Pretending to be a Pro while taking pictures of Chanel No5 Bottles


I love product photography, there is something so soothing about it because it does not move.   I know I cannot hold a candle to the work of the real Chanel team as my pennies do not stretch to buying this far on products, plus I don’t use it any way.  On the other hand, I do appreciate the iconic simplicity of the product, it speaks class, sophistication, and has stood the test of time in this high demand fashion industry.   It is the smell that has lingered since my childhood, this is my Mums smell, this, and the fragrance of freshas and Matey bubble bath before they went and changed the smell and ruined it in my opinion.

It is so odd that simple odors can take you to other times and spaces and associate  them with some of the most wonderful memories to just the simpleness of how you smile with the smell of freshly mown grass, of the perfume of logs on a fire, the scent of clean sheet day and the richness of a full English rose in bloom.   I really hate the smell of cigarettes, they just smell so dirty and noxious and lingers, i just want to go home and wash my clothes after being with someone who smokes, just to get that awful odor away, but when ever I smell the richness of the smoke that comes from a Hamlet Cigar, there is just something so warming and homely about.  This was my Dad smell, he was a Hamlet man but he has quit altogether  I am proud of him.  He wasn’t a big smoker, he did it more out of an enjoyable habit, but a habit is a habit and it is hard to just stop, but he did, mind you he is stubborn like an ox, something that gets passed on to me too.   I just find it so remarkable and facinating that this  act of having a nose attached to your face not only holds up funky glasses but has the ability to create emotions, not only simple feelings but most importantly, personal memories.

Pretending to be a pro photographer and declaring it’s time for a picnic

PicnicWow this is a oldie, this was one of my early projects in my quest for the diploma, with the uninspiring task of taking pictures of white things.  Wasn’t my choice in categories  rather the suggestion of a uninspiring professor who disappeared from the college not long after that semester.  He was a great photographer, but sadly couldn’t handle the need of our class that I ended up teaching to the newbies of photography.

So you find me in my back garden in NJ with the contense of the “plastic fantastic” kitchen cupboard scattered on where the lawn should be.  Just for the record, non of that cutlery has every been used and is now neatly decorating the tree outside  the front door along with tin foil balls and Easter eggs, trust me, it looks pretty.

Since this was taken, there has been more snow you can shake a stick at, hurricane Irene that stole two of the older trees at the back, deer and bear and many other creatures walk across it eating my plants and I have so many ideas of it that i just do not know where to start apart from with the grand suggestions of the she goddess Pinterest herself.   I love my garden and I cannot wait to have a picnic there as soon as I get back to that side of the pond.

Pretending to be a professional.

I saw my first two butterfies today while walking the grumpy dog.  They looked so carefree in this busy world and it reminded me of a time when i was a little photographicly lost.  Camera to the rescue as usual.  I picked up my trust Canon and just drove through the woods to one of the spots where I just like to take a breather from it all.  That day, I was not alone, nature walked by my side and posed along the way, and these are some of the images that they pleased me with.

Day thirty – Myself 30 days later (more like 60 days)

A very, very happy afternoon friends in the void, what a fine sunny day it is today.  Ahhhh, it is so nice to feel the warmth of the sun on the back of my legs as I write to you today.   Oh and yes, the rhino has left the building, at last.

_MG_7448s copySo this is it, the last day, a full circle to where you found me all those 60 day ago, back to me, me and me again.   It seems so odd that this all turned out this way, I wasn’t going to do a blog, I wasn’t going to write anything, I was just going to put pictures on facebook and go tadah that is it, but I personally got so much out of this that I no way regret in any way I went about it.  In fact, in short, I am rather proud of myself for sticking at it.

I have been told by many people out there, I should get my name out in the world, but to be honest I am a lazy bones at wanting to be noticed because I fear drawing in the wrong people.  But here I am, I created my own little page in this world, I’m getting noticed by you kind people, and for the first time, I actually want to make something out of not only this, but me.

