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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It feels so good

Blog, Photography

… to be back.  Back to taking photographs, back to creating new works, and back, sitting right here on a Sunday morning, sharing it all with you!  Oh wait, it’s Monday, Labor Day.  Still, I can’t think of a better way to spend this extra day off 🙂

This summer’s road trip was just what was needed to break a persisting photographic slump…  From PA to GA and back again.  First stop, Blacksburg, VA, where, nestled in a little valley was the first of many barns we would see…  Fortunately, this one was in a place where I could actually hit the brakes, turn the car around, and go get the shot.

The main reason for this road trip, my nieces wedding in Ball Ground, GA, a little town not far from Atlanta…  Navigating Atlanta’s mega highways and traffic didn’t leave much time for picture taking; just getting to the venue was a feat, and in the nick of time.  We did return to Ball Ground the next morning, where I found some roadside treasures and we strolled a beautiful botanical garden; and I can’t wait to get to those photos!

Next Asheville, NC.  If you haven’t been, is a must! Artsy, fun, colorful and vibrant…  Oh, side note, did you know Asheville has the most breweries per capita in the U.S.?  Let’s just say you might want to pace yourself…

And did I mention colorful? My tour guide/husband did an amazing job at getting us off the beaten path and finding some of Asheville’s hidden treasures.

    

And it wouldn’t have been much of a road trip if we didn’t hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway… with all it’s winding roads and breathtaking views.

The final destination on this amazing road trip, Harrisonburg, VA and Harper’s Ferry, W. VA… historic sites and National Parks, natural wonders and some not so natural wonders.

     

 

Once home… and over these last few weeks, I haven’t stopped.  More photo destinations and so many ideas, I can’t keep them all straight.  And, oh, it feels so good!

2017 rewind…

Blog, Photography

Here it is… the last day of 2017.  Brutally cold outside but perfect for being here, blogging, staying nice and warm.

It was a quiet picture taking year.  Only a couple outings with the DSLR.  I have put it to use on a couple projects that are still in the works that I hope will finally come together in 2018.  Turns out, it was my camera phone that captured most of the year.  You know the saying… “The best camera is the one you have with you.”  So very true.

The most cooperative subjects, of course, are still the boys.  You should know them well by now, but if not it’s these two goofball goldens.

Charlie

Parker

Lots of sky and cloud shots.  I don’t know what it is about clouds, but it never gets boring… from high above or down below.

Of course, the occasional selfie. 

and lots and lots of family photos     and vacation photos.

Almost all of this year’s vacation photos were taken with my camera phone, a Samsung Note 5,  1) because I don’t want to risk taking my DSLR near sand or water, 2) it’s has a ginormous screen, and 3) some fun features… like the panorama.

And with apps like Snapseed (a fave), and some recently added ones like PicFx and Texture PhotoJus, I can now even combine photos

 …and put my love for textures spin on them  

And even though the overall quality is not that of the DLSR, with a little post-processing know-how and creativity,

it’s not hard to get them pretty darn close… even good enough to print. 

How about you… are you dedicated to your DLSR or mirrorless or happy with whatever you have with you?

What’s coming in 2018… I’m not really sure, but I know I’ll always been on the look out for that photo op regardless what gear I’m packing.

Happy Shooting and Happy New Year,

It is the most…

Blog, Photography

Ok, maybe it’s not the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s up there.  Ideally, I reserve that title for my summer beach vacation.  It is the most hectic, the most colorful, and the most tradition-filled.  Even though I have gone the route of the artificial tree for some years now, it is still a tradition to spend almost an entire afternoon fluffing the darn thing.  But isn’t that what traditions are all about, recreating those special moments year after year.

There’s also a new trend in town… seems lighting your house with a laser light projector is growing in popularity, at least in this neighborhood.  Even though I continue to opt for the more traditional candles in windows and strings of lights on bushes, I’m thinking those displays are what led me to create this more nontraditional Christmas scene…

Cosmic Christmas.

The original – Lanterns at Longwood Gardens

Speaking of hectic, that’s about all the time I have for this week’s post… time to get wrapping.  I’m hopeful the New Year will be a little less crazy and I’ll have more time to head out with the camera, work on a few unfinished projects, and spend more time right here.

A little more traditional…  A very special friend has kept this little doodle of mine since our high school days (that is quite sometime ago). That makes it very special and I thought what a perfect way to share the joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I don’t get back here before the holidays, I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Why stop at just one…

Blog

Things are changing… and I don’t mean the weather.   Seriously, November weather is taking it’s sweet time on getting to these parts of Pennsylvania…  At this rate, we’ll be still be raking & blowing leaves come Christmas.


An obvious change is right here on the blog with a new theme & title that (I think) better fits the exciting new direction my photography and photographic art has taken is taking!  While I have learned to use the tools to add a mood, a feeling, or set the scene.  The images were safe…  Being a rather private person by nature, I only shared bits and pieces in any given image.  Holding back, only letting the imagination… the story go so far.  Well, that’s about to change!  The images, Alight and Found, contain much more of a story than I have ever put out there before.  And now that I’ve opened that door a little bit, it’s time to push it all the way and really see what is on the other side.   And I’m doing just that.  I’ve started a series… a story with a beginning, middle and end present.  It’s been addictive really; I’m thinking about it all the time, photographing the parts, reworking them into the story, coming up with one idea after the other.

 “You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.”

~ C.S. Lewis

Sneak Peak

Heck, after 20+ years,  even the day job is changing.  All really, really good… and exciting.  Gee, how many changes is that now?