photography and digital scrapbooking


Photographing My Flower Garden

Spring 2012 brought perfect conditions for my flower garden. I am taking advantage of the comfortable temperatures to photograph the prettiest flowers and practice various compositions. I love macro shots, but also enjoy seeing a bit of the background where the flowers grow. After composing a few macro shots, I placed my tripod eight to ten feet from the flowers. Using a focal length of 200mm and small apertures (f11-f20), I obtained a greater depth of field and produced a glimpse of the area behind the flower groupings.

The Hydrangeas are just starting to bloom, and Gardenia blossoms will be next. I am watching the Gardenia closely for another reason – a cardinal couple built a nest there. Two little babies hatched yesterday! I stay away from the nest to avoid scaring the birds, but if I get a chance I will photograph the babies soon.


Spring Flower Photography

Flower photography is a joy this spring. The weather has been excellent for weeks, providing lots of warm sunshine and cool breezes. Many flowers are in full bloom, but none have captured my interest more than the Foxglove plants. I started them from seed last year. They do not bloom the first year, so it has been a long wait! The twelve plants are blooming in shades of purple, pink and white. The Snapdragons were also started from seed last year. They over-wintered in our raised-bed garden, spreading and growing to a height of three feet. Photographing the tall Foxglove spires and Snapdragons was a challenge, because they sway constantly in the wind. Fortunately, I had plenty of light which allowed me to freeze motion with a fast shutter speed.

Which flowers are currently blooming in your gardens? Are you enjoying wildflowers too? I would love to hear from you and see your spring flower photos!


Digital Flowers and Collage

My love of art, photography, and technology comes together when I use my photos to produce secondary files. I use a variety of Photoshop techniques to extract a subject from the background and prepare it for use as a single element. “Painterly Flowers” is an example of extracted flowers that I processed for a subtle painted texture. The flowers add a realistic touch of nature to digital layouts and cards.

I designed the “Composed” line of digital collage by arranging highly textured papers, adding paint, then transforming each collage into a digital file. The color version is ready to use.  The grayscale templates allow for customization by adding a color fill in Photoshop or other image-editing software. The papers crop easily to 8.5 x 11. For a custom fabric, design a layout with a collage paper background and images of your choice, then print on fabric sheets made for ink jet printers. Use the entire sheet to cover a journal, or cut pieces for use in art journals or mixed media projects.

(Digital scrapbooking products used are no longer available.)

Click on the first image to open the gallery.

“Delight” digital scrapbooking layout by Karen Chandler uses:

  • Mini Paper: Composed
  • Embellishment Mini: Painterly Flowers
  • Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 1
  • Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 3
  • ScrapHappy Embellishment Templates Maxi: Old Photo Frames
  • ScrapHappy Paper Templates Midi: Doilies 3
  • ScrapHappy Embellishment Templates Midi: Banners with Type Paths
  • Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit

“Peek – a boo” digital scrapbooking layout by Karen Chandler uses:

  • Mini Embellishments: Painterly Flowers
  • Mini Paper: Composed
  • ScrapHappy Brushes Midi: Old Photo Edges
  • ScrapHappy Brushes Midi: Edges
  • ScrapHappy Styles Maxi: Chalk Fill Warm CK01
  • ScrapHappy Styles Midi: Zippy VR01
  • Dreams Mini Kit
  • Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit
  • Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 2

“Barbie Purse” digital scrapbooking layout by Karen Chandler uses:

  • ScrapHappy Paper Templates Midi: Composed
  • Mini Embellishments: Painterly Flowers
  • ScrapHappy Page Templates Mini: In The Round 2
  • Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 1
  • Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 3
  • Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit
  • About Mom Mini Kit
  • Maxi Embellishments: Transparent Tape
  • ScrapHappy Styles Midi: Transparent Tape TK01
  • Maxi Embellishments: Document It Bis Maxi Kit
  • Dreams Mini Kit
  • Friendly Font

“Just Mommy!” digital scrapbooking layout by Karen Chandler uses:

