Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge: Week 12

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Good morning from another wet and miserable Hastings morning.

Last night I was going through my photos to see what I could post today and found these photos.  I loved the post from Sonel’s Corner yesterday but of course I can’t do any exotic pets, but I do find strange cats coming up to me on my walks so of course I take photos of them.

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They all seem to be attracted to me and come up and pose for me.

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This cat was gorgeous and hung around for a long time for me to take some photos of it from it’s best side.

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Then there was this rather regal looking Siamese cat.  I haven’t really seen it since.

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It reminded me of this quote about Egyptian cats being worshipped so I scrapbooked it.

Cats

Rather apt I thought.

petchallenge

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Ese’s Weekly Shoot and Quote Challenge – Spread

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Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can fly.

Unknown.

This weeks challenge for  Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Spread .     As I have been having problems with my photos I  have decided to use these iScrapbooking pages for my quote.  I love butterflies but they are notoriously hard to take.  The good photos I do have I have scrapbooked them for my Words of Inspiration blog.  I also love  this quote.  We have so many talents and gifts but many of us are too scared to use them, so it is time to spread our wings and see how far we can go.

Page 12Life is Beautiful

Page 7Beauty of dreams

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Monarch butterfly

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Split toning with Sonel’s Corner and Unique So Chic

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Good morning from a windy Hastings day.

I love photo manipulation.  I have done photography for about 30 or so years.  While I lived in Austria I joined a camera club and got into it seriously.  Especially in the dark room.  I loved seeing images come alive and it was like going into a Tardis,  time didn’t matter.  Anyway I experimented with manipulating images with different papers and techniques.  This photo above is a self portrait.  I had loads of filters for my camera and the original of this was actually a photo of me at my sister’s wedding where I was her bridesmaid.  I just liked the way that I looked up just as the photo was taken.  So I used a macro filter on the lens to magnify it to make a larger portrait size.  It didn’t matter that it wasn’t sharp as I was going for a very soft look anyway.  The trouble with the dark room days is the time and paper used to get the right feel.  I used quite of bit of paper just to get the right feel.  Then it was sepia toned.  For the colour I used special photo paints to highlight the red.  As you can tell it was very longwinded and lots of wastage.  I entered this into a competition for the German magazine Fotomagazine and I came in 19th.  The brief was Nostalgia.  I based this on some old photos that my parents had taken of them just  after they got married where the photos were black and white but had been painted to give a coloured feel.  Actually the painting was really obvious, especially around the mouthes and eyes.

Fast forward to 2013 and digital photography and computer programmes.  What a difference.  What used to take days and lots of paper is now just a click and the images change before your eyes.  It is another click to get rid of the affects if you don’t like them.  Anyway I have just read  Amanda ♥ Unique So Chic‘s blog on split toning so I thought I would give it a go.  She has entered this photo challenge  at Sonel’s Corner.

I started by googling split toning and trying to follow instructions but I couldn’t manage to use the layers for some unknown reason so then I just used the colour enhancement tools from the top.  This way I was able to alter the highlights, shadows or mid tones without having to go through the individual layers.

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This is the first photo I tried to manipulate.

Blue hairsDon’t ask me what I did.  I just went by the look.

ShadowsBy accident I discovered that I could create a shadow affect of movement.

DSCF2461This is a native fern of New Zealand and I was interested in the highlights.

Green and brown fernWhich you can see here, I tried to make the fern really stand out from the background.

Two tone editing Again I just went by the look but wanted to keep the colours more neutral.

DSCF2750My third attempt.

Drops of rainsoft daisy

I went for two totally different looks.  The first photo really emphasises the raindrops while the second one they fade away a bit.

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My last attempt before I gave up for the night.

purple daisyGreen daisy

 

Obviously I focused more on a natural tone for the first one, while I pumped up the green for the second.

By this stage I was ready for bed.  It was fun though, I also discovered a lot more filters as well which gave some interesting affects such as this one.

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This one I think took the longest to get the affect I wanted.  Which was to really show off the lilac petals but fade out the background a lot more.  I love the fact that with one photo you can create so many different affects and actually completely different images.  Without all the chemicals and papers.  Soooo much fun.

Cheers and have a nice day.

 

 

 

Learning wisdom

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Good morning from a rather chilly, but sunny Hastings day.  Just when you think the weather is getting warm we get hit by these spring storms.  At least it isn’t snowing here like down in the South Island.

