Monday, April 16, 2012

Just Flocking Through

Here in North Central Texas we get many types of birds stopping by for a bit on their way South and back North. Our house sits on the top of a hill on a wooded acre, so we get to admire a lot of wild life as it passes through or makes our lot as a temporary home.

It has been fun over the years and I have collected many photos of Raccoon in the trees, Rabbits from my gardens, Bull Frogs from the pond and many types of butterflies. This past Spring we saw migrations of many birds. Robins, Chickadees, Cedar Waxwings as well as our resident Cardinals and Blue Birds.

One morning I manged to capture this male Cardinal as he was noisily tweeting up a storm in the early morning sun. Glad I had my 20x zoom on my Sony. With all the noise he was making it seemed as if he was much closer though.

I took these three photos and a few more of some other migrating flocks of various birds and moodied them up with one of my favorite textures, Bluetopia, which can be found at one of my favorite sites:

And sometimes I will take the textures I want to use and change the color or hue of it to suit my needs. This one is Bluetopia in green:

I added these textures layers to my photos. In some cases I had to photo retouch to get more birdies in the shot. I just couldn't get them to sit still for me! Here are the final shots.

On these two Robins I changed up the hue of Bluetopia to more of a sepia toned texture. I played around with the blues and greens and this sepia seemed to work the best with the Robin's red breast and the tone of the twigs. I did a little burn around the edges to soften the look to a more Shabby Chic look!

These two little Lovey Doves are kind of peachy colored with the Bluetopia texture in a moody turquoise green hue. The dove was actually one bird the jumped around on the branches of the tree and I took its picture. I merged two of the images together to make it look like love doves sitting together in the morning light. The magic of digital....

These Cedar Waxwings came through our yard and spent a few days. Noisy, messy and fun to watch. They perched high up in the tree tops to get the very first warming rays of the sun in the morning and again in the evening to get the very last bits of sun rays at the end of each day. Beautiful birds almost lime green with a bit of orange stripe on their wings.

And finally that noisy Cardinal calling in at the top of the three in the morning sunlight. He, or his family can be seen all during the year. I like that he sticks around. I used Bluetopia in a lovely moody blue indigo color for this one.

These images and others are for sale in my online store at

I am still trying to capture a Barn Owl that likes to hang out in the woods close by. I got one shot of him, but there were too many branches in the way for me to make some beautiful art out of him...

And now that I think about it I do have some other birds of prey photos that I should try to do something with. An Osprey and a Red Tip Hawk. I'll play around with them when I am in an adventurous mood.
Until the next adventure...Look up in the tree tops. You might capture something in the sunlight! ~Michele

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Italian Cooking Photos

Yesterday I did a shot of garlic and I loved how it turned out. Here is the post about it:

When I went to our local "Farmers Market", Sprouts, I loaded the cart up with other vegetable to photograph using the same technique. Of  course I stuck rather loosely to an Italian cooking theme. I suppose you could think of this all as Salsa in the making too! I think I am still missing some beautiful green peppers and red onion, so stay tuned!

These will all be available in my online store at on a beautiful textured water color paper which gives the photo a wonderful painterly look.

Until the next adventure, have fun, I know I will! ~Michele

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Good For You

It seems as if most of my posts are centering around the theme of the week for the 52 week challenge I am participating in with Ellenburg Photography ( for information on how to join in on the weekly challenge fun). This week's theme is "Good For You".

With this topic, I immediately thought about exercise. And then that thought quickly faded, as do most of my workouts... Then I got my thoughts immediately onto food. Fruit. Vegetables. Then fried chicken, pizza, cake, and desserts. Wow those Good For You thought deteriorated quickly as I thought about the heartburn. But somehow I kept thinking back to my mother-in-law and peppers and onions and garlic and sausage. Good for you comfort food that in the end will ward away those mosquitoes I keep having trouble with.

Here is my garlic set up on the kitchen table. Nothing too fancy. Garlic scattered about with a table runner on the back of a chair as a neutral textured background. Notice the office dog waiting and searching for morsels of something to be dropped... This is the still life photo I started with from the above setting.

On a side note, I actually once went out and bought Garlic pills in the health food section of a pharmacy in the vitimin isle. This was to keep myself from being sucked dry as I seem to be a pin cushion for skeeters. I don't know why I am soo attractive except that I must be exceptionally sweet. The garlic pills did not work by the way...

