Tea… a view from above

For starters WordPress informed me that I’m celebrating my first anniversary here :-)  Yeaj!  One year of blogging.
Thanks guys for bringing it to my attention, I wasn’t counting… Force of habit I guess, I stopped counting birthdays when I turned 50.  It has something to do with me being an absolute failure in math ;-)

OK, time for a new picture.
Have taken a lot of them these past few days. The light was nice here in Belgium and the sun was so kind to shine into my room, so…
And then there was this mission from Kim Klassen to shoot from above for Beyond Beyond.

Once again it struck me how my dslr photography differs from my i-Phone “art” (art?).  With my phone it’s almost natural to shoot from above, with the big girl camera however, it seems much less comfortable.
Actually, it isn’t…  You have to get high, or the subject low, I’m not good at balancing with that heavy piece of equipment and I never thought of digging holes as a real good option… so my set up is much, much more work.  Got to get the tripod installed with that horizontal bar, need some weight to prevent it from topping over (it doesn’t, but as I’m kind of a control person, I don’t take the risk…).   In case you wonder: I use a door stopper as a weight feature.
In short, I guess you could also call me lazy as far as shooting from above with my dslr is concerned.

It was a difficult choice to make, between easter stuff coming up, and spring flowers all over the place… but in the end, I came up with… a Tea-picture.  Here it is:

img 1991-voyage autour du the

How it was made?

I selected a small bowl that has something to do with tea (see the inscription in the bowl);
Put the bowl on a chair with an old finishing;
Took some dried Linden tea leafs, put them in the bowl, scattered them all over the place and started shooting.

Next stop: Lightroom where the only thing I did was a little cropping.
Then into Photoshop and instead of sugar, I added Kim’s texture Yesteryear to the tea, 2 cubes – sorry, layers – one soft light (100%) and one multiply (26%).
A little tweaking was necessary to bring out the tea leafs better, meaning I brushed the texture off and adapted the color with the paintbrush so that it blended better with the creamy tones.
Added my signature and that’s it.

Hope you like it and enjoy your tea .-)


Looking up in Paris

I guess we all take pictures that could be good, if only…
This shot of Paris lampposts is such a capture. For starters, I couldn’t get it “straight” in the camera and the sky was very shallow and undefined. Not blue, not grey, not cloudy… nothing actually, empty, as if someone had put a backdrop behind the lamps (see below for the original photo)

Maybe a texture could do the trick, cause I really like the lampposts. Photographed a million times probably… ah well… to a million and one then.
Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday assignment of last week to use at least one layer of her “minus 43” seemed like a good occasion to try it on this Paris picture.
I normally like using light and pastel-ish textures, this one is rather “strong” for me (check it out in Kim’s café ), but it was worth giving it a try and I rather like the result.


This is what I did to it.
– straightening and some minor exposure adjustment in Lightroom before bringing it into Photoshop
– as I wanted a bit more “color” to the colorless background, I added Kim’s “Now” texture and lowered the opacity to 56%, blend mode: multiply
– softened the details of the texture with the Gausian Blur filter.
– then added a layer of KK’s “Minus 43” – also multiply – with lowered opacity 86%
– added a soft light ocre fill layer at 50% opacity
–  a gradient layer to lower the greenish hue at the bottom, but not take it away totally

That was it. The texture brought out some nice detail in the lamps itself and certainly added some color and structure to the background. 

The original picture looks like this:



The Photographer

I’m one of those photographers who likes to have my composition right in the camera.  I guess it’s one of those strong leftovers from the time I was still shooting analogue.
But, sometimes, no matter how hard one tries, it doesn’t go as wanted, sometimes circumstances just don’t allow you to get the composition right in camera. Especially not in natural environments where you can not direct what has to happen.  Nature doesn’t listen to directions.
When that happens, most of the time there are two options: or the picture remains on my hard drive as a happy memory, or I show it as it is.

For some time, through all kinds of circumstances, I was a rather passive contributor to Kim Klassen’s Beyond Layers class. But I want to change that and I thought now was as good a time as any.  Her class this week is about cloning and tweaking compositions. I dived into my recent archive and came up with this picture.

It was taken in October 2012 on the isle of Texel in the Netherlands.
Driving from De Cocksdorp – with its beautiful red lighthouse – to Oudenburg – the picturesque fishing harbor – you pass along large nature resorts and the dam that protects the island against the water.
It’s a paradise for hikers, bikers, walkers, bird watchers, nature photographers.  That’s when I captured this photo.
Compositionwise it could do with some improvement.  I would have liked the photographer having some more “room” to look for birds.  And although I seldom use the cloning stamp to really change the initial image like this, I thought it would serve the class’ purpose.

What I did:
– tweak brightness a bit in Lightroom
– bring it into Photoshop and cloned the photographer more to the right
– cloned the “original” photographer with sky and grass
– then I added one of my own textures – called “Aquar-elle” – blend mode soft light, and lowered the opacity a lot because  I just wanted it to be a little less blue and a little more softness on the grass area.
– I burnt here and there to get a little more color back.
– at last I added the type, resized it for the web and this is how it looks like now.


Hope you like the change.