Visual Assignment: Chimeratic Composition


For this assignment, I wanted to use some pictures I already had. I started going through the many vacation pictures we have. I was looking for photos that offered some “space”over which to layer other images. I took a photo from our trip to England of the Roman Baths in Bath, England and combined it with a picture of my husband rowing a boat which is actually from another trip, this time to France (where else to row a boat but France, right? Très romantique!)

I chose the rowboat image because he would still be in a body of water, just one that is smaller than a neighborhood swimming pool. I added the parrot because it seemed having a bird on your shoulder would be something you could do on a boat (I guess I was thinking pirate…). The pirate is NOT from a past vacation, but rather a google image search of “parrot on shoulder”. I knew I needed a parrot on a left shoulder and was able to find one.   Here are the three unadulterated images:

126 111parrots

For this, I stuck with Pixlr and used the layering and eraser tool quite a bit. I used the baths as my background layer.

Then I selected “open image as layer” for the picture of my husband and layered it over the background.

layerI then employed the eraser function and made my brush REALLY big to erase the entire rowboat picture except for my hubby.

Next, the parrot. I initially slapped that photo on top, unedited, but it was too messy to erase. So I saved it as an image, then used the crop and eraser tools to get the image down to just the parrot with a white background.

parrotsedited From there, I repeated the “open image as layer”, placed the parrot on hubby’s shoulder and erased the parrot background.

compositeI’m sure there is some kind of cut tool that would have let me cut away swaths of layer instead of erase, but I was on a roll with the eraser from my first assignment and figured if it’s working for now, why stop? Next time I work with layers like this, I’ll do my research to do it the “right” way if there is one.

As for the result?  I’d say this is some pretty cheesy photo editing.  As a positive, I did become much more comfortable with Pixlr, get more practice with layers and got to put my imagination (and old vacation pics) to good use in this assignment.  The size of both the parrot and my husband is so large as to make them almost monster-like in their proportions to the bath and the other people in the shot.  I also gave both my husband and the parrot a bit of a haircut in the process of layering them in.  I would probably look into resizing the images in the top two layers to make them more proportional.


Visual Assignment: Highlighting Color


Because I like to live dangerously, I chose the very first assignment at the top of the list: Splash the Color.  I don’t know if there was an “inspiration” for this per se–my thinking was more more “how am I going to get this done?”  I remembered the name Pixlr from the opening video for this week, so off I went to their page. I also reviewed the pages of others who had done this assignment.  I wanted to use a photo I already had–I was a bit tired of skulking around my house and yard for subjects.  I also wanted to use a photo that had fairly defined shapes since I was anticipating it would be difficult to color something intricate.  So I ended up with my recent masterpiece “Apple on Rug”.  004 decoloredI got very lucky with this assignment, because under one of the first help topics on Pixlr’s help page was “Selective Coloring”.  Jackpot!  I simply followed the tutorial and voila.  The steps involve creating a duplicate layer, desaturating the color out of the top layer, and then “erasing” the top layer so the color of the apple shines through.  The video we watched on layers earlier in the week definitely helped here as I immediately understood what the tutorial was asking me to do.

It was a bit tedious as the eraser size was very small and it wasn’t until I was finished that I saw I could change the eraser size:

brush size 2I had been using “50” and it was slow going.   So I tried it again with a larger brush size and it look me about 3 minutes:

Sherlock Holmes Pub, Westminster London

Sherlock Holmes Pub, Westminster London

Becoming Better Photographers…


I ventured outdoors again to the wilds of my backyard–in daylight this time–for this assignment.  I also re-used my trusty living room rug as I had done initially in my scavenger hunt post.  These shots incorporate the use of contrast, close-up, and interesting angles to alter my perspective.  For the first two concepts, I was inspired by Rob Wall’s slideshare for these shots.  I attempted to use contrast of size (small vs. large) and texture (smooth vs. rough) with the rug.  First, I placed a minature house (who finally found its purpose in this assignment) on the rug and got low to the ground to give the house a sense of size (house pic 1).  But as you can see, it’s actually pretty small (house pic 2) no taller than 3 inches.

The second concept I incorporated was the close up with my two examples being the tulip and the nameless green fuzzy plant (which I think is actually a weed).  Close-ups of flowers and plants aren’t exactly new, but I appreciate how one can see the pollen inside the bloom along with the petals shiny texture.  The green plant shot was actually taken at dusk on a rainy day.  I love how the fuzzy texture of the leaves caught water droplets, almost as if it’s been wrapped in plastic or bedazzled.

