Checking In

Happy 4th of July

July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July to all!  This morning I listened to the reading of the Declaration of Independence written 241 years ago. I tried to imagine what it was like for the people in the Colonies while they fought for the freedom and rights we now take so for granted. The hardships and obstacles they faced were tremendous and yet the conveniences were few. No cell phone or land line service existed, no internet, no cars, no in door plumbing, thus they must have been very determined.

After listening, I felt extremely proud and humbled to be an American. Also, I felt so thankful to those who crafted that document and secured our freedom. Thankful to the many who fight today and have fought throughout the years to protect our rights as U.S. citizens. It also made me realize how fragile those rights are. They can easily be eroded and greater effort needs to be made to preserve and protect them.

I hope all US citizens take a few moments to read or listen to the words of our forefathers and the great document of the Declaration of Independence and remember just how luck we are this 4th of July!

Stars & Stripes

Happy July 4th

Thanks for reading and more of my work can be viewed on www.susanmcanany.com.

Creative

Macro Photography and Mushrooms

June 23, 2017

Recently, I had an opportunity to use macro photography with some mushrooms that had sprung up in my front yard. We had been having a period of a lot of rain and it was interesting to watch these grow and then die in a matter of days due to the heat and sun. In one section huge amounts of mushrooms crowded into a small, multi-level area creating an interesting texture. It also created challenges in macro photography. How does one position a tripod with such little space to maneuver?

macro photography and mushrooms

mushroom patch

Here are a few tips for macro photography:

  1. Use a tripod or something to prop and stabilize the camera. You will need this because your shutter speed will be very slow.  A very high ISO could help provide a faster shutter speed, but also will produce some grain and noise in your image. On the images below I had my camera positioned on the ground with some cushioning beneath.
  2. Lock the Rear Mirror in the up position or use the Live View function. Refer to your camera’s manual to learn the specifics on how to do this.
  3. I find it best to use manual focus and a camera shutter release. Also taking multiple images with different focus points is useful if needed in post processing to achieve the necessary depth of field.
  4. Observe how the light is hitting your subject and position yourself to maximize the most dramatic effect.
  5. One thing macro photography does require is an abundance of patience. So be calm and enjoy the process.

As I worked the subject more, I was able to isolate a few mushrooms grouped together that created a more interesting photograph.

macro photography and mushrooms

Macro image of mushrooms in rocks

Lastly, I found one mushroom standing by itself with some great filter light. This one ended up my favorite macro photograph which reinforces the notion that less is more!

macro photograpy with mushroom

fine art print, mushroom art, mushroom photograph

Thanks for reading and to see more of my work, please visit my website!

Creative

Textures For Creative Projects And People

April 10, 2017

Textures are abundant in our everyday life and I like to keep on look out for them. This current batch comes from a piece of equipment that just saw its final days. It is interesting to see the wear and tear twenty years left on this pump. After a brief thought about what time and experiences do to all of us inside and out, I reached for my camera.

First I explored the exterior surfaces looking for level planes that would yield interesting textures. Much of what I found was distressed and rusted surfaces that I knew immediately would be useful.  Next, we opened it up and the interior surfaces yielded some great textures also. So now this pump will live on in my creative projects and maybe yours!  Many of these I have added to my Digital Images-Textures at my Etsy Shop. If you have a few moments, pop on over and have a look.

These textures are great for many of your creative projects. All my digital images are high quality Royalty Free images downloaded as jpg files.  They may be used on any website, blog or for a creative or personal project. The textures are great also for use as scrap booking backgrounds or as a Photoshop texture overlay. You may resize, crop, print or manipulate the image and sell it as part of a new product you create. You may use the file multiple times.  However, you may not sell, resell, give, loan, share or transfer the image or jpeg file to any third party. As with most images the artist/photographer (me) maintains the original copyright and is the sole owner of the image.

Here are a few textures I uploaded today:

clip art texture of distress blue metal

 

texture image of rust stained blue metal

 

Clip art of wood textures

 

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look. To view my Fine Art Photographic Prints, please visit my website and www.susanmcanany.com.

Equipment, Software & Technique

Photoshop Shortcut Keys I Love To Use

February 12, 2017

Using Photoshop shortcut keys is one way to simplify and speed up editing an image. Since I am always looking for any method to speed up my process, I find these helpful.  Many shortcut keys are pre-assigned by Photoshop and can be found under the Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts Menu.

Photoshop Shortcut Keys Menu

However, it is also easy to assign your own  Photoshop shortcut keys for processes you do often.

Here are some simple instructions that pertain to Photoshop CS6:

1) Navigate to the Application Menu Command you wish to change.

