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Tag: Lauritzen Gardens (Page 1 of 2)

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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Choosing Background Paper

I arrived at Lauritzen Gardens about 5pm for an evening photography class that began at 7pm. I used the time before class to capture mums in the Victorian Garden and garden art in the Japanese Garden during the magic light just before sunset. What I couldn’t figure out was what I could capture after dark in an unlit outdoor garden without a flash, let alone the tripod that I forgot. Think about it, photography is all about light. Without it there are no photographs. Yet in the dark of night, I found a bit of light in the conservatory.

Inside the conservatory the white flowers under a light above stood out against the the darkness of the room and the black night outside the windows. If you look carefully at the small photo on the left, you can see the grid of the windows. With camera settings, 1/80 sec at f/2.4, ISO 6400, I was able to hand hold my camera securely enough to capture these white flowers. My instructor recommended I use auto white balance. This is one of the angles I tried as I walked around the large potted plant. If it hadn’t been for the light above I would not have been able to capture a photo.

Initially I tried masking the photo on the darkest black paper I could find, solid paper 2 from ArtPlay Palette City Limits, before I decided that I would finish this page quicker to use Artsy Layered Template No. 257. I clipped copies of one photo to several of the template layers. I masked additional copies that I had placed above other layers.

Once I knew that the template layers would work with my photos, I placed the black paper and made additional adjustments with levels adjustment layers. I recolored a few of the stains a lighter color to blend with the flowers. I deleted a couple of the template layers. I also added transfer 3, art stroke 2 and splatters from ArtPlay Palette Evanescent. I adjusted opacity and blended into the edges.

Next, I clipped my photos to the small frames. extending one photo into the frame below it. I lightened the white in the flowers with a levels adjustment layer on screen blend mode and used a brush on the adjustment layer mask to keep that part dark.

To finish off my layout, I added a button from ArtPlay Palette Evanescent, two threads from ButtonThreadz No. 2 and ButtonThreadz No. 3.

I generally use light backgrounds for my layouts, but occasionally a black background provides a better contrast for some photos. Using black paper with photos having a black background also made it easier to blend these night photos. In fact, blending is generally easier with paper that blends with the background color of photos.

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Perspective

What I see as I look through my camera lens isn’t always what my artist side puts on a layout. Often, I don’t even know what a piece of art will look like until I begin experimenting. However, that’s the joy I find in creating, finding a different perspective than what I initially saw in my camera.

For this page, I began with a photo that I captured last week and file 4 of MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 7. After working with my photo, I clipped copies to the different layers.

Next, I extracted the gates to the Victorian Garden from another photo and placed that over the first photo. While I liked the look, I didn’t think it looked as artsy as I wanted.

So I created a composite by pressing the keys command + option + shift + 6.

I turned off my composite temporarily and placed brush 1 from Cameras No. 4 on my page and changed the blend mode to linear burn.

I used the Elliptical Marquee tool to cut a copy of the center of the lens on the brush. I placed the copy just above the original and filled it in more with brushes.

I reduced the size of a copy of my composite and clipped it to the copy of the brush lens that I had created.

Next I clipped a larger copy of my composite to the original camera brush.

I placed brush 7 from Camera No. 4 below and clipped another linked copy of the photo to it. I placed one more copy of brush 1 on normal at 40% normal blend mode.

To emphasize the lens of the camera brush, I placed two threads from UrbanThreadz No. 14 and one from UrbanThreadz No. 3. I stamped some splatters from Splatters No. 1 on new blank layers and positioned them on a diagonal.

To finish my layout, I added a title and journaling explaining why I created this piece of art. I think it important for my family to know why I create from a different perspective at times.

An Afternoon in a Garden

I walked in a peony garden with my camera and iPhone this afternoon. The light was a bit harsh, the wind was blowing and it was a tad hot, but I enjoyed every moment at Lauritzen Gardens. I discovered that what I couldn’t capture with my camera and a 60mm macro lens, I could capture with my phone and it’s wider lens angle.

