Monday, April 30, 2012

April 28 - Freeze Frame

Freeze frame - have decided to think inside the box for this one and do as the  theme says - so here are two 'freeze frames' - just experiments with brushes and layers really. These were taken on a frosty morning at our farm - even the grevillea flowers had frozen overnight... it isn't that cold yet, we still have beautiful Autumn weather, though it's getting a bit chilly for swimming :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 27 - Fragile

Daybreak at the Warrumbungles on Easter morning and on a walk down the fire trail in the morning light we found these fragile and beautiful spider webs in the long grasses.

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 26 - Found Objects

Found this old door handle in the overgrown garden bed. It will be a quirky addition to the laundry door at the back of the house if we can work out how to attach it properly :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 25 - Foreign

I love travelling to foreign places, trying new food and languages and making memories for a lifetime. We travel as often as we can, exploring our own country and others. Planning is half the fun, but being somewhere completely unfamiliar, learning the history and customs is an experience I am so grateful to have.
The landscape of Bryce Canyon in Utah USA is like being transported not just to a foreign country, but almost to a foreign planet - the wind-sculpted hoodoos are a photographer's delight. My only regret is that we didn't have time to hike to the bottom of the canyon.

April 24 - Food

Still catching up on my themes :)

Food - I love going to local markets wherever we are in the world and buying the fresh local produce - even if it is just a basket of strawberries to share in the afternoon. This market in Venice opens very early in the day and always had beautiful fresh seafood for sale, as well as vegetables, fruits and meats. I had the best seafood risotto in the world in a tiny cafe in one of the laneways of Venice.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


My tribute to the spirit of ANZAC and the memories of those who died while protecting the freedom of others. Lest We Forget. April 25, 1915.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 23 - Fluffy

Still playing with borders today with these 'fluffy' subjects - a nesting box of chicks just a few days old (with a 'page curl' effect) and a tiny friar bird with downy fluff still on his head and a displacement map border with embossed edges.

April 22 - Flowers

There's a bonus with the flowers today - I have to have a twist to the theme or there would be just too much to choose from ;) so my flowers have bonus bird, bees and butterfly. Still experimenting with frames, these are simple bevel and emboss ones.

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 21 - Flight

Fight - and another experiment :) One of our gorgeous young wedge tailed eagles in the sky above our farm. Best viewed bigger.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 20 - First Class

The Qantas First Class lounge at Sydney airport is an interesting architectural statement with oak dividers to separate various areas and provide some privacy. We managed a visit here before an international flight and the food, service and facilities are superb. Then we had to get into our regular seats on the plane - luckily in a row with lots of leg room, but certainly not 'first class'!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 19 - Fire

Fire! one of our campfires in the scrub - need a breather from all the composites :)

April 18 - Feminine

Diana, goddess of the hunt, moon and birth - twin of Apollo and connected to animals and the woodland.
This is another experiment :) I thought Diana standing in her niche at the museum was not appropriate for a goddess, so I found her a woodland and made some mist and sent the light of a full moon filtering down on her through the leaves. Another fun project and I have included the original sooc images. The tree is beside our house, Diana is in Russia :) I like the result. It's done in several layers - first I duplicated Diana and erased her background - a bit tricky because she is a similar colour, then I added a layer with the tree underneath her and adjusted the relative sizes. Once that was done, added a layer above both in orange, set to overlay and adjusted opacity so that it was just a glow. Then a white gradient for fog, wiped back to make the light beams, then I added a vignette and changed it all to B&W then adjusted opacity of this layer just enough to give it warmth - Feminine - done!

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 17 - Fear

Fear - this one was a challenge when deciding what image to use ... so I decided on stretching skills with another composite.
I'm generally OK with snakes but Aus has the most deadly ones and some of them live here on our farm. I took a close up (with a long lens) of this eastern brown snake - the simple name belies the aggressiveness and deadliness of this reptile which is said to be the second most venomous snake in the world. This beastie was on the grass near our back door, so of course, safe inside and fear under control, I got out the camera! I haven't seen it since and with winter coming I'm hoping it just leaves for good.
Thinking about the theme for today I fished out the images and cropped one closely to just around the eye - added a few colour layers to give the right 'mood' to the image, then found a quote and layered it on top. Flattened and served up as my offering for today's theme.
It was creepy just working on this image ... I'm OK with pythons and such - even red-bellies are fine but these snakes give me the chills.

