Sea Blue Lens


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On Being Still

I’ve mentioned before that I’m taking a class from Kim Klassen called Be Still – Fifty-two. We’re just past the halfway point, and this is sort of a catch-up post. I’ve been doing the lesson each week, but for various reasons, haven’t gotten around to publishing my results.

I’m pretty sure I’ve also mentioned before that still life is not a genre with which I feel comfortable. Doing setups for these lessons and “styling” a photograph is hard for me, and when I see the beautiful work done by other students, I feel that mine isn’t quite “right.” So I hesitate to put it out there.

OK, so that’s silly. First, it’s not a competition. Second, Kim encourages us to find and follow our own style, so there is no “right” that I should be worried about. And third, no one has ever been anything but kind and supportive about my photography. Therefore, after giving myself a good talking-to, I’ve just finished posting my “homework” for the past month or so to the class’s Flickr group, and thought I’d share a few of those images here.

White Pitcher Red AppleWhite Pitcher

Assignment: Create a photo inspired by a still life painting. My inspiration was a painting called White Vase by Neil Carroll. This was the first time I’ve tried photographing against a dark background like this.

DSC_7498Pear on Plate

Assignment: A composition using only two objects, such as a pear and a bowl.

DSC_7528Pair

Another take on the Two Objects challenge. As you can see, I’m rather captivated by that dark background effect.

Butter & Eggs Cooking for One

Assignment: A still life with butter and eggs. This one was fun. I’ve had that book for a long time, hoping for an opportunity to use it as a photo prop. And my daughter and I had to go antiquing to find the perfect butter dish, especially for this assignment.

Strong teaStrong Tea

Assignment: Square format, looking down, with two sides of the frame left open. This was  taken with my iPhone and processed with Laminar Pro.

And that brings me up to date, just in time for the lesson that arrived today!

Now, if I can just keep it up going forward . . . .

 


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Blurred Vision Part 2

Last month, Exploring With a Camera was about using blur creatively when taking photographs. This month, Artistic Blur Part 2 is about adding blur to images during post-processing.

I don’t normally do a lot of “creative” or special effects post-processing. I’m more focused (pardon the pun) on capturing what I see and getting my photos to be sharp. Why would I want to mess them up by making them blurry in post-processing?

Then I saw a couple of other people’s responses to this prompt and it looked like they were having fun, so I thought I might try it. I pulled a few images from my archives and started to play.

102_0206 alium seed headStarburst

This is an onion that had bloomed and gone to seed in the garden. I used Photoshop Elements to add a Radial Blur filter with a zoom effect.

DSC_0046In One Basket

This blur was added in Lightroom. In the original photo, the basket was sharp while the eggs were out of focus. I moved the clarity slider to the left (minus 71) and decreased the vibrance and saturation, which gave the image a soft overall glow that I liked.

101_0726 bird angelGarden Guardian

In PSE I added a layer of Gaussian blur to this little angel using the Linear Light blend mode. Then I added a filter layer of enlarged grain.

DSC_0123Flight

In this image, the background was already somewhat blurred due to the depth of field, but the bird was sharp. I tried several different effects and decided I liked this one best. I added a texture layer (Empty Page, a free texture from the lovely Kim Klassen) and then added a Palette Knife filter. I’m not completely satisfied yet and may try some other things with this one.

Here are the four images before I began playing with them:

Befores

I really enjoyed this exploration. I’ve already got a few more images in mind that I’d like to try some of these techniques with. Thank you, Kat, for all of the fascinating aspects of photography you’ve introduced me to through Exploring With a Camera.


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Scavenger Hunt: April Already?

Another week gone by — another month, too! I should be packing, but instead I’m playing with photos for Scavenger Hunt Sunday. I’ll go fill some boxes as soon as I’m done here, OK? OK! This week’s items were Clouds, Sun Flare, Seven, High Angle, and Low Angle.

Clouds:

An Ordinary Morning

I took this with my iPhone as I was walking from my car to the office, just because I loved those clouds.

Sun Flare:

Room With A View

Taken on impulse through my living room window. There’s a bit of moisture between the dual panes that adds to the flare effect. I’m going to miss my strange industrial water view when I leave here.

Seven:

And Then There Were Six

I was trying to think of what to do for this prompt. I went into the kitchen a little while ago to put away the eggs I’d hard-boiled, and suddenly thought, Hey, seven eggs! Unfortunately, one of them had already been breakfast. Oh, well.

High Angle:

Between Posts

Standing at the end of the dock, looking down and outward through these posts. They make me think of fingers, or the ribs of some giant, long-ago creature. I loved the ragged heights and odd angles and tried several shots. This was my favorite.

Low Angle:

Coming Attractions

This hillside will soon be covered in bright yellow. It will mean spring has arrived for sure!

So that’s me for another Sunday. Now, off to those boxes. Right after I call my sister. And maybe have some lunch.

.


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Out to Pasture

Golden Hour

I’ve hinted around a bit that there are going to be some changes in my life. I will be retiring at the end of April, and a month after that, I will be moving from Southern Maine to Southern California. I am anticipating my retirement with unadulterated delight. I’ve always been one who has worked to live, not the other way around. To have the time to pursue all of my many interests, including photography, is my idea of bliss.

The moving part of this scenario is a bit more complicated. I’m excited about the new prospect in front of me, but at the same time, I’m leaving behind much that is precious. It will be wrenching to move so far away from friends and family that I love dearly, and from this beautiful, unique place that has felt like home since the first time I saw it.

This is not the first time I have uprooted myself and moved far from the known and familiar. I am a native Californian and grew up in the West, so in a way this is a return to my roots. I will be moving close to others who are dear to me, and I’ll make new friends; I always do. (That doesn’t make parting from the old ones any easier, though.)

I’m moving from a small town here to a small town there, and I’m looking forward to exploring that community, getting to know people, and finding ways to get involved. And, of course, finding new subjects to photograph.

My new home will be very different. Instead of a river flowing past my windows, I will be gazing at this:

New Morning

Instead of seagulls and mallards, there’ll be hawks and quail.

Callipepla californica

Instead of buying eggs at the health food store across from my office, I’ll be collecting them myself from the hens that laid them.

The Girls

Instead of a rented apartment, I will be living in my own little cottage next door to my sister and her husband. It has a patio, and a garden, and an apple tree right outside my bedroom window.

Green Delicious

And a fireplace. A real fireplace! The whole cottage has been freshly painted in my choice of paint, and is just sitting there waiting for me to come and make it home.

I will miss my ocean sunrises. But I’ll have mountain sunsets to look forward to. And stars like I haven’t seen since I was a child.

And the Sun Sank Slowly . . . .

And there will still be an ocean. It will be farther away — an hour and a half instead of fifteen minutes — but close enough so I can visit when I’m feeling parched for the sight and sound of my beloved sea.

Atlantic Morning

Pacific Afternoon

The “Sea” in my name will be a different one, but I will still be me, and I’ll still be here.

Adventure awaits!