Friday, 4 January 2013

Ice-Cream, Snow & Flowers

This is me all over. Here I'm trying to catch up with the Beyond Layers course, and yet I find myself watching the video Kim presented and trying the techniques not once, no, but three times. Really, am I so hopeless at making a quick work of something? But then, I'm supposed to be learning from this, and as we all know, repetitio mater studiorum est! Furthermore, I did what Kim suggested and tweaked her recipe for each image, discarding some layers and modifying others.

So, here are my takes for the day 34 challenge A Few Tips & Tricks to Try. The challenge included the use of the texture Chase and the use of a recipe Kim presented to us on video.

The first picture was taken on 9 May, 2010 at Keukenhof, Amsterdam. The flower is incredible, a tulip called Ice-Cream, with a good reason.

Tulip Ice-Cream

Resources used:
- texture Chase by Kim Klassen

I did the processing on this a month ago, and followed the recipe too faithfully - and it was my dissatisfaction with this that actually lead me to try another take. But I was clever and instead of tweaking the same image over again I let it be and took another photo to process.

The second photo was shot far more recently, on 5 December, 2012, and the Bohemian Knotweed (Fallopia x bohemica) in the picture is located right outside the fence of our yard. About the plant itself -- for the longest time we've been wondering whether the Knotweed in question is actually a Giant Knotweed (jättitatar in Finnish) or a Japanese Knotweed (japanintatar). Yesterday I googled the case once more and found out that it might actually be a cross between the two! In English, Bohemian Knotweed sounds quite nice and sensible, but the Finnish name, hörtsätatar, makes me giggle. It sounds funny and means nothing at all, suggesting something sort of tousled or dishevelled… well, I guess that suits the plant.

Laden with Snow
Here I went through the recipe but tweaked each layer, and finally ended up NOT using the texture that was part of the challenge. So, although this time I was happy with the result, I had to try again with an image where I'd be happy using Kim's texture.

Orange Gerbera

This is another photo of the session with my belated birthday bouquet. Followed the recipe, not cloning anything in or out, but started with high pass, then used the Gaussian blur but only a touch in the corners, lightened the image with levels adjustment, then darkened the blurred areas with just a tad of black to white gradient, used two colour fill layers, screen and multiply, but only around 10% each, and finally added Kim's texture Chase at 73% colour burn, but masked it out of the Gerbera. The change from the original is rather subtle, but pleases me.

Back to the real world -- doggies demand to get out. Better go and see if the birds still have something to eat. In the morning there were seeds enough at all the feeding posts, and since I had to chop firewood and carry it inside, I didn't take the trouble of adding any. Now off to take care of both the winged and the four-legged.

Sweet Georgia Brown paper pack

Here's another digital scrapbooking paper pack, this time various browns. All free for you to use, click on the image to be taken to  the download page. Enjoy!

Click here to download the papers

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Life's Light

Playing catch-up at Beyond Layers… the day 33 challenge was Honouring Life's Light. The purpose was to capture "anything that shines light into your life", to celebrate the love.

This one was so easy. My bright spot, as Kim said, is without any doubt similar to hers: the pets. There’s been a Dandie Dinmont Terrier in our household for more than twenty years, and after the first half year there have always been at least two of them. Our current pack has six members, each one of them unique, each one of them special. Life certainly isn’t boring with the lot of them around, and I really cannot imagine life without them.

We discussed this with Better Half some time ago, trying to imagine what our lives would have turned to if we hadn't taken the first Dandie. You know, "Turn a different corner and we never would have met." Although we are both blessed with good imagination, neither of us could really figure out where we'd be now without the Dandies. But there's one thing we concluded: it certainly would be hugely different. There are so many things we're involved in nowadays - and have been for years - that have evolved out of this, our whole way of life, how we see the world, friendships… everything.

The scrapbooking layout shows the whole current pack in photos taken between 29 July, 2011 and 25 October, 2012: the old Great-grandauntie Leia, Granny Foxy, Mom Misaki, Dad Renny and their daughters Marleena & Justiina.

A Pack of Dandies
Resources used:

- background paper Happiest Search 01 by myself
- gradient from the Super Dooper gradient pack by Digital Phenom
- template 212 by Yin Designs

A Book Review, of sorts

For day 32 of Beyond Layers, the challenge was to pick a favourite book, photograph it, get creative with the set up and process the image however we pleased, and also tell why I love this book.

This was some challenge, since I've read shamefully little in the past quite a few years. Of course I use books for work, a pile of them. Didn't feel like photographing them, though, and after some consideration, I picked the one not-work-related book that I use regularly. Also I happen to like the look of this book. Since it's the song book for my singing lessons, I very much doubt this "review" is useful to anyone but me, though.

Back in 2008, when the book was published, I first bought the middle-range version, but later on, as my vocal range has grown, I have also bought the same book for high voice. This is the version in the picture, and yes, I chose to photograph it because the cover here is my favourite colour orange (or thereabouts) instead of the blue one in the older book. It's not the only sheet music collection I sing from, but definitely the most used one, alongside the Vaccai vocalises. There are 109 songs, ranging in time from Renaissance to 20th century, in five languages (English, Italian, German, Swedish and Finnish). At the time the photo was taken, 29 October 2012, I had studied 31 of them with my singing teacher.

Resources used:
- texture Fully by Kim Klassen (35% soft light)
- texture Put Me Down Boogie by Smoko-Stock (35% vivid light, masked corners)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Living Fully or Frantically

Having been awfully busy all autumn, it was not without certain bitterness that I read Kim's post for day 31 of Beyond Layers. Not daring to even open the posts lest I'll be swept to playing with the challenges when I really should be doing something else, I was not delighted to find a challenge about slowing down.

However, I guess I have come to realize that busy really doesn't matter. Sometimes there's nothing else to do but to rush along, but it's not as if I wouldn't enjoy it. Oh yes, I have been whining about not having enough time, but right now, this very moment, I'm overjoyed to really have had holiday time to beautifully unwind, spend time at home, do little or a lot or nothing at all and -- be there. Together with Better Half and the doggies. Feel.

For the photo challenge, here's my take. Since the past autumn's particular busy has mostly been at work, this picture's fittingly been taken at my work place.


Resources used:
- texture Tears of Hope by Smoko-Stock (70% Soft Light)
- texture Be Still by Kim Klassen  (40% Multiply)