Monday, January 28, 2013

Moonset & Sunrise

This morning's walk with Miki was a real photo op.  And, Miki was such a good little photo assistant!  What does a doggy photo assistant do?  Basically, sit and stay so I can get the shot!  The first image below was taken just as we walked out of the driveway.  The rose of the upcoming sunrise highlighted the clouds, while the darker clouds and moon were the last remaining remnants of the previous night.

The image below was the sky that seemed to be just above the sun, since the lighting was so dramatic.  However, I did play with it just a bit to emphasize the almost neon quality of the sky that was there.

You'll need to click on the image below to see what I found really cool - one of our neighbors was taking off for a morning flight!  This was such an opportunity, I could hardly believe it!  Altho it looks like he's taking off directly into the clouds, the clouds are really quite a distance away, hovering over the mountains, and weren't right on top of the airpark!  The plane did not head off into the clouds - he turned and flew away from the clouds.  As Miki and I finished our walk, we met the plane as it taxied back to his hanger & home!

This next image just reminds me of the quintessential sunrise in rural areas, when folks are getting up to get the morning chores done!  The reward for having to do that are sunrises like this!

And, finally, on our way back, we got to see the sun beginning to color the clouds over the mountains.  The coloring adds a feeling of depth to the sky.  Miki, of course, was too busy with the very interesting sniffs to pay attention to any of this!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Morning Walk with Miki !

Today was the first morning walk I've had with Miki in about a year - it felt so great to be walking outside enjoying the morning!  Took some shots of the sun greeting the day and thought I'd share them with you.  I love the silhouette of the bare branches of the winter tree in the first image.  The clouds are really very pretty, too, in the way they seem to sort of frame the tree.  And, this image also is nice in the way it captures the cool of the night sky and the upcoming warmth of the sun.

When I turned around, I could see the morning sun reflecting off the clouds just hovering over the Sandia mountains.  The lighting seems to give this image a sort of 3D effect, and the layering of the clouds helps in that regard as well.  What a lovely way to start the day!

And, finally, as I headed back into the house, the scene below just begged to be taken!  I just love the ethereal quality of this image.  I'm not a religious person, but when I first saw it, I couldn't help but think that God is good.  We just don't take the time often enough to appreciate all that He's done for us and how lucky we all are.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Playing with the Sunrise

We had another beautiful sunrise this morning and I stepped out on our back patio to take a couple of shots.  The first shot I took (below) was blurry due to the slow shutter speed I had to use and the fact that I moved!  However, when I looked at it, I thought the movement gave the photo a cool effect, so I decided to play with it with my HDR software.  When I converted it to a black & white image, it reminded me of what Dorothy (in the Wizard of Oz)'s  house could have looked like just as the tornado hit!

This  next one really struck me because of the bands of color that were in the sky at sunrise.  Again, playing with my HDR software, I thought I'd play with it to accentuate the colors and created a sort of painterly effect.  Two totally different effects from the same sunrise and shots taken just a few seconds apart!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Postage People ATCs

Today, I worked on an ATC swap and thought you might like to see some of the results!  The theme was "postage people" using postage stamps for the heads of the people.  The first card, below, used a postage stamp of a very young Queen Elizabeth.  I sort of pretended that she was still a princess, since she looked so young!

This next care used the bodies of an older couple posing for a semi-formal picture.  I found 2 stamps - a woman and a man that seemed perfect for the feel of this.  I have no idea who these folks are, as they were foreign stamps, and I couldn't tell what country they were from (ok, I didn't look very hard either!).  They just looked so serious and somber, I couldn't help but decide to name this piece "Happy Couple" !

This last card reflects opposites, in a way.  Again, I have no idea who the woman is in the stamp, but she seemed perfect for the picture of a young woman posing for a more formal portrait photograph.  So, I combined the 2 and then put her on a background that had a very busy, vibrant absract design to it - sort of the opposite of the "Prim & Proper" title!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Winter Sunset

Yesterday, we had quite a lovely sunset.  I was lucky enough to have noticed it (actually Jeff noticed it first and told me to grab my camera) in time to capture it.  It was all over in the span of about 15-20 minutes.  The first image below is at what I call the beginning of the spectacular part of the sunset.  I love the lines in the sky and how it adds a bit of texture to the color.  Oh, by the way, these were the natural colors - no special effects!

