The Painter and the Ponte Vecchhio, Florence Italy: Monochrome Madness week 48

Painting the River Arno; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

Painting the River Arno; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015 

I have been travelling back in time, going through my (many) photo files, finally finding time to process a few that were take last October while we were in Florence. So many wonderful memories of our time in the city. Wandering the streets, getting lost in the laneways! I use to love walking along the river pathways, so much to see.

Buskers and mimes of all descriptions providing enterainment, vendors selling just about everything a tourist might want to take home, tourist reading guide books, taking photos, and getting lost. One of my favourites to watch was the various artists who set up their easel and begin to work. Watching them transform a plain white piece of paper or canvas to the scene in front of us is both magical and inspiring.

It is Tuesday, and Leanne Cole has her weekly Monochrome Madness blog, if you like black and white photography head on over to her page and check out some of the image submitted by the other photographers.

Sunny Saturday at Malaga Beach

BBQ on Malaga Beach; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

BBQ on Malaga Beach; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015 

It is Saturday, and it sunny, so I expect the beaches and the beach bbq restaurants near the Malaga Beach will be busy at lunch time. Sardines on a stick, the heat and smoke rising from the pit. I am not one to eat fish very often, but this looks worth a try.

What do you think? have you been tempted to try a new food or a new recipe recently? I find that when I travel, break my usual routine I am more likely to try something on the menu. Over the last year, travelling around to different countries, the menu’s not always in English, I have at time surprised myself! I realized after the food arrived I had no idea what I was going to get. I don’t care how they cook tripe or sweetbread I cannot eat them!

We are off to the beach today, maybe I will try a Barbecued Sardine, I haven’t yet decided………..

The Statue of David; Florence Italy

Seeing David; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Seeing David; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

Looking back through the many photos taken over the last year, and found this image of the Statue of David.

Standing inthe Piazza della Signoria, a replica of the statue of David, one of the most recognized works of Renaissane art. The Piazza is filled with visitors, all snapping away with their cameras,  getting photos of the buildings, the different scuptures around the square and of course themselves and their friends.

As a tourist and visitor I want to document our time in a city, and the sights that we visit, but I also want to find a creative way to photograph the scene that is photographed hundrends of times a day!  The statue of David created by Michelangelo in the early 1500’s and became a symbol of strength and beauty. The shadow shows the pose and translates those qualities without having to see all the statue.  I used the square format to remove any distractions from the frame.

Many people I know purchase postcards, because they will “never get a picture that pretty” themselves. My great aunt use to purchase slides that were sold at all the tourist shop, many many years ago as a memory of where she had been and what she had seen. I remember looking at those slides when I was a little girl, maybe she planted that seed to travel and take photos!

When you travel, do you take photos that tells a story about where we you were?

The Mosque Cathedral for Monochrome Madness Week 47

The Mosque Cathedral, Cordoba Spain

The Mosque Cathedral, Cordoba Spain 

Last week I showed you the Mosque Cathedral, here is a view from the Mosque area into the Cathedral. While the Mosque is lite with small lights in the traditional candle holder hanging from the ceiling the Cathedral is lite by large windows in the dome. You can see the dramatic difference.

There is a man standing near the left side of the frame, his presence gives a sense of size. He is difficult to see with the lighting, and of course this size of image; his feet planted flatly on the ground, but his head is tilted up as he is looking towards the arches and the ceiling, trust me when I say there is a look of awe on his face. The mix of architecture, the size, the detail in the paintings and carvings, and the fact that some of this has been around for at least a 1000 years is impressive, even daunting. Impossible to show in a single image, and for me impossible to describe in a few short sentences. If you get a chance you should visit the Mosque Cathedral for yourself.

I have submitted the image for Monochrome Madness, a weekly blog post by Leanne Cole, she is up to Week 47. Forty-seven continuous weeks on monochrome images submitted by various photographers around the world. For me it keeps me thinking and processing, at least, some images in black and white. Hop on over to her blog to see more black and white images.

Praia da Rocha, Portimao Portugal

 Praia da Rocha_ Portimao Portugal; jmeyersforeman 2014

Praia da Rocha_ Portimao Portugal; jmeyersforeman 2014

We visited Portimao the first part of March last year, and I managed to get some image of the wonderful Prais da Rocha beach posted before, but now I have had sometime to got back through last years images and see what they would look like as black and white.

I love the long sandy beaches, the reflections of the big rocks in the water, and wide shallow surf. It was not sunbathing weather, so there were only a few people strolling on the beach, the stromy clouds and the brisk wind  were doing there best to keep people indoors! It is perfect light for landscape photography.

It is tuesday once again, and Leanne Cole is hosting her Monochrome Madness post, if black and white photography interests you, head on over to see what has been offerred up this week for our enjoyment.

