Saturday, April 27, 2013

Beyond Beyond - Day 2 : Patience and Aperture Priority

For this lesson, Kim talked about the virtues of shooting in AV-mode with special focus on aperture priority.    The photo above was shot with f/2.5.  Now I have a better idea of what that really means, and how I can call up this effect when I want it.  F/2.5 refers to a shallow depth-of-field with just a small part of the image in focus.  In this case, the foreground is in focus, while the background is dreamy and blurry.  Aperture priority is kind of like the iris in your eye. If I had bumped it up to f/8.0, all parts of the bowl (near and far) would be in focus. 

Here's the processing on today's image :
Layer 1) Background image
Layer 2) Copy background image ; Screen blend mode at 14% opacity
Layer 3) Kim Klassen's Aurora-bl Texture - Multiply 26%
Layer 4) Kim Klassen's Sweet Treat Texture - Multiply 22%
Layer 5) Text - My Underwood Fint - Normal 58%

As for the subject matter, it's been a long winter.  I see spring blossoms elsewhere in the US, but it seems that's still weeks away in Wisconsin.  So I am reminding myself to be patient - Spring will come.  All we have blooming at the moment is pussy willows.  This crystal bowl makes me think of apple and cherry blossoms--all in good time!

I also made myself an f-Stop Aperture Priority key so that I'd have examples of each setting on my little Canon S90.    These are "slices" from 2 journal quilts I made.  The stitching shows the clarity of each f-stop setting. 

Beyond Layers

Friday, April 19, 2013

Beyond Beyond - Day 1 : Variations on a Theme

I'm behind even though I'm right on time.  Everyone else seems to have started Beyond Beyond way back in January.  I decided to wait until I finished Beyond Layers (Section II) in April, or I'd feel too overwhelmed with double assignments.  And here I am--feeling overwhelmed anyway.  A few Beyond Layers friends recommended jumping in at Day 12, but it felt like I was missing things from the first 12 lessons--foundational things that would be used and built upon in later lessons.  So I went back to the beginning--a very good place to start.  I'll be plodding along at my turtle's pace for the remainder of the year.   Too late to even add my offering to the assignment page.  Sigh!

About this image :  Kim asked us to set up a scene and take 10 (or so pictures) from all angles.  Then we could make a collage or just work up the best one from the set.  A neighbor has a pussy willow tree currently in full bloom : A perfect subject for this time of year!  The lighting was late afternoon in front of a rainy and foggy window with southern exposure.

Photo Processing :
Layer 1 : Background Layer
Layer 2 : Copy Background Layer
Layer 3: Kim Klassen's Karla Texture ; Multiply blend mode at 45%
Layer 4 : Outside the Fray's Light Grunge 04 Texture ; Soft Light at 52%
Layer 5 : Text - Pristina Font - Overlay at 88%
Layer 6 : Color Fill frame - Soft Light at 46%

Beyond Layers

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Beyond Layers Retrospective

Now that the year-long class is finished, I decided to put some of my favorite photos from the BL journey into a collage (an easy task with Picasa).  This isn't everything, but it's a good share of the work I did for the class this past year.  Looking back, I can tell you where the triumphs and the frustrations were with PhotoShop Elements.    In the end, I will say it was worth the effort!  I've come a long way!  And I love textures even more than I did before ...

You can view the mid-year retrospective slideshow with music.  

Where do I go from here?  I signed up for Kim's Beyond Beyond (aka 2B) class, so my endeavors in digital photography will continue!  Join us, if you like ...

Beyond Layers

Beyond Layers Day 103 - Kim's Light Tulips

Kim gave us one last sample image for us to do with what we liked.  The same tulip as last time, but with a light background this time around.  I am partial to these colors : Pink and Green and Cream.  I even made a quilt a while back in this color scheme.  Sigh!

Here's my processing step-by-step :
Layer 1 : Kim's sample Background image cropped
Layer 2 : Copy Layer 1. Radlab : POS Lens, Rusty Cage, EZBurn2
Layer 3 : Kim Klassen's Texture Naturally - Soft Light 100% Opacity
Layer 4 : Text - Pristina Font ; Normal blend mode 47%

Here's Kim's original sample image.   Lovely in itself!