The second image really captures the bands of different colors that were in the sunset, ranging from the almost apricot looking color close to the horizon to the deep blue, almost purple in the upper part of the image.  If you look closely at the image, you can see just a dot of color in the dark section - it's a bit of the sunset reflecting in the window of one of the houses. 

In this next image, I feel like 2 of the best parts of New Mexican sunsets are displayed.  The BIG skies we have here, and the colors of our sunsets (and sunrises, too).  I love the way the different colors are reflecting in the clouds and the bluer background sky, turning even darker toward the right hand side of the image (which is east).

And, finally, here are the last remnants of the sunset.  You can see the rosy glow right along the horizon.  I especially loved the bands of blue/grey as the night is overtaking the sunset.  It seems to be telling us the excitement of the day is over, and it's time to kick back and relax.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Summer & Wisdom

I decided to play with my new background paper and create some digital collages.  The first piece, below, creates the impression of summer vacation.  The background paper has the mom with her children at some sort of beach amusement park.  The distressed effect of the background creates a sort of vintage feel to it.  I added the child's ticket in the lower right corner, and also the vintage postcard.  The postcard is from France, so in my imagination, this is all taking place in a village along the French seaside.

This next image also continues the summer feel.  The background paper has the surfer image on it, and the texture around and below him makes me think of him coming back to a beach cottage after a morning of surfing in the ocean.  The young woman is the girl he left behind in the city, wondering if he's thinking of her and misses her.  

This last image has more of a somber tone to it.  The phrase across the top of the piece references the souls of the dead and wisdom of the gods.  I feel like the image of the ghost town street reflects the souls of the dead.  I have always thought that ravens and crows seemed to reflect a sort of timeless wisdom, and so I chose the image of the raven to reflect that.  You have to wonder what the wisdom of the gods was when deciding which towns would survive and thrive.....and which would not.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cool Background Papers

One of the coolest techniques for creating background papers for collage/mixed media involves the cleaner/degreaser called CitraSolv and a magazine with high quality pages, like National Geographic.  I'm lucky enough to have a sweetie who subscribes to National Geographic (thanks, Jeff!) and gives me his magazines when he's done with them.  I can't take credit for this technique - I've read about it in a number of different places.  You simply brush or spritz the CitraSolv onto the magazine pages, press the pages together, let them sit for about 10-15 minutes, and then gentle pull the pages apart.  You then need to let the pages completely dry.  I usually give them about 24 hours or at least overnight.  These pages were some that I did yesterday.  The results are always unpredictable, since it's about how the print loosens and sort of merges with what's on the other page.  

I really love how the first page turned out.  I don't know why the type didn't run, but I sure am glad it didn't - the phrase seems to add just the right touch to the page!

I found the page below to be pretty cool, too.  Somehow the image of the surfer survived and is sort of faded into the other print effects.  I think this would be a great background for the digital collages that I'm playing with.

Here's another neat effect.  I wasn't even aware of the face on the page - her blue eye really sort of pops and grabs your attention, doesn't it?  Another great background for digital collage!

The image below is more like what I find when I do this technique - very surreal and otherworldly.  I just love how soft the effect is with this page.  Also, in the lower left corner, there's some very faint impression of text.  I have no idea if it was on this page originally, but it is cool.

This last image is another abstract, this time with a splotch of turquoise in it.  I sometimes wish I could remember what the original page looked like, but when I do this, I just work quickly and in batches of pages or an entire magazine, so I have no way of knowing or remembering what the page first looked like.


Photo ATCs - Landscape - Sepia

These images are of ATCs that I created from photos, and that I converted to black & white photos and then applied a sepia filter.  The swap these were prepared for required the photos be sepia toned, and be either landscape or architecture images.  Landscape being one of my favorites, I chose that.  The first image, below, is of a juniper tree I took on top of Sandia Crest.  The leaning of the tree is due to the winds that blow up there quite a bit!  I also love the pattern created by the Manzano mountains in the background.

Last spring/summer, we had a terrible wildfire season.  One evening, we had smoke drifting in our area from a wildfire burning a few hours south of us.  This was sunset, and it had a surreal quality to it, due to the smoke in the air.

We do have some wonderful cloud formations here in New Mexico, and the sunrise image, below, captured that.  The sepia tone helped to accent the texture of the clouds in the sky.

The final image, below, was taken as we were driving around the East Mountain area where we live.  As we drove down the back roads, at one point, we were driving parallel to train tracks.  We stopped and I climbed around the fence that was sort of there (it was half down) and up onto the track to get this shot.  


