• Gary Crallé

Hidden Everyday Views

Updated: Apr 25

With COVID at our doorsteps, none of us is on a mission to Mars anytime soon, but here’s a suggestion on how to appreciate your own space while tapping into your dormant creativity.


For me it began with a simple test of a camera lens: Sony’s highly regarded 55mm f1.8, representing a ‘normal’ angle of view in photography. But it quickly went way beyond that into a personal project to find interesting views in everyday spaces.


The only restrictions I gave myself would be: 1) to use either a 55mm Sony or a comparable focal length 60mm Olympus (macro) lens, and 2) to look inside just one designated box: our house.


For the next 30 days I’ll be posting one "found" photograph daily of something in the house. I'll bet there are views hidden in plain sight waiting to be discovered in all our homes. With stories too.


You can find brief technical notes at the end of this blog by scrolling down to Day 1.


Day 30 Lemons in a bowl purchased in San Mateo County, California. It all began with 2 free nights at a hotel in the county as a photo award, soured just a bit with a hefty parking fee added to the stay. Regardless, with my “prize” as the incentive and with invaluable help from tourism officials all along the way, Lis and I embarked on what became a 60-day 8,886 mile / 14,300 km driving tour from Toronto through 14 states in the U.S..


The year was 2005 and the journey would be my baptism into digital photography. As a newly minted Olympus Visionary I rediscovered my photojournalistic roots and personal sense of creativity. When life gives you lemons, take them.

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkIII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/30 sec. @ f11, 6 frames focus stacked in-camera, ISO 200

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 29 Among the mementoes tasked with catching dust in my office is my first camera, a Kodak Brownie Bullet. It was of course completely automatic. Just press the shutter and send off the film for processing. I've since upgraded my gear. The postcard behind the camera was a crucial reminder from a niece and nephew on one of my birthdays.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/30 sec. @ f11, ISO 16000 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 28 Thoracic Park? Nope, just a close up view of a charred fire log, though it does bear a passing resemblance to the skeletal remains of a large vertebrae. As the Cheshire cat said to Alice, "Things aren't always what they seem."

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1.3 sec. @ f5.6, 10 frames focus stacked in-camera, ISO 200

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 27

Primarily pastels. Like a fan-shaped beacon, the lamp in my office sits at the unlikely confluence of Hermitage green and Tuscan red, contrasting colours I chose to enhance mental stimulation.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/60 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 4000 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 26

Top ‘o the mornin’ to everyone! It’s St. Patricks Day when, oddly enough, the world celebrates not his birth but his death (sometime around 460 AD). Appropriating pagan symbols into his religious teachings, it’s said St. Pat created the Celtic cross by combining the sun with the Christian cross. Our garden ornaments don’t claim such pedigree and aren’t even from Ireland. I bought them at a roadside market in Austria. Now they share a large vase with a jade plant, greeting visitors at our front door. Everyone's Irish today!

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/20 sec. @ f8, 6 frames focus stacked in-camera, ISO 250

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 25

Tattoo wood carving, Sabah, Borneo. This has always been an exotic part of the world to me, despite the following incident. After a day exploring the Mt Kinabalu region I took pity on our local guide whose village was a considerable distance away. I offered him a spot to sleep in my hotel room. He didn’t tell me he snored. I ended up on the balcony, sweating with the heat, humidity, mosquitoes and AC noise while he enjoyed a good night’s sleep in the air-conditioned room.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/100 sec. @ f2.5, ISO 250 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 24

The study. Once upon a time long, long ago photography was black and white. Before film, images were etched onto glass plates (sheets) with chemicals. As a look back at the 19th century, this picture replicates an antique version of that process with a digital filter I applied to a regular photo during processing. According to Wikipedia, some astro photographers were still using glass plates as late as the 1990s!

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/25 sec. @ f8, ISO 200, +1 EV

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 23

A string of 24 multi-coloured ceramic chilli peppers adds heat to our kitchen, thanks to a creative artist in San Antonio, Texas where I bought these during a festival. Chillies are traditionally air-dried by hanging them in bunches outdoors, just like this. For visual impact I photographed only one section of the full 1-metre / 3-foot cluster by standing on a small ladder to get an eye level view.

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/8 sec. @ f8, ISO 250, +.3 EV

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 22

An Inuit soapstone polar bear carving from Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, Canada rears up from the cover of Sebastião Salgado's monumental ode to the natural world: GENESIS. Here's hoping the COVID-induced hiatus in global travel holds more benefit than harm for the planet. Salgado's gorgeous coffee table book is an inspiration for that.

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkIII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/30 sec. @ f8, ISO 6400

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 21

Our aloe plant is doing well in an east window, possibly because he's facing his roots: the Arabian Peninsula. The adoption papers said his name was Aloe indica Royle, but we just call him Al.

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkIII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/20 sec. @ f8, ISO 250, -.3EV

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 20

Paperweights have been largely underemployed since the introduction of digital technology. But when it comes to beauty, digitalweights just don't cut it. Anyway, if you're under 20, you're probably asking "What's paper?".

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/250 sec. @ f4, ISO 250, + 1.3 EV © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 19

I've never understood why a pile of pillows will languish on a bed for no reason except to look smug filling a space. Our pillow shams practise the same regimen, stacking comfortably on a chair overnight until the morning sun exposes their textured preening.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/20 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 100 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 18 I consider a glass of Amontillado sherry and some mixed nuts in the company of distant family and a good book to be suitable preparation for evening dinners.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/60 sec. @ f2, ISO 250 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 17

Beauty and the Beast. Closer observation prompted by this blog project revealed a silent drama taking place in a display case. A wild boar on a beer stein appears to be looking directly at a Royal Doulton figurine named Elizabeth, a gift to Lis from a group of friends. On a Sunday drive in Germany years ago I spotted the porcelain stein and one other in the window of a hardware store in a small town. I was enamoured enough to make a half day journey back to buy the pair of them when the store opened next morning.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/60 sec. @ f9, ISO 8,000 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 16 What a difference 8 hours make! Here's the same group of orchids photographed yesterday, but now in direct early evening sunlight shining through the kitchen door from the rear of the house.