By going out with my camera I am really starting to take notice of and learning about flowers.  I am not a gardener, I am actually allergic to a lot  of weeds and am prone to infections should I even go near a garden.  But I do appreciate the lovely gardens around me.  I must apologise for getting ranunculus mixed up with  peonies.  Now I must google the flowers to check that I actually  have the right name to the flower.  I do know that this image is of lilacs as I bumped into a horticulturalist who showed my what to look out for.  When I do my quotes I try to keep to the meaning of the flowers.  For example lilacs are both whimsical and childlike according to the website flower choice.com.  It is full of a gentle, sophisticated promise of wisdom, celebrating a growth of innocence into experience – from childhood into adulthood.  so I chose this quote from Confucious about the experience of gaining wisdom.

I cropped this image of some sunlit lilacs that I had taken.

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Then I made these three embellishments out of other photos from other lilac trees I have seen.

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To give a more three dimensional look I changed the opacity of two of the embellishments, one at 70% and the other at 85%, while the third one was at 100%.  It was just a matter of resizing and arranging to suit the image I had in my mind.

The text is Dumbledore 1 – chosen for it’s wise quality – I love Harry Potter.

 

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

 

Celebrating the All Blacks

All Black image

Good morning from a slightly grey Hastings day.

I make and sell these cute baby outfits on TradeMe, New Zealand’s equivalent to EBay.   I have just tweaked my design a bit so needed to update my image as well.  To start with the white logo on the outfits is my own design,  I used this unofficial flag as my inspiration.

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I then transferred that to a graph and simplified New Zealand to NZ.  I knit them on a knitting machine for speed and a nicer look, and also for the intarsia technique for the design.  After a couple of years I am getting rather good at it.  Anyway I did the bands a different way as I decided to change them to make them a bit quicker to knit, as well as less wool.  I have spent the last couple of weeks making some new outfits.  The booties also have black sprigs on them to look like real rugby boots.

So what better way to celebrate the All Blacks winning the Rugby Championship in style than redesigning my photo.

I love this image of the silver fern.

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And have used it many times.  It really just shows up the silver fern image.  This was my background which I also edited with Photoshop.

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I use a lifelike doll to make the outfits look more interesting.  My husband can’t stand the doll as it looks far to realistic for him.  I love it.  Anyway using the layers I added them onto the silver fern image.  Just to be more patriotic I googled flags and added a New Zealand flag to it as well.

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I chose this one as it was a little more realistic than just the flat image.

With Trademe the first image is free and then I have to pay for any further image so that by doing it all on one image I can show everything I want, plus say what the outfit entails – i.e. beanie, booties and jumper.

It is also on my website an my Facebook page for sale as well.

http://decocrafts.org/index.php/en/online-store#!/~/product/category=5592665&id=28529463

So check it out.

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

 

Greensleeves

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Good morning from another beautiful Hastings day.

When I am out walking my eyes are everywhere. I’m not just looking for beautiful flowers and reflections.   leaves can be just as interesting and fascinating.  Especially when backlit.

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I love the strong colours and lines in this leaf.  The contours and thickness of the leaf also show up, from the sun shining through.

Brown and green fernAspiring to reach the top

 

As you can see from my first image, ferns are another favourite of mine.  There are so many ways to highlight the fronds and ways to use them as you can see from the second image.

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By pointing the camera skywards the image becomes black and white for a more interesting perspective.

 

Close to nature

 

They add a distinct New Zealand flavour and colour to my scrapbooking.

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Other leaves have strong lines to them.  These leaves just stood out as I went past them, so of course I had to stop for photos.

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I am constantly amazed at the way just small sun beams can highlight just one leaf out of many as in these two photos.  The leaves really stood out.

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The same goes for these branches against buildings.

Midges everywhere

 

This final photo was taken into the sun again, which shows the leaves and empty flower in relief.  The white spots are midges flying around.  I spent some time trying to see if I could capture these little critters, as you can see I managed to get them, but also managed to get bitten.  Ah! The life of a photographer.

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

Fair and Square

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Good morning from another glorious Hastings day.

Time for my weekly update on the quilt I am slowly doing each week.  This week it is the Fair and Square block.  This one is a very easy one to do as it is just the basic square and triangle pieces.  It only took about 10 minutes to do.

I like the fact that I am making blocks that have been used for centuries, such as this one which is found among the 19th century Amish community in Pennsylvania.  They used this block as a single large one as their quilt, but is really affective as a repeating motif.  It is also known as diamond in the square.  The square, when rotated 45degrees stands on one corner, or en pointe as they say in the ballet world.

