Sunday, July 25, 2010


With sincerest apologies to my blog readers - I know I've been MIA this past week - it was a CRAZY BUSY week and right now I'm in South Carolina with my best girlfriend, taking a much needed break from the insanity. I've read all your posts, but haven't had time to comment or post myself. Yesterday we joined in the Greenville SC group for the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Tour. We walked through downtown Greenville - they had a farmer's market, a lot of great eclectic little shops, and a GORGEOUS park!  But it was deliriously hot and humid - I've never sweated so much! Still, had fun.
Here are some of my best shots:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Love Your Pictures - Adding Textures

I'm so lost - I have no idea which prompt this is for - but here is my texture photo!

After. I used Kim Klassen's "Simple Things" texture. To create this look, I applied the texture and duplicated the layer. On one layer I used the "hard light" blending mode at 50% opacity. On the second layer I used the "multiply" blending mode at about 80% opacity.This beautiful texture was posted as a freebie on Kim's website on Friday.  All you have to do to get it is sign up for her email list!

Look closely, this texture has words embedded in it. What ones can you find????

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Real Me

Where do I begin? I've kept quiet that I've been taking an online course called "Unravelling" with Susannah Conway. Why? Because the course was just for me and I knew I wouldn't be sharing any of my work for the course on my blog.

The course is now officially over and it was a fantastic and eye-opening journey.  I am much more comfortable now with the face I see when I look in the mirror.  This layout is my final take on what I learned from my journey. I had no problem sharing it with course participants, but feel a little hesitant about sharing it here on my blog. And yet, I think it is a necessary part of my growth and unravelling. 

I was struck as I thought about "Who is the real me?" by the dichotomy I saw in myself. One minute bold, brash, ready to change the world, the next timid, hesitant, afraid of rejection and ridicule. The play of self-assuredness against self-doubt. The willingness to be out there and be real versus the serious longing to just hide behind anonymity.

I feel certain, deep down in my bones, that this is a universal human experience. That we all come to grips with who we are and what our purpose in the world is at different times and in different ways. I'm still struggling, still figuring it out. Still trying to remember that I am worthy even when my immediate world is telling me in no uncertain terms that I am only the doormat I don't want to be. I know I am so much more than that.

I'm beginning to find the courage to acknowledge the artist in me. To not allow myself to be held down and held back by others who don't see that beauty, that yearning, that spirit. The brash me wants to go shout it from the rooftops and mountain tops - I AM ENOUGH!!! I AM AN ARTIST!!!  But I'm only just beginning to find that courage. I'm still protecting that tender and tentative artist in me. I'm afraid in so many ways to expose her to those I am closest to - afraid that they won't understand, or worse yet, that they will scoff and call me silly. Which would undoubtedly send her right back into hiding. I'm letting her come out to play, here on my blog, where she feels safe and secure. In this virtual world, where only friends with kind hearts and open minds come to visit.  In a way it is sad that she feels more secure here than she feels in her real-world environment.  But I know you will understand. Some of you may even relate. I love you. My artist loves you. Thank you for creating being a part of my safe world.

Picture Summer - 16

The assignment was to capture your favorite light - and I did - at 9:30 in the morning near my favorite window in the house.  Only to later discover that my SD card wasn't in the camera! oops. So here's the second round - 4:30 in the afternoon, different window, similar results.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Buried Treasure

Seth at The Altered Page has organized his second year of Buried Treasure. The premise is simple. On Thursday July 15 all participating bloggers will re-post one (or more) of their favorite posts that ever appeared on their blog.  Honestly, my most favorite posts are generally ones where I ramble about some life lesson and they are usually light on photography or art of any kind.  Instead of going back to those, I decided to re-post a few of my favorite Art Journal pages, so here they are:

From April 20, 2010. Elements are from various kits, but this is where I began experimenting with creating my own elements from photographs I had taken.
From March 17, 2010. I was really inspired by the "Golden Moments" kit from Alana at

From March 12, 2010. A line from Sarah Ban Breathnach's "Simple Abundance" (which I am reading day by day) which really struck me. Most of the elements from Tangie Baxter (

from February 12, 2010. Commemorating a less than stellar day with my teens. They survived the day unscathed. Not sure I did. Most of the elements from Flergs "Into The Twilight" kit at

I have only been Art Journaling since January of this year (currently all digital) and I am still learning, but what a range of emotions I've been able to express!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Keeping It Real

A Real Contender

When I was editing photos I ran across this one, taken mid-June during a trip to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden.  From Camden, you get a great view across the river to the Philadelphia skyline.  I think this one is a real contender for the "Wide Open Spaces" prompt from Picture Summer. Possibly even a little more appropriate than a cemetery???

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Love Your Pictures

Today's prompt (eight) asked us to focus on the skies. Well, here is mine today:

Yes, a whole lot of nothing. Just grey and rain.  But I am not complaining. We desperately NEED the rain! Here's why:

I took this photo yesterday doing the Prompt Seven depth of field study. You heard me right, YESTERDAY! And yes, in some areas of my yard it looks more like late October than mid-July. After two weeks of record-high temperatures with no rain, a few of our trees got very stressed and started dropping their leaves. Watering is quite cost-prohibitive around here, so we let the grass and trees go with Mother Nature and we just water the flowering plants.

