Tag Archives: Kim Klassen

Be Still, Lesson 18


Although Kim Klassen’s current course, Be Still 52, has been challenging, informative and fun,  I haven’t been participating much recently. Not because of the course, but it’s just not something (like this blog) that I’ve devoted any time to lately.  Sometimes when you stop doing something — reading a book, taking photographs, doing something of habit — it isn’t easy to get back into the practice after a period of time.  Claiming that you’re waiting for “inspiration” can be a crutch.  I decided that I was going to jump back in this week and do the lesson regardless of whatever it was.

This week’s prompt is “Organic”.   I wanted to run immediately, as I think that  the term “organic” is overused.   Food is “organic”, but the label is meaningless as there is no standard to define what “organic” should be.   When I was working, the sales and executive teams often talked of “organic” growth.   That was even more ambiguous and made me laugh whenever I heard it.   I thought it sounded organic — as in like the stuff that one might put on one’s garden!

But, since I was committed to the prompt, I decided to think of things natural and in nature.   I took a walk along the nearby creek and found these wildflowers.  In other situations, they might be considered weeds.  On the creek bank, they grow naturally, without any sort of intervention or cultivation.    I placed them on the wood floor in my house when the late afternoon sun was streaming in through the windows.   I like these images.

Part of the lesson included using LightRoom’s Print Module to create a diptych.   I tried several times — I’ve done this before!   But, I could not get the picture placement to work correctly when I exported the file.   I’ll have to keep working on how to do that.   Guess it isn’t something that came naturally — organically — to my brain this evening!


Bloom & Bottle

Bloom, kk_cherish, Kim Klassen, Texture Tuesday

Bloom & Bottle

Linking with Kim Klassen’s Café for Textured Tuesday.   Used one layer of Kim’s kk_cherish texture, using blend mode of Overlay, 50% opacity, removed from bloom & bottle, to add a little bit of color to foreground and background.

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote …

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;

First Signs of Spring

First Signs of Spring

Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
(That slepen al the nyght with open eye)
So priketh hem Nature in hir corages
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

~ Geofrey Chaucer

Linking up with Texture Tuesday.   A few layers of Kim Klassen’s texture kk_3303_2 and one of kk_cherish (which mostly was masked out of the final image).    As always, I appreciate your feedback on this image.

Just Playing Around

I have two Easter Lilies on my dining room table, waiting for me to deliver them.  While I’m it makes me happy to give them away, and I think that they look pretty, I can’t wait to get them out of my house.   Why?  Because the smell of two of them is overwhelming!

That didn’t deter me, however, from taking the opportunity provided by some beautiful late-afternoon sunlight streaming in through the windows to take some snaps.  And, since I had just downloaded more iPhone apps to play with, this was the perfect time.  I was trying out both Camera Awesome and Camera +.  Awesome is free, + is not.   I’m not sure which one I like better, nor have I figured out whether they have the same features.

This particular shot was taken in Camera+.  After testing out many of the editing features — the usual iphone array of filters, presets and frames, I stuck with some basic edits for exposure and saturation.   I was pleased with the final product.   Then, I decided to experiment with another post-processing app I had downloaded:  Repix.   Think brushes.  Lots of brushes!   I tried nearly everyone available in the app.  Some I removed, some I left.   I don’t recall exactly what I kept, but it wasn’t until I was nearly finished that I discovered how to use the Erasure tool at a lower opacity and what awesomeness one can do with the “silk” brushes.  I was pleased with my final product — something that looked entirely different from the photograph that I shot.   I like the abstractness of this, yet it has enough definition (I think) that you can tell that it is a close-up of a flower.    Repix let me then open it in Instagram for posting.

I later brought it into Photoshop Elements.  Initially my intent was to simply add my copyright/signature, but I ended up playing with some additional filters.  It looks a little different, but I’m not sure which I like better.   I like the definition in the IG version; but I also like how the PSE version is more abstract.  I had applied the vignetting in Repix and it looks okay in the Instagram version, but it needs more smoothing in the PSE version.