2) Click on that command  and a white box will be displayed.

3) Press the keys you would like the command to respond to.

4) Press OK.

As you can see in the example below, I have assigned the shortcut keys  for the command for Image > Mode > 8 Bit to Command+B.  If the keyboard command you are attempting to assign is already in use, you will be alerted and you can decide if you want to continue.

Here are a list of some of my favorite shortcut keys:

Save:    Command/Windows + S

Close:   Command/Windows Key + W

New:     Command/Windows + N

Free Transform:   Command/Windows + T

Convert Profile:     Command/Windows + R

Convert to 8 bit:    Command/Windows + B

Invert:    Command/Windows+ I

Merge Down:    Command/Windows + E

Merge Up:    Option/Alt + Command/Windows+ E

Flatten:  Command/Windows + F

Select All:    Command/Windows + A

Deselect All:    Command/Windows + D

Editing  and using Photoshop shortcut keys is very easy to do and will truly help you save time when editing your photos.

Thanks for reading and view my work at susanmcanany.com.

 

 

Equipment, Software & Technique

Reimagine an Image With Photoshop

January 5, 2017

Often when I have an image I like but want to make it stronger I will reimagine the image. This requires thinking outside the box and tapping all of my creative thoughts and ideas. Also, a quiet room, a powerful computer and a few Photoshop plug ins help immensely.

On the example below I first combined two images I had previously taken of a train wheel. I always liked the shape and modern industrial nature of the images, however the darkness of the subject matter had always bothered me.

Reimagine abstract art image of train wheel.

Here is what I did:

  1. I combined the two images in Photoshop by copying one image into the other, creating an image file with two layers.
  2. This allowed me change the Overlay Method on one of the Layers.
  3. Next I did some masking on one of the layers so a more abstract image began to evolve.
  4. I merged up my two layers when I was satisfied with the overall composition.
  5. I used two different plug ins for this image: Topaz Glow and Topaz Impressions  It did take a bit of time and experimentation with both of these plug ins to achieve a result I was happy with.
  6. Finally I used Photoshop Curves Adjustment to darken and lighted areas of the print I felt needed it.

Here are the two images I started with. I personally like the new reimagined image and plan to offer it for sale on my website, but that is of course my taste. People close to me still like the original ones better, so I guess I will leave those also. That is the beauty of digital imaging.

Original Images

Close up of train wheel.

Contemporary image of train component.

 

As always, thanks for reading and if you get chance visit my website or Etsy store. Keep shooting and experimenting!

Checking In

‘Tis the Holiday Season

December 7, 2016

As December rolls in, so does the holiday season and year end. This is a great time for reflection on personal matters and to review projects and work completed during the passing year. This year I created some truly unique, quality fine art photos that make wonderful prints to give as presents. Many of my newer pieces can be found in the Abstract or Nature Made Portfolios on my website, although, there are fabulous prints available in every Portfolio. Send me an email if you need more details about any print.

Selling stock images was recently added at my Etsy Store.  Many vintage ornament photographs not found anywhere else are available, along with other holiday themed images. These make great additions for your holiday greeting cards or invitations and decorative headers for your web site. The files are sold as royalty free jpeg images, free of any water mark and delivered instantly by digital download. Check them out if you have a free moment.

Here is a sneak peak at some of my holiday stock images.

vintage hand painted ornament

Hand painted holiday ornamental ball

stock photo of decorated holiday cookies

Stocking stuffed with coal with greenery and ornament.

I also have quite a few textures and delicious looking food clip art images available for sale.

Thanks for visiting my site and reading this post.  I wish you the a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous new year.  More of my work can be viewed on my website www.susanmcanany.com.

Equipment, Software & Technique

Tips for Getting Sharp Images

November 14, 2016

Recently I had to mentally review tips for getting sharp images for a project I am working on. Now many of these techniques I have been using for years, but this project involves a macro lens and a moving subject so I needed to dig deep for all tips and techniques for getting sharp images I have come across throughout my photo career. Here is what I came up with and I wanted to share them with you.

Tips for Getting Sharp Images

  • A fast shutter speed is required to freeze movement, so make certain the Aperture and ISO on your camera are set appropriately to achieve a Shutter Speed of at least 200. Faster if you can get it there because the faster the better for freezing movement.
  • Depending on lighting conditions, there is a good chance you will need to increase your ISO to reach a fast enough shutter speed.
  • If using an external flash, experiment with High Speed Synch to see if that would be useful.
  • Use a support system. This could be a tripod, monopod, a pile of books or wall to brace yourself or your camera.
  • Invest in a camera shutter release or use the self timer on your camera.
  • If you are not using “live view” on your camera, use the mirror lock up function if available.

