Dinosaur Drew {digital scrapbooking}

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magazine: Photographic Elements Techniques

issue: July / August 2013

article: Using Digital Scrapbook Templates Is As Easy As A Bee C

author: Michelle Stelling

steps: 9

time: I’m not even going to discuss that (insert frustrated face here)

First things first, I am a scrapbooker. I have been a scrapbooker for almost 20 years. I have NEVER done digital scrapbooking before this. When I opened up this issue of the magazine and flipped to the first article I haven’t already done, I thought “Great! This will be easy”. BAM, I couldn’t seem to get anything accomplished for exactly 3 hours and 50 minutes! What the heck? Why am I so stuck on what should have been the easiest thing for me to learn in Elements?

Here’s what happened. In step 1 you gather the template, pictures, and “digi-kit” pieces. Unless I am copying a technique that has a certain design, I try to make the project my own. So first I tried to find a template so I didn’t just copy hers (which you can download and use from the magazine’s website). Found one. Paid for it and uploaded it. Moving on to collect my photos in one spot. Done. Now I need some digi-kit pieces whatever those may be. Figured it out, bought some, downloaded them. I think I am just moving right along until Step 2. Open the template in the Elements Editor. Ok, no problem. Hmmmm your photo shows 7 layers, mine has 42!!!!! I’m betting this is going to be a problem so I figure let me practice with hers like the article says and then maybe I will figure out this 42 layer thing another day. Ok. Moving along now with hers. Oh dang it. I have a vertical photo and hers is horizontal and I have no idea how to move anything around (and yes, I remembered to try the move tool this time). Sigh. My coffee is gone, I’m frustrated and ready to give up. Nooooo. I got this! I scrap (pun intended) everything, shop online some more for an easier template and cuter thingy-ma-bobs to use and pull up my big girl panties and dig in from the beginning again.

I learned from her article and practice with hers that it’s a matter of locate, place, create clipping mask and move on to the next element. So away I went and viola!!! I figured it out. I got rid of things I didn’t want by just clicking the eyeball thing to turn them off. I figured out how to move and resize the pictures. Oh happy day, I did it! Now I want to do it again to really see how long it should have taken me. 17 minutes!!! Yep, that’s it. Dinosaur Drew only took me 17 minutes after everything was uploaded.

Needless to say, I will be sticking to the old fashion paper, scissors, and glue. Although, I just might try this again for a little Christmas gift for the grandparents.  I do like how they turned out.

Below is the first one I attempted. I used another easier template from the pack I bought with the one above. As for the 42 layered template… that is a job for another day.


Warms the Soul {photo assignment 2}

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assignment – demonstrate subject decision thru the use of: the rule of thirds, thoughtful orientation, moving around the subject, adding to and detracting from the subject, getting only the elements you want to include, shoot both horizontal and vertical.

That was a lot to practice this time. I was working on the theme warmth and therefore chose my subject accordingly. I knew I wanted to use this mug and capture steam coming out of it. I tried not to center my mug so I could follow the rule of thirds the best I could for this composition. I did move around the subject and tried to get a shot in front of the window I was next to but then I would lose the steam I was going for. I also tried some vertical shots but they were just boring and left too much space above the cookies. I tried without the cookies but that was beyond bland.

One of the biggest things I have learned so far is to give up any pre-conceived images I may have. Yes, I knew I wanted to do the heart in the book thing last week and the steam from a mug this week but, I remembered to tell myself it may not work and that’s OK, I’m just going to set it up and see what I get. I think this has helped me slow down and become less frustrated. I feel like I can now start shooting with positive thinking and not the regular “I’ll never get it to look that way” thinking I was doing.

If you are enjoying my journey through photography and want to start a journey of your own, check out http://www.betterphoto.com They have classes for the beginner to the expert on all types of subjects.

Facelift {Facebook cover photo}



magazine: Photographic Elements Techniques

issue: July / August 2014

article: Create a Fun and Creative Facebook Cover Photo in Minutes Using a Template

author: Michelle Stelling

steps: 10

time: 1 hr. 16 mins.  (I will explain)

Again, the time on this seems to be long but it’s really not. I just wasn’t as ready as I usually am. I usually have my photos picked before I start counting the time so you can get a feel for the length of time to do the project without my indecisiveness. I thought I had the photos I wanted but, I spent a lot of the time repicking a few.

