July 31, 2011

My Photo Journal: The Pursuit of Happiness

Sail Away
"Sail Away" © 2012 Flora R. Powell. All rights reserved.

To Chase a Dragon
"To Chase a Dragon" © 2012 Flora R. Powell. All rights reserved.

"Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves."
~ Carol Lynn Pearson

"Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it."
~ Alexandre Dumas

The first image was taken at Ward's Island Beach this last summer, one of the cleanest beaches in Toronto despite its proximity to the city. We took a tent with us that day, a good thing since we experienced one of the biggest thunderstorms of the season that afternoon! Despite strong wind gusts and lashing rain, our tent held firm and we stayed dry and cozy for the hour or so that the weather raged over us. My daughter was pretty unfazed during the whole episode, and thought it was a pretty cool to have snacks and work on jigsaw puzzles with rain drumming on the roof of the tent. The dog, however, was not that impressed! :) I took the shot of the lake about half an hour after the storm had passed and the cruise ship was making its rounds again. I waded out to the water until I was about thigh-deep to try and get a nearer shot of the boat since I only had my 35mm camera lens with me that day, but that was about the best close-up shot I could get.

The second picture was post-processed in Photoshop CS4, using textures from Shadowhouse, Flypaper, and Florabella. I "stamped" the dragon onto the composition using a Photoshop brush I had made of a vintage illustration in a 1906 book entitled "Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art". If you would like to download the brush for personal use only, you can click on this link.

© 2011 Flora R. Powell. All rights reserved.

July 28, 2011

My Photo Journal: Thorncliffe Tree

Thorncliffe Tree
"Thorncliffe Tree" © 2011 Flora R. Powell. All rights reserved.

"Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf."
~ Albert Schweitzer

This picture was taken about three years ago in early fall when we were living in an area called Thorncliffe Park in Toronto. This tree was one of a pair growing in front of an office building across the street from our apartment complex. It reminded me of the Ents from Lord of the Rings so I decided to make it look a little shimmery, like it belonged in a storybook forest. Here is the post-processing recipe:

(1) Florabella's "Burnished" @ Linear Light 100% with a layer mask where I used a 300 px white brush at 40% opacity
(2) Florabella's "Burnished" again @ Linear Light 50% with another layer mask where I used a 300 px white brush at 60% opacity
(3) Florabella's "Vintage Linen" @ Hard Light 60%
(4) Flattened image, tweaked Levels and Curves to lighten up the image a bit as it was too dark, decided it needed a little more "something" so I searched around for another texture...
(5) Settled on Isabelle Lafrance's "Canicola" from her new Renaissance collection @ Multiply 80%
(6) Flattened image, tweaked Levels and Curves again until I was happy with the final color contrast and lighting!

Hope this helps for anyone who's interested in texture work. :)

Blog post © 2011 Flora R. Powell. All rights reserved.