the Colors of late Summer...appreciating what is left.

After the last few days of wind and rain (that used to be a hurricane, but it sort of fizzled out before it got here, although practically our whole state lost electric power), I took out my dusty macro lens before heading to my cousin's house to see if any of her or the neighbors' gardens would still be in bloom..with anything. ..

See, I love how this lens makes things like dead and dying flowers...and even weeds..look pretty. While I was taking this one I could hear my cousin's husband saying, "Where is Mary?" and my cousin replying, "What the heck is she doing??"

I'm pretty sad that the blooms I thought would outlive my laziness are fading away like the summer.

While learning the ins and outs of my camera, I've also learned things about the world around me that I never cared to know before. Things like, a sunflower blooms for only ten days if you're lucky; that a luna moth lives for less than a week before its luminous green color fades and it slowly dies. Things like how fleeting summer really is in New England. That it is worth traveling sometimes hundreds of miles to see things in nature that you would never otherwise see if you weren't willing to take the journey. And that sometimes the most beautiful things are the little things, the things close to home.

This wilting rose (above) was on the side of a major road in the middle of nowhere. (Really, it is. The Middle of Nowhere Diner and Next to Nowhere Creamery are around the corner. They claim on their website that the food, and the women, are worth the detour.)

I'm really glad I  live somewhere where there is something beautiful to see during every season. But I'm even happier to be able to share this love of photography, an art which captures things on the other side of the lens and records it for all to enjoy.  That way I can rewind my late summer days on my computer when it's too cold to venture out...(Ahhh!!! I can't even think about the cold!)  :))  Have a great week!

9 New Free Textures for you!

I made some more digital textures, which you can use in blending with your photos, digital scrapbooks, or any other digital creations. Download them here, or visit my Flickr set of textures to see these and more. Enjoy!  A few recent photo creations with textures first...

 You can selectively erase sections of texture after adding them as a second layer in Photoshop to give them a lighter touch. For example in the daisy photo below, I erased the section with the tall daisy to make it stand out.

 You can also dodge and burn the center and edges to give them vintage feel, and change the colors to your liking. If you like the grungy textures but you want them darker, you can burn them in, or go to Photoshop's "auto tone" feature under Image adjustment to automatically add some contrast.

Hunter's beach texture
Gray grunge bokeh texture

Denim grunge texture

Natural grunge texture
Natural grunge with vignette texture

Dappled blue texture

Lavender texture

Vintage Sepia bokeh texture

Tidepool bokeh texture

I enjoy making these, so if there are any that you like or want more of, let me know...which colors do you like to use in your work? Do you like darker textures or lighter ones? Which blending mode do you use the most? And what types of photos do you add texture to- nature, people, still lifes,  or landscapes?

(To download the full size, click on the ones you like below, open in new window, and maximize by clicking on it again. Right click and then save.)   :)))

Rocks + Water = Beautiful Coastal Abstracts

It's kind of tough to take a new or artistic photograph of something as simple as water on rocks. And it's a little weird when other people are taking photos of the lighthouse and the boats and I am concentrating on the way the water is crashing on to the rocks below. I know it's been done, but somehow I keep coming back to rocks and water. And guess what...there is an entire Flickr Group dedicated to this nature pairing! Sweet!

 And some of my faves from Flickr: (photographers noted below.)

1. Blurring the Waves, 2. moonrise acadia, 3. rocks at hunter cove, 4. Water and Shells
Hope you enjoyed....Happy Happy Weekend!!   :)   :)   :)

Removing color from your photos...Sometimes less is more.

I have to say that I really don't like taking photos in black and white. I like to shoot in color and then download them, live with them for awhile, and process them differently at that point. But there is something to be said for removing the color from a photo.

In this forest, I originally wanted to capture lots of sunlight and haziness, but I ended up liking this version better. It highlights the contrast in the paper birch trees, and you can still see the haze in the background.

Fans at a Red Sox game. By removing the color you can see the similarities in the people instead of their various color clothes.

A little boy who wants to go outside on a rainy day..:) The raindrops on the sliding door add interest and become a graphic element without color.

My favorite of the bunch I think. The sunflower field in Connecticut which I originally blogged about a few weeks ago. (see the field in color here.)  Since they are so vibrant, and it's hard to look at anything other than their brilliant yellow color, I really think that by removing it this photo shows off how vast the field really was. I added a soft photo filter of blush pink.

A new father's tattoo..and the little feet that inspired it.

The landscape of Bar Harbor looks more classic in monochrome.

Lunch by the sea looks like a vintage movie set. You can really see the heart shapes in the chairs.

Things to consider about processing your photographs this way:
  • Anything with geometric lines and shapes will look interesting when you remove the color.
  • A landscape with a boring or washed out sky will benefit from more interesting foreground, which sometimes happens when processed in black and white. this is because..
  • Negative space is emphasized. When space around your subject would normally be a light sky or sunlit background, suddenly it becomes cream or white, and your subject pops.
  • People love their portraits done in black and white, because it smooths complexions and brightens eyes. Try changing one of your ho-hum portraits to black and white and see if you like it any better than the original.

What do you think? Do you like black and white or sepia toned photographs? When I first started selling online, my first big sale was a 20" by 30" version of one of my beach landscapes in sepia. I think it's easier to match the colors in your home when you consider a monochrome or muted color scheme. I hope to do a set of my florals and one of my beach landscapes in black and white as well when I re-open my shop.

The Cutest Baby Chimpanzee....

My favorite part of a visit to the zoo from last week...

The happy family...above, Dad, Mom and Baby...

The baby is asking his Mom if she wants to play but she's not in the mood...soooo...

I love this one, he is totally showing off!

And exhausted, he takes a snack break.. :)(All photos taken at the Southwick Zoo in Mendon, Massachusetts.)

Buttonwood Farm Sunflowers...(And ice cream)

Before this weekend we decided to take a trip to the Sunflower field in Connecticut planted by Buttonwood Farm. They have an event where they pick some of the flowers in bunches and sell them for $5 and the proceeds go to charity.

Every sunflower had creatures in it. They were about 7 feet tall and all facing different directions. I wasn't sure if we would miss out going after noon because I thought they all faced toward the sun, but it turns out they all have separate personalities and pretty much face wherever they want...

I don't have many photos of the ice cream because.....we ate it in about 5 seconds. But I would totally recommend the "graham cracker" flavor if you ever visit...

Photo from Buttonwood Farm website.
Even thought this is probably the last week for the sunflowers,  this place is really cute and the ice cream is to die for. And in the autumn they have pick your own pumpkins and hayrides.
I'm always looking for fun little field trips like this in New England, if you have any to share or recommend I would love to know... have a great week! :)