It’s actually looked a lot like Christmas since Thanksgiving! I love my house at Christmas- all the traditional little knicky-knacky things brought out- and then there’s the tree. It’s fake, which was never our tradition, but it’s decorated with ornaments from our kids’ childhood and some newer ones picked up over the years. I started acquiring snowmen in the last ten years or so; here’s one that sits in our entryway.
Yes, it’s taken with a Lensbaby!
Today’s photo was shot with my lensbaby and includes a couple leaves, part of a bunch I gathered while walking down our hill, and some old books of my mother’s (yes, I love to photograph old books!). Way in the back is a little clock- a gift from my god-daughter for hosting her wedding shower (8 years ago?!?). The wind was blowing into my garage studio, causing the pages and leaves to shiver and shift while I took the photo, making focusing with the lensbaby a fun challenge. Fall is slow to arrive this year, but it is on its way.
It started a year ago on a road trip to Kansas to visit Lonnie’s father. I became obsessed with the seemingly endless flat horizons of Kansas, broken only by the occasional barn or silo. There is a beauty in this stark landscape with the wheat fields, the barb wire fences, and the oddly industrial look of modern farms. I took photo after photo with my iPhone (usually through the window as we drove along), and I had fun editing them right there in the car. May’s road trip was melancholy, however, as we drove across the plains knowing that Lonnie’s dad had just died. This time I took photos with my Nikon often with the lensbaby attached- mostly from the car at 70mph. I was still obsessed with the landscape, but I also wondered each time I clicked the shutter when we would be driving these roads again.
In my AAUW photography group, we are asked to commit to a long term project of some sort. After our trip a year ago, I decided to create a Heartland series for the assignment.
When I traveled to Yellowstone last month, I took these photos with me on a little external drive to work on; I was planning to make a photo book to take to my photography group. I worked on it during a couple evenings after the kids were in bed, but I could never get the book to save- it would always say it was still uploading! I didn’t have the time or energy for a frustrating computer project, so I decided to abandon it until I came home. Once home, I sat down to work on the project again, only to discover that, no matter what I did, Lightroom would not recognize the photos. I know all about moving photos from within Lightroom and have never had an issue with it until NOW. I could see the photos on my drive and could open them from Photoshop, but they were invisible to Lightroom. There were several attempts over period of days- but then I abandoned the project once more. I sat down one last time to try again yesterday- and there they were! Right there in the Lightroom catalog- not grayed out- not missing, just THERE! I may or may not print them. I’m a bit sick of them right now- so much for the obsession!
So I decided that they will at least appear on the blog as a slideshow before they disappear again. Many of these photos have already appeared on this blog- but here they are again- all together!
Editing notes: to bring some cohesiveness to the project I re-edited all the images and added textures (usually scratchy ones).
One of my AAUW photo group friends was giving away peaches yesterday- a perfect opportunity for me to finally get back into my still life “studio.” I have been so busy lately that I have had to put still life photography and macros on the back burner and just rely on the travel shots I’ve done throughout the summer.
I used my Lensbaby with the Edge 80 attached for these photos- and then ended up doing a version in Topaz Impression as well.
I added a texture to the original photo below to soften the black background.
I used one of the Van Gogh filters, although there were MANY other options that would have worked well too. I usually take the photos back into Photoshop and mask off portions to reduce the painterly effect, but I really liked them straight out of Impression this time.
Have a great Friday!
I took some time a few days ago to take some abstract macro shots of lilies. I added a couple textures for that painterly look I love- and the first one I also took into Topaz Simplify. Truthfully, because of the shallow depth of field, it looked pretty painterly already, but I love to fiddle around with my images. It is my form of a mindfulness meditation and satisfies my childhood ambition to be an artist when I grew up. 🙂
I still have photos I haven’t posted from Santa Fe! Here are two Lensbaby shots taken during the golden hour of this magnificent building by the square.
My Friday Find is borrowed from my friend, Debbie, who graciously allowed me to photograph it this week. You may see it again, because I have some other ideas before I return it. And my goodness, there’s that straw hat again!
This is a Lensbaby shot with added textures. I like the look that some of my textures give my walls- wish they really looked like that!
And here is the same photo (in the original proportions- I “stretched the canvas” of the top one in Photoshop) with a black and white preset I adapted from one I had gotten from somewhere. I wanted a light-ish black and white conversion, which I sometimes do by adjusting tones etc. This time I decided to save it as a preset, hoping it will work on other photos as well.
First I saw the God-beams. . .
Hats on Chairs- catching up on still life challenges for The Studio Online!
If you have been following my blog for awhile, you have seen this chair many times- and if you’ve been following it for a LOOOOONG while, you seen the hat. Oh well- you’ve seen them, because they’re great props for still life photography! And, no doubt, you will see them again!
I think dreamy macros of flowers, weeds, or leaves are my favorite photos to take. There is something so relaxing about seeing objects so closeup, so different from the way you would ordinarily see them- and then moving the camera or changing the aperture or area of focus just a slight bit to get an entirely different view. It’s like a mindfulness meditation. And then there’s the editing- so much fun! I used different Lightroom presets as starting points in editing the dandelion macros below- I’m not sure which I like best.
The final assignment in my lensbaby class is a photo essay using mostly lensbaby images, and it can be either narrative or thematic. One can’t walk around downtown Santa Fe without noticing churches and sacred images everywhere, so I chose to focus on this theme for my photo essay.
Seeing the Sacred
The first image- I’m not sure what building this was!
The next two are the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis, and the third is a statue of Kateri Tekakawitha (1656-1680), the first Indian of North America to be promoted a saint. The simple cross was hanging over our bed.
The rest of the photos are from San Miguel Mission, the oldest church in the U.S., built between 1600 and 1620.
Last Sunday we celebrated my birthday in Santa Fe. We walked around the downtown taking in as many of the sights as we could in one day and sampling northern New Mexico cuisine. Here are a some random detail shots gathered taken on our walk around the city; all were taken with my lensbaby.
We are home now, after a LOOOOONG drive through Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico and a day off to celebrate my birthday in Santa Fe. There are a lot of photos to go through- especially from Santa Fe, where I tried to take enough photos with my Lensbaby to satisfy the photo essay requirement for the last week of the class (even though I’m not a full participant and won’t be evaluated).
So today, I again celebrate the flat horizons and vast expanses of Kansas with these minimalist shots, both taken with the Edge 80 optic.
The drive across Kansas gave me an opportunity for an up close and personal view of a wheat field. My husband must have Kansas in his blood- I think the color version is his favorite photo from the trip.
Driving across western Kansas yesterday, I snapped photos from the car as we went along, and a few are decent. But Lonnie spotted this farm along the way and pulled off onto a country road so I could take my time and the photos would have a good chance of being in focus. I love the barn and silo! I know I could never have been able to hack it as a country girl, but I love rural scenes.