This is nearly the last day of class for Beyond Layers II.  I'm sad to see it ending--so I signed up for Beyond Beyond (aka 2B), but now I'm already 4 months behind and a bit overwhelmed at the thought of jumping in so late.  I'm also contemplating purchasing LightRoom4.  I've been using Google's free Picasa which has worked great for organizing photos and doing basic edits, even some fun effects comparable to Instagram.  However, I'm realizing that although Picasa can save psd files, it tends to flatten everything down to a jpg, which means I loose the layers from Photoshop Elements.  I'm almost ready to make the Light Room leap ...  It will be easier with Kim's lessons forcing me to see and do new things with it.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beyond Layers Day 102 : My Version of Kim's Tulips on Black

This week, Kim presented us with one of her beautiful pics to which we were to add our own mark. 
I played with it, and decided on this version.  Less is more.  Simple is best. 

Here's what I did :
Layer 1 : Background Layer
Layer 2 : Copy background Layer with Orton Filter
                Why?  I really wanted that tulip to be filled with light! It had to GLOW from the inside!
Layer 3 : Copy Layer 2 - RadLab Iron Mouse Stylet
Layer 4 : Text ; Dear Joe 4 Font with Transluscent Glass Layer Style

I tried some other things with brushes and frames and textures, but it all just detracted from the beauty and simplicity of the tulip.   One thing that would have worked was cropping it down--but I was having problems with the crop tool insisting on a particular ratio--even after re-setting the tool.  I wasn't able to zero in on the section I wanted to focus on.   So I settled on the version you see above.


Monday, April 08, 2013

Art Beyond the Lens : Working with Digital Textures Book Review

It's been a while since I had a book that I just "ate up."  Sarah Gardner's Art Beyond the Lens : Working with Digital Textures is such a book.   I asked my local public library to borrow a copy for me.  They informed me that they would purchase a copy, and I could be the first to check it out.  Yahoo!

I like it so much, I'm going to purchase my own copy (in print--no less), so I can take notes and continue to oooh and ahhh over her results.   This is a beautiful book with step-by-step instructions on why and how to add textures to images.  She also goes over how to take pictures, leaving space for the texture layers.   I've taken online classes and learned how to add textures to photos, but this puts it all down in a handy reference.  And a beautiful one at that!

Sarah Gardner also encourages the reader to find her own creative voice and style.  To experiment and find your own way of working with textures.    She has a Textures website to go along with the book--including textures for sale.  You can get a few of them by signing up for her newsletter.    You can also see more of her beautiful images ...  

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Beyond Layers Day 100 : Cuppa Challenge


For today's lesson, Kim challenged us to make or take a shot composed with a cup, a book and 1 other accessory of our choosing.   We also were to include her recommended textures, offered with this lesson.  I picked Jerry Apps' Barns of Wisconsin book, the red barn mug, and the Red Barn Quilt (Raspberry Cordial at my house).  I thought these 3 items made a nice trio.

Here's the simple photo processing :
Layer 1) Photo cropped and straightened.
Layer 2) Kim's Calamity Texture - Multiply blend mode at 100% opacity
Layer 3) Copy Layer 2 - Soft Light blend mode at 43%
Layer 4) Kim's Chaos Texture - Multiply blend mode at 40%
Layer 5) Color Boost and Vignette

Here's a slightly wider shot, showing more of the book cover.


Monday, April 01, 2013

Beyond Layers Day 95 / March Photo-Heart Connection : What does your heart say?

The words come from Max Erhmann's Desiderata.  They  have special meaning for me.  In my early 20s, I was walking home from work one day and saw these words in a shop window.  It really struck me--in a good way!   At the time, I was really struggling with low self-esteem, so the idea that I belonged here was revolutionary in my mind.  It felt like a message in a bottle from my soul during a low period in my life.  Something I badly needed to hear at the time, and something I was ready to hear, too.  I was beginning to open up to those messages and to heal.

I offer them here to anyone out there as low as I was then and who needs to hear these words :

You are a Child of the Universe
No less than the Trees and the Stars
You have a Right to be here.
And whether or not is it clear to you,
The Universe is unfolding as it should.
                       --Max Ehrmann, Desiterata

Here's the original photo from our trip to Alaska last summer.  The most interesting thing about this photo turned out to be the bookeh in the foreground, so I zoomed in on that and cropped it down. 

Here's the cropped bit to which I RadLab-bed it with  Prettyizer, Cool as a Cucumber, and Lights Out.
Then I added the Text, and overlayed everything with a Golden Texture #11 from Sirius_sdz's Texture Pack 14.   [Please check out this person's textures--Gorgeous!]

Although the BL Day 95 assignment came out a few weeks ago, I've been saving this post to pair up with the March Photo-Heart Connection.   See other Photo-Heart Connection Offerings for March.