I will let you into a little secret, I told no one apart from my mother that I have been doing this exercise, and the reason why is, I want to make a whole new set of friends, that do not know me, or my work as yet.   Without bragging I have quiet a few photographic friends and model friends and friends of their and friends of their dogs and so on, and although I am extremely grateful for knowing them, and having them in my life, I just want to new crowd, people who know me for my work or words and not necessarily knowing me because they feel they have to out of friendship.  Of coarse you may think, oh they could just type my name in and find me, but as I said I have told no one about this, and they know may only know me by my photographic name not my real one, so few people actually know Roubey Hammond, she is not even on facebook as yet.

The other thing that I have got from this amazing personal adventure was that this was just going to be a personal thing, I would put pictures and say a few words and then sign off again, I didn’t really bother me if anyone looked at my page because this was just for me, my feelings, my memories, my ramblings, my way of seeing the world, but when people did find me, it actually felt REALLY good, it actually felt like I was doing what people wanted me to do and get notices, horray ME!!.  It didn’t make me feel self conscious either that people where now watching, because I do know you and you do not know me, this would be something that would normally bother me, but this time it was so much different, I love that there is someone across the other side of the globe saying “hello”.

The biggest thing that has really made me feel fantastic, is how this exercise has re kindled my love of the written word.  I have always loved it, but _MG_7457s copyI find myself so easily frustrated by writers block and terrible grammar.  I have always struggled with the words, ever since I was child, people thought I was slow and they would be right, but I was always a daydreamer and still am, but I do listen and take notice very well.  I could never read out load with other people aorund, the teachers made me read all the simple books, but when it came to going home and writing a report, I would come back with page upon page of details so deep that I had to be taken aside and asked, what does this word mean, and I would tell them, I would describe it and they would still give me the simple books.  I was in no way thick or stupid, I was just shy and unnoticed because of this.

I am a good reader, I love reading, I feel it sad that we are loosing so many libraries and book shops only to be replaced by electric books and computers, there is something charming about turning a real page and sitting there with your mother or father or who ever told you stories as a child, and being so interested in what was on the next page, or would stop just as the story got exciting, “wait till tomorrow to see what happens”.   My fiancé gave me one of these Nook books before I left the US and it took me a long while to get used to it, I still rather have a real book but it is nice not having to put on a night light to read, plus it is so might lighter for flying but I am scared still of breaking the screen, something I do not have to worry with a real book.  Plus I can store some of my pictures on it.

It seems that children no longer get that bed time story, or in some cases a story at all, because there is just not enough time any more.  Children rather relax before bed on a computer or with television instead of roaming a treasure island in a mysterious land of book imagination.  If I could have children, I would read to them ever night because words are powerful, “the pen is mightier than the sword” least I think that is how it goes, but it is true, unless you are in a sword fight.  Then to add insult to injury, we massacre words to text speech, one of my art professor told me that one of his students, a year ago gave in her final paper entirely in text speech, a whole three page concise major final paper at college reduced to nothing more than LOL and OMG.  I am not going to lie, I have LoLed many a time but I do not confuse it with proper language, like everything, there is a time and a place, and writing a final paper is certainly not a grown up thing to do, lets just say she was rather surprised that the professor failed her for that.

_MG_7462s copyThere is one thing I do have trouble with, and that you have already probably noticed, I love to write, and so because of this I write too much.    I know people phase out at a certain point and some only look at the pictures, which is fine with me because that is basically all I am trying to show, but in a business world, it may not be looked on as being proactive.  You see, I do have a very real dream to word in the photographic industry, the ultimate epitome of that dream would be working for the National Geographic, to be able to travel the world and see some of the most amazing sites and take pictures to show the world, oooohh I would quite happily sell my left side of my body to be even let inside their doors.  Who knows, maybe one day.  On the other hand, if Vogue or someone of that ilk came knocking on my door, I certainly would not refuse.  As usual it is about not only knowing people (something I am lucky enough to have a few strings and connections) but getting myself out there and putting effort.

I have so many images hidden on hard drives that never see the light of day, it is about time, they got their 15mins of fame.  Now I am not to be all big headed and say I am the best photographer since sliced bread, I do know a lot of tricks and what makes a picture look good, I am a perfectionist, I have been doing this for quiet a while and now I have a diploma so far to prove it, hoping for my masters one day. I take pictures because I want to take pictures, to enjoy taking pictures of the thing that make my life tick.  The ones you have seen here in this challenge, well they where all just for fun, I did not spend hours over them, I did not put the dedication I usually put into my proper images, it was for a personal thing to do for 30 days, an excuse to get the camera out and the brain working.   This is not the end though, I have caught the blogging bug and certainly will return with more words and more pictures, just you wait world, Roubey Hammond; RouPyks Muse is putting a name and a dirky face on you.

