Archive for the ‘Classes I’ve taken’ Category

What I can’t show you….

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

So, I’m working on a new quilt.  But we can’t publicize photos until after jurying.  But I figured I can show you one bit of it–the fabric that I am dyeing, because this isn’t what it’s going to look like.  I’d be surprised if anyone will be able to see this then realize that my entry is the one attached to this photo.  I hope.

My fabric dyeing space exists, which is a joy in itself.  However, it is in the "utilities" room with the 330 gallon heating oil tank (on the left), the water purification system (to remove arsenic which occurs naturally in the water table here...at the end of this work surface), the boiler (house heat), and the hot water tank.  Can you say barely enough room to slide sideways along the 4x8 foot melamine-glued-to-rigid-insulation work "table"?

My fabric dyeing space exists, which is a joy in itself. However, it is in the “utilities” room with the 330 gallon heating oil tank (on the left), the water purification system (to remove arsenic which occurs naturally in the water table here…at the end of this work surface), the boiler (house heat), and the hot water tank. Can you say barely enough room to slide sideways along the 4×8 foot melamine-glued-to-rigid-insulation work “table”?

I wanted a very exact color.  Thanks to my classes with Carol Soderlund, achieving this is possible, but sometimes I need to overdye.  My biggest challenge is that I haven’t dyed enough fabric to have a good grasp of how much the color will change once washed and dried–it lightens up a lot.  And in this case, the blue I wanted ended up being a mix of two blues, which I haven’t done in any of the classes I’ve taken.  So I was winging it.  I ended up using ProChem’s Intense Blue and a tiny bit of turquoise.   To get the shade I need, I used 0.9 gram (which is a ridiculously small weight) of Intense blue and…get this…. 0.1 gram of Turquoise.   On my first attempt, I used a very pale wash of the Turquoise over the solid blue I had dyed with Intense Blue.  And it was too turquoise.  So I started over.  The second attempt is the one that is on the table above, on its second round adding more of the combination (with a lot less turquoise) to get it a bit darker.  It worked!

And that’s all I can show you until about June.  Gotta get to work!   More anon!

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Friday, December 25th, 2015

Happy Solstice, Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwaanza, New Year’s, Winter and just plain old happy day to one and all!   Just a quick note to say hello, as I will be otherwise happily busy with family, cooking, family, and more family on Christmas day.  I thought I’d share the year in pictures–the page of photos I share in our annual Christmas Newsletter that I send out to friends from long ago and far away.

Some of the photos are ones I have taken during my yearlong workshop with Ricky Tims. I've worked hard to make the most of the class and am thrilled with how much I have learned. If you're interested, put Foto Friday or Ricky Tims in the search box to see related blogposts. But wait until Christmas is over! Enjoy family and whatever you are doing today. Life is short, so remember to enjoy your blessings and the beauty of the day.

Some of the photos are ones I have taken during my yearlong workshop with Ricky Tims. I’ve worked hard to make the most of the class and am thrilled with how much I have learned. If you’re interested, put Foto Friday or Ricky Tims in the search box to see related blogposts. But wait until Christmas is over! Enjoy family and whatever you are doing today. Life is short, so remember to enjoy your blessings and the beauty of the day. (You can click the photo to see it a bit larger if you’d like.)

Photography in 2016–the new Ricky Tims 52-Week Challenge

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Hi all: the best news first:  you can now sign up for this class in its 2016 version at Ricky’s new website https://www.photoclassforyou.com/

Anyway, for about the past half the year, I’ve been sharing each week’s lesson results with you here on my blog. My photography education this year began this way:

In December of last year, I saw Ricky’s post on Facebook announcing a photography challenge for 2015.   I promptly signed up, knowing that I needed the push to learn more about my DSLR and really USE it, since it is heavier and more complicated than my Panasonic SuperZoom.   I’ve always loved photography, and the class also included learning to use Photoshop (PS).  I was a bit leery, since PS used to cost a fortune–like $300+.  But now Adobe sells it as a subscription of $10.54 per month with a free trial month (or is it two?).  So I figured over three years that cost equals each edition of PS but in manageable monthly payments.  Now that I have used it, I wouldn’t be without it.

