Home is where the story begins

I am always inspired by those photographers/artists that can tell an amazing story using a photograph(s) and their imaginations.  To get a better idea of what I mean check out Living The Photo Artistic Life, a publication on the Issuu app (an awesome app for all sorts of free resources, btw).   Another self-taught process for me, I am slowly learning how to translate the story I imagine without it getting lost in the reality of the image.

The-White-House“Our House” is one of my photos that has such a  story and that I have been working on translating.   When I saw this white house with its blue roof, standing all alone, looking lived in – but not, inviting – but with no access, charming & quaint – against a drab backdrop of bare trees and gray sky, I was intrigued… what was its story?  Why is there a house here with no driveway, who lived here and when, where did they come from…where did they go?  Of course, I will probably never know its real story; heck, I don’t even know the name of the road (or town) where this house sits to research it.   So I have to come up with my own story.  If I were to write it, it might go something like this…

A  little white house sits all alone  on a little rise where one can see for miles in any direction. It’s long and winding drive stops at the wobbly front porch as a welcome to all.  And from that front porch, we sit lazily watching travelers pass us by.

…well, something like that, which is why I think I’ll stick to developing my storytelling with pictures.

But finding those words only came as I continued to rework the image to uncover the story stuck in my imagination…  I thought drama, maybe, as a B&W.

The-White-House-BW-1 but I don’t see the world in B&W.   I thought vintage, The-White-House-BWit is from a time long ago after all, and put a touch color back and added and element or two.  Although adding some elements helped the story start to unfold, those feelings ~ that made me stop the car cold, trespass in someone’s drive, and stand on a roadside with no margin for error ~ were the elements I needed.  I needed the  whimsy, quaintness, and quizzical nature of this dwelling that I saw when I clicked the shutter.
The-White-House-RevisedBorrowing the title from a tune by Crosby, Stills and Nash that played over and over in my head while I worked on this image, Our House… now has my story.

Until next time,
Maria

♥acknowledgements♥  special thanks for helping me find my story 2LO texture artists, Jai Art, Florabella actions, and the gang at Topaz Labs.

 

When life gives you lemons…

KK Pop Edition
… you make Lemonade, of course.   You can apply these little words of wisdom to photography too. . . with a little help from a plug-in or two.

Is there such a thing as too many . . . plug-ins that is?  Did you catch the Perfect Effects 8 freebie a while back?  I did and have added  it to my plug-in library along with the Topaz and Nik plug-ins, and if those were not a enough, I just added the the quirky plug-in Fractalius to my library.  Like all the software I use, I wish I had more time to dedicate to learning each one of the programs inside and out.  Unfortunately, my day seems to be all about “Units of Time” (I borrowed that one from the movie, About a Boy, …love those quirky (yes, my word of the day) British films).  Anyway, so at the end of the day when all I have is about “one unit”…if that, I finally get to play.

Working with plug-ins, for me, is a lot like cooking without a recipe.  Sometimes all you need are the  basics, a good photo, add some basic adjustments (sharpening/contrast) and wah-la.   But what if your main ingredient isn’t that great?  Well, it’s not a total loss… you just add some special ingredients . . . the plug-ins.  CLP blog timeline May 2014 copy

So here’s the original.  An iPhone snap-shot.  Kind of cute… I Love how it documents the day and actually a very rare photo of me that I actually kind of like, but it’s only 72 dpi (sent to me via email attachment), dark, and kind of lifeless.meg and me in nest_no edits

Sure there are plenty of iPhone apps that probably could achieve the same result, but I wanted to do a little more.  In this case I thought it would make a fun time-line for my FB page.  So, I started with a good crop, ran it through my fave Florabella actions, brushed in my own straw with a little bit of Fractalius added, sent it into Topaz Adjust, then back again to Topaz Simplify, added a little Nik Color Efex (but at this point I can’t remember why), and then garnished with Perfect Effect 8 for some blur and vignette.  Too much?  Nope…not for me.  Because now I have a photo that I can share with you and my FB friends.

CLP blog timeline May 2014Am I suggesting everyone run and and get some plug-ins.  Nope.  Most everything I did here can probably be done in one of the many editing programs available, but for me, when time is short, they really come in handy.

Til next time,
Maria

 

It’s a love~hate thing

That is with all this white stuff. . . snowcolors of winterI love when the snow falls and how the world outside seems to shut down. . . even if just for a few hours.

I hate the panic and madness that sets in days prior because the world as we know it just might have to shut down for a few hours.

I love how everything goes from a dingy and lifeless landscape to being covered with a pristine and silky white coating.

I hate how the edges of all roads turn black after the salt trucks and plows come through.

I love how my dogs love to play in it. . . all boundaries are gone!  And even though our pristine yard lasts all of 2 seconds after I open the door to let them out, I lovesilly c throwing snow balls and chasing them to help them mess it up even more.

