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Originally posted on my gardening blog. Photography readers might find this interesting as well.


© GreenthumbAtThreepines © GreenthumbAtThreepines

If you are looking for a great statement piece for an indoor or outdoor space, try this thrifty DIY. I started with an engineer print of one of my photographs. I uploaded the photo to Photojojo, and a week later, I received this large black and white version of my picture printed on plain paper. I mounted the image onto a 3’X3′ piece of plywood by applying a thick coat of Mod Podge to the board, pasting the image to the surface and then applying several more coats of Mod Podge on top. The image puckered slightly, which is normal. However, puckering can be minimized by taking your time and applying thin coats. Once it was completely dry, I trimmed off the excess paper and sanded the edges of the plywood with coarse sandpaper. I painted the edge of mine with black paint to make it look…

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  Have you ever wondered how to pull colors from a photo if you don’t have Adobe Photoshop? Or maybe you just like those cool color swatch boards that compliment photos. My newest app does both.

Adobe Color, free from the App Store for IPad, let’s you import a photo from your camera roll or take a new photo and then gives you five choices on the photo to match colors. You can move each circle around for a different color. When finished, if you want the photo and swatch together you have to take a screen shot before you touch the check mark.

After you touch the check mark, the swatch goes into your library as a theme. From there you can select the information icon to find out the RGB makeup of the color.

The formula above is for the olive green on the swatch. With that color recipe, you can mix custom colors in any other program or app.

I plugged the RGB values into Adobe Creative Cloud color mixer and made the same olive green. Those RGB values can be used to make a color for type or graphic elements using any color mixer.

I plan to use the top picture, cropped slightly as wallpaper for my IPad. It can be printed out and framed…or whatever.

Have fun😊


Canon Rebel, F-3.5, ISO 100, 1/80 SS

Club and organizational photos are very similar to senior portraits. They are a type of environmental portrait, meaning the surroundings are important to the personal statement of the portrait. For these portraits of my son, who is in Future Farmers of America, I wanted to pose him in a farm setting. Fortunately, we live on a farm and we were able to take the photos literally in the backyard.


Canon Rebel, ISO 100, F-4.5, 1/60 SS

As with any outdoor portrait, natural lighting is one of the most important things. It was sunny when these were taken, so we had to look for areas that were shaded, like the barn door.


Canon Rebel, ISO 100, F-5.6, 1/25 SS

Hey guys like flowers too. As long as they aren’t too girly. Daisies over the fence serve the purpose nicely.


Canon Rebel, ISO 100, F 3.5, 1/80 SS

Props are essential to environmental portraits. In the case of FFA photos-tractors, horses, cattle, hogs, etc. My son chose the tractor. I like the way the orange tractor crosses the color wheel with the navy blue FFA jacket. Once again, shade is preferable, especially if the props are shiny and can reflect sunlight back at the camera. I have included the setting data for each photo. I hope this is helpful to some.

You will notice that the ISO is always 100. That is the lowest ISO that my camera will shoot. The lower the ISO, the better quality your photos will be. The downside of shooting at a low ISO is that it takes more time and exposure to get a good shot. I always attempt to shoot at 100 ISO, but sometimes conditions limit that ability. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Keep shooting your children. LOL

IMG_2580Photographing food is very popular these days. Every recipe that is posted on the web is illustrated with beautiful shots of the food before, during and after preparation. Food photography is more simple than some other types of photography, because you control the light and the subject is not moving, therefore you can set up the shot, mount your camera on a tripod, and attach a remote shutter release.

IMG_2576The trick is to set your ISO at 100 for the best quality photo possible; and your F-stop at around 5.6, so that all the food is in focus. From there, the amount of shutter speed is variable. If you set your camera on aperture priority, the shutter will stay open as long as needed for the amount of light. For the shots above, the shutter was opening around 1/5 sec, way too long to hand hold the camera.

IMG_2578No fancy set up was used for this shot. The strawberries were washed and some put into a bowl. The rest were placed beside the bowl on a dishtowel. I left the stems on some of them because they add leading lines to the photo. The shot was done on the kitchen counter lit by the under counter fluorescent lights. During the 1/5 second time the shutter was open, I quickly spot lit a couple of areas to reduce shadows. The white balance was set on the fluorescent setting.


One of my hobbies is floral design. I use what I have around my garden and display the flowers on my dining room table.


I often share the arrangements on my gardening blog, which means that I have to photograph them. There are other reasons you may want to visually record your floral arrangements. You may want to have a record of them for future reference or, if you really do a good job in arranging and photographing, you can use the pictures for greeting cards, as I have done in the past.


There is an art to photographing floral arrangements. They must be set up like a still life and lighting and exposure are very important.


I like to place my floral arrangements against a neutral background and usually I will put something else in the shot. Most of the time, I take pictures of the arrangement as a whole and then take some close ups for detail.


