Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

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Evening Light

There is nothing quite like the light near sunset. Yesterday, while Kate was spending the night with me, we walked to the park to play and I captured these photos. In the last photo, she’s holding a baby that I made with her jacket. We are learning that you don’t have to have toys to role play.

 

Shopping and Eating

Today, Glenda and I went shopping. One place we stopped was Samy’s Camera because Glenda wants a small, uncomplicated camera that blurs the background. We found a couple of options. She made notes on her iPhone so she can do more research before actually buying.

After more shopping, we stopped at Tender Greens for lunch.

We had what they labeled a Harvest Salad with citrus and chicken on a lovely bed of real greens; no iceberg lettuce on this salad.

Today’s little treat was from See’s Candies, a store we don’t have in Nebraska. I used my macro lens for this photo. I don’t want to forget how healthy dark chocolate and almonds are for me.

I actually worked with the raw files for this post. I haven’t photographed in raw for quite a while as they generally always have to be processed. It was much quicker than I anticipated. I learned a nifty trick about Lightroom in which you shift click the whites and blacks in the develop module. It worked very well on these photos.

We’re flying up to San Francisco tomorrow to have lunch with my friend, Adryane.

A Challenge for Myself

I’ll be sharing more photography for the next week because I boarded a plane at 5:30am this morning to fly across country to celebrate my birthday with my twin sister. I have challenged myself to use primarily one lens, a 35mm focal length on my crop sensor Fuji X-T2 which is equivalent to a 50mm on a full frame camera. That focal length lens is often called a normal lens because it approximates what the human eye can see. I also brought my macro lens just in case I see any flowers.

For most of the trip this morning, all I could see were clouds until near the end of my flight. Even as we approached John Wayne Airport, the clouds were so thick I wondered how in the world the pilot would land in the rain on that notoriously short runway.

Once I arrived, Glenda and I went to her favorite place for lunch. They make the best salad dressing from white tea.

This afternoon, I went out to see what was blooming in Glenda’s garden. I think I need a steadier hand or a tripod to capture the tiny little lavender flowers.

I wasn’t going to eat this little chocolate bundt cake, but I did, everything but that little dollop of cream cheese frosting. Although I used an aperture of f/2.8, I made sure that dollop was in focus just so I would remember what I didn’t eat. Glenda and I took a walk afterwards. I think I’m going to be walking a lot this week.

Legos at Lauritzen Gardens

Kate and I went to see the Lego Exhibit at Laurtizen Gardens this morning. This is the only display that she didn’t like.

As Kate walked the Conservatory, she saw a Lego tortoise, hummingbird, birdbath and gardeners.

Kate stopped to see whether orchids had any smell.

Then Kate built a house, a grandma and herself with Legos.

Kate stopped a moment to see whether the koi were swimming.

On our way out, Kate got her pink boots wet in the snow.

Kate said she liked playing with the Legos best. I did practice shooting quickly, setting my shutter speed at 1/500 sec to deal with Kate’s speed and my aperture mostly at f/2.8 to blur out the background. Capturing Kate is not easy!

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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Focus on the Photos

In support of my goal this year to focus more on my photography, I attended a class at Lauritzen Gardens on Saturday. The instructor, Will Fields, sent out a reading assignment via email before class. His goal was to help us see how aperture influences depth of field. He spent time with us individually. For me, the technical assignment was to photograph a single subject at three different apertures from three different angles on continuous focus as fast as I could. Here is one of my captures at aperture f/2.8. I love blurred backgrounds that isolate the subject. However, it is not easy to capture moving grandchildren at that aperture because the depth of field limits how much is in focus. There isn’t much room for focus error. I’d love to be able to consistently capture photographs that are in focus using a wide aperture. I am going to continue to practice this little assignment until the next class. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Another goal I have for the new year is to focus on the photographs that I capture as I create scrapbook pages. I’m not giving up artsy designs; I just want the photographs to pop on my pages; I want them to dominate my pages.

