sirisa clark

the things I do and the words I choose


Almost Wordless Wednesday: Composed

So, I have to confess that between finishing the scarf, Ben’s Supervillain-themed fancy dress birthday party (yes, I was Catwoman again, causing some discussion about the moral ambiguity of her character), and catching a filthy stinking cold, I have a) not been blogging much, and b) not had any time to take photos.

Which was a slight problem for this week’s homework: find an interesting piece of architecture, and practice the 6 basic types of composition on it: Thirds, Diagonals, Lead In/Out, Pattern/Detail, Framing and Straight On.

In a bit of a panic, I turned to the past and decided to rifle through my photos of India and Japan to find some decent shots. And you know what I found? I’m not very good at taking photos. Yes I know, I was shocked too.

After a couple of hours, several hundred photos and a serious dose of despondency, I selected a handful from my visit to Japan. I got them printed, took a deep breath and headed to class. Only to find there was no critique this week, we were heading out to shoot St Pancras station instead.

But hey, that doesn’t mean you guys can’t critique them! Here are my shots of Japan, focusing on Torii gates.

Bonus fact: just realised I took all of these on my old Olympus Mju, so actually kind of pleased with the respective quality



Lead In


Detail/ Pattern


Straight On





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Almost Wordless Wednesday: Exposed

This week’s photo assignment was to play around with exposure and try producing shots that are over- and under-exposed. It took a bit of manipulation to get my camera doing anything like what I wanted – it’s designed to compensate the shutter speed and/or aperture to optimise the exposure.

I wasn’t super-pleased with my photos (as I mentioned the other day), but I was pleasantly surprised by my teacher’s response to them. I think it helped me immensely that I went first – there were some truly excellent photos later on that I would have blushed to follow. But again, there were also people whose shots weren’t as good as mine.

So, less blather, more photos.

And now for something utterly different.

On the way home, I saw an exploded watermelon on the floor. After several attempts to get a shot that wasn’t overly yellow and blurry, I switched into tungsten white balance, upped the aperture, and put the camera down on the pavement beside it. When you don’t have a tripod you have to improvise!


The Magic Shop

I’ve been feeling some serious Sunday Night Blues tonight:

I feel tired and slightly flu-ish

I have accomplished next to nothing this weekend

I was meant to visit a friend today, but the Victoria Line shafted me

I started writing a post yesterday and it turned out boring so I didn’t publish it (yes, there is some actual quality control on this blog. Don’t act all surprised)

Ben is also feeling grumpy and frustrated, because we’re trying to watch Felix Baumgartner’s stratosphere jump live feed and it’s choppy as hell

I haven’t done an Ebay Sunday, because I left it too late in the day, and now the light is rubbish for taking photos

Speaking of rubbish photos, I am not super-happy with the photos I have taken for my photography assignment. We were tasked with playing around with exposure and light metering. I certainly played, but I don’t think I got very interesting photos.

And then, something magic happened. Whilst showing Ben my choices for the assignment, I remembered that the other thing we covered in Tuesday’s class is how to manipulate photos in Photoshop. I’ve taken one of my bleh shots and punched up the exposure and saturation, then straightened up the angles. The image has become more grainy and cartoonish as a result, but I like the effect:

Before: wonky, dark, bleh. Bit like me

After: straight! colourful! instagram-tastic!

And somehow, magically, everything seems to be better. We’ve found a better feed for the Baumgartner jump and he has jumped and broken all kinds of records!

I might even get on and do that Ebay Sunday post…

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The Life List

For a while now – inspired by Mighty Girl (and actually borrowing some ideas from hers) – I’ve been meaning to write a life list, or bucket list as some people call it. Without wanting to go all hippy-visualisation bidness on you, I do find that writing down my goals seems to bring me a magical step closer to achieving them. Like Deathnote, but without killing any of my enemies.

So hey, if this post helps me achieve any of the following, that would be awesome!

