Creative Titles

An interesting topic came up in one of the discussions I follow online recently.  The question was, “Creative Titles … How Do You Do It?”

I can’t tell you how important I think the title for an image can be. I actually have a couple of images I especially like that have been sitting quietly in the computer for quite a while.  I’ve hesitated posting them, not because I didn’t like them, but actually quite the opposite.  I liked them so well I felt they deserved a special title … but so far words have failed me. Conversely, if I’m messing around with a shot and a GREAT title comes into my head, I find myself giving that image priority. I guess it goes back to my first love – creative writing.

But as to “how” do the titles come? The Title Fairy, maybe???

In all honesty I will say when I ‘m taking a long drive and am in the car for a couple of hours, I’ll put on some of my favorite music.  Many times a line of lyric I’ve been listening to will jump out at me and I’ll immediately know that it … or something similar … will go perfectly with a particular image I’ve had in my files.

The following is “Take Me Home” and, as always, can be seen larger and with a better watermark by clicking the image:

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I really feel like the perfect title can add a great deal of dimension and deeper meaning to an image. Most of the time, my titles are just descriptive, but every so often I’m actually trying to say something … as with “His Pride And Joy” which follows:

His Pride And Joy

 

 

 

Creating a Transparent Overlay for Signatures and Watermarks in Photoshop

I’ve been asked how I create the transparent watermarks / overlays I use on the images I post online, so I’ve written up a small tutorial.

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So here we go … quick and easy:

Open photoshop and crank up a new document 800 x 800 or so

Background contents: transparent

Hit ok

Duplicate this layer

Open text / type tool

Type the text that you want to use for your watermark or signature on the second layer

Select the text (don’t let it create a new text layer … select on the text layer itself)

Go to “styles”

Look for “Clear Emboss – Outer Bevel” which is a gray box with a hint of an edge to the bottom and right …(this box is located to the immediate left of a gray box with a large wide red border) … these are in your regular Photoshop style offerings.  You may have to append some that are stored in PS to find it 

Click the gray box with the hint of an edge

You will see your text raise up, with a hint of a shadow

Save as whatever you want to name this document, as a .png file (with 2 layers) … do not flatten or merge down. I’m on a Mac, so I just save to the desktop …

“Interlace – None”

I then actually delete the original overlay … and go to my desktop and slide the new transparent overlay back into Photoshop.

It should be on a gray and white checkerboard and appear as a single layer.

On the transparent overlay layer, select all … then go to the image you want it to use it on, select paste … and there it is.

Transform the overlay to where you want it to sit on the base image, and adjust to what size you want it to be.

Depending on how paranoid I’m feeling on the day I post the image, I adjust the opacity of the overlay layer.   Sometimes I lower it, but sometimes I even duplicate it to make it more pronounced.  

I’m all about protecting our online artwork and other postings as much as we can, so please feel free to share this blog.

Questions, just let me know.

A Restful Retreat

Another real estate shoot, this time for a general brokerage sale, resulted in a lovely find last week.

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I fell in love with this wonderful garden bench in this stone and brick nook.  It was a hot July afternoon … but the shade and the sunshine filtering through the  greens from the leaves of the trees and the climbing ivy created a cooling and restful moment of quiet … a perfect spot for thinking good thoughts and dreaming dreams.  I couldn’t resist a few edits in Photoshop and other programs to enhance the mood I was feeling.

To view without the watermark, just click the image.

 

Bizzy … In A Good Way

Whew … bizzy-bizzy!!  Lots happening with model home photography lately and not as much fine art stuff going out into the universe from me.  Model home / real estate photography is actually something I love doing … all those issues of Architectural digest I bought over the years must have sifted into my subconscious and are coming in handy.

Here’s a shot I did from a beautiful community in Delaware recently  (please forgive the watermarks, I don’t like having my stuff ripped off – and that includes Pinterest ~ fodder for a different blog ~ ) …

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And isn’t this a pretty kitchen?

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One of the things I particularly like to do is capture the flow of a space … the way the rooms work together, as shown here:

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I’ll probably be uploading a slide show of these homes to my YouTube channel shortly … so if interested, stay tuned.  I’ll make a post here when and if.

One of the challenges of this kind of work is getting angles and lines straight and orderly.  Can be a time consuming Photoshop adventure, especially when using a wide angle lens.  My favorite for interiors is the Nikon 10-24mm and that little puppy can cause some eye-crossing distortions.