These mushrooms/toadstools in the yard are HUGE—at least 6 inches across when opened.  They seem to scream “ do NOT eat me!”  Smart sharpen, slight adjust to brighten.

One of my better recent shots.  Right click to see larger. These mushrooms/toadstools in the yard are HUGE—at least 6 inches across when opened. They seem to scream “ do NOT eat me!” Smart sharpen, slight adjust to brighten.

Now you can sign up for NEXT year [2016 R. Tims photo challenge part 1 sign up and info] to take a similar version of this course (Ricky has re-formatted it from 52 weeks in one swoop into a 26 week and two 13 week segments).  He asked for blurbs, I was happy to provide, and I’m so pleased he included my testimonial on his new website for teaching photography.

Right click to see larger.

Right click to see larger.  Here’s that hotlink again to take you to the page pictured above.

Your photography skills—composition, knowing your camera, and processing—will grow exponentially over the course.  Best of all, each lesson’s scope is a do-able “bite-size.”  If you have more time, you can go deeper, learning from fellow students’ work.  Recently, I took my son’s Senior (HS) portrait and the comments were “looks professional!”  That’s thanks to how much I have learned this year.

Here are a couple more of my recent photos that I think represent what I’ve learned.

More autumn decay with blueberry barrens, decaying stone wall and birches in autumn in Maine. The usual edits:  smart sharpen, tiny bit of vibrance, crunching levels.

More autumn decay with blueberry barrens, decaying stone wall and birches in autumn in Maine.
The usual edits: smart sharpen, tiny bit of vibrance, crunching levels.

 

Eli's choice for his yearbook photo.  They also do something utterly cool...see next photo....

Eli’s choice for his yearbook photo. They also do something utterly cool…see next photo….

Foto Friday, Week 42 (out of order): HDR = High Dynamic Range

Friday, November 6th, 2015

To my utter astonishment, our younger son (who at best tolerates grimly my taking photos of him), ASKED me to take a photo–his Senior Yearbook Photo!  Knock me down with a feather!   I had thought he would use his school pictures photo:

Eli's annual school photo. The usual.

Eli’s annual school photo. The usual. Boring.

So while I was at taking the senior/yearbook photo, I knew it would be a crazy-busy week so I took a series of photos to do an assignment called “High Dynamic Range” where you merge 3-5 (or more) photos to account for the fact that there is strong light and strong shadow in one place.

This is the photo I ended up submitting for the class. I is a "merge" of four photos. Can I say Photoshop is remarkable?

This is the photo I ended up submitting for the class. I is a “merge” of four photos. Can I say Photoshop is remarkable?

The above photo is “composed” of these four photos (which despite my attempts to place them are going where they want…sigh):

(c)2015-SarahAnnSmith.com-5895

First image, very over-exposed so you can get detail on the right side

Second image/exposure

Second image/exposure

Third Exposure, darker. Not as blown out on the left, but the right side of his face is hard to see.

Third Exposure, darker. Not as blown out on the left, but the right side of his face is hard to see.

Fourth exposure: right side detail is very hard to see.

Fourth exposure: right side detail is very hard to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided that as lovely a backdrop as the maple tree was, the light was simply too harsh.  Eli suggested we go down by the arbor/cut-through to the big meadow.  He thought he could lean up against the post and it would look more natural.  Turns out there is too much bittersweet, but the photo turned out great!

Eli selected this shot, which used a fairly shallow depth of field (to blur the background) and was taken from a tripod.  I can confidently say there is NO WAY I could have gotten such a good shot (with minor post-production/editing work) when I began this class in January.   YEAH!  I’m learning!   And Eli is happy.  And will now return to grumbling when I take photos of him.  <<grin!!!!>>>

Eli's choice for his yearbook photo. They also do something utterly cool...see next photo....

Eli’s choice for his yearbook photo. They also do something utterly cool…see next photo….

Happy boy, happy dog!

Happy boy, happy dog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it for now!

 

Foto Friday (on Sunday, sigh): Week 39–B&W Dreamscape, plus Endocrinologist

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

This week’s lesson is Black and White Dreamscape in my online class with Ricky Tims.  Earlier in the year we learned the dreamscape technique (a process in Photoshop) which makes an image (often a landscape type of scene) look, well, “dreamy.”  This time, instead of both layers being in color (which intensifies the color), one is in black and white.  This leads to a somewhat old-timey, hand-tinted photograph image.