I began this page with the psd file 1 of MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 5. I clipped a copy of the above photo to the fotoblendz layers. I then clipped two other photos to png files 3 and 5 before clipping another copy of the first photo to transfer 7 of ArtPlay Palette Anaphora. I reduced the opacity to 40%.

From those layers, I created a composite using the keyboard shortcut keys: command+option+shift+e. By the time I had brought back in what I wanted revealed from my composite using the fotoblendz masks on layer masks and a png file, I had duplicated the composite five times.

Next, I duplicated the photos and extracted four of the orchids using the Quick Selection Tool and layer masks. I gave each extraction a custom shadow.

I then placed transfer 3 and the gold paint from ArtPlay Palette Anaphora. I also placed some of the layers from psd Artsy Transfers Anaphora 3 and 5. Note: those will be available on Wednesday in Anna’s store.

Next, I clipped another copy of the composite to a png copy of Artsy FlutterBy Templates No. 2. I changed the blend mode to linear burn, duplicated the two layers and reduced the opacity of the top copy to 75%. I added two threadz from ButtonThreadz No. 2 as well as one of the Urban LoopedThreadz No. 1.

With a title from Repeat WordART Mix No. 1 and a bit of journaling, I finished my page. What do I like about my finished page: the soft edges and subtle texture, the white space and especially the beauty of these orchids. While my page design and layering of the fotoblendz transfers changed the photograph, the orchids are still just as clear and beautiful as they were in the original photograph. Each of us has different expectations for the art we create from the photographs we capture. I still believe that as my photography improves, so will my artsy scrapbooking. I still believe that photography is my creative priority. I am focusing on the photos this year.

Off-Center

Fall isn’t here yet; it still feels like summer. I’m seeing lots of Monarachs. Yet, I know fall is coming with its beautiful color that makes me smile, certainly my last smile as I don’t like winter. The weather man said more fall like temperatures will arrive next week. I can’t wait. I just wish that fall lasted all winter long. In anticipation of the arrival of fall, I created this page today with one landscape photo from 2014 and another of a butterfly that I captured last Saturday. Our fall color won’t arrive until October.

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I made the original photo on October 20, 2014, 2014-10-20-173915a day with no wind so that the smooth water reflected the landscape along the edge of the lake. I had set my camera at f/11 in aperture priority, 1/500 sec and ISO 1000 at 24mm. This is straight out of the camera meaning I made no adjustments in Lightroom before placing the photo on a new blank 12×12 page in Photoshop.

I have a Photoshop plug-in, Topaz Impression, that can recreate paint strokes in the style of different artists and mediums on photographs. I chose a Degas style first and then layered an overpainting at 75% above the Degas layer. Note: Degas’ scenes of Parisian life, his off-center compositions, his experiments with color and form, and his friendship with several key Impressionist artists connect him with the Impressionist movement of the 19th century.

Next, I placed the psd layers of mask 2 from Autumn Romance FotoBlendz No. 1 a little off center on my page. I adjusted the size of the photo layers and clipped them to the fotoblendz mask. However, the duplicated copies clipped to the leaves and texture of psd mask 2 are the original photo. Note that having a psd file of the mask, allowed me to move one copy of the photo over to fill the mask.

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Next, I added two files, 4 and 6, from GoldLeaves No. 4 above the mask to add more depth to the mask. I rotated and sized them to fit over the leaves on the mask layers. To coordinate the color with my photo, I added a color style to each as well as glows to highlight. The leaf on the right is on normal blend mode at 35% opacity. The leaf on the bottom left is on color burn at 35%.

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Below the photo layers I add brush 8 (recolored) and overlay 1 from ArtPlay Palette Autumn Romance. This creates a visual diagonal line across my page.

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Next, I created a cluster by extracting a butterfly that I photographed last week and placing it on a leaf from ArtPlay Palette Woodland. Below, I placed most of the layers of file 3 from JazzedUp LoopDaLoops No. 1.

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Finally, I added word art from Autumn WordArt Mix No. 1, journaling and a few splatters to finish my page.