Just discovered a pretty cool tutorial from Adobe TV for a nifty feature in Photoshop CS6 that I totally didn’t know was there.  Thought I’d share:

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/understanding-adobe-photoshop-cs6/adaptive-wide-angle-correction-and-contentaware-fill/

I can’t say I’ve mastered this new technique.  I can say I spent all morning getting lost playing with it though, trying to figure it out.  Looks easy enough on the barn image the guy is demonstrating with, but try it on a somewhat narrow hallway with a table to one side, a lopsided lampshade, stairs going off to the right and a peek of a lovely room at the far end of the hall.   Not for the faint of heart, lemme tell ya.

Of course, sometimes the old way is the easiest and best way.  For uncomplicated images I still just use Edit – Transform – Skew – Scale, with a grid overlay.

And there went MY morning!!!  What did YOU get into today??

 

 

 

The Merits of Old Fashioned Greeting Cards

I’m particularly happy when this card sells, as it did yesterday, at Greeting Card Universe.

Thinking of Grandfather Greeting Card by Lois Bryan at Greeting Card Universe

Thinking of Grandfather Greeting Card

by Lois Bryan at Greeting Card Universe

It means that someone, somewhere, appreciates their Grandfather … and is letting him know in the good old fashioned way. A way that those of my generation truly appreciate … something you can hold in your hands … something that someone else held in their hands. Something that someone took the time to look for, and lay down some money for … and put a stamp on and put in the mail to you. You can put it on the mantle … or on your bedside table … as tangible and REAL evidence that someone was thinking of you. You can show it off to your friends. Look … someone cared.

And there’s the other side. The buying of the card … your thoughts of that person in your life. Your rememberings. For however fleetingly, you and your memories of time spent with that person … that person’s love for you … are going out into the universe. That person may even feel a split second of joy even before the postman slips the card into the letterbox … because of the time you spent with them in the land of remembrance.

I know it’s becoming fashionable to dispense with Christmas cards … and to send your birthday and other greetings out in an email.

But there’s still something so so special about a greeting card.

So … it is with great joy … on behalf of this particular grandfather … that I thank the purchaser of “Thinking of Grandfather” today!!

 

Wonky

Just a quick note … looks like our platform / server – thingie went wonky again and my images included in previous posts as well as a recent blog went off to see the wizard.  We’re seeing about bringing things back up to snuff … and in the meantime, I really am working on … well … I’m working on disciplining myself to attend to the blog more regularly.

No excuse not to do so, except that it’s not in my routine.  I’m a creature of habit.   An apparently lazy creature of habit.

Several great new things in the works happening photography-wise for little me which I’ll be discussing here in the near future.

In the meantime, here’s one of my latest uploads to Fine Art America and elsewhere … just click the image to be taken to a full size version (with a less icky watermark).

This is a re work of an image I posted some time ago.  As we evolve as artists, sometimes we like to go back to old favorite images and give them a new twist.  They may be favorites because of subject matter or light or color ... or sometimes just because of the wonderful memories the images themselves evoke.  This one represents all those reasons for me. As I described on the original image, this is a beautiful street in Old Corfu Town, Greece, on a wonderfully hot and sleepy afternoon in July of 2005. Looking closely, you can see the tourists heading our way from down the street while the vendors patiently wait. Original photographic image treated to some painterly magic in Photoshop and Corel Painter 11 and a lovely texture from French Kiss added to finish it off.

This is a re work of an image I posted some time ago.  As we evolve as artists, sometimes we like to go back to old favorite images and give them a new twist.  They may be favorites because of subject matter or light or color … or sometimes just because of the wonderful memories the images themselves evoke.  This one represents all those reasons for me.  As I described on the original image, this is a beautiful street in Old Corfu Town, Greece, on a wonderfully hot and sleepy afternoon in July of 2005.  Looking closely, you can see the tourists heading our way from down the street while the vendors patiently wait.  Original photographic image treated to some painterly magic in Photoshop and Corel Painter 11 and a lovely texture from French Kiss added to finish it off.

Perseverance

It’s been a long time since my last post, the wee early morning hours of August 23rd of 2013, in fact. Nearly 9 months.
“Technical Difficulties” was to mark the beginning of a few new ideas for my blog, but fate intervened.  An event occurred only a few hours after that post was published that knocked me off my game. As it turned out, I stayed out of the creative game for months to come. Even now, spreading my wings and flying back into the skies of the blog-o-sphere is done with a bit of trepidation, as it seems every time I try to crank this blog up something comes along in real life that slams my writing back to the ground.
But I soldier on. We hang in there. Every one of us is blindsided by events not of our making that change the course of our lives.  It’s part of the fabric of the Universe … and all the trite old sayings, like “What doesn’t kill ya, makes ya stronger” for example, are proven correct over and over again.  So we handle the grief and the confusion and the setbacks the best we can and … persevere.
On that note of determined optimism, I’m including one of my particular old favorites, “Perseverance,” which can be seen larger (and with a much more reasonable watermark) on my website by clicking on the image.