  • ScrapHappy Paper Templates Midi: Composed
  • ScrapHappy Embellishment Template Midi: Photo Clusters 1
  • Life Story Midi Kit
  • Batik Maxi Kit
  • Maxi Paper: Journaling 2
  • ScrapHappy Styles Maxi: Glitter – Pastels JH02
  • ScrapHappy Brushes Midi: Well Worn

“Toddler Treasure Hunt” digital scrapbooking layout by Karen Chandler uses:

  • Dreams Mini Kit
  • ScrapHappy Page Templates Album: Baby Book 2
  • Mini Paper: Composed
  • Life Story Midi Kit
  • Maxi Paper: Journaling 2
  • ScrapHappy Styles Maxi: Glitter – Pastels JH02
  • ScrapHappy Brushes Midi: Well Worn


Digital Art Journaling

My latest digital products represent a style that is new for me – art journaling. Paint and paper art journal pages usually have a handmade, artsy look. Keeping that in mind, I worked with real and Photoshop paint and let my creativity take me where I had never dared to go!

No rules apply when designing art journal pages. Typically, they are about feelings or subjects that are close to the artist’s heart. I like to use my photos for these layouts, although I also enjoy using Photoshop brushes or other images as focal points. Journaling is usually featured prominently, but a title or few words can also communicate the message. Sometimes I find it difficult to journal in sentences and it becomes a stumbling block. That is when a quote works for me or sometimes I write a simple poem. I am fond of haiku, especially a variant containing 15 syllables, two lines and two breaks.

Update: Digital scrapbooking products by Karen Chandler are no longer available.

Click on the first image to open the gallery.

  • “Home”, “Family”, “Nature’s Place”, “Lost Confidence”, “Treasure Trees”, “Understand the Past” digital scrapbooking layouts by Karen Chandler uses:
  • Digital supplies by Jessica Sprague and Nancy Rowe Janitz. The supplies are provided as part of an inspiring class on digital art journaling.


Watching Winter Birds

The window feeder is getting a lot of traffic these days. At various times of the day I check out the activity and photograph the birds as the light changes. The House Finches are fun to watch. The female sometimes feeds the male. I included three photos showing him waiting, leaning forward for seed, then seed hulls around his beak. I was shooting high-speed continuous, but missed the exact moment she gave him the seed!

When I saw the black areas around the American Goldfinch’s head, beak and eyes, I thought he might have Avian Pox, a common disease of finches and other feeder birds. But after doing more research and comparing photos, I think those areas are due to molting which happens in late winter and again in late summer.

A Carolina Wren visits, but she is so fast I miss her every time. Cardinals are checking out the feeder, but are reluctant to land. Maybe they will get braver over time. A Cooper’s Hawk sat on our fence last week and ate his catch. I was not able to get a photo, but enjoyed watching him through the binoculars.

Have you seen interesting activity at your feeders this winter?

All photos Canon 60D.


Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee

Little birds are visiting our window feeder this winter. Peanuts and a few dried cranberries added to the seed mix have kept them active, especially mornings. The cloudy, rainy weather has been a photography frustration since attaching the feeder. But I was able to take a few photos and plan to try again when different birds visit and the light is better. A male cardinal flew in for a closer look, but has not actually fed from the feeder, as far as I know.

I learned from researching these birds that the Tufted Titmouse nests in tree holes and stores seed and nuts in winter. They shell sunflower seeds before hiding them. Normally found in the eastern half of the United States, Tufted Titmouse pairs remain in their territory through the winter.

Carolina Chickadees live in the southeastern United States. Pairs bond in small flocks and defend their territories against other flocks throughout the year. These tiny birds excavate a tree hole, or choose a cavity for nesting. They normally choose seeds and nuts from a feeder and carry it to a branch to eat. Tufted Titmice associate with the Carolina Chickadees, but are dominate over them.

Photos: Canon 60D, tripod mounted.


