Tuesday, August 14, 2018

WHAT-IFFING


As I was deleting photos from my drives that should have been deleted years ago, I stopped at this one, taken in Astoria along the Columbia River, as I was waiting for a cargo ship to come into range.

(And what is it about gulls that we feel compelled to photograph them all the time? Just because they're there?)

Anyway, here you can see the original, untweaked photo, straight out of the camera. It's awful. Bad lighting, no catchlight in the eye, just a gull standing in dead grass.

As I was about to "move to trash," I stopped. And wondered, "what if?" What if I used some filters in Photoshop? What if I used some Topaz effects? What if I just played around with this bad picture?

So many times I have a plan of sorts, or a routine, or just a way of processing my pictures. And I often wonder "what if" I did something else. But no, I'm on a particular quest and that can wait for some other time.

That time is now. I'm going to make an effort to research what some of these other features are in Photoshop. Features I see every day but never take the time to explore.

So here we have Guido the Gull, a bored bird sitting there, hoping I'll toss him something edible. Bad photo. But then I went into Photoshop and played with a few filters, then into Topaz and played with a few more, and then back to Photoshop and did some other things.

And here's the result. Is it wonderful? No. Is it different? Yes. Do I remember how I made this? Sorta, if I go back to the original file and take a look at my layers. Was it fun? Heck yes! And will I keep this version? Yes (sigh). Perhaps for a few years, when I'll look back and wonder what the heck was I thinking?

I shall try to make what-iffing a part of my regular routine. (Yeah, like there's a regular routine.) And if not now, then when?

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. Thank you for your understanding and kindness.

Monday, August 13, 2018

What I'm working on . . . KIMONO WRAPPER



I have an 1828 wrapper for a kimono that is gloriously soft and weathered and yet sturdy.

I have photographed various bits and pieces of the wrapper and then have combined those bits and pieces to create a variety of photomontages, montages that are slightly different, yet honor the spirit of the object.

The wrapper is made of old, used boro paper, multiple layers pasted together so that it's thick and very soft. I'm reveling in what this kimono wrapping paper is offering, and I hope you enjoy seeing my interpretations of it.


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. Thank you for your understanding and kindness.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The art of fishing




Lately there's been a bit of housecleaning at Fine Art America. I'm slowly removing some pictures that I don't feel are my best, as well as adding more to the mix.

These four were added recently. My "art of fishing" images sell well at FAA, so why not include a few more choices in the mix?

The top two came from the Oregon coast, and the lower two (actually the same photo, but one is a square, the other full-frame) came from Seattle.

Can't get enough of this stuff! Color and grunge. What's not to love?

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. Thank you for your understanding and kindness.

Friday, August 3, 2018

What I'm working on: BUNKER ART


There’s one project I’ve been working on for years, and it revolves around photographing military bunkers and forts throughout the Pacific northwest. The subject matter is usually considered strange, the pictures are mostly abstract, and the colors are mottled and subdued. But my heart races when I go out to shoot, which tells me I’m doing the right thing.

Why is this project a good idea? Because it gives me a purpose. At the end of all this, maybe there will be a book, a gallery exhibit, a photo essay. Or not. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I have a focus, one that makes me explore the wonders of black and white photography rather than the instant gratification of color.

And it makes me happy.

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. Thank you for your understanding and kindness.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

What I'm working on: MADRONE TREE BARK



This is my summer project since it's rather weather dependent. Madrone trees are often tough to get to, and rain makes the job even tougher. So summer's my main window of opportunity.

But not TOO summery, because harsh sunlight can create dappled shadows, which aren't necessarily good for this project.

(But it's also tick season, and as I waded through weeds the other day, I got my first one. Ick! Luckily I saw it on my leg, a black spot smaller than the head of a pin. He'd taken a bite, was easy to remove, leaving a tiny red bump. He's now stuck to a Band-Aid, inside a little box, inside a plastic baggie. Why? Just in case this red bump gets bigger and I need the guy checked for some nefarious disease. Did I mention ick?)

So high overcast light is ideal: a little bit of shading, a little bit of shadowing, a little more light over here, and I've got depth, darkness, texture, and a glow.

The weather report decides what I work on that day. If the weather doesn't cooperate, no worries. I've got four other projects in progress. And I'll talk about the next one in the next post.

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. Thank you for your understanding and kindness.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Frank Lloyd Wright with a Japanese Vibe


One photograph, two different versions. My first (and so far only) visit to Kyoto was overwhelming. Everything new yet familiar, but mostly new. My photography style was definitely familiar, as I moved past the big scenes and instead concentrated on the more intimate views.

