Sunday, August 22, 2010

The past...

Last night I sat next to some folks I have not seen in 40 years! It was terrific to catch up on their lives and remember some good old days! Some one said the high school class of 70' at Woodlawn Senior High was pretty special..well yes it was special in many ways..we were shaped by events of our common our short lives at the time...we saw a President shot, that shocked the nation. We saw Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King killed senselessly. We saw the riots in our streets and the horrors of Vietnam on TV. We protested the war and guys burned draft cards while women burned bras.We listened to Jimmy Hendrix, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Crosby Stills and Nash, Marvin Gaye and James Brown.  Then we saw Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin die of drug over doses. We read the Mother Earth News and went to Woodstock. We celebrated the First Earth Day. We watched on our Black and White TV's the first man step foot on the moon. We saw four students killed at Kent State. We drove around Champs on Friday nights in our friends cars eating french Fries and Gravy. We went to the movies and saw Easy Rider, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, and the Midnight Cowboy. We wore bell bottom jeans and buffalo sandals. The Concorde was born IBM was computing...
We lived in segregated neighborhoods yet were friends with everyone. We banded together against the high school dress code policy banning "JEANS". We grew our hair long..We won..and we shared and we learned the power of coming together......Oh what a time it was! and there was so much more...
Maybe it was the age of the dawning of Aquarius! Aquarius traditionally "rules" electricity, computers, flight, democracy, freedom, humanitarianism, idealists, modernization, rebels and rebellion, mental diseases, nervous disorders, and astrology. Oh and as a teenager I didn't even know there was a stock market, but just out of curiosity, I checked and the Dow Jones index had dropped to 631! Yes that's right 631!
Wow that was a ramble...
The image here was shot in West Virginia, and has an image overlay applied and is toned for  that old aged look.....kinda looks like the one that was knocked down when they built the old neighborhood.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Water Lily Play

On Thursday night it was great to see folks at The Baltimore Camera Club again. I was so excited that two of our members were published in the Portfolio edition of Color Magazine. Steve Dembo received an excellence portfolio and Don Vetter a merit portfolio. In addition Arthur Ransome has received notice from Black and White magazine of their intent to publish his Forest Haven portfolio. 
It is so rewarding to have such fine photographers in our club and to call them friends!  Check out their work. I guess I better get busy and do some submissions.  ; - )
     I have had no photo shoots lately, so I decided to post these two images I have been playing with from my Longwood shoot.When using a polarizing filter shooting the lilies I chose not to polarize the water when shooting this image, which gave me a white background, because the sky was overcast. That was a perfect starting point in my mind for an image overlay idea. Using some overlays and filters I came up with these images, color and monotone...same image different look. The first night I processed them I thought OH you have done too much so I didn't post them. I went back and looked at them last night and they looked better, go I did a few little selective area adjustments and converted them for the web. Still didn't post them...but today....I decided to show them.
   I am looking forward to having a nice dinner and seeing some folks tonight I have not seen in 40 years! A small high school gathering. Wow, that was fast!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

There comes a time.....

Been very busy lately...and not doing much shooting. I have decided to try and sell my rental property located in Federal Hill, a late 1800's Federal Style town home, a few blocks from the Cross Street Market and Camden Yards in Baltimore.  I have owned it since 1999 and property management is time consuming and I want to spend my time doing other things now. I am torn about it, but owning three houses, (not really complaining, I am fortunate that way) and doing all that by myself has just become too by Mid-September it will be on the market! My renters are moving the first week of September and I will have to go in and clean up, one more time!!!! Paint, patch, power wash the patio and clean well.....Before showing the property.
So I will be very busy in September getting it ready for sale..and hopefully it will sell. I took some photos today for the real estate agent to use...that's about all the photography I have done in a week. My renters are on vacation, so I was able to get some shots while it has some furniture in it...the agent said its good to present that way...