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The last concept if from “10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits”, namely altering one’s perspective.  My dog doesn’t mind having his face all over the internet, so he was my subject for this one.  Usually when I take pictures of him, I’m either standing up or sitting down, angling the camera down.  For these, I laid down on the ground next to him and angled the camera slightly up.  Laying on the ground with him had a few benefits: 1) I think he was actually more comfortable with me.  He usually doesn’t like having his picture taken, but I realize now that probably has to do with my posture (leaning over him with my arms outstretched vs. just laying next to him) and 2) his “dogness” and sweet personality seemed to come out.  He has much more personality in this shots than the other photographs I have of him.

Two things stuck with me from this assignment: I attempted a lot of shots in this series (even though I only posted a few).  By taking what seemed to be the same photograph over and over again, I actually caught subtle differences every time that gave me more to choose from.  I’m usually a point and shoot, good enough style photographer and this week has showed me that taking a little more time can pay off.  I’ll also be more cognizant of angle in my shots.  By altering my perspective, the objects of the picture can be better displayed to highlight their best side, so to speak.


Wishes do come true in the bayou…5 Card Flickr


After a few draws, I decided to stick with this draw–the hovercraft sign was the spark that made it a bit easier to start something.  Clearly I would not have thought of a story involving a hovercraft on my own!  I think I went farther than captions, but I did not necessarily “do my research” to turn this into my own mini-Pixar film (but I thought it!).  I feel like these photos actually work pretty well in their own little way.  What do you think?


Five Card Story: If you build it they will come

a Five Card Flickr story created by cew5x

flickr photo by bionicteaching

flickr photo by bionicteaching

flickr photo by bionicteaching

flickr photo by bionicteaching

flickr photo by bionicteaching

It was raining AGAIN. Which usually isn’t an issue except Nancy lived in a swamp in Louisiana and the Civic she had been tooling around in had a flooded engine again.

That’s when she knew she had to take matters into her own hands. She went to the altar of her spiritual guru who had died decades ago, but whose likeness was visited by old and young alike for guidance on life’s most important problems. She typed her question into the official prayer request/seeking guidance portal and waited for a sign.

A few weeks later while hanging out at her house (you know, the tan dome at the end of the cul-de-sac), she got a message to meet two men at an office in New Orleans on letterhead from the spiritual guru’s office. Intrigued, she showed up only to encounter these two dorks with MACs. Her tune changed when she learned they had received a grant from an anonymous source to build a hovercraft for her use! After detailing what she wanted (performance, extra tough rubber, and would prefer purple for an interior color), they told her they would be in touch…

Nancy was on her way home from work. It had been a dry October and LSU was having a bad football season. Her spirits were down. Her new hovercraft hadn’t even been able to get used–she had been stuck using it in automobile mode since it was delivered in late September. Imagine her glee when it began to rain…and rain and rain and rain. When she saw the “road closed” sign due to flooding, she could hardly contain her excitement. She pulled over, switched from “auto” to “hover” mode and waited patiently for the rubber skirt to inflate that would take her over the river and through the woods to her home. Where Nancy was going, she didn’t need any roads!!

Welcome to my home in fifteen pictures


I chose my house because it was at night and I was already in my loungewear so I wasn’t really up to venturing anywhere except my backyard (and even then that’s a little iffy at night!) The time went much faster than I thought it would- hence my trying to squeeze 20 minutes into 15 (we do everything a little bit slower in the south, right?)  I spent too much time at first trying to find the best option for each type of photo, so by the end I was rushing around like a mad woman.  The photos I liked the most were the shadow shot of the lamp- the shadow gave the photo a sense of movement and made it seem a little Jetson-ish.  I also like the pattern picture, which is our living room rug.  I liked the sense of sizse it takes on from that angle.

As for inventiveness, I liked the angle I took of the mirror in our living room- by taking it from underneath, it takes on an almost space-like appearance.  I also liked the geode among the tulips (the really dark photo).  The darkness, the shadows and the contrast in texture between soft (leaves) and hard (stone) make me think it is some alien creature or tropical slug lurking in the underbrush.

I’m interested to see what my classmates come up with!

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