Downloading the template was easy and took a minute or two which shocked me since the last time I tried to download something they recommended, I just gave up trying to figure it out.

Step 4 took me about 4 minutes to figure out to use the move tool (which they talk about using in step 5). The reason I subscribe to this magazine is to learn how to use my Elements program which I apparently still don’t know enough about to have figured out to use the move tool.  I’m a click and drag kind of person which isn’t how Elements operates.

I spent another 12 minutes just trying to pick a background I liked which of course was near the end of the list, and the last 6 minutes were because I simply didn’t know how to upload a photo for the cover to my Facebook page.  I’m not big on changing the cover of my Facebook page but the two times I have done it, my kids did it for me.

I found this to be a fun way to showcase a few pictures for my family and friends to see. I don’t see myself doing this often because I’m just not that into my Facebook page but, I will use this article again the next time I think to change it.

Accelerated {motion blur}

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magazine: Photographic Elements Techniques

issue: March – April 2014

article: Photos In Motion

author: Lesa Snider

steps: 6

time: 44 minutes my first time – 2 minutes per photo after that

I would suggest using a photo with a very simple background like the one I used. My first photo (you can see it below) is what took the 44 minutes. My time was spent trying to figure out how to turn the vertical instructions into the horizontal ones I needed for my photo, and figuring out why my son seemed to become transparent. It was driving me nuts until I realized it was from dragging too many pixels to blur. It would drag the lines of the netting from behind him to over him making him seem transparent. I would prefer more blur to the left of him so it looks more like a fast motion than just a blurry photo but to get that look, he would have to also become slightly invisible which is not the look I wanted.  After trying the technique with another flag football photo and then moving on to a water slide, I finally found this shot of my dog running in the grass. Smore’s photo only took about 2 minutes from start to finish now that I had all of that practice.  Unlike tilt-shift photography, I don’t see myself using this technique often (or ever).

FYI: Elements 12 apparently has a zoom blur preset effect

flag football – motion blur fail

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The Book Lovers – photo assignment 1

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assignment: gather visual ideas, choose a subject and use different compositions and lighting

I have a rather large visual idea gallery and after looking through it, I chose books for my subject.

When my mom was a girl, she loved reading and her favorites were The Bobsey Twins and Nancy Drew. I am now the proud owner of this collection, which is almost a full collection of the original 1940’s – 1960’s books with their original paper covers and some have my mom’s childish handwriting ticking off the ones she has. I made a scrapbook page with photos of the books to capture the love for reading she passed down to me. At the time of this scrapbook page, I had absolutely no photography skills and simply stacked them up in front of the huge blue Tupperware crate they are stored in. Needless to say it was a horrible photo. I took this opportunity to try to take a better photo to go with the story and even if I do say so myself, I think I accomplished that.


The Mean (mini) Streets of NYC {tilt-shift}

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New York City, NY

magazine: Adobe Photoshop Elements Techniques

issue: July / August 2012

article: It’s a Small World

author: Matt Kloskowski

steps: 8

time: 11 minutes

Tilt-shift photography is designed to give the appearance of miniature models by selectively blurring portions of the photo. This works best with photos taken from an elevated position looking over streets with cars and people. Finding the right photo is the hardest thing about this technique.

FYI: Elements 11 has a tilt-shift effect built in with easy to follow directions.

A Little Encouragement (introduction)

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Sunrise over Topsail, NC

I have decided I am finally ready. I am ready to learn photography. I want to learn photography. I have taken classes over the years at http://www.betterphoto.com but I have never really finished any. It is time for me to get my money’s worth out of those classes. The kids are grown, the volunteering at school has gone and now it is time for me again. I have printed the materials and noted when to watch the accompanying videos. No excuses. I can and will do this!

Speaking of “I can”, I used the photo above because I consider it one of my better ones. I thought it was appropriate to show that I can and have produced a good photo. I read the introduction (which I skipped the first time I took this class) and realized that I don’t need to have the best equipment or know all the technical terms. A few simple tips can start to give me better photos now. I need to be patient and learn and most of all, practice. For the first time in a long time I am looking forward to re-reading chapter one and completing the assignment.

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

-See you next Tuesday!

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