Photography 101: The Rules and Elements of Composition

Very interesting. A must see for keen photographers

The Daily Post

Recently, photographer Wenjie Zhang introduced us to the fundamentals of light. Let’s continue our journey through the Photography 101 series and move on to composition. For the next few installments, photographer (and active Daily Post participant) Jeff Sinon takes the reins. Here in part one, he introduces some of the “rules” and elements of composition, and in part two, he’ll offer insights and tips on how to find the best shot.

Jeff illustrates his points with stunning landscapes and nature scenes he’s captured, taken mainly with his Canon 7D, but you can apply his techniques to your own images, no matter your camera or subject matter. Let’s go!

No matter your skill level in photography, or how “honed” your visual eye may be, we’re all naturally curious about what we see. Images take our eyes on a journey, whether we’re looking through a viewfinder or examining a photograph. These next…

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Futurelearn – Free online courses.

[Alternative Text]

Futurelearn. Start Writing Fiction Course. I started this free on-line course at the end of April. There are a wide array of courses to choose from.

“At FutureLearn, we want to inspire learning for life. We offer a diverse selection of free, high quality online courses from some of the world’s leading universities and other outstanding cultural institutions.

Our aim is to connect learners from all over the globe with high quality educators, and with each other. We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, with plenty of opportunities to discuss what you’ve studied, in order to make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.

Courses are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life, rather than your life around learning.

We are a private company wholly owned by The Open University, with the benefit of over 40 years of their experience in distance learning and online education. Our partners include over 20 of the best UK and international universities, as well as institutions with a huge archive of cultural and educational material, including the British Council, the British Library, and the British Museum.

FutureLearn is in beta and the courses we’ll be running this year – there are many more on the way – are all pilot courses. This allows us to shape and refine how it all works, using feedback and ideas from our learners. It is important to us to craft a high quality product which is tailored specifically to our learners’ needs, so we want to spend the time listening.

What you’re seeing is the smallest number of features that can deliver our vision for a new form of education. Over the coming months, as we unveil new courses, we’ll be developing new features and evolving our offer.”


A page from Great Expectations by Dickens

I have also signed up for the Literature of The English Country Rose course which begins in June.

“On this course, we’ll be introducing you to literature from 450 years of English country-house history and we’ll be seeing together how that literature shapes our understanding of country houses. We’ll be joined on the way by guest experts from the University of Sheffield School of English and tapping into their specialist knowledge.

We’re going to travel on a historical journey through literature, visiting notable country houses around Yorkshire and Derbyshire. You’ll gain insight into life in these country houses and will learn about some common misconceptions. You will see the magnificent seventeenth-century wall paintings at Bolsover Castle, often held to be the best of their kind in England. You will visit Haddon Hall, a house frozen in the time of William Shakespeare and an inspiration for the great Gothic novelist, Ann Radcliffe.

We’ll be using a wide range of texts spanning the history of literature from Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ to Oscar Wilde’s ‘Canterville Ghost’. Along the way we will examine sections from a play by Shakespeare, poetry by Margaret Cavendish, and brief passages from novels by Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens. We will even look at fiction by a country house resident Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.

During this course you’ll learn to analyse literature using a technique called ‘close reading’. It will help you to make your own connections between country-house literature and its historical backgrounds.”

Photos and Course Information via Futurelearn Website.

Mother in Laws and Black Sheep

View image on Twitter


Whatever we think of our mother in laws there is no doubt that they are here to stay. When we take the plunge and say “I do,” should we pause for a moment to reflect?  The implications of those simple words are enormous,  blinded by love we carry on, without a care in the world. “I do,” should be re-worded to I take you and your family, and promise to accept them wholeheartedly, black sheep and all.

In every family there is always a black sheep. Often they are referred to in hushed whispers, a hidden family secret, or else they are tolerated in a jovial kind of way.  In our family we tend to have the hushed whispers type of black sheep.  In my husband’s case he fits the jovial type of black sheep, the youngest of five headstrong children. His father would call him “Davy Black the Coalman’s son,” denouncing his son was the fruit of his loins. Who could blame his father? His son was and still is,  a bit of a rascal. He would climb out of his bedroom window to go out for a night on the town, or water his dad’s whisky when he fancied a drink. Whether or not he deserved the term, Davy Black the Coalman’s son,  it stuck.  He liked to push the boundaries and still does.

Now I digress. Back to the subject of mother in laws. Well mine is without doubt a character. Well into her eighties, it doesn’t seem any time ago that she was in the play park, “beaming,” her term, for standing up on the swings.  She chats to every single person she meets so a quick trip anywhere takes a very long time! Even if she was just going  to pick up a few groceries, she would often disappear, leaving her husband staring out the window for hours wondering whatever had become of her.  I remember recently we were shopping for shoes, she was upset when she realised that my mind had wondered and  I wasn’t listening!  Like my father, she is a story-teller, a chatter box, an adventurer. Her  sense of adventure meant that she travelled abroad to work as a young woman. She is still young at heart, takes great store in her appearance, and likes it when handsome men offer her a helping hand with her luggage!

