Somebody Else

Blog, Photography

What seems like so long ago, this blog was created.  It started as part of the learning process, then developed into a journal of where I’d been and where I hoped to go.  I’ve kept up with it on and off… but mostly off… and there seems to be a pattern.

As soon as this pesky little voice in my head starts whispering “you need to”… take more pictures, produce more images, exhibit more, sell more… a wall goes up that keeps me from doing the very thing I want to do.  Sometimes it is a wall called envy, sometimes lack of inspiration, and sometimes it’s a clock reminding me that time is ticking away… and everything stops.

Over this last year and a half, it has been mostly about time… the lack of time… finding time, or just bad timing that has kept me from creating… from here.  So a few months back, I made a promise to myself – the weekend, especially before the sun rises (not hard because my sleep cycle is still on weekday time), is my time!  My time to ponder, to create, to be here… and to leave the to-do-list to somebody else or for another time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That’s a Wrap

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The Christmas decorations are up and the shopping is done…   And now a little free time to catch up here on the blog; my favorite way to spend Sunday mornings.

Although I have not had the camera in my hand as much as I would like in 2018, there has been a pen and paper at the ready to sketch new composite ideas, and tutorials, such as on You Tube and Creative Live, to check out.  And it turns out reading, no, not necessarily photography related material,  but a novel or two; is a great way to work on visualization skills and get those creative ideas flowing.

As part of the never-ending learning process in this photographic journey, it’s finally sinking in that it’s not about the quantity of photos taken or the number of outings/shoots packed into a year…  There has been a steady decline over the last two years or so of photos that I’ve taken with my DSLR and this year even less.  But! There have been more “keepers.”  Because now it is about getting the shot I want – not just snapping away and hoping for the best. It’s being able to visualize the image and compose it in camera; whether it’s a piece to a composite, a landscape, or a portrait.   And this year, those were the images that got more attention than I could have ever imagined!

This too has brought a boost in confidence, especially with the composites, within the photo community and arts community alike.  And I celebrated this ever-developing photo-artistic direction by submitting images for the December issue of Living the Photo Artistic Life! It’s an amazing feeling to have two images among the many photo artists that have inspired me for so long.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Holiday Season and New Year filled with Love, Joy

and Inspiration whatever your passion!

 

 

 

Beginning to End

Blog, Pennsylvania Center for Photography, Photography

I’ve been promising for weeks. So here it is ~ how I create one of my compositions.

Oh Bear…  65 layers +/- in the making! One of my more involved works because all of the elements were taken by me, no stock images, and the birds don’t count because they are actually a brush.  Warning… this also made for a really lengthy post.  Ready, here it goes…

The Inspiration:  The movie Goodbye Christopher Robbin, a biographical about the author A.A. Milne and how Winnie-the-Pooh came to be, mixed with the 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton, and some deeply connected mementos from my past.

The Main Characters:

The blank canvas… If I just walk a few feet more up the hill, a sea of rooftops would appear.

An old camera case about 12″x13″

All about the hair.

All about the bear.

 

 

The rough stages ~ The girl, the bear, and the suitcase.

There were many, many edits in between layers… tweaking the masking, to correcting colors, to warping objects, to cloning in this and out that.  So let’s move on…

Setting the Scene:

Not surprising that I got some funny looks as I staged this scene.

 

 

The teapot, teacups and saucers were shot on a black background making them relatively easy to mask.

 

 

Adding the chair, the teapot, and lots of cups!  It’s getting there.

Believability:   It’s all in the details.  Light – Keeping in mind when I took the first background scene where the sun was and direction of light on my indoor shots was an important first step so when placing things into the scene, the light matched.  Shadows – Notice I kept the girl’s shadow from the original, but the bear and the suitcase don’t have one, adding them is a must.  Or notice how the back of the chair is partially in shadow, indicating the sun was in a slightly different direction than on the girl; thus, the shadow on the back of the chair needed to be removed while keeping the shadow behind the chair.  The really really small details – Adding blades of grass in front of some teacups to make them appear in the grass and not on it, cloning grass from the chair image to match the grass of the background image and vice versa, and one of the biggest challenges make the bear walk, not float.

Mood:  And now the real fun.

