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Some Random shots from my phone:

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I didn’t take this picture, my husband did. I really like the barren beauty of the winter trees and snow. It’s the new year, I’m not sure what I want to accomplish this year… I don’t have any resolutions as of yet. I’m  looking forward to the new year, but only as a continuation of an already blessed life… if that makes sense. I’m not sensing a “new beginning” or anything like that, but just a continuation of God’s Grace and Mercy on my life. It will be a good year, just as this past year has been. Happy New Year!

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We have been busy lately. I’m not a big fan of being busy… not at all. While I know this is just a season, it still takes a toll on me. We try not to get like this, but sometimes, it just can’t be avoided. This Saturday was a nice day. Phil and I had the chance to just walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the weather and each others company. While at the Shakespeare garden we caught sight of these two beautiful Monarch butterflies. I didn’t have the camera with me, so we walked to the house to get it and the tripod. I’m glad we did, and I’m really happy with the shots I got!

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It was a great break in a very crazy week… and I think I enjoyed it just a bit more because of that week.

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A couple of posts ago, I wrote about what makes me happy. Photography is one, but really cool shoes are another. While at the store yesterday, I ran across these totally awesome, outrageously ORANGE boots (they had them in grey, black, brown, lime, pink and I think yellow too). I bought a pair of black (I mean come on.. they were only $15!!) which I really like, but on the way home I kept thinking about the orange ones. Thoughts like, “Man I really liked those, but they are soooo bright…”  “Do women my age wear orange boots like that…” , etc, etc. The more I thought about it the more I really wanted to get the boots… why? For the simple fact that they made me smile and say “cool”. I’m wearing them right now, and love them. Yes, they are bright, they are orange, but they lift my spirits and match my inner age (haha)! So, next time you want to ask your self “Why?” try asking “Why Not?” and see what you come up with!

_DSC0010awebIt’s been a cold rainy day. In my book that is a pretty perfect day. Plus on top of that it’s a Sunday, which makes it even better. My daughter thought she saw a red bird outside and called me to come take a picture. The bird turned out to be a leaf, but then she pointed out the drops of water you see in the picture above. This was taken with my 100mm fixed focal length set on Aperture priority mode set to f11 1/90s 200ISO. I beefed up the contrast and blacks to bring out the veins of the leaf and set off the reflections of the water droplets. I’m pretty happy with the results, even if it wasn’t a red bird.

creative spaceHow do you best create? I know for me, I need a nice open space that is fairly neat and organized to create. I like to spread out. I like to see pretty things around me. It gets me motivated to “do art”. If I see a mess, then I want to clean it up… not get creative. What about you? What type of space do  you need to start getting creative? Whatever that is, start to foster that type of area… it may just help get you motivated.

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My best friend and I were chatting the other day, and this question came up “What makes you happy?”. I think it’s question worth considering. We have to do “LIFE”… you know, that stuff that has to get done. Jobs, laundry, cleaning, school stuff… LIFE. But, I think that we need to carve out a little time each day to do what it is that just makes us happy. For me it’s taking photos, playing in Photoshop, that kind of thing. For you it may be cooking, reading or juggling. But whatever it is… YOU NEED TO DO A LITTLE OF IT EACH DAY. So, stop and think… what is it that makes you happy. I think God has given us each something. Find it, and do it!

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While I was walking with Phil out to the car this morning these leaves caught my eye. I rushed back in for my camera and tripod, as I didn’t want to loose the overcast sky, that was giving me perfect lighting! I was interested in the texture of the leaves… the grungy look they had naturally. It was almost like the had been on the ground first instead of being on the branch. I don’t usually use my preprogrammed modes, but for these I shot in Landscape mode f/3.3, 1/6 sec (why I needed the tripod) and ISO 200. For the bottom two, I added some textures and played a little more with the lighting and contrast to bring out the gritty feel a little more. It’s amazing what you can find by the side of your driveway, if you just look. Keep your eyes open for the unexpected… and you’ll probably find it!

vintage sunflowers

I love using textures on my photography. They can take an very new looking picture, and make it look very old. Right now vintage is in, and I’m really enjoying it. There are so many resources out there for textures, and a lot are FREE! Here’s a cool tip I found from the great guys at the Photoshop User website (it was in the tutorial on how to make embossed leather). First go to Google Images and click on the “Advanced Image Search” . You will get several options to choose from. The top boxes are where you fill in what you are looking for, in this case free textures (you can enter in leather textures, etc.). Fill in any other specifics you have, but before you click to search look at the “Usage Rights” option drop down menu, you will see several listed. If you only want to use the textures for you own personal photography and use you can keep the default setting “not filtered by license”. This will give you the most returns on your search but most of the images will be for PERSONAL USE ONLY. If you are interested in using the textures for resale (either photography, digital scrapbooking or anything else) you will want to choose the LAST option “labeled for commercial use with modification”. Please still read the Terms of Use at whatever site you get the texture from. The creator may ask for a link back somewhere. Then click search and have fun looking through your texture results!

There are also tons of tutorials out there about how to use and apply textures to photos using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. One of the textures I used on the photo above came from a tutorial my friend at Together For Good referenced. I didn’t go through the tutorial (she did and you can see her results are AMAZING!!) but the textures are now in my library to use for my own personal use. These tutorials are a great way to get started using textures to make your photos into something a little out of the ordinary.

Play around and have fun! This is digital so you can’t really ruin anything, and you just might surprise yourself what you come up with! I would recommend making a copy of the file first, that way you always have the original photo safely stored.

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