Sea Blue Lens


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Fun with Photoshop

I have been having the best time! The lovely Kim Klassen offered a free, 10-day mini-Photoshop class and I took her up on her generosity. It’s very, very basic — like how to use layers and layer masks and other such elementary things — but it’s been a revelation to me. And this despite my having used PS (self-taught) for nearly a dozen years at my work.

Somehow I always managed to get the job done, even though I knew I wasn’t really doing it “right.” I know this sounds like a shameless plug for Kim’s classes, but I have been truly impressed. I was learning new stuff from the very first lesson. It’s mostly the same things I was already doing in my own muddling way, but oh, so much easier now.

I’ve even tried textures. And while I still don’t totally get the texture thing, I have to admit it was fun and I can see its occasional usefulness. (I have a friend who’s probably laughing her head off right now. You know who you are.)

Here are a few samples of my “homework”:

I have so much more to learn. But I really enjoy Kim’s teaching style, so I’ve signed up for more. Her voice is calm and somehow comforting, and she makes it all seem so simple. She doesn’t even know me, but she tells me I can do this and I believe her.


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Something New

For the past few weeks, our Find Your Eye lessons have had us exploring our photographic inspirations and becoming familiar with our favorite subjects. This time, the assignment was to photograph a new subject – something different from our norm.

I take most of my photographs outdoors, of subjects as I find them, such as landscapes, trees, wildflowers, birds, old ruined buildings, and so on. So for this challenge, I decided that I would try still-life photography, deliberate setups that I would create in my own home and capture with available, natural light.

This seemed like the perfect plan, since with the predicted arrival of Hurricane Irene over the weekend, it didn’t seem a propitious time for an outdoor excursion, and I was happy to have a plan that didn’t require leaving home. Friday after work, I headed for the supermarket to stock up on bottled water, TP, and canned tuna . . . and fresh fruit and flowers for my photos-to-be.

Irene's rain

To set the mood . . .

Sunday morning dawned – or rather didn’t. I hadn’t reckoned on how dark it would be with the sky solidly overcast and rain coming down. I was actually dreading this whole session, to be honest, because it seemed so contrived and felt very awkward. But after some procrastination, I gathered together some odds and ends and headed upstairs to turn my bedroom into a temporary studio.

I thought I’d have trouble taking the required 100 photos of my new subject, but that wasn’t a problem. Once I got started, I had a blast arranging little vignettes and photographing them from various angles, then moving things around to try other ideas. I spent a couple of pretty intense hours taking almost 200 photos, and I never even got to the flowers. By that time I was hot, tired, and hungry, so I gathered everything up and went downstairs to refresh myself by consuming some of my props.

Here are three of my favorites from this photo shoot.

Sunday Morning

Pair + Pear

Lemon Lime

In the end, I loved this assignment, and I love some of the images I got. To my eye (ohmygosh, I do have one, don’t I?) they seem quite characteristic of the images I “find” when I’m out taking my normal sort of photos.

What do you think?

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