Beyond Beyond


I learned a new term last week on Kim Klassen’s blog- wabi-sabi.  As I understand it, wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic embracing the imperfect, the incomplete- the natural, the simple and unaffected- the moment just as it is.  The perfectly imperfect.  The now. A philosophy for art, living, relationships- I could go on. I love it!

I used that new (to me) term in completing Day 52 of Beyond Beyond.  This lesson gave us a new template for Lightroom and Photoshop and challenged us to print a photo- and use that photo in another photo.  A picture in a picture- which reminds me of the opening of each episode of Modern Family, a show I’ve only discovered in the last few months.  Kim’s example was a picture in a picture in a picture, so I did this too.  I’d like to use this technique again with people- perhaps my favorite models, Miles and Henry.

I chose a Mason jar to photograph, this time with flowers, because of its wabi-sabi-ness! It is imperfect, utilitarian, and simple, and I love it.


2B_wabisabi_ pic_in_picYou might have noticed that my blog has a new look. It’s been well over a year since I’ve made any changes, so it seems like time for an update.  I went back to my original layout with a new header, and made some corrections on my “about” page (it still said it was 2013 and that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area- oooops!). The slideshow is gone, and I have my sidebar back. There are other little changes I want to make as well- after I figure out how to do them.  So what do you think?

Photobooth Boys

One of my goals for this week was to start getting caught up on my Beyond Beyond (2B) lessons.  I’m working backwards and doing whatever strikes my fancy.  This one (Lesson 51) was so much fun- I downloaded a photobooth storyboard action that Kim linked for us and put in some of my shots of the grandboys from when they were here! Easy and very entertaining!


My New Find



Mason JarI’m ridiculously excited about this!  When my photoblogging friends were here on Wednesday, Terri started talking about her Mason jars and how you can date them by looking at the way Ball is written on the glass- fascinating! After lunch, we strolled through a few antique stores, and I bought my first old Ball Mason jar (and yes, I bought a Blue Ridge saucer as well)!  I can tell by the loop at the end of the word Ball (called a triple L) that this jar was from 1896-1910.

I’m sure you will be seeing this jar again in more photos.  I took it out on the porch to photograph, but today’s light isn’t the best (so far it’s cloudy and gray).  I brought my white backdrop and tablecloth out to lighten things up and added a sprig of heath- but I couldn’t do anything about the lack of morning light. Another day. . .

Something tells me this won’t be the last Mason jar I buy!

Linking up with Friday Finds today.

Editing Notes:

I am so behind in my 2B (Beyond Beyond) lessons! A few weeks ago, I discovered that the lessons had started up again (evidently quite awhile ago).  My notifications weren’t coming to me for some reason (probably in my spam folder). It wasn’t until this week that I started looking at what I’ve missed, and now it’s almost over.  😦  Thankfully, the lessons will stay up, and I will have a lot of fun catching up- will probably do some marathon sessions.  I actually used what I gleaned from Lesson 50 to edit this still life.  Kim provided us with a set of workflow presets she uses to edit her photos= awesome! I already had many presets I’ve created or downloaded- they simplify my life so much when I want to edit quickly. For example, I had created some for different types of vignettes, for clarity, for midtone brightening, adding warmth, etc.  But I had never thought to organize them into a folder- and put them in the order I would use them.  They are all just randomly in a favorites folder along with other favorites I use all the time.  Big head smack! I am so inspired to get in there and organize my presets!  So today, I used Kim’s workflow- and it worked great!  After taking the image through her presets, I popped it into Photoshop, added the anna texture, and I was done!


Beyond Beyond 38- Triangle Composition


I used more of my finds from my walk last weekend to create this still life, using a triangle composition, which was part of this week’s Beyond Beyond lesson. I then textured it with magicfilm, one of Kim Kassen’s magic textures from her Cloth and Paper collection.

Another part of the lesson was on using the Wacom tablet, which inspired me to hook mine up again.  I normally use it a lot, but I had not really arranged my desk the way I like it since I moved in- and the tablet wasn’t being used regularly.  I have carpal tunnel and other hand issues, so using a mouse isn’t a good idea for me.  My desk is now clean and organized, and my Wacom is back where it belongs.

Linking up today with Texture Tuesday

Beyond Beyond, Day 34- Making Magic!

It’s so much fun to get back into Kim Klassen’s Beyond Beyond lessons- I seem to need a boost now and then to stimulate my creativity.  Today’s lessons were how to create “magic” textures using textures that have already been created.  Kim gave us a sample image to play with and then challenged us to make our own magic textures (using one of hers as a base) to add to her image.

