One of the things that Kate and Corbin like to do when they spend the night is to explore the wooded area just beyond the pond. On our way back from our walk, they plopped down on the grass and posed for me. I didn’t hesitate to capture some shots in the fading light.
Last fall while on sabbatical, I bought ArtPlay Palette Verdure hoping to have the opportunity after finishing my book project to use the beautiful leaf transfer that was included in the palette. That’s how I began this page.
My week in California was wonderful, definitely an inspiration for my photography. I captured these magnolia blooms on a large old tree in a friend’s backyard; what an absolutely stunning display the blooms presented. I wanted to showcase one photo with a sun flare peaking through the blooms.
I generally prefer light backgrounds for my layouts but I’ve learned not to be afraid to experiment with Anna’s designs.
Edit the photo in Lightroom before exporting it to Photoshop. Reduce the photo size and clip it to the mask.
Clip a larger copy of the same photo to the mask layer included in the psd file and line it up with the small photo.
Create Background for Framed Photo
Export a second photo of magnolias to Photoshop, a photo with a more distant perspective.
Add an inverted mask to the photo. Using brushes from ArtPlay Palette Magoa bring back in the right side of the photo. Using white as the foreground color reveals on a black mask.
Duplicate the photo and angle on the left side to create the effect of the tree. Add another inverted mask. Set the foreground color to white and use brushes from ArtPlay Palette Magoa to bring back in part of the branches.
I spent most of my time working with this photo on a white background, but it wasn’t working. I experimented.
There are times when a photo reminds me of something; I make a connection to something else. For example, I captured this photo in February while at the Japanese Tea House at the Huntington Library with my sister. The lack of clutter brings a feeling of calm. On this annual visit, I always resolve to find something else to throw out when I get home. This year we talked about two different authors on the idea of organization and decluttering.
I’m not sure which method for organization I like better: Marie Kondo’s idea to keep only what brings one joy or Margareta Magnusson’s Swedish death cleaning. I have rolled my t-shirts, socks and underwear per the Kondo method. My drawers do look nice that way; I guess that is a form of joy.
However, at my age, I think I might find more joy in Magnusson’s concept of death cleaning: getting rid of the abundance rather than leaving a mess for family to deal with after my death. I resized my birth stone ring for my daughter last Christmas. Her joy was priceless; the ring valuable to her. Yes, I am the type that finds joy in the process of decluttering, remembering what’s valuable and letting go of the rest.
Below are the details for how I created this page.
Clip Photo to Mask
Vertical photos don’t alway fit masks. Sometimes, I adjust the mask, but at other times I adjust the photo.
Three years ago, I was looking for some hydrangeas that would live through the cold winters in Nebraska better than the Endless Summer variety I had grown in my yard until all but two died. I found this variety: Little Lime. The plants are no longer little but this green bloom changes to a beautiful rose color in the fall. And they live through long cold winters.
My hydrangeas are in full bloom right now, so I went out with my Fuji XT-3 and 60mm f/2.4 macro lens. In order to deal with a mild breeze, I set my shutter speed to 1000, put the ISO on 800 and placed the aperture at 2.4 so that I could blur the background. With my arms tucked close into my sides and patience, I captured some fairly sharp photos even with the large aperture.
As much as I love my little camera, including a very sharp LCD display, I went inside to upload the photos for viewing on my computer screen. I reviewed and then went back outside to photograph again and again, changing my angle and waiting for the still moments.
I’ve been vacationing with family, remembering old memories and making some new ones. Five years is a long time in the life of a little boy. Corbin began asking about returning to Wisconsin Dells just after Christmas this year. It’s a simple story that he remembered, feeding and petting the deer. Corbin added to his stories about Wisconsin Dells this year, a new memory of riding on a big tube behind a boat, something he wasn’t big enough to do five years ago. I’ll have to add that new story to another book.
On this page, I used the things I love: the clean look of a white background, photos clipped to FotoBlendz masks and simple designs.
Every Wednesday, I have a play date with Kate. She takes the lead on these afternoons. First she decides where we are going to lunch, often Chick-fil-A or McDonalds. Sometimes we paint, build with Legos, go to the park or read. Today we walked up to the school playground. If you have the strength, climbing up poles is just as easy as sliding down. I captured these shots with my iPhone as I sat under the equipment in the shade.
Choose a Template
Since all of the shots were vertical, I chose vertical template 7 from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2K to help me get started. Then I made some adjustments.
Reduce the size of all template layers to 85%.
Lengthen three masks and eliminated the others.
Move the frame, staples and shadow on the right.
Adjust the size of the tags on both frames to accommodate photos.
Reduce the size of paper 7 from ArtPlay Palette Playout to 85%
Duplicate paper twice.
Clip a copy to each mask and adjust position.
Note: This paper is from a retired ArtPlay Palette, but any other blue will work to mimic the sky.
Use the Quick Selection Tool to extract the little pole climber.
Place one extraction over each mask.
Give each extraction a custom shadow.
