photography and digital scrapbooking


Fall Nature Walk and Border Collie Puppy Photos

Sometimes it is fun to take my point and shoot on a casual walk and not worry about settings. I snapped a few photos this week and chose easy editing with quick Instagram-like Photoshop actions. I hope you enjoy the photos!

The Encore azalea photo shows about one third of our display. It has been lovely this year and really brightens up the view in our back yard. The hanging baskets are hanging in there, but slowly losing flowers and gaining fallen leaves in and around the stems. We have a few tomatoes trying to ripen at this late stage of the season. I miss having a ready supply of tomatoes and my thoughts often drift to planting seeds in about four months.

The bridge on our nature trail got a new coat of paint this fall. It is a nice place to pause and look over the edge for fish and animal tracks in the mud. With a typical daytime temperature of 80 degrees, we still have a lot of green leaves on the trees, but slowly the golds and reds are showing up. We see deer often now when we walk the trail! Some neighbors have set up feeding stations and the deer gather in late afternoon for snacks.

My friend, Cheryl, has a Border Collie puppy! Little Ally comes to visit us occasionally and we enjoy her so much! She is growing fast and quickly picking up on Cheryl’s training program. Cheryl is following Cesar Milan’s book for training puppies. Training for good manners is not easy. A Border Collie puppy is so full of energy and strongly driven by instinct to jump and try herding activity. But Ally is doing great at age 6 months. Cheryl will gradually introduce Ally to the opportunity to herd and practice agility courses. We are certainly having fun as “Aunt” and “Uncle” to Ally!


The Coolest Garden Colors: Hydrangea

One of my favorite plants is blooming! We grow the bigleaf species of hydrangea and one angel wing bush. I love these old-fashioned plants for the vibrant cool colors, but also because they are nearly maintenance free. The only care we provide is to fertilize them once or twice per year. We have not tried to change the colors by changing the pH of the soil. But it would be fun to try next year. I would love to see dark pink mixed with the blue and purple!


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


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


Small Town Charm

Our recent visit to Ashland, Ohio included a walk through lovely city streets and the campus of Ashland University. The charm of this town (and many others in the area) is best enjoyed in person. But I hope these photos and my brief captions communicates some of the natural beauty of this midwestern town.

Click on the first photo to open the photo carousel. All photos, Canon 60D.


Duke Gardens

Our trip to Raleigh, North Carolina included a visit to Duke Gardens. Surrounded by the colorful landscape, I immediately began taking photos. That was important, since it started to rain twenty minutes into our visit. We had no choice but to head back to the car – getting completely drenched on the way! My camera was ok, since I protected it by holding it under the hem of my shirt. After a soggy ride home, we changed clothes and went on with our day. Duke Gardens is a glorious place to walk, relax, and enjoy photography. It was disappointing that our visit was short, but I hope to return someday.

  • All photos: Canon 60D, 50mm 1.8 prime lens, manual, evaluative, RAW, handheld. I shot the last photo in the rain under a leafy (and leaky) gazebo!




North Carolina Farmer’s Market

We visited my daughter last weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina. We had a great time, although rain caused us to alter some of our plans. One place of interest that offered shelter from the rain was the State Farmer’s Market, located just minutes from Amy’s home. The colors and textures are a nature photographer’s dream. We arrived shortly before closing, so I had about 30 minutes to choose my photography subjects and a few delicious items to purchase. With two large buildings to explore, I could have stayed there for hours!

All photos: Canon 60D, manual, handheld, RAW, evaluative, ISO 640, 50mm, f/5.6, shutter speeds ranged from 1/30 – 1/250.


Poetry of the Earth

Poetry of the Earth digital layout

Journaling: Hints of autumn are renewing my energy for nature photography! Cool nights and warm days are also renewing my flowering plants. I am thankful for the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds who visit my flowers; coming together as poetry of the Earth.

CVW_QuickStarts_1, font: AMC_ChalkTalk.

All photos: Canon 60D, RAW format, handheld (except hummingbird photo).

Click on photos and layout to enlarge.

Grandmother's Pincushion blossom

ISO 500, 100mm, f/7.1, 1/160.

Dark pink blossom from my Grandmother’s Pincushion plant.

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

ISO 1000, 100mm, f/4.0, 1/1250.

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail visiting the Butterfly Bush.

Female Ruby-throated hummingbird

ISO 400, 100mm, f/3.5, 1/250.

Ruby-throated hummingbird surveying the territory before drinking at the window feeder.


ISO 400, 100mm, f/2.8, 1/200.

A bumblebee intent on gathering pollen.

white sweet william blossom

ISO 400, 100mm, f/5.6, 1/1000.

Sweet William blossoms. A favorite of butterflies and bees.

cherry tomatoes

ISO 500, 100mm, f/5.0, 1/200.

Sungold cherry tomato plants. The stalks have grown wild; allowing some fruit to rest on the retaining wall.

Pink Sedum

ISO 500, 100mm, f/8.0, 1/500.

Another favorite of bees, Sedum blossoms start out very light pink and darken over a period of weeks.