Tuesday’s Monochrome Madness

Peace Lily in Black and white

Peace Lily in Black and white 

It’s Tuesday, and I am preparing my image for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness Week 52. For 52 weeks now Leanne has been hosting a blog post featuring monochrome images from different photographers from around the world. Working my way through the gallery each week has been inspirational, so many great images, so many great blogs!

I have to admit, with all the travelling we have done I have been a little hit and miss, and over the last couple of weeks I have missed more than I have contributed to the post. So I offer Leanne this lovely Peace Lily, a heart felt congratulations for a job well done, and a big thank-you for introducing me to so many great photographers and bloggers. The world seems a little smaller, and people a little more connected through her work.

If you fancy black and white photography head on over to her blog and check out some of the other contributors and I have a link to some of the images and past blog posts for Monochrome Madness.

you can find me on Facebook if you would like to follow the blog there.

Morning Coffee Still-life

Morning Espresso in a Green Glass cup, the perfect way to start the day

Morning Espresso in a Green Glass cup, the perfect way to start the day 

Yes another cup of coffee! I love my morning coffee! I think there are so many ways to serve and of course photograph a cup of coffee. I love these little green glass cups, almost as much as the coffee that is served in them, or maybe because of the warm dark aromatic liquid it holds.

It has been a busy couple of weeks, getting home after months travelling around, spending time with family and friends. It has been a wonderful few weeks, and there are still so many friends to re-connect with. All this has taken time, and while I believe there is always time for coffee with a friend, it is now time to building a new routine that involves the camera, and taking photos.

I have enrolled in Kim Klassen’s Be-Still 52, she describes it as a year of artful inspiration, each week there is a new lesson, and new inspiration for still-life photography. I want to spend a little more time learning to photograph still-life images; little vignette’s of my day to share with you.

Spring Flowers; After-Before Friday

Cherry Bloosoms in Spain

Cherry Bloosoms in Spain 

The Cherry trees were starting to bloom while we were in Spain, I couldn’t resist taking several images of the tiny buds and flowers. Now that I am back in Canada, home of the ice and snow it is nice to have these images to look at. I know that sometime in May I will have another opportunity to photography the lovely spring flowers!

It is friday and time for an after-before blog post. This is where I describe a little of my editing process. Some image on the blog have very little work done, others have way to much work, it all depends on the photo and what I want the final image to look like.

Here is the image that I started with……

spring blooms before

spring blooms before 

I edited the photo in Photoshop; the first step was to crop and remove the distracting branches in the bottom of the frame. Next I applied a Florabella Action called Soft Color Pop. Florabella has some great actions, templates and textures, I don’t use them a lot, but always fun to play a little. The action I used had a reduce red layer, and I masked the flowers to keep the nice pink color. I liked what the action did for the flowers, but it really washed out the nice blue sky.

Rather than mask the action to bring back the sky I thought I would add a textured layer, something that would add the blue with a painted quality.  I have a folder of textures I have collected over the years, from the internet artists like Kim Klassen, as well as painted papers, cement and stone walls, fabric, scrapbooking paper, I have photographed myself. The textured I decided to use was a soft blue painted paper. The edges of the blue paper is a little darker and has a little more texture than the center of the frame, this worked perfectly for the flowers. I sent the blend mode to darken, and the opacity at 80%.

There you have it, my custom-made spring flowers. I would love to hear from you if you have questions or comments regarding my process or photography. You can find more of my work on Instagram, or we can connect on Behance  If you would like to see more after-before images head on over to Stacy Fischer’s Virtual Venturing blog

Tulips in Black and White

Tulips

Tulips 

we have been busy getting our lives organized here in Calgary, I am not sure where the time goes, but my routine for photography, blogging, exercise, and reading seems to have gone right out the door!

I hope you enjoy the tulips, I am hoping to start back into photographing at least one still life a week! I think that should be feasible?!

Drop a line, let me know what you think of the tulips. Share the post with your friends if you like it, and you can find me on instagram if that is where you like to hang out to look at pretty pictures!

Soaking up the Sun

Soaking up the sun

Soaking up the sun 

Just last Wednesday we were soaking up the Sun near Cancun Mexico! Today we are in Calgary and it is snowing! It isn’t that I mind the snow, but I do have to say that I prefer the warm sunny beaches of Cancun to the slushy streets of Calgary.

