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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Corn Cob and Zinnias


We had a few ears of corn given to us a couple of years ago.

I decided to try and photograph the gift.

I took two cooking pans I had purchased earlier at a thrift store. I then took a few white zinnias from my garden and placed them in a red and white teapot. I cut some corn off of the cob and I started photographing.

About the only thing I did to this image was to take out a few blemishes from the wood and softened the image a bit.

Challenge for today:

This is summer. Start photographing some vegetables or fruit!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Love those Peonies


For today's image I am going to let you decide what you like.

The above image is what I call "a toned down image." If you would refer back to my posting of June 11, you would find what I term as a "wild" image. The flowers and the basic background of today's posting and the posting of June 11 are the same BUT the image of June 11 is a much wilder version of the above image.

Actually the above image has just enough of the added textured layer showing to give the image sort of a painted look. The colors and shape of the flowers and crock are completely in view. However, the shape and colors of the crock and flowers in the June 11 image are NOT nearly as identifiable as they are in today's image.

I'm not saying these images are "art".........and yet, people DO have a preference in what they like in art. And the good thing about photography and computers is that you have more of a chance to please the various tastes of viewers.

Challenge for today:

Try and turn a basic image into 2 images to please to two spectrums of viewers.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Bouquet


It really does help to know WHAT your plans are with an image AFTER you photograph it so you know how to set up the image.

I wanted an image that had some empty space for text.

So I photographed a clear vase/flowers against white poster board.

After I uploaded the image into the computer I chose a textured background and made it to be a layer. I then adjusted the layer's opacity so it added just enough color to make the total image interesting. But I didn't want the added texture/color to overpower the flowers and the text I would later add.

Challenge for the day:

Start a collection of colored poster boards - but start out with white.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bowl of Oatmeal and Raspberries


This day and age of digital photography it is much easier to really let the "inner you" come out. One of the main reasons for that is you don't have the film and processing costs to contend with anymore. Of course you may be one of those many individuals who have digital images converted over at Wal-Mart and actually printed out as pictures - BUT at least you have the option.

When you don't have to conserve on the actual costs of your photo taking session, then you are really free to explore the creative composition of your still life pictures.

A lot of times I find myself working around a theme in photos until I've grown tired of a particular type of images.

The above image was one of the results of a series I did with old crocks and food.

This image was done using an old dresser, old wood, old crocks, and fresh food.

I placed an old board down for the surface and placed some old boards against the dresser's mirror and used those old boards for the backdrop.

I arranged the old crocks and got out a newer bowl which had a cranberry colored lid. If you notice that cranberry lid goes well with the raspberries - especially that little one to the left the oatmeal bowl.

I actually did make up a bowl of oatmeal and then I got some frozen raspberries out of the freezer.

After I scattered some sugar and some raspberries on the old board, I was ready to start clicking away.

After I chose an image I liked and got it uploaded into the computer, I chose a background I had created made out of just colors and placed it as a layer onto the image I had just taken.

I then worked with the "color layer" and with the original image for awhile until I got just the right look - the wood used as the backdrop has a lot of the "color layer" and the rest of the image has a lot less of the "color layer."

Challenge for today:

Go ahead and photograph some food!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In Remembrance


When my father died at the age of 93, I decided to photograph some of the plants that were given in honor of him and use them as "thank you" cards.

You don't need to tell me that that type of thing sounds like a terrible thing to do. Yet, it really did help me in my grief by making something pretty out of the plants and it also occupied my time.

The above image was sent by a few of my dear co-workers.

I photographed the plant with some red books. (I thought the red in the flower would look prettier if the books were of the same color.)

The background was a very light colored blank wall. The wood behind the plant was an open door.

I placed one of my created backgrounds as a layer over the photograph and then I erased everything on the layer except I did allow the background to replace the blank wall.

The final image result looks like the plant is in front of a view of the sky.

And this is an image in memory of my father and the kindness of my friend's in my sorrow.

Challenge for today:

Remember that Father's Day is coming up. Photograph something that has happy memories that belongs in his past.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wild Peonies


This image IS different from yesterday's peonies, but I did use the same crock and the same window curtain as the background.

Peonies seem to demand to be shown as being delicate even if they are in a dark setting. So I worked up the image of these peonies in a delicate image by using Paint Shop Pro's arithmetic effect.

BUT....BUT....BUT....the above image is AFTER I used the arithmetic effect and after I darkened the arithmetic effect but BEFORE I did anything else and definitely before I started toning the image down.

Again let me explain what "arithmetic" means. In Paint Shop Pro you take 2 images of the same size. (I used the peonies image and then an image which was composed of strokes which were made up of random colors - done in Microsoft Photodraw.) Then in Paint Shop Pro you have a choice of 3 different arithmetic options: 1. an average of the 2 images, 2. the darkest of the 2 images, or 3. the lightest of the 2 images. (Actually there are other options, but I don't understand them.)

For the above image I did an average of the 2 images - this is the option I generally use.

Of course after I do the first arithmetic effect and the first initial darkening procedure I then start toning down the arithmetic effect. It just seems to me that the darkening of the arithmetic effect ends up helping the overall final result.

If you find yourself using the arithmetic effect in Paint Shop Pro you will find the first arithmetic version really comes out looking more like a wild painting (especially if you darken it).

Challenge for today:

Download a free trial version of Corel Paint Shop Pro .

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Peonies in a Crock


One of the neat things about peonies is that they have such large blossoms! It doesn't take too many to make you feel like you have a lot and when you actually have a lot......