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May your own flight through the storm clouds of life take you to a safe place.  Even if just for today.  And we’ll worry about tomorrow … tomorrow.

Technical Difficulties

Well, dang …

Looks like all my pictures have gone off to see the wizard here on my blog …

So tomorrow, I’ll see about starting to replace them … this should be fun!!  In the meantime, here’s a new one that is actually one of a series of three that I recently posted to my Fine Art America website.  It’s summer here on the East Coast of the US … and the butterflies are floating around so thick and fast I nearly have to brush them aside when I walk through my garden!!!

 

Seeking Sweetness 1So if you like butterflies, drop on over to my website (by clicking the image above) and see some more!!

And in the meantime, I’ll start fixing the blog back up … tomorrow ….

Update:  Well, tomorrow came sooner than usual … everything’s all updated already … whew!!!

< brushes hands on jeans, straightens hat, and saunters off into the sunset.  Well, technically it’s nearly 11 pm here and the dogs still need to be walked, but you get the idea! >  Done and done!!

 

The Photographer’s Lament – Wrong Lens!!

I dropped my husband off at Dulles airport yesterday morning and planned to make a stop on my drive home at a spot not far from there, the beautiful old train station at Point of Rocks, Maryland, to get some snaps with my new lens.

I’d been having a debate with myself over which lens to buy for weeks, but I finally settled on the 10-24mm Nikkor 3.5.  I need the extra width for the real estate / model home photography side of my business and though I’ve been happy with my Sigma 10-20mm, there is a bit of chormatic aberration (sometimes quite noticeable and a nuisance to correct), plus a general lack of sharpness and clarity with the Sigma that I was hoping to improve upon.  Since it really is my bread and butter lens, it made sense to upgrade.  I’d been using the new lens on a model home shoot all day the day before and was very pleased with the results it and the Nikon D7000 gave me so, since what I was planning to shoot was architectural as well, it made sense.  Grabbed the camera on the way out the door, and we were off.

Got the hubby where he needed to be and, after a wrong turn exiting the airport (there was this awesome geometric configuration of buildings with lines and angles and the control tower and the light was perfecto just off to the left … who knew I had to exit to the right Right THERE???), and making a giant circle which included a probably-illegal U-turn, I finally made my way back onto the open road.  Just as I was leaving Leesburg and heading north on Route 15, my eye was caught by some commotion on an overpass ramp leading down to the oncoming lanes.  I saw two highway workers running down the hill toward the ramp, and in front of them what looked like a big black dog.

Except, it wasn’t moving like a big black dog.

I’ve seen enough bears by now to recognize the way they run … and this thing looked like a bear!!  But just outside of Leesburg, Virginia?  Really??  I mean, I’ve gotten used to seeing bears on top of Blue Knob Mountain, Pennsylvania … but down here??

I pulled the car over … thankfully traffic was almost non-existent … grabbed the camera and hopped out.  But by the time I got my car stopped, I had moved past where the bear’s trajectory was taking him, so now he was way behind me.  And I didn’t have a telephoto with me!!!

Not to be deterred, I started running down the highway, pausing for a couple of snaps as I ran.  Here is a very tightly-cropped shot of Mr. Bear … who to me seems to be a young fella … maybe out on his own for the first time …

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I turned and waved to the two construction workers who were still up on the ramp and gave them the thumbs up.  They waved back.

Right place, wrong lens … story of my life.

But Mr. Bear made it to the other side of the road safely … and in the grand scheme of things, that’s really all that matters.

 

 

 

Potential Legalized Theft of Copyrighted Works in the UK?

This may be only the beginning ….

Our British photography / artist friends should be interested in this potential horrendous miscarriage of justice. Please read the following and, if it applies to you, give some thought to adding your signature.  It’s being said that contacting your MP is the best way to make your voice heard, but signing the petition will surely be helpful as well.

The following is an excerpt from the embedded link:

“A new legislation that has been rushed through parliament with no thought has now reached royal assent. This legislation means that photographers and illustrators alike will see their artworks legally taken and used for another’s own gain.

Unless your works are registered or plastered with a watermark, anyone can use your copyrighted work for their own commercial and personal gains provided they have made a small effort to search for the original owner. If no owner can be found, they are free to do with it whatever they want.”

Sadly, it’s my understanding that unless you’re in Great Britain, you can’t sign … but if you are … please do!  If it passes, it’ll only a matter of time before nonsense like this spreads to the rest of us:

https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49422