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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Completely Spring


Whether you have spring flowers or tree blossoms, there is a certain magic about getting out the camera and photographing something other than snow scenes.

For this image I just picked a bunch of spring blossoms and placed them in a clear jar.

I used a white blanket for the background and after I chose this image, I put the image in the computer and started working on it.

I had a background which had a lot of blue, yellow and a tinge of lavender. Since I wanted the final image to appear a little wild and yet, not too wild - I did quite a bit of manipulation. I did an arithmetic effect using PaintShop Pro and then I did a lot of layering and erasing.

All this is clear as mud....right? I thought so.

Well, anyway....the result is that the background is wilder looking than the flowers and the vase and yet, the flowers and vase still look like they have been painted.

I finally got the result I wanted.

Challenge for today:

Keep in mind what kind of spring flowers you'll want to photograph next year and plan on planting some of them this fall.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tiger Lilies and Butterflies


The particular background material I used in this image has been packed away. I come across it now and then but I'll have to think hard before I use it again. As a sheet, the butterflies and flowers are really pretty, but the butterflies and flowers do make the image busy. Yet, I do like the image.

After I settled for this photo and got it into the computer, I decided to try and diminish the busyness in the background. And guess what I used to try and diminish the overpowering background? I got out one of my created backgrounds and made it as a layer on the photograph. By adjusting the opacity of the layer just right, I was able to kinda tone down the butterflies and flowers on the sheet.

Now when I look at the image I primarily see a LOT of lilies and a lot of color!

Oh, by the way, since I was using a clear vase I made sure that the "water line" in the vase was near the top and wasn't way down in the middle of the vase.

Challenge for today:

Use a sheet for the background of some photograph.

Thursday, May 28, 2009



Sometimes the vase and flower helps to decide if the photo should be dramatic or kinda fun.

When I picked the peonies and looked around for a vase I decided to use a gold colored one. Then I decided to make the photo dramatic. With this in mind I used a very dark gray cloth to use as the backdrop. I took off the light colored cloth I had on the table top...and I was all set.

I took a lot of different photos - some with books - some without the books. Though there were a few I really did like, I decided to work on this one.

Once I got the image into the computer I placed a background layer which I had created earlier on top of the image. Then I adjusted the opacity until just a little bit of the background layer was showing. I DID NOT WANT the background layer to overpower the already dramatic look for the image!

Challenge for today:

Plant some flowers today that you can photograph later this year. It still isn't too late!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spring Blossoms


It really is hard to get enough blossoms and such into an image to give a feeling of abundance! (That is why I am really trying to get a lot of flowers planted which will bloom from summer till fall.)

Anyway, I had a few late blooming daffodils but not a whole lot....thank goodness I had a lot of tree and shrub blossoms.

I generally like one color vases, but I fell in love with the above tin. I guess I liked the yellow gold and green color combination. (What I don't like about the tin is that it has a handle on each side. Almost every time I photograph this vase I try to hide the handles, but sometimes it just isn't possible.)

Now back to the image. I photographed it against a white background. Then when I got it into the computer I created a layer out of a background I had previously created. I chose enough of a opacity of the layer so you could SEE the layer, but still the flowers and vase are the main objects in the image - NOT THE BACKGROUND LAYER.

Challenge for today:

Look around for some unusual colored vases.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tea Roses?


Well you could dig around in your collection of fake flowers, if you have one. If you don't, I would highly suggest that you get at least a small collection.

There are many stores which carry artificial flowers and of course, there are the thrift stores. Also Hobby Lobby sometimes offers really good prices for their wide selection of flowers. Of course there are many flowers which are highly expensive - but you can use them over and over and you really don't have to go the expensive route.

The above image was taken to help me beat the winter blues and to help calm my soul. My father was exhibiting signs of a type of dementia which made it necessary that someone always was home with him. And photography was an easy outlet to help my mind escape even though I was at home as a care giver.

I had purchased some depression glass at a local antique store and since the above pieces actually did pretty well in matching in color, I decided to photograph them with some fake roses which kinda went with the color scheme.

I place everything on white material so I could easily work with the image after I got it into the computer.

After I chose the above layout and got it into the computer, I found a background I had earlier worked up and made it a layer. I then worked with the image and the layer and finally got that "I can live with this" result. I then went into Photoshop Elements 3 and used a special effect to get the above final result.

Challenge which is ongoing:

Keep in mind to be at least somewhat on the lookout for good buys on artificial flowers.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wedding Dress and White Roses


The past couple of weeks I've posted images I did while playing around with some curtains with white roses on them, real white roses, and a white crock.

During the month of May in 2002 I did the above image and decided that was the one I liked the most.