I hate how it takes them twice as long…and what feels like forever in sub-0 temps…to find a place to do their business.

p-snow day

And now another element to this love-hate thing . . . ice!  Last week’s ice storm here, where they’ve dubbed this area as the hardest hit and I think I heard some newscaster say worse than what Sandy brought us, has added a whole new dimension that flips things to hate ~ love.   I hate how an icy forecast sends shivers glistening tree topsdown my spine.  My house sits under a towering big old oak (and a few other big trees around the property) and although in 20 years it has given us no trouble… just how lucky can we continue to be?   But, as much as I hate how unnerving an ice storm can be and to know I have to say goodbye to that old oak (better by man’s hands than mother-nature’s), I love when the sun finally comes out (and the electricity back on) because it really is a a magical site to see. . . where trees, even the broken ones, sparkle like chandeliers, and the ground is covered with glistening shards of glass-like crystals that have fallen from the trees.  Mother Nature’s idea of bling. . .

mother-natures-blingToday started as a frigid but sunny day; but as I get ready to post this, the sky is slowly going gray. These are some of the headlines for this area’s forecast come tomorrow . . .  “Catastrophic’ Storm Moving Up the East Coast” and Nor’easter to Hammer DC, Philly, NYC and Boston.  Here we go again . . .  To all of you that live in this zone stay warm & safe.  For me, I just hope my snow boots are tall enough.

Til next time,
Maria

Double Duty

Finally making some time for … me.   It feels so good to be working on some photos.

KK Pop Edition

Linking up, above, with KK’s Texture Tuesday ~ the POP edition ~ with the help of KK2 ( one of my all time favorites!), beached, and robins egg.  I’m also catching up on my 52×52.  Ugg … backing up all the way to Week 5:  Fruit (how did I get so behind).   I was 99% sure, but since I don’t know anyone that eats a lemon like they do an orange, I figured I should double check.  Sure enough, it really is a fruit…

With a little help from some friends at the Zoo, here are Week 6: From a low angle; Week 7: Eyes; Week 8: a bad habit; and Week 9: Childhood memory.  Can you match up the photo with the week?zoopendous dayGive up?  … I’ll give you some hints.  Week 6:  They’re really tall and I am really short.  Week 7:  A beautiful gaze.  Week 8:  Sleeping on the job.  Week 9: What kid doesn’t like playing on the monkey bars 😉

Til next time,

Maria

When in doubt . . .


…WEAR RED

I had a little plaque around here somewhere with that saying on it.  It used to hang on the door that opened to the red room (what else 😉 ) that used to be the “photo suite”.  However, I learned (the hard way) that a red room is not very conducive to optimal lighting for photography despite having the best window in the house for natural light.  The red room is now my son’s room.  Someday, it will return to being the photo suite … with a new coat of paint.  Where was all this leading… Oh yea, RED!  Just so happens to be my favorite color and this week’s 52×52.  The only hard part about this week’s challenge was actually deciding on what to photograph…there’s something red everywhere!

Strawberry fields forever…

strawberry-bowlMy favorite fruit, so happens it’s red.  Coincidence?

strawberry_painterlystrawberry-lineupstrawberry-colorboardI found so many things red to photograph that I haven’t even had a chance to go through them all.  Stay tuned for RED Part II.

’til next time,
Maria

Shout outs to Kim Klassen Textures, Florabella Actions, & French Kiss Textures!

 

52by52 The Self-Portrait Edition

So here it goes…  Not only a self-portrait but a before & after selfie :-0

The before

selfie_bw_beforeLOL, got some camera shake going on (just think this was the best of the bunch). I must’ve been just a wee bit nervous about what I was about to do…

Ready for the big reveal. . .

Ta-da . . . The After!

selfie_bw_afterMade my hair stylist’s day today.  I can go month’s between visits and then just show up and say cut it off.  Now I just need the weather to warm up… it’s a little chilly on the neck.

This is the first installment of
52by52
my own Project 52, of sorts.
To read more about it just click
on the 52by52 in the side bar

Til next time,
Maria

Starting Part II

my51stbirthday

The weeks leading up to my birthday, I caught myself once or twice thinking “Oh No! I’ve reached the peak and am now heading down the other side…” The picture in my head that went along with that was not a pretty one.  I needed to come up with another picture …and fast.  On the eve of my birthday, it occurred to me . . . I’m not over the peak ~ I’m just starting the Part II  of a very good book . . . my book!

I celebrated the start of my Part II by a lot of nothing in particular.  For me that means my day was not planned, no to-do lists, not an agenda in sight; things just happened … or not.  It was perfect!

EasterBunny Collage

 

The day started with an impromptu visit with the Easter Bunny.  I definitely wasn’t prepared for this ~ except for the fact that my camera was in the car to document my cupcake outing ~ not only did I leave my Easter basket at home, but my warmer coat, hat, and gloves… and it started to snow!

EasterBunny Collage_II.jpg-2

 

Aren’t they just the cutest.  They all came prepared…including wearing those adorable hats <3!

deliciously pink

 

Back on track. . .   I heard of local establishment called The Lucky Cupcake Company and decided I was long over due for a visit.  It was the hardest decision I had to make all day.  In the end, my box included six scrumptious cupcakes:  Irish cream (for St. Patty’s day, of course), Bailey’s cheesecake, carrot cake, lemon cream, peanut butter cup, and the crowd favorite, the Car Bomb (“Chocolate Guinness cake filled with Jameson truffle, dipped in chocolate and top with Bailey’s buttercream”).  Oh so…DELICIOUS!

Part II could not have started any more perfectly!