Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fresh Harvest

Fresh Harvest while a bit dark is portrayed here as very rustic with  a great texture called Moody Days.  Marigold petals and seed pods on a weathered board are the botanical inspiration for this photo.   I remember it was very windy that day and everything blew around, I was lucky to get anything at all! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Behind Fall Colors

 I am so far behind in my photography I thought I was in front of it.  Well, I truly need to get it all sorted out so I can start some new stuff next month.  I almost missed the chance to take images of some truly great fall leave colors and seed pods.  Noted on my calendar for next year - Do Not Miss that opportunity again.   I love this leave on the top, I call it Aztec Gold and its over on Etsy avail in prints, but its fallen in the bird bath and the water has created an unusual background which I really like.
Another favorite leaf that had such veining contrast was paired with some seed pods from the flower Cleome.  The name of this photo is Elope With Me...    The name Cleome means: Elope With Me and so I thought it would be fun to give that title to this beautiful image. 

Next year on Etsy I will offer my prints and also offer them as note cards.  Right now its all I can do to try and sort through all my folders, favorites and pick and choose what to work with.   Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

End of Season Color

A photo prompt brought me outside with my macro lens to see if I could capture some of that vibrant color only fall can bring to the leaves turning color.  I found some great leaves and also some great seed pods from my flowers.  These are marigold petals and some seeds which truly appear to be tiny paint brushes and the pallet of an artist.  Texture by R H West.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

American Avocet

The saying goes "If you are not the lead bird, the scenery never changes"...and so they fly off to the other side of the water.  American Avocets were at the Refuge today and on our Fall Photo Safari our group was lucky to see a nice group of them.  As amazing as they are to see on the shore wading in the water, its even more dramatic to see them in flight.   For me, the white pattern on the back makes them seem to be flying in the wrong direction - An illusion to fool a predator?   Textures are blue cloud sky and French Kiss Crackelure.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

1st and 2nd Place!

I entered these two images plus a couple more in the 3rd Annual Photo Contest at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.  Three professional photographers judged the entries of over 300 in classes Artistic (which mine are entered in), Landscape, Macro and Fauna, and Wildlife.  The top image is called Sunrise and is one of my very favorite photos of the canadian geese that migrate through and the 1st place winner.   The 2nd place winner are my scissortails.  Oklahoma's state bird, but I will not complain if they were taken in Texas!

Thanks Friends of Hagerman for hosting such a fun contest!  

Friday, September 28, 2012

M is for Mallard

Why are you so shy my Mallard friends, I come only with my camera and lens to capture your lovely colors in the morning light.   Taken at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge lat weekend - ducks are finally gathering among the many Great White American Pelicans and Great White Herons.  Migration season is here!
Texture is concrete. Enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Great White Heron

Sunday at the Refuge was once again magical.  Saw pelicans again but it was disappointing they were so far out, they are in the hundreds now.  The care takers of the refuge have plowed and planted the winter wheat and green things for the snow geese and other birds coming through this winter and it might explain why some of the Great White Herons were not in the blue grey waters.  The light was a bit harsh in the morning, not that awful bright sunlight but hazy harsh light, however  it did the most amazing thing to the wings in this photo as it shined on them making the wings like transparencies and you can see the bones!  Cheers

Saturday, September 22, 2012


So what do you do when you have several great shots and can't decide what one to play with, just use them all, or at least  several together.  Birds are migrating through Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge and its the first day of fall. I am planning another day out on the refuge Sunday to see what I can view through my lens.  I already know Pelicans are there now!   The Pelicans, The Pelicans!  Oh come on Edgar Allen me out here, yes I know that was The Bells!  So for my background layer I used a cool sky as a texture then a really neat texture from Distressed Jewel called Happy Easter.  You can find many of these handles and textures over at Flicker where I hang out and participate in many of the cool sharing groups there.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunrise Wading

Boy I am energized again over my photos.  Saturday I gave a talk at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge on my photo art, textures and working with layers.  I think everyone had a great time as we had a lot of laughing and questions and over all fun.  It was really windy out on the waters edge and yet I managed to get a couple interesting shots.  I of course am never happy to just go with the flow so I tried something different with this little image of the egret.  I have been playing with some HDR from photomatrix I got to wondering if I could treat the hdr image like a texture and blend it onto my original image.   Well, yes you can!   So this original image was not taken in braket mode ( that is to say there were not 3 shots taken of it) I used a single image and let the photomatrix just make a map toning copy for me.    I was totally blown away with the end result.  I love how the little sunflowers and green weeds brought so much color into a rather boring blue and muddy grey image that is pretty normal when you are taking shots of white birds, and water. 