Walking past a building, I was struck by the strong, linear look of the facade. Horizontal bits were supported and connected with sturdy vertical elements. Those straight lines were softened somewhat by the wave-like designs on the overhangs.

So when I was processing this picture, I was struck by how it had a Frank Lloyd Wright “prairie style” feel — all those long horizontal lines.

Then I wondered how the picture would look if I “squarified” it, reduced it down to its bare bones by cropping out what might be the non-essential elements.

Well, hello. When I look at the square version, and soften my gaze, the image brings to mind torii gates, which seems appropriate given that the building is Japanese after all.

Which one do I like more? It’s a toss-up. In a way, the horizontal picture brings to mind tatami mat floors, looking down on them from above. And the right-left movement is languid and serene, which can be considered a Japanese vibe.

The square picture is much more straightforward, no room to dally here, but definitely has a Japanese torii gate feel to it, structured yet elegant.

So there you go. Japanese/prairie fusion.

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. Thank you for your understanding and kindness.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

It's a Ford . . . an old one


A couple more images from the old cars we saw on our exploration to Port Angeles. Unless tended to daily, old cars just don't stand a chance against the environment here in the Pacific Northwest. And for a photographer like me, that's very good news . . .

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. Thank you for your understanding and kindness.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Artistic slumps




For me, the only way to work myself out of an artistic block is just to keep working, not worrying if what I'm making is awful, doesn't work, and/or is total garbage.

The key is to keep on creating, experimenting, asking myself "what if?" Easy for me to say. Harder to do without getting bummed out, thinking I'm a terrible artist.

Here's a series of four pictures I made this morning, going from the original to three other versions.

What's my point? We all go through this. We all get down on ourselves, seeing what everybody ELSE is producing, seemingly effortlessly, so what's wrong with ME?

And even though you see me posting decent pictures all the time, and you think it's easy for me, and OMG, look at the VARIETY of what I create, it's kind of a facade. I have a lot of images to draw from. And I DO create almost daily. But trust me when I say I'm in a huge slump right now.

My computer is full, my DROBO is full, my external drives are rapidly filling up, and I cannot add more drives because I've run out of USB ports. THE COMPUTER IS SLOWING DOWN AND I'M TIRED OF JUST SITTING HERE STARING AT A MONITOR!

See what I mean? You may be facing all these same challenges PLUS you may have a job to go to, kids/grandkids to take care of, or health issues. So you may be even more depressed than I.

My only suggestion is to just keep working. Do not quit. Eventually you'll emerge out the other side, creating interesting, wonderful, and unique art.

That slump is going to come around again though. But next time maybe you (and I) will be better equipped to deal with it.

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. Thank you for your understanding and kindness.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Around the island . . .




Off for a little drive this past Sunday to check out a couple of things.

First of all, because the lighting was good, I wanted to photograph an old red barn -- just bits and pieces and details -- and this rusty hinge caught my eye. Whenever I find the color red, weathered wood, some white trim, peeling paint, and then rusting metal, well, it's time to slam on the brakes and see what we can photograph.

I also had spotted a beautiful madrone tree a few weeks ago, so made sure we stopped for that as well. Again, the lighting was perfect, the results good, so this has become a new project -- to photograph madrone bark around the island. Luckily there are lots of madrone trees to choose from.

Then on to Lavender Wind farm, which looked great. My friend P. works there a couple days a week, so I'm SURE she's instrumental in making sure all is trimmed, weeded, and just perfect. Lavender Wind isn't a huge, sprawling place, but rather a somewhat intimate experience, with fields of lavender big enough to be impressive, but not so big as to be intimidating. The people there are friendly, the flowers are amazing, the gift shop fun to browse (we brought home a bouquet of dark, indigo-colored lavender stalks plus some catnip for Abby).

Here at home the rabbits are multiplying like, well, rabbits, and these two were hoovering up birdseed we had scattered below some trees (for the quail, the towhees, the juncos, chipmunks, chickarees, and squirrels). This picture was taken from above, through a dirty window, in low light. Not a good shot, but a decent depiction of who we have living on our property.

A terrific day. May we all have such quietly wonderful excursions.

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. Thank you for your understanding and kindness.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Good morning from Whidbey Island!

It's summer and the Columbian black-tailed deer's antlers are still in velvet. This guy stopped by yesterday afternoon, took a drink from the birdbath, and then went on with his annual (and continual) yard pruning. He moved clockwise around the perimeter; a few minutes later a doe continued the gardening chores, moving counter-clockwise.

Photo taken from the back deck, so hastily I didn't notice my slow shutter speed. So I turned the out-of-focus picture into a sort of sketch, hoping you wouldn't notice how bad it is. Focus aside, isn't the tilt of the head endearing? 
 
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. Thank you for your understanding and kindness.