Visioning

photography and digital scrapbooking


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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!


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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!


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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.


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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!


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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


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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!

 

 


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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.

Bumblebee

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.


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Herbs

Thyme and chives are just two of the many herbs I have in my garden. I am also growing two types of mint, five types of basil, dill, rosemary, oregano, parsley, and lavender. I use herbs everyday in salads and entrees.

Herbs layout

Journaling: My early spring perennial herbs flowered in April this year. What a joy to have a fragrant garden!

Herbs layout:  Nature Collection, Eva Kipler; Herbal Word Art, AWI; FileSave1, CVW.


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Notes on Flowers, Photography, and Texture

azalea flowers

This handcrafted mug (a gift from my daughter) is the perfect container for a few sprigs of coral azalea flowers. I shot this at f11 to show a bit of the ground cover shapes in the background.

camellia, rose, bottle

Stacking the flowers provides an unusual perspective of the camellia and rose blossoms. Just for fun, I created a neutral background color. In Photoshop I created a black and white photo on the layer below the color photo. Then I masked the background of the color photo and set the blend mode of the color photo to ‘color’.

chive flowers

The chives have flowered already. The delicate petals are a lovely addition to all the green in my early spring garden.

red tulips

The red tulips were the first to bloom in March. So pretty when backlit in early morning sun.

purple tulips

The purples were the second set of tulips to bloom. They were surprisingly long-lasting; staying pretty for about a month.

blueberries

I did not grow the blueberries, but could not resist the sweetness of piling them in a little milkglass bowl I’ve kept since childhood.

red rose

My rose bushes bloom for seven or eight months in full sun. Last year a few roses bloomed in November.

white clematis

Clematis grows so easily here in Georgia. I have three shades of purple and two white varieties. This one cascades over the wood and wire fence on the west side of our property.

pink azalea bud

Azalea buds start opening in April. Throughout the month they bloom in white, three varieties of pink, and two varieties of coral. I shot this backlit photo with the aperture wide open. I oriented the camera to the side of the blossom to capture more of it in focus.

I love to add depth and character to my casual flower photos. Working in Photoshop, I layer photo textures and apply various blending modes. Then I mask areas of the photo for particular effects. Adding a levels layer to adjust tonality is usually the final touch.

Have fun with the many free photo textures offered on the web! I listed a few resources for textures on my post about working with textures.