Monday, December 29, 2014

Playing of Faffing

 I was so happy to learn over the Xmas week about a little word called "faffing", an english expression for just wasting time.   It seems I do quite a bit of that, just playing with stuff to create lovely images or art.  Moving this and that around, looking for some light, a prop or two.  Is it wasting time or not...I say NOT.  Art is never a waste of time. 

 I love these little Shasta Daisy's from the summers flower garden combined with sea shells and a cheesecloth frothy surface.  Again lots of play with whats at hand.  I used a little ocean texture as the frothy crest of the wave.
 My prompts from Be Still were spool, string and three.  I think this was so much fun because I just learned how to use the Auto Sync function in my LightRoom program.  I edit all my work further in Elements but love the time saving auto sync.  I have learned so much to date in my e-class and there are still weeks left to enjoy and learn more.
These are little Zinnias that were seeds I special bought because of the fun little stripes and most were huge, but these were the end of the summer, stunted and small but while they were short of statue they made a fantastic prop with a great mason jar.

I love exploring ideas with still life and style prop photography.  NEVER enough props it seems, but there is a wish list and my eye is ever open to possibilities. 

My year ended with getting a couple of my photos on Flickers Explorer and that sure was something worth shouting about.  None of my physical friends are into photography so they just didn't get the high I got from it, but I shouted anyway!   I can't wait to see where my lens takes me in 2015.  Hope to see you soon!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday Blues made Explorer

I am so tickled to find my Friday Finds which I named Friday Blues made it to Explorer on Flicker.  My 2nd image for December.  What a great way to end the year.  Never dreamed I would have one let alone two images in a month land there.


Friday Finds is a group hosted by Kim Klassen.  She also has Texture Tuesday and its a great way to get you to continue shooting throughout the week.  Sometimes we just need a little push to keep the inspiration going.   This little vintage bottle was my prop of inspiration for this image with the hydrangea.  Cropped to 4x5 size, and some processing of the light and a little pale grunge texture.   I hope you keep your camera close by, you never know when the spark will ignite!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Two's Company and Three's a Crowd

I had to really do an improve for our recent prompt for an exercise using 3 things.

Backlight, window and a chair!   I have no cool chair that is weathered, stained and shabby but I did have this little tiny bench that was given to me as  a prop this summer.  I used my kitchen window sill and sat it there but really didn't have anything
interesting to use with it.  I was looking for a light bright fresh look and it was drizzling outside and dark - I hit a blank ..

I got to cooking up a pot of Manhattan clam chowder and for fun just tossed a couple onions on the bench, then added the towel and the little onion skin,  Took lots of shots and angles and decided on this one.  Love the square crop, and I used a little preset in lightroom called onair by KimKlassen and then a texture to give the grunge look.  The rain on the window gave a cool bokeh I thought so now I have an idea to paint this up white for a brighter look. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I made Explorer on Flicker!

WOW this is such a big deal for me, my first ever image to make Flickers Explorer.  Its like the most fun thing ever and to think I didn't even know it until someone gave me a nice congrats on it!

This was an exercise from Week 27 of Be Still 52 group,
Our prompts were to create a vignette, use something tall and sweeping, a preset, a texture and a printable.  It was hard because this was very large and tall.  I dragged my kitchen island up to the fridge and propped up my black core board there for a backdrop.  Then began trying different arrangements to shoot.  I probably shot 30+ and finally ran out of angles and props,

This printable was our first xmas card of the year, so adorable with the white and hint of red from the snowmans scarf, it really fit in with the red bow around the bugle, the red books and wraping paper.

The pussywillows are fake and have been loved by me for several years.  I wish fake silk flowers were not so expensive, they make the most amazing props.

I hope I can post something exciting as this in the months to come so till then, its Sally behind my lens...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Two Sides

I so loved this exercise in negative space.   In my photography group Be Still 52 our prompt was using two sides of negative space, shoot from above, shoot square  and use the two sides as part of your main focus.