This is the 18th block so far.  This is such a great way of learning about the traditions of quilting as well as improving my imaging skills.  I was explaining my love of quilting to someone early in the week.  I have just recently finished reading the Anne of Green Gables stories (never did read them all as a child).  In the turn of the century in that corner of the world quilting was a big part of their lives.  There was a quilting group in every town and everyone got together to make quilts for the needy, or whoever was getting married.  Commercial blankets did not exist back then.  A sign of social standing was indicated by how well the quilts were made.  But it was also a sign of love as well.  It was known as a comforter as well.  There is something in making by hand an item that will bring warmth and comfort to your loved ones.  But it was also a means of socialising, no doubt gossiping as well.  This is so sadly lacking today.

Enough of the philosophising.  The above image is from iScrapbooking. Then I decided to photoshop it and see what I can do with the same images.

Fair and Square

This is using the same images but this time I turned the image of the block into an PNG image and turned it around to make it more natural, that the girl is holding it up to present.  Again the machine embroidery is by Sue Fox.

There are a couple of new embellishments from last week as well.

pin wheelsBobbin

 

I think I will take some more photos of the original quilt and see if I can tweak it a bit.

So it is a beautiful day, time for some breakfast and then another photo hunt.

Cheers and have a nice day,

Raewyn

 

Satisfaction of life

Satisfaction of living

 

Good morning from a lovely sunny Hastings.

I love going out for walks just to see how beautiful the world is through my camera lens.  I love to see the bright colours of the flowers and to smell them and really appreciate the beauty around us.  It is a wonderful way to relieve stress.  I put my favourite songs on and just go for it.  A couple of hours later I arrive home uplifted by some of the beautiful sights I have seen and hopefully have on my memory card.  I am getting well known along the routes I go as I stop and take photos of colourful gardens.  I have had the owners come out and talk to me which is a little bit embarrassing but generally people are really nice about it.  It is the men who get quite uptight that I am standing on the footpath zooming in on some flowers, but the women have been really nice.

I have an idea in my mind usually when I am taking the photos as to how I would like to show up the beauty.  Not always successful but the success rate is improving.  This is a lovely garden just full of snapdragons.  All the embellishments were taken there as well.  Firstly I had the background image of the garden itself.

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I had some trouble with the opacity of the background when it came time to add the text.  In the end I just deleted the layer and started again.  I right clicked on the small lock icon on the right in the layers panel and then I found the opacity button.

Because I didn’t want to lose the embellishment arrangement and text I saved it and added it to the image.

Living well

I find it is less stressful to save as I go to avoid the problem of starting all over again.  Learnt that the hard way.

I have also learnt about adding a three dimensional look to the embellishments by adding shadows.  It is amazing the difference it makes when the shadows are added.  My daughter said it wasn’t necessary but then watched as I added some shadows and then she said it does matter.  I still get amazed at the transformations from flat images to a more three dimensional look.  I have been studying the Dummies Guide to Photoshop Elements 10 just to learn my way around the different functions and brushes.  Here are the individual embellishments.

SnapdragonWhite snapdragonsSnapdragons pink

 

Here is what I mean about the shadows.  Here is the ivy I did the other day.

 

Ivy 2

 

Ivy 2

 

Now you can see the difference it makes with the shadowing.  It is rather dramatic to see the transformation.  That is what I love about photography and editing.  It is very addictive.

Cheers and have a nice day,

Raewyn

 

Working on my photoshop skills.

Rich interests

 

Good morning from a beautiful sunny Hastings.

Thanks to Unique So Chic  I have learnt to use layers with Photoshop which I did yesterday for my grandchild.  Last night I did some more work on this technique for this image above.

My daughter then suggested I do a gothic image for a friend of hers who is into all things gothic.  As it is coming up to Halloween I thought I would give it a go using the techniques I had just learnt.

Alex's duck nightmare

 

But it is funny where you can get advice.  I went down to our local chemist (drug store) to get some photos printed off.  There is a lovely man there who just happened to be working on Photoshop enhancing old photos and I got talking to him about what I was doing, but I wasn’t happy with how it was obvious that I had added the images onto the background. So he showed me how to add images and then erase the parts that you don’t want. So I have just been trying it out and this is the second version.

Revenge of the ducks mark II

They are a composite of about 5 photos which I edited into black and white and sketched.  I am not sure what exactly I did but just went with the flow as to how I liked the images.

Alex loved it. I called it Revenge of the Ducks.

So have fun trying new techniques out.

Cheers, and have a nice day.

Raewyn