Light, Shadow, Light

The latest prompt for Kim Klassen’s Studio had to do with light and shadow, which she related to ups and downs in her own family. It was easy for me to use that metaphor for the twists and turns that have been part of our 2015.  Life has been mostly wonderful, but we have stepped into the shadows a few times in the last couple months.

Although I considered this theme, I have not yet done the still-life assignment.  Instead I took some sunrise lensbaby shots of the sunflowers I bought the other day (that I had INTENDED and STILL INTEND to use in a shadowy still life).  Somehow, I always find myself drawn to impromptu still lifes, rather than styled ones, and in this case, the morning sun on the sunflowers was too beautiful to pass up.  There is shadow in these images- but the light is predominant.

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Another beach image for you today! This one was edited with Topaz Simplify (and an added texture) to give it a bit of a painterly look.


Sea Life

You will probably be seeing even more of my San Diego photos over the next week.  I came home last week with some kind of bug and am not quite able to work on Lensbaby or still life shots this week.  My friend, Carol, was also showing allergy or upper respiratory symptoms when she was here; we made quite a pair!

So, with no further ado, here is a gull (he stayed on this perch forever!).20150316-DSC_1343_melinda_anderson-EditAnd- here are what I assume are orcas. Someone on Flickr said they are NOT; they are just bottlenose dolphins.  I looked up bottlenose dolphins- and did not find any black and white ones- but I don’t claim to be an expert.


By the Sea

 Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.

- Christopher Reeve

20150316-DSC_1335_melinda_anderson-EditEdited with Kim Klassen’s kk_gentlewhisper for Texture Tuesday.





Adventures in Autofocus

My college roommate and photo buddy, Carol, came for the weekend, and, as always, we had great fun taking photos and sharing photography know-how.  Although we started photography at the same time, Carol and I have gone in somewhat different directions in photography; she has a pro quality camera and lenses and all the gear to go with them and has been on numerous photography trips with professional photographers to exotic places, which she photographs beautifully.  I have a great “enthusiast” quality camera and tend to gravitate more to still-life, flower, macro, and LENSBABY photos. Coincidentally, when we came together last weekend, we both had questions about autofocus modes- me, because I had been setting up my new camera, and she, because she had just returned from a bird photography trip to Texas, where she felt her birds-in-flight photos weren’t as good as she would have liked (they are FABULOUS!).

On Sunday we went on an excursion to Lynx Lake to experiment with different autofocus settings while photographing birds.  Although I didn’t manage to capture particularly good photographs of birds in flight, I was very pleased with my new camera’s focusing capabilities. I learned a few things, and, most importantly, had fun outdoors!

Double crested cormorant:




Which way shall we go?



Stacked Up

While in La Jolla, we stayed at a tiny little rental cottage with cute things all around. I was inspired by all the great props to create a still life one morning; I hoped to get a few more done as well, but the beach was calling.

stacked-EditThis diptych was created in response to the “Stacked Up” prompt for The Studio Online.

Meanwhile, Back at the Beach. . .

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Three Views, Three Styles

One of the highlights of our trip to San Diego was Point Loma, an area we had never visited before- and we certainly plan to return.  In fact, we visited it twice this trip! There is a spectacular view of San Diego, tidepools, trails, and a view of the ocean that goes on forever. And there are TWO lighthouses- the current one operated by the Coast Guard, and the historic one, built in 1855. The old lighthouse was only operational for 36 years, because its beacon was often obscured by fog. The newer lighthouse sits much closer to the water for better visibility.

Today’s photos are of the historic lighthouse- 3 views, 3 styles.



Beach Blur 2

A couple more lensbaby photos from Pacific Beach in San Diego:

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Beach Blur!

20150311-DSC_0292_melinda_andersonWe’re not in Arizona anymore! We are . . .  o n  v a c a t i o n !