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One take away for me after experimenting with this page is that I can create visual tension on a “centered” page design by placing a mask off-center, adding texture with a brush only on the right edge and nestling the  journaling in an open space created by the mask. Also, I think the dimension on this page with the butterfly extraction, title and gold leaf on the right mask edge create a visual triangle. I don’t have to repeat similar elements, i.e. buttons, to create a visual triangle. What do you think?

Art with a Mask, an Artsy Transfer and Word Art

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The wind churned the water on the beach, making the waves pile high against the rocks. I set my camera to f/22 on aperture priority in the late afternoon sunlight and waited until just the right moment to capture the spray as the waves crashed against the rocks.

There are times I really like my photos just as they come out of the camera without any special photo treatments. I loved this capture of the spray of the waves against a rock formation at Little Corona Del Mar and wanted to use it on a page. However, I wanted to ground the waves with some of the other rock formations on that beach using another photo that I captured when I zoomed back to get more of the scene.

To create this page I used the two photos above and two masks from Coastline FotoBlendz No. 1. This page came together quickly. I sized the photos to fit my page and blended them together after clipping the two photos to mask 2. I added adjustment layers to each photo copy to increase the contrast just a little.

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I duplicated mask 2, moved it toward the right and then clipped and blended two more copies of the photos. Then I duplicated the mask a third time, moved it further toward the right and clipped two more photos.

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To finish the photo blended scene, I placed mask 4 from Coastline FotoBlendz No. 1 below the other photo layers, clipped one more copy of the photo with the spray and blended it with a layer mask.

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I placed one more copy of the photo with the rocks in the foreground at the top of the photo layers and blended back in just the foreground rocks using a inverted layer mask to make them appear heavier and darker in order to balance the the rock formation in the distance.

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Next, I added sand transfers from ArtPlay Palette Beach.

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Then I placed the layers from Artsy Transfer Coastline 5. Two layers of the psd transfer file are above the photo layers and the rest are below the photo and sand layers.

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Finally, I added two elements from Beach WordArt Mix No. 1. I placed them between the layers of the MultiMedia Shells No. 1. In addition, I added a few splatters and two additional transfers from ArtPlay Palette Coastline.

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There are times when I like the simplicity of creating a page for my photos without a feeling that I need to add a special photo treatment, times when I think that my photos are strong enough to stand on their own. At those times, combining a few masks, an artsy psd transfer and word art, allow me to easily create a blended piece of art. In some ways, these are the pages I like best!

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Little Corona Beach

After a lovely lunch, I walked among the rocks at Little Corona Beach. I was surprised how few birds were there in comparison to what I saw on my last visit to this beach a couple of years ago. At that time, birds covered the rocks.

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Walking on the beach and climbing on the rocks provided a wonderful opportunity for me to experiment with my camera. In aperture priority, I set my aperture to f/22 in order to capture as much of the landscape in focus as possible. I let the shutter speed adjust to the light at 4:30pm. In these photos, I focused on the arching rock in the distance. Yet the foreground is also sharp.

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I have a lens that zooms from 18 to 135. This was my first time playing with it at a beach. The wind and surf were fairly strong. At f/22, the spray is clearly visible.

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I think I prefer the shots with my horizon in the top third of the view finder frame. The waves rolling over the rocks seem more interesting than the blue sky, although the water spray was impressive. Had there been interesting clouds, I would have been more inclined to place my horizon line on the top or lower third of my view finder.

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While the mossy areas of the rocks are slippery for walking, they are supposedly a home for sea life. However, I haven’t generally found much to photograph besides rocks.

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On this visit, I found hermit crabs. Posted signs warn visitors not to take rocks or wild life from the pools among the rocks. I wonder if people generally respect those warnings since there have been so few specimens for me to photograph on my visits.

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While movement is not visible in this photograph, I watched these hermit crabs crawl over the rocks.

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I enjoyed playing with my camera, remembering tips from lessons and experimenting with different settings. The only thing I don’t like about the beach is that the air makes my hair curl. That’s one reason why I didn’t take a selfie.

