Thursday, November 17, 2011

Edit Me Challenge ~ 26

It's that time of the week again, time for the Edit Me Challenge. I had a lot of fun editing last week's photo, so I am back again. This week's photo looked really challenging, but I used some textures from French Kiss, Kim Klassen and RH West and was pleased with the results.

This week's photo was contributed by guest judge Alita Jewel from Alita Jewel's Treasures at

Here is my edit of Alita's photo:

I edited this photo in PS Elements9 with quite a few textures. First I started off by taking away a few of the smaller branches with the spot healer. Then I proceeded to add layers to the photo. Here is a list of the textures and blend modes in the order I used them:
French Kiss- Dandelion Fuzz, soft light @ 100%
French Kiss- Summer Sky, soft light @ 100%
Kim Klassen- Love In Layers, soft light @ 100%
French Kiss- Dandelion Fuzz, multiply @ 27%
RH West- Duck Egg Lines, soft light @ 46%
French Kiss- Dirt, soft light @ 17%
contrast- 15
Then I flattened the layers and that was that.

I really enjoyed this edit. It was amazing to watch the layers brighten up this wonderful winter scene. It made me long for winter at home. Eleven years ago I moved to California from Michigan, and I dearly miss the snow in the winter, but not so much the cold though. I envy people who get to photograph the winter snow.  Guess this is the closest I will get to that for some time : ) Thanks for the photo Alita!

Our tiny BIG Life

Monday, November 14, 2011

Texture Tuesday ~ Putting Phoebe to the Test

That is our challenge this week at Texture Tuesday, put the texture Phoebe to the test. I started playing around with the texture and realized that it didn't really add a lot of texture to my photos, but lightened and brightened them up. I was having a hard time finding photos that took the texture with good results. After running across a spiderweb in someone elses blog, I remembered that I had some spiderweb photos that I wanted to try some textures on, so I gave one of them a try, and I liked the results.

This photo has the Phoebe texture along with Mayzee and Serendipity

I was pleased with the results, but I thought perhaps this photo was a bit too creepy for a texture named after a sweet little girl. So I set out to find some other photos that could use some brightening up. I looked through my file and found two photos that I had previously edited from last year. They were from Bryce Canyon after a newly fallen show. The texture really lightened and brightened them up.

Yet I still wasn't feeling satisfied with the subject I was using for the Phoebe texture. I thought perhaps a doll would be more appropriate, but I don't really have any dolls to photograph. Then I remembered a lone matryoshka doll I found at a yard sale while looking for miniature vases and jars. I decided she would do just fine, except that it was getting dark out and I was worried about the lighting. Then I realized I didn't have to worry because the Phoebe texture would lighten and brighten the photo up, and it did. I liked the texture so much, I decided to add two more of my favorite Kim Klassen textures to it, Mayzee and Serendipity. I couldn't decide which I liked best, so I decided to post each along with a tryptich to show the original and how much the textures improved the photo.

 This one only has the Phoebe texture on it.

This one has the textures: Phoebe, Mayzee, and Serendipity

Well, I put the Phoebe texture to the test and learned a bit about how to use it. I had great fun and will check in to see what others have done with it : )

One quick note before I go. Perhaps it will give you a chuckle as it did me. Yesterday I joined a new texture group on Flickr. In one of the posts, the administrator of the group shared a comment she received on one of her textured photos. It read:
"Why'd you have to make it look all old Mummy? It's NOT old; it's fake old. Everyone knows it's not old, so what's the point in making it look old? It's just dumb."

The admin. took it with a grain of salt and found it amusing. How sad that person can't appreciate the beauty of textures.

Happy Texture Tuesday!
(I am still having problems with my html codes, so instead of a button I am posting a link :)


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Edit Me ~ Week 25

In my quest to become better at editing, I have joined the Edit Me Challenge at . Each week a picture is posted by a guest judge or the creator of the challenge site, to be downloaded and edited as you wish. I figure the only way I will get better at editing is to edit as much as possible, and be exposed to the techniques of other's edits. So here is the Edit Me Challenge for Week 25:

 This is a photo contributed by this week's guest judge, Misty, from Through A Photographer's Eye at:

Here is my edit of Misty's photo:

To start the edit, I opened the photo up in Picnik. I know Picnik is thought of as a rinky-dink photo editing program, but I love the Cloning tool and the Curves tool. So I used Curves to lighten up the photo, and then used a Curves preset, Polachrome Yellowed, to warm it up. After that, I used the amazing Cloning tool to remove the bar in the upper right corner and the miscellaneous distractions in the background. I wanted to draw all the attention to the tractor as it is the star of the photo : ) I didn't want to get rid of the toy in the foreground as I felt it told a story. I envisioned a small boy dropping his toy to the ground to climb on the tractor and pretend to be a real farmer. Therefore, I lifted the toy to the bale of hay for safe keeping.

