Old Car City

Well, the year of 2017 found me twice in this gem of a place in the middle of nowhere in White, Georgia. It is a true photographer’s heaven, especially if you love old cars, junkyards, and the beauty of nature reclaiming the landscape. It’s not too shabby for getting those creep factor shots in either…a bit eerie when you’re wandering about in there alone. No need to worry though. The owners are fantastic, the trails are well worn, and the signage along the way is quite entertaining.

When my photography club set up this outing, my first thought was, “If only I had known about this place while my Daddy was still alive. He would have loved it!” This thought was only confirmed as I arrived there and began wandering about.

When you first go in, you might stumble upon some interesting, and maybe even creepy things …like dolls. “Dolls?” you ask, “in an old car junkyard?” That’s right…dolls.

You just never know where you might find one…or twenty…lying about. Now, I don’t think they move about, so you might be safe. But one just never really knows, you know.

You’ll mostly definitely stumble upon an old bicycle line-up.  It leads the way into the heart of the city.

Oh, and another doll. I forgot about her. I think she’s been waiting a really long time for a ride.

There are also other odds and ends scattered about, like old cash registers, chairs, cans…you name it, and you can probably find it in there somewhere.

Oh, and there’s another doll I missed. Strange how they mysteriously pop up. Hopefully, we won’t run into any more.

Did I mention that there’s a bit of an artistic flair to this 32-acre masterpiece?

Now, be sure to put your walking shoes on and take some water and snacks when you head out there (because I know you’ll want to see this place for yourself).  There are 6 miles of walking trails, and trust me, you’ll get wandering about and turned around and travel the same trail twice or more, and that 6 will turn into 10 pretty quick! Well, maybe not quick, because it’ll take you all day and probably a couple more to see everything. And if you spread your visits out like I did, you might just find a few things change in the newer parts. Then you’ll have to see it all again.

Well, thankfully no dolls showed up in the middle of those trails. I was beginning to get a little worried. So now I guess it’s time to get to what you really wanted to see…all of those old cars.

Mother Nature decided to put her artistic touch throughout the city, and I think she got a little carried away with a few of her pieces.

But for the most part, nature and machine blend quite nicely.

I thought we were safe from the dolls, but I see one popped up on the hood of a truck. That little one is especially creepy.

While you’re there, don’t miss all of the cool hood ornaments.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Some of those aren’t actually hood ornaments. But hey, at least we didn’t run into anymore creepy dolls.

So, I hope you enjoyed the journey, and if you ever get the chance, head on out and see this place for yourself.

Happy trails!

The Art of Color and Light (Part 3)

(Part Three)

Light Magic

Well, now that we’ve made our beauty a star, how do we put her in the spotlight? Well, by adjusting the available light of course. A little more contrast, a little more highlight, and a little more white, and Voila!, our star is in the spotlight.

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But are butterflies the only glimpses of the fairy world we see? How many more are masquerading in the guise of the ordinary? Does their light shine out on occasion for the world to see?

To answer this, I go back to an older photograph of my beautiful niece. I think she must be a fairy princess masquerading as a little girl. When I adjusted the contrast and highlights in this picture, a beautiful fiery angel appeared.

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And even in the most ordinary of pics, she is surrounded by a halo of light.

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So is she a fairy princess, or does that hidden world merely shine its light on her and other children every once in a while? And are there others? More fairies among us masquerading as people? Or even adults who are bathed in the spotlight of a fairy glow on occasion?

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I’ll never tell. 😉

Catch the light source just the right way, adjust the contrast and highlights, and you can reveal the surreal world that the ordinary light does not see. The world of light and fairies (and even ghosts if you’re brave) comes to view through the camera and the eye of the artist. So, be on the lookout, because you never know where another world may be hiding. Keep your eye on the lights.

The Art of Color and Light (Part 2)

(Part 2)

More Monochrome and a Little Color Accent Magic

Here we have a butterfly. I’ll not call her ordinary, because we can all see without a doubt that butterflies are extraordinary creatures. Their delicate beauty captivates even the hardest of hearts. The way they flit and float on the breeze and move from flower to flower drinking of the nectar and pollinating as they go. Without the lovely lepidoptera, we would likely have none of these blossoms to pick for our loved ones to smell and adore. The strength and perseverance it takes for this lovely creature simply to move through its life cycle is completely astonishing and worthy of notice. But how often do we take the time to notice the intricacy of their color patterns and ability to reflect light?

These magical creatures contain a vast array of color, but often we miss it because of the color of the flowers they feed on. So let’s let one of these beautifully disguised fairies stand out from the world we see. Perhaps then, we can catch a glimpse of their light and the fairy world that perhaps they slip in and out of.

