Monday, August 31, 2009

A Moving Performance

This was not only amazing, but hauntingly beautiful, moving, sad. It really touched me today. I don't think you have to have lived through WWII to understand her story..the themes are universal. It makes me feel sadness for all those lost, for innocence interrupted, love split apart. Kseniya isn't an artist separated from her art, you can see what she feels in her display of emotion as she creates her piece. Stunning, to say the least.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Traditional Art

Ahh...traditional art. I so miss it. My time has been consumed these recent days with the newer medium of digital art. But that doesn't mean my love for the old ways has faded away. I still crave it at times. A quick oil study of some woods shows that I can still make time for traditional art. The image above took me just over two hours and although I am just a hobbyist at best, oil painting makes me *feel* like an artist.
The smell of the oils, laying them out on the pallet, the feel of them sweeping across the canvas, time fluttering by and my mind free of cares. Painting is not only a joy, but it is so relaxing, therapeutic, healing.
I'm reminded by these images of my Lime Still Life how nothing can become something all by one's own hand.

It's really exciting to see the final result and it usually motivates and inspires to do keep on painting...creating art...filling the world with beauty. Whether it's formed with a canvas and paintbrush or a computer tablet and pen, it is still art and I am still an artist. And I will keep on creating. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Using Filters to Create a Look

I've recently become obsessed with using filters to enhance my photography. Both On-camera Filters and Photoshop Filters.
On-camera filters are rarely used anymore, even for Black and White photography as most digital cameras come with built-in features to turn your photos to b&w or sepia, to even enhance contrast and up the saturation. But two filters should be a must-have in every camera bag. One is a Polarizer which can cut down reflections on metal and glass. It can help even out nature shots by reducing reflections on water and sheen on vegetation. I use it alot when the sky is kind of hazy and dull. It can give a *punch* to the sky, making the blues richer. Here is an example where I used a Polarizer to achieve that blue sky:

The second on-camera filter I use is the Neutral Density filter. This helps control exposure on a bright day or when there is too much light reaching the sensor and you want to achieve a slow shutter speed. This was recently the case when I was in Las Vegas. Shooting night shots is a bit tricky because sometimes there is too much light coming from all the Neon glow around you. To help slow down the shutter speed I popped on my ND filter and was able to capture this image:

With this image, there were about 20 other people standing around flashing their bulbs at the fountain. That, along with light from the street and the fountain itself created a challenge with getting the shutter to slow down enough to capture the fountain and the golden light that was actually illuminating the area. Adding an ND filter cut down the amount of surrounding light and I was able to capture this image, keeping the mood and colors of the night intact.

Some photographers like to keep a UV Filter on their lenses at all times to help protect their lenses from dirt, scratches and damage. This one is a matter of personal preference. I don't use one as I feel it effects the outcome of the photograph but I know lots of photographers who never shoot without one and their images are still fantastic.


Here's where the real fun is! There are a gazillion photoshop filters out there and each one can create a unique look on your photograph. The following four images are all the same with the exception of having a filter added to the end result:

Here is the original, with no filter added:

This one has a Contrast Filter, upping the contrast between the highlights, shadows and colors: By using the Contrast Filter, you can create a more even, professional look on your photo.
The third image show use of a Vintage Filter:

In this image, we can see how the Vintage Filter muted the colors and added a yellow tint, making it look like an aged photograph.

Finally, here is an example of one of my favorite filters the Fog Filter:

By using a Fog Filter and adjusting the Opacity, you can create a "dreamy" image, one that appears to have a soft focus.

These filters are plug-ins for Photoshop and there are many sites out there that offer free filter plug-ins as well as demos of filter software. Here are a couple:

If you decide that Filters are for you, then it is definitely worth the purchase of a software that really gives you fantastic creative options, such as:

Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 which has 60 filters creating over 300 preset looks:

I hope you all enjoyed this tidbit on using Filters! Now, go get creative! :-)

The Creative Artist

So, during the last four stressful months, the one thing that kept me relaxed and grounded was my photography. And, in that time, I discovered something. I am an Artist. My true love for photography doesn't come from shooting a picture, but rather how I can create something visually different, unique and thought-provoking from that picture. I also discovered that standard studio shoots and sessions don't interest me as much anymore. Yes, they are an additional way to generate income which can lead to better equipment and I probably wouldn't turn them down but doing so many over the last four months left little room or time for me to exercise my creative power. The silver lining to all that "work" however, was disovering my true calling. And that is the call of the Creative Artist. Having an image that I created hanging on someone's wall is so exciting. To know that it moved them enough that they want to look at it every day gives me chills! Taking my images and turning them into art is where my true passion lies and now that things are back to normal, I have been creating non-stop! It's been so relaxing, fun and satisfying! I plan on sharing alot of my tips, tricks and ideas here on my blog now that I have more time to write. I've recently started to create my own Photoshop Actions and brushes and will hopefully have those available in the upcoming months.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sami and her dolly


The Curve balls of Life

The last four months sure took their toll. Three weeks in the Highlands of Scotland, trekking 100 miles, mostly in rain, wind and even some hail. Returned home to ailing family members including my mother-in-law battling cancer and my father-in-law succumbing to it. One week later, after being sick for nearly two months, I finally discovered at the age of 44, that I was pregnant for the first time! Talk about a shocker. But, that was very short lived as just a week later we suffered a miscarriage. Together Charlie and I worked that out at home, alone, privately. I didn't want to go through it in a cold, hospital room with strangers. We both quickly moved on however from the ordeal because as everyone knows, life doesn't stop to pity you so you can't really take the time to pity yourself. And, I had to shoot a wedding while I was still miscarrying. That was difficult. It was a long, hard day and most of the time I felt like I was going to pass out. But, it was also, at the same time, alot of fun as I had Lita there to assist me. That weekend, our shelving system in the garage came crashing down onto our truck and my hubby sprained his ankle. *Sigh* We couldn't wait for May to be over with. Just a week later, my sister and 9 year old nephew flew in to spend 9 days with me. I took both of them along with Daniel (also 9) to Disneyworld for 5 days. That was exhausting to say the least! :) Once they left, I committed to my eBay clients to sell for them through the end of June. Finally, July rolled around and I thought I would have some free time but the month quickly filled up with coffee dates, lunch dates, birthday parties, photography workshops and ending with a trip to Las Vegas for a week. Now, a week in Vegas is about 5 days too long,lol. It was the end to a long, exhausting 4 months full of twists and turns. Things have finally slowed down for now...but soon, Bunco will start back up and two trips are in the pipeline, one to South Carolina with my friend Phoebe and one to London with my friend Jackie, all before the end of the year. I'll try to take this time to be more diligent with my blog as there are tons of things I want to write about. Hopefully, life won't throw anymore curve balls for a while!