Once I was done in Picnik, I opened the saved photo in Elements9.  I wanted to see what some textures could add to the photo. They warmed it up quite a bit and brought out the details of the engine parts. To do that, I used Kim Klassen's textures: Shades of November @ 100% soft light, Mayzee @ 60% soft light, and Serendipity @ 22% softlight.  Then I darkened the photo a bit with a levels adjustment to add a bit of contrast. Finally, I called it quits. I would like to say it was quick and easy, but the cloning took a bit of time, and I was doing a lot of trial and error along the way : )

I really enjoyed working on this photo once I got started. It reminded me of my roots in the farm country out east. Here is a progression of the photo from start to finish in the two editing programs.

Edit: Wow! I am proud to report that I was the overall winner!

Our tiny BIG Life

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Miracle of Textures

As I've said before, I am new to textures, yet I am learning more about using textures everytime I experiment with them. After receiving Kim's Shades of November texture last week, I went to a folder of photos from Mt Diablo, taken last January-March. I wanted to see if I could add a bit of life to some of the photos, and ended up saving many that I had given up hope on. These were photos that I tried to improve in my Lightroom editing program, but gave up on. I was pleasantly surprise with the results I achieved from Shades of Autumn combined with a few more of Kim Klassen's textures.  Once I started experimenting with Shades of Autumn, I couldn't stop! Here are the photos I prepared for Texture Tuesday over at:

Edit: Dang, I forgot that the theme was 2, so I am adjusting my post and adding a pre-edit photo of each so I will be in line with the theme. I am posting 2 of each photo to show the dramatic results : )

I liked this photo because of the scraggly tree and the long-reaching shadows in the background, but the lighting just wasn't working. I thought I would have to scrap it, but I really like the effect Kim's textures gave it.

I really like the texture in the sky. I thought I'd achieved the effect I wanted before adding the final texture, but decided to give one more texture a go, and then realized I liked the textured sky more.
Here are the transitions that took place with this photo:

As with the above photo, the lighting on these next photos wasn't working out, well until I tried Kim's textures on them. I like the mood they gave the photos.

I like the eerie background that was brought out in this photo. I really had given up on editing it, but now am satisfied with the textured effect.


Although the textures are subtle on this photo, it really added the spring vibe to the photo that I had hoped to capture, but didn't.

Here is one of my favorite trees to capture. I've dubbed it "The Kissing Tree."  When I first discovered it in January, the branches were bare, except for the mound of mistletoe at the top. Of course I immediately thought of couples frolicking up the hill to sneak a kiss under the tree : ) I had edited a copy of this photo in a sepia tone, but had given up on it in color. The lighting was too dark and the colors were really off. Kim's textures brightened it up, to my delight!


Here is the same tree, just a couple of months later, March I believe. It was a rainy, foggy day when I took it. I really like the effect the textures gave it.


And Lastly, a tin shed I always try to capture when I go up the mountain, but am never satisfied with the results. I like the way it turned out with Kim's textures though!


As you can see, I got carried away playing with the Shades of Autumn texture. I was having such wonderful results, I couldn't stop! I was long overdue for some editing fun, and that texture did the trick! Thank you so much Kim!

Now it is time to call it quits so I can post and hurry over to see the wonderful photos you all have posted at:

(Drat! My html codes aren't working today)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Texture Tuesday, 'and then some'

Well, I missed last Texture Tuesday because my computer gave out on me. It was getting old and didn't have enough power to handle all that I expected it to. So now I am enjoying my new computer's speed and predictability. Yay! And double Yay! because Staples was able to retrieve everything off my old computer that i needed, mainly photos :)

I am ready to forge ahead with this week's Texture Tuesday
'and then some' eDition. All that's required in this week's challenge is to use the texture 'and then some' on one of our photos.