Thank you for the 60 days of adventure, heres to the rest of life.

Day Twenty-nine Clouds


Welcome, welcome, welcome to you my dear void viewers, and to a fresh new month of March.   Does it feel fresh? no, it is as miserable as February so far.   Happy Saint Davids Day Wales.    I am sorry I am not more bouncy today, I spent the night with what feels like syrup streaming out my nose and to wake up this morning with a rhino charging on the inside of my skull with wood peckers stabbing my eyes, yey me, yey migraine.  It is now half past one in the afternoon and although the woodpeckers have nearly flown away, the rhino is still there pounding away like an angry toddler, yay, just fantastic, she says ironically.  Tempted to go back to bed and hope that some kind of medication will kick in and all will be cured by the time the sun maybe makes an appearance today.  Oh this is all too negative today, pack it in Roubs and just drink your tea.

imagesLast night, I lost good friend of mine, or I should rather say a few good friends of mine, and now I have to find new ones on a new adventure.  No nothing tragic in a physical sense, just more or a literally sense.   For the past month I have been reading the Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy series by Douglas Adams and last night, I turned the final page on the final book.   I have followed the most unlikely hero’s and heroines, fought off the monsters in time and space, stolen many a space craft and done a lot of towel waving while trying not to panic, and now like their earth, I has all come to an end and my night time reading friends have gone.  It seems strange that a book that is so easy to read, with the majority of it is made up nonsense, then, when you start looking between the lines and see certain quotes, it does actually make me stand back and say, “hang on, he is really onto something here”.  I like things like that, they make me think.  Give the series a try, it is worth a good laugh, I am now looking forward to watching the film and see if it did the books justice.

Now I am not really into aliens and other beings on other unknown planets but I have to admit last night, I was looking up into the skies and images (1)thinking, what if? What if there was actually another race out there watching us, what would they think of us? And visa versa, if we could see them, what would we think of them? I guess that is just one of those empty pondering questions that the likes of Winnie the Pooh and Dr Who would contemplate while eating jam sandwiches and drinking tea.

_MG_7427s copyCloser to earth, the clouds have obstructed the view of those stars of last night, and has just left this little village in the south west duller and drabber than a greying string vest.   Absolutely no change in how it was the day I took my photos.  I was so frustrated with that, we had actually had some sun a few days before and then the day the photo needs to be taken, the clouds roll in and there is nothing but grey.  Not even a change in colour variations or tone changes as it sores from horizon to the stratosphere, just grey mixed with grey with a hint more grey in there to add some effect, hmmph and if that wasn’t enough, it started to rain, hoo freaking ray!  So this is why I did the project that way on the day, if I can’t get the clouds then I will make them.   With only one more project to go, I was no way going to make let this little hitch lead to giving up on a quest.

In my short life so far, I have seen some of the beautiful skies against some of the most beautiful backdrops, and although the sky outside isn’t saying much today, I know that the sun will come out and everything and everyone will be happy again.

I have seen sunsets that looked like the sky was made of fire, sunrises bursting into life over the horizon like a diamond ring glinting out of the sea, deep blue empty vastness, the yellowing of the storms and the green of the snow, I have followed a sunrise for eight hours straight while crossing the ocean while the moon smiled gently as we flew on by.   I still cannot for the life of me get over the natural beauty of this world when we actually step back and take time to look, it really is quite extraordinary, and it sad that more and more of us are loosing the sky.   Areas are becoming more built up and lit up and children will grow up without seeing the constellations of the stars, we build sky scrapers that do nothing but scrape the sky, we hide ourselves for hours a day in artificially lit offices and never see the natural light of day, how can we really appreciate nature when we never let it in our lives.  Profit, and greed, it is funny how much this interferes with our lives and our skies.

Now as I said, there have been many skies that have taken my breath away but there will always be one that just drops my jaw every time I think about it, and it something only a select few will ever see.