Now with some new excitement and ideas its time to look through my old photos again.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The White Queens

 I had such fun at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge yesterday, spend some time out on the windy pads and caught this little calm area with this fantastic turquoise water and mirror like water, such a contrast from the saves and rippled muddy water elsewhere.  Here is a little before and after of this one shot.  Nothing fancy but I did some painting with light and some texture work, some dry brush filter and now its ready to share.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Travel Dreaming

Beyond Layers is exploring some our our deep wishes of places we would like to see or travel to. While some of these sites have incredible dvd's of the most lovely photography ever, there is nothing like actually seeing the vast size of some of these gardens and old castles. I was so lucky to visit some castles in Germany on my one and only airplane trip in 1991. I got to see a couple castles that just took me deeper into the untold stories held behind the walls. I do not know if this is what draws me to these type of places or not but old gardens, old castles, old buildings, old paintings - all old world things spark my curiosity. These are the places I dream to visit, Ireland, Wales, Europe, their architecture and gardens - OK food too! 

Seeing these places changed me, spiritual and opened my mind.  It was a bit unsettling that I was given a chance to learn history in school, but did not remember much of it because I was just one of those kids who could not be involved or take time for stuff that was not current.  Well, what did I know anyway....

I do have a dream travel list, do you?   What are your favorite places of the world or places you might have already visited and would love to return to.  What draws you, the activities, the architecture the food.

On my list are places that include Wales, and Ireland, More of Germany and the Rhine and castles, Spain and Italy and France.  I would love to visit the British Columbia gardens and Versailles.   It seems to be a theme going on here.

So here's to a little dreaming till next time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hunting for Shapes Scavenger Hunt

I have been reading a book Picture Perfect Practice by Roberto Valenzuela which is mostly for portrait photographers, but its full of thought provoking insight.  He speaks about shape as being important to frame people but isn't shape in itself exciting too. 

So I came to this challenge yesterday to use a camera that you have, any camera will do and search out for shapes.  Clearing your mind of all the rest of the clutter.  Keep your eye looking for squares, triangles, circles, rectangles, converging lines.  Its like training your eyes to see shapes.   First just concentrate on 5-10 squares or circles and when you have those move on to the next set.  This is keeping your brain trained on a specific task.   Consider balance, color, complimentary shapes.  In the next day or so I will take a walk around town and see what I see for my exercise and I will begin with squares because I think this will be the hardest for me.   

So why not give yourself a little challenge and go scavenge for those great geometric shapes and create a little story board of your work.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Batik Recipe

Here is a little inspiration for the many photos taken of the lovely water lilies.   I am fascinated with all the big leaves and towering flower heads, the eco system that lives among them. I find many of my photos begin to look the same even though each time I look over the water I see more and more beauty .  I thought I would play with  a batik look for these.  If you want to try your hand at this little exercise on any photo here is a little recipe.  (I am in Elements 10)

Background image>duplicate>rename "sketch"
Enhance>unsharp mask and use a heavy hand
Filter>stylize glowing edges (5-13-14)
Control Shift>Invert Colors (it will be B&W now)
Enhance>adjust color>remove color

Create a new layer, and add a levels adjustment to brighten

Below the "sektech layer" add a new layer then
alt+backspace and it will become white - name it white

On this White layer, select the eraser tool with a brush that is like a dry media brush #63 or close and set the opacity to around 15-25% and begin to brush away on the white surface to let the image below come through.  

Enjoy this process and play with lots of photos.  Some images become magically transformed and others find their way to the trash bin or different processing.  This is so much more fun than a plug in!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Canadian Geese in the Morning

The light was right for a change and the birds were not in the shadows as much.  I love overcast days for taking photos.  I was still able to get a bit of reflection and not have the faces and bodies dark.  These adults were just entering the water as the sun was coming up.  Taken at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge in Sherman TX. Texture Skeletal Mess. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

House Finch, A Word of Advice

This little couple have given so many fun hours of amusement over the last months.  They play, they bicker and carry on like an old married couple.  I am pretty sure they have raised about 20 babies as the birdbath is often pretty busy.  Maybe she is telling Mr she has a head ache tonight!

I have been taking a bit of photography break with the Olympics on but I need to begin to sort through some of my images.   I have a photo contest I plan to enter offered from Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, using photos taken from the Refuge.  It will be their 3rd one and there are at least 3 categories that I can participate in.   Problem is I can not make a decision.   What will the judges be looking for!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Postcard If you are flying by!