2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


The Versatile Blogger Award

The new year is less than a month away and it feels like the right time to tie up some loose ends. It has been a difficult year. One unwelcome event in particular will always define this year for me. I plan to share this information with you, but that can wait for another time. Positive events took place this year as well, one being the Versatile Blogger award which I received in September. At the time, I was only following a few blogs, so my ability to pass on the award was limited. I now follow several bloggers, including some who have received the Versatile Blogger award once or twice. For this post, I decided to single out those who will be first time recipients.

The rules for recipients are simple. First, they are asked to thank the blogger who awarded the honor. I am happy to say, “Thank you, Tricia Booker“. I am truly honored that you passed the award to me. I love your photos and your writing style. I see your work as beyond professional, incorporating a down-to-earth warmth that always touches my heart or makes me laugh.

Second, the recipients are asked to share seven details that are not readily known about him or herself. Third, the recipients pass the award to 15 other bloggers. The point is for recipients to champion blogs they enjoy on a regular basis, even if the total is less than 15. The fourth step is to notify the bloggers who are receiving the award.

Now, for the seven details about myself:

1. I am Mom to a son and daughter, both adults with careers they love. Nathan is an environmental attorney in Portland, Oregon and Amy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Raleigh, North Carolina. Larry has been my husband for 24 years. He shares my love of nature and animals and always agrees to carry extra lenses or my tripod on photo shoots!

2. I grew up in Northern Ohio. We lived on a large Brown Swiss dairy farm operated by my father and grandparents. I did not have regular chores like most farm kids. Instead, I was expected to learn household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and sewing. I often cooked for the family and occasionally made clothing for myself. I am glad to have learned those skills at an early age and still enjoy cooking.

3. I love dogs for the way they make human lives happier and healthier just by being companions. I love other animals as well and often think about emotions and intelligence I have observed in domestic and wild animals.

4. As a natural extension of #3, I only enjoy vegetarian and occasional fish meals. This has been my preference for about three decades.

5. The most influential person in my life was my paternal grandmother. I have many happy memories of her kindness and unconditional love. She was always delighted to see her three grandchildren. Fortunately, we lived within walking distance to her house and I was able to learn many things from her example. My grandfather was a kind, hard-working man with a great sense of humor. I am so lucky to have known my grandparents.

6. I was a majorette in high school. The marching band, football games, and a fun group of fellow majorettes were the basis for many fond memories and lasting friendships. To this day, I have never had so much fun!

7. I am a serious homebody. My love of photography has inspired me to go out and about more often these days, but basically I only like adventure in small doses!

The recipients of The Versatile Blogger award:

I hope you will click on each recipient’s link and spend some time enjoying posts by these talented bloggers.

Tita Bud’s Blog Tita Buds focuses on life, leisure, travel, food, and fun. I greatly admire her writing ability and lovely photos. Her sense of humor and creative writing make her blog absolutely delightful! (pronounce “buds” like “goods”)

Channeling Contessa Clara is an exceptional young food blogger. Her recipes and beautiful photos always interest me and her enthusiasm for cooking is inspirational. You will find a lot to love about her friendly, easy-going style.

WhatiPic David’s photography caught my eye several months ago. I enjoy his compositions and his image processing is always beautiful. In addition, his writing style is natural and sometimes a bit self-deprecating. I can often relate to his thoughts and dilemmas!

Tripsfor2 Hadi Dadashian and Kathleen Kenna offer a wonderful escape into the world of travel. Their beautiful photos and details about destinations are entertaining and informative. If you are looking for romantic travel destinations, this blog has it all. For me it is just about the dream of someday seeing the most beautiful places in the world. Dreaming is fun too!

Avian 101 H.J. is an avid photographer and bird watcher. He often posts interesting essays on common and exotic birds accompanied by his colorful photos from all over the world. H.J.’s blog and website has valuable information if you need details to help identify birds or simply want to learn more about the habits of birds.

Artful Explorations in Nature Tara has created a thought-provoking blog. Her eclectic posts and photos often explore ideas for incorporating nature in education. In Tara’s words, “A collage of ideas, tips, and conversations to inspire artistic explorations in the natural environment.”