I was really just killing time when I shot this.  We were waiting to visit our friend for Thanksgiving dinner and just needed to kill an hour.

This plate is a hand thrown plate that one of our dogs won a few ages ago and the color is really like it looks,.  The linen napkins were gifted to me and the branch is from my friends yard, which is a redbud branch with pods still attached.  I can still see her face when I asked if I could have a cutting.   My surface is an old cookie sheet I layed on the floor and then placed the items on top.  It was just a lucky experiment that it turned out so great and now it has become a prop for the future!   Cookie sheets will never look the same to me ever again.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Organic - Prop Styling

 Last month our group Be Still 52 had an exercise in Prop Styling with the Organic theme.    My camera had been silent for awhile as my computer and my health were under the weather but finally I was able to get this exercise done.

I wished I had old watering cans, cool prop boards of white wash and wood but in the end I gathered what I could find around the yard and set to work.

The first image is called Rounds and is a collection of Found objects on a cheesecloth background.  Wonderful green pods, leaves, chicken feathers create the collection.

The next is a bit of the last of my garden, wtih green peppers, asparagus and zinias.  
The little bright flower makes the peppers look like they are ready for an elegant resteraunt menu.
Finally I spied these mushrooms and with all our rain they were starting to  appear everywhere once I began searching for a good one for a photo.  I sorta like mushrooms in photography.  So unusual and full of childhood sillyness and fairies, forests and immignation,
I also had some little blue wild flowers still blooming so I used a special arm to hold the mushroom up next to the flowers to style these images, and then of course added processing later.
I like these images as they not only make me think of old post cards but magazine covers too from some botanical issue that might have been published in the past.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Photographing My Work

Photography is fun, prop set up and enjoying some control over the end results which I love to do with textures and light adjustments.  Its quite another thing to try and photograph something I want to project across people's computers in a way they can get a true sense of what they are seeing as in this hand spun yarn of mine.   This is truly work!

Does it give you a sense of the right color in daylight, how about the wonderful squishyness of the merino yarn and loft.  Is it representing the size and dimension in a way you might recognize.  I have taken so many photos of this skein of yarn that its time to call it quits and tackle the photos themselves.     Even after working them over in LR, I still have my concerns, but holding my yarn up to the monitor the colors do seem to be represented.   I have been absorbed in spinning and weighing fiber, working on yardage and silly textile things like quilting , its all taken me away from photography, just temporarily because while I don't have time now to post on flicker and update the blog, the camera works daily and the operator is lazy.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Took Time Off!

I have been absent for some time here on my blog.  I finally have my mojo back and trying to get back in the swing of things.   Summer just drains me, heat, humidity, watering the dreadful garden, chickens padding down my wild flowers and me giving in to them.  Changed my diet to gluten free with the onset of digestive issues and so it goes with turning SS age everything else turned too!

The Good!  I have had such great response to the updated photography blog that I dumped my old quilting blog.  But when I dumped it I didn't have plans to update it too.   I think its because in my mind I was thinking of all the textiles art I work on should be harmoniously living together on one blog.  I like keeping my blog to the topic and not delve off to parts unknown. 

Through Kim Klassens' on line classes I learned about WabiSabi and one day was amazed at how much the work I love resembles this imperfect perfect aspect of hand crafted artisan textiles.  I love packing my life full of photography, quilting collage, knitting and spinning.   It keeps me happy and there is always a new project on the horizon, new props to explorer, a new seed pod to photograph or the loan of a friends cool silverware!  


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Double Exposure Experiment

I love the dreamy look of some of the photos I see lately that use in camera double exposure .   I know my camera is not able to do this but still there MUST be a way to get this look with layers.  Here is a little experiment I did using an image of some asparagus pods.    I chose it because it had a nice soft effect already, not to much clutter in the background.

I used my macro lens when I took this shot.  Just an outside shot, nothing special for exposure or settings, just trying to get points of interest with the stems and berries. 