Still playing around with the abundance of great shots from Hagerman Wildlife Refuge.  At some point I get to feel they all start looking the same so working on some fresh artistic looks.
Texture is I  believe is from Skeletal Mess and the brushes from Deviant Art.  Enjoy

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mother Load Painted Buntings

I was so happy to finally spot these little birds.  It was not
easy to find them and they were pretty shy.  Now if truth
were to be told, I might tell you this is actually just 2 birds out
of 8 shots I was able to get before they flew off never to be
found again.  They loved the middle of the road and this big pipe
where they would fly up and chatter, then fly down to the ground again.
Really comical and entertaining.  This image used a texture called
Ancient Wall which I liked as it toned down that glaring rust and
gave some softness to the busy background.  Taken in June 2012
at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge on pad L.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Spine Poetry

Have you ever heard of Book Spine Poetry!  I have just been introduced to this from our Beyond Layers group as a challenge.  Create poetry from book titles.  After our move I got rid of all my books except some tutorials art books but I did have these 3 at my bedside table.  I figured there would be no chance to partake in the challenge but I checked them out and I was so tickled that my books were able to give me this little poem.   Through A Glass Darkly, The Sleeping Doll, Now Face To Face.  Very prose and haiku like.  Plus it was a great challenge to photo the still image.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


 I had some fun out at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge today, hot and humid was not fun but finding the Scissortail sitting right at the edge of the road allowing me the shot of the day was worth the trip and sweat.

This image was processed before I added  my texture background, and then I added a few dandylion accents with a cool brush.  I have been working on some sets of cards for my Etsy shop Timeless Dog Studio and I really thought this would be a winner.  The image was hand torn on the edges for a deckle finish and processed with a fixative to give it an canvas appearance and texture.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Text Fun

Humph, this is not exactly what I was after in this little tutorial with Beyond Layers group. In Fun With Text we worked on some lettering using our photos.  This was a super fun image taken a couple weeks ago of the flowering forest floor, a little magical world.  So I chose my word, ethereal.   Somewhere along the line I actually inversed the text and got just the outline of the word which did not show up at all, so I darkened the background layer so the letters would pop out.  An unexpected extra step has been found to entertain my mind and use in the future.

Monday, June 4, 2012

What Fun Is This ~ Dragonfly

Last weekend I got to visit Loy Lake, a little small secluded water area loaded with water lilys that were blooming.  I was surprised with so few birds to see, only one Green Heron and one Double Breasted Cormorant.  The dragonfly population was not fairing to well with the high winds over the last week and many were staying to the deep grasses and just clinging onto the foliage.  This one appeared to have his wings stuck together but later we could see they were not but he held them in an upright position making for a very unusual photo.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day Two Quote Challenge "Peace"

All I Am Saying is ~

From Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers group, todays word was peace which I think my image pretty much says it all.
Now can you get that earworm out of your head !

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 38 Inspired Quotes - Life

Beyond Layers challenge is a week of inspired quotes, one word each day to put in our journal, working a photo and what it means to us.  The word was life.   I had just been out to visit Hagerman Wildlife Refuge which was teaming with life and beauty everywhere.  Living art, life at the most beautiful time of the year at the Refuge.   Robinson Jeffers  so eloquently wrote in Love The Wild Swan:
Oh pale and brittle pencils ever to try
One grass-blade’s curve, or the throat of one bird
That clings to twig, ruffled against white sky.

That pretty much sums it up ~

Friday, May 25, 2012

Blackbird Sings

I just love black birds with their bright wing patches and their little territorial antics and calls.  This handsome fellow was taken in April at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge.  The texture was from Kristen Frank. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

More Batik Experiments

More experiments with this Batik processing and I was happy to discover that it works on just about anything you want to play around with.  This Larkspur now is more botanical in appearance and is enjoying a matted look which I think really enhances its appeal.  It could stand a bit more work on the edges but in general I am happy with my experiments.  Enjoy ~

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Batik for Photos

 I wanted to share with you some processing experiments that led to this cool batik effect in the sunflower below.  The first part is just taking a photo without to much background clutter and turning it into a sketch.  I will post this process below as I did it in Elements10.   Below was the same technique but I did something a bit different after the process of sketching was done.  Hope you like the exercise.  Enjoy ~

Open image and duplicate and name it "sketch".

Enhance: Unsharp Mask, you can play with this but I added quite a bit of sharpness, more than you would want for a normal photo.

Filter:  stylize:  glowing edges
again play here try something like 5,13,14

Go to the Sketch layer and invert colors with / control,shift,u

Enhance; adj. color and ;remove color

Create an adjustment layer over on your layers column and tweek levels and brighten .

Below the sketch layer you will now add a white layer, if it does not come out white then Press alt and  back space.  Double click and name "white".

Go back to sketch layer and put it as an  overlay

Go back to white layer and select the eraser tool and a brush like a dry media brush #63 set about 15-25% and begin to erase the white away to reveal the image underneath.

There that is the process I used for the Zebras.

