Photo Storify

Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

Author: Linda (Page 1 of 16)

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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Forever Together

Anna’s latest release reminded me that next September will mark our 50th anniversary, yes 50 years living life together. Geese generally mate for life. In fact, if one mate dies, the other goes off in seclusion to mourn, often never mating again. I think Bill and I are a lot like these geese. We’ve been together for nearly fifty years. If he dies, I’m not going to choose another man. It would simply be too much work in my mind, not that our marriage hasn’t been good because it has. I just think that after 50 years, I’m too old for a second go around. I know that I’d never find a better man!!

I began this page by clipping a photo of a pair of geese to png mask 1 from Flock FotoBlendz No. 1. I added adjustment layers to improve the color and contrast of my photo.

Below the masked photo, I placed transfers 2, 3 and 5 from ArtPlay Palette Flock as well as overlay 1, 2 and the gold overlay to create a variation on an artsy paper as I explained in another post, Artsy Paper Play. In addition, I also placed artsy paper 2 just above solid paper 1. With an artsy brush on an inverted mask, I revealed part of the right side of the paper.

In the screenshot above, part of the tail of the goose on the right fades away into the mask. To solve that problem, I extracted both geese with the Quick Selection tool, gave them a shadow and placed both above the original photo. The extractions also add depth to the page.

Above the geese, I placed transfer 1 along the same line as the grass on transfer 3 which is hidden by the mask and photo.

I added the layers of file 2 from MultiMedia Birds No. 2 just as they are provided in the set.

I created the title by erasing part of word art from Gather WordART Mix No. 2 and added a word that better fit my journaling.

Finally, I used three pieces of the grass, resized, a word label and a flower to create a small cluster to border the journaling.

This page came together quickly which was a good thing this weekend. I’ve been out playing Pokemon Go for the special Thanksgiving event in our beautiful weather and finally made level 37.

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A Colorful Sketch

This evening, I played with a mini palette, ArtPlay MiniPalette Jocund, that Anna will release free with a $20 purchase on Black Friday as part of Oscraps’ sales. I thought the gold and white would create a beautiful contrast for a colorful photo.

In Lightroom, I chose the sketch version of a Christmas tree photo. I altered the original photo on the right using a technique that Ulla-May shared. On my layout below, I had simplified the technique.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write down my exact steps at that time, so I hope viewing the video helps you create the effect on a photo of your own. Remember, you don’t have to use smart objects to get this effect so this technique works in Photoshop and Elements.

This was a quick layout because I had already given my photo an artsy sketch effect based on the video. I placed the layers of my altered photo below the frame on solid paper 2. I changed the blend mode of the grouped layers to multiply at 100%.

I placed lace 1 and 2, gold paint 2 and two copies of transfer 3 below the photo and frame.

I created a cluster with elements from the artplay palette and a piece of pine from ArtPlay Palette Pinery. However, my layout appeared unfinished to me.

So I placed a copy of tree sketch composite between the gold paint and two copies of transfer 3. I changed the blend mode to linear burn at 50% and used a brush on a mask to conceal parts.

I hope you will play with Ulla-May’s technique to create a colorful sketch of your own. It really is easy.

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An iPhone and a Template

 

When Corbin and Kate spent the night a couple of weeks ago, we walked down to the trees beyond the pond. All I had with me was my iPhone 6 to capture my grandson’s gallantry towards his sister as he helped her mimic whatever he did, including leaping over a little stream. I did warn them about getting wet if they fell into the water below. As you can tell by the photos, Kate was hesitant at first, but soon enough began directing her brother exactly where she wanted him to stand in order to help her. It was getting dark so I had to increase the exposure later in Lightroom. Some of the photos were a little blurry, something I accepted as part of making photos of active children with an iPhone, or any camera for that matter, as the sun was setting.

For this two page spread, I used two templates from Anna’s new album, Project Template Album No. 3. Note: I put a title in the place of a textbox on the template and deleted the numbers as well as the tape and hipster plumes.

First, I clipped photos to the large fotoblendz masks and stains below, adjusting the exposure with adjustment layers.

Next, I clipped photos to the small frames, again making adjustments to the photos with adjustment layers. Note: I changed two of the photos to black and white with Topaz Studio.

I then placed copies of three small photos above their respective frames, extracted my granddaughter and grandson with the Quick Selection tool and cleaned up the framing with a small hard brush on the layer mask created with the extraction.

I stamped stains from ArtsyStains No. 3 and ArtsyStains No. 5 below both templates for additional color.

