Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Learning and Growing

Last year I was playing with Photoshop on a photo I took in Italy two years ago.  I kind of liked the way it turned out, especially the patina on the fountain.  But I thought it was a bit dark.
Today I decided to use it to experiment with some of the new techniques I've been learning in Kim Klassen's Photoshop Essentials class.  First I came up with this one.
I played around with some adjustment layers and added a texture from Bonnie's blog.  Then I remembered Kim teaching us how to add a vignette around our picture and thought it might be a good look for this one.  Here's how it turned out.

I'm in awe of people who are able to explain what they did to get a certain effect, so I'll try.  I know I added an extra layer and then used a large soft brush to brush black around the perimeter of the picture until it looked filled in enough.  Then I changed the blending mode on the new layer to "soft light", and that made it look really nice.  As an added touch, I used a gaussian blur on the same layer to further soften the effect.  Now that I look at all three pictures, I want to add a bit of blue back into this one to enhance the great patina on the metal.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quick Getaway

In the middle of a stressful and hectic week last week, my husband and I were able to skip town for 24 hours.  Since we had business in central Illinois, we stayed at a lovely little B&B in Washington, IL.  We highly recommend it.  It's called Cornerstone Inn and you can find out about it here.  Here's some images from our little getaway.
 Our room was filled with antique furniture and nice touches.
 We took a walk around town and saw some sweet columbine blooming and some beautiful old homes.

We want to go back, and maybe next time we can stay awhile and relax!

By the way, I posted the final picture here on Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.  Click on the button to the right to find out more!

Monday, May 16, 2011

24-7 Prayer Space

Last week at our church, we set up a prayer space for 43 straight hours, where people could come and interact with God.  Here's some images (some Photoshopped for effect) from the space.

As we entered the room, we were invited to take a piece of brown paper and write down all the burdens, worries, etc. that we were carrying and scrunch it into a ball.  A large burlap cross was stretched the length of the room, and as we walked, we were able to open our hands and drop our "burdens" on the cross.  As you can see, the floor is strewn with these papers.  On the front wall is our "graffiti wall of worship".
 At the end of the "cross walk" was a baptism bowl.
 One of the interactive spaces was the Anchor Cross of Hope (which I believe appeared in another post when I wrote about our Lenten interactive prayer times)
 We lit candles and left cards indicating our prayers burning to heaven.
The whole experience was very meaningful to many of all ages and at all hours of the day and night.  Next year maybe we'll do it again.

Gloria Deo.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Springtime Walk

Earlier this week I was out with my camera and a little extra time on my hands (a rare commodity indeed), so I stopped and took a walk at a nearby forest preserve.  I'm always fascinated by the tiny, beautiful blooms that appear in the spring, almost magically through the carpet of dry leaves.  Here's a trillium in bloom as well as one I don't know.  I added a little Photoshop magic to enhance their beauty:

I also just found out that I won a free class from Alisa Burke!  She is doing a class called "Watercolor Bliss", and I was one of three lucky individuals to win a spot in the class.  Check out her blog to see how wonderfully talented she is. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lovin' Spring!

Our bird feeders are busy with hungry birds these days.  To my chagrin, we have alot of invasive species -- common grackles and starlings always seem to be bullying the smaller birds.  But we discovered a kind that I had never seen before, so I took my camera out and sat very still to try to get a pic of this shy little bird:

Well, OK, I guess it's still hard to see what it is, but we identified it as a white-crowned sparrow, and his little striped head is very striking.  I'll see if I can get a better shot, or maybe play with one that I have to make him stand out a little more.  I'd better hurry, the bird book says they will be heading north very soon.

Here's another fave from my watch this morning:
A cardinal and a "common" sparrow!

Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday challange this week is to use Photoshop to enhance a photograph containing a tea cup or coffee mug.  I played around and came up with this one:
I added some fallen magnolia blossoms, and used one of Kim's textures (I think "silence") and then brushed away some of the extra texture from the teacups so they would be nice and shiny.  Makes me want to have a cup of tea!