Ron's suggestion sent me back to the snake file to add the images above - the 'original' eye and one of about 2/3 of the snake - I guess from when it went across the top of the steps that it was at least 1.8 metres long (about 6')

April 16 - Faucets

had to dive into the holiday files to retrieve these images of beautiful old French faucets - nothing fancy, these have been pouring out water for the people of the villages for more than a century. The fresh water fountain in the centre of town had a comfortable bench nearby for travellers or locals to rest in the shade and the old lavoir (wash room) was still being used - a shirt hangs over the central beam above the wash basins. The water runs through each of the basins and is constantly replenished from the top.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 15 - Fast

Grey fantails flit around the trees and rarely sit still. I was VERY fast with the camera and caught a couple of shots of this little beauty near the salt caves dam in the Pilliga scrub - our next stop after the Warrumbungles walks. The Pilliga is a million acres of forest that is famous for birds and wildflowers, criss-crossed by many bumpy, sandy tracks but very accessible and with some beautiful bush camping areas.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 14 - Fashion

When Catherine the Great of Russia was crowned, the fashion was for enormous, heavily embroidered gowns - now I know why all the doorways in the palace were so big!! This is one of her gowns - I think being a ruler of the Russian Empire must have been hard work - even just getting dressed is a challenge I wouldn't like to attempt...

April 13 - Far from home

We were definitely far from home on April 13, bushwalking in the Warrumbungles, so here are some photos from Friday 13th. Those of you who are interested in geology will probably enjoy - I think I need to learn to do panoramas next. The bunny perched on the rocks was a survivor of Easter 2011, sadly he didn't survive the return hike from the tops... I suppose it was an unlucky day for him.

April 12 - Fantasy

This is one of the stretches yes? This year I wanted to learn how to use photoshop so that I can do more than just auto-adjust - and it's been quite a learning curve so far, with layers and filters becoming easier and learning new things like making brushes and displacement maps. So much more to learn though - so when the themes came to fantasy I decided to take 3 images from 3 different places and merge them into a fantasy picture.

I have shown the three elements (sooc) and the final image - not genius I admit, but it was a learning experience. First - the background - a sunset close to home. Then some trees - I chose some sculptural looking ones from the hills in Rome - I call them 'art deco' trees. I removed the background using the background eraser tool - Magic that! then the final layer - some huge Trolls from Iceland - in the main street of Akureyri there are these fabulous larger-than-life Troll figures (well they are probably the right size for Trolls) so I de-backgrounded them too and layered them on top. Then I adjusted sizes and gave the whole lot a colour filter, then a graduated black layer set to overlay blended their feet in. At the last minute I added some bird brushes in the sky. A learning experience and lots of fun.

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 11 - Fancy

Our Tawny Frogmouth was most unimpressed with the fancy decoration we held up so that she could have a Christmas portrait taken - she'd just had a shower and was still a bit damp - not feeling fancy at all :) We forgot to do it again when she was dry and fluffy.

April 10 - Famous

Famous in Australia anyway ;) we were lucky enough to get tickets to one of Powderfinger's farewell concerts at the last minute (and sent all the kids mms texts to prove that we went). After being part of Aussie music for 20 years the band made the decision to stop - but hey, you never know in the music world - old bands are always springing surprises with 'revival' concerts...

April 9 - Family

Found this little family of oystercatchers on the beach of an island in the Bay of Islands NZ . The parents kept calling to the littlies to keep up, the babies kept stopping to explore seaweed and such. Too cute!

April 8 - Faith

At the Vatican there were many on a pilgrimage to visit a place special to them and others who just wanted to see the spectacular cathedral. This young man was honoured to make a public expression of his faith when he met Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria (I hope the name is correct, the Italian woman standing beside me identified him).

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 7 - Faces

We were hiking at Easter and went to one of our favourite places - the Warrumbungles in NSW. Here are my 'faces' for today's theme - rock faces of course! You can only see this view of the 'breadknife' from the Grand High Tops walk - a long steep hike to the high centre of what was a huge volcano - worth the sore muscles for the view! The breadknife is one of the most famous formations in the National Park, a trachyte dyke that is only a few metres wide, but about 600m high and runs for about 900m. On this walk you come up beside the massive wall and after climbing even higher for a fabulous view, the trail goes down again on the other side.
The other 'faces' were much easier to photograph - a sunrise walk along the fire trail near our campsite showed the moon behind split rock, with the rock faces lit by the rising sun.

April 6 - Eyes

Catching up again after a trip away over the Easter break. Found 'eyes' in a walk around the coastal rocks at low tide - they look pretty evil to me - what do you think?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 5 - Extreme close-up

I was in Sydney a couple of days ago and stepped out on the verandah when this friendly rainbow lorikeet came to see if I had food for him... (no, but I did get a rather interesting close-up as he walked towards the camera!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4 - Experimental

I have been playing with overlays and colouring in PS lately - I wish I had more time to experiment! These are some horse photos - we live in the 'horse capital of Australia' and many of the country's biggest and best horse studs are near our farm. The mother and baby were snapped at one of the properties down the road, I just loved the matching heart shaped blazes :) but the gorgeous old arabian in our paddock was a boarder here for many years and would run to see if I had a treat for him whenever when I went anywhere near!
The B&W was done with a B&W adjustment layer and a light 'glow' filter, while the others have had overlays done with various combinations of warm texture photos and a displacement map border.
I have always loved to take photos of old walls, tree barks, sandstone and other rocks and these are coming in handy for the experiments, but you can also download textures from flikr where photographers make them freely available. I'm having fun using overlays for grungy effects.