Thursday, February 28, 2013

Showing Up - Part II......

Last Saturday I held my first hand coloring workshop in almost a year, and the first one since I moved back to my old studio. Being a little out of practice, I felt a certain amount of anxiety in the days leading up to the class.

In addition to workshop prep, I was invited to speak to the Placerville Arts Association and judge my first photography competition for the El Dorado Camera Club -  all in the same week!

Earlier in the week a friend helped me "prune" a few "almost blooming" branches off another tree we found by the railroad tracks. In the midst of all the activity last week, the branches beautifully arranged themselves and blossomed fully!

I had originally made an appointment for Friday morning with plans to set up for the class on Friday afternoon. Everything changed when I saw the blossoming branches. I knew I had to photograph them that morning.

Of course I could have shrugged that urge off and kept to my original schedule. Believe me, I tried, but the voices in my head kept saying "gather everything up and get yourself to the studio"! (While I have been doing a lot of my floral photography at my house, this arrangement was too big to pull that off.)

So I canceled my morning appointment, put everything in the van and got to the studio. The light wasn't perfect, but I had space.

Pretty soon I had quite a mess and I kept thinking that I needed to stop and start setting up for the class, but I went on for as long as I could. I am still looking over all the images from the morning, but worked a little on this one.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Finally I stopped to clean up and set up for the class.

I was pretty tired but satisfied that I had done what my heart (and those voices in my head) had told me to do. I showed up....................

The class itself was great fun. It took me a little while to find my groove again, but it was such a wonderful group that I quickly relaxed. (I even remembered to take pictures!)

Thank you again to all my students! I am so very grateful to be doing what I do!

I also want to thank the creative gods out there that guide me to "show up" when I need to!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just Showing Up.............

Project 52 - Week 8

I posted my "pic of the week" on my Facebook profile page shortly after I took it last Tuesday. 

On this particular evening, I happened to glance out my kitchen window and could tell a magical sunset was occurring.

Without saying a word to my husband, I grabbed my phone and went out to the end of my driveway and into the street shooting away until the magic was over.

When I mentioned on the post that I used my iPhone, someone asked me if I ever even use my Nikon anymore. I explained that this is the beauty of the iPhone. I knew this was a fleeting moment and there was no time to waste. Grabbing my phone was a lot quicker than going to my camera bag and getting the "big girl" camera. (I didn't even waste time putting shoes on!)

I was also limited to what I could see from my street. (It's funny because I have quite a few images from this same spot, taken during different seasons. I may have to round all those up some day and compare them.)

Someone than posted this comment: "Woody Allen once said that 80% of success is just showing up......iPhone, Nikon, whatever." (Thank you Marc!)

©2013 Dianne Poinski
This version was worked on a little more than the one I posted that evening. I softened it up with Nik's "Glamour Glow" filter and made some contrast adjustments in Photoshop.

I have to admit that my photo doesn't come close to doing justice to what the actual scene looked like. It was one of those moments that I was happy I took to the time to experience and tried to do the best I could to capture it.

Just "showing up"...................

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Another iPhone Experiment...........Blender

I installed the Blender App on my phone a few months ago, but only began to play with it this week.

I have seen many iPhone images and wondered "how the *#%! did they do that?".  I knew this app held some of the secrets, so while waiting for an appointment the other day I decided to experiment.

Basically what you do with the "Blender App" is exactly what you would blend two images together. I came up with some pretty crazy combinations, but quickly learned that there is a certain amount of skill involved in picking and then arranging the pieces to make a "less than crazy" final image.

I thought I would share a few, and then show the steps I took to create one of them.

Note: All of "blending" occurred in the iPhone with original iPhone images. Some minor adjustments were made on my computer to better illustrate and present the final images.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

©2013 Dianne Poinski

©2013 Dianne Poinski

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Here are the steps I took to create the above image:

I blended these two images:

First I loaded the tree image by tapping on the box in the bottom left corner.

Then I added the graveyard image by tapping the box in the bottom right corner. The blend at this point is at 50%.

To play with the "Blend Modes" click on edit.  For this image I used the "Multiply" blend mode (just like in Photoshop.)

The last step was to adjust the balance until it looked like I wanted it to. I think this was around 40%, which reduced the intensity of the graveyard portion of the image:

You can also move the images, arrange the placement and mask out portions of it too, but I have not had a chance to really play around with that.

Another way to use this app is like you would to add texture layers in Photoshop. In this image I used a fairly basic water/tree reflection shot and combined it with the watch. The water added just the right amount of color and interest to the image.

This is the image without the blend treatment:

The possibilities seem endless. I can also see where it would be easy to get carried away with it, so I am pretty sure most of my "blending" will be to add texture and interest, much like I did with the watch image. However, if the right images present themselves, who knows what I will do..............

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cherry Blossoms...............

Project 52 - Week 7

For my "pic of the week" I chose a cherry blossom image from last Monday. I had a lot of fun with this shoot and made quite a mess. (Sorry no photos of that!)

My Nikon was used to take the original photograph. I then cropped it, added a texture layer, a little softness and a touch of grain.

Since it seemed to have an Asian feel to it, I put a lot of trust into Google Translate and added some text in Japanese.  These are the words that come up for these characters: peace, serenity, calm, repose & quiet. I lowered the opacity of the text quite a bit to prevent it from competing with the image, but I think it shows up just enough.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

I am patiently waiting for another batch of branches to bloom, so I may be sharing more "blossom" images in the near future...........

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Group Experience........

A few months ago I was honored and happy to be invited by Egmont van Dyck, founder of the site The iPhone Arts, to join a group of other "iPhoneographers" for monthly outings, inspiration and community. I have always known that I am not really a "group" person, but I pride myself on stepping out of my comfort zone when the opportunity presents itself, so with gratitude, I accepted the invitation.