Which to you prefer and why?   All feedback appreciated.

Instagram version

Easter Lily:  Instagram version


Easter Lily

Easter Lily

Frame in the PSE version is made from two layers of Kim Klassen’s texture kk_2303, with lots of adjustments to the saturation.



Looking Down

I took this photograph about six weeks ago, but it wasn’t until this evening that I returned to this set of shots.   The challenge this week in Kim Klassen’s Beyond Beyond course was to shoot from above.  Ahhhh!   This is  a favorite angle of mine.   Just for kicks and grins, I reviewed all of my posts since Jan 1.   In 34 posts, I used images shot from above 17 times.   Yes; I think it is a favorite!

So, instead of taking another photo, I thought I would post this one.  I think items on a beach made perfect sense to shoot this way, although I’ve taken some shots of shells that I really like from other angles too.   I’m curious what you think:  Do you think a particular subject suits itself well to shooting from above? What is your favorite “go-to” angle to shoot? Does it vary with your subject?

Two Shells and a Sea Fan

Two Shells and a Sea Fan

Cool bonus feature of this photo:   As I was shooting, the Florida Fighting Conch began to move.   It’s Alive!   The gastropod moved out of its shell enough to get a bit of leverage to roll over, away from the sea fan and out of the frame. I think he was tired of the hot sun — and maybe he wasn’t ready for closeups! If you look to the left of the shell, you can see lines in the sand that he had made.  The critter isn’t easy to detect from his shell, but it’s the lighter brown area just to the left of the bright orange.   If you find these creatures on the beach, especially at low tide, do NOT throw them back into the surf.   They’re snails and they work their way out of the sand daily.   They aren’t in any danger.  Look at them, don’t throw them in the water, and always leave live sea animals on the beach where you found them!


(*Detail Which Might Be Boring To Some)

Taken with Canon REBEL xSI, Canon EF-S 55-250 f/4 IS lens, @ ISO 100, f/11, 1/200

My processing recipe in case you’re interested:

Minor color adjustment & sharpening in ACR,

In Elements:

1.  Isolated shells and made copy.
2. added kk_chase, Blending mode screen, Opacity 42%.  This added some beige to counterbalance the grey sand (which is white IRL), added a Gaussian blur, erased texture over the shells.
3.   Added kk_1402magic, Color Burn, 58%, removed over shells.
4.  Moved the layer containing only the shells to the top, then merged all layers.
5.  Made a copy of the layer, added a Gaussian blur 15 pixels, Soft Light, 20% opacity & merged with background layer.
6.  Made a copy of the layer, Multiply, 25%.   Used Marquee tool to select a large portion of the image.   Used Refined Edge feathered to 200.   Removed this area from the layer, and merged down, creating a slightly darker “frame” around the image.
7. Added kk_1612 create a border, with a slight blur to make the tones a little bit more subtle.
8.   Added a solid color screen using a color I selected from the sand.   Using rectangular marquee tool, removed all of the screen except for the outer border.   Didn’t like the color, so adjusted it to a brown tone.
9.   Added signature and ready to post (….and wondering what steps I’ve already forgotten!)

Frosted Flowers




I shot this photo last Friday when it was very cold and icy.  I didn’t realize until I opened it in the editor that I managed to capture a rainbow-like glare along the edge of the vase.  I love refracted light!

I’m surprised that the flowers are still intact today as they were outside for the shoot so I could take advantage of the natural light and an icy background. A day early, but this is my contribution to Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday.  The theme:  “Dreamy”.  I used two of Kim’s textures:  1402 & 1402magic, along with some gradient and solid color fills in PS Elements 8.  If you’d like to see how I processed this image, you can find my  full “recipe” here.

I’m glad that February is almost over!  It’s always my least favorite month which makes it seem the longest rather than the shortest.