Before bringing the image into Photoshop, I cropped it to a square (not sure I like cutting off the cup handle, but I wanted it to look different from hers) and used her preset, dark days.  In Photoshop I used two textures which I had converted to magic textures- dollard and sybil (2 layers). And I added text (with a layer of dollard clipped to it).



Then I broke all the rules!

The magic texture effect works best with airy images that have a lot of white in them.  But I tried it on a shot I took this morning of the view from our driveway of clouds and approaching rain (it actually started to rain while I was taking the photo). I like how the magic textures (1301 and dollard) gave a kind of canvas-ish effect.  I reduced opacity on both and masked off some of the white strokes that appeared in the image.


Beyond Beyond- Day 29

This is seriously fun!  I have played around a bit with textures before using Photoshop brushes and was never satisfied with anything I did. This time it was frustrating at first, but I kept at it- and finally created a few I might actually USE.

I took macro photos around the house of a few textures- rocks, tile, clouds, carpet, window blinds, screen etc. Then I brought them into Lightroom and Photoshop and played with them- for 2 days off and on.  I changed colors, blurred them, painted over them, added text, used blend modes etc. etc.  The test was to layer them with a photograph and see if they actually did anything wonderful to the photo.  As I mentioned in my last post,  this is where I ran into trouble.  Some of my textures were too light to even show up.  But I played some more today and ended up with some decent ones. I want to do this again, but I have so many textures I’ve bought or collected over the years (and they are so much better than mine)- that I wonder if it is something I will actually do.  It is fun though.

texture layout-Edit

The textures on top are from a rock and a window blind combined with clouds.

The bottom two textures are both from a tile on my hearth (with different tints).

My husband wants to know what I’m naming my textures. The Downton Abbey collection has been done already by our mentor, Kim Klassen. I have some ideas- I’ll keep you posted!


Beyond Beyond Day 28- Texture Tweaking

I’m catching up in my Beyond Beyond class too (although I am skipping around).  The challenge was to take a favorite texture and edit it 3 ways to make 4 different versions.  I used Lightroom 5, rather than Adobe Camera Raw, because it is my comfort zone and the method is almost the same.

Here is Kim Klassen’s 1301 texture (a favorite because of the creases), which I edited to change tones and to emphasize the creases in each one. The upper left square is the original.

1301 layout

Another idea suggested was to choose 4 different textures and simultaneously edit them the same way.  Again I used Lightroom 5- with the AutoSync feature.  Easy Peasy! I chose the cora, sybil, anna, and daisy from the Downton collection and made each grittier by increasing clarity and contrast, adding grain, deepening shadows etc. Fun!

downton gritty

Beyond Beyond- Day 23

I’ve gotten behind in my Beyond Beyond lessons. 😦
In Lesson 23, Kim showed us a desaturated flower edit and gave us her “recipe” as a preset as well as a step-by-step version in Photoshop and Lightroom.  The steps involved desaturating the image, giving it a matte edit and haze, adding some subtle split toning and a texture.  I tried these steps in a couple flower photos I’ve done recently, but wasn’t satisfied with my backgrounds. I finally went back to some of the orchid photos I took at Tra’s house and found an image where I could apply the techniques successfully. I also added just a bit of a white vignette to lighten the background.


Beyond Beyond 22

We were challenged in this lesson to go outside and shoot some photos with blurry backgrounds. This type of photo is what got me to purchase a DSLR in the first place.  I had tried and tried to do this with my little Canon Powershot- but to no avail.  After I had my DSLR a couple months, I bought a 35mm 1.8 lens, and then EVERYTHING had a blurry background! It is still my favorite way to shoot.

Here are a couple shots from my backyard yesterday afternoon. The lavender photo has Kim Klassen’s sybil texture added.



Beyond Beyond 20

We were challenged to edit a photo three different ways- experimenting with the tone curve, split toning, presets, whatever.  I had just bought some gerbera daisies last night, so the choice of the subject was easy.


gerbera layout

The first photo is my basic clean edit shot with a little cloning/healing in Lightroom 5 (love the updated tool!). You can see my walls are yellow.

The second is desaturated quite a bit- I really like the tones in this.

The third I took into Topaz Simplify- to give it a bit of a painted look.

And the last I edited with Kim’s kk_anne and kk_1301 textures.

I did several other versions as well, but these are probably my favorites.



Beyond Beyond- Day 19

My whole family left today, and I’m alone in a very empty house- which will go on the market soon.  Endings and beginnings.

I’m strangely un-busy and am using the time to edit and organize the 1700 PLUS photos taken over the last two weeks during my daughter’s family’s visit, as well as catch up on my blog and last week’s assignment for Beyond Beyond.