My own peonies aren’t blooming yet and those at Lauritzen Gardens today were just beginning to bloom. So I will be returning in the next week to see what else is blooming.

I practiced filling my camera frame with a peony. This is a tip that I learned from a class, Creating Painterly Photographs. These photos are straight out of the camera.

There is a lovely pond area surrounded by benches. Its a beautiful site for just sitting. As I looked around for something different to photograph, I noticed the water bubbling. I think it’s going to make a wonderful texture to apply to another photo.

There is a small prairie in the middle of the botanical garden. Only one lonely plant was blooming. I am not sure yet whether I prefer the one with the path in the distance or the one surrounded only by the prairie grass.

Yes, I had a lovely afternoon with my camera!

On a Windy Day

Every photographer knows that wind makes it extremely difficult to capture flowers in focus. I spent a windy afternoon at Lauritzen Gardens today. I was able to capture a few daffodils with the focus sharp, i.e. this shot at 1/5000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO 400 with my 60mm macro lens. Even with that fast shutter speed, my photo appears a little soft.

So I decided to play with the double exposure feature that is available on my camera. Artistically, I think these shots play up the action of the wind this afternoon. I like the effect.

Double exposure worked with some pansies too.

Aside from flowers, I experimented with double exposure and garden decorations. I especially liked the way the ball looked in this photograph.

I think this old door took on interesting dimension when photographed via double exposure.

I’ll try this camera feature again, definitely when I’m out on a windy afternoon, but first, I plan to return one day this next week to capture the tulips that were just about ready to bloom. I’m hoping for a windless morning.

List of Brush Strategies

If you’re taking Anna’s Advanced Brushes class, then you know that the assignment this week is to try one or more of the techniques that Anna demonstrated in a layout. Next week, we’re going to be looking at more brush techniques in a new DigitalART project. Incorporating some of the techniques that Anna shared has been quite a challenge for me. I tried to choose those strategies that I am more likely to use on a regular basis as part of my process.

First, I loaded WallTextures No. 2 into Photoshop and selected brush 2 to stamp on a new blank layer. I changed the blend mode to linear burn and masked out part of the brush with a layer mask. For this page, I used only .abr brush files rather than png brushes.

I clipped a copy of a photo to the brush.

Next, I selected a few brushes from the AnnaBlendz Artsy brush series to begin compiling an .abr file of my favorite brushes. I also added some stains I’d incorporated into another .abr file to my brush panel. I used those brushes to reveal parts of two copies of the photo of the cyclamen lining the path by stamping on inverted masks. The first copy is on normal blend mode at 100% and the one above on overlay at 100%.

Before beginning this page, I experimented making my own brush from the cyclamen petals in a photo. I distressed my new brush. I used my new brush by rotating the brush tip as I stamped on an inverted mask as well as two AnnaBlendz Artsy brushes that I changed in the shape dynamics part of the brush panel.

I dragged those layers to my new layout and placed them below the wall texture brush in order to fill in the flower bed. Two lower layers are on normal blend mode, another layer is on overlay and the top layer is on soft light. I duplicated one more copy of the photo that I had clipped to the wall texture brush and used brushes to contain my blending. That’s a concept that Anna explained last month in aAYear of ArtPlay.

To create a background, I created another brush from a photo of a door and brick wall using the strategies Anna demonstrated in class. I chose a color from the color picker and stamped my new brush on a new blank layer. Then I erased parts using a brush with the eraser tool. I’m divided on whether I prefer a layer mask or simply using the eraser tool to delete parts of brush layers. A layer mask makes it easy to make changes. However, the eraser tool is quick, especially for distressing. I can see benefits to using both strategies. Above my door and new brush, I stamped brush 4 from WallTextures No. 2. I used the eraser tool to modify the brush layers.

