Painterly Kiss



If you’ve been following my blog, then you probably already know that I am a big fan of adding a little something extra to my photographs.  Lately I’ve really been enjoying using the Topaz plugin Impressions on my flowers.   But!  I don’t want my photography and/or artistic skills ~ the art of composition, color,  and most of all my vision ~ to get lost in all those special effects.  Finding a balance has become an essential part of my creative process.  Take the peony above. Can it stand on it’s own, without the painterly effect?  You bet! minus-the-paint-Peony  So why add a painterly effect at all?  Apart from personal preference (which I tend to think is really at the root of all art, regardless the medium),  I happen to really like the way textures or other effects give my images a bit of a boost,  whether it accentuates a mood or adds a bit more dimension to the overall composition.  This flower in it’s natural state has a flowy painterly look, even the fabric I used has some painterly-like texture to it.  I just wanted to enhance those subtle details a bit more.

My process to find the perfect balance ~ I usually drop the opacity of the painterly effect (or whatever type of effect I’m using) to less than 50%, just enough… but not too much to overshadow the original image.  And even that’s not really a rule; there may be tweaking with blend modes, adding more layers, some masking…   and sometimes I stumble across something I hadn’t even thought of which is why I now have a third version in the works using some distressed textures (my first special effects love).  One peony… three different ways… so far.

Whatever it takes, it’s finding that balance that gives my images just what I’m looking for… that painterly kiss.

This image really captured my heart...

This image really captured my heart.


Until next time,

My Secret Garden – Part I

Blog, Photography

Nope you haven’t missed any posts, I’ve just been too busy growing my photo library… a lot!  Since this is a photo blog and it is a beautiful time of year… I guess it is not that surprising that I’ve been spending a lot more time behind the camera lately.


Our lovely guide (aka sister-in-law) Eva and my daughter. I read somewhere recently that a blurry object in the foreground is a no-no. I actually like the slightly blurred column here… I also like to veer off the beaten path from time to time.

Back to my garden(s)…  Actually, it’s not really much of a secret as they are readily available for all to see.  One sits in front of my house, and the other is a beautiful setting and formal gardens of Longwood.     Part I:  My visit to Longwood with my daughter and sister-in-law.  I traveled light (i.e. minimal camera equipment) because sometimes it is just really nice to be present with those you are with.

And what's an outing without a self?

And what’s an outing without a selfie?









But that’s not to say, I didn’t keep an eye out for a photo-op when it presented itself…


Ok, let me just say I am pretty gosh-darn proud of this image.  First, I resisted adding any effects… although tempted… a lot.   This is straight out of the camera, taken in a wide open field, hand-held-no tripod.  Okay, so maybe it’s 95%… the other 5% is the post I did in Topaz Clarity to bring back some of the vibrance lost from it being such a bright yet humid & hazy day, but that’s it.  The flower, the backdrop, and those colors are 100% courtesy of mother nature.



Now this one, I could not resist. Before I even took the picture, I thought it looked like a painting.


A solitary peony with some painterly touches


I like to think of the sky has a natural light pad. Exposing for the flower, I naturally blew out the sky and created this lovely white backdrop.

A natural light pad! Exposing for the electric  orange of this flower (no idea what kind it is), I naturally blew out the sky and created a lovely white backdrop.


Moving indoors, a Longwood visit isn’t complete without perusing through the orchid house.  Opposite of the orange flower, exposing for the lovely white cluster of orchid blooms (again, I can never remember the names) provided a dramatic almost black background.  

X marks the spot

Don’t forget to look up!  A slight variation on the black & white (or is it white and black) theme. This is the top of the lovely gazebo you saw part of earlier.  Again, exposing for the black ironwork created this natural black and white image.


I’ve been to Longwood a few times over the years, but this is the first visit where the lily pond actually had lilies! No painterly effects; surprised… me too.  Another 95/5.  I am definitely heading back next month with my long lens when the pond is in full bloom!

And that was just a handful of some of the beautiful blooms  at Longwood.  I can’t wait to go back.  Until then, I’ll be spending a little more time on my photos from my own garden… the roses are putting on such a show and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Until next time,

The Case of the Peony Buds

Blog, Photography

5a438f8a59219736de84dcbd744c5452by Tom Baril(?), Peony Buds, 1997

Part I:

You never know where the trail might lead . . .   During a coffee break this morning, I popped on Pinterest and came across the image above.

But let me back up just a sec when it comes to posting/reposting images (on whatever social media site).  As a photographer, I do immensely enjoy sharing my images, but as that same photographer I would want … expect… credit for my image.  A while back, a fellow blogger (darn, I really wish I could remember the blogger who enlightened me on this – I’ll give a shout out if and when I do) posted about how so many images are just randomly posted on sites like Pinterest with no links, no credit, no nada.  Since reading that post, I’ve made it a practice to check every click, validate the image, to be sure credit is given where credit is due . . . or I move on.

Back to the image.  I clicked on it, which lead me to a kinda of strange website (not the one I was expecting as noted on the Pinterest board)  It looked to me someone’s website that looks like they “collect” others photos, just a gallery of images, no text to speak of, no real explanation why they were there.  Anyway, at least there was a link to the photographer, Tom Baril, the title and date.  So off I went.  This led to a site called I Photo Central.  Now I was at an international site dedicated to photography collecting and collectors (quite different from the site that got me here), curating for galleries, etc.   And then I noticed something familiar.  The curators for this photographer lived in my little town, in the neighborhood right next door to mine.  Small world.   This post now has a couple purposes:  1) to note how easy a photograph can lose its association to the photographer and 2) a note to myself regarding this local resource (one just never knows how such a resource can come into play when preparing an upcoming photography club meeting).

Part II:

As I started to put this post together, collecting the links, etc, I could not find the above photo in the actual collection by Tom Baril at I Photo Central. But it did give me a chance to scroll through other images by him.  An interesting collection from warm flowery images, like the one above, to hard edge industrial images.  It still bugged me though that I was not actually finding a reference to the above image, so I turned to Google.  Huh? I’m starting to feel like Alice (in wonderland) things are getting curiouser and couriouser.  The flower photographs from the I Photo Central site were there on his website, but no “Peony Buds.”   I also saw it in Google images, maybe this would take me to it.  Nope, just another selling site but here next to the Peony image it said “Tom Baril: Hibiscus, 1997” that apparently was sold.   I am no botanist but I know this is not a photo of a hibiscus. Maybe that is what happened to this image, it was sold and it’s reference with it.  So in all honesty, I am still really not 100% sure who this lovely peony photograph belongs to (a simple watermark sure would have saved me a lot of time and effort.)   Mr. Baril if you should happen to read this post, I would love to credit you for this lovely image.  And if nothing else, I have left a trail to your photos.

And so the trail goes cold as did my  cup of coffee.

Til next time,