In addition to meeting the real estate agent today, I met a client and worked on helping her organize files.....then I attended a funeral tonight, for a dear friends daughter who passed away unexpectedly at 47, leaving behind three children, very sad. It was good to see some old friends from my retail days and talk retail shop again, but sad for my friend who lost her daughter. I can't even imagine the grief.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A few more stragglers...

Today was another office day, cleaning up files and doing some back ups. In the process of cleaning up some files, I had one image from my last visit to the beach I never posted so that's the one above. Its a straight shot with just a simple texture overlay. The other two images were from a Fells Point shoot a couple weeks ago with a client. I like the tutorial I found on u-tube about doing some different frames on images and decided to try it on these tonight just to reinforce the learning process...I always suggest doing something at least ten times when it has multi-steps in a process as this one does..

These images below are again some experiments. Both have been worked on PS and Snapart2, then had the frames treatment applied...and the background layer textured in Snapart2. Well it's a look I guess. Maybe it will be handy any case its fun to experiment. Wharf does not have a texture overlay but John J does, I applied the texture overlay before processing it in Snapart2.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Texture Layers Processing

This post is in response to an inquiry I had today about how I processed the white lily image below. I'll try to make it as clear as possible, but its hard to write out the steps... ; - )
1. Select  and open your image that has already been processed in whatever program you use to process your work, for me it's Photoshop. I'll start with the image below.
2. Select a texture layer from a source, either ones you have made or from some free download sites. I selected this texture for its look and compatability in coloring with the original shot. Size the texture image file to the same as your original image resolution and dimensions, in Photoshop too. (I assume you will know how to do resize the image.)

3. While on the texture layer with it open choose the "Select"  "All" option from the menu in PS and you will see marching ants (dashed lines) around your image.

4, Once you have the texture selected then go to the Edit menu and choose Copy.
5. Returning to the original file, make a new selecting the new layer icon
Then click on the new layer in the layer palette to activate it and go to Edit "Paste".
You will see the texture appear in the the new layer window. Note the opacity and fill sliders at the top of the layers window have been adjusted Opacity to 83% and fill to 95%. This will be different in each image you process, its a matter of taste, but I encourage you to move the slider to your taste. The image with the reduce opacity and fill will look something like this.....
 6. At this stage I might tweek the curves of the texture layer to get a look I like.

7. Once the opacity and fill have been adjusted I then add a layers mask to that layer. By clicking on the mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette here:
You will see a blank window appear next to the layer.

7. Activate the mask by clicking in it, and then with the foreground color selected as black, select a soft brush fairly large and and a low opacity say 10% to begin with and increase opacity as desired...paint out the texture where you want to reveal the original image.

 8. Because I reduced the opacity of the texture layer, the petals began to show through around the outer edges of the image, so I went back and put a fill layer of 100% black around the outside of the image, by selecting the entire image and choosing from the tool bar Edit Fill. I then used the rectangular marquee to make a fine selection and then hit the delete key, leaving only the black edge in place.
So that's basically it, with minor tweeks.

 9. Here is the final image from this process. If I missed a step or didn't explain clearly please don't hesitate to ask..

10. Now I had some time tonight to learn a little more in Photoshop, and played with frames...from this tutorial...

It took me a while, switching between Photoshop and the tutorial......but I finally got it...only difference is that on the color layer I decided to run it through Snapart2 to give the color layer some texture....
Might come in handy for some special hoiliday card applications!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting Eye Level with Your Subject

Today was an office day, I made a couple prints and shipped them off, organized some files and started to think about offering some more workshops. In the late afternoon I went out to put the sprinklers on and the Tiger Swallow tails were flitting about the Joe Pye Weed again. So I got out my camera and made a few shots until it got too hot to shoot.

Looking at these images I was reminded that: often when I am working in the field with a student, I see them trying to capture a subject without getting eye to eye, whether that is low or high. In nature photography, the more direct eye contact you have with living subjects through the lens, the more impact your images will have. Focusing on the eyes is also very important when choosing depth of field. If you have to shoot wide open then it is important to get the eyes in focus. Today I was eye to eye with the butterflies.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Deale, Maryland ....then home.......