I was once lucky enough to be invited on a trip to the Grand Canyon and when I say a trip there, I don’t mean, go there have a look at the wonder_MG_7426 copy of the world and then leave, no, our trip was to walk all the way down, camp there for two days and then walk all the way back up again.  It was a very, very tiring and extremely hot adventure, but it is something I would happily do again.  At the bottom is the camp site with a river running through it, nothing else, no hotels, no shops, no lights, nothing, just you and nature, and I remember that first night sleeping out of the tent because it was too hot, and I have never seen so many stars in my life.   So, so many and oh, my friends, it was spectacular, there where so many stars that I couldn’t even make out a constellation, it was almost like there was more light than dark in the sky, and for the first time in my life, I really felt like I was part of that sky due to its immensity and power.  Nature, the river, my friend and the never-ending sky.   The second best sight came a day later when we discovered a small shack up the river which sold lemonade, it could have had antifreeze in it for all I cared because at that time, it was pure nectar of heaven.

The sky at the Grand Canyon played tricks with the rock formations as we walked around, depending on what time of day it was, the valley was either red of golden or yellow and as the day wore on, the bluer and more purple it got until eventually they where once again hidden within the sea of the sky.   It is the only place where I have ever cooked dinner on a rock, and eaten off a fig leaf because we left the plates in the car eight miles up on the top.

I still can’t believe I was there smack bang in the middle of one of the eight wonders of the world, there is something magical about even saying it, to be one of the select few to be down the bottom and come back with so many stories and new perspectives on life and where you fit in it.

As for life here, well, it is getting better, the rhino has now let me put up some bubble wrap so the whacks don’t feel so bad now, the lemon and ginger tea is doing it’s bit and although the sky doesn’t look like it is going to change today, life is good and this little bit of grey will not pull me down and this rhino and its friends and the nose of syrup will eventually go away, and I will be once again a hundred percent me again, happy, grateful, artistic me.  So it has been fun talking to you today, it is always nice to feel that even if one person stops by each day, you are noticed, and isn’t that just what we all want, to be known and to liked, so heres to you my one or many viewers, thank you.


Day twenty-eight Incorporating motion


Well, hello, hello there my fine viewers of the void, it is so nice to have you today.   I don’t know why, but I am feeling very positive today, I have my honey do list next to me and throughout the day more and more has been checked off.  The sun is trying to break through the clouds and I have dancing round the house like there is no one watching and it was FANTASTIC, just incase you want to know, the music may or may not have been from any of the Glee albums.

slowwhite I am presently trying to make my mind up on whether I like this nail polish or not, I very, very rarely wear it because quite frankly I hate the smell and I feel funny about putting chemicals onto my body apart from soap and stuff like that.  One hand done so far in just white and I am hoping I can find some inspiration on the She god Pinterest on where to go next with this.  I’m just not very good at being girlie and I have to admit I would love to feel sexy and have the nerve to walk out the house looking smoking, but nothing really goes with a huge tank of a camera that sits on my shoulder most the day.

I’m looking forward to spring, not just for the warmth and the hope in more blue skies but the newness of the land.  In little patches of grass the daisy’s are begin to pop their little positive heads out, trees will soon start to grow buds and there seems to be more chirping birds out in the garden.  It is almost like winter is beginning to be wiped off the black board for another year and new life is to be drawn on the clear surface.  The world is starting another positive turn.  I do love my winters but they also seem to come with such hardship and sorrow, whereas Spring is just like sipping on a cold sparkling water infused with a hint of lime, there is just something so fresh and freeing about it.  I almost feel like I want to run onto a field somewhere with Sister Maria and sing “The Hills are alive with the sound of music” while twirling in a huge tutu dress sprinkling magic glitter everywhere.  Ok, maybe a little bit silly now, but its all a bit of fun.

A couple of years ago, I actually found myself in Salzburg where they shot The Sound of Music and although it was a beautiful city with much to see and do, I could not for the life of me find anything to do with the film, that did disappoint me because I would have loved to write back home telling tales of I went skipping through the country wearing curtains.  To think, my Mother was nearly going to name me after either Lisal, Martha or Bridgetta, which I wouldn’t have minded in the slightest, but I get this one that I cannot find on a keyring.