Then because my boyfriend loved roses, I used the above image as a birthday card for him.

Then on Memorial Day we got engaged!

In the background you can see some material which is wrapped behind and beside the crock of flowers. That is a used wedding dress which was given me in the early 90's. And I used that as MY wedding dress.

I know it is fairly common for people to print out their own wedding invitations. So, I worked on the image quite a bit and printed out my own invitations. However, MY wedding invitation had my own wedding dress on it!

Challenge for today:

If you have anything which pertains to a wedding, try photographing it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blue, Orange and Green


As far as I know there are NO instructional books written on the placement of items in a still life image. Everything is by trial, error, experiments, and just keeping at it.

I thought the above colors would go well together.

It was the "how do I place everything together" which was hard. So I just took a whole lot of different arrangements and settled on this one. It just "felt" right.

There was no smudging done to this image. But I did soften it a little.

Challenge for today:

Try and do an image combining fruit and flowers or vegetables and flowers or a combination of them all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

City Garden


When you are in a garden there isn't much you can do to PLAN a photo. All you can really do is try and control the lighting and try not to get anything in the image that doesn't belong there.

I have a friend who has a wonderful garden and this was just a wonderful setting!

With the daisies in the foreground and the foxglove in the background (I think) this is a delicate photo shoot.

I don't know why I did a special photo treatment with this image, but I did. By using Microsoft's PhotoDraw I did an antique look.

All in all, I am satisfied with the gentleness of the photo.

Challenge for today:

Ask your friends if they have flowers they want photographed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Magnolia Blossoms


I love magnolia blossoms. I think they are one of the prettiest tree blossoms around. But I don't have a magnolia tree and unfortunately they are one of the first blossoms to get hit hard by the freezing weather.

A friend of mine from work DID have a tree and I went over and gathered up just a few blooms.

When I got home I placed the blooms on a gold colored serving dish which really works well when I want something to have a reflection - like the above blooms.

The only changes in this image is I made the photo darker and took out my favorite smudge tool to make it more like a painting.

Challenge for today:

Find something that you can place objects on that would work well in showing reflections.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

White Roses and Jewelry


I got the idea of mixing the roses and the jewelry as I was photographing the roses in the little gold colored vase (or whatever you want to call it).

And since I had the fake pearl necklace and the barrette was also made out of fake pearls.......

Well anyway, I thought the white of it all would look well with the white roses.

I actually used as the background for this picture some dark brown material which has a slight pattern on it. The material is very wide and long - probably about the same size of a twin sized bedspread.

Over a period of several days, I took many different poses of this image. Then what normally doesn't happen did. I had a hard time choosing which image to use. But I finally settled on the above photo.

After I got the image into my computer, I took a very dark background I had created and placed it as a layer on the image. I adjusted the opacity so just a slight amount of the added layer was showing.

Challenge for today:

Why not go to a thrift store and shop around for some inexpensive jewelry you could photograph.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What a Memory of Roses


A good way to make a memory a "good memory" is to photograph it.

The above image has many elements.

To start off - my husband gave me some roses.

I took many different pictures of the roses and settled on one image I liked.

I then added to the image a background that I had created and made some adjustments on the opacity of the background layer.

I then did some smudging to the image.

I then printed the image out to 11 x 14 in size. I then placed the printed out image into the frame.

The roses in the foreground were the actual roses in the "framed painting." Of course the roses were 1 or 2 days older. I can't remember how long it took me to get the picture ready to photographed in the frame.

The hardest thing about this image AFTER it was framed was getting the actual frame to be straight so I could photograph it! You can't imagine how hard it was and how many pictures I took before I settled on this one.

Challenge for today:

Keep on thinking about photographing a photograph!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tulips in a Row


Here are 3 tulips and like I said in a previous posting tulips just aren't known for cooperating. They like to lean or flop over. In this case, none of the three tulips have a really pretty bloom....but.....

I looked in my records and I took 2 different poses of these tulips. One of the poses was on that colored plate/dish I spoke of earlier and then I took this photo.

I think what really makes this image at least decent is the background I used after I got the photo into my computer AND by smudging everything in the picture.

Anyway, I really like the softness of this image.

Challenge for today:

Take a photo of some flowers and then use the smudge tool in some photo software.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Still Not Quite Wedding Flowers


Well I told you last week that I would post an image for the next few weeks leading up to THE IMAGE THAT I USED FOR MY WEDDING INVITATION!

Well, this isn't it, but I'll be posting it in a few more weeks.

Now back to the image.

Last week I explained all about getting the props and how I took a lot of photos with different poses, different flowers, etc.

