Over the years I have bought quite a few plug-ins for Photoshop, which I use fairly often- but not without a lot of tweaking in Lightroom and Photoshop as well. In our photo class, it is not uncommon to use well over twenty layers to craft the final image. I jumped right in when I joined- and have become used to this style of editing.

But. . . I have been having some arm and shoulder issues since August, and have been told by the chiropractor and doctor to cut back on the computer (I haven’t mentioned to them how much time I spend texting. . .). Since my two retirement hobbies (genealogy as well as photography) involve LOTS of computer time (like all day long. . .), I have tried to change my habits. I discovered propping my laptop or tablet against my legs and RECLINING is a fairly pain-free way to do go through family trees and compare DNA matches and that texting via voice works well- but nothing was working for photo editing.

Then I started playing with Luminar, which I had but had not really used much until recently. For the last month, I have been editing at my computer using Lightroom, then going into Photoshop if I need to clone something out- and then going into Luminar for the rest. I love their presets, which I can modify with sliders- and then I’m done! I’ve upgraded to their 2018 version, which is even better!

The photo below was taken at Castle Dome. I just loved this little tableau- the aprons hung by the counter. It reminds me of Lonnie’s grandmother’s farmhouse. I spent longer than I’ve been doing in Photoshop- I had to clone some blown out areas in the curtains (only 5-10 minutes). But then I took it into Luminar and used one of their presets as a basis for this edit. What took the most time was deciding which preset to use.

And because I can’t leave well enough alone, here’s a toned black and white (just done in Lightroom with a one click preset I created years ago) for another look.


At the Window

It is feeling so good to get back to doing a little still life photography! Now that the house is no longer torn up, I have some space and time to set up some stills.  I’ve been especially eager to try out a birthday present I got from my friend, Debbie- a vintage window! It’s been piled in the garage with everything else, but now I can get to it, along with some of my other still life props that were covered up.

I propped up the window on a table outside in the 95 degree heat and had a great time composing this image. I edited it using Kim Klassen’s darkday preset (desaturation, a matte tone curve, and split toning, among other adjustments).


As usual, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I took it into Photoshop and Topaz Impression for a painterly look.


Here’s another Topaz Impression version- a new one called Wispy Sketch. Love this!


It was too hot to create any more still life vignettes- but look for this window in the future! Thanks, Debbie!

Spirit Room

When we had visited Jerome in the past, we’d always taken note of the Spirit Room, a bar on the corner of the main drag. We had never been actually able to get inside, but always paused outside to listen to the band inside and to observe the scene- motorcycles pulling up out front and the crowd spilling out onto the sidewalk. I guess we had never been there early in the day before, because when we went in to get some water (yes, water) last Saturday, it was basically empty. While we sat and drank our waters, the motorcycles began to pull up, and by the time we left, it was getting full.


A Walk Around the Inn

Thursday night we stayed at a circa 1936 inn in Santa Fe, which had many photo opportunities for the road-weary photographer, eager to get a few photos before the rains came (which they did).  Since I am taking a lensbaby class, my lensbaby was on my camera- and I managed to capture quite a few shots before we headed out to dinner. Here are just a few details noticed during a quick walk around the grounds.santafe1


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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