One of our Beyond Beyond assignments was to use a beach photo taken by Kim Klassen and edit it however we wished after watching a video on using the tone curve to bring out different tones in the image. I decided to use one of MY recent beach photos, which is similar to hers except for having my grandson and son-in-law in it.  I attempted to make a cold day at Bodega look sunny and warm by adding magenta and yellow with the tone curve, as well as some split toning.


Another part of the lesson was using layer styles in Photoshop.  I added a sepia layer (at reduced opacity) to this photo of Henry and then added type with a metallic style added to echo the metallic background.  The photo reminded me of an illustration in a children’s board book, so I used a primary looking font.


The main part of the assignment was to create a photo using your own style.  I thought the above photo showed my background as a first grade teacher; however, clean editing (often in black and white) is really my style for my family photos. So I decided to go with a family photo for the assignment.

My daughter was at a conference all day Friday, and my husband was working- so I had the kids from the time they woke up until bedtime.  We did laundry, worked a bit in the yard, blew bubbles, and then it was time for lunch- a PIGGY PICNIC in the backyard!


Beyond Beyond- Day 18 Mixed Bag

Kim presented a mixed bag of Lightroom and Photoshop tips, as well as some iPhoneography tricks.

Here is my grandmother’s sewing basket (decluttered!) and with some of her mother’s buttons in the foreground- and her darning egg.  I desaturated the image and then added the kk_desert texture, which did a great job of masking the scratches on my old dining room table by adding new ones from the texture.


I don’t usually do much with my iPhone photos.  I use the camera when I don’t have my regular camera, and I do edit them in Snapseed and PicTapGo- but then they tend to stay on my phone or go straight to Facebook.  I decided that I would use an iPhone image for this blog post, so took a shot of flowers by my doctor’s office.  I loved the tip Kim gave us about adding a black and white filter in PicTapGo and then fading the adjustment to just slightly desaturate the image.  However,  I went with a punchier edit, because it was the bright colors that attracted me to the flowers in the first place.  I cropped in Snapseed and played with the Bright adjustment in the Drama filter- but ended up just leaving that alone.  In PicTapGo, I warmed up the image a bit, added some “crispity-ness”, and then went full strength with color burn. And here we are!

yellow flowers

Beyond Beyond- Day 17

The theme for this lesson was Critiques and Possibilities.  We were led through Kim’s thought process as she edited one of her own photos- this was so interesting, especially as she reshot the photo a couple times.

In case you didn’t read this last week, I am in the midst of decluttering my house in preparation for putting it on the market next month.  Major change is afoot in our household as we decide what to let go of and what to keep.  So far, we have donated about three truckloads of “stuff”.  And, truthfully, unless you were intimately acquainted with our house, you would never know it.  There is lots left! It takes a bit of courage and faith to put your house on the market without knowing exactly where or when you are moving, but we know in our hearts that this is the time. We no longer need a big house, stairs are a challenge to arthritic knees- it is time to downsize and, most likely, relocate to a less expensive area. We wish our friends would join us- come on, you guys!

I went through my grandmother’s sewing basket (I have sooooo many family heirlooms) and decided to photograph this simple spool of thread for my project (and yes, the sewing basket is a keeper- at least for now).



This was actually the second photo I took. In the first, the black surface of the dental cabinet was too dusty- so I got out the Pledge. I noted that the thread itself was pretty dusty still, so used the cloning and healing brush in Lightroom 5 to fix that up a bit- plus repair the nick in the black glass.

thread 2

I had originally conceived of the photo as a black and white, so, although I played with it in color, I quickly went to black and white.  I used a high contrast black and white preset from the Clickin Moms Paparazzi collection called Documentary (one of my favorites).  I bumped up clarity and added a vignette.

thread 3

I hadn’t planned on adding text, but something about my current state of exhaustion and my love of photo-editing led me to add a few words. So into Photoshop I went- using Traveling Typewriter and Quilted Butterfly fonts.  Done!

thread 4

Apples- Day 3

I’m multi-tasking today- another apple photo for Beyond Beyond AND I converted it to a black and white in response to today’s Texture Tuesday challenge.  It somehow seemed WRONG to take the beautiful colors out of the apple photos, but, being pressed for time, that is what I decided to try- and I’m happy with the result.


Editing notes: In Lightroom, I used a bit of a matte curve (just slight) and added grain to soften the image.  After converting it to black and white, I darkened the shadows a little and added some yellow to the highlights and purple to the shadows (low saturation).  In Photoshop, I added a layer of Kim Klassen’s anna texture, 100% opacity to the background, 50-100% brushed off the apples.

Red this time

10May2013applelayout-EditContinuing the theme for Beyond Beyond