Textures thanks to French Kiss
In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
June abounds with the birthdays and anniversaries of so many friends and family. So as we go through the month celebrating all of you, I’ll think about all the laughter and pleasures we’ve shared over time and look forward to more.
These beautiful irises are now planted in our front yard, the kind gift of family members with seriously green thumbs. When we moved to our new home three years ago, we left behind a garden that had taken years to develop, filled with all kinds of flowers and foliage, shrubs and trees. I do miss my irises and my peonies and my magnolia tree and my climbing vines and all the rest of the plants I carefully researched, selected and planted. I miss my quiet and soothing vine-covered meditation garden, my water feature and my granite bench.
But that was then. This is now. It’s time to start again…We began to plant and landscape last year and we added a plum tree, a ginkgo, lilacs and an espaliered apple tree. We planted blueberry and currant bushes and rhubarb. And our vegetable garden will be full of healthy brightly coloured vegetables just as it was for the past two years.
We continue to develop our outdoor space this summer. I’m yearning for more flowers…but they will come…and the irises are a great beginning.
The feeling of an evolution is a constant for every artist who is pursuing the search for refinement and enlargement of his/her own means of expression.
I was very much into using textures to process my images a year or two ago. I loved the painterly look that you could achieve and the soft dreamy quality of so many textured images.
I’m still drawn to these images and I admire and enjoy the texture work on the blogs and sharing sites of so many artists and photographers I’ve met online.
But I stepped away from it myself, and this is why…
At one point I realized that I didn’t want to use heavy processing with textures as a crutch when I didn’t know what to do with a less than stellar image. So I decided what I needed to do was spend more intensive time learning and practising and honing the craft of photography — which is really what I’m in love with. I wanted to take full advantage of my equipment and make better base images — by honing key skills — exposure, composition and framing, and focus, for example. I wanted to do a better job of getting my images right in camera.
I also wanted to delve deeper into the hard work of discovering and developing my own unique approach and vision. This has challenged me to become more contemplative and intentional in my image-making, as well as more experimental and risk-taking. I feel I’ve seen an improvement in my images and while many of my experiments have not seen the light of day, they have also yielded some happy results and taught me so much. And not only have I gained ground by working on simplicity, abstracts, double exposures, long exposures, ICM, etc etc etc, I’ve also truly enjoyed every moment. The more I can master the craft, the more my images will become a means for expressing myself.
Over the next while I intend to continue to strive for the best image quality I can get from my camera, I also want to return to spending time refining my processing techniques. For example, I want to learn luminosity masking and make better use of Adobe Camera Raw for raw conversion. (ACR is basically the same as Lightroom, without all the photo organization abilities.) I just learned a few new ACR and Photoshop techniques from a video with Ben Willmore on Creative Live that have me quite excited.
And so just for fun I hauled out my textures the other day and had a play with a few recent crabapple images. I’ve learned that when I start off with a better quality image, I am generally happier with the results of adding textures. My taste is at the “less is more” stage so I went fairly light on the processing of this image to let the beauty and delicacy of the crabapple blossoms shine through.
What are you refining these days?
Image location: near Kitchener Ontario; Technique: Intentional Camera Movement; Processing: Flypaper Textures
Go outside, now, and look at any randomly selected piece of your world. It could be a scruffy corner of your garden, or even a clump of grass forcing its way through a concrete pavement. It is unique.
Encoded deep in the biology of every cell in every blade of grass, in every insect’s wing, in every bacterium cell, is the history of the third planet from the Sun in a Solar System making its way lethargically around a galaxy called the Milky Way.
Its shape, form, function, color, smell, taste, molecular structure, arrangement of atoms, sequence of bases, and possibilities for a future are all absolutely unique.
There is nowhere else in the observable Universe where you will see precisely that little clump of emergent, living complexity.
It is wonderful.
It’s Week 10 of the online course I’m taking with Kim Klassen (Beyond Beyond) and we were encouraged to just play and create this week. I used Kim’s new texture “subtly yours” on this image. I was drawn to the way the grasses were illuminated by the beautiful early evening light. I love images where the impact comes as much or more from the light and shape than the colour.
Happy Easter to those who celebrate. Hope everybody has a delightful long weekend…