Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New collage: "Red River"

I finished this one-of-a-kind handmade collage last night. Thanks go to CJ Middendorf for the "red river" running down the top two-thirds of the piece — a beautiful piece of bright red handmade paper. The grey, black, and blue papers were given to me by Kathleen Amt, who is quite an artist. She also made the bone-like flat disks. The red disks come from a jewelry artist in North Carolina named Nina Bagley. Thank you all again.

For a larger view, please click the image. This collage is for sale in my online store at

©Carol Leigh, who is having so much fun making both these physical collages as well as digital photomontages. May you derive just as much pleasure from whatever creative things you're producing.

Pi Squared

One doesn't think of gulls as being mathematically inclined, but when I saw this one sitting next to a cleat (pi), I was most impressed. Naturally, a square format worked the best. Since pi = 3.14, I'm looking forward to celebrating Pi Day on March 14.

©Carol Leigh, who knows nothing about math, but who recognizes the symbol for pi when she sees it (and apple pie when she eats it).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Northern Lights

This photomontage began with a picture I took of a cement wall. That didn't work, so I tossed it out, but it LED me to what DID work. All this is is a combination of a photo I took of a very old Japanese book and a photo I took of a scratched boat hull down the coast. Ta da! Click to enlarge.

©Carol Leigh, who knows she makes this sound easy, but it actually took a few hours to create.

Friday, November 25, 2011

No "Black Friday" here

As is our wont on holidays (when it's not raining), we went for a little drive. First to the fishing boats to see what's going on there, where I found a blue buoy/bumper hanging down against an equally blue fishing boat.

Then we followed the river road toward Toledo, stopping to photograph the remains of an old train trestle. Then to Toledo to photograph graffiti on the sides of railroad cars — a favorite photo subject which I try not to mention very often because it's weird and I hate graffiti but love to shoot it, which is also weird...

Steam spewing from a smokestack at the Georgia-Pacific facility caught my eye because of the beautifully textured cloudlike formations the steam created. Powerlines even looked good silhouetted in front of the "clouds." And finally back to South Beach to photograph multicolored buildings.

We did not contribute to America's economy by lining up at 0-dark-thirty to purchase anything (thereby avoiding nasty pepper spray and trampling possibilities) and we bought nothing except lunch at a local restaurant. It was a TERRIFIC day, though! Peaceful, nobody on the roads, and beautiful things to see.

©Carol Leigh, who is thankful for being able to wander, look, and take photographs.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

End of the day

Just before sunset, while there was still just a bit of light in the sky, we left the sand-covered houses and headed over to Waldport Marina. Warm lighting on the "caution" sign caught my eye and I quickly shot it, knowing that the quality of light would be fleeting. They're not kidding about outgoing tides — the current was screaming past.

Walking down on the docks, I photographed this gull using a 20mm lens at f/1.7, focusing on him and letting the rest of the scene go soft. It's a pretty look, I think. The photo of the sign above was taken the same way. Loving this 20mm f/1.7 lens!

This was a quiet, peaceful way to end the day, especially after all the sturm und drang of the storms, which should begin again today around 10.

©Carol Leigh, wishing you all a happy and quiet Thanksgiving.

Sand blizzard

There was a break in the storm late yesterday afternoon so we went down to lower Bayshore to check out the houses, which invariably become engulfed in the blown sand. The homeowners' association had been removing sand all day, which was great for the homeowners, but not so great for photography. (Click photos to enlarge.)

A few years ago I put together a series of photos showing the results of these storms, which you can see here:

And just this past February, the houses were covered again:

If people were to disappear from Earth, I'm sure these houses would melt into the sea and sand within just a couple years.

©Carol Leigh, happy to be on the east side of the coast highway and up a few hundred feet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Postcard from Oregon

A big storm has been pounding the coast the past few days with lots of rain and LOTS of wind. (Those of you who have been here for my annual Oregon coast workshop are familiar with the Alsea Bay Bridge, well, a truck and its trailer tipped over onto its side due to heavy wind yesterday afternoon, blocking traffic for a bit.) Rumor has it we may experience a few hours of sun this weekend . . .

Chris and I both wish you a happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful you keep checking in here, leaving your comments, making me feel part of a creative village (if not the village idiot!). ©Carol Leigh

Monday, November 21, 2011

Paper 12

Photomontage consisting of photos of boat reflections, rivets, a torn piece of Japanese paper, photos of hand-painted papers, a "12" from a sign on the docks, and hand-drawn arcs and rectangles.

I'll teach you how to do this in my beginning photomontage online class that starts January 9th, 2012. For more information, click onto my 2012 class schedule at

©Carol Leigh, who is bracing for a big storm to hit us here on the Oregon coast today

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rule of Thirds?

Weird photo, no? A small boat up at the docks is covered with a white tarp to protect ongoing repairs. Holding down the tarp are three plastic partially filled jugs, floating in the water, holding the tarp in place.  And it must work really well, because I believe those jugs have been floating there for at least a year! Click to enlarge.

©Carol Leigh, who has projects in her garage she hasn't finished in NINE years!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Raven, Santa Fe #1 (original collage)

"Raven, Santa Fe #1"
I made this collage using blue, black, and warm brown mulberry papers, rice paper, calligraphy from an 1880s Japanese book on philosophy, acrylic paint, and a raven photomontage that I printed on Japanese rice paper. (See below for a close-up photo of part of the collage.) What's especially fun for me is incorporating my photography into the collage. Hope you enjoy seeing what I'm doing!
Size: 6½" x 4½" in an 11" x 14" mat, ready to pop into an 11" x 14" frame (not included). Price: $80, which includes First Class Mail shipping. To order, please visit my online store:

©Carol Leigh, overwhelmed by the possibilities!

Monday, November 14, 2011

As seen on TV . . .

This is just an experiment... I photographed images on my television, purposely taking them out of focus, blurred them a bit more in post-processing, and added texture. Not sure what I think yet, but it was a fun little experiment. ©Carol Leigh, who apparently is more comfortable photographing people on TV rather than in person!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Combination of my photographs of a bird nest, a page from an old Japanese book, a painted piece of paper, and some cement. ©Carol Leigh, who is conducting a beginning photomontage online class next year and who can't get enough of this stuff...

Friday, November 11, 2011


As I work more with creating physical collages, I'm noticing the concept of using a grid as a compositional "structure." The way I tear and place papers tends to have a grid background. And so it is with these photographs, composed of squares and rectangles that also form an overall grid pattern. Just as I select papers and choose their placement, my photographic eye selects lines and shapes and isolates them to create a (to me) pleasing composition.

The strong vertical lines of a building in Salem, Oregon are "punctured" with smaller, more varied, more colorful little rectangular windows.

The side of an old building in Reedsport, Oregon always catches my eye with its square windows set above equally square non-windows. The texture, the sign, and the broken panes relieve the uniformity of the squares.

In the third photo, a large rectangular shape at the bottom holds up the lighter, smaller rectangular elements above it. And to make it more interesting, there are squares and rectangles within larger ones.

The way books were arranged in an antique store caught my eye. I purposely cropped the scene to form a square to emphasize the squarishness of everything within it.

And finally, the red-painted wood and all the vertical/horizontal lines on a building in Colorado turns into another grid of squares and rectangles.

Strong patterns, vertical and horizontal lines, squares and rectangles within more squares and rectangles . . . these are good compositional elements for us to be looking for as we're out and about.

©Carol Leigh, thinking it's hip to be square . . .

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On the beach

A woman works with her horse on the beach near Newport. It was a very bright — glaringly bright — day and so I purposely overexposed the shot to wash out the waves and the sand while keeping the bold silhouette of horse and rider intact. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The power of backgrounds

In addition to the various drives contained within my computers, I also have 10 external drives — all containing photos. It's getting out of hand, to say the least. I'm in the process of consolidating, moving photos around, and as a result, I'm coming across pictures I'd forgotten about, such as these three.

I took the photos to illustrate what a difference a background can make. I set the pushpin on top of a glass brick. In the first shot, I used holographic shiny paper as my background. Why? Because the pin and the glass are translucent/transparent. I wanted a colorful and "light-encrusted" background to echo the lightness of the pin and the brick.

In the second photo, I put an American flag behind the setup, just to see what it would look like. I LOVE how the stripes look through the pushpin, but the background itself is kind of blah.

And finally I used (if I recall correctly) the holographic paper AND some translucent, gauzy purple fabric, which I waved around during the exposure so that it would blur out.

And now if you'll excuse me, I have a bazillion more images to move around!

©Carol Leigh, who will soon be announcing a new, "Mini-Macro" online class for next year . . .

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Fern frond and a page from the New York Times in Braille. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pursue some path...

"Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence." —Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cuervo de Colores

Don't know what the fascination is, but I'm drawn to the Corvid family! This photo of a Santa Fe bird was combined with a photo I took of the side of a fishing boat here in Oregon. Love the subtle colors. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I'm not sure about this one. The components are a leather jacket photographed in Santa Fe, an old carpet shot on the docks in Newport, Oregon, and a matchbox label (thank you, Kathleen A.) from Poland (vintage 1965 or thereabouts).

©Carol Leigh, who is teaching a beginning online photomontage class beginning January 9, 2012.