This eye-catching specimen is called the Red Spotted Purple. I’m not certain as to how it gained this name as I see a blue-black butterfly with red-orange spots, but I suppose we all see color a little different. I often argued with my father on red versus orange and orange versus yellow. Perhaps when I was young, I should have invited my father to explore the 64-count crayon box with me with all its many shades (and today there are even more with incredibly more interesting names). Anyway, returning from the rabbit trail down memory lane, here’s the butterfly in all it’s natural beauty…

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Beautiful, aren’t they? A male and a female I think. We found them playing along the walking trail, dancing and flitting (and perhaps flirting) about. My husband was very patient and managed to get them to sit on his fingers, which made for some stunning photographs as you will see.

But first things first. I will start with the middle photograph. This one is more natural with the sunlight reflecting on the leaf beneath, and the butterfly’s shadow is cast just below its body. It also has a nice bokeh effect with the leaves blurred in the background. With this photograph, I was able to discover many of the details of these little fairies through altering the color and enhancing the light.

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First, I tried a true monochrome effect. This first photo reflects a low contrast black and white filter. In this photo the light in the background becomes more visible; however, the light reflected on the leaf beneath the butterfly is lost. You can also see how the light shines through the uppermost portion of the wings where they are most transparent.

This second photograph reflects a high-contrast black and white filter. With this filter the black veins in the wings and the black coloring on the body stands out more, but it is almost overpowered by the shadows in the background. The light reflected in the leaf and on the foremost antennae of the butterfly really pops, however.

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In the end, I discovered the selenium filter. It adds almost a bluish-gray contrast to the photograph, highlighting more of the silvers. It added a perfect blend to bring out the dark-colored veins without losing the reflection of light in the leaves, the antennae, and even the white spots.

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Then, just for good measure, I tried a sepia tone which was also very striking.

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These of course were presets in my editing program. My phone also has some interesting features in editing that allow different aspects of the photo to come alive. One of these is called selective color. You can go in and select a color to be accented, and the photo will be saved in black and white with only that color remaining. With this I was able to accent the oranges…

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Or the blues…

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But what if I want orange and blue? Can I make the butterfly stand out in it’s entirety against a background of black and white? Can I make it look as if this creature in all it’s beauty stands apart from the world we know as if it is from somewhere we do not see?

Then came the discovery of another aspect of my editing software…color saturation. I found that I could take out certain colors almost entirely and increase the intensity of the ones I wish to highlight. And here is the result…

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And now this lovely actress is the star of the show. Let’s give her a little more light shall we?

Well, we’ll save that for Part Three.

The Art of Color and Light (Part 1)

Light is fascinating. Everything about it is mesmerizing, the way it reflects, the way it bounces, the way it plays, and the way it transforms the ordinary into a surreal fairy land of color and glow.

In this digital age with millions of devices using pixelated light to display images, the screen is my canvas and light is my medium. My tools are my camera, my computer, and my imagination. And my inspiration… the world around me and the world of dreams and fantasy just at the borders of its reality.

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by light and color. The joy of seeing rainbows in the sky, in mists of water, and even in oil on the pavement brings a sparkle to my eyes and turns my thoughts to leprechauns, fairies, unicorns, and Pegasus. A rainbow in the sky turns into a road that I can soar over on the back of Pegasus. A rainbow in the mist becomes a magical doorway to the world of fairies and elves. And at the end of the rainbow always sits the pot of gold. Twirling a prism around to bend the light into bursts of color seems magical.

The more I learn about my camera and my editing software, the more the artist in me emerges. Through the manipulation of light, I can transform the ordinary into the magical. Light and color changes to reveal the ethereal beauty of a world hidden to the naked eye.

So, what does this world look like, and just how, pray tell, do we see it. Let the magic begin…

(Part 1)

Monochromatic Magic

Take this ordinary little walnut left cracked and broken on a lonely wooded walking trail by some cute, fluffy little squirrel who devoured its insides and carelessly dropped it to the ground.

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Increase the contrast, adjust the saturation, increase the highlights and white levles, increase the black levels just a tad, and decrease the shadowing just a bit. Then add a white vignette to take away the rest of the road and Voila!…

You are left with a monochromatic masterpiece in a world of pure light with only the shadow of the nut to determine the source and direction of its source of illumination.

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Then zoom in a bit to get a little more detail and a better view.

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And now, what was once seemingly plain, ordinary, and unnoticed, is a thing of profound interest and beauty. Is that because it wasn’t beautiful before? Absolutely not! It, like all things made by our Creator, was a thing of many extraordinary layers of depth and beauty. I, the artist, have merely uncovered one of those magical, intricate, magnificent layers through the manipulation of light and color. Now what was once perhaps unseen, is seen.