I started in Elements 10 with two images of the asparagus and one image I set to a size .25 larger than the other.  This was the bottom image.   The normal size image I layered on top and reduced opacity down to about 68%.  An interesting thing happened with I did this.  I got the dreamy background but the for front pods held their clarity!   In fact it sorta enhanced them so they appear a bit more dimensional.  

The only other thing I did to this was to adjust some light after it was done using levels and the bottom layer I had a watercolor filter applied.   I love this little test and if it would quit storming I would go outside and take more flower photos and play with this again.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lets Stay Connected ~ Greeting Card Swap

Its said that birds of a feather flock together.  I believe its true, at least in the case of us photographers and our art, props and imagination.  At a spree cast event today that Kim gave for all us Start To Finish 2 folk, I awkwardly declared I would start a photo greeting card swap.    I think its nice to have exciting mail come to your mail box, from the world over, from friends you met through classes and events.   Think of it as keeping the spark alive that began in Start to Finish 2 and for me Beyond Layers also.  

So without knowing about  Groupies of Kim Klassen over on Face book we will take my idea for the card swaps  and incorporate it there.  They are already doing something similar so no use being repetitious. I didn't know they had this group going so was totally thrilled to find them.  This is a private group and you will have to go there and request to join us.   Thanks for all the response to the idea of a greeting card swap.
~ cheers

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Illustrated Pears

 Hello again.  I still have some pear photos I am playing with.  By the way not only were they expensive but delicious and made marvelous models for my props.  I love how pears have  different textures on the skins.  I like enhancing the texture of them and by accident I applied a brush to the background and it fell over one of the pears, and it was like magic!  I really liked how the brush created a brand on the pear, like it was some special exotic fruit.   I thought of all the fun tissue papers used to display fruit in and this again reminded me of some of the very pretty printed tissue.
This is the snoring boring photo of before.  The bit of yellow behind the 3rd pear is a bit of Yellow Tissue!

My paper texture was from a scrap book and the rest of the art are applied brushes and light adjustments.   I hope you like before and after!
Keep eating pears!

Monday, June 2, 2014

A diptic or a dip...

Oh my this was the most frustrating thing ever! 
In my class Start to Finish we walked through diptic's in light room.  It looks so simple.

Well it was not, and not only was it not it took me 2 days to generate this story board and I must say, I am not sure how I did it.

Frustrations took me to another tutorial on exporting light room print layouts.   I finally got this saved as a .jpg in a folder on my hard drive.  Then I opened up Elements and did some light painting and signed it.  Yep I signed it even though its far from what I wished for but its a first! 

After two days of fooling with this, I am shy to try again but determined. Anyway I tried to import this image back into LR to work on it a bit more and by some gremlin's joy, I got my whole texture folder!  More deleting, more searching for the image - took a break to make breakfast - back to search for the image. it is.   It might not be a spark of creativity for you but if you are struggling with the diptic learning curve, you are not alone.   No textures used, just light.   Cheers till next time.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I Miss You...

White, round and minimalist, started out this way , ended up not so much.  In my class Be Still 52 one challenge was to work very simple, white, round and see where it took you.   I have such a hard time with working in whites.  I seem to just march to my own drummer.   Well, the white part was easy, the white daisy's, the white shells with just a hit of colorm tge white linen and the white cheese cloth.  So far so good, I laid these out in  a path type effect and shot above, from the side, in front and all aspects of angles.  This is the one I chose. 
This smaller image is just one of the try's before I got something happy.  I did like the yellow behind the flowers but in the end didn't use it...but I might still work on that!

The props are so much fun to use, collect and play with.  Some are so simple.  OH that is what its all about KISS....keep it simple silly!   I keep forgetting.

SO as you can see in the finished I Miss You I went past simple once again.  I added some moody graduated layers, played with my dof and added some elements and brushes.   I like it.  I hope you do too.

I need to get some photos done of this, adhere them to some post card's and get them in the mail and surprise some friends.

