Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Edit Wow

My membership to Kim Klassen's The Studio Online entitled me to her Studio Collection of presets - about 80 of them.  Her presets are so artistic, it would take me forever to make my own.  And....let's face it, I'm lazy. 
I discovered I can get a beautiful edit without doing anything other than adding her preset.  Below the original...
It's a so-so photo.  But with one click of her preset in Lightroom and cropping to square I got this.  

I used "Rumpled" preset.  I just love the effect here.  I'm going to try several more presets, but this one really wowed me.
If you are into photography and still lifes, and you have not yet joined The Studio Online, hurry over there and sign up.  It's a huge value for the money and there are so many talented people you can learn from.  If you do love still life photography, Hans Blomquist has a beautiful book called "In Detail" which you can purchase from Amazon.  I'm ordering that for myself.
Wonder of wonders, we actually had a sprinkle of rain this afternoon.  I guess we're getting the monsoon moisture coming up from Mexico.  It wasn't really rain like we need but it was so exciting to see the sky get dark, and listen to thunder.
Plus, the rain smelled wonderful!!
~ Give ~

Thursday, June 25, 2015

And Then There Was Canva and a New Computer....

Have you seen Canva?  I found out about it through Kim Klassen.  It's a fantastic site with probably hundreds of templates, stock images (or use your own), graphics and on and on to help you make any kind of layout you wish.  You can do a header/banner for your blog, a Facebook cover photo, business card, ad, presentation page...sky is the limit.  
I did this is about two minutes.  Yes, you can do it in Lightroom or Photoshop, but this is sooooo quick.  I typically do my layouts in the print module of Lightroom and then take them into PS to add text.  With this, it's a bit quicker.  It's free unless you choose to use their illustrations or stock images.  Those are $1 each.  Most of us have a million images, so there's no real need to use theirs.
I've been missing on my blog because I bought a new Mac desktop and have been getting it set up.  It's such a pleasure to use....fast and effortless.  My 2009 iMac was very tired and slow and I had the max amount of memory on it I could get.  It was time.  Apple had my computer for a couple days to do the data/file transfer from the old to the new.  I must say everything seems to be as advertised.  
Go try Canva and have some fun.  I think you will like it.
~ Give ~

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Signs of Summer

It's beautiful summer weather here in Southern California.  On the coast we have our usual "June gloom" but the sun comes out in the late morning or early afternoon.  We are so enjoying the balmy temps in the mid 70's during the day and mid 60's at night.  Melons are coming into season and I dearly love watermelon.  
I've been wanting to take macro shots and didn't want to pay the hefty price for a Canon lens.  So…..I did the next best thing….I purchased an Olloclip macro lens for my iPhone.   I had a go at it in the back yard.  These are tiny blooms or what's left of them on my Heucheras.

 And here's a shot of lavender
Finally after many tries I got one decent shot of this little leaf bug. He wanted to cruise around the lip of this paper cup, and I asked my friend to move the cup to keep him in somewhat the same spot so I could get the pic.  I was really overjoyed to get this.  
Linking to Texture Tuesday, The Studio Online and Be Still

Kim Klassen dot com

Happy summer!!
~ Give ~

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Something Dreamy

I've always loved Kim Klassen's style.  I've taken many of her classes, and I'm grateful to her for all that I've learned….photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, still life and the list goes on.  I did this shoot and culled these out of 85 images.
They are as close as I can come to her "dreamy" style.  This one is pretty much straight out of the camera except for minor adjustments.  I shoot in raw, so there has to be some post processing.  I did not use a preset or texture though.
This was fairly blown out but I adjusted exposure,  clarity, vibrance and highlights.  I also cropped it.  Today was a really gloomy day, so I used exposure compensation and upped my ISO to 400.  I love the beautiful light that I managed to capture. 
I used Kim's "Dreamlike" below.
The first of the peonies arrived in my Trader Joe's last Friday.  I had every intention of doing a shoot on Saturday, but life kept getting in the way.  So now it's Tuesday and they're fairly bloomed out.  One more day and they would have been shattered.
I'm a little late but think I'll link to Texture Tuesday, Be Still and The Studio Online.
~ Calm ~

Kim Klassen dot com

Monday, May 25, 2015


I posted these images a couple years ago, but they bear repeating.  Regardless of how we feel about the war(s), our soldiers only follow orders. 