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/40 sec. @ f8, ISO 250

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 15 Three pots of orchids announce their bright disposition in the bay window of our living room as morning light streams through the blinds. There's a friendly dog's face in this flower, with a nose between plump jowls and a nearly toothless open lower jaw. Tomorrow I anticipate showing a photo in a strikingly different light.

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/10 sec. @ f11, ISO 250

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 14 After years of self promises Lis has cautiously begun experimenting with watercolours and sketches. I had to document this. Her concentrated natural pose is emphasized by the contrast of cool blue clothing against the warmth of the room. I see it as an image of a popular activity in the style of a Norman Rockwell illustration.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/250 sec. @ f4, ISO 250 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 13 The little traveller paddling the sunlit curtain waves represents an ancient people called Uros from Lake Titicaca, Peru, highest lake in the world. He's navigating his reed balsa suspended from one of our curtain rods.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/100 sec. @ f2.5, ISO 250 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 12

My vote for an afternoon pick me up is either a cappuccino or an expresso with a thin wedge of lime or lemon. Rough calculations indicate I've saved enough money with my DeLonghi cappuccino maker to buy a Ferrari — very rough calculations, mind you.

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/13 sec. @ f8, ISO 640

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 11 I think Lis has read more murder mystery paperbacks than have ever been printed. Stories of devious plots and perfect murders line the shelves in her office, though online books from the local library have become the addictive choice during COVID.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/15 sec. @ f3.5, ISO 500 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 10 On a shelf in our bathroom is a small gaggle of rubber ducks guarding my larger collection of aftershaves. I've been using the lotions for years, but they never seem to go down. I'm beginning to suspect the ducks refill them at night.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/60 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 400 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 9 Good morning sunrise through lace.

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/40 sec. @ f11, ISO 250

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 8 Sitting on my printer are film director Mickey Mouse and 3 mini cushions. Mickey directs my work. The cushions are from the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto; to relieve eye strain I juggle these when taking computer breaks.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/60 sec. @ f2.2, ISO 250 © Gary Crallé 2021



Day 7

A brutally honest picture of an old stair rail thrusting itself toward the light.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/60 sec. @ f11, ISO 8,000 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 6

Garlic cloves sprouting in a replica antique pottery jar. Food and drink are two of life's great pleasures for us, with garlic a central component. Garlic isn't just healthy; it keeps the werewolves away too.

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/60 sec. @ f3.5, ISO 200

© Gary Crallé 2021



Day 5

Lis' hiking boots with anti-slip cleats ("icers") to avoid a second wrist-breaking incident.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/60 sec. @ f8, ISO 10,000 © Gary Crallé 2021


Day 4 Occasionally I refer to my set of TIME LIFE Library of Photography books for inspiration from some great photographers and timeless visual principles even though the technical info about cameras and film seems stone age. Digital has given everyone a visual voice; I figure the challenge now is seeing and saying something worthwhile.

Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/15 sec. @ f4, ISO 250

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 3 During individual trips to West Africa, Lis and I had each bought wood carvings from boys who were selling their handiwork in the streets. Our tame menagerie roams across a wooden veldt in our "safari (aka TV) room," gazing at us during morning exercises. Willy warthog leads the pack.


Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/60 sec. @ f1.8, ISO 250

© Gary Crallé 2021



Day 2

Our kitchen table is often covered with food shopping lists and new recipes culled from some 50+ cookbooks or the internet. We've had our share of duds among the keepers. This recipe from a Rocky Mountaineer (Canada) cookbook of meals served on the train made a delicious breakfast, although the rich Hollandaise could have stopped the train in its tracks. I was drawn to the 3-dimensional shadow and delicate tones (also replicated within the shadow).

Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 MkIII, 30mm f3.5 macro lens (60mm FF equivalent), 1/125 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 200

© Gary Crallé 2021


Day 1 In the front hall a vase of dried flowers rests on a hand painted chest of drawers topped with a Peruvian mat. On the wall is a print of a Hurricane aircraft, signed by Douglas Bader, a Royal Air Force fighter ace in the Second World War. During his career in the Royal Canadian Air Force my dad helped train pilots in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. I gave the print to him as a Christmas present after he retired. For something different I alternate the print with a conté crayon portrait of 3 horses done by my grandfather in the early 1900s.


Respect your space!


Technical: Sony A7III, 55mm f1.8 lens, 1/30 sec. @ f3.2, ISO 250

© Gary Crallé 2021


For the Technorati:

The primary purpose of this 1-month challenge has been to practise SEEING colour, shape, light and story-telling relationships, but it was also a test of camera capabilities.


Images received basic processing in DXO PhotoLab 4 plus minor retouching in Adobe Lightroom, with the exception of Day 24, which was converted to B&W and a software-induced plate glass effect in DXO.


Days 26, 28 and 30 benefitted from in-camera focus stacking for precise and increased depth of field.


Olympus vs Sony. Both systems have excellent lenses. The smaller, lighter OMD EM-1 Mark II and III benefit from the best image stabilization in the market, selective focusing points while shooting plus in-camera focus stacking and bracketing.


With its full frame sensor the Sony A7III has the advantage of less noise in dim light, a slightly smoother tonal range and shallower depth of field for effective subject isolation. The 55mm Sonnar is acutely sharp at f1.8.


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