Daisies on the kitchen table

Daisies on the kitchen table; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Daisies on the kitchen table; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

This is the first time in almost a year that we have been in one place long enough to warrant buying flowers, and the flower market in Malaga is lovely. We have been here for almost three weeks and I have brightened up the little apartment with potted herbs, and fresh flowers. I bought candles to light during dinner, a couple of  pieces of art to set on the shelf and a beautiful table-cloth. Some might say I am ready for a few of the comforts and pleasures of a home.

I have also started one of Kim Klassen’s online photography course called BeStill_fiftytwoKim calls it a year of still life inspiration. I have followed Kim’s blog for quite sometime, occasionally using her textures in my work, and her photography as inspiration. I thought it was a good time, after a year almost a year of travel and photographing everything in front of me, to explore, something a little quieter. Kim has a wealth of information about using textures, layers and Lightroom to share in her classes, and she has a gentle and calm approach that is inspiring. I am sure I will learn a lot.

Sundays mornings are quite here in Malaga, and it is raining, so our morning walk will be a little different and I am curious to see what Malaga is like in the rain. How are you going to spend your Sunday, what is inspiring you?

Malalga Beach, Malaga Spain

Malaga Beach; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Malaga Beach; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

We have been having some quiet afternoons on the beach reading and enjoying the sunshine.

Enjoying Malaga Spain.

Lady with Umbrella at the Flea Market, Paris France – after-before forum

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; after;  copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

if you have been ready the blog for a while you will know that we love to visit the different street markets. while we were in Paris the weather was a little drizzly and cold. Our lady with the umbrella was all set for the weather.

What started out as an exercise in street photography quick became an exercise in photo editing, and I thought it would be another good post for the after-before forum.  While there were many things about the original image that I like there was much I didn’t like, here is the original image.

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; before; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Mostly it was the cluttered distracting background that I wanted to minimize. The photo editing was all done in Photoshop, I am sure there are many ways to do the same thing, Photoshop is the software I am most familiar with.

My first step is to duplicate the background layer, working on a duplicate layers allows means I am saving the original as it was, if I don’t like what I have done I can delete the layer or simply go back and start again. Working on a duplicate of the background and using a combination of the healing brush and patch tool I eliminated the tree branches and buildings in the background as well as the tag on her umbrella.

Once I had cleaned up the “sky” or top portion of the picture I duplicated the cleaned up layer, and using the tilt-shift blur tool blur the background.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 10.28.27

once this is done I press okay and the blurred image is on a separate layer in Photoshop. Using a mask on the layer I can mask over the areas of the umbrella and lady’s jacket eliminating the blur layer and allowing the layer below to show through. For those of you who want to learn more about layers and masks check out YouTube or Adobe Help

Next I added a cloud layer over entire image, with the layer blend mode set to Darken at 64% opacity, this created some depth and texture through the image. I did mask off the lady on the umbrella and I wanted this part of the image to be bright and clear.  Next I created a black and white adjustment layer, to create a black and white image. Locking the layers together I brought the image into Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4 and using the Darken/Lighten Centre adjustment layer, placing the center on the lady’s face to lighten the area under her umbrella and place a small vignette around the edge of the image. This draws attention to the lady’s face.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 11.29.48

Above you can see the Nik Software and adjustments that I made. I wasn’t happy with the “glow’ around the umbrella so once back in Photoshop I selected the sky area, duplicated it to a separate levels adjustment layer I brightened the sky finally getting to the final image you see above.

I have learned a lot doing this, writing it all done, keeping track of the steps, writing the blog post.  In most cases I have an idea of just what the final image will look like, and I sort of know how to achieve the outcome.  It is still a lot of experimenting with the software, a little like doing a Rumba with Photoshop. One step forward, back, circle around, step forward again, and after a few minutes we have something we like. I am sure there are other ways to achieve the same image, this was my process using the software I am familiar with.

If you like this post and you are interested in learning more about processing images hop on over to Stacy’s After-Before Forum where several photographers have submitted images and discuss their process. Much to learn, so little time!

If you have any suggestions let me know, I am always happy to learn.

Malaga, so many lovely streets and cafes

Quitapenas, Malaga Spain; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

Quitapenas, Malaga Spain; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015 

Malaga has lots of wonderful streets and lanes to walk, cafe’s to get a cup of coffee or glass of wine, for those times when it is just a little too cool to be at the beach.

I have tried something a little different with this image. I wish I could draw, but it is so much easier to let Photoshop do the hard work! Combined with a red and yellow texture layer we have the perfect Malaga streetscape.

I hope you are enjoying your day.

Creative Seat in Malaga Spain

Public Art; sitting around the streets of Malaga; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

Public Art; sitting around the streets of Malaga; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015 

Just a quick photo of the public art “sitting” around on the streets of Malaga Spain. I haven’t been able to find out who the artist is, but I thought it was a wonderful. The two characters look like they are working so hard to hold up the seat and there is no one sitting on it! It would be wonderful if I could find a little girl in a ballerina outfit to “dance” on the bench. Oh what a wonderful image that would be.  Maybe another day!?