If you follow a few of the recommendations above for tips for getting sharp images, I am sure your images will be sharper and move beautiful.  Most of all have fun when you are shooting.

Here is one of the images I have been working on.

Tips for Sharp Images

 

Thanks for reading and check out more of my work at www.susanmcanany.com. Also if looking for great stock images, visit my Etsy store. I offer a wide range of digital downloads.

 

Checking In

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2016

Wishing everyone a safe and spooky Halloween!

carved and lit pumpkin photo

stock image

I now offer instant downloads at my Etsy shop.  Currently, I have listed some great holiday (including Halloween), textures and food images listed. These are located in the Digital Images sections at the shop. The images may be used for a variety of purposes including website backgrounds and headers or printable content for note cards, invitations, prints etc. Texture image files make fabulous layers for image editing or composited art. Often I find the addition of a texture layer sparks creativity for an image or project I am working on.

Of course, basic knowledge of Photoshop or some other image editing software is required. All files are available via instant download upon receipt of your payment.

Terms of Use

The digital instant download images are high quality Royalty Free jpg files. You may resize, crop, print or manipulate the image and sell it as part of a new product you create. Also, you may use the instant download file multiple times.  In addition, you may not sell, resell, give, loan, share or transfer the image or file to any third party.  As with most instant downloads, the original owner maintains the copyright and is the sole owner of all images.

Thanks for stopping by. View more of my Halloween and other stock images are available at my Etsy Shop.  Visit my website to see more of my work.

Equipment, Software & Technique

Capturing Lightning Strikes With iPhone

October 14, 2016

The other night I had a great opportunity to capture lightning strikes with an iPhone.  Anyone who lives in Florida knows one thing for sure, we have some dramatic weather, from beautiful skies and sunsets to tremendous lightning storms. It can be quite a show. Now, I am not by any means a storm chaser since I like to seek shelter quickly if the situation demands it.  So for capturing lightning I try to keep it simple and using an iPhone is the utmost in simplicity.

For the two images below I hand held my iPhone, however,  they probably would of been slightly better on a tripod. Everything is better on a tripod and since I am a bit of a perfectionist, I am now looking into a tripod mount for my iPhone. One thing I did use was a great App, iLightningCam, that triggered the camera when a lightning strike was detected.  Every time a strike was detected it would rapidly fire off 5-7 images.  I probably shot 100 images or more to get the two below. I also have an iPad and it was helpful to let them copy to the iPad for viewing editing and deleting.

Tips for capturing lightning with iPhone:

Purchase the App iLightningCam or something similar.

Be sure your iPhone has enough available storage space. The App fires off many images and it takes a lot of tries to good ones.

Make certain you have a fair amount of battery juice available. It takes power to write all those images to your storage.

Use a tripod if you have one or focus on holding the camera steady.

Try to keep the horizon level.

Experiment with the different menu items of the App to find which one works the best for you and your lightning show.

Above all else, stay safe!

Lightning strike on Sarasota Bay

 

lightning storm sarsota, fl

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out more of my work at www.susanmcanany.com

Creative

Hermine Inspired Abstract Images

September 3, 2016

The past few days hurricane Hermine inspired me to experiment with some abstract techniques in the studio. Hurricane Hermine was a huge rain event where I live and capturing a few droplets seemed the perfect way to illustrate some of its effects.

This is a shoot I researched to help get out of the box with my thinking and boost creativity. I was working in studio and here is the general set up. The image consists of a mixture of water and oil in a glass container. This container is situated on plexiglass, elevated around 12 inches with a multi- colored cloth beneath.  There are plenty of video tutorials on line demonstrating this technique.  Although the technique did have its challenges, some of the results I found to be very inspiring thus the name of this post Hermine inspired.

The biggest challenge was finding a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the moving water. To create the bubbles, the mixture had to agitated by either gentle moving the container or stirring the mixture of water and oil. However, the agitation created movement of the water and oil causing images to be blurred at lower shutter speeds. On the plus side, it forced me to really work with the Shutter/Aperature/ISO matrix to get some good shots. As with many shoots the more images you take the greater the probability of succeeding.

Thanks for reading and I hope the next time you have some crazy weather in your area, you let your creative juices flow and make some art!

Hermine Inspired Images

“Bubbled Over”

hermine inspired abstract art photograph

“Cellular Activity”

Hermine inspired blue abstract art photograph

Check out more of my work at susanmcanany.com.