Nothing has been added in this image except for general clean up of some scratches, dust, etc.
I really do like this photo and if I had entered it into competition I would have named it, "Waiting in the Wings."

Challenge for the day:

Nothing except enjoy yourself.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bradford Pear Blossoms in Blue Vase


The above image is what I finally settled on.

I first off photographed the white blossoms in the blue vase and thought a yellow background would look good. However the yellow scarf background was not big enough so I had a "draped" yellow scarf and a yellow dress was in the foreground.

When I got the image into the computer the shading and draping of the scarf just didn't look quite what I wanted.

So, I started off smudging all of the yellow in the image. Then I chose a background I had worked on previously and placed that background on the image as a layer. Then I ended up going for a "wild" look. I left enough of the draping of the yellow scarf because when I completely hid the draping of the scarf it looked like the vase was sitting in mid air.

I like this picture because it REALLY DOES LOOK LIKE A PAINTING. But it wasn't my original idea!

Challenge for the day:

See how the draping of material can alter the look of an image.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Wedding Bouquet


A couple at our church got married and left two vases of flowers.

So I took the opportunity the day or so after the wedding to go back to the church and photograph the flowers.

You can't believe how hard it is to photograph arrangements of flowers without making them look like they are just "occupying space."

I place the two vases together so there would be an abundance of blooms. I also wanted to show off the bows so I had the vases together yet each is sorta separate from the other. The same with the plants stands. I staggered them a bit.

Then when I got home I got one of my created backgrounds and worked with it in the image to give the whole image of sense of being a painting.

The family was thrilled with the result!

Challenge for each day:

See what opportunities you can grab in getting extra flowers to photograph.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day


My husband's mother died when he was in his 30's. I never knew her, but I hear she was wonderful.

This is one memory of her he treasures and really, I just photographed this as a last thing.

When I was on my 2nd roll of film and only had 2 shots left, I decided to place this on the table I had been working on.

You can see the results.

Please, treasure your mother today and always.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Floral Basket with Book


I like this photo because the colors of the basket and the colors on the scarf match up SO WELL!

But I have a question to ask and I want your opinion......

As a photograph is this image "too busy" because of the pattern on the scarf conflicts with the flowers in the basket?

So I am asking your opinion....is this image too busy?????

Friday, May 8, 2009

Antique Iris


I have many different versions of this - some more green and some less old fashion looking. But I chose to present this image.

I placed the the 3 flowers on a light background. Then when I got a pose I enjoyed I scanned it into my computer. (This was before my digital camera.)

I chose a background I had created earlier and set to work using the arithmetic tool in Paint Shop Pro. When I got just the right look, I quit. This image has no smudging - just working with the arithmetic tool and layers.

Challenge for the day:

See what blossoms you can bring inside and place on some light material and just photograph the flowers.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Not Quite Wedding Roses


The reason I brought this photo out of storage is that in the next few weeks I will be showing a few more photos of the same objects but in different poses.

You see one of the images I finally worked on, I gave to my boyfriend for a birthday card. And it later became my wedding invitation.

But, now I am going far beyond what I want to at this moment. So stay tuned....for later on I'll work my way to the rest of the story.

Now, more about the image.

First, notice the roses on the background material. Normally it would be too busy for a photo, but when I saw the curtains at a thrift store I fell in love with the pattern. (Take a peek at the other material draped down behind the crock and flowers. At a later date I'll reveal the importance of that material.)

(Though I knew I was taking a chance when I bought the curtains, I never knew how important they would later serve me.)

Now on to the flowers.

A week before Mother's Day in 2002, a friend invited me to go floral shopping with her at a nursery. I ended up purchasing 2 large rose plants that had an abundance of blossoms.

I took the rose bushes home and picked some of the flowers off the bushes to photograph. I placed some of the roses in a crock that belonged to my grandmother. Over a period of several days I photographed many different versions of the roses, various vases and background materials. (The rose bushes never survived once I planted them.)

In my estimation this is not a good photo and I never have done anything with it....but like I said, I later took an image that became my wedding invitation. So, I'm letting you see one of my "practice shots" which I chose not to use.

So continue reading this blog because before the end of this month, you will actually see the image I used for my wedding invitation. AND YOU'LL FIND OUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE OTHER MATERIAL I MENTIONED.

Challenge for the day:

Sit back and smell the roses.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Watcher of the Flock


Yeah, I know many phones have photography options, but nothing like having a good camera with you.

I had gone with a friend to a reproduction of an 1800's farming community.

Maybe it was the mood I was in or something, but I took very few photos.

Out of the whole trip two things made an impression in my mind.