Focus the Eye with a Frame

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Kate really enjoys playing in the sand at what we describe as the shady park. 2016-05-18 093417However, those trees surrounding the play equipment create shadows that make photography more difficult. Note the harsh light in the background and to the left of my granddaughter. Changing light and her constant movement are why I often set my camera on aperture priority and auto ISO. With those settings I can concentrate on framing the scene, getting my granddaughter’s face in focus and blurring the background by setting the aperture to f/5.6. Those settings usually give me enough depth to get her face in focus if I hold the camera securely and put a focus point on her face. However, framing the scene is still difficult for me. In this shot, I cut off some of the sand toys. The exposure is a little dark. Despite the problems with this photo, I liked Kate’s expression, her hands squeezing the sand and the little truck. I knew that I could fix the exposure, use the Clone Stamp to erase the price sticker on the little truck and mask out the cropped sand toys.

Framing helps focus the eye on what is important on a page, in this case my granddaughter as she played in the sand with the toy truck. Below are highlights of the steps that I followed to create this page as I worked the new MultiMedia Frames No. 3.

Drag the layers of psd file 3 from MultiMedia Frames No. 3 onto a new document. Clip the photo to the fotoblendz mask and a copy of the photo to the stain. Add adjustment layers as needed to correct photo exposure. Clip solid paper 6 from ArtPlay Palette Swell above each photo layer on normal blend mode at 50% opacity. Mask out what you do not want covered with sand by adding a layer mask.

Note that I extracted my granddaughter from another photo copy and placed it below the solid paper 6 layer because I thought the appearance and shadowing looked better in that order. I also created a copy of the extraction’s mask for the paper. Order in the layers panel depends on how the layers blend together.

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Place transfer 7 from ArtPlay Palette Swell below the psd multimedia frame layers. Create another copy of the photo and place that below the transfer. Add a layer mask to the photo and blend into the background paper, solid paper 2, using AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 7 brushes. Clip a copy of solid paper 6 at 50% opacity to the photo layer and mask as needed. Stamp brush 3 from Oasis No. 2 on a layer below in a color to coordinate with the photo.

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Place another copy of the extraction and layer mask along with the adjustment layers above the frame. Use a round brush to adjust the extraction’s layer mask to reveal and/or hide parts covering the frame. Attach a layer mask to the frame’s shadow to lighten as needed.

Note that at this point I used the Clone Stamp to erase the distracting price sticker on the little yellow truck.
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Add overlays 2 and 3 and the art stroke from the ArtPlay Palette Swell to finish the background. Place png wooden word art 2 from Beach WordArt Mix 1 and add a subtitle as shown on the collection preview. Change the elements included with the frame as needed. In this case, I substituted the branch and sand pail charm from  ArtPlay Palette Swell and tied both down with png file 3 from ButtonThreadz 2. Add journaling.

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By using a frame on my page, I have focused on my granddaughter and hidden what was distracting in my photo. You might be wondering why I didn’t simply erase portions of the frame to achieve the out of bounds effect. One reason I prefer working with an extraction is because that allows me the option to add shadows to part of the photo and create more depth on my pages. As I explained in previous posts, Inspiration and Changing Focus and a Tip for Extractions, the effects created with shadows are not possible by erasing parts of a frame or blending.

I am not especially fast at creating my pages, but I finished this page in under two hours even with the extraction. Practice helps, especially if you know the different tools in Photoshop or PSE that are available for extractions.

Knowing how to extract from a photo, the selection tools available as well as how to refine extraction edges makes what appears difficult really very easy. Anna is offering a new course, ExtractTHIS, which is available at a 50% discount if you sign up for Flipping Clipping Live. At the moment, Anna’s site is down for maintenance, but if you email her, she will register you for classes. I don’t think that there is one best way to extract from a photo. My process depends on the photo, what I am trying to achieve and my comfort level with different options. Anna’s class is a wonderful opportunity for me to continue to refine my skills, especially important to me as extractions are definitely characteristic of my current style.

 

 

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