Monday, January 15, 2018

Linkworthy: A photo essay on how pencils are made

Way back when, when I was teaching "Shooting & Selling Nature, Travel, and Stock Photography as a Full- or Part-Time Business," I encouraged photographers to submit not just single photos, but a SERIES of photos that tell a story. I emphasized it's easier to sell a grouping of good photos that tell a story than one spectacular shot of a monarch butterfly.

Look at the photo essay this photographer has put together and was published in the New York Times. Extraordinary work. Brilliant concept.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/12/magazine/inside-one-of-americas-last-pencil-factories.html


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Blog post #2,001: The Power of Play






I took a nothing shot of an adobe wall and turned it into this (first photo). Here’s the process I used.

As you can see, the original picture (second photo) is nothing wonderful, just something I thought I might be able to use some day. It's brown, has no contrast, and is blah.

In Camera Raw I selected “Auto.” We see more detail, lights and darks now come into play, and the color turned quite golden. (Third photo.)

I did a “Threshold” layer adjustment, added it as a layer. (Fourth photo.)

I ran through the blending modes until this happened. (Fifth photo.)

Obviously everything is all wonky, so I rotated and cropped the image to get this. (Last photo.)

I think it turned out kind of cool, especially considering what it began its life as — just a nothing shot of texture. Now I’m seeing some sort of island view, as though I’m on one island, looking across the water at another. And maybe there’s some volcanic activity going on.

I’m not going to offer it for sale on Fine Art America because I’m just not sure about it. What I AM sure about, however, is the value of wondering “what if.” What if I choose THIS picture and then do THIS and then do THAT, and oh, it looks like something else, use THAT, and hey! This isn’t bad!

The value of play, with no preconceived final result, is that wonderful and unexpected things may result. Maybe not for sale, this time, but it’s a tool I can try again some other time, with a different picture, but with this same concept.

You just never know, do you?
 Wishing you a very playful day!

All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.




Thursday, January 11, 2018

Latest work: "Dragonfly"

This is a blue-eyed darner dragonfly (Aeshna multicolor) who flew into my garage late last summer and then died.

He was so big, so beautiful, I took him inside, photographed him, and then brought him into the computer.

I added some of my photos of scratched and painted papers as well as a hand-painted circle to create a new “environment” for him that’s appropriate for his colors and his big-eyed view of the world.

https://carol-leigh.pixels.com/featured/dragonfly-carol-leigh.html

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Recent work: "Used to Be Larry's"

Back in 2005, there was a grocery store in Tucson that had the most glorious arrows and designs and colors all over the outside.

A few years later, I returned and stopped short, appalled at how everything had been painted over and the walls were now pretty much “baby butt beige.”

I asked a passerby what happened. “Oh, that used to be Larry’s,” he said. “He sold it and the new owner repainted it.” He walked on. After a few minutes, so did I, slowly, sadly.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Latest work: "Full Moon January 2018"


As I work in my studio, I keep a small Moleskine notebook open and into it I paste little pieces of papers I’ve torn and otherwise might have thrown out. I have no plan — just arranging and gluing down paper in patterns that please me.

As I was making a handmade book about Japan, parts of those papers ended up here in my little notebook. I photographed that “collage,” brought it into the computer, and added more elements, such as my photos of old money, signature “hankos” or “chops,” and more.

A full moon appeared on the first day of 2018, and I celebrated that in this piece and uploaded it to Fine Art America.

But then, a few days later, I took it a step further. I converted the image into a more graphic and sort of sepia-toned look, which I also found appealing.

You can see both full-resolution images in my “Asian Influence” gallery at FAA here. I find it interesting to compare and contrast the two pictures, completely different from one another, yet the same.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Recent work: "Ladder in Truchas, New Mexico"

It’s fun, isn’t it, to wander around little towns you’ve never visited, seeing new things with fresh eyes? So while in the small town of Truchas, I walked up and down the roads, just to see what I could find. 
 
This ladder was just the best! It leaned against a textured adobe wall, everything in the shade except for the ladder and a bit of the wall. 
 