I mounted my camera on a tripod for this shot. I wanted the ISO to be 100 so the quality is really good, and I knew that the shutter speed would be slow with the low ISO. I set the F-stop on 5.6 and attached a remote shutter release. While the shutter was open, I spot flashed a couple of areas of the scene.


Hope this helps. Photographing your arrangements is almost as much fun as making them. Enjoy 🙂


Three dimensional artwork is fun and easy to do. It only requires a little extra time and a few extra supplies. For the painting above, I painted a basic swathed background and allowed it to dry well.


For the tree trunk, I mixed Mod Podge with sand (the kind you get for floral design) you can use course or fine, depending on the texture you want for your painting. I used course for the tree. I applied a thick coat of the Mod Podge/sand mixture in the shape of the tree trunk and allowed that to dry well. I took a full day.


The Mod Podge dried clear, leaving the sand in the shape of the tree trunk. I then painted the tree trunk with a dark brown and allowed that to dry. I highlighted the trunk with other colors to make it look realistic. I had a piece of bark from a tree outside to look at.

imageFor the blossoms on the trees, I used plaster (which you can get at craft stores) mixed with acrylic paint. I started with the darkest pink and added white several times for the other shades. You should allow the paint to dry in between each coat of paint. If you have any questions, please comment and I will try to answer. 🙂

I don’t like to waste things. That includes paint. Anytime I finish a project and have left over paint, I grab a blank piece of canvas or paper and use up all the extra on the paper. Most of the time I don’t have enough to paint the entire piece, so I let it dry and put it away until I have more left over paint. Eventually, I wind up with pieces like this:

Here is one I did on a piece of stretched canvas that had somehow acquired a stain. Once I piled several swathes of paint on the canvas, the stain was forgotten.



One of my favorite hobbies is doing watercolor collages. They are really pretty simple. The one above was done a couple months ago. I painted four separate sheets of watercolor paper with various colors in a sweeping motion. I outlined a few tree trunks in pencil on a large piece of watercolor paper and brushed lightly back and forth across them. After everything dried, I glued the four background sheets to a piece of craft paper, then I cut out the tree trunks and positioned them on the background sheets. Voila! That was all. In a frame behind glass, they look just 3D enough to be interesting. One of my favorite things about this method of art is that I can play around with background and foreground images without commitment. I don’t glue anything down until I am happy with the way it looks.


This watercolor presented a problem. I did this as part of a workshop to practice painting spheres and giving them directional highlights. However, I didn’t like the way the finished product looked. So. . . I cut out some of the spheres and painted a new background for them.


Better, huh?


I did this project to enter in an exhibit in Lexington. The theme of the exhibit is visual music. I painted all the elements of the piece separately. For the trees, I Mod Podged pages from an old hymnal onto watercolor paper and them painted over the music. See detail below:



For the one above, I outlined tree trunks again and painted them, then cut them out. I painted some scrap pieces of watercolor paper with different colors and cut them out as well. Then they had to be glued onto the pre-painted background. Simple, right?

Give it a try. You can do it 🙂

You know how you see things and think, I could have thought of that. . . but I didn’t. . . someone else did and now they are making a bunch of money.

Those objects, that look like letters that are used to spell people’s names are one of those things. I’ve actually even done that, except I did it only for my preschool students to use when I was teaching. It never occurred to me that people might actually pay money for small photos of things that looked like letters and use several of them to spell names.


Well, I decided to make some of these little babies myself. I am going to make mine more simple and therefore more doable for myself and everyone else who wants to do them too. I decided to use photos of actual letters from one of my favorite photo locales. . .the cemetery.

Here’s what I came up with.


I simply took pictures of letters from five different markers that spell my last name. Example:

2015-02-02 08.37       IMG_20150202_083704_200

Then I dumped them on the computer and cropped them in Photoshop. I printed them out four inches wide, cut them out the same length,  mounted them on black card stock and framed them.


If you want to see instructions to make the wreath in the photos, check out my gardening and craft blog. Here’s a link 🙂

As promised, I have been playing with some of my smartphone and Ipad apps to create wall art. For this post, I started with this photo:

I had this saved on my smartphone from back in the fall. I simply opened it in my Kaleidoscope app (free from Google Play) and shot several different angles after turning my phone in different directions. I ended up with these four pictures:




I then sent these four pictures to my Ipad and performed some rotating, cropping and sharpening to each one in Photoshop Express (free in the App Store). I applied a different special effect to each one of them to make them look different. Here are the results of that series of manipulations:





Each of these would be excellent wall art if not printed out too large. They are the products of smartphone photography and quality begins to suffer if blown up too large. They should work nicely if printed under 5″x5″.
I decided to do one last series of manipulations to these in another IPad app called A Beautiful Mess ($1.99 in the App Store). This app allows you to make collages, diptychs and triptychs from photos you have in your camera roll or take new ones. I made a simple collage from all four:


And a triptych from three:


All of these apps are fun to play with and that is what I really want when I look at wall art- a reminder of past fun 🙂


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