In the shade of a cosmos petal

As of today I have 300 followers! Wow! As a first-time, clueless blogger with just over 5 months under my belt, I feel like I should be celebrating. To ALL of you who have subscribed to my blog I want to shout out a big THANK YOU! And I hope you are still liking what you see, and that my images continue to give you pleasure. Thank you also to those of you, followers and otherwise, who let me know you like my posts both by your ‘Likes’ and your comments. I can’t express enough how much you are all appreciated!

Today, before summer slips away completely, I’m bringing you an image I’ve had for a while but hadn’t done anything with until this week. Another cute, flashy little tree frog, this one perched on a dahlia bud under a cosmos blossom. I liked the original image, but wanted to give it a little bit of a punch, so I gave it an art treatment, using one of my own hand-painted watercolor textures.

As usual, click on the image for a larger view.green tree frog perched on a dahlia bud

 

 

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28 thoughts on “In the shade of a cosmos petal

  1. Congratulations Katrina – 300 followers in 5 months… I can only wish! Just doing the snail trail at 51 in 4 months. But enjoying the connections, such as us two! And after all it’s about having fun, learning and sharing with like minded people!

    Love that little Grenouille and your art treatment, as usual… Will you ever divulge how you do this?
    🙂 Chris

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    • Merci, Chris. 🙂 I’m flattered and humbled that so many people find my blog worth following! It’s been a learning curve, and more time-consuming and a lot more work than I anticipated. But I love getting feedback on my images – who doesn’t…, and yes, developing connections is a big bonus. 🙂 People kept telling me I should get on Facebook, start a blog, whatever, but I tend to guard my privacy zealously and blogging has started to shoehorn me out of that somewhat. Now that there’s more interaction going on on my blog, with you and others, I’m starting to be able to loosen up a bit and enjoy the social aspects of blogging – something I hadn’t really thought much about prior to mythical horse. 🙂 Laura Macky’s generous intro on her own popular blog certainly helped bring my blog numbers up. Thank you, Laura! 🙂

      So how did I create my little grenouille? Well, I started him out in LR5, bringing up the shadows a little, taming the highlights, then took him into PS Elements and from there into NIK Color Efex detail extractor to sharpen the image (not in this case, but with some images sharpening in HDR Efex works better), softened/lightened the background areas with the neutral density and blur vignette filters, then back to Elements to apply the texture and fine tune everything. Most of what I did in NIK could probably have been done in Elements, but NIK is faster. For texturing images the way I do them, but I’m sure it’s not the only way, you need to be comfortable working with layers, adjustment layers, masking, and blending modes. The texture I used in this case was an abstract watercolor on heavy WC paper, so the tooth shows in the image (it’s also what I use in my painting anyway). It’s just what I like, not essential to an image. Using masks, I selectively tweaked the opacity of the texture layer to my liking, and using more adjustment layers I tweaked saturation, tonal values, etc. I also made extensive use of dodging and burning to highlight detail in the image. When I’m working in Elements, everything, and I do mean everything, has its own layer so is non-destructive, allowing me to go back and re-tweak almost anything I feel like at any time.

      About textures: Of course you need to start with a good image that lends itself to doing this, as well as one or more (I often layer them) textures that are going to work with your image. For me the compatibility issue is usually trial and error… Sometimes I’ll throw a texture at an image and I think the combination just isn’t going to work, yet wowser! Magic happens. I’ve stopped trying to second-guess. Now I select a texture almost randomly. Almost. 🙂 The textures course I took really brought me up to speed on how to use all the necessary PS tools, or put me in a position to easily get there, but there are dozens of sources online to learn for free if you want to take the time. I don’t always use watercolor textures, I have a large and growing collection of textures that I create myself, either by painting, photographing, or by using any number of paper craft techniques that produce some quite unexpected textures. I scan in any non-digital textures.

      Any help to you, Chris? If you’re comfortable with the same software I use, developing something similar isn’t difficult. Then it’s just a matter of personal vision. You don’t have to be a brilliant artist to create textures, you don’t even have to go to the trouble of making your own (I prefer to use only my stuff) because there are free textures all over the internet. Knowing the software is the key. 🙂

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      • Well I asked for the how to! This is an involved and complex process, well beyond my capabilities. I am slowly learning about editing, which is another aspect that is developing out of blogging, but I have a long way to go before I can do anywhere near what you describe, Katrina. Thank you for sharing. Chris

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      • I started responding to this comment last week Chris, and it got far too long and unwieldy and I deep-sixed it, then ran out of time and forgot to get back to it…sorry. Yes, you did ask, and the response I gave you was about this particular image. Not all of my images are that complex, not all effects need to be. What OS and what software are you using, Chris? There are a number of free or inexpensive editing tools on the internet that will shortcut some of the effects, tho they tend not to have the degree of control over where and how an effect is applied the way that one might like. But if you’re not familiar with or don’t want to hand over the big $$ for the more advanced editing software, they’re a great place to start and are a lot of fun to use. I can recommend a few for you if you like. People are doing some incredible art/photo editing on their tablets, too, and even quite advanced apps are unbelievably affordable. I have several art and photo editing apps on my iPad that at this point are fun to play with but once I’m more famililar with them I’m planning to ease them into my workflow for some images, where I will edit on my desktop, pop them over to my ipad for some special effects, then send them back to my desktop for further editing. Unheard of just a few years ago, but becoming easier and easier, as well as cheaper and cheaper. Having the kind of know-how that is needed for my kind of work flow isn’t essential these days, but certainly can be useful once you get to the point where you want to take advantage of more sophisticated software. And as you saw from my blur images, for some things fancy software isn’t even required, not even a fancy camera!

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  2. Well done Katrina – I’m just glad I found your blog to enjoy the images, hopefully some conversations! Love this image, especially with the watercolour texture. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Sue. I’m getting a lot more comments now, and I’m feeling more comfortable responding to them, so yes, I hope too some interesting conversations will get started. 🙂

      Thanks for liking this image. I get a big kick out of combining my photos with watercolor, I think it’s going to get me painting again! In this case, as much as I love my dark background images, I wanted to feature a different side to my garden images.

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