I think its time to start a yahoo photo postcard/greeting card trading group.  I have belonged to the atc community trading for quite awhile and the fabric postcard group trading with people all over the world.  Wouldn't be wonderful to do this with our lovely photo art!  Are you in?  

Let me know as this is part of the "spark" I have gotten from my classes this month.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Finding My Style

Be Still 52, a year long class on styling is in its 3rd week.  We are exploring finding props and our style of photography.  

I have been lucky to have on loan this very cool courting candle!  I bet these antiques could tell some stories.  If you are not sure what a courting candle is just imagine your father sizing up the boy who wants to come visit you and depending on how he sizes up, your father sets the candle to burn for so many hours till the candle burns to the wire, then the suitor must go home.
Each turn of the peg is worth an hour of visiting time.  The parlors, sitting rooms and porches must have been full of these in the 1800's.

Back to style.  I never seem to be able to leave my photos alone.  I just can't take an image and say, OK that's done.  I must, am compelled, obsessed to manipulate it.  I can't quit...I love the way the textures and layers play off each other to tell a little story.

In The Evening News image here I used some very fun brushes and two textures, one is kk_isobel and the other is kk_love in layers.   My personal critique of this is that the candle is in the very center - a big no no, but some how I think it works.  What do you think?
Till next time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jack Sparrow

We have to many sparrows!  They are everywhere.   I have had some nice song birds come to my yard but these little guys just chase them away, yet they are sorta entertaining especially when they look at their reflection in the water.

Little Jack here is at the bird bath mid winter.  I processed him with a dry brush and some light painting.  I added a texture called kf_painted14 and I added a texture of a bokeh that gives those nice round blobs of light.

This is truly one of those photos that got considered for the trash bin yet it still held a bit of interest for me.  The negative space I like and after the texture of the watercolor its now definately NOT going to the trash bin.

Stillness has been a theme in one of my ongoing classes, time to think and reflect, breath and find yourself.  This image became that for me.  The more I worked on it the more I lost track of time, noise and just enjoyed the moment of making art.

I have also changed my signature on my photos, and lost that word photography.  If people have found their way to my blog, they already know its about photography and art and chit chat.     I hope you like it for now, it might change next year!  Sally Papin behind my lens...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Finds

Hello all!   I am sharing my bird nest once again, but this time with a couple of the most amazing acorns ever.   Around our back fence we have some big oak trees that have let go of some of the acorns.  The size of these acorns are around 2+ inches!   Just to give an example there is a normal size acorn cap in the nest next to them.   I had planned to play with these cool little props of nature and never thought to use them in this way.   Fun happens.....

Here they are, the collections and finds from my yard this last week.  Best part is they were free!

I cropped this square.  I am a big fan of square art and many of my photos get cropped this way.  I have yet to find a great way to showcase them on my greeting cards, but I still love square!   After a bit of exposure correction in Light Room I sent it over to Elements for just a texture from Kim called kk_partings.  I liked the look  of the little typed box in the corner, was worried it might be to busy with all the twigs but decided it would stay.   I added an element of hand writing like a brush and faded it and masked it away from the nest, added my name and it was done.  

I hope you like it.  I love that fun happens in the most unexpected ways.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Unplug the noise...

Hello everyone.   This week I got a chance to use this image in two different  on line classes I am participating in.   One is an egg challenge.  I already took so many images of eggs I will have extra photos to play with when I run out of ideas.  The other was about being still and taking time to listen, be quiet, walking, breathing.   Our house always has noise, just the two of us oldies, but tv always going, washer or dryer, dogs barking.  The quiet is often very loud!

Well back to this little nest.  We had some big wind which broke down part of an old tree and I salvaged this cool nest.   I am not sure but it appears to have started  by doves and then topped off by another bird much different.   I cradled it in tissue paper and finally decided to use it in my egg challenge, but no words came to me for it so it sat a couple days untouched.   Then the little haiku I had written down so long ago just popped into my head, and then I popped it onto my image!    I never know when I might get a "spark" of inspiration or from where, but this is one I am proud of.  How can anything be prettier than a lovely songbird in the morning singing out over the breeze.  