This past Sunday I joined them at Fort Point in San Francisco for a few hours of shooting, lunch and lively conversation. I had fun, met many great new people, learned some things and took a few photos I was happy with.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

©2013 Dianne Poinski

While it was a great day, I found myself thinking about the experience of photographing in a group setting. I have always found it fascinating that so many different images can be created by a group of photographers shooting at the same place, but I don't feel I do my best work in those situations.

For me, photography is a deeply personal and meditative experience. Even though shooting with my iPhone has loosened me up, I still find it difficult to get into the flow of things when I am shooting with other people. We all went our separate ways many times during the hours we were there, but it still felt like a group experience.

On my way home, I stopped at an orchard that had caught my eye while driving west that morning. The sun was going down quickly, but the 20 minutes I was there confirmed what I had been feeling. I was more relaxed and found more joy in that short time of solitary shooting than I had during the day at Fort Point.

©2013 Dianne PoinskiThis image is manipulated past the point I usually feel comfortable with, but I have been playing
 with the "Distressed FX" app,  and the texture I used also added the birds.......

I have to stress that this has nothing to do with who I was with. They were all generous and warm people, so I am wondering what is it? Is it distraction? Am I being overly self conscious? Could there be a little competition?

Or could it be that's just who I am? Do I need a reason?

I am curious about how other photographers/artists feel about this? Do you thrive in a group setting or do better on your own?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Project 52 - Week 6.............

I had a tough time picking my "Image of the Week" this time. Between the amazing camellias that are blooming all around, and my day trip to San Francisco this weekend, it was difficult picking just one image to share today.

In the end, it was one from a foggy morning early last week that I felt best about. It might be because I know the window of opportunity to get fog shots in Sacramento will be closing soon, but I also think it came down to the simplicity of this image. If look at a group of photographs, I will always be drawn to the one with the simplest composition. 

Usually when I wake up to fog, I go to the river. But on this cold morning I wanted to go somewhere different (and maybe a little warmer....). I decided to go on a scavenger hunt and see what the fog would give me and I ended up at a sports field. (Yes - spring training begins this week!)

I shot this with my iPhone but did all the processing in Photoshop............

Project 52 - Week 6

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Just for fun I thought I would show you what this field looks like when there is no fog.............
(This is straight iPhone, no processing.)

I can't believe we are already seven weeks into 2013! I already have a couple of contenders for this week, but who knows what I will end up with. I think that's part of the fun of this project! Stay tuned........

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Flowering Quince........

During a walk last week I spied branches of some blossoms that I so desperately wanted to photograph, but did not want to risk being accused of trespassing. I did manage to fire off a quick shot from the sidewalk so I could do some research.

What I really wanted was to find a way to get some cut branches inside and set up with window light, but wasn't sure how I was going to make that happen.

After doing a quick Google search, I discovered that the blossoms were from a "Flowering Quince" tree (or is it a shrub? I'm not really sure.....) Later that same day I ran into a good friend with a lot of knowledge in this area. I shoved my iPhone in her face and asked "any idea where I can get some of this?". I thought maybe she would know of a nursery where I could go buy a young, but blossoming tree. 

She then tells me "yes"! She knew of some growing on city property by the railroad tracks. (yay!) 

She told me the approximate location, but that was it. So on a quiet Sunday morning with my coffee in the cup holder, I slowly cruised the area keeping my eyes open for a shock of pink against the gray background of bare winter trees and skies.

It took awhile and I almost missed it, but there it was! Just like she said! Of course I always have clippers with me, and within a few minutes I was happily, (and with no guilt or fear), cutting a few branches and carefully placing them in the back of my van for the short ride home.

I have already taken quite a few photographs but I know I am not finished. I made sure to cut some branches that were just beginning to bloom so I will have those to work with in the next few days.

In the meantime, I played around with this one:

©2013 Dianne Poinski

After my post with the tulips the other day, I received a couple of emails with questions about how I made the image. With that in mind, I decided to show some of the steps I took to create this one. 

Setting up the shot was the first step. I used a piece of white foam core as the background, with window light to the right. Attaching mat board to my brand new Wimberley "Plamps" helped me reflect some of the window light and the white of the foam core back on to the blossoms.

(This is not the actual shot, but close........)

After a few initial adjustments and cropping, this is what I began with:

The next step was to place the Flypaper Texture called "Rialto" over the image.

Warning: This is where I could lose a few of you. Don't worry if this does not make sense.........

I then changed the "blend mode" of the texture layer to "multiply" and set the "opacity" to 73%. (See..... I warned you!) Now the image of the blossoms comes through the texture layer.

Before adding the text, I used the  Nik Color Efex "Classical Soft Focus" filter and adjusted the contrast a bit. 

My new favorite font is called "Champagne and Limousines" and this image was screaming for a quote to be added.

So there you go........... A very general overview of what I did. Let me know if you have any questions!

Cherry blossoms are next and I already have a source for those!

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Project 52 - Week 5

I absolutely adore tulips! I have been photographing them for years and they never fail to delight!

One thing that is so wonderful about tulips is the way they continue to grow after you cut them. (If you don't believe me, buy some and mark the wall like you would a child, then come back a couple of days later. You will see..............)

Anyway, this ability to continue growing is what makes them appear to be dancing at times. This particular bunch seemed to change hourly. I kept my camera set up and would get a few shots and think "that's the one" and then come back and notice a different curve to one of the stems that made all the difference in the world.

In the end, this was my favorite one. I used my Nikon, added a little texture and a LOT of soft focus.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

All good things must come to an end......................
This is an iPhone image I posted on my Facebook page at the end of last week.

©2013 Dianne Poinski