Below my door, I stamped brush 7 from WallTextures No. 1. I erased parts with the eraser tool. I added gold paint 2 from ArtPlay Palette For the Record to the edge of the door. Between my door layers, I added glow 2 from ButterflyGlows No. 1. I changed the blend mode to color burn at 45%. I think using the glows for adding color is easiest for me at the moment.

To finish my page, I placed a butterfly from ArtPlay Palette Studious and adjusted the levels of the butterfly to increase the contrast. Then I clipped two copies of a photo and adjusted it’s position. I tacked the butterfly down with a thread from UrbanThreadz No. 4. Next, I added a title to my page and splatters from Artsy Transfers For the Record to create a visual triangle of black.

Finally, I added solid paper 4 from ArtPlay Palette Sugar and lightened it with a levels layer on screen blend mode at 45%.

What strategies did I use on this page?

  • used .abr files rather than png brush files
  • clipped a photo to a brush
  • stamped brushes on inverted masks
  • made adjustments to brush tips in the brush panel, i.e. shape dynamics, scattering
  • blended photos with brushes on layer masks, i.e. contain image to improve the blending
  • created my own brush presets from photos
  • distressed a brush layer with the eraser tool

These are all techniques with which I want to develop more expertise. I’ll watch the upcoming lesson next week and decide what else I want to add to my list of strategies.

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Photo Art

These are some of the other orchids that I captured with my 60mm f/2.4 macro and 35mm f/2.0 lenses. Both create a nice bokeh background when shot at f/2.8. One idea that I’ve been considering is making a book with the photographs of flowers that I create. If I did, this is a page design that I would use, a full page photo on one side and smaller detail shots on the other.

Anna’s FotoInspired DoubleTemplates are great for emphasizing the details of a photo series, in this case some orchids. For this page, I used FotoInspired DoubleTemplate No. 69. I reduced the size of the template to create a little more white space as a separation from the full page photo side.

To add a bit more color, I placed two transfers from ArtPlay Palette Radiant below the frames and masks. I also blended one transfer with the middle photo. I placed the psd layers from FotoInspired EdgeTemplates No. 2. I recolored the stains or clipped another paper and changed the blend mode to linear burn.

With a few threads, some branches and a title, I finished my page.

To make it easy, I simply created a composite of the template side and dropped it on top of the full page photo on a 24×12 inch file.

This is the kind of page that I would create for a book on Flowers, a future book project idea I’m considering.

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Topaz Labs

A reader asked how I used Topaz Labs Plug-ins to give my photos a painted look. Basically, these are external plug-ins that apply filters to photos. Two of my favorite plug-ins are Impression and Simplify. After placing the photo on a new blank 12×12 document, I duplicated the photo twice. Then I opened the filter panel, scrolled down the menu and chose Topaz Impression.

When the plug-in opened, I browsed the effects. I chose to work with Over Painting 1. The panel on the right allowed me to make adjustments to the filter effect. Once I was finished, I clicked the save button and was taken back to Photoshop. Note: These extensions also work in Photoshop Elements.

On the second copy of the photo, I chose a line and ink preset in Simplify. Adjustments were made on the right. I learned to work with this panel from a tutorial on the Topaz blog.

I turned off the original and reduced the opacity of the top (over painting) layer to 40%. I then dragged the layers of Artsy Layered Template No. 242 on to my document. I linked the photo layers and duplicated them so that I could clip them to some template masks and stains. I also clipped linked photo copies to the masks for the small frames. I moved those frames lightly to the left.

I began turning off the template layers that didn’t work. To finish my background, I placed solid paper 5 from ArtPlay Palette Jollification as well as transfer 3 and 5. I attached masks to both transfers to blend out parts. I added a recolored button (from the palette) and tacked it down with a thread.

I hope this gives you an idea of what’s possible with some of the Topaz Labs plug-ins.

