If I had to pick… just one

I-heart-summer
I ❤ (heart) summer

Who doesn’t love summer… right.  There’s nothing like a lazy summer afternoon, warm breeze blowing and a refreshing summer brew to help cool you off… perfect actually to sit and write a blog post 🙂 … if only it were always that easy ~ as that moment has passed and now two, now three days and what seems like a thousand (but only 11 last count) edits later 😉

That is probably because my thoughts for this post have been all over the place… hmm, maybe because so has my photography and all that goes with it.   On the plus side,  I’ve been taking a lot of photos, continuing to learn my camera, learning new techniques for both in camera and post processing ~ using new textures and filters, and experimenting…  So, finally picking at random, one topic out of that mish-mash of topics above to blog about, I thought I’d share how this DIY lightbox that diy-lightbox I found in my dad’s basement led me to a favorite new tool (for now) ~ an LED light pad.

A favorite technique/effect of mine has always been the result from back lighting flowers (or just about anything that is somewhat opaque)The-Little-Things and the lovely shapes, color and lighting that come with it.  Unfortunately, mother nature is not always very cooperative: too windy, too bright, too cloudy, too… well, you get the idea.  Trying different light sources (a flash or a window) in the “studio” has not been all that successful either… close, but just not quite.

So I dusted off the DIY light box.  Unfortunately, the bulb, which looks something like a doughnut, gave off only enough soft bright light in a very small portion of the frame.  But in this very small space, I saw the effect I wanted to achieve… getting closer. diy-lightbox-with-text

The next challenge, to get that light source to fill the entire frame.  Thinking I could just repurpose the box I had,  I asked Google, which turned up a couple DIY light boxes (too complicated/technical for me) and some manufactured ones (mainly used for viewing negatives and $$$) and a link to a photographer’s post (thank you Denise Ippolito) and how she used a light pad …and as it turns out, the key words in all of this were LED and pad.  There it was… an artist’s tool, something used mostly for tracing by tattoo and graphic artist.  This had so many pluses – adjustable brightness, super slim (i.e. super easy storage), maneuverable, and $ compared to $$$ – I chose the Litup (click on image for link) – and most important a continuous even bright white light that fills the frame.  I’ve only just started using it, but have so many ideas for this simple little device… and without all the too this or thats.

the-light-withinFlowers from my garden ~ the heart of flowers above and this trio are floating in water in a clear glass bowl on the light pad and processed with just a touch of Topaz glow.

Til next time,
Maria

Advertisements

Sharing some love

 Happy Valentine’s Day!

A perfect day to do something I love . . . get a little creative & share.

I found some hearts (it is Valentine’s Day after all) in my archives and thought I would try something a little different, so I’m checking out Topaz’s new Glow plug-in.

be-my-valentineOn first try, it’s a pretty simple and user friendly plug-in.  Below is the original (the subject, just one of the many characters you’ll see wandering around the  Cherry Blossom Festival in Philadelphia).  For the how to:  I imported from LR with a crop and white vignette to PS, and then went to play with Topaz Glow.  Love that hair…perfect for some Glow, and of course the heart eye-patch.  I would love to tell you which Glow I used, but, as usual, I click around so much, trying this one and that one… that by the time I settle on one, I forget what to name it in my layers palate.  Added some text and above is my quirky valentine… be-my-valentine_orig

*************

Next… what’s this?  Lot’s of green . . . no not St. Patty’s Day.   But there are some hearts, lots of them, which is why I probably took this in the first place.  I just didn’t know, until today, what to do with them.

green_heartsThis photo was a little more involved…   First up, isolate the hearts.  I masked them out in Topaz Remask 4.

sending-a-little-love-TR  after cleaning up the edges, I decided red would be more appropriate for the occasion.  In PS, I used Color Range (which you can find under Select in the menu bar), I selected, well, all the green, added a layers mask, and then a hue & saturation layer and adjusted the sliders until I got the perfect shade of red.

Color Range

It’s getting there, now for some Glow… ugg, again, forgot to make note of which one, but I think it may be one of the “soft blooms” and then messing with the sliders.  Again, just follow your heart when using these plug-ins…  sending-a-little-love_glow-and-cleanup…you just never know what you might discover

Glow left the edges a little rough, so using the smudge tool I was able to smooth them out, followed by just a plain white brush to tidy things up a little bit more.

Finally, time to turn this into the Valentine I imagined… a little text, finding the right font, and . . .

sending-a-little-love

Til next time,
Maria

The Little Things Edition

It’s time for another texture Tuesday 🙂

My favorite time of day is the early morning when everything is quiet (except for the birds chirping away) and the rising sun makes everything glow.  And the best part is I get to watch this a few feet from where I work every morning, just inside my own front door.