Rainy Baku

39911573-AF53-485F-BD70-EF3E88B8E612I started walking / running exercise routine in October when the weather just started getting colder. On some days the weather was still so nice that I walked in a T-shirt. Then gradually the temperature decreased. Baku is a windy city and our winds can make it unbearable to be outside. Even when the temperature doesn’t drop below zero, it feels like -10. I needed to adjust to these conditions somehow, so I started walking in the Old City. Inner part of Baku is protected by thick walls that date back to 12th century and they hid me from the wind. I loved walking there and exploring it’s labyrinths and I loved that no walk was as the one before. Each time I was changed a route and I always came across something interesting and beautiful, like suddenly noticing a beautiful ornament on the wall or a door made to look like a giant backgammon set, or meeting an old lady that was so loving and kind that she invited me, a stranger, to her house for a tea.

When the winter kicked in, I thought to myself, so how am I going to do this now? I have to admit that getting out of the house wasn’t easy on some of the days. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover the willpower and determination in me that I haven’t noticed before. When I set a goal and I have a plan, I will go out and do it no matter what. And I’m proud of myself for doing this. Another thing that I came to discover is that it’s only the first few minutes when you leave the comfort and warmth of the house or a car that are difficult. After 10-15 minutes body seems to adjust to the temperature outside and it’s not so cold anymore. And the more I build running / walking into a habit, the easier it became.

Isn’t the same process valid for everything else in life? When we have to do something new, something we haven’t done before, it seems scary. In our day-to-day life we often try to run away from problems and challenges. But what if we saw them not as threats, but as opportunities to become wiser and stronger? I saw somewhere that fear was described as False Evidence Appearing Real. So, what if all the things we fear in life, are nothing but illusions that our brain created to keep us ‘safe’ in the comfort zone? But is my purpose here on Earth to be safe? I’m not saying that constantly putting your life at risk is what we all should do, however I want to live and experience this life to the fullest and I don’t want to be captivated by my own fears and limits I put on myself. What about you? Are fears holding you down from doing something you really want in life? Would you like to join me on my endeavor to become fearless, bold, unapologetic me?

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Photograph Lost by Danny Woodward on 500px

Lost by Danny Woodward on 500px

There’s so much emotions behind this photo, it is so thought provoking and so mesmerizing! It left me speechless…

App of the day: 500px for Chrome

Get inspired. Lose yourself in an endless supply of breathtaking photos.

This is the phrase you see when you open 500px.com and the website does exactly what it promises – I easily lose track of time when browsing magnificent, beyond-beautiful photos on their website. Now that I found 500px at Chrome Web Store, this experience is even more enjoyable.

You can either browse the pictures without registration or you can create an account and upload your own photos and interact with the community. Registration through social media accounts is available and is very easy. Another great thing offered by 500px after the registration is 14 days trial of “Awesome” plan, which allows you to upload unlimited amount of photos and other great features.

App’s design is very clean and easy-to-use. There are ‘Popular’, ‘Editor’s choice’, ‘Upcoming’ and ‘Fresh’ feeds. Once you find the photographer you like, you can follow him/her and his/her works will appear in the ‘Flow’.

500px by One Happy Blog - 1

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You can search photos by typing keyword. See how many beautiful photos I found of peonies.

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Have a beautiful and blessed Saturday!

xx,

Natella

Thought of the day: Miracles are just around the corner

Some time ago I saw a beautiful blooming purple tree while driving  in the neighborhood. I really wanted to take a picture for use in one of my future drawings and few days ago we decided to walk there with my Dad. How much was I surprised to find not just one, but so many other purple blooming trees and flowers and even a waterfall built-in the wall of the park.

We took so many beautiful pictures, that now there is enough material for many more paintings and just had a lot of fun.

Spring is so beautiful and I’m living such a happy life and it all starts with gratitude. When you look on the bright side, when you find things to appreciate and be grateful for (and there are plenty in any situation!) and the more you love God and the Universe, the more it loves you back and shows you miracles all around you, that you didn’t see before! 🙂

Have a fantastic awesome super happy day! I know I’m having one!

Love and light,

Natella

One of "Flame Towers"
One of “Flame Towers”

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Just 1 day left to spring! To sunshine, fresh flowers, blooming trees and love in the air!

Tulips

 

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As we slowly approach spring season, black and white scheme of the winter wardrobe will also shift to more colorful and bright shades. I love pastels and spring is that perfect season to wear it. To me it is a transition period between black’n white winter and colorful summer. Everything is tender, gentle and subtle. And fashion designers from all over the world seem to share my love on pastel spring, as I constantly see pastels in all spring summer runway collections.

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Details:
The Swedish label Acne impresses with clean looks!This oversize knit sweater in longer cut with wide ribbed cuffs and deep shoulder seams is the classic piece in the elegant clean look.Fashionably cool with leather skinny and ankle boots or casual with leggings and sneakers – the sweater always is a real highlight!

  • 100% cotton
  • true to size
  • hand wash
  • extra long cut
  • oversized cut
  • side Zipper
  • heavy knit

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Related posts:

Six Spring Trend Essentials

Fashion Check:

Happy Shopping!

Love,

Natella

Bird’s-eye view Azerbaijan

Few days ago I stumbled upon gorgeous bird’s-eye view photos of my homeland, Azerbaijan. It’s truly amazing how familiar places can look so different when you change the angle and your perspective!

Icheri Sheher, Baku
Icheri Sheher, Baku

Images are courtesy of Gapp.az and Bakcell.