The lizard sat very still, watching me as I inched closer and closer, I wanted to see how close I could get before he bolted, as he did shortly after this image was taken. I was using the Canon 70-200 lens.  I am pretty happy with the image I did get.

Praia la Rocha, Portimao Portugal

Praia la Rocha, Portimao Portugal 

We have been home in Calgary for a couple of days now, well home but still homeless! We don’t get possession of our own house until end of May, but we have a roof over our heads, and a soft bed to sleep in thanks to my lovely daughter.  It seems there are many things to get organized, like a phone, cloths from the storage locker, and seeing all of our friends.

This image was taken during our visit to Portimao Portugal, almost one year ago, March 9th 2014 to be exact. It was the beginning of our epic journey through Europe.

We have only had sporadic internet service over the last 2 weeks, it has been a real holiday from photography and blogging! Now it is time to get back into the routine. Tuesday I am going to be dedicating to black and white, or monochrome images, and contribute to Monochrome Madness hosted by Leanne Cole, she has been hosting this weekly blog for 51 weeks now.

Chicxulub Mexico

IMG_0246

We enjoyed our little holiday with Mom and Dad, walking along the beach, resting and relaxing. Plenty of time to watching the birds fishing in the waves, search for sea shells and get over my cold.
Time now to head to the freezing North we call home, to figure out what to do or maybe even where to go next.

I have been sick

IMG_0238
I think all the travel and time in airports has caught up with me, I now have a cold, and I have been laying low for the last few days.
Today we leave for Mexico and the place we are staying has no internet, updates will be sporadic and brief!
I wish you well.

After-Before One Photo Focus

after-before one photo focus; after image; photographer Manual Ali

after-before one photo focus; after image; photographer Manual Ali

It’s Friday and that means the After-Before Forum, this week we have a group challenge. In fact the first friday of each month will be a group challenge, One photographer will share an image and each of us will process the image, sharing on our blog our processing interpretation.

The image this month is from Manual Ali, I have to admit that I know nothing about this photo, I don’t know where it was taken, or what was of interest to the photographer,  his raw image is below, and below that I describe my process.

Manual Ali, before image

Manual Ali, before image

The challenge of processing any image is deciding what features to draw out, and what story is to be told. When I looked at Manual’s image I immediately saw a main street of a small city in the midwestern United States, while this is a modern city, I wanted to give it a 1960’s look. I wanted to reduce the tree branches come from the top right corner  and correct the perspective (keystone) of the lamp-post and buildings.

Working in Photoshop, camera raw, I used the auto lens correction, once this was done, I turned to Nik Analoge Efex Pro 4 software to produce the old photo!  Nik Analogue Efex Pro 4 has many options, so many that it is worth an afternoon just exploring their effects on a photo if you have the time! I knew the look i wanted so I went straight to Wet Plate #6. The screen shot below;

Screenshot 2015-01-25 17.41.35

One the right side of the screenshot you can see there are several areas to make adjustments, and personalize the image as needed.  i moved the Bokeh to the bottom right hand corner, keeping the building in focus and the rest of the image out of focus. This adjustment feature is similar to the tilt shift blur filter in Photoshop. Once the adjustments have been make and I was happy with results I hit the “okay” button, this brings the photo back into Photoshop as a separate layer. I changed the blend mode on this layer to color dodge. “The color dodge blend mode brightens the base color to reflect the blend color by decreasing contrast between the two, while lending with black produces no change”   I found the information regarding blend modes on the adobe.com pages,  I provided a link just in case you wanted to learn more about blend modes. For the purpose of this image, it reduced the branches that I found distracting.

If you visit Stacy Fischer’s After-Before One Photo Focus page you will find several different versions of the image, each photographer interpreting the image from their own perspective drawing out the features that they saw as important. This exercise is meaningful to me for several reason, first I get to see how others might interpret the image, it is enlightening to see what others have seen, we don’t always get that when we are working on different images. As well we learn about their process, each photographer has different software, and skill level, and I become more sensitive to alternative processes, learn tips and trick I might not have thought of on my own, and finally I hope to get some useful feedback on my process.

I hope you will hop on over to Stacy’s blog for a look at what the other photographers have done with the image.

In transit

In transit