I opted for a black and white rendition (with a bit of brown toning) of my original color photo. Why? The lightest elements are the wall and the ladder. I emphasized the contrast so that the ladder and wall stand out and the rest of the scene retreats into darkness. There wasn't nearly this much drama in the original shot.
 
Wandering without expectations and then finding a small, intimate scenario, well, it doesn’t get much better! 
 
I uploaded this image to Fine Art America the first day of this year. If you'd like to see it larger and with more detail, click this link and then hover your cursor over the picture to use the 100% enlarger feature.
 
©Carol Leigh 
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Meanwhile on Facebook . . .




Over on Facebook I have a group called "Photomotivation," and every month I post a new assignment.

This month's assignment, to counteract the gloom that often accompanies January, the assignment is YELLOW.

Participants post their photos throughout the month, some better than others, but all of them delightful and interesting to see.

These are the four that I've uploaded so far: a yellow submarine I photographed in South Beach on the Oregon coast; a gel print I made in the past two years; a humorous T-shirt I shot at the Oregon Coast Aquarium; and then a row of yellow taxi strollers I noticed in a shopping mall somewhere -- can't remember exactly where.

The group is a private one, so if you search Facebook for it, it's not going to come up, but if you would like to be a part of this, let me know and we'll get you going.

©Carol Leigh 
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Latest work: "Dancing"

Just because I could... Trying to shake things up a bit, so I rummaged through my photos and began putting together a photomontage without overthinking it. No real thought, just doing. And this is the result. It's completely different from anything I've ever made, and I'm still wondering about it.

I used pictures of a building in Portland, Oregon's industrial district (the brickwork), a mannequin that was standing on a loading platform (Portland again), a portion of a vintage postcard that depicted Long Beach, California (the "dancing" sign), graffiti arrows, a parking sign from Cambridge, England, and I don't remember now where the star thingy came from.

Interested in feedback, if you care to comment.

©Carol Leigh 
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Friday, January 5, 2018

First picture sold on Fine Art America

Photograph of a collage that incorporates vintage papers, Japanese calligraphy, torn cardboard, and a red button.

Back in February of 2012 I signed up with Fine Art America to offer my pictures for sale. The process is that you produce a high-quality JPEG image, upload it to FAA, put in keywords and a description, and then you wait for the money to pour in!


Ha!


But I was lucky. A few weeks after signing up, I sold this picture. I had uploaded it February 7th and it sold on February 28th.


I didn’t sell anything else until sometime in May. And it was a greeting card. I got a dollar. (I know better now and have adjusted my mark-up accordingly!)


What’s my point?
Talent and tenacity.


FAA isn’t exactly a get-rich-quick income stream. It requires good art and staying power. 
Today I have 1,700 pictures with FAA (24 pictures per month, if you're counting). I had intended to have at least 3,000 by now. The key thing is that I am undeterred. I keep on submitting pictures.
 

Another key thing is that a lot of my work is simply different. I have no idea, when I’m making it, if it will sell. But if it pleases me (and I’m hard to please), then up it goes.
 

I invite you to see this picture on my FAA/Pixels website here:https://carol-leigh.pixels.com/featured/red-sun-collage-carol-leigh.html?newartwork=true
 

I also invite you to ask me if you have any questions about marketing your own work through Fine Art America (also known as pixels.com). Just leave your question/questions below in the comment box. I'm happy to give you a hand.

©Carol Leigh 
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Daily walk: frozen foliage/frosty ferns


My "walk around the block" isn't a "block" at all, but rather a long road. And my photo subjects are pretty much limited to nature. For someone who enjoys shooting fishing boats, buildings, cars, signs, etc., this is challenging.

I go out, usually with my iPhone or my pocket-sized little Canon, and see what I can find.

It's been cold and frosty here of late (seems like the entire United States is cold and frosty), and was surprised to find ferns still in a tropical green color. But not surprised to find big-leaf maple and alder leaves huddled together, each with a crisp and icy patina.

Soon the blackberry vines will begin leafing out in their quest to take over the world; new green buds will appear on trees; and one day, when I least expect it, a baby bunny or two or four will appear out in the yard and the cycle will begin again.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.