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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

vintage blur

So who doesn't enjoy a challenge? Or two?

For weeks I've been promising Lissa Forbes that I would join her Walk and Click Wednesdays. Combine that with Kat Sloma's challenge to experiment with artistic blur, her latest assignment in her Come Exploring with a Camera...and an unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon, and you get the following golden opportunity:

A chance to wander around town (as opposed to biking through it) with camera in hand...nothing and nobody to answer to except for my muse. TBQH I would have been biking if I didn't have a cold.

I started at the Clear Creek History Park in Golden, where my curiosity payed off: I peeked inside the windows of a tiny cabin, put my camera right up against the glass and...I hit pay dirt! Shooting through a dirty window into a darkened room on a sunny afternoon got me just the effect I was after. I did play with the images in Lightroom, cropping, then lightening them up and playing just a tiny bit with contrast; but not too much; I didn't want to destroy the ghostly quality that I felt when I shot it. I did apply a sepia-toned Lightroom preset to all of the photos here.

These images reminded me of a group of photos I took early last summer at a ranch up in the mountains, where I had the luxury of spending several hours playing with my new Lensbaby, designed for in-camera creative blur effects. So I picked out a couple favorites, again applying minimal photo editing.

Now the site of a private 15,000 acre ranch, this land high in the Colorado rockies once produced lettuce and green onions, which were shipped by rail directly to Denver, circa early 20th century.


Sunday, January 27, 2013


The first assignment for Kim Klassen's Beyond Beyond year-long class, and I'm actually on time.

A simple assignment such as this - one subject + several shots/settings/views - made it irresistible to me: I just had to get out my camera and shoot something. No time for over thinking..."Think YOU," she said...so I grabbed the first thing I thought of.

Kim's thoughts about being in the moment also resonated with me. It seems I am always trying to squeeze in a swim workout or a bike ride. So I pondered this part of the assignment as I swam my laps Thursday morning before work. It's pretty hard not to be in the moment when you are swimming, especially just as you get into the water (my least favorite part of the whole routine). Once I am warmed up and gliding through the water it becomes a soothing, insular, other-worldly experience. Oh, I stop now and again to catch my breath, wipe the fog from my goggles and adjust my earplugs, sometimes chatting briefly with the swimmer in the lane next to me. But it's mostly just me and the water. And the breathing. And my thoughts.

Swimming is for me a meditative, contemplative, often visionary experience - and a great way to start my day. I often climb out of the water with a great idea or some sense of clarity on some subject in my life.

Or at the very least, peace in my soul.


Pretty simple post-processing here: I imported about 30 shots into Lightroom, where I culled it down to three, which I fine-tuned a bit and cropped into squares in the Develop module and arranged into a custom Print Module layout. Then I applied a couple RadLab filters: Contrast and Highlight Separator at about 50%. Then I edited in Photoshop, applying two layers of Kim's kk_chill texture - at 60%Soft Light and 20% Multiply blend modes.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

a cuppa...with meaning

I love Kim's challenges in her Beyond Layers class...only I am usually late completing the assignment. Today's post is almost two weeks late. By the time I receive it in my inbox, read it, mull it over in my mind, come up with a photo-op, shoot it (several takes...and I do mean several), load them into Lightroom, choose one, and edit it some more in Photoshop....well, you can see why it often takes me a couple weeks to get it up on my blog, where I then write about it.

All of this is done in a piece-meal fashion - a bit at a time, slotted in amongst the daily routine and events of Life.

So Kim's Cuppa Challenge involved a cup, a book, and an accessory. I more or less followed Kim's recipe, but it needed Something Else, so I experimented with several of her textures, finally settling on her kk_addsomenoise1 (Screen layer mode 77%) because it added some nice wrinkles...like this well-worn favorite book.

I first read this little gem a few years ago, and recently was inspired to pull it out again and glean something new from it. Dr. Frankl did not disappoint.

Oh, and BTW, one reason I shot so many takes is because I was desperately trying to fit the flame-in-darkness image on the book cover into my still life set-up, but it just didn't work.

Flame. LIGHT. My One Word for 2013. On my honor, it was just one of those serendipitous happenings you stumble upon occasionally in the creative process.

The sweet old-fashioned teacup is a family heirloom that belonged to my late mother-in-law, Vernetta Swainson, whom I never met. I do know this: she lived for her family, delighting in being a wife and mother. I'm going out on a limb here, but I suspect that she didn't have to search very hard to discover the meaning of her life.

He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.
Friedrich Nietzsche
as quoted by Viktor Frankl

Friday, January 18, 2013

one little word

I first heard about the One Little Word Project from Ali Edwards a couple years ago, but I've never been inspired to participate until now. I couldn't squeeze in another online workshop or else I would have signed up for Ali's class. Actually I wasn't even planning on doing it on my own this year either, but a few weeks ago the word seemed to choose me. Funny how that works.

As this new year begins, this One Little Word kinda sums things up for me:

I believe that Jesus Christ continues to light my path.

I feel hope during dark times when I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I try to enlighten others through the gift of my creativity.

I am discovering that "it's all about the light" in photography and art.

May your New Year be full of light, happiness and peace.