Grand Finale

2 01 2016

Well 52 weeks have come and gone. This is the last class for the year. In 2016 a new challenge has begun for some of us from the Challenge Class. The Critique Class 2016 has begun with a New Year’s Eve Challenge. You can see other images on my flickr page:

See you in the Critque Class!


Happy 2016. Went downtown for Raleigh First Night just in time for the 7:00 Acorn drop for the kids. Raleigh is the City of Oaks and they drop a large acorn. Didn’t get many good photos of the drop or the fireworks or the ferris wheel (no tripod). I should have used my iPhone for pictutes. I couldn’t get in front because of the people taking photos in front of the sculpture. I used the tin type preset in ON1 10 Effects to make this ice sculpture look old like someone finding it in the future. It was around 56 degrees F and had been warm all day so you could see the ice melting!

For my grand finale challenge, I took photos of the engine of my car.


I only missed one week – the theme was Forks. I don’t know why I didn’t get that one done! This has been a great class for me and it is exciting to meet so many people from all over. I am looking forward to more challenges. I am in my grunge/HDR period – in case you couldn’t tell. January is usually my blue period. I am taking Sebastian Michaels Photoshop Artistry Class. I am trying to learn Photoshop again! A lot different than Version 2 🙂 and I still am using PSE. I backed the car out of the garage so I could take some shots of the engine. I had to look in the manual cause I couldn’t find the lever. I guess I haven’t had to open the hood. I took 3 exposures to make this image and used Photomatix to make an HDR version. I used PSE to select out the colors of some of the parts. Then used some filters and added some frames and textures from the Photoartistry class files. To get this final coloring, I used  the Photographic Effects grey effect in PSE.  I  added a bevel to the image layer too. The bonus files  are worth the discounted price! 



22 12 2015

Solstice in Raleigh, NC was at 11:49 PM on December 21. I took these photos after dark on the 22nd. I made these luminaries using Yankee Candles and lunch bags. After awhile, it smelled like Christmas outside!! I too three exposures and used Photomatix to make the HDR image.  I added a border with ON1 10 Effects.




 I took this at sundown on the 22nd. It is our next door neighbor’s house. Added an HDR preset and a frame. 



16 12 2015

This weeks lesson is all about Silence. For me, I go to the cemetery for Silence.

December 12, 2015 was National Wreaths Across America day ( Thousands of volunteers laid wreaths in Arlington National Cemetery and many other cemeteries across the USA. There were ceremonies in Raleigh at Historic Oakwood Cemetery. I went there today to take some photos.

On Saturday we were in Columbia, SC for our friends wedding. The hotel we stayed in is near Fort Jackson. I started to notice young men in wheelchairs passing through the lobby. I saw one young man walking on two prosthetic legs. We think that they were in the area to participate in the Wreath ceremony at Fort Jackson. I thank these young men and women who serve our country to keep us safe. I just wish they didn’t have to. A Moment of Silence to all who have served. I used Photomatix to make an HDR image and used Lightroom and PSE to remove all of the color except red and green. You can see more photos on my flickr page:


This is a photo of one of the trucks leaving Maine, which are carrying the wreaths (taken by my cousin Steve Smith).


Other photos from Historic Oakwood:

Color Schemes

8 12 2015

This weeks lesson is all about the color wheel. ruth-ellenFlanagan_ColorScheme_1754 My best friend’s husband is Kevin, my husband is Kevin. Their next door neighbor’s name is Kevin. We have a new next door neighbor and his name is Kevin.

I had to use a photo I took the day after Thanksgiving. We are off to a wedding in SC and this photo just fit the theme. I took this as a series of photos of my friend Kevin sitting in each chair so I could merge them together as a few of you did for the self-portrait. He said he should have changed his shirt to match each chair (will try that in the Spring). I set the chairs up in rainbow order (missing orange and violet). He moved from chair to chair and changed his pose. This photo is an example of the Triadic color scheme. The chair you cannot see is green.

I did the following:

1. Used Photomatix to make an HDR image of the black & white version of this image.

2. Opened the color image and then pasted in the black and white version.

3. Created a layer mask on the top layer and used the brush to make the colors appear. Time consuming but worth the time!


I used this image to create my twirl image during the week of Radial Symmetry. Another Triadic color scheme.


Driving Pans

30 11 2015

I am not crazy about panning. But I had five hours left before we got home from our trip to Massachusetts. It was raining in Northern Virgina until we got past Richmond. So most of my shots have rain drops in them. I took a lot of pictures of the electric towers on the side of the road. This is a photo of a car dealership. I like the glow of the sign and my husband liked this one best. He was the driver. I used Lightroom to make the image black and white except for the blue. I added a frame with On1 Effects. This one was taken out of the side window, which was part of the lesson. I took others out the front window.


I didn’t get too many other good shots but here are the best:


26 11 2015

I knew we would have to do a self-portrait at some point. I am better at having my picture taken now, but still don’t usually like how I look. We are in Massachusetts for Thanksgiving week. I wanted to do a Flat Stanley set of photos using me as Flat Stanley but it was raining and too cold. We also never have enough time to do everything we want. We needed to go to the Cemetery because I had not been able to go during the High Holidays, which is customary. I also have been taking pictures in this cemetery for the Find A Grave Web site and had some photos that needed to be added. It was very sunny today and so decided that I would get a photo of me taking a photo of my Dad’s headstone. He has been gone since 1991. My Mom has dementia and didn’t seem to recognize us until Tuesday afternoon when we were getting ready to leave. It is always hard to leave. We won’t be back until Spring. You can see more photos of our trip on my flickr site:

This is my Auntie Annette on the left and me on the right at New England Roast Beef. She treated us to dinner. She is my dad’s sister.


In the Kitchen

16 11 2015

A room I don’t mind going into most days is the Kitchen! But lately takeout is easier. The lesson this week was to take a photo of something in the kitchen. Nice to be able to stay home to take this weeks photo! I cleaned up my Mom’s old Hamilton Beach Mixmaster and took some photos of it from different angles. Then the golden hour happened in my kitchen windows. I got this shot of the shadow on the wall.

I think this is what I did:

1. Used PSE to make the image B&W using the newspaper option. I then pushed the contrast all the way up to make the background black.

2. Used Perfect Effects and Lightroom to add the textures (but I cannot remember exactly what I did). Used Perfect Effects to add the frame.

3. Used PSE to change the color to red. I cannot use the mixer until we change the cord.

We will be off to Massachusetts to see my Mom and friends and family for Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for in these trying times. You can see other images on my flickr site:


Other kitchen photos: