Thursday, July 31, 2014

4th Floor

My predilection for creating photos and photomontages of numbers and letters continues with this rather colorful yet muted and weathered image. I like the turquoise/orange combination; the "4" simply holds everything together.

© Carol Leigh

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Latest work: "Santa Fe Sunrise"

A single window gleams in an adobe wall, Santa Fe. What appeals to me is the rather flat appearance of this shot and, of course, the colors.

As is often the case when I play around with my photos, this was a surprise, nothing I had planned. A pleasant surprise.

May your week be filled with pleasant surprises!

©Carol Leigh

Monday, July 28, 2014

Status of 50-collage project . . .

Some time ago I decided to create 50 collages, all on the same substrate, all the same size. The goal was to help me loosen up a bit and to become more familiar with the process.

Well, I'm halfway through. What have I learned? Glue is sticky. Pre-cut square cards aren't always perfectly square. And that when I think I've placed something just so, well, it isn't just so when I look at it five minutes later.

Yet I press on.

These are three that I made in the past couple weeks, all using papers that my midwestern collage expert/friend sent me as a gift. I'm particularly drawn to the first one, which is a map of Rome that I tore up and then added things to. Love the Italian postage stamp I had in my own stash.

The second image I like because of its monochromatic look, but then there's the surprise of the red thingies in the middle.

And finally, my friend sent me some especially bright colors (which I usually don't use), which encouraged me to use this graphic of a fish that was printed onto rice paper. I added the bubbles, added painted dots to some of them, then called it done.

All of these collages are the same size, created on paper that's 4.75 inches square. Quite small, actually.

And what, you might ask, am I going to do with these once I'm done? Ha! I have no idea. Some of them I'm scanning and sending them up to Fine Art America. Have any of them sold yet? Well, no. But then you never know.

And speaking of Fine Art America, already this year I've sold more photos and earned more income than all of last year. Very grateful for what's happening over there.

Wishing you all a creative week, with sunshine, cool breezes, and no mosquitoes.

©Carol Leigh

Friday, July 25, 2014

Quick way to intensify color in Photoshop

Let's say you took a photo and it looks really blah. There are a lot of ways to make your photo pop, but here's a really fast and easy way to do it.

In Photoshop, make a duplicate layer of your photograph. With the duplicate layer active and on top, change the blending mode to "Multiply." That's it!

Here, let me show you an example. I took a photo of a row of blue mailboxes in Santa Fe. As you can see in the original untouched photo, the photo has no depth, no oomph, no drama. So I brought it into Photoshop, made a duplicate of the original. Then changed the blending mode to "Multiply."

I might have toned down the "Multiply" effect a little bit by using the opacity slider, but that's it. Huge difference, no?

©Carol Leigh

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summertime blues . . .

When I prep photos for other purposes, I'll often convert some of them to this format, copy them to a "blog" album, and then, like this morning, will rummage through those pictures, seeing if I can find some sort of a theme.

That's what I did this morning when I noticed these three, which all have similar blue colors to them.

I'm particularly partial to the top image, taken in Tucson, Arizona. I like how the picture is divided into three vertical sections. I like how the railing really stands out. And I like the hint of a cement step there at the bottom.

The shot of the pear is, frankly, weird. I don't remember now, without going back to the original PSD file, how I created this, but for some reason the starkness and spareness appeals to me. I also like the hint of orangey-brown, a complementary spot of color with the blue outline of the pear.

And then the last photo, I dunno . . . It's a very abstract image of reflections of a fishing boat in the water on an overcast day. What I like is the silvery look of the water (shades of grey, white, and peachy-beige) along with the blue of the boat.

Also, not that you care, you can tell which photos I prepped using the Mac versus the ones I prepped using the PC by looking at the signature. Photo #3 was done on the PC while the top two were done on the Mac. (My font from the PC is not available on a Mac. So much for creating a standard look!)

Too bad today's not Monday . . . I could have had "Summertime Blues" and "Blue Monday" at the same time . . .

©Carol Leigh

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Colorful morning . . .

Lovely morning yesterday, beginning with a car show at 8 and from there, down the hill to the fishing boats. Weather was painfully sunny, so bright, so glaring, so tough to deal with, but wonderful just the same. Photography was a challenge, but I'm pleased with these two, the screaming colors of a 1948 Ford panel truck and the hull of a blue fishing boat reflected in calm water.

Right now my online class students are working on an assignment called "Extreme Colors," so I had them in mind as I was doing my shooting. The car's definitely extreme; the boat a little less so, but colorful nevertheless. A very good morning.

©Carol Leigh

Friday, July 18, 2014

Blending Modes and Format

When I create my photomontages, I invariably place one image over another and then run through the blending modes. What I'm looking for are those happy surprises, where colors change, certain elements go from light to dark and vice-versa, and maybe the entire feeling of the piece changes. Happy surprises make my day, and that's what happened here.

This image is a combination of three abstract bits of a wall. Using one blending mode, I get the turquoise version. Using a different blending mode, I get the darker blue version. I like both of them equally.

But then, once I've finished making whatever it is I've made, I often check to see how it looks as a square. Sometimes I like the square better, sometimes I prefer the full format. In this case, I show you what the square format looks like compared to the full format. And, once again, I like both of them equally.

What's my point? When making photomontages such as these it pays to experiment, and running through the blending modes, all of them, is a simple way to surprise yourself. And then, what the heck, crop your image into a square format and see how you like it. If it looks great, then bonus! You've surprised yourself twice! A great way to begin your day.

©Carol Leigh

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Summer School" online photo class begins Friday . . .


Four fun, easy (yet challenging) lessons designed to get you out there looking, composing, and creating.

The class runs for six weeks (July 18-August 25, 2014), features four lessons/assignments, and substantial critiques of your work. 

You have two weeks to complete each assignment. Submit up to three images for each assignment and receive a critique of each one from me as well as comments from your fellow students.
You'll find this "summer school" online class refreshing, fun, informative, and challenging. Any camera will work: cellphone, iPad, DSLR, etc.
Here are the names of each lesson/assignment:


The registration fee is $85. You can sign up at my online store here: 

Need more information? Contact me at carol AT carolleigh DOT net 

Want to talk to me live and in person? (541) 563-3834.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Latest work: "Moondance"

I've been reading about the big full moons expected this summer. Because we live on the Oregon coast, seeing a full moon is a rarity as clouds, fog, and rain usually obscure the view. So yesterday I made my own. And gave her some friends.
To make this image I used photos of painted papers, calligraphy, Japanese rice paper, ink, and acrylic paint. © Carol Leigh

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I created this postcard using a photo of paper from a vintage book, an etching of orchids from an 1889 newsprint magazine, and photos of various stamps from my collection.

Why? Because I can . . .

©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Buckets on boats

We walked along the docks last week where folks were prepping for a day of halibut fishing (and today's the day . . . they're probably out there as we speak). Stacks of buckets, buckets with hooked lines, gave me the opportunity to photograph repeating patterns.

We photographers have a predilection for repeating elements, similar shapes, colors, forms, etc., and if I can get them at angle, creating diagonal lines, then bonus!

© Carol Leigh

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Car art . . .

Walking through a parking lot the other day, I saw the back of this really colorful car and, thinking of my upcoming class where one of the lessons is "car art," I had to stop and shoot.

What caught my eye was the big, bold red and chrome triangular form of the car's taillight, so I filled my frame with just that, composing to emphasize the diagonal lines and the triangular form.

Later, in Photoshop, I noticed how part of the taillight looked sort of like a bird's beak and eye. I cropped the image into a square, which really emphasizes the bird vibe.

Which version is better? I like them both. There's more horizontal movement in the original photo, but more "birdyness" in the second.

Either way makes me happy.

©Carol Leigh

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 4 . . .

Happy Independence Day!

©Carol Leigh

Latest work: "Crow Snow"

I seem to be developing quite a relationship with crows lately. (And yes, I can see you rolling your eyes!) I've always enjoyed photographing them, but never before have they been so prominent in my life.

On my street there are three "clans" of crows. There's the northern clan, the central (my) clan, and the southern clan. They pretty much stick to their own territories.

My clan consists of mom, dad, and a very loud junior. I'm enticing them closer by feeding them bits of Abby's leftover kibble, to the extent that when they see me, they fly over and make their presence known. I am trying to get them so acclimated to me that I'll be able to photograph them up close and personal. But they're wary (and rightly so). Very attuned to the smallest noise.

The other day we were walking around the block and entered into the northern clan's territory. Next thing I know I hear wings behind me, something brushes the top of my head, and a crow swoops forward and into a tree, squawking as only crows can squawk. I've been dive-bombed! Don't these guys know I'm friend, not foe? Sheesh.

And then . . . And then . . . Our neighbor Steve was cutting down a few coastal pines on his property and I notice in his stack of brush a big nest. It's well-built and solidly sitting in the crook of a tree. I ask him if he would saw off that section of tree for me to take back to my house to photograph. (Let me make this perfectly clear: the tree had already been cut down. There were no eggs, and nesting season has passed. The tree was ready to be chopped up and taken to the dump.) Steve kindly sawed away that section of tree (with nest attached) and lugged it over to our house. And there it sits upright, next to the front steps, and I have no idea where to put it now. But it's a crow's nest. And it's here. And I'm happy.

So with crows in mind, I created this photomontage. The background is a photo I took of a physical collage I made. I then changed some of the colors, added a few more elements, and then incorporated my photo of a crow. To me there's a sort of snowy look to the image, hence the name "Crow Snow." Chris says it's not one of his favorites, but I'm liking the colors, the feeling of movement, and the solitary bird.

Probably more than you ever wanted to know about my life, but there you have it. I live with raucous crows, a cranky cat, and an incredibly patient spouse. What else do you need to know?

©Carol Leigh