One, there was this farm cat and a huge barn! I had never seen a cat catch a mouse before, but I had a chance to witness it. It was fascinating! However, I never got a photo! I waited too long...I was waiting for the right shot....

One moment the mouse was in the cat's mouth....the next minute....the cat placed it on the ground.....the next minute it was in the cat's mouth with the tail hanging out.....and then the mouse was gone.....and I mean gone....the cat swallowed the mouse whole!!!!!!!!

And two, I later caught up with the cat as it was watching the chickens. This time I quickly took the picture.

Like I've said before and like you also know....sometimes you have to work around the objects you want to photograph. There was no way I could remove the wire/boards and I couldn't make the cat move closer to the chickens or the chickens move closer to the cat.

So, I shot the picture and later went into Microsoft Photo Draw and did a special effect to kinda make the wire and boards look a little softer.

And that is the story behind this picture.

Challenge for the day:

Get in closer to the world of your animals and photograph them!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Roses for My Husband


My husband was sick and out of town and I was going out of town to spend the weekend with him.

Since he was ill, I didn't think that we would accomplish very much during our visit. So I stopped in a small town and purchased some roses which were on sale at a floral shop.

Then during the weekend while my husband felt miserable, I had fun photographing the roses I bought him.

Keep in mind when you are photographing anything it is always wise to use different layouts/props. You never can tell which image will turn out the best. (Actually I did photograph these roses on a light colored blanket and it received a score of 91 in a 4 state photographic competition. But that's another posting for this blog.)

Now back to the above image. After I photographed this image I later did some smudging and the image was done!

Challenge for the day:

Look in your closets and view your clothes and bedding as potential props!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pink Zinnia on Pastel Plate


And why not photograph a flower with it?

I got this large serving glass platter at a thrift store. Around the platter there was a flower pattern which consisted of yellow, blue, and pink colors.

I used this platter many different times with different flowers, but there was always the challenge of where to place the flower(s) in relation to the colored flowers on the platter.

On the above image I decided to place the pink zinnia on top of the blue platter flower.

It looked pretty good and when I got an image I liked, I smudged it a bit.....

And there I got a "fresh flower" platter.

Challenge for the day:

Take stock of possible kitchen dishes you could use with flowers.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Antique Doll


When you go to a friend's house sometimes you don't want to make a big deal out of wanting to photograph something. And this was an instance here.

I had gone over to my "adopted mother's house." (My own mother died when I was 21.) There was this very interesting doll up above my head sitting on a shelf in front of the window and there was this potted plant, etc.

I just couldn't resist taking several photos and I didn't disturb anything.

Later I added a background to give the image a lot of "character" and to put some color into what was just a clear window pane.

My adopted mother loves this image and often reminds me that this was a doll SHE played with when she was little.

Challenge for the day:

Mother's Day is right around the corner. Perhaps you can photograph something that has some memory for that dear person in your life.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Calla Lilies


We have a tradition at church - you can order flowers for Easter Sunday in memory of someone. The flowers are brought in for Palm Sunday and you get to take your flower home on Easter.

Well, I offered to photograph a flower for a lady. BUT I COULDN'T FIND A DECENT WALL TO PLACE THE FLOWER IN FRONT OF.

I ended up photographing it against a blue wall and then I went home and made MAJOR CHANGES.

I turned the blue into white, put in a layer of a colored background of my own creation and then I pretty much smudged the whole image.

It was a very trying experience!

But I like the way it turned out!

Challenge for today:

Photograph some flowers against a "white" wall.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Geraniums Standing in the Pink


When you need green stuff in a vase, honeysuckle vine drapes gracefully downward. At least that is what I think. Also, when you are photographing into the early winter months you can still go outside and get some of the vine - it stays green fairly long.

Now, back to the image.
Let me explain something. You really don't have to have a room dedicated to still life photography. (But it sure helps.)

Let me explain my main photographing room in my other house before I moved.

My previous room was something smaller than 11 x 12. That room had a large computer desk, 2 small tables for other printers, etc. A rather large closet, a 4 foot low bookcase and 2 tall 36 inches wide bookcases. The room had 2 east windows with a short space between the 2 windows and then it had 2 south windows which were side by side. The windows had venetian blinds which were great!

And this was my main photography room!

Now, back to the above image.

The pink flowers were geraniums and of course the green stuff is the honeysuckle vine. I placed a small fold up table underneath the south windows and draped a pink fancy thrift store dress beneath the vase.

I had to use one of my background creations to hide the painting imperfections on the window sill panes.

I kinda like this image because it seems so light.....even sorta fluffy.

Challenge for today:

Look at your surroundings and see if you can kinda create a photography room.