I am happy to be back in the studio, or at least a my temporary one till I move to another location. Reunited at last with my copy stand and all the rest of the photo toys I have accumulated over the years is a really good feeling. And also a ton of fun.
Working with the copy stand.
To get me jump started in the studio I am working on a series of still life photos that are shot in studio on a neutral gray background. Later in my digital darkroom I combine those images with different cool texture backgrounds. Some of the textures I have created myself, but quite a few I have purchased from FlyPaper Textures. They are a great resource for interesting textures and edges.
I have been excited about this process and the results. Although, like all things photography there are several technical issues to work out along the way. Setting up the lights and synching to the camera came easily to me, once all cables and meters were found. However, getting those flowers to look just right took some time. Photographing a living thing does require some speed, as it begins to deteriorate once it is removed from water and placed under lights. But, I love the process, being back in the studio and I am getting some great results.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Joel Grimes. Without his tutorials, I never would of started this project.
Thanks for looking and reading. Check out more of my still life texture images on my website.
I don’t know if it is COVID or all the hype regarding the post office, but it seems people are having a flash to the past and letter writing once again. Personally, I find letter writing to be a very personal, intimate way to reach out to someone. To hand write a note shows a concern and interest well beyond sending an email or text. You are sending a person a bit of your handwriting, however neat or sloppy it may be. It will be something that someone may cherish for a long time and perhaps if you have children and grand children the card or letter will be passed through the generations. I know I am still thrilled when I find a note or card with a message from my Mom. Something about seeing her handwriting is very comforting.
Taking all that into consideration, I have launched a line of Greeting Cards at my Etsy shop that I have written about in previous post. Recently, I have also added Greeting Card sets to increase your choices for letter writing. These sets offer a wide variety of cards from black and white to nature and architecture. I even have a couple of different and quirky sets for anyone looking for something more out of the box. All of these images come from some of my most popular fine art prints and stock images.
Edibles Greeting Card Set
These Greeting Cards are professionally printed on 60 lb matte paper. They measure 4.13 x 5.83 inches and come with a blank interior ready for your personal note or message. They make a great gift or awesome for personal use.
Nature Greeting Card Set
Nature Greeting Card Set comes with six beautiful nature scenes from rural barns to coastal landscapes and close up of cheery tulips and sunflower. Each card is packaged in a cello protector. All six of these scenes are horizontal orientation and come with silver envelopes.
Quirky Greeting Card Set
This greeting card set includes some unique and quirky images including the fine art images of “Golf Meeting”, “Female Studio Sound” and “Runaway”. Also are three other images from my extensive photo library, included an all time favorite “Horses Asses”.
I hope you too have caught on to the flash from the past letter writing craze. If not please consider making someones day by sending them a personalized greeting note card. I am sure they will be tickled. Check out my Etsy store to see other Greeting Card Sets and individual Greeting Cards.
Prints of graffiti art when used for home decor can be very interesting. Throughout my travels I am always on the lookout for graffiti to photograph that will translate well into art prints. Some of the criteria I look for is an interesting subject matter that is relatable to the viewer which would be me, vibrant colors and also somewhere I can access. I am not much into climbing wire fences or walls that may line a freeway to photograph graffiti art.
There is one place in St Louis, just south of downtown, that I often visit called the wall. It has been around for decades and often some very interesting images can be photographed there. Initially, a single layer of graffiti was on the wall but over the years graffiti artists have painted over other art on the wall and now it is layers and layers of graffiti that often yield interesting art and relatable stories. I like to capture it because to me it appears so fleeting changing each time I visit. And much of it is very unique and interesting.
Here is a photo of the wall taken many years ago.
Graffiti wall in St Louis, Mo.
The image below is titled “Female Studio Sound” and it recently sold it again. As you can see it is very vibrant and tells a story. It is an interesting piece of art that would look good hanging in any home or office.
“Female Studio Sound”
Another popular print is “Neon Teddies”. Very fun art to hang on the wall.
Just remember to keep your eyes open for graffiti art, especially in urban areas. It could be worth your stopping. If you are looking to add some prints to your collection, please check out my portfolio at https://susanmcanany.com.
Embracing the beauty of simplicity in today’s world is a much need. In my daily life for 2019 I started by reducing my internet time starting with the number of google searches, twitter feed reviews and Facebook contact. My personal life goal is to reduce the number of plastic bags I use. I know this is a small step, but very important for the environment. Now, I am taking it to my art.
How to make something simpler and find the beauty of simplicity? Many options are available with photography beginning with zooming in on your subject. Yes, fill the frame with your subject!! If zooming is unavailable or you want to simplify an existing image, you may try cropping the image. So many sensors offer incredibly large files and frames, that cropping is easy to do and you still have a big, beautiful file for posting on line or printing.
Removing lines from a composition is another option for simplification and finding beauty in the simplicity. Also, this will allow the image to take on a more abstract rendering. Moving from subject reality to a surreal rendering.
Another option to simplification is to reduce the variety or magnitude of color. This can be difficult, especially of me, when vibrant colors are one of my signature traits. But it can also be a way of seeing differently. It will also help you find the leading line or composition high point you want to stress in your work. I have seen this work very successfully with some beautiful black and white work.