So many have died in service to our country.  The real shame is in the lack of support for those who are able to return home.  I'm taking a moment here to remember them with honor.  The flag walk at Castaways Park, Newport Beach….. every year volunteers put out 2001 flags in this park overlooking the back bay and blue Pacific.  It is breathtaking and seems to go on forever.  

My tribute in collage form…

~ Calm ~

Monday, May 18, 2015

Artist Tools of the Trade

I love paint brushes in all sizes, shapes, materials, long handles, short handles, covered with paint or clean.
These are a few (the clean ones) of my collection.  
I cut this picture up and made a layout with the various crops on which I had added different presets.
Can't decide which preset I like best…….but either Old English or Eve.  Presets offer so much - they can give an image mystery, depth, contrast  and generally give the same image many different looks.    I just really like working with them because they are such a quick fix.  It's like being a decorator with your images.  Pop a few colorful pillows here and there, and voila…you have a new look.
Linking up with Texture Tuesday

Kim Klassen dot com
Until next week…..
~ Calm ~

Thursday, May 14, 2015

When Did This Happen?

I'm referring to my donut addiction.  In a little strip center on what is affectionately referred to as the 17th St. Promenade in Costa Mesa, CA.  I had been watching as a new eating/gathering spot was about to open.  It's called "Sidecar".  It was all about really fresh donuts in some really wild flavors.  I recently tried their Strawberry/Elderflower flavor.   A customer next to me said I have to try the Butter and Salt, so that's my next visit purchase.
Now I have not had a donut since Krispy Kreme opened its first location in Orange County some 20 or so years ago.  I have tried to eat a more healthy diet, but I must confess I do have a sweet tooth.  I was looking for something to replace the morning buns Starbucks used to have before they purchased their own bakery company.  Since then I think their pastries have gone way downhill.  I would give anything to find that morning bun somewhere.  What in the world would I have with my morning Starbucks?
My husband kept making remarks like "I'm not paying $5 for a donut.  They won't last."  Not only have they lasted (and most of their donuts are $3 to $4 - not $5), they have gotten busier and busier.  Impossible to get a sidewalk table in front of their store.  
My favorite is the simple Vanilla Twist for $2.25.  It was my first taste, and I was hooked after that.  I didn't get a picture of it on this day as I was waiting for them to bring out a fresh batch. But this will give you a sampling of their offerings.
I used Trey Ratcliff's preset "On Recreational Drugs" from his 2014 collection on the photo above.  I used Kim's "SummerLight" preset from her new Studio Collection below.
Those donuts in the lower right corner are maple bacon.  Yes, it's real bacon!  And…Kim's "SummerLight" graces the image below too.

There are people who leave with a mixed box that cost $40 or $50.  I certainly hope these are for their office and that this person is not intending to eat them all.  
On this particular day they were playing Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors" album on a vintage turntable.  Wow, how cool is that?
  I purchased a Breville espresso machine, and I make my own espresso macchiato every day.
But you can purchase Sidecar's coffee.  I just happen to be stuck on Starbucks coffee.
Here's a sampling of the drinks you can get at Sidecar.  I used Kim's "Moody-ish" on this image.  I'm in love with her Studio Collection presets!!
If you're ever in my neighborhood, you definitely want to give this place a try.  You won't be sorry.  You may gain a few pounds though……    
~ Calm ~

