Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Free & Easy Edition

Now that Kim Klassen's Beyond Beyond class is winding down (I have 3 weeks left to do), I'm taking the time to participate in her Texture Tuesday showcases where people who use her beautiful textures show what they've done with them.   It's been a blessing and a joy to just PLAY, adding texture and text to an image.  Nothing fancy.  No frustrations with trying to wrestle something out of PSE or LightRoom.   These days, this is how I relax!

Here's the recipe for the image above :

Layer 1 : Background image, cropped.
Layer 2 : KK's Stamped Right 2 Texture ; Soft Light at 41% opacity
Layer 3 : KK's Paper Stained Light ; Multiply at 51%
Layer 4 : KK's Storm Texture ; Soft Light at 100%
Layer 5 : Text - CK Ali's Hand Font

Check out what everyone else posted for this week's TT.


Monday, May 26, 2014

2BD48 - Mango Light Play - Exposed to the Right

With a few tweaks to contrast and exposure brought it back to normal.

 As shot, intentionally over-exposed.

I've been trying to wrap my head around this concept all weekend.  Basically, the idea is to over-expose your shots because mid-tones and highlights hold more information via the sheer number of pixels than do the shadows. If you tend to take shadowy pictures, you're introducing more noise in the dark areas.   But I guess that also explains the difference between shooting raw and with jpgs.    RAW offers more data that you can tweak later.    So I took some pictures over exposed by 1 or 2 f-stops.  They looked pretty bad to me straight out of the camera.

Here's the screenshot from LightRoom.  The histogram on the right reflects the tweaks I made to pull back the exposure and even out the histogram.   All the red areas on the left side mark the clipping in the white (over-exposed) areas.

Hmmmh ...   I guess I'm not real impressed with this technique.  Maybe it would work better with another image / subject?  It seems like a lot of fuss an bother on the shooting side, just to make corrections in post production.  I'm just not used to, or comfortable shooting in manual mode.  By the time you have everything set up and ready to go, the shot is gone.  The bird has flown away ...  At this point, I much prefer auto mode.  I know that sounds like heresy to some people out there, but it does a pretty good job in most cases.

If you're wondering what this is a picture of, it's a mango in a pottery bowl with sunlight coming through our lace curtains to make some interesting light play.   I like how the shadows bent around the curves of the bowl and mango.    Just for fun, here are a few more Light Play pictures [For the record, I think these were all taken on manual  / auto mode] :

Beyond Layers

Sunday, May 25, 2014

2BD47 Beyond Beyond : Traveling Pics

This photo is from our recent trip to France.  Driving through the Auvergne Region (Volcania), we saw this fantastic rainbow amid the storm clouds.   With a just a few touch-ups to the contrast, this image developed.  Wow!  I love how the clouds show up so clearly and dramatically, with the French countryside drenched in sunlight from behind us.  It actually turned into a FULL rainbow, but I couldn't fit it into the picture frame, so I finally sat back and enjoyed the moment as long as it lasted.  Ahhhh!

Kim's object lesson this week was about using the VSCO iPhone app and transferring files between a camera, computer and various mobile devices with DropBox.  I don't have an iPhone yet (though I'm set to inherit my husband's later this summer after he upgrades), so I just practiced what I could between my MacBook and iPad and played with a few apps in between.


The original photo was a still-life taken at the French Country home of long-time family friends, Michelle and Jean-Paul DeBax in Toulouse, France.  The original is a lovely image in and of itself : Don't be surprised to see another version of it in the near future.  For this lesson, though, I pulled it into SnapSeed and used some of the Grunge filters/textures there. 

 The original photo was taken at Fairy Glen on The Isle of Skye in Scotland earlier in May.  Just us and the Sheep on a rainy day at Fairy Glen--one of Skye's best kept secrets!  I pulled this one into The Waterlogued app.  Of all the treatments, I liked Travelougue best for this one. 

The Photo Challenge to post for this lesson could be any recent photo ...  hence the Rainbow at the top of this post.  I had to share it somewhere!

Beyond Layers

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Texture Tuesday - Black and White Edition

 Ivy Leaf Version 1

After 2-1/2 years of classes with Kim Klassen, I finally feel like I know enough to participate in her regular Texture Tuesday challenges.  This week is black and white.   There are so many ways to do BW!   With this, I was trying to get an Ansel Adams-type effect where everything just kind of glows with a silver light. Luminosity!  I don't think I got there, but I do like what I came up with.

Ivy Leaf Version 2

 Yet another version : This one is the Holga-ish Filter in Picassa.  This was the first one I tried.  I liked it, but the vignette seemed a little heavy and dark.   So I played some more with it.   I wound up using several RadLab filters and a KK magic texture to lighten it up a bit.

Here's the original photo straight-out-of-my camera.  One of the "gutter pics" from a recent trip to France (Yeah--I know.  How mundane.  We were in France, for cripes sake, and I'm looking down at my feet!   That's my ordinary, I guess.   Becs at Catching Sundust reminded me that "Your ordinary is anything but ordinary."  What I SEE is anything but ordinary.  And so, I worked it up into something more ...

