Thursday, 21 August 2014

Photography this week: Magnolias

Photographs this week

Spring is around the corner.  The magnolia trees are in full bloom.  It always amazes be how big the Magnolia flowers are on our trees.  They are huge.  2 days ago I saw my youngest climbing the magnolia tree.  He bought me in a beautiful bloom.  It wasn’t quite open and just perfect.  My photos this week are of this beautiful gift J

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Photographing art quilts: Part 3

Photographing your own art work is such a valuable skill to have.  Hiring a photographer can be expensive, time consuming and sometimes quite inconvenient. With a few simple pieces of equipment and a little time and patience you can become a pro at photographing your own art work.

In part one and two we looked at how to set up a temporary photography studio (see article here) with equipment most of us have hanging around the house.  In part two we looked at how to set up your art work and take the photo. (see article here)  Today we are going to look at what happens once the  photo is loaded onto the computer.

Step three:  Down loading the photos and editing

Make sure you have your art work in good light next to you to use as a reference
1.     Download your photos onto a computer. 
2.     Open a copy of the photo of your art in your photo editing software.  I use window live photo gallery for simple editing or Photoshop elements for more advance editing. Windows is sufficient if the photo is well taken. Always use a copy to edit.
3.     Straighten the photo using the straightening tool. 

4.     Crop the art work using the crop tool.  I try and get as close to the edge as possible. 

5.     Manually adjust the exposure.  Windows:  I do this by going into adjust exposure then pull up the left dark pointer on the graph up to where the graph lines begin and bring down the right light pointer down to where the graph lines end.

6.     In Photoshop go into enhance and then into adjust lighting and then into levels.

Then move the left arrow to where the graph line starts.  Then bring the right arrow across to where the right graph line finishes. (below)

Sometimes you need to play around with the middle arrow to get the exposure right. Keep moving it until it looks right.

7.      Adjust the colour settings by pressing adjust the colour automatically or by manually adjusting the colour.  Keep referring to the original art work for a guide.

Windows: Adjust colour temp/tint/saturation.  Just increase and decrease in tiny increments.

Or Photoshop:  Go to Enhance-and then scroll down to adjust colour.  There are quite a few ways to adjust colour on your art work.  Have a play and see which one works the best. I like to use hue and saturation and adjust colour curves.  Keep playing until it looks right

8.     I am happy that my art quilt looks as close as possible to the original. Now it is ready to be saved. 

9.     Save it as JPEG or in the format you need for competition entries.  I generally use JPEG as it such a versatile format. Go into file and scroll down to save.  Then save it under JPEG in the format box.

10.                       The finished photo

Monday, 18 August 2014

No Internet !! No communication?

I have been quiet for the last week, not because of slackness but because we have run out of internet. (I am borrowing someone else's today to write this post). The joys of living in rural communities in New Zealand :)  So until we have our internet up and running on Thursday I'm not going to be able to post any more posts this week.  

It is amazing how much I rely on the internet on a daily basis for communication.  I hadn't realised how much until we didn't have any.  Communication is so important. Interacting with other people is the one of the fundamental parts of being human.  Technology has given us so many more options to communicate with. It is a wonderful tool but I think my favourite way to communicate still is to talk to someone face to face.  I love to chat with friends and to connect with them.  

Art is another form of communication that I love I love seeing people's faces when they look at art work and I love looking at other people's work to see what they are trying to communicate.  It is such an expressive form of communication. 

What does the quilt 'Caught reading" (above) communicate to you?

Friday, 8 August 2014

Photography for the week: The mountains

The mountains

I had a lovely trip to Palmerston North, North Island, NZ  with my youngest daughter to check out the university down there.  It was a wonderful few days.  On the way down to the university the mountains were all clear.  It was stunning.  These photos were taken my Kelsey and me.  We're not sure who took what but we had so much fun.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Art quilting: Working in a series

Floral series

Building a series of work is a wonderful way to work.  Concentrating on one idea, pushes you to think more deeply about work or to concentrate on a specific area of your work you would like to explore more.  