This weekend I paid a visit to one of my favorite places to photograph, Mountain View Cemetery. I wanted to see if the trees were showing more autumn colors, as it is one of the few places I can go to find leaves that change in autumn. I was sidetracked by some urns of flowers hanging on the wall of the tombs. I thought perhaps they would be good candidates for some texture.

Eventually I plan to open a tab devoted to Mountain View Cemetery. I have been photographing the place for 7 years, and I never get tired of it. It is really quite beautiful. The architect that designed the cemetery also designed Central Park in New York. It has amazing views of the bay and San Francisco, and many of the founders of the area are buried there.

I did get one photo of the autumn leaves I was happy with, but they have barely started to change. If I remember correctly, they will continue to change throughout winter, and sometimes they are still around in the spring.

All three photos were textured with Kim Klassen's 'and then some' along with:
1st photo: Yesteryear and Portrait
2nd photo: Portrait and Serendipity
3rd photo: The ladder and Serendipity

O.K. that is all for this week. Happy Texture Tuesday!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

No Tricks, Just A Treat

This is one of my foggy Mt Diablo photos with a Nelly Nero action, Milk. If you look in the upper left corner, you will notice the branches form a cat-eyed mask, so I thought it would go well with the Halloween theme.

Now for the Treat : ) Here is a fun recipe I want to share for Halloween. For those of you that are looking for a healthy alternative to the sticky-sweet caramel popcorn that is associated with autumn, I have a salty-sweet recipe for kettle corn. You can make this kettle corn on your kitchen stove, you don't need a big copper cauldron like the ones they use at the carnivals. If you know how to make regular popcorn on your kitchen stove, you already know how to make it, I just need to give you the ingredients and a few tips. If you've never made popcorn on your kitchen stove, only in the microwave, well you won't believe how easy it is! Now lets get down to business.

you just need 4 ingredients and a 2 qt sauce pan with a properly fitted lid

2 tsp of canola oil (or cooking oil of your choice)
1/2 tsp of fine sea salt (or table salt if it is all you have)
1 Tbl of white sugar (it can be heaping a little bit)
1/2 cup of popcorn

Put the 2 tsp of canola oil in the 2 qt sauce pan, along with 2 kernels of corn. Place the sauce pan over a medium-low flame or burner. Occasionally shake the pan while allowing the saucepan to heat up, until the 2 kernels of corn pop. Now add the 1/2 cup of popcorn. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the popcorn and swirl around to mix (see photo)

Put the lid on the pan and continuously shake back-and-forth until popcorn is finished popping. You will know it is finished popping when the popping stops or the lid rises (see photo).

The popcorn will feel a little sticky, but go ahead and pour the popcorn into an over-sized bowl and sprinkle it with the salt. Now gently toss the popcorn in the bowl, kinda like the chefs do pancakes. The tossing motion will distribute the salt and dry the stickiness of the popcorn. Do not skip the salt as the popcorn will have a very, very bland flavor (I know because I tried it :) If all goes well, you should have a crunchy, salty-sweet treat!

This is the first time I've posted a recipe, so if you have any problems with the directions, don't hesitate to let me know and I will get back asap with a solution. I am a "bit of this & a bit of that" type of cook, therefore I had to force myself to measure out the ingredients so I could post the recipe. It took a couple of tries to get it just right. I originally found this recipe in a magazine, I don't remember which one though, and I have changed it to accomodate my taste. I've tried adding more sugar and using a bigger pan, but I didn't get very good results. The popcorn was a bit soggy and the popped kernels were rather small. You could probably add a tad more sugar and get away with it, but I wouldn't add too much more. Oh, and for those of you watching your salt intake, all of the salt doesn't stick to the popcorn, you will find at least 1/4 in the bottom of the bowl when you are finished.

Happy Halloween to all you wonderful bloggers! I hope you try this recipe. If you play around with it and come up with some new ideas, please let me know so I can try them too. Happy Eating!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Texture Tuesday & Red

Well I have been working hard to come up with a picture for the Texture Tuesday theme, Red. It wasn't so hard finding something red, but it was hard finding something that was worthy of a Kim Klassen texture. I finally came up with one that would take a texture. It took a couple of days of playing around to get something I was satisfied with, and here it is, the shelf above my kitchen stove.

mouse over to to view before

click on this version to view larger : )

I used two of Kim's textures, Trust and Word. I dimmed the color with a gradient map adjustment to give it more of a subdued feel. The paint on my kitchen walls is a sunny yellow color, and I wasn't liking the way the textures looked on it. I like the look of these textures as they give a bit of a vintage look to the photo.

