Archive for July, 2011

Water, Water, everywhere… I Heart Faces

She came off the slide like a rocket and made a perfect landing on the boogie board. She may be in a pool in Georgia, but she sure looks like a California girl!

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For more wonderful water photos, check out the entries at I Heart Faces!

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I Heart Faces-Props

I Heart Faces took some time off from photo challenges so that Amy and Angie could focus on the workshop that they held in Utah (wish I could’ve been there!). But, this week it’s back on with the theme of “Props”. Stylized shoots are very popular these days, with everything from lovely upholstered furniture placed in the middle of a field to entire fancy teaparty themes with little girls all dressed up and a table fit for a queen. I’ve used a picture frame, a car, fire, a guitar, but in the end, I’ve found that LIFE is the best prop of all (isn’t that right, Becky?) This photo was taken with my little point and shoot at a local tearoom. My friend D and I met for lunch; we used to spend a lot of time together, but in the past few years our crazy busy lives have kept us apart. We finally decided to MAKE time for our friendship, and having a special luncheon at a girly place was just what we needed. When we sat down at our table, a vintage fur stole was on the back of D’s chair. I pulled out my little camera and told her to put it on, and I snapped away. I totally ADORE this photo of her; such a vintage, “classic” look! Yes, the stole was a “prop”, but friendship is the real prop in this photo. Now, don’t forget to visit the other links at I Heart Faces and give “props” to what I know will be some beautifully crafted pictures!

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I LOVE “Love That Shot”!

Online photography communities are one of my favorite resources for meeting other photographers and learning new things. From tutorials to forums to photo contests, you can find whatever you need to enlighten, uplift, and challenge you in your photographic journey. At the top of my list of favorite sites is Love That Shot, started a year ago by sisters Misti Millward and Michelle Johnson.

From great workshops and tutorials to a blog that includes photo challenges to a forum with a multitude of helpful topics, they’ve got it all, and more! The “more” is really my favorite part; they create beautiful textures and photo veils and sell them in their shop. I’ve purchased every set that they have and find myself using them more than any other textures that I have (and I have a LOT!). Imagine my excitement when Misti and Michelle asked me to be a product tester for their products? Yippee… I get the new releases before they go “live” and get to play with them; I am in heaven! You’ll see my posts each month on their blog as I review the new textures and veils, and you’ll see their products in a lot of my photos. Their latest release was the “Kalani” collection of textures. Here’s what they have to say about them:

Add a touch of the tropics to your photos with these Hawaiian inspired textures! 

100% of the proceeds from the sale of this collection will help a sweet little baby receive the surgeries she needs. Click here to read her story! When all of her surgeries have been completed, we will continue to donate 100% of the proceeds from this collection to the regional Children’s Hospital and surrounding Ronald McDonald Houses to help other children in need.So, please help us spread the word! Tell all your friends about this special collection of textures, and help us help as many little children as possible.  Thank you so much for your support!

One of the biggest benefits of textures and veils is that they often provide just the “pop” that you need in a photo without having to do a lot of other editing.  Here’s an example of one photo that I edited with the “Makana” texture from Kalani.

First, the photo SOOC:

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It’s a pretty shot, but it lacks depth and dimension. Here’s the same shot with two layers of Makana (overlay at 45% and hard light at 24%). Once I flattened those layers, I sharpened the photo slightly and went to levels to get it right where I wanted it:

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That was the extent of editing; maybe 2 minutes, and it added beautiful color and depth to the photo. You really can spend as little or as much time as you want adding texture; sometimes I wipe it off of the main subject (especially if it’s a person) or add additional layers or even additional textures. I love the artistic freedom that texture and veil layers give me (and veils can really lighten up a too-dark photo without blowing it out). Here’s a final photo of the actual Makana texture with the edit:

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You can see that the original texture wasn’t the same color as the photo, but it added in a beautiful sunset glow. So, if you’re looking for a different way to edit, or if you’re artistic and love the “lift” that textures give your photos, check out the product tab at Love That Shot and give their textures a try!

Simply SOOC

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This is what I want from every shot I take. No need to do anything at all other than to resize for upload. Sunset light and the time to move around to get the shot I wanted made for a lovely, natural capture. I might just get this one blown up for the wall….

Boys and their toys….

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Sometimes I miss the days of wooden trainsets and Tinker Toys…

I Heart Faces: Red, White, and Blue

Mother Nature messed with me last night. I intended to take a cool shot of my boy’s face lit by fireworks at the local fireworks show for my entry, but it rained, and the show was cancelled. So, I went through my archives and found these shots. They were taken last July at Georgia National Cemetery. These folks show up at military funerals to honor fallen soldiers by displaying flags during the ceremony. It was 100 degrees (literally) that day, with no shade to speak of. But in talking to some of them afterwards, they said it’s a small, small sacrifice in comparison to the person they are there to honor. I completely agree.

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As we celebrate our independence, may we never forget the sacrifices that make it possible.

Littlest friend

Adam started taking swim lessons a couple of weeks ago at a friend’s pool (and the fabulous teacher really has made a difference in his abilities and confidence). During the second evening, I was sitting with the other mom watching the boys when we noticed a little bird hopping around the pool. From the size of the feathers, it appeared to be a fledgling, and it seemed to have no fear of people. (It also appeared to be a bit short on common sense as well; it saw something floating on the surface of the pool and actually landed in the water; I thought for a minute that it was going to drown!). It would hop right past us, coming within feet of OUR feet. Adam went to scout camp and came back ready to take swim lessons the following week, but in the morning this time. During the first lesson, I noticed a little bird, bigger than the fledgling but still small, skittering around the edge of the pool. It came right up to me, stood at my feet, and cocked it’s head. It looked at me as if to say “Well? Whatcha got to feed me?”

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I had nothing; poor little thing was sorely disappointed but kept coming back, “just in case”, I suppose. It literally came so close that I could have reached out and touched it; even the children running around didn’t rattle it. Over the next few days, I would forget to bring something for Birdie, but I noticed sunflower seeds and other offerings, so it obviously had gotten very comfortable with “working the crowd”. In spite of my continued failure to produce anything of interest, it still came up to me and cast a wishful eye on my pool bag.

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Finally, on Friday, I remembered to grab a container of meal worms (we have a lizard. Don’t ask). I was afraid that Birdie wouldn’t show up; isn’t that the way it usually goes? But about halfway into the lesson; it came hopping out of the pine straw and into the covered area where I was sitting. I put down a meal worm, and it hopped up and grabbed it. After a few seconds of figuring out what it was, Birdie gulped it down and looked up for more. I put down several more, which were quickly snatched up, and saved the rest for Adam to feed the bird. When he was done with his lesson, he sat on the chair and held a meal worm in his hand. Birdie wouldn’t take one from me; I had to put them on the ground. But my little “bird-whisperer just made a clucking sound, and Birdie stepped right up:

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There’s something very magical about having a wild creature trust you to the point of getting within “grabbing distance”. Birdie might not be the brightest bird out there, but it sure did make us all smile. I hope that nobody does anything cruel to this trusting little one; I’ll update if we see it again!