For the gutter, I placed another photo and changed it to black and white with an adjustment layer. I then added an inverted layer mask to the photo and stamped with brushes from ArtsyPaint No. 8 and ArtsyStains No. 3 to reveal just parts of the photo.

Finally, I added paper textures from PaperTextures No. 4 and PaperTextures No. 5 to finish my page.

My layout was quick and easy to complete with the snapshots I captured that evening with my old iPhone. Digital scrapbooking can’t get much easier!!

However, technology changes quickly, definitely on phone cameras. Like my grandchildren, I made a leap too and bought a new iPhone X last week. I haven’t gotten to take many photos with it yet, but what I captured of Kate last weekend, see examples below, with the new portrait mode definitely show the technical improvements over my older iPhone. I don’t think the blur is as good as my Fuji X-T2, but if you look closely, you will see that the background is indeed blurred, much like you would get with a DSLR. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with my new iPhone.

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Embrace the Change

The Red Sunset Maple we planted in our yard in 2012 isn’t quite so little anymore. I’ve been taking photos of it every year when the leaves change. This year, it’s just now in full color. I keep trying different angles. I’m waiting for some sunshine before capturing some photos this year.

Anna Aspnes has a knack for creating shadowed overlays and transfers in her artplay palettes, but overlay 2 has got to be one of my all time favorites. I dragged just the overlay from ArtPlay Palette Rudeneja onto a new blank document with solid paper 1 below and started thinking.

Although I don’t have the skills to create the kind of shadows that Anna creates, I decided to import a photo of just a branch from my Red Sunset Maple tree and try creating something similar. I extracted the branch and created custom shadow by duplicating the extraction, filling it with a dark brown, tweaking the shape with the warp transform tool and changing the blend mode to linear burn. I added a layer mask to the shadow, reduced the opacity in order to try to get it to look more realistic.

To fill the background, I placed artsy paper 2 below my extraction. That helped give my branch more dimension.

I then placed transfer 3, transfer 5 and art stroke 1 from ArtPlay Palette Rudeneja. I adjusted the position of overlay 2 so that it was directly above the overlay on solid paper 2 and changed the blend mode of overlay 2 to multiply to add depth to the paper. Note: That overlay is part of solid paper 2.

With a title from Change WordART Mix No. 1, a mix of two psd files from MultiMedia Branches No. 9 and a sentence of journaling, I decided my page was finished.

Now, what I really want to learn is how to shadow the way Anna does!

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Carving Pumpkins

One of my goals for this year’s book has been to look back in time on some pages, something I did on this one. The earliest photos were taken in 2008, a time when only Owen, my oldest grandson, was old enough to carve a pumpkin. By 2010, Logan carved a pumpkin and by 2012, Corbin, my youngest grandson, was old enough to get involved. I captured the photos of Kate yesterday.

Have you ever started a page but had to wait to fill in the remaining photos until you could make them? That’s what happened with this page, I had everything finished, I just needed to place photos of Kate carving her pumpkin on the layout. I actually could have created an entire two page spread with just photos of Kate with all the photos I made yesterday. However, I want the boys to have pumpkin carving photos to remind them of they’ve also had this experience.

I began this page in Lightroom, searching for photos of my grandchildren carving pumpkins. I made some adjustments in the develop module and then exported them to Photoshop. Note: Lightroom is especially convenient for searches when you want to combine photos that deal with a common theme from different years.

After placing all the layers of templates 15 and 16 from Hipster Plume Template Album No. 2, I turned off most of the layers. I deleted a text box and put my title there. I also deleted the hipster plumes because I didn’t think they worked with my topic.

The background of the focal photo on the left was green, so I extracted my grandson and recolored the mask a soft brown. It was simpler than finding a paper that worked.

Then I turned on the small frames on the left and clipped my photos to the frames. I added adjustment layers to the photos to create a more consistent look to the page. I added some splatters.

Next, I opened the layers of psd file 1 from ArtsyHalloween No. 1 on a new blank psd page. I wanted to add the eyes and nose from file 3, but I was finding it difficult to work with all the layers on my original document. So I stacked the layers from the two psd files on a new file and deleted most of the file 3 layers until I got the playful look I wanted.

I then dragged the layers to my original document and created a group. On the far left, I reduced the size and flipped the layers horizontally as a group. On the other side, I moved the eyes but resized the group larger than on the left.

For the page gutter, I masked a photo of just carved pumpkins. The bottom layer is on linear blend mode at 20% opacity. The copy above is on overlay at 30%.

Next, I began turning back on the layers of the template on the right. I clipped three more photos to the small frames, adding adjustment layers as needed.