For this next step for the sunflower Batik effect I used a copy of the original background without any thing done to it except using levels to brighten.   In the Layers use a watercolor (lowest settings)
Now take this layer and drag or drop it under your layer named "sketch".    It should take on a life of its own now.  You may not like it, or it might be fantastic.   Keep playing with different images and experiment till it pleases you.   You can use blending modes such as multiply and linear burn, overlay or what ever you want for this till you find something you like, and then change opacity to suit the colors you want.

Friday, May 4, 2012

New work and more birds!

 The more I play around with birds and the processing of textures the more I am learning.  I guess birding might become a new hobby!   They sure are not easy to get images of and at least for my art I do not need super close images.  For once less is more!  Enjoy ~

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yellow Headed Blackbird

Today was my first photo safari at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge.  It was such a laid back group, everyone enjoying the day with NO wind for a change, spring like weather and no harsh light.  My leader and other person who went along got to visit some of the places you never get to go and we saw a few butterflies and wild flowers, but I think in the next month of May it will bloom like mad out there.  The shore birds, ducks, geese, herons, egrets and array of song birds were just delightful.   With some luck of the camera gods a nice gentleman worked on my poor ole camera and we got it finally spot focusing, sigh... making me a very happy camper.  This image A Square Piece of Art was done using Kim Klassen's texture Poetic and Kristen Frank soft texture IX, some brushes and text.   Enjoy ~

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Love with Elements

Little Viola's in my container garden are almost like living faces, and wanting attention.  Sorta errie.  I used a nice overlay from French Kiss called Bohemian and a texture from Kim Klassen called Word set at soft light.  Now that I am getting to learn Elements 10 I find that is pretty much mirrors my old ps7.  If it were not for that I would be totally lost.  Enjly ~

Monday, April 9, 2012

Now Its Elemental

 Oh boy, its been a few days since I posted, but its all due to the big crash of my PC and the great repair.  Course now its all completely different and I am totally lost finding my way around.   The software is obviously newer than what I had on here before because some of my old outdated programs like PS7 did not want to run right and so now I have switched over to Adobe's Elements10.  Its hard learning two new things at once, but getting my feet grounded and these 3 images are my work from Elements10 with great flower images from Lowes Garden Center!  Enjoy ~

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Visit to Hagerman

Had a fun trip over to the wildlife refuge Tuesday.  The big pelicans were there in the hundreds and they seemed not bothered at all with me approaching for photos.  No flowers yet but lush green everywhere.
Textures by Kim Klassen, Distressed Jewel and Kristen Frank

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fears Challenge

Last weeks Beyond Layers Challenge was centered around a quote:  We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fears ~  We are working in black and white and in our journals of work we are confessing to our journals some of our fears.  
I thought right away of this Grant Zebra image how he looks out from the side lines to the world beyond. Sometimes I feel this way too, or how he perceives to look.  I used Kim's MagicMap texture on it with desaturation.  I decided to change this around to take away the negativity of black and white into a more positive or even  snarky perspective, as this image could represent a snob, and instructor taking charge,   a moment of decision, weighing possibilities.  I fear the idea of being alone in the herd, left behind, no friends and standing apart from life.   So a new goal, to take these fearful feelings and turn them into an exercise of self insight.   I Shall Fear NOT...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Remebering Louisiana

 I am gathering some of my favorite images from a visit to Louisiana some time back, and having a great time working them over in textures.  The images here are from New Orleans as taken by myself as a tourist.  Packed into such a small area you find so many interesting things such as carriage rides and yes I took one!   The old old Saint Louis Cathedral , the ancient First Street Cemetery with the above ground crypts.  No new body can be put inside till after one year and a day! Some old Law, and what this collection be with out a secret door!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Old Chicken Ranch

Last week I spied this great old chicken ranch along side the road and was able to get a shot between traffic.  It sure was not much as a stand alone image but with the textures it now seems to have evolved into something rather magical in all its decay.  My recipe is:
*Duplicate background
*Adjust levels
*Hue Sat - de-saturate
*Kristen Frank texture Fantasy Leaves I used on the upper half only with overlay 62%
*Kristen Frank texture Handwriting Linear burn 62%
*Skeletalmess Vintage Bokah overlay 100% with mask for center part of image
*Kristen Frank Texture Moon hard light 100% , masking out foreground and barn
*another levels adjustment
*New layer for the frame effect
Enjoy ~
This can be seen better over at Flicker:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Challenge of White

A little exercise in our Totally Texture group was to use a texture with the theme being white.  I had just taken this photo of the little cherub the day before so I was happy to use it for the challenge.  This image and so much clutter in the background from Lowes garden department, I ended up taking the statue out and placing it on a soft grey background, desaturated the statue and then added two layers of Kim Klassen's Ocean Side.  Once on soft light 82% and again with multiply at 82%.  I added the little soft frame effect to finish it off.  Flattened it and bumped up the brightness just a bit and signed it.  Enjoy ~