  1. Visit the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
  2. See the Aurora Borealis
  3. Take a dip in a thermo pool in Iceland
  4. Walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela
  5. Spend a week on a narrowboat
  6. Travel around the UK in a campervan
  7. Take a flight in a hot air balloon
  8. Visit a redwood forest in California
  9. Ride in a gondola in Venice
  10. Take a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon
  11. Grow my own food
  12. Visit Yellowstone national park
  13. See the Great Wall of China
  14. Sail a yacht
  15. Visit Cuba
  16. Go to carnival in Rio
  17. Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  18. Visit New York
  19. Ride a tram in San Francisco
  20. Sky dive
  21. Dance at the Swing Ball with Ben
  22. Ride the Orient Express
  23. Be in a film
  24. Tango in Argentina
  25. Get published
  26. Take a photography class
  27. Read Ulysses
  28. Do a 10k run
  29. Grow a bonsai tree
  30. Have a garden with a hammock
  31. Finish knitting Ben’s scarf
  32. Make a dress
  33. See Radiohead live
  34. See Tom Waits live
  35. Sleep in a treehouse
  36. Learn Italian
  37. Go island-hopping in Greece
  38. Visit Uluru
  39. Swim in the swimming ponds at Hampstead Heath
  40. Throw a Holi party
  41.  Attend Loy Krathong, the sky lantern festival in Thailand
  42. Swim with bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico
  43. See the Iguazu Falls in Argentina


And a handful of the really awesome things I have already ticked off the list:

Give blood

Dinner at Rick’s Café Americain in Casablanca

Do a 5k run

Learn to swing dance

Dress up as a geisha in Kyoto

Cross Thorung-La: the world’s highest mountain pass in the Himalayas

See a meteor shower

I didn’t get a photo, but it was a lot like this

Be a DJ

Believe it or not, I am DJing here…

Perform onstage

Onstage at Robin’s Well with Ben, Timmy and Sarah

Marry Ben

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A Wednesday of few words

Okay, so I am never going to achieve a Wordless Wednesday probably, because I like to write, and I can’t imagine just presenting a bunch of pictures without saying anything about it.

But today I will keep it short, and hope that my photos will speak for me. Last night was week 2 of my course at CSM: Travel Photography – People and Places. The previous week the tutor set an assignment to photograph our home postcode and bring 8 prints to class. The first half of the class was going through everybody’s images and critiquing them. I thought my pictures held up reasonably well against everybody else’s. But hey, judge for yourself…

See those bags up there? I saw a girl with a coat made out of that fabric in Brixton Village. I asked her where she got it, and she pulled this pained expression and said “oh, I got it in Nepal actually, so I don’t think you’d be able to find anything like it here”. I thought, funny, I never saw anything like that when I was in Nepal. Then I walk around a corner and see a stall selling these bags. Lying hipster scumbag.

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life through a lens

Reason # 324 to love your job: as of tonight I am now a student again, taking part in a photography course at work!

And hey, you know what I discovered? It only takes a small shift out of your usual context for people to not recognise you. Standing in a group of students waiting to be collected by the tutor, about 10 of my colleagues passed me and only two recognised me.

I also discovered that I was the only person in the class without a DSLR. I’d borrowed one from Rani, but decided at the last minute that a) it was way too bulky and b) it was a bit pointless learning on somebody else’s camera when I want to get the best out of mine. Thankfully the tutor was reasonably complimentary about bridge cameras like my Fujifilm finepix s1500.

Tonight I learnt a great deal about white balance and a little bit less about ISO (mostly because I couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of ISO properly – I get that less light = higher ISO, but other than that it wouldn’t sink in). We didn’t take any pictures in class, but afterwards I found myself snapping all the way home.

So, here’s some of my journey home (including my dinner in Wasabi)…

Mmmm, tofu curry!

I’d never realised before that this corridor between the ticket halls in King’s Cross is actually a wheelchair jousting tiltyard!


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It’s Market Day in Galatina!

Leila woke us up with the threat that if we didn’t get up soon, we’d miss out on the market. Out of bed we leapt! Who would miss all of this?

We bought a mezzo-kilo of peanuts for Leila to make peanut butter, and a kilo of arborio rice for Ben to make risotto al funghi for dinner. Om nom nom nom!

Rani was taking a photo of my dress for this week’s Ebay Sunday, and this guy insisted we take his picture too. Okay!

We lunched on fresh tomatoes and capsicum, grilled aubergine slices, and the most delicious ricotta cheese you can imagine. I’m not gonna lie: I mostly just sat there eating the ricotta with a spoon.