These four quilts are the beginning of a series of work which have strong connections with each other.  They work successfully because of repeated ideas, motifs  and techniques.  

 Using the same technique and stencil on each art quilt and changing the placements slightly of the stencils keeps the design simple and the focus on colour.  Exploring different colour ways on a series of work helps to find new ways of working in colour and explores new possibilities.   

Floral 1:  Green and blue, stamps and variegated thread.

Floral 2: Tan and green, paint and variegated thread

Floral 3: Red and orange, One colour thread and stamping 
home made stamps

Floral 4: Blue and purple, Variegated thread and printing materials. 

N.B These 2 pieces of work still need mounting

Monday, 4 August 2014

Photographing art quilts:part 2

Photographing art work Is not as hard as it seems.  A couple of lamps, a camera, and tripod is really all you need.  

You may like to read this post on how it is done.  

It is so rewarding to be able to be able to do all your own photographs for your portfolio, web page, marketing and cataloguing.  It is really good to be able to fit it into your own schedule and not have to make an appointment.  It is also really good for the bank balance.  

The equipment you will need are only basic things you probably 
already have at home.

So you are now all set up, so what you do next?

  1. Set up your camera on your tri-pod. Make sure it is at an height that is comfortable for you to either stand behind and not stoop or to sit comfortably behind.  I prefer to stand behind mine so I don't have to get up and don all the time.
  2. Close the curtains in the room so you can control the light in the room.
  3. Place the lamps on either side of the art work. 
  4. Put you quilt or other art work onto the wall.  Place it at the level of the camera lens.  If the art work is portrait photograph it on it's side so that the quilt will fit in the lens better.
  5. Step back from the wall and check that it is level.  I find it helps to look through the lens of the camera if am not sure and see if it lines up with the edges of the viewfinder.
  6. Look at the art work an make sure you can see the quilting or other details clearly with your eye.
  7. Try taking the photo using a remote or if you have a self timer use it.  This stops any slight movement when pressing the button down to take the photo.
  8. Take a photo without the flash
  9. Check the photo and see if it is the right brightness, colour, if it is level,  if it is in focus and to make sure the quilting or detail can be seen. 

So what do you do if any of these things aren't quite right?

*Read your camera manual.* Every camera is different so it is really important that you get to know your camera.

Most camera's come with a fairly comprehensive manual. 
Read it !!!!  If you can't find it try hunting on-line.  The internet is a treasure trove of information.  

Then try out some of the ideas from your manual and take another photo.  

Some problems can be sorted out with editing software but it is better to get the best photo you can before needing to edit.

A few ideas to try
  • Take the photos square on to your work to keep all the edges of your work square and even
  • Move around the lamps to get more even coverage of light over the work.  try moving them up and down or set them further away on closer to the art work.
  • Try using the different settings on the camera to see what results they produce.  I.E.  The portrait, landscape settings etc
  • Try coming close to the art or moving further away
  • Try a manual setting versus an automatic setting
  • Write down all the setting you use so you can come back to them as a future reference.
  • Try opening and closing curtains, turning on and off lamps and other sources of light in the room. 
  • If you can set the white balance on your camera make sure it is set to the appropriate light source.  It is amazing the difference.
  •  If you aren't sure if the colour is right put a piece of white paper next to the art work and take another photo.  If the paper is not white enough you know that the art work colour will not be be quite right either.
  • Take lots of photos.  It takes a lot of photos to get a great picture. 
  • Try to take your photos with the telephoto settings. This usually produces the least distortions.
  • And most importantly have FUN!!!!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Photographs this week: Frosty days

Frosty days

The last few weeks in Te Awamutu have been cold and absolutely beautiful.  I love winter on still frosty mornings followed by a stunning sunny day. 

These photos were taken at 7.30 am on a beautiful winters day.

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