Back to the photo art...I took the above photo and lighted it and cropped it to this...

Then I used one of the freebie textures I got from  as I mentioned before, but I flipped it up.

and layered it over the shot at about 60% opaqueness if that is a word...

There was not enough of the subject showing through, but I didn't want to lose any of the textured layer elements so I went at the garlic with the erasure to bring the Good For You subject to the foreground better.

Almost there. I was pleased with this but I warmed up the color a bit and brightened it up a bit to get this final shot...

I printed it out onto watercolor paper for a matt finish and popped it temporarily into a chunky framed I have and I think it came out nice and old world looking. I will have to buy some peppers and onions today and do my Mother-in-law proud with some more Good For Yous.

This photo will be available in my online store soon! Until the next adventure get some good for you into you! Michele

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Vintage Crafty

As you may know I am participating in an online photography challenge on FLICKR sponsored by Daphne Ellenburg of Ellenburg Photography . You can play along if you'd like too, here is the information about it:
This week our theme is Stackable. I decided on taking a photo of some stacked up pretty spools of ribbons and lace. I did this on a white background, but wanted a more "dreamy" "girly" look so I taped up some 12 x 12 scrapbook paper to the "wall" I made with a piece of mat board. I put a matching one down on the table as well.

I ended up shooting about 40 or so shots of this set up from different angles while the sun faded in and out behind the clouds. Ended up adding another spool of lime green to the stack to make a pop of bright color and I really liked that effect. This is the shot I ended up with ultimately.

Don't you agree about the pop of lime green? Anyways, I got carried away and started bringing out to the back patio "studio" all sorts of sewing and craft boxes of ribbons, scissors, buttons and threads. Really carried away to where I was out there until the sun was gone behind the clouds and it was mid afternoon, no longer mid morning and the natural lighting was gone...

I also have a bunch of vintage tins that I have been wanting to photograph in some manner and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. With my large lace collection and vintage buttons and tins I thought I could make a set of crafty sewing room art pieces. These following photos are the pics that made the cut among the clutter!

I used an aged photo tin type overlay on these to give them their vintage look. With that vintage layer and the edge burn they had the perfect aged shabby chic look.

But with all the textures added on you can hardly tell that I used a different scrapbook paper on the back wall for each shot. Or maybe you can tell. It all adds to the ambiance anyways. Here is another shot of my outdoor studio and my "office dog". She was really into it all.....s n o o z e.....!

You can find these Vintage Craft Room photos and others in my online store
Please have a visit! Until the next adventure.....michele

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gloomy Day Iris's

I have been waiting for weeks for my iris's on the pond to bloom. Seems like I have checked on them daily since their green leaves popped out of the water and reached for the sun. It has been raining in North Texas and we need it to get out of our drought, but my flowers want some sunshine!

Suddenly, it seems, they have bloomed and I head out back to take some pics without mosquito spray on. Bad Idea! I think I have malaria! Kidding aside, I shot out a few pics in between bites, without a much of a care for how they came out since I knew I could "fix" them...

Here are some straight out of the camera shots ... this one is a tinge blue...

Between the clouds and the mosquitoes, I am not ashamed to say that I did not do a great job setting up my shots....patience, I will have to learn. Bug spray can help.

This shot I did not do any post processing except for cropping. It is an ode to O'Keeffe. 

Was that a stretch? I think not! On this next one I played around with the contrast and brightness. Upped the brightness and upped the contrast for a more dramatic look. It makes the yellow pop.

I finished up playing with the Irises by taking this photo (which is a little on the blue-gray side) and lightened it up a bit and upped the contrast like I did with the previous photo...
So it went from this... 

to this...

But I wanted a more "dreamy" look to it. Or Shabby Chic. Or Cottage Chic. Or Vintage. Whatever the terms are for the moment. I added a texture layer of some scratchy scricty sepia texture that looks like this:

You can find textures by Sarah Gardner on her website. (LOVE HER WORK!) She has some free downloads to try out and if you follow her blog sometimes there are others for free.

Adding the texture to the photo and playing some more with the brightness and contrasts I came up with this photo. I also did add a little bevel to the edge to make it, well, edgy.

This Iris artwork and other artworks are for sale in my ETSY store here:

I hope you enjoyed following along with my Iris photo journey. Until next time I hope you can take a gloomy day and make it bloom!!