Flame Towers, Baku
Flame Towers, Baku

I go to sleep and then I wake up in a strange and beautiful dream. I open my eyes and I see that the sun has lit my room and painted all things in bright colors. There’s so much light everywhere around me! It must be a warm and sunny day. I get up and I walk to the living room. It’s is also illuminated by the light. I open the door and now I’m standing on the porch smelling the flowers and filling the lungs with fresh air.

To this day I never felt this way before! I feel life running through my veins! I see myself as strong and gentle being, passionate and calm at the same time. I’m going with the flow of the Universe, trusting the Divine. I feel lightweight. In fact, I feel so light that I can easily take off the ground and touch the sky, fill the sky and be one with it. In a flash of light, I remember my childhood dreams. I was sitting on the balcony watching birds. How they slowly flap their wings to gain height and then glide so gracefully, so effortlessly, like they are one with the sky.

Is it possible? Can my childhood dream come true? Cautiously I climb on the balcony railing and I feel wings on my back. I spread the wings and I push off the ground. Flying seems so natural! As if I was meant to! As if I always knew how to fly, just haven’t used this gift for a while! Gliding and rising above the trees and roads I watch people, cars and buildings become smaller and smaller.

I head towards the sea. Then I fly above the city. Everything seems so different from above! Then I head even further toward the mountain tops. I watch the rivers and roads framing the beautiful green land. Such a masterpiece! Creator is the greatest artist! Earth as a canvas, I imagine him mixing  colors, letting them flow one onto another, creating steady strokes, carrying over passion and love upon the painting and smiling at the beauty of his creations.

Like an eagle, I swirl effortlessly, one with the wind, I pause only to notice how all the problems, concerns, everything that seemed so large and important is nothing more than a dot in the vast Universe. I remember that infinite happiness I felt when I was a child. I remember my true self, my infinite nature and limitless capabilities. I will wake up from this dream, but I will always remember.

National Flag Square, Baku
National Flag Square, Baku
Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku
Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku
International Mugam Center, Baku
International Mugam Center, Baku
Fountain Square, Baku
Fountain Square, Baku
National Flag Square, Baku
National Flag Square, Baku
Georgian church
Georgian church
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Mingachevir reservoir
Mingachevir reservoir
Ismailli
Ismailli
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Zaqatala
Zaqatala
Nabran
Nabran
Mingachevir reservoir
Mingachevir reservoir
Neftchala lake
Neftchala lake

For more beautiful pictures, please visit azerbaijan.gapp.az

“The rule of thirds” is one of the basic rules of composition. The main object of your photo shoot will look more interesting if it is not centered, but closer to one of the corners. iPhone camera has the built-in grid feature which will make your life easier. Prior to ios 7 you could turn on the grid right in the Camera app. Now in ios 7 the grid is hidden in the General Settings.

In Settings select Photos & Camera
In Settings select Photos & Camera

Slide the finger to turn the Grid on

Slide the finger to turn the Grid on
How to turn on the grid - 3
Now you can see the grid lines when you take a photo!

If you want to learn more about ‘the rule of thirds’, visit iMore’s How to make your iPhone photography more striking with the “rule of thirds” or look at Business Insider’s Rule of Thirds and lots of other tips on how to make iPhone photography better.

Natella’s view: “The rule of thirds’ was very useful. I went out and tried to compose my pictures using the rule and was pleased with the result most of the times. But, as they say, rules are meant to be broken, and some objects looked better when centered like the big flowerpot in one of my pictures below. “

So. here are the pictures using and breaking ‘the rule of thirds’. All of them are black and white, because it suited my mood, but I will add more color photos later. All photos have been done in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Rule of thirds - 3Rule of thirds - 2Rule of thirds - 1Rule of thirds - 6Rule of thirds - 4Rule of thirds - 5

Hope you found the info useful and if you decide to try using this rule in your photos, I would love to see them.

 

iPhoneography 101

About two years ago an iPhone (my first Apple product) entered my life and ever since I’ve been thankful to Steve Jobs and the Apple company for changing my life in so many ways. This may sound exaggerated, but it truly made my life so much easier and simpler and every interaction with this piece of technology is a wonderful experience.  One of the features I use and admire the most is the iPhone camera. It takes such great pictures that it eliminated for me the need to carry around the usual camera. Mine wasn’t professional and very heavy, but it still took a lot of space in my bag. Now iPhone does it all for me. The indoor pictures aren’t that great, but the ones done outdoors and with a good light are truly colorful and amazing.

I love taking pictures and as an artist I must take great pictures. You don’t always get an opportunity to paint outdoors, so by capturing a great moment on a camera, I can later use it as a reference for my drawings and paintings. Additionally, the chance of using the same reference picture with another artist is close to zero.

I like my photography skills, but there’s always a room for improvement. I made my research on the subject and found some great tips and advice. I’ve looked specifically at iPhone photography tips, but most of these advice can apply to taking pictures with any kind of camera. In this post, I will make a list and continue to add separate posts on each advice together with my own pictures using that advice. Let’s start!

1. Use “rule of thirds” for your images – Set your camera settings to show the grid or imagine your screen split into 3×3 squares and try to place the object of your shot closer to the intersection of these lines rather than in the center of the picture. Not always, but most of the times this makes the picture compositionally more interesting. The same rule also applies in drawing and painting, by the way.

If you never used you iPhone camera, this post will help you to get started. It was written before ios 7 been introduced, but you still can get the idea. http://www.imore.com/iphone-photography-starters-guide

Hope you have a great time taking pictures and would love if you share your tips and views on the subject!