The textures – This is the element that I find really helps set the mood by using just one texture or many, enhancing just a portion or the entire image to tie it all together, as well as using the color(s) or desaturating them leaving only texture behind, as well as changing the opacity, the blending mode, or all the above to achieve a dark and moody or bright and cheery image.  The possibilities are endless!  The sky – What better way to enhance a mood or completely change the story than by adding just the right sky or clouds… Sunrise, sunset, rain, snow, or a even a rainbow… each one tells a very different story.  Real or fantasy? I like it to be somewhere in between.   A little distortion can go a long way.  Distorting a building, a horizon, or even a bear can add a bit of whimsy and is a nice balance between real and fantasy.  Oh, and a few birds, of course can’t hurt.

Once again, between each new layer there were many many edits with many different tools.  Tool tip:  A relatively new technique to me, but now my go-to for adjusting a single area, big or small, even as small as a single teacup, is the curves adjustment.  I use the Lasso tool to select, then feather the selection quite a bit, hit Control (on a PC) + M to bring up the curves window, pulling the curve to lighten or darken, whether to bring out a little more detail, deepen shadow, or change the color.  Quick and easy!

The result:  The final image as it went to the printer and on display at the Transformations Exhibition

Oh Bear. . .

 

 

 

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Everything you can imagine…

Blog, Pennsylvania Center for Photography, Photography

Everything you can imagine is real ~ Pablo Picasso.

Making something appear real, feel real… or just believable is, for me, the most difficult part when creating from the imagination.  As a viewer, allowing ourselves to believe in possibilities, despite the reality we live in, is a major part in making any story a success, whether in be artistically, photographically, in books, movies, etc.  For as long as I can remember and to this day, I’ve never doubted those possibilities, which may be why I’m such a fan of stories like Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, and more modern day stories such as Harry Potter.   And now here I am telling my own stories, unlocking my imagination photographically…  It feels kind of crazy, but how exhilarating!  There is something very captivating in creating from the imagination, it’s self-exploration and breaking boundaries both technically and artistically. I’m hooked!

Sometimes though, as the saying goes, it is easier said than done.  I attempted a series, a concept or a part of the story that resonates in each image.  A big project with the added goal of being ready to submit for the Transformations Exhibit.  I say attempted because only two of the three in the series were accepted.  I’m not surprised.  On this, the third image, I struggled. 

 

You know the old saying…  So close you can feel it.  Well, that’s where I left it and I knew it when I hit submit.  Even now, looking at it here, and asking… the tree? the owl? the yellow?  So I know if I’m asking those ?’s, probably so are you.  Disappointed?  No.  I’m actually excited about deconstructing it and putting it back together with all the right elements in all the right places, and telling the story just as I imagined.  Will it still be part of the series?  I’m not sure… Something tells me this one has a story all it’s own.

psst…  Check out my Facebook page for more information about the Transformations Exhibition or click HERE.   And STAY TUNED to my blog and/or my Facebook page, as I’ll being sending out another link when the Transformations online gallery is open!

 

The Eleventh Hour

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Good Sunday Morning!  It feels good to be spending this cool, sunny last day of September morning enjoying a cup of coffee and rambling on about this hobby of mine.

Let’s talk about exhibits?  Do you enter your photography in juried exhibits/competitions?  Why… or… why not?

An idea board and “rough drafts” to keep track of my first series

Over the course of this blog, I’ve entered a number of exhibits/competitions.  I’ve been rejected and have won first place.  But whatever the outcome, the weeks, days, or with just an hour or two to spare leading up to the deadline are always the same…  Working and reworking an image, looking for the tiniest of details that might have been missed to making sure the title is just right, and always, always, thinking I could have, should have done this or that differently.  Then I hit the send button… and wait.

The call for entries for the 2018 Transformations Exhibit last week was no different.  Transformations is an exhibit where photography and the imagination meet, an exhibit where “Photoshopped” is not a bad word, and an exhibit that is all about what I love to do.  So why do I get so worked up? Partly because it is a competition, all the work and effort that goes into an image, and most importantly that my vision just might not come through.  When it comes to judging there’s the technical, but then there is always the subjective… maybe the judge is partial to portraits than landscapes, more straight forward images than obscure ones, or maybe the judge has their own vision when putting the show together and your image(s) just might not fit.  Even knowing the logic and not so logical behind competitions, there are two emotions I seem to have no control over… the excitement of being chosen and the disappointment of not making the cut; which when combined equals that anxious feeling that sticks with me until the results are in.

Tapping into my darker side at Pennhurst Asylum.

So why do I do enter?  It’s simple really… because with each and every one, I learn and grow a little more as an artist and photographer.

Well, the results should be in sometime this coming week and regardless the outcome, I will be very glad to say goodbye to this gnawing anxious feeling… until the next exhibit/competition I enter.

With fingers crossed,