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. . .

 

 

 

All photos & content in this post and on this website are for viewing only.  Please do not try to copy, download, or reuse. Thank you.

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Snow Day… 2018

Blog, Photography

What would you do with a snow day?  Go back to bed?  Spend the day watching movies?  Organize your photo library?

Friday lights out… game on.

When I got up this a.m., just like a kid, the first thing I did was peak outside {heavy sigh}… it didn’t look so bad.  Maybe the weather folks got it wrong.  Then, I got the text The Office is Closed (woo-hoo!!!).  That lasted all but few seconds because of the realization that apparently the worst is yet to come and thought’s of Friday’s Nor’easter are still fresh.    So for now, I’m taking advantage of the fact that the power is on (and keeping fingers crossed that it stays that way), enjoying a hot cup of coffee, and hanging out here on the blog.

Many of my creative ideas so far this year have been weather-related.  Not surprising though, as it has been a rollercoaster weather-wise and with that it is also now the season of potholes!

Now that’s a pothole! Interstate State Park, at Taylors Falls, MN, “Home of the World’s Deepest Potholes.”

So, how am I going to spend this snow day?  I’ll take care of a few things that require power… like catching up on the laundry.  I’ll definitely being out playing in the snow with the “boys,” possibly keeping up with the shoveling, staying warm and enjoying some creative time working on some photos… and watching the snow fall.

If you’re in the path of this Nor’easter, stay safe & warm.

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The Best Strategy

Blog, Photography

Good Morning!  I’m thinking I should start calling this blog Saturday Mornings with Mer (the nickname my the in-law family bestowed upon me =)   Even then, maybe I should preference that to Monthly …  Flashback a few months: I had all these plans for growing this blog, well, at least I thought I did.  Present day:  I now know having no strategy, for me, is my best strategy! I can’t force more hours into a day to do all the things I want any more than I can force my creative process…

So here it is, Saturday morning, everyone still asleep, the sun just coming up (a lovely site after the week of rainy days we have had here), enjoying that first cup of coffee in my favorite mug (not the steel bubba I usually haul to work with me every day, although if you’re looking to keep your drink hot or cold for hours on end, it does the job…and then some!).  The best part, sitting here telling about it … sharing…for no real good reason other than I can.

Aren’t the colors of summer fantastic?!? Our garden is exploding with color … at least what the little bunnies haven’t eaten.  Welcome to my Garden!

This rose is the newest edition to our garden, a Grandiflora, Cherry Parfait.  Isn’t she a beaut!

cherry-parfait

Rain & Flowers = ♥♥♥

the-crossing Lily-Drops

The azaela blooms have come and gone, but always put on such an impressive show!

pink-explosion

Those bad, bad little bunnies.  I’m glad I got the shot when I did… nothing left but stems 😦 now.

take-another-look

That’s it for today, folks, back out to the garden, like I said, It’s a B-E-A-utiful Morning! and the hydrangeas are feeling a little blue 😉 that I’ve been neglecting them.   Then I’m off to a local hosta and lily nursery.  Can’t wait to see what colors I can add to my garden.

Til Next Time,

Maria  MER 😉