Friday, January 11, 2013

Newest Mini-Art Pieces

I was playing in the studio last weekend, and created these two new pieces of mini-art.  Not sure if I totally like this first piece - I think it's the raffia that is giving me pause.  I do like the feel of the turquoise color with the white shells, tho.  Any suggestions re the raffia?

I do like this second piece, tho.  I got some feathers from a friend a while ago, and thought one would make a great focus for a piece.  I added the butterfly  to lightly balance it.  On this piece, I do like the raffia - go figure!


Word of the Day - Winter!

This morning, when I pulled up the pleated shades in the great room, I was greeted by a very wintry morning!  The wind was blowing like mad, and altho there wasn't much snow, what snow there was looked like a blizzard, due to the wind.  It was a day I was glad (temporarily) to be in a nice, warm house!  I picked up each of the kitties, showed them the weather, and told them it was most definitely a good day to be an inside kitty! From inside the kitchen, I took this image and thought it most certainly depicted the word "winter" - therefore, it's the word of the day!

This next image was taken last weekend during the hoar frost, but I didn't post it.  However, I really, really like it and thought it also was a good example of winter. This is Ozzie, my friend's Norwegian Fjord, and the speckles on his coat are glittering frost.  The lighting for this image was very contrasty, and so I decided to convert it to a black & white image.  I then added a bit of a sepia photo filter to warm it up a bit.  I just love the expression on his face, and this image is one of my favorites!  ( I did end up going out to get fixin's to make a slow-cooker dinner - perfect for a winter day!)


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Frosty Morning

 The other morning, we woke up to a hoar frost.  I took these photos from various places in the airpark where we live.  The above photo is of my friend's Norwegian Fjord, Jewel, with the frost clinging to the very tips of her coat.  What a sweet image of her as she was enjoying her breakfast.  Still, she did stop and look up to greet me and pose!

 I really like the line created by the sun's reflection to the frost covered tree in this image.  This was taken on my friend's (with Jewel) property, just outside of the area where Jewel was enjoying breakfast.  What a beautiful blue sky to offset the frost!

 These yuccas are in our front yard, and I just had to include a photo of them with the frost on the little wisps of the leaves.  This is such a nice little intimate landscape.

As I drove thru the airpark, I noticed that the moon was still overhead.  I really liked the image this created - the moon, the frost and the shades of blue in between (and this was Nature - no "enhancement" on my part!).

 As I drove past a neighbor's collection of pines, I stopped and take an image of the frost on them - sort of like those frosted artificial Christmas trees....except natural, of course!  And, I really loved that the mountains were in the background.

It was a hard winter.  That was the thought I had when I looked at this scene just outside our front yard gate, and had to chuckle.  Actually, our winter has not been hard at all.  We've had less snow so far than we had last year, altho we are having a little cold snap (highs around freezing) right now.  It's the skull that makes this seem like it must be a very tough winter!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Norwegian Fjord Horses

Yesterday, I went over to take some photos of a friend's horses, a pair of Norwegian Fjords.  I'd never heard of them before, but they are an ancient breed, dating back some 4,000 years!  Per some info I've been able to research on the Internet, they were first domesticated about 2000 BC.  My friend says that the horses used to actually live in the same house as their owners, since the owners used the body heat from the horses for warmth in their homes.  They are smaller horses, and incredibly gentle and calm.  Not to mention photogenic!

This is Jewel. Such a sweet face with a sweet personality to match.  However, altho these horses are very gentle with people, they can get into quite the tiff with each other.  My friend had hers separated because the other horse did something to tick off this little lady!

And, here is that culprit!  His name is Ozzie, and he's quite the charmer (at least as far as humans go!), isn't he?  Since it's winter, both he and Jewel are very woolly at the moment!

Check out how long and woolly their coats are around the feet!  Somehow, I think this keeps them warmer than any socks I own keep me warm!!

Two things are really cool about this photo.  One is the color of Ozzie's mane - what cool streaked locks!  The other are the length of his lashes.  You may need to click on the image to enlarge it to really see them, but they are incredible - and since they are black, they show up nicely against his coat!

Here he is just showing off his backyard view!  I didn't have the heart to tell him that I have the same view.  Still, what a lovely image this is of him in his "home" setting.

And, I guess this is the way a Norwegian Fjord tells you the photo shoot is over!