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The eyes of a Wolf always see straight into your soul ...

...You can't hide the truth from them


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Please visit the main site - www.wolf-photography.com

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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Being True To Yourself ...

Have you ever had to stand up for yourself against some form of injustice?  Have you dared to voice a truth to stop something unfair happening to someone else?  If so, you've done something that many around you wouldn't do.

Whether it's righting a simple wrong, clearing up an allegation or preventing a miscarriage of justice, the truth is invaluable.

What are the consequences of telling the truth?  For some it's a price that keeps on taking until their last breath, like a pack of hounds after a fox.  People fearing the truth will seek to discredit you where possible, in order to minimise the impact of your truth.  They will ostracise you and leave you unsupported.  I've witnessed and been subjected to these methods for most of my life ... because I've told the truth or done the right thing.

Knowing everything I do now about the way of the world, would I have chosen to let the matters slide and just quietly get on with my life?  No ... because we have to do the right thing and not just focus on our own needs.  Walking a certain path makes us who we are.

There are so many of you that have lived  ... and continue to live your lives in the same way ... with honour and dignity.  Every time I see something on Social Media about one of you I feel a sense of connection and purpose; as a result that helps me because I know that I'm not alone in the way that I live and that these values are respected and upheld by other people too.  You give me the courage to carry on.  Thank you.

I hope that we can encourage later generations to uphold the same values and to look outside of their own circle.

Respectfully,

Villayat 'Wolf' Sunkmanitu

Monday, 19 February 2018

FLASHPOINT - 99p for a limited period

Hi All,

A quick note on the fly to tell you that FLASHPOINT, my latest thriller in the Thomas Bladen Spy Chaser series, is available to download for 99p.

It'll last longer than a cheap burger.

It's less than a litre of petrol.

You may even enjoy it so much that you read the rest of the series!







Cheers,
Derek

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The Business of Art


I'm a writer and I've often witnessed other creatives jumping back and forth across an imaginary line. On one side (written in invisible ink!) it reads Art and the other side it reads Commerce. A hardy few will straddle that line and keep a foot firmly on either side. But not many. 

What is Art?

According to https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/art:

The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.    


That's a pretty broad brush and I'd argue that writing, photography, music, singing, crochet and a whole lot of other endeavours also fit the category. I especially like ...expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. If it involves those three elements - creativity, skill and imagination - it's art. End of discussion. It might be good art or bad, comforting, uplifting, challenging or even baffling. Art doesn't require permission or explanation or approval. It just is.

And Commerce?

Commerce is pretty self-explanatory. Something either pays or it doesn't. But if art doesn't pay, that's no reflection on its artistic merit. Many artists didn't make a bean in their lifetime. Take it from me, commercial success in the arts is an alchemy that relies on so many things - what you make, who sees it, timing, context (how it affects people, what else is happening in the creative sphere and the wider world), and that old bugbear of creative people the world over: luck. 

You can't control most of those factors. You have to create art - that's the core of it. After that, you can advertise, try and get an exhibition or representation, find a gallery, promote online. All that and more. It may help you reach your dream of living and working purely as an artist (whatever that means to you), but it won't affect you being an artist - that comes from within. It's as primal as breathing.


A foot in each camp

I write thrillers. Genre fiction like mine (e.g. thrillers, crime fiction of fantasy) doesn't usually win any literary prizes unless it's a genre specific prize. But a book is still art, right, even if it's a spy story? FLASHPOINT, my fifth thriller, was published recently and I am happy to create 'art' that sells. The way I see it, whether it's a book or a postcard or a crocheted button, we should embrace our creativity. And if we can earn a few bob from it as well, so much the better! 



FLASHPOINT - UK   https://www.amazon.co.uk//dp/1912106280

FLASHPOINT - US   https://www.amazon.com//dp/1912106280



*** THE START OF THE SERIES ***




This is Standpoint, where Thomas Bladen's journey into the world of espionage began.

STANDPOINT - UK  https://www.amazon.co.uk//dp/1511628235

STANDPOINT - UK  https://www.amazon.com//dp/1511628235


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Be Kind to Writers!


You'd think that being a writer is all about two things:

1. Writing stuff.
2. Getting that written stuff published or at least read.

However, there's much more to it than that and I'll warn you in advance that I may get arty and soulful. To begin with, it's a helluva thing to even consider calling yourself a writer, never mind actually telling other people about it. Because, when it really comes down to it, every piece of writing contains a little bit of you in it – your memories, your perspective, your experience of the people around you, your hopes and also your fears.

It can feel like an indulgence to spend quality time away from loved ones and friends, especially when you're using that time to wrestle with people and situations that you've created in your head.

Reading also takes on another dimension when you’re a writer. What used to be a leisure activity now becomes a vital part of your craft. You still read for enjoyment, but you also look closely at style, plot, characterisation and all the other elements that already give you sleepless nights.