Pink Dandelion?

I’m not sure what this is, but it looked like a dandelion to me.  Isn’t that pink pretty?  Not sure what others would call it, but I wouldn’t consider it a weed — even if it were yellow.

Pink Dandelion

Pink Dandelions

Linking up with Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday.  This week’s edition required using at least one of Kim’s new textures inspired by the television series Downtown Abbey.   I’m not a Downtown fan, but her new textures are nice.   I used Violet in this one, first with blending mode Color Burn, and a second layer as Screen.  For the frame, I used another of Kim’s textures — Sybil — first applied as a normal layer, then again with blending mode of Color Burn, then a third time as Multiply 100%.   I also used a light pink gradient, masked off the blooms, and a darker pink over the flower petals to bring back the color muted by the textures.

Texture Tuesday: Pop Goes the Color!

Linking up again with Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday link party.  Today’s theme was any photo with a pop of color.   On this grey winter day, I immediately thought of flowers.   I took this photograph last month while in Florida.  While the photo is striking on its own without any texture, I couldn’t resist using it for this week’s Texture Tuesday submission. Not with that POP of gorgeous yellow!

Lyrical Orchid

Lyrical Orchid

My post-processing “recipe”:

Did slight adjustment to color balance in ACR.  Brought into Elements; cropped photo  and did a few adjustments to “shine” a little more light on the bloom.   Added two of Kim’s textures with blending mode of Soft Light — Awaken and PlasterSquared2.   Masked the center of the flower to remove those textures.   I added two textures to create  the frame — PlasterSquared2 and Sunkissed.  Placed these behind the photograph so that only the parts “framing” the original image were visible.   Merged all layers and then added Kim’s texture Sonnet_2 over the entire image.  I copied the textured layer, changed   blending mode to Multiply and then removed the portion of the texture over the image.  I thought I was done, but I wasn’t satisfied with the yellow color, so I brought the image into Snapseed and using a control point over the center of the bloom, I increased the saturation.

What I like about this image:

I like the close crop on the flower.   Close-ups of flowers always reveal something intriguing.   Since I cropped the original image closely, I introduced a little bit of noise in enlarging the image.  The textures added, though, minimize this distraction.   I also like that “Awaken” has a few musical notes in the corners of the texture.  This blends well with “Sonnet” and together the effect was my inspiration for my title:  Lyrical Orchid.

Mangrove Morning

I love shooting sunsets.  I’m never quite satisfied with the images I make, so I keep trying.  Since every sunset is different, there is always a reason to keep trying to capture that perfect image.

Sunrise, though, is a different story. Why?  Because the sun gets up much earlier than I do!  Still, on my last day of vacation, I decided to stumble out of bed, grab some coffee and my tripod and head towards the southeastern side of the island.   I thought I could get a cool shot from the west side of a bridge, looking over the bay towards the mainland.   When I got to the bridge though, it was clear that I should have checked my coordinates and where the sun would be rising.   I knew that the island was not positioned towards true north, but I didn’t expect the sun to be off towards what I generally think of as west.

I headed further down the intercoastal road.  In about a mile, the road curved left and I realized that the sun was once again “back” where I thought it should be — quickly rising in the east over the estuary.   I had just enough time to set up before it poked its early bird bright yellow self over the mangroves.

Early Morning Mangrove

Early Morning Mangrove

Linking up again for Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday.  Today’s theme:   use at least one layer of Kim’s texture Minus43.   She named this texture for the temperature the day she created it.   Based on the name, it doesn’t seem right to use on a photograph taken a warm sunny day where the mercury “dipped” into the 80’s.  But, it was perfect for this image.