I didn't plant these peonies, but I'm glad someone did. I do like white peonies; however, the pale pink peonies have such a delicate look about them.

In composing this picture, I used as the material a see through curtain I bought as some thrift store.

Since I wanted to make sure that the light colored peonies wouldn't fade in the background, I used the darker colored peonies and the sage(?) to help break the curtains from the rest of the flowers.

After I chose a picture I liked and got it uploaded into the computer, I made a layer out of another image I had worked on and pasted it on the peonies image. Then I worked with the layer and peonies photo a while.

When I finally got the right combination of layer and peonies, I printed the result out and admired it for awhile!

Challenge for today:

Go to a thrift store and look for some good cheap curtains you can later use.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Catalpa Tree Blossoms


I will keep on stressing the importance on using what you already have.

First off - when was the last time you saw an image of roses? Yesterday or just a couple of hours ago?

Why not start photographing items or flowers which most people overlook? Why not photograph some flowers/weeds that most people don't think are "worthy" of being photographed?

I chose the above catalpa tree blossoms because who else would. But in defense of the subject matter - the catalpa leaves are really big and the blossoms aren't too small.

I chose the clear round thrift store bowl because I thought it would be pretty.

My husband had a small old brown stained table. I sat the bowl of blossoms down upon the table.

I then brought out some large brown material to use as the background. With the table and the background being brown I thought it would make the shades of green in the leaves to really show up. To really make the blossoms show up I made sure that some of them were right in front of the dark brown background.

And that was the image - no special computer additions - just an image of some "plain catalpa leaves and blossoms."

Challenge for the day:

Photograph what is generally overlooked.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tea and Tea Roses


I have this sweater which is a really deep bluish/lavender color and has a lot of different raised color speckles on it.

For this particular photography hour I had 3 tea roses, a few grapes and some Coke to work with.

One of the important things in setting up still life photography is to try and make an image seem real and inviting. And it is hard to set up an image when you have limited props for it is ALWAYS better to have too many roses, too many grapes, etc.

And that really was the challenge here.

(Oh, I forgot....a different kind of challenge was because I was working with a sweater. The sweater is only about waist long and of course has sleeves. This all creates a limitation on how much material you have to use with the props.)

So with these different challenges, I finally got an image I like.

After I got it uploaded into the computer, I then added a layer which adds painting like textures. I then worked with the layer and the image until I got what I wanted. I then deepened the color to more of a blue because that seemed to go better with the yellow.

Challenge for today:

Though it is almost summer, get out those sweaters and photograph them with flowers.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Playing with Patterns


I purchased the vase used in these 2 pictures because
I thought it had an interesting

I also purchase a large roll of wallpaper which was on sale.

On two separate days about 3 weeks later I decided play with the vase and the wallpaper.

The image on the top is one
of the photographs I took
on the first day.

The image on the bottom is an image I took on the second day. And by the way, the background for the top photograph was a short brown winter jacket which belonged to my father. The jacket's brown corduroy material added an interesting texture to the photo - almost like the texture of wood.

Now that I have the 2 images posted, perhaps I should just start over and NEVER USE THE VASE AND THE WALLPAPER TOGETHER!!!!!

Challenge for today:

Experiment with patterns.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Depression Glass


Do you what to know what I see when I look at this image?

I see fake roses matching a flower bowel.

I also remember that the bowl was purchased at an antique shop very cheaply because there is a slight crack in the bottom which prevents it from holding any kind of liquid.

I see a teacup which really has Coke in it because I was as in a hurry to start photographing as usual and I didn't want to wait for the tea or coffee to brew.

And what I finally see is a tea bag which has a perfectly straight string.

(I remember from a long time back how I was raked over the coals by a really wise and famous photographer for having an EMPTY TEACUP in an image. Then I was rebuked for having a crook in the tea bag string - it detracted from the overall image.)

By now you must be thinking, "Why tell me all about this?"

Well, for reason number 1: you don't have to throw away an object like the bowl. Fresh flowers CAN live a short period of time without water....but you DO have to remember that there is a crack. Anyway, I purchased this bowl because I like the cut design on the glass. If there were flowers in the bowl, you wouldn't see the design.

Then for reason number 2: you really can use fake flowers if you position them wisely.

Now for reason number 3: follow through with what should be logical. A teacup is meant to have something in it and if you want it to be tea then a tea bag follows through with the overall idea of tea.

And by the way - look at the image for May 26 - but there may not be a tea bag in that image.

Challenge for the day:

Do some remembering.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fresh Eggs and Old Crockery


I'm still not used to having fresh eggs. And having fresh GREEN EGGS!!!!!! I just had to photograph the eggs.

So, I had some eggs.....what do I do to make an image using the eggs look at least believable? That is what I have said before, "I haven't seen any books on how to compose still life photos."

In my quest to make the scene likely, I decided to try and make what would seem to be an old fashioned setting.

I got out some old crockery, I placed some cocoa in a bowl, I got some chopped up walnuts from out of the freezer and placed them in an old nut chopper, placed a couple of old walnuts around, put a few chopped up nuts on the board I was using, scattered some sugar on the board, broke one egg, and then I was all set to photograph.

I think that the photograph does look realistic.

After I got the image I wanted, I went to my computer and added a layer to give it a painting look. I worked with the layer awhile and finally got what I wanted. I was done.

Challenge for today:

Try and photograph some food.