“It would make a good greeting card.”
The above comment is code for corny, schmaltzy, trite- however you interpret it- in my photo group. I, however, like making images that look like greeting cards; one of my childhood ambitions was to work for Hallmark. I envisioned a room of artists painting pretty cards or drawing cartoons.
So, with no apologies, here is one of my flower photos that, in my opinion, would make a good greeting card. 🙂
When the grandboys were here, I decided I wanted to pick some wild desert poppies I had noticed blooming down the street in a vacant lot. Caitlin, Miles, and I braved the heat wave and walked to the bottom of the hill where we could see a few in bloom. As we walked through the weeds, zillions of burrs attached to our clothes and shoes, so I ended up with just one poppy. When we got home, I brought out the lightbox and spent a few minutes taking photos with the camera on the tripod. The boys were intrigued, so I had each take photos with the iPhone.
Miles was interested in editing his photo, so that evening, I introduced him to Snapseed! He especially liked the “glamorous glow” (glamour glow) adjustment, after trying all sorts of filters. He didn’t like the tiny rips in the petals, so he made me promise to fix them in Photoshop on my computer, which I did.
Here is his photo, edited by Miles with Snapseed (with rips fixed by Gramma):
Good focus, wouldn’t you say? And I like that glamour glow!
Henry wanted a turn as well and managed to take about 10 photos with one long click- all with perfect focus! I took the liberty of editing this one in Photoshop with On 1 and Impression software.
And here’s the one taken by Gramma- a side view with texture added:
Another apache plume for today- I love their inherent messiness!
Another day, another thistle- this time dressed up in shades of gray. . .
Purple thistles abound in our area! We have a lot of weeds and native plants in the strips along the roads and sidewalks and in fields near our house, and this time of year is great for finding them in bloom. And every year I photograph thistles.
I added textures to these thistle photos and then took them into On1 for frames, stepping outside the box a bit when I chose these cool emulsion borders.
I deconstructed my Mother’s Day bouquet from my daughter and had a great time photographing the flowers individually and small groups- my idea of fun!
I borrowed a lightbox from my friend, Debbie, and had some fun photographing weeds on it. This is the same photo with different treatments in Lightroom.
I think it was last year at this time that I discovered that Trader Joe’s sold ranunculus, my favorite childhood flower. I went looking for them the other day and discovered just a few almost wilted bunches. I picked one in shades of hot pink and orange to take home to enjoy for a few days. I took them outside for the sidelit, golden hour shot above.
I’m no longer a child, but I still love these beautiful flowers.
My friend, Debbie gave me some pussy willow branches, which I placed in water in the kitchen window. The buds are starting to open, so I took a few minutes to capture this one with my Lensbaby Velvet 56 in macro mode.
I’m still a bit enchanted with the swirling, twirling tendrils on these grasses- not tired of photographing them yet!
When we went outside last weekend, the melting snow on the evergreens sparkled in the sunlight- and I couldn’t resist going back in to grab my camera!
I started my photography journey in the summer of 2010; it’s been 5 1/2 years of excitement and learning and practice and discouragement and more excitement. I am now starting the sixth year of this blog, which has become a record of my photography progress and also a bit of my life. I had no idea it would extend beyond the first year, but I’m not thinking of stopping. Things got more manageable when I stopped the whole photo a day commitment; some days my photos are just not blogworthy. I still have the commitment to myself to publish five days a week, which may not be the best practice either, since I sometimes just post the best of the mediocre shots I’ve taken lately. But my photography, like life, is a work in progress.
Pondering my photography goals and the progress I’ve made in the last year is something I do as the new year approaches. I’m happy I can point to a few areas of progress:
- Lensbaby- What a challenge that has been! I can’t say I have become a Lensbaby master, but I have produced some photos that I really like. And I love Lensbaby photography!
- Landscape photography-Although this often involves getting up early and using a tripod (two things I’m not crazy about doing), I’ve done it enough now to feel better about my skills and also enough to know it’s not my favorite type of photography to actually do.
- Showing my work- This year, I again participated in my photography club- and also showed photos at the fair and our group show at the Raven. In thinking ahead to next year, I thought one of my goals would be to have the courage to submit photos to a local gallery or two. But then, just before Christmas, two opportunities were presented to me unexpectedly, and, before I could think about it, I now have four photos in two juried shows at two different galleries in town! It’s a fun experience- and not as daunting as I thought. I don’t know how often I will want to do this, but it is nice to get the pat on the back of having your work recognized.
So then- what are my goals for 2016? I was talking to my friend Carol about what she is learning on all the photography trips she takes with expert wildlife photographers. One of the things that resonated with me was the importance of being intentional when taking photographs. I know this. I’ve read this over and over. I intend to be intentional! But somehow, I just keep clicking away- especially when I am out and about. When I am at home doing macro or still life- or just walking around the yard with my camera, I find it easier to look and really SEE. This process all too often disappears when I am out in the world. So my over-riding goal is to be more intentional.
A couple years ago, I started the practice of picking one word for the year, rather than making New Year’s resolutions. My previous words- TRUE and JOY are great words, but this year I wanted something that would have a meaning that could be interpreted broadly but also very specifically to photography. My word is . . .
I love my word! It can be about bringing light into my life, living lightly on the planet, spreading light- but it also has a very specific meaning for me in photography. Photography is all about light and using it to enhance the image. My goal is to be very intentional about finding the best light as I shoot. The photographers I admire all use light in beautiful ways. I want to become better at that- that’s my word, that’s my goal!
What are your goals for 2016? Do you have a word?
Photography notes: The tulip photo above was taken using the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I was intentional (I am wondering how many more times I can use intentional in this blog post?!?) about finding early morning light and placing my tulip in the light. 🙂 I have no idea how the beams got there- they just appeared! I’m not sure if this is a quality of the lens (I have had this happen with the Edge 80)- or if I was using my new diffuser at this point and it had anything to do with that. Something more to figure out!
I love editing with textures, and the new Topaz program, Texture Effects, is giving me a whole new way of approaching the process. You can start from scratch, making basic adjustments and then adding dust or scratches, lens leaks, vignettes, borders, and/or textures OR you can start with a filter preset and then adjust everything from there. There is a masking feature, which works well, except that you can’t use the bracket keys to control brush size (I usually choose to mask in Photoshop, because it’s easier for me). You can upload your own textures into the program, as well as create your own presets, which you can choose to share with a community of other users of the program. To be clear- it’s not just about textures- it’s other effects as well. You might decide to not use a texture, but just other effects- or add your own textures in Photoshop afterward. It’s a very flexible program! With that said, I will add that many members of the FB group devoted to this program have had technical issues with installing it and getting it to save their edits. I have had no issues, thankfully.
So here’s an edit of a macro photo I snapped last weekend in our front yard (I think I used a filter and added 3 textures in Texture FX and then masked in Photoshop).
A companion to Monday’s orange petals post . . .