Photo Storify

Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

Month: December 2017

One Thing Led to Another

I went off by myself to Lauritzen Gardens on Friday. The staff creates a beautiful display each December with miniature trains, Christmas trees and Poinsettias. This year native little bluestem, goldenrod and Western meadowlark adorned the trees. The bird ornaments were cleverly made from paper plates. You would think that after nearly a five hundred shots, I would have captured everything. Unfortunately, it’s often not until I get home that I realize I should have tried a different perspective on a photo. There is always something new to learn in photography.

I would also like to be able to say that I purposefully created this page based on a preconceived design for the final product. I can’t. It was more a series of experiments that followed an initial idea to simply clip a photo to a mask and then extract the paper meadowlark for dimension.

Unfortunately, the page just wasn’t working in my mind. Rather than waste the extraction, I reduced the meadowlarks’ size and gave it a custom shadow. I placed some berries from MultiMedia Christmas Trees No. 2 just above his beak.

That first extraction led me back to Lightroom to find the tree decorated with paper meadowlarks in order to provide a context for the extraction. I clipped the tree to mask 5 in MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 6. I made some adjustments directly on the mask with blending brushes and attached a layer mask to eliminate a part of the mask.

Next, I extracted three more paper birds, gave them each a shadow and hung them on the tree.

To build the background, I stamped brushes 2 and 3 from WaterColor Trees No. 2. I clipped copies of the first photo I placed on this page and moved it around for variety in the trees’ color.

Below the trees, I placed transfer 3 from ArtPlay Palette Joyeux on normal blend mode and hid parts using a brush on a layer mask.

Above the stamped trees, I placed the layers of psd file 3 from MultiMedia Holiday No. 4.

I could have left the page asymmetrical in design but chose to recreate the horizontal design of artsy paper 3, I placed the layers of transfer 4 from Artsy Transfers Joyeux as well as pieces from transfers 1 and 3 on the left and below the focal tree.

Finally, I placed the title from Holiday WordART Mix No. 7 in the space on the upper left to balance the journaling. This page is busier than I normally like, but when I turned off parts, it didn’t look right to me.

I usually find it helpful to try turning off and on parts in the layers panel if a page isn’t working or looks cluttered. I did that several times during the process of creating this page. Rather than labor on this any more, I’m going to let it go and move on to working with some of the other photos that I captured on Friday at Lauritzen Gardens.

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Santa Got a Hug

As I shared Saturday afternoon, Kate, Corbin, Jeff and I set off to see Santa at Mulhall’s Nursery. It really was a lovely display, complete with a big chair for Santa and his guests, a Christmas tree and letters periodically dropping through a mail slot on the wall right into Santa’s burlap bag. Kate and Corbin had a thoughtful conversation with Santa before posing for some individual photos per Kate’s request.

The light for photos was perfect. I thought I had captured everything and began to lower my camera. I smiled as I watched Corbin switch from giving Santa a high five to giving him a hug instead. By that time, I realized I had missed those shots as I fumbled with my camera. However. next to me stood my son, to whom I had given my iPhone. His first words were, “you know this video is only a little over two minutes,” but two very precious minutes that told a sweet story in my mind.

All of the photos on the right side of this two page layout are from that iPhone video. Those on the left, I captured with my Fuji X-T2. You may be wondering how I got stills from a video. I found the easiest way to do that was to open the video full screen on my computer and make screen shots of the clips that I wanted to include on my layout. On my Mac, the keyboard command is command + shift + 4 and drag the crosshairs over what you want copied.

Note: I blended out a head or arm on some screenshots by adding inverted layer mask to a second screenshot that I clipping to the original.

To simplify my process, I placed template 17 on the left and template 18 on the right. Both are from Project Template Album No. 3. I deleted the numbers and rotated and adjusted the position of a couple of frames and masks. I also cut and pasted the threads to accommodate the changes I made on the template.

Next I clipped a focal photo to each fotoblendz mask as well as some stains and hipster plumes. I recolored some plumes and stains a blue to work with the color of my grandson’s shirt.

Note: there are copies of a screen shot labeled Floor Mask in the layers panel. I used those to mask out everything but a part of the floor I needed to be visible above the part I didn’t want.

I then clipped photos or video clips to the smaller framed masks. On one photo on the right, I added an extraction of my granddaughter above the frame and masked out parts of the white frame and shadow below.

To fill in the gutter for a page that will be part of a lay flat book, I placed a sketch of a photo of Kate dropping her letter for Santa into the mail slot. Because the photo only shows the top of her, I stamped brush 1 from Christmas Trees No. 2 in a green. I also added brushes from ArtsyPaint No. 6 and ArtsyPaint No. 8 below the frames in red. There are also two textures from PaperTextures No. 4 below the frames.

For dimension, I added a png version of MultiMedia Holiday No 2, file 2, as well as two more red buttons from the psd version, a pine from ArtPlay Palette Pine, a Santa from ArtPlay Palette Shabby Christmas and another from ArtPlay Palette Christmas Nostalgia.

On the upper left side, I dragged the layers of psd file 1 from MultiMedia Holiday No 2. I placed the title below the dimensional layers but above the stain, art stroke and splatter. I moved the greenery and resized the bow to accommodate placing my title inside the wreath.

Side by side, I really can’t tell any difference in the quality of the photos from the video and those with my camera. There is a little difference in the color balance, but I may be able to increase the saturation on my raw photos to decrease that. You can see it only in my grandson’s blue shirt. So I’m encouraged to use more clips from iPhone videos on future layouts.

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An Afternoon with Santa

It’s been a little hectic here, but we found time to visit Santa this afternoon at Mulhall’s Nursery. I’ll post a layout with these soon. Upon arriving, Corbin and Kate wrote letters to Santa and dropped them into his special mailbox. They hid among the Christmas trees after seeing Santa’s reindeer. Note: It’s very difficult to capture two active kids running among hanging trees.

After waiting as patiently as possible in line, Corbin and Kate listened intently while Santa discussed what they had written in their letters and asked whether they had been good all year before suggesting that they pose for a photo.

Kate was delighted that Santa helped her climb up on his knee when she asked for an individual photo.

So Corbin decided he’d get an individual photo too. My son, to whom I had given my iPhone, captured a video of Corbin giving Santa a hug; a high five just didn’t seem to be enough. Kate of course quickly approached to give Santa her own hug. I’ll have to figure out a way to get the stills of just those moments from the video.

There were some cute displays for additional photos at the nursery.

For the next two shots, I used the portrait mode on my new iPhone. I’m still learning how to use the camera app.

Before leaving we spent time playing in the miniature garden.

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What a wonderful afternoon at the nursery. I’ll go back to capture some of the beautiful Poinsettias on another afternoon.

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