Here are some other "reds" that I was working on. They are abstract photos of autumn leaves. I was playing around with my 100mm lens to see how abstract I could get the photos. I still have some work to do to get more of what I wanted to accomplish. Here are a few of the ones that I kept.

On these photos I used Kim's Portrait texture. All I did was use the Multiply blend mode at around 50%.

Well that is all I have for the Red eDition...Happy Texture Tuesday everyone!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Gratitude & Texture Tuesday

Well this is another hard one! There are so many things to be grateful for, that it took some time to figure out what I would post about. Really, I can't just settle on one, so I will post about a few things I am grateful for right now.

While deciding on the picture theme for Texture Tuesday, I was looking through my unedited photos and realized just how grateful I am to live just ten minutes down the road from a grove of coastal redwoods. When I need my fix of nature, I wander through them. Here is a tree I pass on my way to the redwoods.

Whenever I pass this tree on a foggy morning, I have to stop and get some pictures of it. I used some of Kim's textures on it, Yesteryear, Serendipity, and The Ladder.

I tried some textures on the following photos, but they didn't take very well. I'm still new to textures, so it may be a while before I can get the results I want from them. Anyway, I love a foggy morning in the redwoods. I think these pictures tell the story why.

This is a picture of a redwood fairy ring. When a redwood tree dies or is cut down, the root system remains and starts sprouting trees that are genetically identical to the mother tree. The new growth grows in a ring. When the new growth is still young, it sprouts up like a gigantic wreath, with a bare middle. It is said that fairies come out in the moonlight to dance in them : )

Well, there is more I am thankful for. Mostly for coming across Kim Klassen's Cafe Blog while looking for a tutorial to make textures. I was so taken by her blog that I signed up for her free Skinny Mini eCourse. I didn't stop there, I had to take the Essentials course to learn more. Finally, it is through this discovery that I started my blog, and am able to be among a group of talented artistic women that I admire and enjoy sharing the love of photography. I just want to say thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who take the time to share their interests and talents. I truly enjoy your blogs and am grateful to be a part of the blogging community.

Friday, September 30, 2011

DIY Heart Bokeh

For those of you that are interested in playing around with some heart bokeh, here are some links and tips to get you started. There were two links I used. I liked this one for the visuals and instructions on how to make the cap that goes over the lens.

And this one for the information that tells you what size lenses you can use and how big to make the shaped hole.
lens sizes

I made my heart bokeh cap for my 50mm 1.8 lens and it works great! Some people complained in the comments of the above posts about only getting a heart shaped vignette. They either didn't make the hole the appropriate size, or they weren't focusing properly. I made other shaped caps, a maple leaf and a butterfly, but I found that they had a tendency to fracture the bokeh, and I didn't care for that (see photos below).

Materials I used for the heart shaped bokeh cap:
-Black matte scrapbook cardstock
-Exacto type cutting knife
-Regular cutting scissors
-Scotch tape
-Sharpened Pencil
-Ruler w/centimeter measurement
-Campbell's soup can (works great for measuring the diameter of the 50mm 1.8 bokeh cap)

Once you have gathered all your materials, follow the instructions on the links above, and you shouldn't have any problems. But I have one bit of advice, make sure you don't get the bits and scraps, you will be working around, in your camera.

Once you have your cap made, go out and create some wonderful bokeh. A sunny day is best, but anything that creates wonderful bokeh will do. Here are some examples of my favorite shaped bokeh photos...

Here are a few of the only butterfly bokeh photos I liked enough to show.

This was a fun abstract that i cropped out of a photo.

These are a couple maple leaf bokeh photos. They didn't turn out so great, but I posted them because they were taken for a couple of Canadian Flickr friends on Canada Day. I just wanted them to know I was thinking of them : )

Well, that about does it for the shaped bokeh photos. Thank goodness I misplaced my 50mm bokeh file, or else you would be suffering through more of them ;) If you give the shaped bokeh a try and have some questions, just post a comment and I will get back with you as soon as I can.