Austria is a mind-blowing place; I cannot sing its praises loud enough.  I went there when I was in my late teens to Kutzbuhel on a biking week because I am a keen cyclist and wow, there is just so much beauty and charm to that country.  The air is so clean that your lungs feel like they have been cleaned by a Brillo pad, it even tastes clean.  High up on the hills the only sounds you will hear are the breezes in the trees, the birds singing lullabies and the gentle bells of the local cows, no traffic, no planes,  no cars, just you and nature.  This is the only place that I know of where you can get world-winning ice-cream on top of a mountain.  Ice-cream and a view to change your life, I could and would quite happily live my life over there.

When I went it was end of spring, and the big fireworks of natural where just starting to bloom in a rainbow of colours.  Plants I have never seen snowglassbefore where everywhere, in little cracks in the wall, hidden on the edge of railway lines, beside the river and the eves of all the local house and hotels, it quite reminded me of somewhere out of a fairy story book, I was amazed to even see some of the cows elegantly decorated with varying blooms.

I do like my flowers and being busy in the garden, it is a love that was passed on by my dear Granddad who is sadly no longer with us.  He was a brilliant gardener, there was nothing that man couldn’t and wouldn’t grow, and even to this day when he passed on when I was five, I still remember his shed, how it smelt, helping him with a tiny trowel looking for worms and smelling the roses.  He only had a small plot of land, but it was always full of bloom, butterflies and vegetables, this is how I want mine to be like in NJ, but I have so much land to play with I don’t know where to start.

The problem with the house in NJ is the number of rocks in the garden, now, I am not talking about itty bitty rocks, more, huge tomb stone sized oblique.  I am a bit of a weedy build with a determined streak and will dig as much as I can to get my vegetable garden up and running, but have to admit defeat when the digging leads me to the magma of lava in its core.   I do it because I like the thought of not only bringing life into this world but also bringing beauty, there is just something so satisfying stepping back in your garden and seeing all your beautiful flowers and nature around it, and thinking, I did that.  The benefit how calming it is but yet it gets you fit at the same time, but do you think I can ever grow and keep Rosemarie, not on your nelly.  I love it but it hates me.

So this is the last day of February today and the last of the snowdrops, there are still a few in the garden but the snails, the little cuties, are having fun munching them during the night, the daffodils are on the way like little mirrors of the sun swaying in the breeze as if they where listening to a chill out album, and at last the hyacinth on my window sill is waking up and opening up to be a charming pale yellow, which I have to say is a lovely colour to be in my wedding bouquet I plan to make.   I’m making it for three simple reasons, firstly, it is a hell of a lot cheaper, secondly, I love making stuff and thirdly I hate cut flowers, there is just something so sad about taking a beautiful flower and then killing it to sell it and then to watch it slowly die, this is why my mother has always got plants with roots attached.

Ok, so these pictures you see before you today, I had this huge plan that I was going to making this fancy stop animation video with music and glitter and slogans and sponsors and all that kitten kaboodle but then I realised one thing, I use Photoshop CS2 still and I need Lightroom to do all this mess with, hmmm.  Now I could have either cheated and downloaded the trail version and done it this way, but I have to tell you something, I have a set in stone agreement with Lightroom, and that agreement simply put is, we don’t get on with each other.  It is a great program, it is easyish to use but Photoshop is my buddy, it has always been there for when I want to play, I rather stay loyal to that friendship and maybe one day I get a pennie or two, I may even upgrade to 5 or 6 or 8.2 or whatever the version is going to be next.  Oh how I will laugh when I come back in five years justworkand read this and think, wow, they where only on that version, that was like dinosaur stuff, but then maybe cameras will be gone too with the evil-ution of the camera phone, and yes I mean to spell it that way.

Anyho, I basically spent the whole day running backwards and forwards every fifteen minuets with this plant from nine in the morning to just past midnight, every sodding fifteen minuets, I couldn’t anything, couldn’t go anywhere, just in case a sneaky petal went bang without me looking.  On the other hand, snowdrops, wow, if you walk away they will open in no time at all, those ones took at most half an hour, now that was fun.

Well it has come to that time again my dear friends, I can see a small shard of light climbing through my bedroom door, so am off to investigate and then get all dressed warmly to take missy grumpy dog out for a walk somewhere.  It was nice talking with you and I will see you tomorrow.