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Heart Art

Sometimes, I make photographs without any thought about creating a scrapbook page. 2016-02-21 131136I captured these glass figures in February at an exhibit of 32 glass sculptures by Craig Mitchell Smith in the conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens. I don’t always initially see the possibility in a photograph for creating a piece of art. However, I remembered this photo when I opened Anna’s new palette, ArtPlay Palette Plumeria. A friend suggested that the figures looked like ghosts. I think wraiths might be more apropos for this page since they appear to be dancing above the water. The artist called this sculpture “Gravity Landscape”, but I don’t quite understand that title. I also wonder what the artist intended by placing a heart inside each figure. At any rate, this is one of those artsy photo pages created without a story in mind, but simply for the joy of experimenting.

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I began by placing solid paper 3 from ArtPlay Palette Plumera on a new blank document. I rotated it clockwise in anticipation that by using a fotoblendz mask the texture above it the paper would show through my photo.

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Next, I placed mask 2 from FotoBlendz Overlays No. 9 and clipped a copy of my photo to the mask. I added a levels adjustment layer on color burn at 20% above the photo. I love that the transparency of the mask reveals part of the paper below.

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In order to get the figures to show more on my page, I extracted them from another copy of the photo using an inverted mask. I added a vibrance adjustment layer at 45% and a levels adjustment on soft light at 50%. I gave my extraction a small drop shadow. In this case, the extractions also created depth by making the figures pop from the background.

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I placed one transfer and an art stroke from the new palette above the original photo. I masked out a part of the art stroke. To recreate the look of water, I added stains from Artsy Layered Template No. 233, two additional transfers from ArtPlay Palette Plumera and an overlay from ArtPlay Palette Heart No. 1. I changed the blend modes of three, one stain to darken, one transfer to multiply at 40% and the heart transfer just above the paper to overlay.

(Note: templates are a great source for not only stains, but journaling boxes and frames as well.)

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Finally, I placed artstroke 2 below the extractions to balance the black on the other side. With two more hearts, word art from Art WordArt Mix No. 1, a button (recolored slightly), a thread from ButtonThreadz No. 1 and journaling, my page was finished.

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Sometimes, I surprise myself with what I can create with a photo, an artplay palette and a little experimenting with blend modes in Photoshop. I will print this one just so my family will know that on occasion I deviate from my normal style simply for the sake of experimenting with art.

Inspired by a Photograph

One reason I continue to work on my photography is because what I learn about photography inspires me as I create artsy scrapbook pages. I don’t know if you read the post about my fascination with using aperture and compression to create blurred backgrounds, but the photograph on the left in which the ivy is in focus and the brick background blurred inspired the photo layering on this artsy page.

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To create my background, I placed solid paper 6 above solid paper 3 from ArtPlay Palette Portiere and changed the blend mode to multiply at 100%. At the top right, I blended another photo of bricks that I shot into the paper with a layer mask. There is also a brush stamped on a new layer above all the paper layers.

 

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Next, I blended the photo into the background with a layer mask. I stamped a brush from ArtPlay Palette Portiere on the lower right corner. Along the edge of the blended background photo, I stamped one of the images from New Orleans No. 1 in a  colored to match the bricks. I changed the blend mode, reduced the opacity and gave it a slight gaussian blur.

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Below the the focal photo, I brought in all of the layers of Artsy Transfers Portiere 3. I turned off two art strokes, recolored the green stain and added a layer mask to the tape.

 

 

 

At this point, to create more interest and 2016-03-22_TuckedLeaves_4depth, I brought in the photo of the ivy. I duplicated the photo. To extract, I began with the magic wand tool, eliminating as much of the background as possible. Once I had eliminated what I could with that tool, I used that copy to create a layer mask for the original photo. With a small round brush, I refined my mask. Then I gave the leaves a shadow.

To finish my layout, I duplicated the ivy, rotated that copy and placed part of it on the right with a button to tack it down, title, date and place. I could have blurred the background photo more, but I didn’t want to lose the detail of the statue; instead I wanted the ivy to emphasize the depth in the corner where I found the statue and to add to the interest of my page. The idea of the ivy hanging in front of the came from a photo. How does your own photography inspire your art?

 

 

 

 

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