Monday, May 11, 2015

Layout Playout

Hope you all had a very special Mothers Day.  I spent the day with Mike,  and my DIL and Grand #1 visited.  So nice to see them.  The grands are growing so fast.  
I've been revisiting Kim's tutorials on LR and working on layouts.  
I did apply a layer of Kim's "Coffee Tea or Me" texture though I would have been just as delighted with the SOOC images.  I added a circle and some text within.  I learned that when I took Kim and Xanthe's Behind the Scenes class.  I get so excited when I learn even the most elementary techniques.  Yay!!!
Using the same template I inserted some photos from my garden for this layout.  Just so easy in LR but then I got stuck because I couldn't remember how to save the layout to my desktop.  Finally figured that out.  I mean I just did it last week with my Be Still layout.  Hello???
I'm linking to Texture Tuesday.  See you all next week or maybe before if I get some wonderful inspiration.

Kim Klassen dot com
~ Give ~

Monday, May 04, 2015

Breathing in Stillness

In our "Be Still" class we are practicing stillness as in
Be Still - breathe just prior to taking a photo. Our photos should be better if we take the time to be still first.
Take a breath when we feel overloaded or stressed.  It interrupts that pattern of crazy thinking/feeling.
Gentle preset

As an introvert, I relish my time alone.  Don't get me wrong….I love getting together with friends.  I like to laugh and talk as much as the most social people.  
I just can't do it as long. 
For a long time I was concerned that I might be bored or lonely after I retired.  I had a crazy, stressful job in sales for 30+ years.  You see, for many years I did not realize I was an introvert.  Go figure….why would an introvert be in sales?  Who knows.  I guess I did not think of it as sales.  I loved what I did - interviewing companies and potential candidates for their jobs…..matchmaking!  It was a great career but I was ready to have some quality alone time for me!!
Dark Light preset
I collect Buddhas,  and I believe it's because they give me such a feeling of serenity.  I learned to meditate years ago.  I still don't always find the time nor am I disciplined enough to sit quietly for a length of time every day, but I find that art and photography/image editing are meditative for me. I get cranky when I don't have the quiet time to do these things.  I think I shot these images knowing they would give me that feeling of quiet stillness just as the Buddhas do.
Chocolate preset
When I do find that time, I feel just like I've had a day at the spa.  These activities refresh me.  
What refreshes you?  What do you do that gives you a blissful feeling?  Maybe it is going to the spa, or maybe it's music, or maybe prayer?   
Moodswing preset
I'll be linking up to Texture Tuesday on Tuesday as well as The Studio and Be Still. 
May you have a blissful week!  
~ Give ~

Kim Klassen dot com

Monday, April 27, 2015

Every Day is a New Miracle

That's about how I feel today.  With so much negative happening in the world, I think I'm just so lucky to live where I do.  I'm grateful for my good fortune.  Every morning when I wake up I remind myself how fortunate I am to be where I am.
I have been attempting to get a good shot of an object in back lighting.  I tried all sorts of things and didn't have any luck. Then, the other day, I just happened to walk by the bathroom and saw the light streaming in behind my beautiful Double Delight roses.  I ran and got my phone so I could snap them right at that moment.   These two SOOC images show the light beautifully,  but the images themselves are not great. I certainly didn't like the window crank showing in the background.  And….the countertop is not straight in the image.

 What to do…..  Using the top image I adjusted as much as possible in Lightroom and then took into Photoshop.  
I added a layer of Kim's "Cherish Scripted" on soft light 100% opacity and toned the texture down on the roses.  I then added a layer of Kim's "Word" on overlay 30%.  I went back into LR and added a hint of a vignette and a minimal border.
It's okay….just not a favorite.
Textures do make a difference and I tried several before I settled on these.  I had to stop though or I would have been linking to Texture Thursday instead of Texture Tuesday.
I think the second image shows the light better.  Adjustments in LR - no textures or presets on this one.  Actually I think I prefer it.
I wish you all a creative week!

Kim Klassen dot com