For me, finding beauty in simplicity required I combine all of these techniques; zooming in, reducing lines and eliminating color. I started with looking at the human body and here are some pieces that are in my pipeline.
Untitled Female Nude
Thanks so much for stopping by and heres to looking for the simplicity in life to find beauty! More of my work can be viewed on my website.
Active now on my Etsy store are some new and exciting Valentines Day photo clip art. I know you may be still recuperating from the December holidays, but finding photos and clip art for your February Valentine’s Day projects is just a click away. These Valentines Day photos and clip art are terrific for enhancing your website and allowing you to bring in the romance, friendship and love spirit alive. In addition, they are also great as artwork for making your own cards or invitations, especially those sent electronically. They do, however, print wonderfully.
Shot in studio the photos and clip art images are sharp and colors are vibrant. There is nothing like a splash of red to liven up your webpages or projects and, in addition, provide an overall happy and positive feeling for the viewer. Delivered via instant download they are ready for your use immediately.
The Valentines Day photos and clip art images are high quality Royalty Free jpeg (.jpg) file. It may be used on your Etsy shop, website, blog or in a creative or personal project. You may resize, crop, print or manipulate the image and sell it as part of a new product you create. You may not sell, resell, give, loan, share or transfer the actual image or jpeg file to any third party. Susan McAnany maintains the original copyright and is the sole owner of the image.
You can check out more Valentine’s Day Photos and other stock images and clip art at my Etsy Store.
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?
Here are a few tips for macro photography:
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.
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.
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.
Observe how the light is hitting your subject and position yourself to maximize the most dramatic effect.
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 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!
fine art print, mushroom art, mushroom photograph
Thanks for reading and to see more of my work, please visit my website!
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:
Thanks for stopping by and taking a look. To view my Fine Art Photographic Prints, please visit my website and www.susanmcanany.com.
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!
Creativity inspiration comes in many forms and often amazes me what may ignite it. We just celebrated a holiday weekend when amidst fun, food and frolic I experienced I heavy sensory stimulation to my taste buds; I was on the verge of orgasm. Now that may be a little bit of an overstatement, however, I did get your attention!
Just like anything else, creativity inspiration needs attention and enrichment. Here are a few techniques I have found to help jump start mine.
Keep an open mind.
Look at others work. As Salvador Dali once said “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” Looking at art always simulates ideas, often unrelated to whatever I was looking at. I may be reminded of an idea I previously had or a technique I want to use again on a specific piece.
Read about other artist’s creativity inspiration. There is a lot of great information out there on the web and also many wonderful books, iBooks and podcasts regarding this subject. One of my favorites is “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon.
Write. This is very effective for me. Get a notebook and everyday write down all the miscellaneous thoughts and issues that keep playing in your head. The result is you purge your brain of some of the small stuff, which, allows room for creative thoughts to surface.
When all else fails just get in your creative work space or on location and just do busy work. For me I may straighten up my studio or clean my camera or maybe even sharpen pencils. Many times this sparks creativity!
So to bring this full circle what exactly cranked my creativity this time? As mentioned, we just celebrated a holiday. Of course, there was a wonderful meal and for dessert we had eclairs that were actually warm. Now, I have not had an eclair in years, probably since my childhood. And, although, my Mom was a dessert nut and did make eclairs along with many other delightful desserts, I can not remember experiencing a warm one. My mouth was watering as I ate it. Now that was a first for me and just goes to show new experiences are open to you at any time, if you let your creativity loose.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any eclair photos to share, but I wanted to post a few other dessert images from my extensive stock image library. Maybe I can get your mouth watering also! Enjoy!!
Thanks for reading! Check out more of my work on my website.
The wild and free feeling from my adolescence seems to be an overwhelming feeling as of late. Maybe it is due to a big birthday I experienced recently or the doldrums of Florida’s summer weather urging me to a cooler climate. Whatever the source of my restlessness is really not important, however, I did have an ah-ha moment when I recently viewed a field of wildflowers. These flowers growing wild and in heavy concentration where living the epitome of a wild and free lifestyle totally unattended and where only the strongest survive.
I took several snaps as you can imagine. They were hard to capture due to a slight breeze and the sheer volume and density of the flowers. I didn’t want to wade too far into the field for fear of bug bites and who knows maybe even that ghastly poison ivy lurked. Once again I thought they are exhibited their wild and free attitude and this only added to their allure.
Many times I am pretty happy with my work right out of the camera, but right out of the camera didn’t do these wildflower justice, didn’t exactly portray their wild and free personalities. In Photoshop, after using the healing brush tool to clean up any sensor spots, I took the image into Nik Color Efex and used the Cross Processing Filter which give it more of the blue tone. I then used the Detail Extractor in certain places to pull out more of the intricacies of the flower pedal. And of course we have the bug! Love the bug!!
“Wild and Free”
Thanks for stopping by and if you get a chance this summer, go out and do something that makes you feel wild and free! I know I will be.