On Umbrellas and ‘Stuck Song Syndrome’

Day 39 - 365 Days - 8th Feb 08 : UMBRELLA

WARNING: Totally off-tangent rambling. I'm just way too exhausted right now to write a longer, more riveting post. Right. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, I just thought I'd share with you this self-portrait which I did a few days ago as part of a photography challenge (via a group called Utata) and as my day's submission for the 365 Days project.

For the challenge, the idea was to create an image based on 3 elements:

1) There must be an umbrella in the shot.
2) The photo must be indoors.
3) The final image must be in cinematic ratio.

The picture you see here became one of my submissions. Turned out that it made it to Flickr Explore's Front Page. At one stage, it had the rank of #12 in the "interestingness" archives.

When I was submitting and thinking of a title, I just thought of the obvious - "Umbrella". Then, Rihanna's song popped in to my head -

Ever since, the lyrics of the song just got stuck in my head (don't you hate it when that happens?!) -

"When the sun shines
Weรขโ‚ฌโ„ขll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be your friend
Took an oath
I'mma stick it out 'till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we still have each other
You can stand under my Umbrella
You can stand under my Umbrella..."
(Lyrics from Rihanna, "Umbrella")

Anyway, a few days later, I found out that Mandy Moore also did a cover of the song. So, this didn't help either -

And, of course, there's this version by Australian Idol, Natalie Gauci (which I also enjoyed when I first heard it) -

Hmmm... what do you think? Which one do you like better? Or, don't you like the song at all?

In any case, now that I've blogged about this, I'm hoping that I'll finally get this song out of my system. But, if you have any other tips on how to cure the 'Stuck Song Syndrome' - I'll be more than happy to read all about them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, and yeah, I've received some questions about how I created the "Umbrella" image. If you're interested to read more about some background info on the photograph, please read on...

How I created the "Umbrella" image:

1) Used Nikon D40x, with 18-55mm kit lens.
2) Used a Nikon remote control.
3) Considered the 'umbrella' element first and foremost for the conceptualisation.
4) Took photos near a north-facing window, with natural lighting.
5) Initial post processing was created using iPhoto. Just basic adjustments were done (including the estimated cinematic ratio via cropping).
6) Changed part of the background (made it darker) via Photoshop Elements.
7) Added blizzard layer/texture for the 'rain effect' via Elements.
8) Added some lighting via Elements.

Done. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Set-up, photo shoot and editing altogether took approximately 1 hour. Oh, and...


  • I wasn't really naked with this shot. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • That's not a grown-up's umbrella. It's actually a kids' one. Borrowed it from my son. ๐Ÿ™‚


  • I'm aware that this is not 'technically perfect' as a photograph. But, I am happy with how it turned out. And, I'm glad that some people enjoyed viewing it too.

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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