Outdoor Guy Photography I discovered Dan’s blog recently and enjoy it immensely. His photos of midwestern landscapes and vintage buildings (and more) are beautifully composed and processed. I love these subjects and the midwestern locations appeal to me.

Murphy’s Test Kitchen Sarah is a busy young wife and science teacher. She posts delicious recipes for all types of foods including detailed instructions and photos. There is something for everyone!


Afternoon at Serenbe

Serenbe is a 900 acre eclectic community southwest of Atlanta, Georgia. The surrounding area is known as Chattahoochee Hill Country and incorporates portions of four counties. Development in this 40,000 acre area emphasizes smart growth, also known as sustainable living. Curious about this secluded area, we decided to check it out yesterday. From our home it was a 45 minute drive. The last five minutes were on a long, winding lane through fenced livestock pastures.

We started our exploration of Serenbe with a delicious brunch at The Hil. Later, we spoke to some friendly residents who invited us to walk the nature trail (not a public area) and gave us a map and brief orientation. For a short stretch the trail borders a pasture, but unfortunately no horses were present. The round-trip hike took us about two hours and provided some interesting sights and much-needed exercise.

The homes at Serenbe are mostly upscale and each has a custom design. Greenspace includes vast wooded and pasture areas, stables, a lake, and organic gardens. We are looking forward to the Saturday Produce Market next spring when strawberries are available.

We enjoyed the brief glimpse of the Serenbe lifestyle. When we return, we plan to visit the interesting shops and bakery we missed during this visit.


Doing What I Love

It all started with a magazine. I had recently discovered scrapbooking and adored creating layouts of all types with paper and adhesive. I was eagerly reading everything I could find on the subject and happened to spot information about digital scrapbooking. The layouts amazed me. The embellishments looked dimensional and I saw photo techniques I never imagined. I barely knew how to use my old computer, but wanted to do what was necessary to take my creativity in this direction. Working in Photoshop, I taught myself the skills I needed. Almost six years later, I am still learning new techniques and have upgraded my computer, camera, and Photoshop. Over the years, I created hundreds of layouts and have been fortunate to have some accepted for print and online publication.

Recently my life has happily changed due to a new venture in digital scrapbook product design. I have been warmly welcomed as part of the talented design team at Happy to Create. Working intently over the past six weeks, I now have five new products offered in the Happy To Create store.

My blog, Visioning, will be as important to me as ever. My work is essentially about photos, so I will continue my photo shoots and post here, as always. Blogging has allowed me to become online friends with many kind, talented people. I greatly appreciate those of you who view my photos and comment. And I love reading your stories and seeing your wonderful photos.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m feeling thankful for friends near and far and for my new opportunity to do what I love! I hope you are also doing what you love and will share some of the ways you have found happiness through work and hobbies.

My new layouts and products shown below. Happy To Create products used for my layouts listed under the gallery.

“Delicious Autumn” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; Chalk Talk Font

“Autumn Exercise” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; ScrapHappy Brushes Maxi: Paint Mess

“Young Visitor” digital scrapbooking layout uses: ScrapHappy Paper Templates: Grunge Patterns; Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; ScrapHappy Shapes: Centers MA01; ScrapHappy Shapes: Flowers MA02; SH_Shapes: Flowers MA03

“Meeting Mallory” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Maxi Embellishments Botanicals Autumn1; Maxi Embellishments Botanicals Autumn3; Maxi Embellishments: BotanicalsAutumn2; American Quilt Maxi Kit; Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; ScrapHappy Paper Templates: Woven Textures; Font Quirky

“Colorful Autumn” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 2; Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit;  Maxi Embellishments: BotanicalsAutumn1; Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 3; ScrapHappy Dynamic Brushes Midi: Leaves VR01; ScrapHappy Brushes Mini: Bees; ScrapHappy Brushes Maxi: Colors Of Fall 2; Font Friendly

“Mr & Mrs” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 3; Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn1; Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 2; ScrapHappy Paper Templates: Grunge Patterns; EclecticAutumn Maxi Kit; Midi Embellishments: Just Frames