns to take risks and what the meaning of freedom (within the oppressive society) means. She realises that she has power and strength. She is brave and bold, and it feels amazing to have ‘the guts to say anything’.

7) Uprising – Muse

This song reflects the corrupt society that keeps secrets from all of its citizens. Everyone is manipulated and kept under Jeanine’s control. However, the end of the novel sets up for an uprising, whereby the people feel they can’t live like this anymore; they feel like the truth is being kept from them and they want to overrule the system.

8) You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison – My Chemical Romance

In the end, Four is brainwashed by Jeanine’s programme, turning him into some kind of robot. He loses his identity completely and is degraded. Tris is insane and wants him back desperately because she loves him so much. Four is trapped in his own internal prison, and Tris is the only one who can save him.

9) The Reckless And The Brave – All Time Low

In the beginning, Tris doesn’t fit in anywhere because she’s Divergent, and so choosing a faction is a major issue. Even in in the Dauntless compound, the training is too intense, and she worries that this lifestyle is not for her. Tris finally feels like she belongs, and she’s not ready to leave until she’s initiated; her determination prevails. She comes to realise that she can be selfless and brave simultaneously, and that’s what makes her special. She has fled from her Abnegation roots and become her own person. This song celebrates her recklessness and bravery, and how it has helped her in her initiation among other things.

10) In The End – Black Veil Brides (BONUS: Allegiant)

Regretfully, I couldn’t pick the ideal 10th song for Divergent! So I skipped to Allegiant, because this song pretty much sums up the ending of the trilogy. I don’t want to say much else because that would force me to give spoilers, and I’m strongly against Allegiant spoilers! Just listen to the lyrics and see if you can relate it to the story – whatever you come up with is probably what I’m thinking as well.

Did I pick the right songs? How does this compare to your ideal Divergent soundtrack? Let me know in the comments!

 

*I reluctantly saw the music video to Ellie Goulding’s Divergent song, and I hated everything about it. So I decided not to listen to any of the other music from the soundtrack, and I wanted to create my own.

Valentine’s Day: Top Ten Love Songs

As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, I sifted through my iTunes library to compile a list of my 10 favourite love songs. They make me smile, feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and sometimes give me chills*! Here’s the selection (in reverse alphabetical order, to jazz things up a bit), as well as links to the videos on YouTube, and a quote I like from the lyrics. Enjoy!

 

1) We’ll Be A Dream – We The Kings ft. Demi Lovato

“We’ll take control of the world like it’s all we have to hold onto and we’ll be a dream”

 

2) Vanilla Twilight – Owl City

“The stars lean down to kiss you and I lie awake and miss you”

 

3) Sarah Smiles – Panic! At The Disco

“Velvet lips and the eyes to pull me in – we both know you’d already win”

 

4) Rhythm Of Love – Plain White T’s

“My heart beats like a drum, a guitar string to the strum: a beautiful song to be sung”

 

5) Rescue – The Summer Set

“When you need me I’ll be there, a friend in the eye of a storm”

 

6) I Want Crazy – Hunter Hayes

“I’m booking myself a one-way flight – I gotta see the colour in your eyes”

 

7) Fever* – Michael Bublé cover

“Thou givest fever (when he kisseth) – fever with thy flaming youth”

 

8) Everything – Michael Bublé

“You’re the swimming pool on an August day, and you’re the perfect thing to say”

 

9) Be Your Everything – Boys Like Girls

“I’ll be your shelter, I’ll be your storm, I’ll make you shiver, I’ll keep you warm”

 

10) Backseat Serenade – All Time Low

“Lazy lover, find a place for me again”

New Perspective

She perceives the world through the camera lenses that are her golden brown eyes, wishing she could capture these moments and treasure them eternally. Nature sweeps into focus and she grasps these fragile fragments of beauty that surround her.

When did the clouds become so radiant?

When did the leaves sway like shadow puppets on a windy day?

When did the blue of an iris melt her heart so slowly and painfully?

 

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City of Sky and Glass

I was lucky enough to embark on a dream journey around the city of New York, which has always been a place I have longed to visit. Having spent a week there, I got a flavour of the culture and lifestyle, which is completely different to my own. The city is always, always bustling with tourists, business people, dodgy looking men lurking on street corners…

You can’t possibly imagine the scale of all the buildings unless you’re there – you often see whole skyscrapers reflected in other skyscrapers! It felt like London had been given plastic surgery: a bit of alligning the roads into a neat grid of avenues and streets, a bit of scrubbing and polishing, and a lot of pulling here and there – stretching the skin of the buildings as much as is humanly possible!

I enjoyed taking lots of photos of all the famous sites I visited, the food, exciting pop culture things which are practically meaningless to anyone else, and of course, my family. In this small selection of photographs from my adventure, I wanted to capture specifically the futuristic architecture and uniqueness of such an imposing, enormous city. In an attempt to impress you, I present to you the City of Sky and Glass…