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.

 

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A little dusting…

can go long way.

Week 2 – Landscape.  I’ve really been feeling a bit uninspired…   Last week rain, this week it has been reeealy cold and getting myself to get out there and go some where… nope, just too easy to stay put where it’s warm and dry.   And then!  We got a dusting of snow ~ a game changer.   I wasn’t even really looking for that landscape when I took the dogs for their walk.  It’s a usual path, pretty brown, nothing really ever jumps out and says take my picture (unless one of the dogs does something cute), but with just a dusting of frozen white (and the first of the season), the usual path was transformed.20160113_124657-01  With dogs in tow, I took a couple shots with my phone ~ actually a few more than a couple, because (a) I cannot see the screen on my phone when my transitions darken, and (b) insurance that I am holding my phone steady enough – a challenge also when holding two dogs.   Fingers now sufficiently frozen, we turned to head home and then there it was… the pond, frozen, with these large circles of ice where the snow did not stick, making a beautiful design all across the pond.  Fingers too frozen to break out my phone again and the sun still too strong (talk about blown highlights), I knew I had to revisit it later that afternoon without two dogs and fingers thawed and crossed that my timing would be right and the sun wouldn’t warm things up enough to change the ice patterns.  Almost 4:00, I was pretty sure I missed my opportunity (and the sun on the pond), but I was all bundled up, so what the heck – maybe I would see something else I hadn’t seen earlier.  But oh my!  When I got to my destination, the sun was hitting the pond like a stone skimming across the water  and all those circles were now glistening discs.  Andif that weren’t enough, I had a backdrop of  wispy winter clouds and a touch of beautiful blue sky ~ I have my landscape.

week-2---Landscape

It just goes to show, you don’t have to travel great distances or visit far off places to see something unique, you just need to allow yourself to see… wherever you might be.

Until next time,
Maria

 

Here’s to a Spooktacular October

It’s been a busy month and my camera has gotten one heck of a workout… from the events for A Woman’s Place and 5k’s benefiting our four-legged friends, to this year’s amazing autumn landscape and color, to getting creative with things just lying around the house and at the “Haunted Ghost House” in Lambertville…  {whew}

To commemorate such an awesome month….  I’ve put a little something together to sum it all up.
Halloween_2015

 

Want to see some more of my images from the “Haunted Ghost House?” I’ll be posting throughout the day on Instagram. So much  effort and creativity goes into Dolores Dragan’s Halloween art display for all to enjoy, so be sure to check them out HERE.  Not on Instagram or Facebook, not to worry, I’ll do an “after party” post tomorrow… stay tuned.

Hope you have a Spooktacular Halloween!

Until next time,
Maria

Shout out to Jai Art and Captured by Carrie for helping me add just the right mood to my image.

Monitor Matters – An Update!

Hey, so I have learned a little something new on this topic.  This is an update to my post Monitor Matters, in which I wondered why my photos looked so off while I was working on a post on my laptop.  What do you know, there really is an answer!

First I should probably re-title this post to A Beast Called Color Management.    The long of it… you can read here, as honestly I can barely get my head around it.  But the short of it… if I’ve even got this right, is that, yes, an image can look considerably different if you are viewing it in a browser that uses only “half” color management (Google Chrome/Explorer). On the other hand if you are using Firefox or Apple’s browser (Safari), they use “full” color management, and you’re seeing the image pretty much as I am (minor variations in your monitor settings aside).  Just like the article, I did my own test and opened this image

Hello Fall

on my iPad, in Firefox, and in Google Chrome, and compared all three to the image on my calibrated monitor. The iPad took top honors, Firefox looked pretty nice on my uncalibrated monitor, and Google… well, I won’t be using that browser any more as part of my photo workflow in the future.  Just thought you might like to know it’s not your eyes playing tricks on you… it’s your browser.

Until next time,
Maria

p.s.  All research on this topic and explanation so I could understand it is thanks to my dad 🙂

What’s wrong with this picture?

watermark mishap 1

Hey, hey now, play nice…   and disregard the only model I had available at the time… me 🙂

So, what’s wrong with the photo I’m holding?  Edges – no, there supposed to be blurred and mirror the edges.  This is a big print on canvas and they provide the wrap.  Composition? lighting?  No and no, at least not as far as I’m concerned.  This happens to be a favorite of mine… It’s back-lit, it has lots of red,  it’s my favorite flower …poppy, and it has all the textured imperfections I love.  Try again.

How about now?  Anything…  Now? watermark mishap Look real close… across the yellow center.  Yup, that’s right… I forgot to remove the watermark before sending this big, ink consuming photo to the printer.  A complete “DUH” moment if ever there was one.

On the bright side, I did not send this out to be printed… How horrifying would that have been to open the box and see it.  Or even worse, never notice it and sell it like that… I can’t even imagine.

The .psd file I used was originally saved to be used for a note card and also had a couple layers of text, a saying, which I unchecked to print this.    What can I say, I didn’t check all the layers, because there was one, which because as you can see the opacity is turned way down on that watermark,  looked completely blank… and even when I resized this to print big, I still missed the faint watermark.

Okay, I know some of you are asking… why did I put the watermark there in the first place, especially since it is barely visible?  If you’ve been following this blog, than you probably know this is not my first post on the subject.  I do think of a watermark as a “stop sign” of sorts.  Sure, some will blow right through it like it’s not even there, and there will be no police waiting to stop them, but for many, who follow the rules, they will stop, take a look, and keep on going {lol, not a bad analogy if I say so myself 😉 }   I recently shared a post on Facebook on the topic of watermarking your photos and the debate why or why not photographers use them with some useful links.  So, back to why I use a watermark.  If I am posting a photo to social media (Flickr, Facebook, etc)  that has “print potential,” I like to use a watermark.  I make it faint so as to not detract from the image as much as possible, and put it somewhere not so obvious and where it may be a little more difficult to Photoshop out.  It’s just a little peace of mind.

The photo/file, renamed and saved and all layers not necessary to the final print version deletedwas reprinted, turned out perfect, and my initial excitement to seeing this photo printed BIG promptly returned.     But!  I will still double check…triple check… each layer before I send this photo or any photo to the printer again.  Lesson learned!