Also, in the last paragraph, I have a question if anyone knows of a good endocrinologist in Maine.

I took a TON of photos, but settled on this one of my husband.   He HATES having his picture taken.  To the point that he scowls and grumps at the camera so much that folks who don’t know him would think, erroneously, that he is a seriously grumpy old man.   So while I was taking a bazillion photos of last week’s cross country meet, including both landscapes and runners, I snapped a few of hubby.

Used desaturate etc per class instructions. Still quite colorful after merging/flattening, so used Hue/Saturation menu to knock down the yellows, reds, and blues. Hubby is notoriously awful about getting his photo taken, so glad I got this one.

Used desaturate etc per class instructions. Still quite colorful after merging/flattening, so used Hue/Saturation menu to knock down the yellows, reds, and blues. Hubby is notoriously awful about getting his photo taken, so glad I got this one.

Of course I got the runners, and for once managed to get a good one of Eli.  I don’t know why (because he is pretty fast????) but I can get OTHER kids sharp and in focus while moving quickly, but I always seem to mess up with Eli.  This time, it worked!

B&W Dreamscape technique. Used Desaturate and Merge Visible (instead of flatten). That’s my senior on the left (in the red). As with Dreamscape, I don’t think this technique is me, but I can see where it could be interesting for a hand-tinted-photograph kind of look. Will try various shots and see if a particular sort of image (wintry village scene for example or portrait) is more suitable than the vibrant glorious autumn day for the Festival of Champions race in Belfast, Maine this weekend. So proud of my student-athlete!

B&W Dreamscape technique. Used Desaturate and Merge Visible (instead of flatten). That’s my senior on the left (in the red). As with Dreamscape, I don’t think this technique is me, but I can see where it could be interesting for a hand-tinted-photograph kind of look. Will try various shots and see if a particular sort of image (wintry village scene for example or portrait) is more suitable than the vibrant glorious autumn day for the Festival of Champions race in Belfast, Maine this weekend. So proud of my student-athlete!

I also tried the view from our house.  However, autumn is to me all about the glorious color, so while the photo is fine, I really prefer the “regular” version!

Meh. Not a fan. The whole point of autumn is vibrant color, not muted. Wrong scene for the technique. DID discover than on the Adjustments>BW layer, you can toggle to Infrared or Blue or Neutral Density and get different variations on the theme of B&W which could be useful in the right application.

Meh. Not a fan. The whole point of autumn is vibrant color, not muted. Wrong scene for the technique. DID discover than on the Adjustments>BW layer, you can toggle to Infrared or Blue or Neutral Density and get different variations on the theme of B&W which could be useful in the right application.

Dreamscape B&W. Used the B&W (not desaturate) on this one. In adjustments / Shadows-Highlights, cranked up the color, because autumn is about the color (tho this lesson is less so). Used Dodge tool to lighten the nearly-black trees in the foreground (western light on the trees in the yard was blocked by intervening woods). I don’t think this shot was quite the goal of the lesson, but I like this image betterwith more color. And of course love the Golden Hour light.

Dreamscape B&W. Used the B&W (not desaturate) on this one. In adjustments / Shadows-Highlights, cranked up the color, because autumn is about the color (tho this lesson is less so). Used Dodge tool to lighten the nearly-black trees in the foreground (western light on the trees in the yard was blocked by intervening woods).
I don’t think this shot was quite the goal of the lesson, but I like this image betterwith more color. And of course love the Golden Hour light.

This is the non-dreamscape.....

This is the non-dreamscape…..it’s a subtle difference, but somehow more crisp and bright.

Also, I’m getting close to fed up with my current care for thyroid disease.  If anyone knows of a good endocrinologist in Maine, or even possibly in Massachusetts north of Boston, I’m almost frustrated enough to drive 8 hours round trip.  We’ve been trying to get my dosage right for ELEVEN freakin’ MONTHS.   I’m so sick of this!   I realize it is hard to get it right, but really?  Nearly a YEAR?   Mine is not a “routine” case obviously but if anyone has pearls of wisdom, please comment or contact me via the (duh) contact page.  THANKS!