The good news is our skies don't always look so grey and our trees aren't always so unhappy. Here's a shot I caught several weeks ago:

See, blue skies, green trees and grass, no leaves on the ground!

Love Your Pages

Just a few layouts showcasing some of my recent photography. These were fun, pulling all the digi elements that went with the "feel" of the photo!

Picture Summer - 11 & 12

Day 11 - "Treat Yourself" - the idea was to capture a photo of a summer treat. And while this isn't popsicles or milkshakes, it does the trick for me! And note how I was busy with the aperture again!

Day 12 - "Simple Solitude" - I was combining Shimelle's Prompt 7 "Depth of Field" study with the Picture Spring day 12 Solitude prompt and came up with these:

I love how that single leaf stands out against the canopy of the tree.

And this lonely little leaf on the driveway screams solitude to me. Here I was focusing on the texture of the leaf against the texture of the driveway and you can see that both the very near foreground and the background are blurred. I was down pretty low.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Anatomy of a "Perfect" Picture

Straight out of the camera. Yuck! I use a very old Canon Digital Rebel. Admittedly, even though I've had it for years, I am really just learning about this camera. Everything is coming out of my camera blue.  I know this means the white balance is off, even though I have it set on "auto white balance". What I don't know is how to fix it. This issue has me stumped.  Can any of you photography pros out there help me???
Basic PSE post-processing which I learned how to do from a online course.  Thank goodness that I have learned how to do this as there are so many photos that I would simply delete if I had to deal with what I captured SOOC. I first remove the color cast, then play with the lighting, adjusting shadows, highlights, midtones, brightness and contrast until I think the picture is more true-to-life. Even if it is still as boring as a box of rocks.  In this photo, I used the colors in the rock and shell as my guides. The bench cover is actually a beautiful sage green, but it never photographs true to color, no matter what I do!

Now I've added the Pioneer Woman "Warmer" action. I have been adding this one to a lot of my photos lately. It really makes it feel nice & cozy and ups the sunshine factor! It also took the rock & shell much closer to actual color than I could get playing with the PSE settings that I know how to use.
For my final adjustment, I added the Pioneer Woman "Edge Burn" Action (same as vignette). But I dropped the opacity down to 50%.  At full strength it is just too harsh for this picture. I use the edge burn sparingly. On some photos it really adds to the mood nicely, on others it just blocks detail and is distracting.  So there you have it... from out of the camera icy blue and boring to a warm moody finish!  Now if I could just learn how to get better results straight from the camera!

Personal Treasures

I don't think I really thought about how hard it was going to be to keep up with TWO sets of prompts when I signed up for both Picture Summer at BPS and Love Your Pictures at Shimelle's.  Today I've combined Shimelle's prompt 1 (play with lighting photographing stuff that showcases your personality), Shimelle's prompt 3 (groups of three) and Picture Summer Day 8 "Treasure Hunters" which asked us to photograph things we collect. 

To be quite honest, I am trying more and more to be minimalist and don't have collections anymore. The beanie babies are gone, the Boyd's bears figurines are packed away. But I do have a little shelf where I keep mementoes of happy times. Just little things, all totally unrelated, that make me happy for various reasons I won't explain here.  So I chose three. And I went to several different places to photograph them. After post-processing, here are my best images of my personal treasures.

First up, taken in the living room (aka my scrap room)on a bench near the window.
Second, taken in the former dining room, now office. I love the light this window puts out and the color of the carpet makes a nice neutral background with some texture.
 My third photo is taken on the dining table in the sunroom. This is the brightest room in the house (by far) and the light in here is more even most of the day. However, the red placemat definitely changed the "feel" of the objects. I had to add vignette and softening actions to make this picture interesting!
The next two photos were both taken on a windowsill in the sunroom. If you want LOTS of light, this is the place to go! I only wish I had realized how dusty the windows were before I snapped the pictures.
Same placement, different angle and changed to landscape orientation. This one is a little truer to color on the bottle label and I like that it captured more of the outside background.
Finally, same photo as above, but I desaturated all the color to give it a sepia tone effect.

Now my only problem is that I don't know which one to put up in the galleries! I like each one for different reasons and I don't have a stand out favorite. There are too many to post them all, so please help me choose the best one or two to post!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

eenie, meenie, minie, moe

I love wildflowers. Especially Queen Anne's Lace. I've been intending to take photos of the ones I see growing along the road for quite some time now.

Today I decided to go for it. After dropping the girls off at driver's ed class and putting in my time at the gym, I drove myself over to the high school and snapped these photos. It was 9:30 in the morning and already over 90 degrees out, so I didn't linger. I took some other photos that I'll share later.

The question now is, did I capture the beauty of this simple flower?

I've got five different shots here - each with a slightly different angle and treatment. What one do you think best captures the Queen Anne's lace? Why?

Weekly Gratitude

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Picture Summer 7 - So Subtle

Picture Summer 6 - Wide Open Spaces

Please don't ask me how I ended up in a cemetary for this prompt. I'm not sure I could tell you. I drove around looking for a "wide open space" but also one where there was a safe place to park my car. This was what I found!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Love Your Pictures - Prompt 2

Here is my series of the same group of flowers, shot from different distances and angles. All shot at 9:30 in the morning - when it was already 90 degrees out!