Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gift Wrap, Gift Bags, Tote Bags, Note Cards

When you shop for gift wrap and gift bags, what do you look for?  What about tote bags?  If you are shopping for yourself or for a gift for a friend or loved one, what is it that attracts your attention most?  If you are buying note cards or even spiral notebooks, do you ever wonder who designed the covers?  The fabric for the tote bags has some type of design.  Did you ever think about where that design originated?  Probably not.  We shop for what captures our attention most.  But who designed the patterns on the products we purchase probably never crosses our minds.  

A few weeks ago, I did not think about these things either.  My mind was on fine art photography, and jigsaw puzzles using beautiful scenic photos.  The past couple of weeks all of these other items were brought to my attention and I realized that there was so much more I could do than I ever dreamed possible.  Building my portfolio has been so much fun as well as a work of love.  Seeing these beautiful designs appear from my photos that I already thought were pretty good to start with has been such a wonderment.  While I do take credit for putting together the various patterns that I've come up with to make these designs, I could not have done it at all without the help of my friend Sharon, who has helped me by teaching me different facets of the PSP program and showing me the "secret" of using plug-in filters.  I hope that she knows just how much I appreciate her help with all of this.  In fact, since I have "discovered" these areas of design work, I have been working together with Sharon, who is an excellent graphics designer and with a talent she has hidden from the world until now.  Together, with her guiding me in PSP and filters, and me guiding her in marketing her work, it's just possible that we both may come out on top in creative careers for each of us.  Wouldn't that be something?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Work or Play?

Are you asking if I am really working or just playing without any real goal or purpose in mind?  It's a good question.  Especially when I am having so much fun doing what I am doing with my photographs and this graphics program.  

It is hard to explain to those who do not understand the creative mind rather than the logical mind.  Only once an artist succeeds to make a good income is he or she really respected, or that it is even seen as work.  In fact, this was always the mindset I lived under myself all my life.  It wasn't that I believed that mindset.  Growing up as the only child born in the 1950's to a single mother, who herself grew up during the Great Depression, made a big impact on my life.  Work is work.  It's not supposed to be fun and it doesn't matter if you enjoy what you do as long as you have a job.  The important thing is that you have a real job.  

Things changed over the years as people became more and more convinced that having a job you enjoy is more important, especially for your health because of what stress does to people's bodies.  College educations stopped being all about what our parents wanted us to study and became more about what we really wanted to do with our lives.  But even then, the creative people usually had to focus on more "realistic" career choices because nobody really believes just anyone can be more than a "Starving Artist" if we focus our lives on our creative abilities.

My focus ended up being chosen for me.  Although I wanted to be a writer/photographer since late childhood, my life took me in the direction of the medical field, mostly long term care.  Two years of college for an unfinished BS degree in nursing took me to marriage and raising children.  Later I was able to get an AA degree in social work and spent most of my later career as an Activity Director in long term care.  It was an acceptable way of earning a living and still making way for a creative outlet.  Most of the time I felt like I got paid to play.  But it still was not fulfilling what was deep in my heart.  The pressure was still on to focus on the income rather than enjoying the work.

Now it's my time.  If I don't work toward fulfilling my dreams now, I won't have a chance to do it later.  I am a Baby Boomer who finally has time on my hands to do the things I want to do.  There is pressure involved, too.  This time the pressure is on proving to myself and to my family and friends that I can follow my dream and succeed.  Explaining the process is not required.  If they want to learn how someone can earn a living "playing around" with a camera and a computer, they can go online and learn for themselves.  It's not my time to convince anyone anymore.  It's my time to believe in myself and just do it. 

The kaleidoscope above was done from the floral below.  The original floral below can be found on the Florals tab at the top of the blog along with the other designs I have created.

Monday, August 20, 2012

How Much Fun New Toys Are!

The graphics are changing on this site quickly.  As much fun as the original effects of PSP are, thanks to a good friend, tonight I have installed what seems like hundreds of new effects/filters to work with.  So, tired of all those kaleidoscopes and waves and patterns, etc?  I may have to start a separate blog, or at least tab just for all the new graphics.  Here are some samples.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Difference A Door Makes

When I bought Corel Paint Shop Photo Pro X3 I did not expect to be getting the kinds of graphic design results that I have gotten recently.  For example, a set of simple photos of my front door.  The photos were not meant to be good or of any particular view of the door.  I was simply sitting beside the door while waiting on the animals to come to the birdseed bait on the front porch when I decided to find out what various snapshots of my door would look like if I made a kaleidoscope or other designs from them.  This is how it went.

As you can see, they were not spectacular photos by any means.  Now here you can see what those photos became after only a few minutes time with PSPhotoProX3.

Even this final photo of the door which originally looked very dull, now sparkles with character.  

This is the interesting thing here with this program.  Taking some of the most ordinarily bad photos intentionally so that they can be made into graphic designs is becoming more fun than I ever imagined.  The next time you buy some spiral notebooks with graphic designs on the covers, or gift wrap for that next birthday, wedding, anniversary, or even the dinnerware on your table, don't be surprised if you find out that I was the designer.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Baiting and Shooting

My bird feeder is in my front yard very closely centered between my small front porch and the sidewalk and street.  Being that my porch is so small there is not even room to place a chair to sit on so when Jonah and I go outside during the day, I sit on the steps.  This puts me even closer to the bird feeder, yet sometimes the sparrows don't seem to mind our presence if we sit still and don't move a lot.  Most of my bird photos are taken from that vantage point.  However, to capture the very stubborn cardinal, or to get good closeups of the squirrels in the yard sometimes takes a little more planning.  While I do have some good squirrel shots from my place on the porch steps, some of the photos of the squirrels as well as the birds are from inside my front door.  Of course the problem with that is having to shoot through the screen in the door.  The photos tend to be fuzzy.  I have also taken quite a lot of photos through the screen door using my Canon AE1 35mm camera but as yet have not gotten the film developed.  The zoom lens on the Canon gets me much closer to the birds and squirrels than my Kodak Z885 point and shoot digital camera.  

Today I had to try an experiment.  I decided to place some loose birdseed in areas that would draw the birds and squirrels closer to the porch while I stayed inside the house watching from the door where they would not see me so readily.  This experiment is going to have to be extended.  Weather prevented me from keeping the bait sitting out the entire time and even then it seemed to take most of the day just for the birds to find out that the bait was there.  They never did find the little flowerpot tray with the birdseed in.  As far as I know the squirrels never found the bait on the steps, however they did move in for some of the other closer shots.  You can see what happened below.

 Oh well, tomorrow's another day...

Other shots I was able to take today are included in the animals page on this blog.  I finally did succeed in capturing that stubborn camera-shy cardinal too!  Hopefully tomorrow he might even come on up to the porch!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Photographer's Market

While I am not promoting any specific place to purchase Photographer's Market I got my most recent copy at Amazon as a Kindle book for my PC. It makes it easy access right at my fingertips.  I got the 2012 version for right now as 2013 has not come out yet.  It is expected to be on the market soon, however.  I have been buying Writer's Market and Photographer's Market every few years since I was in my early 20's.  (And that's a long time ago, believe me!)  
Today it seems like everyone is promoting stock photography for selling your photos.  So far this is something I have to do more research for.  In the meantime, however, I am more interested in what I can do with Photographer's Market for selling my photos to magazines, and other markets including the jigsaw puzzle market.  I love jigsaw puzzles and sometimes when I have a picture I really love, I imagine what kind of puzzle it might make.  
The 2012 edition of Photographer's Market has excellent and informative articles as well as the usual listing of available markets for selling your photos and I highly recommend it to any photographer who is not just doing portrait photography.