Note: I changed the size of the second and third extractions to accommodate not only the third photo but also the photo I wanted in the frame on the right. I adjusted photos in Lightroom before exporting to Photoshop CC 2019. Inside Photoshop, I added Levels Adjustment Layers as needed.
My little climber is going to love these photos; I know I enjoyed capturing her climb on our play date. I’m still not sure how she held on long enough with one foot on the pole and the other against the equipment for me to capture that shot on the lower left.
There is a pond on the greenbelt behind our house. Periodically, I’ll see ducks or geese swimming on the water. Then I walk out to capture them with my camera, near sunset for these ducks. I like that I gave can give our simple pond an artsy look with a few Artsy Transfers. Below I share how I masked the photo and created the background.
Bill remembers that his grandfather was 13 years older than his grandmother, definitely a man of the 19th century, meaning the woman was expected to do everything. His grandmother hated her middle name (Garfield after a President) and the pipe his grandfather smoked. She’d say when Samuel retired, he retired. Families are complicated aren’t they.
After initially losing this entire file on Wednesday, I started again, challenging myself to practice distinct ways for using brushes and at the same time, make it easier for myself. The time was well spent in my mind.
Rather than bring back in the entire background on one inverted layer mask attached to a photo, I think it is easier to see what’s happening to the photo on a page by using different brushes on different layers.
Duplicate the photo and add an inverted layer mask.
On each layer mask stamp a brush with the foreground color on white.
My self-challenge for this page was to practice distinct ways for using brushes and at the same time, make it easier for myself. As I explained in a previous post, I initially stamped the brushes on one blank layer just so that I could see what they looked like. From that sample layer, I decided which brushes I wanted to use. I used brushes in three different ways on this page.
Stamp brushes on layer masks clipped to multiple photo layers.
Stamp brushes on new blank layers to add interest below small frames.
Use a brush as a mask by stamping it on a new layer and then clipping a photo to the brush.
I challenge you to experiment with brushes and find ways that make it easier for yourself.
Every Memorial Day my Sarah Bernhart Peonies bloom. This year I grabbed my camera and walked out to capture the blooms in the early morning light. Then this afternoon, I went out again to cut some for a bouquet. I love these flowers. I will cut the new blooms each day while I have them, but I wish that they lasted longer than a week. They are spectacular blooms. So when those buds start appearing, I’m out in the yard practicing with my camera, an art medium that I’ve been neglecting recently.
Add another copy of the paper but flip it so that the flowers are on the left.
Add a layer mask to the second copy of the paper.
Use an AnnaBlendz Artsy brush to mask out all but the flowers of that paper layer.
Add a Color Overlay from the FX panel at the bottom of the layers panel. Select a darker pink from the photo and change the blend mode to Color.
Clip Photographs to Small Masks
Clip photos to small masks.
Add Adjustment Layers as needed.
Note: I adjusted the white balance on the photos that I shot on my deck in the afternoon light. I clipped Levels Adjustment Layers on Soft Light blend mode to most of the photos.
Add Artsy Transfers
Place the layers of Transfer 1 from Artsy Transfers Rougir above the paper layers but under the double frame at the bottom of the template. Delete two transfer layers and dark splatters and art stroke. Adjust position.
Place the the layers of Transfer 3 below the masks on the left side of the template. Position and delete layers as desired.
Note: I added a Color Overlay to a stain in Transfer 1 and a transfer in Transfer 3 to coordinate with my photos.
Add a Button
Add a button and thread for dimension.
Give the button a shadow.
I had wonderful light as it rose above the roofs when I went out with my camera about six o’clock in the morning. There wasn’t even much wind, something we don’t get often in a prairie state like Nebraska. By the afternoon, the wind was blowing again, but I found a protected area with good indirect light on my deck. I placed a piece of white board on the table and used with my small macro lens to capture different arrangements of the blooms that I had cut before putting them in a vase to bring inside.
The hardest part of this page was deciding which photos best told the story about photographing my peonies. Looking through my photographs in Lightroom, I can see some changes that I need to make for better photographs next time. Unfortunately, as I look out the window, my poor peonies are bent to the ground with all the rain and wind we’ve had over the last two days. I could bring some in to photograph, but the time to capture them outdoors is over for this year.
I encourage you to play with your camera and some flowers both outside and indoors. Then create a page using one of Anna’s FotoInspired Templates. I will add this page to the other pages that I’ve created for a book with my flower photography.
I like the artsy look of a sketch placed above a photo, especially combined with texture in FotoBlendz masks. While I have used Find Edges under Stylize in the Filter drop down menu, I don’t like the weight of the lines. So I’m experimenting again with different techniques for creating a sketch from photo. Below is the simplest version for creating a sketch that I know.
Start with a Photo
Place photo on new 12×12 blank document in Photoshop.
Apply a Filter to Create Sketch
Open the Filter Gallery from the Filter drop down menu in Photoshop.
I have another sketch technique that I’m experimenting with that I hope to share in the next few weeks, something I’m trying to simplify within one Photoshop file. I really do like the lines created from a sketch with the texture in a mask like the one I used on this paper.