Friday, October 24, 2014

Still Life with Poppy Seed Pods

Using "hazyhazy" preset and "kk_teatime" texture in multiply at 65%

I am currently taking Kim Klassen's Start to Finish class - on the one hand I learn more about Lightroom which I am getting quite addicted to, and on the other hand this class is about still life. I hadn't done any still life photography before, not really, and I've found that I like it.

One of the assignments was to create and photograph a still life with a paper bag. Many thoughts wandered through my head - filling a paper bag with grapes or tomatoes or any kind of fruit. But that didn't cut it for me. One day I remembered all the poppy seed pods I saved from my garden - and with that I suddenly knew what I wanted to do.

The "moody" one; preset "gentle", texture "kk_wednesday" in soft light at 68%

To my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed creating this still life. I easily spent a couple of hours with setting up, changing and photographing it. I tried different moods by using not only white but also blue and black backgrounds. I also changed my angle, got close ups and some shots of the entire setting with the intention to crop it later. It was fun, and I felt very contend and excited after I was finished.

When I processed the photos in Lightroom, I used some of Kim's presets and transferred some of the photos to Photoshop to layer them with a texture and add some texts, both of which are not possible in LR. Seriously, I felt like a kid in a candy store with all these new possibilities.

The black one; texture "kk_monday" in soft light at 100%

There is a ton I still have to learn, but it is a lot of fun at the same time. I already see some progress in my work.

Here's a shot from above:

preset "touchofvintage"

I am linking up to Kim's Friday Finds - this has quickly become one of my favorites.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Different Kind of Fence

For this week's "Good Fences" I'm taking you to Paris again - and trust me, this won't be the last time.

I love to take pictures of windows (and doors), and I noticed something about the windows in Paris: many of them have a little "fence" at the bottom of their windows. I don't even know how to call these! So I call them "mini fences". I'm not quite sure why they are there. For windows on the second floor and higher they might prevent you from falling out if you're stupid enough to lean that far out. Some practical people use them to put their window boxes on.

But what is the reason of this one? It doesn't prevent anyone from falling out (on the first floor?) or climbing in, even if they're jumping out of the wall.

These ones I get - and please notice how people park here! We saw that way of tight parking all over Paris, not only in Montmartre where most of these pictures were taken. I'm quite glad that we didn't have a car in Paris!

These mini fences seem to be everywhere - and these actually really seem to have a preventive reason since they are higher than the others (we had something like that in our apartment in Germany).

This one certainly is here just for decorative reason - and isn't it beautiful?

Perfume company Guerlain on the Champs-Élysées, however, has the most beautiful one - as it should be for a house of beauty.

That's my little "mini fence on window" tour through Paris. I hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Les Bouquinistes de la Rive Gauche

Everyone has heard of the Bouquinistes de Paris, the booksellers who sell used and antiquarian books along the banks of the river Seine that runs through Paris. There are the bouquinistes on the left bank or the Rive Gauche and those on the right bank of the river, or the Rive Droite. The Rive Gauche is the Southern bank of the Seine.

Beside used and antiquarian books - which you can certainly find here - they also sell prints, photography, magnets and locks, since the bouquinistes on this side of the river, right across from Notre Dame, are so close to the Pont de l'Archevêché, a bridge that is loaded with love locks and a huge magnet for tourists (that might be a later post).

The photos for sale are mainly black and white photography, something that fits so well with Paris.

As you can see at this booth, there are a lot of trinkets for sale as well. After all this is a tourist area and of course the bouquinistes like to have a piece of that cake as well - who can blame them?

It's lovely and very relaxing to stroll around, browse some used books and enjoy the view of Notre Dame behind the stalls.

Teenagers love to hang out on the low wall between the stalls, with the medieval grand cathedral in the background...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Barn Fence

Of course the old weathered barn that I showed you last time has a fence as well - actually, quite a collection of fences. Needless to say that the fences looked so much better maintained than the barn. I guess they are meant to keep anybody OUT.

Okay, this fence post is not quite upright anymore, and it looks a bit weathered as well. This certainly fits this old barn more than the fence in the top picture. Here's a detail of the old barbed wire:

Behind the barn runs a creek. Well, "runs" might not be the correct word since there is no water at all - the drought has just left a very dry creek bed. But there still is a little bridge over the creek, and it has a little chain fence by the side.

This is what the drought looks like in California right now - just sad.

Despite the old ruined barn - this is a good fence and therefore deserves a link up to Theresa's blog!

Monday, October 13, 2014

An Old Barn in Ruins

Along one of our beautiful and scenic country roads you can find this barn - old, weathered, and completely in ruins.

A "do not enter" sign warns everybody of the sad state of this barn that probably had been quite the beauty in its good days. Now everything has become dilapidated. From these pictures you can see how the vegetation is growing through the roof. Here's a close up:

In some parts the roof has been covered, but I'm pretty sure it's not of much use either and the rain - if it rains - still leaks through.

layered with "kk_monday" in soft light at 100%

However, pictures like the following ones are just beautiful, showing the old barn in front of the hills that you find so many of here in Sonoma County.

This is the backside of the barn - it looks a bit better and you could almost have the illusion that this is still a working barn.

layered with Kim's "chamomille" in soft light at 50%

I'm linking up with Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hanging Pumpkin in a Fairy Garden

While Jo and I did our tour through some local nurseries we stopped in between at Wildflour Bakery in Freestone for some scones. Their scones are legendary good - I had a Gravenstein apple, raspberry and marzipan one whereas Jo enjoyed a Meyer lemon and raspberry one. I think she also had almonds in hers. They are sinfully good!

Kim's texture pumpkingrunge in soft light at 30%

The bakery has a little garden in the back where we retreated to eat our scones at some place in the shade (it was a very hot day). At the end of this natural tunnel we saw this huge pumpkin hanging, further secured with some garden twine. I expected some fairies turning up and dancing on this pumpkin!

Kim's texture dustyrose in soft light at 65% (texture brushed from pumpkin), 
copy and multiply at 65%

I'm linking up with Kim's Friday Finds - a new favorite of mine!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

An Old Fence

When Jo and I went on another nursery trip on Sunday - all the nurseries have their big plant sales right now, and October is the time to plant in Northern California - we visited the tiny town of Tomales on Highway 1 where one of our favorite nurseries that specializes in native plants is located. Right across form the nursery is a property that is enclosed by this beautiful weathered fence. For some reason I have always loved this fence, and whenever I'm here (about twice a year) I take a picture of it (or two or three).

So I did this time as well. You would think that I have way too many photos of this fence, but somehow this never seems to be the case...

I think you can see why...

I'm linking up to Theresa's Good Fences where everybody is just as crazy about fences! Come and take a look!