Deale, Maryland is a popular destination for boaters located on Rockhold Creek in Southern Anne Around County, on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. It was our final destination on our photo ramble Saturday. As we entered Deale, the sun was beginning its descent from the sky and the hulls on the boats in harbor were lit beautifully, creating amazing reflections in the still waters. We found a place to park across from the Lucky Harbor Inn, and then walked down to the docks and set up. We made a few compositions there and walked around before deciding to ramble on. We had some friendly conversations with some locals who were enjoying some drinks on the deck of the restaurant, which was not busy. 

 We decided to drive on toward the restaurant Annette had in mind, but I made a wrong turn and rambled some more...we came across some barns with the fading light of the day, creating some nice effects on the large tree, fields and barns. We and made our last shots of the day there. I shot some bracketed images for processing in Photomatix..then into Photoshop and finally into Snapart2.

 Afterward we drove to Skippers Pier on Drum Point Road, but it was packed and we were hungry so we headed back to the Lucky Harbor, I mean heck if the locals are there, you can be sure its good. We  had a great dinner of Parmesan coated trout, red potatoes and green beans. I enjoyed a Bushmills and seven and a twist of lemon; any place that carries Bushmills is all right with me!

Solomon's Island to St. Mary's a Historical Journey

After lunch we drove straight to St. Mary's City. Historic St. Mary's City, is the site of the fourth permanent settlement in British North America, Maryland's first capital, and the birthplace of religious toleration. In 1634, the colonists established the first settlement and new capital of the colony, which they called St. Mary’s City. We stopped at the Visitor Center Museum and enjoyed looking at the free displays, but did not have time to explore or photograph the outside displays and reconstructions. I am fascinated by history and pondered about just what the colonists felt and saw when they were discovering this beautiful land. The creeks, rivers and bays of the Chesapeake, must have been such a welcoming site after traveling across the Atlantic in those wooden boats....Southern Maryland is one of the prettiest places on the planet. With its quiet coves and miles of shoreline and farmlands. It is not a grand site like the Grand Canyons, or the Rocky Mountains, but it is beautiful and exudes a peaceful feeling.
     When we finally parked, we were near one of the reconstructed buildings in the outdoor museum collection: The Statehouse. I liked the old glass window panes, because when looking out they distorted the far away walls and landscapes. We left our tripods in the car because we were really there just for the ceremony, otherwise I would have been in HDR heaven with old English style doors, furniture and interior architecture. Through one of the windows the old Trinity Church was visible.
We lingered a while made some shots and headed down to the waterfront where the boats had all come to port after the race. We made a few shots from the overlook and then headed for the check in table.
The annual Governors Cup Race was made popular by Playboy magazine which in the early years of the race declared it one of the best sailing races and after race parties in the sailing world. At one time there were over 250 boats that raced, but the racing entries have dwindled to just over one hundred.
There are still some party animals that come but mostly, its a rest after a big race, followed by an awards party and very nice dinner event. There are still some mobile vendors that serve food and refreshments and a band played under the tent until 4:00pm. We hung out just waiting for the awards ceremony to begin and ran into Tony Mordente a fellow member of the Baltimore Camera Club.  He sailed, his first passion, in the race and had been up over 32 hours by the time we saw him.
After the awards ceremony, we made the decision since it was getting late to head to Deale, Maryland and see if we could get any interesting shots there. Deale is a popular destination for boaters located on Rockhold Creek in Southern Anne Arundel County, on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.More later.......gotta go do some yard work!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Yesterday Annette and I made the trip to St.Mary's City to receive my award for the images I submitted last year for the Governor's Cup Photo competition. We decided to make it a day and photo ramble; one of my favorite things to do. We left Baltimore at 8:00 am. Since we knew it was going to be a long day, there was no need to really push it and get out any earlier. Our first stop came to mind as we were heading down Rt.97, "let's hit Annapolis," I said and Annette was game. I wanted to explore the other side of the creek a little and we crossed over Spa Creek and discovered Sarles Boatyard and Marina the oldest boatyard in Annapolis. We walked into the boatyard area and looked around. The sun was to our back from this area and we had a wonderful old boat house in front of us, reflecting into the creek. It was a clear blue sky day so I suggested we get our cameras and make some images here. There was no one around, we checked the office door and it was locked, so we just set up our tripods and began to work. I enjoyed the collection of decorative buoys that were hanging on the side of the old boat house. Thinking they might make a fun composition with the bow of the yellow kayak that was resting at the bottom of the boat house I started to photograph.  I made a bracketed set of images for processing in Photomatix later on (which I then ran through snapart2 for the posted image here). Then I saw the reverse image reflected below in Spa Creek. I enjoy how the fluid motion of quiet waters distorts reflections into Salvador Dali like images, such as the Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory.

This final image Mirror, Mirror, was created by using the mirroring technique in Photoshop. I simply shot a reflection abstract then went to work on mirroring it twice; once horizontal and once vertical. I enjoy the completely balance image a mirror makes and water reflections lend themselves to this technique, creating a unique patterned image.
This is a single shot from a different area in the boatyard, with crazy fluid lines, reflecting the lines on the sailboat boom and dock line. I enjoyed the fanciful look of this image, like French Marbleized Paper.  After shooting at Sarles, we decided to head to Starbucks, grab a coffee and get refreshed and head toward Solomons Island. We drove around the little spit of land, and decided to get some lunch while the bridge over the Patuxent was backed up due to a scheduled inspection by the State Roads. The crab cakes at Stoneys were pretty good and we enjoyed our lunch there. By the time we left  the bridge was flowing and we headed down to St.Mary's City. That's about it for now...more to follow on the photo ramble in the next blog entry......

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bolton Hill, Friends and Photography

     Thursday was a day centered around photography, old friends and old places. I started the day with a private lesson appointment, helping a photographer advance her skills. Then met my friend, Kathy, from the "old neighborhood," Randallstown. I met Kathy when I was in sixth grade I believe..that's about when her family moved into the neighborhood, maybe a little earlier. We "hung" out together, played softball together and had plenty of sleep overs as young  teens. Kathy and her family moved away to Sudbury, Mass. at some point, and I lost a close friend at that time. But somehow we have managed to remain "sistas". She is a little older than I am and she calls me little sista! I love that. We had a long and great lunch, on Thursday as she has come back to Balto. to visit her real little sister. It was so good doing a bit of reminiscing! It was especially great because she had a bout of Thyroid cancer and now shows no signs. Thank God!
      That evening, I met some friends from the Baltimore Camera Club in Bolton Hill for a dinner time street shoot. Bolton Hill is where I first attended art school at MICA. I was in 11th grade in high school and was taking some summer school credits. Well they said I could "audit" but not gain real college credits at that time, so my parents supported my interest and paid the summer fare. It was a great time and a great I walked the streets of Bolton Hill, a strange memory came to mind....I could remember the smell of ganja wafting out of the old cafeteria area and recalled the song Purple Haze, by the most amazing rock guitarist, Jimi Hendrix. Boy, that was a time!!!!!
       The images here are of Bolton Hill, and the neighborhood surrounding MICA. I was in a mood tonight to process them using Snapart2, especially since my free trial ran out and I bought it, I though these would be fun to process with the Oil Paint filter.
       Today, I met 10 participants in a Field shoot at Longwood to make some images of the beautiful water lilies blooming now, and tomorrow I am heading to Southern Maryland, St. Mary's College, with Annette to do some shooting and pick up my award and cash $$$ ; - ) for winning 1st place in Monochrome, 2nd place and an HM in color from the photo contest of The Governor's Cup Race last year. I think photography has taken over my life, in a good way!