I do admire her sense of “joie de vivre”, and just hope that when I am in my eighties I am half as sprightly as she is.

Unfortunately, sometimes “joie de vivre” can be lacking and the joining of two families can be disastrous. This  can be evident right from the very beginning. Even before the cake is cut, the die has been cast. The symbolic cutting of the cake becomes like a dividing line, two separate teams warring for a slice. The marriage crumbles. The cake never stood a chance.

So whatever you do, check out your future husband or wife’s family, because marriage isn’t just about two individuals,  it is about a joining of two families. There will be disagreements, angry words spoken, this is part and parcel of life.  Even if two families have differing cultural and religious beliefs, respect, and tolerance go a long way to paving a long and happy union.

Photos courtesy of Google Images.

Perennial Favorites: Widgets 201

Tips on Widgets. Sounds good.

The Daily Post

In the first post of this series, “Widgets 101,” we introduced some popular widgets, including the Text and Image Widgets, and also mentioned quick ways to transform an image by changing its shape or adding a frame. Since this month is all about photography and phoneography, let’s focus on Image Widgets and explore how to customize them.

If you’re short on time and want to skip ahead:

Image widget essentials

First, let’s make sure we’ve got the basics down. To activate an Image Widget in your sidebar, go to Appearance » Widgets in your dashboard and locate the widget that says “Image” under Available Widgets. Then, drag it to the right, where you’d like it to appear.

image widgetBe sure to fill in the required fields for this widget — the “Image URL” is important, as needs to know where…

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Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: The Tropic of Serpents (Memoirs of Lady Trent #2) by Marie Brennan

Here’s a giveaway from Refections of a Book Addict. Good luck fellow book lovers.

Reflections of a Book Addict

ttosmb If you’re a fan of dragons you’re going to want to get your hands on this book. Thanks to Tor Books I’ve got one hardcover copy of Marie Brennan’s  The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent  to give away.

From Goodreads:

Attentive readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoir, A Natural History of Dragons, are already familiar with how a bookish and determined young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would one day lead her to becoming the world’s premier dragon naturalist. Now, in this remarkably candid second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career.

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the…

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Why Reading Makes Life Better

Debbie Young

Tony Robinson A ReadWell mobile bookcase, destined for a UK children’s hospital, with the support (or in this case supporting!) Read for Good’s patron Sir Tony Robinson (Photo by Read for Good)

The internet (God bless it) is awash with pithy sayings about the power of books to change lives, so it’s good now and again to be allowed to say something online about the subject without the constraints of the 140 character Tweet or the space allowed for a status update before Facebook cuts you off with a “see more” link.

My latest article for the monthly online parenting magazine Kideeko talks about the power of books to make life better for poorly children. It draws on my experience of three years working for the children’s reading charity Read for Good – parent of Readathon (which runs Sponsored Reads in schools) and ReadWell (taking books and storytellers to children in hospital).

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Hopping on a Blog hop


frog This week is a hop on a bloghop and I thank Neil Stenton for inviting me to be part of this ride, please see his post at

The previous link is that of exciting science fiction writer, Mark Iles, at

1)    What am I working on?

I am toying with a prequel to science fiction trilogy, ARIA based on the unique concept of infectious amnesia. I love shorts and I am working on The Chaos of Mokii based on a city formed entirely in the consciousness of its inhabitants. It’s an entirely telepathic city and yet there is murder, mayhem, love gained and lost.

Xaghra’s Revenge is written and in the hands of literary agent, Rebecca Pratt. A friend in Malta suggests to me that a sequel could go along the lines of an alternate history fantasy where the Knights of Malta loses the Great Siege of 1565…

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Feel Good Friday: Paws for Thought

Michelle Muto

If you’ve been following me on Twitter or read my bio, you know I’m a huge fan of random acts of kindness. You also know I love dogs. Here’s a feel-good story that covers both.

Source: NBC NewsSource: NBC News

Meet Tucker, a lab/great Dane mix. After eating a ball, Tucker needed emergency surgery. His owner didn’t have the cash. A random act of kindness from a stranger made the surgery possible. Read the whole story and watch the video here. Then go out today and commit your own act of kindness, however large or small.

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Had to reblog this just love to travel

World Adventurers

Click here to read the original article on MG Edwards. Visit MG Edwards for more great travelogues, photos, and video from around the world.

Macau is a place of contrasts. Macau, or Macao as it was better known when it was a Portuguese colony, is officially the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China. Like its many names, the SAR is filled with more people, culture, and history than its small size suggests. Sitting on just 29.5 square kilometers (11.39 sq. miles) of land, some of it reclaimed from the Pearl River Delta, Macau has a population of more than 600,000 with a density of more than 18,500 people per square kilometer (48,000 per square mile). Although crowded, its denseness does not seem so much from its small footprint as from its rich and colorful history. The former colony still retains much of its Portuguese and…

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