Sunday, August 16, 2009

I've Been Dreaming...

Well, I always dream but I have been trying to learn new ways of working with Photoshop, how to create fine art quality photos with the skill and finesse of someone like Florabella and it has been a fun lesson. I have to say there is so much information and knowledge available to you if you simply look for it. I wanted to find free overlays and textures, I searched for free overlays a textures. I wanted to learn how to create a fine art print from a photo, I search for "How to create a fine art print from a photo". Sure you have to read through, weed through some stuff. Some of it junk, but you do eventually come across the gem that teaches it in the way you need to learn it.

I stumbled upon florabella and while her overlays and textures are not free, she does offer quite a bit of support on her flickr site, and a community of people that are willing to help with information, advice, ideas. But her photos are just so darn gorgeous! I just have to go there about once a day and look at what she had created.

Here is my first practice photo. This photo was taken as an actual photograph of a butterfly. Then layered with various textures and overlays to achieve the dreamlike effect. I wouldn't say its easy to do, because it takes time to figure out what each overlay and texture does, how it changes the photo and different combinations do different things. But the applications are easy. I would recommend learning how to use masks, layers in Photoshop. To get the softer affect I created a duplicate layer of the photo itself, then adjusted the hue and saturation to give it a softer color. Once I applied the layers of color, texture, I went back over the butterfly with an eraser to bring the colors back out a little more. Pretty darn easy, although learning how to create the second layer and the erasing part took a little time learn. The beauty of all of this? You can always start over, take one layer off, put another one on. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mermaid Cottage Coffee

There is a blog on the web Mermaid Cottages and its really a peaceful little place to go on Tybee island somewhere in Georgia where the pace seems much slower, the residents embracing the tourists and the setting sun. The cottages offer coffee in their homes and Mermaid Cottage is looking for a name for their coffee blend! I woke up this morning and was inspired to create this label! Now you all know I am just learning Word Art, PhotoShop and all that entails, but it was so much fun seeing where my thoughts and inspiration could take me. Here is the final draft. What do you think? Go on over to Mermaid Cottage and leave a Coffee Blend Name, you might just win a free jar of Mermaid Coffee!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Having Some Fun with Word Art

So, I told you I was trying to learn to develop my own Word Art and its been a little bit of a slow process. Its much easier to buy it commercially because the cost is so low, but the only reason why buying it is easier is because my computer is so darn slow that I keep freezing and shutting down Photo shop every time I press the text button. I think if I am going to venture into the design side of photography I am going to need to invest in a better computer with more memory. Hhmmmm...another item to research! Oh well, its a continuous learning lesson this here life!

But I have something so fun to share with you! I found a site that allows you to type in your words and it randomly creates a word art picture for you. The site wordle is so much fun. I created my own story using words and I am going to print it out and frame it. Think of how much fun you could have with children! Ask them to tell you words that describe them as a person and help them spell and put the words in and the press the button and it creates a piece of art. You can play with the fonts, the colors and its so easy! I just love fun free activities. In addition you can create phrases for your photos, coffee mugs, stationary. The possibilities are endless, but I just loved the way it took my words about me and created art. Give it a try and please post a link to your art so we can learn more about you. To get started with this one, I used my blog profile. Once I got the hang of it, I copied the words before I pushed the button to create, just in case I got something wrong and wanted to try again. I wanted my name to be more prominent, so I finally figured out what words were bigger and swapped them with one another. I hope you have some fun with this!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Frustrating Photos

Okay, I went out this past Friday (I had the day off) and headed over to a reserve at 8:00am to capture some shots of the Eagles they just let loose from rehabilitation. The day was perfect, it was very early in the morning, and not a soul was in site. The lake was calm and everything was coming to life. Butterflies, geese, birds, dragonflys, eagles, osprey, blue heron. I was in wildlife heaven, shooting photo after photo, after photo. Two hours later I headed home with some beautiful shots. You could see birds preparing to descent to catch fish, an osprey grabbing a fish from the water, a blue heron skimming the lake inches about the water. It was amazing and I was so proud that I had captured it all on film.

Coming home I was so excited, and tired. But I immediately began to download my shots. Photo after photo was blurry, out of focus. I was so upset and so frustrated. I just couldn't believe it. So I began to research the problem. And in a nut shell, here is what I learned.

1) Taking good shots is going to take time, patience and study. You can't rely soley on Automatic Focus. There are too many variables when it comes to capturing movement. In fact, there are three things that come in to play: Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO. I could go into detail about it, but I recommend that you head over to this site: digital photography school read up! They are a wealth of information. They give good tips on all sorts of subjects. Photography at night, photographing kids, photography for children...and more.

2) Blurry photos can be fixed. I found this plug in FOCUS MAGIC that works as a plug in with Photoshop elements and while it looks easy, my first day of practicing its use was a little daunting. I will post more on it as I practice. It costs $45 so seemed reasonable enough. They let you have 8 free edits to try before you buy, but since I didn't read the instructions prior to trying, I didn't have much success. I broke down and registered for it, so I now have alot of practice time. I will keep you posted.

The great thing about Digital photography is that you can keep going back and taking more pictures and trying again. Its frustrating when you think you got the perfect shot, and you want to see it, frame it, send it out to all your friends!

As you can see, they are quite blurry, but they are very clear in my mind. Here's the thing, no matter how many times I go back and take that picture it will never come out right if I don't take the time to slow down, learn something new, and take a few risks.

And with digital, I can do it again, and again and again! Wish me luck! If I master the blurry corrections on these photos, I will post them to show you the differences. Are you learning something new? If so, please share it with us. This is what its all about!