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.


The painterly feel

Beyond Layers II – day 10 (17/05/12) – giving pictures a painterly look.

Heavier and darker than I used to do last couple of weeks.  I’m fond of the light, pastel touch but this time I had to step away from that and choose more significant textures.

Textures can enhance the details and character of a photograph, but they can not make a bad picture look great.  Some pictures that basically have “something” but could do with a little extra can benefit from a texture. At least that’s my opinion.

So for this assignment, I dived into my archives looking for such pictures and chose two totally different ones: a land/seascape and a poppy naturescape (I included the “before” pictures at the bottom of this post, for comparison)

1) “Sisters”Land/seascape   

With a human touch. It was taken on the pier of Oostende (Belgium) – the royal seaside city.  It took me some time to reach this result, I shifted layers and textures and tones, and finally ended up with this.  I felt like a painter, a brush stroke here, adding a little of this and that, there….


Textures:  KK’s Finale, multiply 50% | KK’s Hello, multiply 61% to give it some extra darkness around the edges | KK’s Sienna, multiply 66% | Vintage gradient layer at 91%

2) “Dreaming wild”Poppy naturescape.

This one was taken alongside the road on a hill from a construction area.  I liked the way they stood out from the sky, that unfortunately wasn’t very cooperating that day. Nice weather, but monotone sky.  It has been waiting a whole year to finally get this texturized sauce.

Dreaming Wild

Textures: KK’s Let go : soft light 100% + multiply 100% + multiply 22% | KK’s Sienna, to give it that painterly structure | KK’s Dream, multiply at 61% for some extra vignetting. I left a trace of the letters here and there just because I liked that.

Thanks for looking and hopefully for liking.

The befores:

My mom & the tulips

This week in Beyond Layers (days 5 & 6)  is all about story.  Story of one day, story of every-day-life things… 6 pictures.  That was Monday, and Kim already revealed a bit of what was coming today, thursday: create a storyboard. Here’s the story and the board.

Last Friday (27/04) it was my birthday.  My husband and I made a habbit of visiting the world famous Keukenhof in Holland on that day.  Last year I had promised my mom – who simply adores flowers and tulips in particular – to take her with us.  She’s 77 and struggling with chronic leukemia amongst other health issues.  As a consequence of a hernia operation about 40 years ago, she has difficulties with walking and the leukemia makes her very fragile.  She had her share of life’s struggles but she’s very courageous.  Last year I invited her for our trip to the Keukenhof on the day she left the hospital after her first treatment for leukemia.  She looked at me with big eyes, sparkling for a brief moment and then she said: “But, I can’t walk that long, that far”  I smiled and carefully suggested: Well, what would you think of renting a wheelchair?  I never thought she’d want that.  But the spark came back in her eyes: “You’d do that? And walk me around ?”  My husband, Guy, reassured her:  “Sure! Why not!”   We planned to go two weeks later… Two weeks later she was in the hospital again, the cure hadn’t become her very well.  So, no trip to the Keukenhof in 2011.  We rescheduled it for 27/04/2012.  Faith has its ironic twists, and a few weeks ago she got another problem and in fact she will have an operation tomorrow (cross your fingers please).  It looked as if the Keukenhof was not for this year either.  When her doctor asked which date suited her best for the operation, she immediately said: not April 27th!

So last Friday we took my mom to the Keukenhof, in a wheelchair.  She loved it, it was one of her happiest days of the last couple of years!  And I, I had a wonderful birthday.

Apart from learning a lot about textures, Kim Klassen also introduced me to Instagram etc.  That mobile-phone-photograph-thing is a whole different style, and new to me, but I love it.  And, it is the means by excellence to capture every-day-life moments. The snapshot reinvented.  So here’s my storyboard, an impression of my (birth)day at the Keukenhof.  Taken with my I-Pod (the phone is on my wish list…)


No picture of my mom in the wheelchair, she asked me not too (still a bridge too far I guess), but other brief encounters that are totally unimportant to anyone else, but sweet memories to us.  I’ll walk you through the 6 pics, in a wheelchair ;-)

  1. The tulips of course, no explanation needed, except that it are my moms favourite flowers.
  2. “Good Food, Happy People” – was written on the napkins.  The food was not good ;-) but we sure were Happy People :-)
  3. Wooden shoes.  My mom giggled at seeing them.  She has worn wooden shoes when she was a child, with straw in them to keep her feet warm, but never such fancy pumps :-))
  4. In one of the exhibition halls there was a contest, and this was one of the walls.  My mom was the star that day, the winner.
  5. Mom was looking strangely at those 2 ladies juggling with that tablet – to her an unknown tool!  Times have changed since the wooden shoes.
  6. And then there was coffee……..

It was a beautiful day, the first sunny one in weeks.  My mom insisted on buying me the cutest little vase with tulips on it for my birthday (pictures of that follow later).  For now, I hope you like my storyboard and that I can make a new one next year, with my mom being the star again.

(Sorry Kim for not using your storyboard templates, but I wanted this to have that casual, bit shabby look).