Try this one on for size: A writer is an artist.
You write fiction? Congrats - you're an artist.

There's also a deeper, inner level to this writing journey. Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way is a brilliant resource (among others) for getting into the soul of writing. I believe there is a part of every writer that is secretly – and sometimes overtly, on the page – grappling with the big issues of life, death, justice, purpose, love, freedom, etc.

Sometimes we not only express who we are on the page, we also explore who we wish we were. Read between the lines and it's as powerful as therapy and as real as it gets.

So, here's the thing: when someone tells you they've written something, or that they're working on something, treat them with kindness. When you give feedback, make it constructive – it's fine to say you didn't like it, as long as you say why. Feedback on what you enjoyed – and why - is also welcomed. However, tell the truth. And for the love of God, please try and avoid the word ‘nice’. It’s the writer’s kryptonite!


Some writers will not get the recognition they deserve. For some, the only feedback they'll receive is the snipey kind on ebook sites or forums. But wherever writers are, on that endless and invisible ladder of literary success, they stay true to their craft. Well, you wouldn't expect anything less from a writer, would you?

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Using Textures with your Photographs to Create a Painterly Effect

Once you have taken your photographs, uploaded them, edited them in terms of brightness, contrast, saturation etc, you may well feel that you have finished. But why not explore the idea of using textures in your photography to create a ‘painterly’ effect? This works particularly well with my own favourite floral photography, but it is equally useful with all kinds of subject matter. You are limited only by your own creativity!


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Here are a couple of before and after shots:





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In both cases, there has been no further editing other than a texture being added and the opacity altered to taste. The difference between the ‘before’ and the ‘after’ is subtle but - I hope you’ll agree - it works to enhance what is already there. And it is so quick and easy to do that it has to be worth a try. I have added a step-by-step guide to this technique below using Photoshop Elements/Photoshop but any software program that allows you to use layers should be okay for this. In all cases, please try to make sure that you first copy the original so you can work non-destructively. If you don’t like it, you can always go back to the original. Nothing to lose J


Applying Textures in Photoshop Elements/Photoshop

1.     Open your chosen photo in Photoshop. (If using Elements, make sure you are in ‘expert’ mode)

2.     Make sure your ‘layers panel is turned on and that you can see it on the right hand side

3.     Before you start working on your photo, make a copy of the ‘background layer’ by clicking Cmd (control on a pc) and J

4.     Now click ‘file’, ‘open’ and find the textured layer you want to use.

5.     Open the texture and click Cmd(control) A to select all, and Cmd (control) C to copy

6.     Now move back to your photo and click Cmd (control) V to paste and Cmd (control) T to turn on the transform tool.

7.     Using the ‘handles’ stretch the textured layer so it is the same size as your photo. Click on the tick once you have done that.

8.     Check that you now have 3 layers on the left: 2 background and one texture.

9.     Make sure that the texture layer is selected and play with blend modes until you find something you like. The best modes to try are normal, multiply, overlay, soft light and hard light.

10. You may like an effect but find it a bit stronger than you wanted. Now play with the ‘opacity’ selection until you’re happy. At this point, think more about how the background looks rather than how your subject looks.

11. Now we can start to remove some of the texture from the subject by adding a ‘mask’ (circle in a square icon on layers panel).

12. Select a brush a brush and move the ‘opacity’ to about 50%. This will remove some of the texture but will leave some behind so there is more unity between your subject and your background. Gently begin to brush away the texture. If nothing seems to be happening, check that your colour is set to black.

13. If you remove an area by mistake, you can either press Cmd and Z to undo, or change the colour to white, opacity to 100% and paint it back in.

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14. Once you are happy with the result, click ‘layer’ and ‘flatten image’ and save in you usual way.


Extra tips:

Try using different subject matter and different textures. It’s very subjective so you may find that different choices work for you.

If something isn’t working as it should, it is most likely to be because you do not have the correct layer selected.

There are lots of free textures available on the internet. ‘Shadowhouse Creations’ have some, as do ‘2econd Skin’. Please read the terms of use on these and any others you may find. It is often the case that you may use them for commercial purposes as long as the image has been flattened so that the texture cannot be extracted and shared around.

It is very easy to make your own textures by taking shots of tree bark, concrete, peeling paint, grasses, leaves, water. A touch of gaussian blur and a bit of imagination can turn them into fabulous textures that you can use.

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Google, google, google – if you prefer to be show how to do this, do a quick online search and turn up about a zillion video tutorials. And once you’ve mastered this, find another new technique to try. The learning curve is, thankfully, never-ending J

Please visit my Flickr page for more examples of textured flower photography:
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/suewoollard/

Guest blogger: Sue Woollard


Thursday, 4 January 2018

Osprey - Nature section

Osprey - Nature section
Wolf-Photography.com Stock Image Library