I started by combing two identical shots, taken at different shutter speeds, in Elements using the PSE feature for combining based on exposure.   After a little additional reworking (like removing a pesky, ugly hi-rise building on the other side of the water), I applied Minus 43 with a blending mode of Hard Light, Opacity 50%.   I copied this layer, again at 50% & removed it over the mangroves.  I didn’t think that looked quite right, so I changed the first layer to Multiply, 40% & combined both layers.  I copied it — again! — Multiply 15% and combined all layers.   I added a pink tint (Hard Light, 20%), then added Kim’s texture 1301 as an Overlay at 25%.   I removed most of both these layers, keeping only a portion over the sky, then merged.   I copied the merged layer (Mulitply, 25%) and removed most of it leaving a somewhat rectangular darkened area framing the photo.  Added my signature and Voilá!

I thought that this was an interesting image without the texturing, but I also had fun adding it, giving the image a softer look.  The sky reminds me of a watercolor done with a slightly dirty brush.   The texture also added a bit of green — which was good, but I lost some of the pink colors, so I added the pink tint.   The combined exposures also made the water a little too blue.  It looked like swimming pool water!  So, adding the textures and the pink helped to bring the water back to a more natural looking shade.  Although it took me a lot of playing around with various settings and masks, I like the end result.

Beyond Beyond, Assignment #1

I decided at the last minute (the day before the class started) to take Kim Klassen’s Beyond Beyond class.  I thought that it might be a way to expose myself to a different style of photography.  I hope to pick up lots of useful information on Photoshop and Lightroom as well as be exposed to lots of creative inspiration through the class assignments and what the other participants do.

If you are a member of the class — are we calling it B2? something else? —  welcome to my blog!  Be sure to introduce yourself in the comments.   I’d love any constructive criticism on my work.

The first assignment was to make an arrangement, such as a still life, though it didn’t need to be.   Then, photograph that still life from several different angles without moving the item(s) being photographed.   Kim suggested 10 shots, but being the overachiever that I am, I went far beyond that.   🙂

Shooting items from several different angles and with different depths of field is quite compatible with what I usually do.   I noticed last year, during my 365 project, that as the year progressed and my photo skills developed, I shot fewer shots.  I think this was good because I was more easily identifying the best setups for a shot before I clicked.  My big problem with the multiple shots approach is that I am horrible at deleting the “rejects”.   I must be better about housekeeping with my catalog!

Since this was my last week at the beach, I had many subjects that I wanted to photograph:  shells I had collected along the shoreline; birds in the surf illuminated by the sun and breaking waves; another amazing sunset — and yet, another and another;  the orchids and beautiful blooming hibiscus near the pool.  I used this multiple shots assignment on each of them.  And, although I still need to delete more shots, I was much better at hitting that Delete Without Remorse button.

The last part of the assignment was to select of few favorites and to make a collage.  This is the first time that I used PSE to make a collage.   While I like the photographs that I chose, I am find my collage to be a bit boring.  But, for a first attempt, it isn’t without merit.

I made these photographs of the orchids using both my 60 macro as well as my Lensbaby Double Glass with Macro extensions.  I’m still getting used to shooting with the Lensbaby, so it was a good thing that I took way more than 10 shots!  There were at least that many that were deleted because they were unusable.   I made a few adjustments in ACR, then added one of Kim’s textures (Minus43) at 20% Hard Light or 20% Hard Mix to four photographs.   I also used Minus43 as the background for the collage.   I really like the soft muted colors of Minus43 and I was amused that Kim titled it for the temperature the day she created it.  Amused that I was applying it to photographs taken when it was far, far, different than -43.


One of the things that I think I did well with the collage is that I was able to limit the number of shots I used.   There were many that I liked, but I prefer groupings that are simple and uncomplicated.  I don’t think that it adds to a grouping if you have too many shots that are similar.  I had edited four photographs to use in the collage, but jettisoned one of them at the end.   As I posted this, I realized that my margins are not equal — something I would change if I had the time right now, but for now, it’s time to load the car and start the long trek back to the cold, snowy north, where it isn’t 75 degrees, but — thankfully — it is not 43 below!