Although I love green, it is over-powering here.  It needed to be knocked back some ...  but how to do it?  There are various filters you can use for BW treatments.  Picassa has them; LightRoom has presets; PSE has treatments, too.  Even a simple desaturation treatment with various sliders and levels.

Here are the recipes :

Ivy Leaf Version 1
Background Image
RadLab : LightsOut + SuperFunHappy + Magical BW + Old Skool + EasyBurn2
Kim Klassen2 (magic texture) : Screen blend mode; 14% opacity

Ivy Leaf Version 2
Backgorund Image
Holga-ish FIlter (Picassa)
RadLab : EdgeBlur + Divine Light +SuperFunHappy
Kim Klassen2 (magic texture) : Soft Light 38%

Check out how other people met this week's Texture Tuesday Challenge.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

For the Love of Textures : Remember the Quiet Evenings

 Weathered Concrete Wall

It's no secret.  I LOVE textures.   If we go on a trip, I am more likely to take pictures of interesting textured tree trunks, weathered walls, or manhole covers, than of my family members.   My husband actually has been known to take pictures of me taking these abstract texture pictures.  I get a lot of laughs from the people I'm with for this peculiar behavior.

What is a digital texture, you ask?   Digital textures are basically abstract images.  They typically lack a distinct subject, but can be beautiful all on their own.    If I'm feeling stressed, or otherwise over-stimulated, I might take a virtual stroll through some texture galleries to calm my frazzled over-sensitized nerves.  Seriously--these abstracts can have a therapeutic and calming effect on me. 

Pretty colors.

Pretty textures.
Cracked Paint.

 Painted Metal

Weathered Concrete Wall

 Tent fabric, aged with algae growing on it.  Also starting to rain (hence, the white dots).




No message.  In that case, the lack of a subject is welcome.  It speaks to the wordless side of my brain.  Just visuals.   The textures can bring up different feelings, though, even without words.  Without a distinct subject.

The textures above are all from a recent trip I took.  These are all raw textures, meaning they are pretty much as I saw them in the real world with very little editing or additional layering.  

These textures can also be layered into other digital images with PhotoShop (or other software) to add interest and create a mood.  It's really pretty amazing what can be done with these collage techniques and the blend modes. 

Here are some of my favorite sources for digital textures :

Kim Klassen 
Kim also has a Texture Lovin List where she frequently gives away some of her textures, and offers weekly Texture Tuesday challenges to give you the chance to use her textures, and see what others do with them.  Kim also offers some free tutorials (as well as paid classes) to learn how to use textures in digital photographs. 

2 Lil Owls
Lots of beautiful and grungy textures.  Denise also offers some tutorials to learn how to use her textures.

Shadowhouse Creations
Jerry Jones offers hundreds of free textures on his blog, along with tutorials and examples about how to use them.   

Kerstin Frank on Flikr
Her stuff is absolutely gorgeous and wonderful!

Flickr Groups for Textures (There are many others.  These are some of the ones I like and use because the rules for posting a texture allow you to use them in your own work.)
Textures for Layers
Best Textures


Sign up for their RSS feed for weekly free textures.

StockVault's Free Texture Fridays
Got some of my most favorite grunge textures from StockVault!

Lost & Taken - more free textures with an emphasis on grunge

For a while, I was collecting textures (free and purchased), downloading them to my hard-drive. Until my hard-drive filled up.  Now I put them on a memory card (Yes, they get backed up.)    There are other options I've started to use :

Marking favorites in Flickr
Pinterest Boards

* Remember the Quiet Evenings (RTQE) used to be a show on Madison's WORT, listener-supported community radio.  In the 90s, I was a regular listener.  It was a wonderful way to wind down and relax and hear some new music.   That was all before the internet.

2nd Shawl Finished on the Triangle Loom

Shawl #2 on the Triangle Loom is complete!

Yarn Used : Red Hart Midnight Boutique  Color : Brocade
about 4 balls used (including the edge treatment)

Notes : This yarn had a little more stretch to it than the homespun from January.  I also had no problems with it breaking, and didn't loose my place as easily as with the Homespun.  Very little ripping out to fix skipped strings.  Although, when it was done and off the loom, I did notice a few skipped strings ...  Part of the charm now!

On the loom, it had almost a sheer look to it as the yarn was thinner.  That also meant it shrunk up a bit more than I expected when it came off the loom.    I added an extra row of crochet on the edges to compensate.

More pictures :

From the back.

Rolled collar.

I've had a few questions about the crocheted edge, so I thought I'd answer here : The crocheted edge treatment is very simple.  First I went around pulling one loop through the next to tighten up the edges.  Then, I continued to add yarn by setting a row (Row 1) of 2 single crochets + 2 chain stitches and repeated around the entire shawl.  The next row (Row 2) consisted of  2 double crochets + 2 chain stitches.  The third row was the same as Row 1.  The forth row was the same as Row 2.  The fifth row was the same as Row 1.   The chain stitches are what makes the lacey holes.

I did a similar treatment on my first shawl, but only went around with one set of rows 1, 2 and 3.  It was a chunkier yarn.  More than that was too much.

Draped collar.

Spring has been slow in coming this year, so it's still cool enough to wear it.
What are some of your favorite yarns to use for tri-loom weaving?