I processed the image in Light Room and then edited in Elements with a texture called kk_rainyday at a soft overlay.  The tissue holding the next added an extra layer behind that I really like.
Hope you enjoy my little story and image.

Monday, May 19, 2014


This had to be one of the quickest images to come together in ages.  I am really pleased with one of my own textures I used at 100% overlay.  I did nothing else to my prop work other than a crop.

My resident wild rabbit has been eating these little daisy flowers and I had planned to use them in some way for my photography.  It just came together with a bowl of water and a spoon, a little yellow hankie and I shot away, many views and levels, this is the one I have chosen today to play with.

My texture is a watercolor that I will put on flicker under a folder called textures if anyone wants to try it out.  I call this one sp_oddesy.  Of course I would like credit for it in any work you post and share.  I would love to see how it makes your images pop with Joy.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hear the Dandy Lion

Hi everyone,  I hope your week is going well.   I found found a few little props to use with my photography this week.  How I love to see things with a fresh eye.  Do you see the tissue paper as part of the layers of this photo!   Of course I used the soft gossamer cheese cloth here but also toward the back is that crisp tissue paper.   It transformed this photo so well, I can't wait to play with it again.

I edited in my old Light Room and then took it into Elements for the texture work and processing.  The quote is mine, it was just something that came to me and I liked it.   In the course of finding stillness, we might actually be able to hear a dandy lion if we are quiet enough to listen. 

This month I am taking things to KISS.  Keep It Simple Silly.   So the blog is getting a make over, a re-do, and update and its needed this for oh so long...   You know how things get stale, well I am pretty sure that's why I didn't work here much.   Its like a closet with a fresh new look, you just gotta get stylin!
Till next time...

Friday, May 16, 2014

Release the Spark

Hello all,
Today is part of Friday Finds, a pretty big group of photo enthusiasts who share something they found and photographed on Friday. 

I actually am using the little bottle as my "find", but its actually the tissue paper I found and used as part of my soft prop. 

The spark is unique in its purpose.   A spark of imagination can cause us to get inspiration or an idea and take action .  The photo I posed previously with the little spoons and flowers.  Quiet Is The New Loud...  I sparked several others who tried a similar look.  There were sparks flying all over the world!  I use to have a page in my journal called ideas, now its called SPARKS.

Hope you visit me on Flicker and Pinterest for some sparks and inspiration.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Quiet is the new LOUD

Hello everyone,
I have taken my first photo for a class called Be Still 52.  I am excited about this class and all 105 members from around the world as we search for quiet, stillness and breath in our photography.

I have always loved the light softness in washed out photos that are not at all washed out!  How on earth is that done!  Truly something you need to concentrate on while prop styling, and editing your image in Light Room and Photoshop.  You sure can't have a TV blaring with talking heads or the radio spewing those tunes that get stuck in your head and rattle around all day. 

Someone asked me what the 52 stood for.  No its not my age, I am 62!  But its 52 weeks of sharing and play, looking through new eyes and hearing whats been missed.  Its like a movement of still life.  I need and seek quiet, stillness and beauty.   

Be Still,

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Start to Finish

I am so very late updating my photography blog.  It got stagnant and I got lazy.  Still life prop styling had really caught my eye, and I needed a community.  I needed inspiration and I needed a class!   I was lucky to get in the second round of Start to Finish with Kim Klassen ( and over the 8 weeks of this class, inspiration has returned.  Ideas are flowing and I am shooting again.   New looks, new ideas and new friends.

This image was prompted in the first week by the word Intentions!   Oh man, don't get me started on intentions  I had and didn't follow through with.   So without looking back, and only looking forward I shall go full tilt, and follow the path of intentions with my lens and natural light.