And these photos are from my brand new Nikon D7100! My camera ended up having to be sent to Nikon after all; the shutter was replaced, but there were still problems.  So, I now have a second camera, which will, of course, become my first camera. It is the newer version of my old camera- basically the same, but with a better sensor and a few other tweaks. It’s on sale right now, because the even newer version comes out next week.

I had so much fun today using my new toy with the Lensbaby Sweet 35.  Of course, many of my lensbaby photos didn’t turn out, but my ratio is getting better. These shots were both taken at Pacific Beach in San Diego.

I love Arizona, but it is sooooo nice to be taking photos at the ocean!


Retro Blur

I found myself playing with my Lensbaby Mobile recently. Although it really is a cool little lens for the iPhone, I hadn’t been using it much after I got my Composer Pro and optics for my Nikon. As I’ve mentioned before, Nik Snapseed is my usual first stop when editing my iPhone photos, and this time, it was my ONLY stop.  It has a cool little set of filters within the app called retrolux, which give a desaturated, vintage look (actually 12 looks) with lots of options for adding or removing scatches, light leaks, vignettes etc.

The photo on the left has been edited with Snapseed only, and the one on the right has several Kim Klassen textures added in Photoshop on top of what was done with the retrolux filter. It’s hard to spot the differences- just a little more texture, a little less haze and a slightly darker flower.



I caught this glimpse of Spring with my iPhone as snowflakes were falling last week.

Photo Mar 02- 10 56 00 AM


I love the soft and dreamy Lensbaby look for flowers. I was missing my Lensbaby this week, so I spent a few hours playing with some flower macros I took when my Nikon was still functioning.

I love black and white- even for flowers- so had some fun editing this image 3 ways.  I created a preset a few months after I started with Lightroom. It’s kind of a dramatic, over the top black and white with some tones applied that I first used on a photo of the Clocktower in Benicia.  Although it doesn’t work well with most images, I still find uses for it occasionally. For this daisy photo, I first applied the preset at 87% (using the Fader plug-in). The second shot has the same preset applied, but its effect is reduced way down.  The third photo is edited the same as the second, but has a texture added at low opacity.

fadingOne of the things I love about Lensbaby macro images is that they have that soft, painterly look without adding texture.

20150208-DSC_2303_melinda_anderson-EditBut, often I feel that a texture adds to the look I want, as in the image below.

20150103-DSC_0045_melinda_anderson-EditHave a great weekend!


Saved by Black and White

I’m missing my camera! I admire those iPhone artists that ONLY take photos with their phone cameras and create masterpieces.  I enjoy taking photos with my phone- and have a lot of fun editing them- but I miss the shallow depth of field and beloved blur that I can get with my DSLR (especially with my Lensbaby optics).  I am keeping my fingers crossed that my camera is fixed before we head to San Diego.

These photos were taken on a walk last week. When I got home I noticed most of the photos had a greenish cast. The photos I took in square format were fine- as were those I took with the VSCO camera app.  And, no matter what, I could not remove the color cast in apps on the phone or in Lightroom.  It took a few days for the lightbulb to come on- I had inadvertently clicked on one of the color settings in the iPhone camera app (but not when it was set to square format), so all those photos were green. Oh. I rescued them by converting them to black and white.



Our latest assignment in BeStill 52 was to create a side lit vignette with an organic theme- wood, twine, natural materials etc.  I confess I didn’t take a lot of time with this, because the garage was FREEZING; I didn’t even open the door, but used the little windows in the garage door for light.  And of course I was limited to my iPhone (but I’m hoping to have my camera back in a week!).  I edited the photos in Lightroom with Kim’s organic preset, and called it done.

organic Photo Feb 27- 8 40 36 AM

Here is another slightly different version of the above image- slightly different, because I edited it for Instagram in Snapseed and Stackables (my new favorite app).  I used Snapseed to selectively lighten and darken parts of the image and Stackables to add tones and texture.

Photo Feb 27- 9 48 00 AM



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