I added another group of the artsy pumpkin on the far right, resizing and flipping the orientation of the eyes. At this point, I had to stop until I had some photos of Kate to add to the page.

To the large mask on the right, I clipped Kate’s photos. I added a stain from ArtsyStains No. 5 to the right of my granddaughter to fill the space that one of the plumes that I had deleted. I clipped another copy of the photo to that stain. As I’ve explained in previous posts, I often clip copies of the focal photo to stains below a fotoblendz mask.

I turned on the last two small frames, clipped photos and adjusted the exposure with adjustment layers.

Kate wanted a turn to use my camera and take my picture. I handed it off so that she could hold the camera and push the little button. I stamped a brush from ArtsyPaint No. 13 and placed that in the background, softening the edges with a brush from AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 9. I changed the blend mode to linear burn at 30% and clipped my photo to it after giving the photo a black and white filter from Topaz Studio.

I finished my page with textures from PaperTextures No. 5 and ArtsyPaint No. 13.

I love the older photos combined with the new on this page. It won’t be long before they all outgrow pumpkin carving. Only three dressed up to go trick or treating this year; it’s a little sad to me how quickly the time has passed. Every moment with them is precious.

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Thank you and Congratulations

More than a year and a half ago, February 4, 2016, in my first blog post, I shared some photographs at Balboa Island that I had made while in California celebrating a birthday with my sister. My first few posts dealt with photographs that I captured while in California, but on February 10, I wrote a post, On a Winter Morning, about how I created a digital scrapbook page combining those photographs with Anna Aspnes’ Designs. Since those first posts, I have written 140 more, a few dealing only with photography but the majority explaining how I create artsy scrapbook pages with my photographs. When I began posting, I had no idea whether anyone would be interested in reading the content, but I loved the idea of having a place to share photographs and how I use them to create digital scrapbook pages.

This evening, I would like to thank the first 100 readers who have subscribed to my blog and encouraged me with your comments and support.  As a thank you, Anna Aspnes has generously provided a coupon to her store for me to give to one reader. Thank you to Anna Aspnes for all her encouragement. After creating a randomized list, Marie will receive the coupon to Anna’s store. Congratulations to Marie!!

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Refining Skills to Develop Your Style

I was out playing Pokemon Go with my husband when I saw a staged display of different pumpkins and mums. I was focusing on just a part of the display with my iPhone when a mom stopped to coax her elementary age girls to pose for a picture. She was delighted when I asked if she’d like to sit with them while I took her picture with her phone. Today I gave what I’d have loved to have had, an informal portrait with my kids in front of a pumpkin display. I hope she posts it to her Facebook page.

With my quick photo, I created a page that reflects me, my style, my photography. I clipped multiple copies of a photo to the layers of file 3 from Evanescent FotoBlendz No. 1. To get the blue color, I applied a blue color overlay with the styles panel before separating it on a separate layer so that I could reveal the brown of the hay. I added a fill layer above that in brown on color blend mode to turn the yellow mums straw by hiding everything but the flowers on a layer mask.

Next, I placed solid paper 4 from ArtPlay Palette Evanescent. On the right I added the layers of Artsy Transfers Evanescent 3. I turned off one layer.

On the left, I placed the layers of file 5 from Artsy Transfers Evanescent. I adjusted the position of my fotoblendz mask and photo layers as a group.

Inside the group of transfer layers, I placed psd file 2 from MultiMedia Pumpkins N. 3. I added a color overlay from the style menu to make the black fabric blue.

Next, I placed two additional pumpkin files from MultiMedia Pumpkins No. 3 to add to my pumpkin display.

With a piece of word art from Moments WordArt Mix No. 1 and a subtitle, I finished  my artsy page.

This page came together fairly easily. The only different technique I used was to give the pumpkins in my photo a blue cast. I’ve used color overlays on previous pages, but I’ve not recolored pumpkins blue. Yet, I think they look pretty with the blue in the multimedia pumpkins. Basically, I’m experimenting with color overlays; I’m using them in a different way.

I’ve been thinking about a statement that Anna made about the expectation that one needs to continually learn new techniques. While I am continually learning, it’s more about refining my skills with my camera, whether my iPhone or my Fuji X-T2. I don’t need a new camera, I need to get better at making photos with what I have. I think that in the same way I am perfecting my skills with the designs that I use to create my scrapbook pages. I enjoy the process of experimenting and figuring out what else I can do with Anna’s designs in combination with my photos. Rather than using a new technique on every page, I want to continually develop my style, to clarify the look I want on my pages. That may involve incorporating a new technique periodically, or applying a technique in a different way, but my creative process is more about refining my skills because they define my style.

 

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