Monday’s Musings…

Isn’t funny how things that are planned can change in the blink of an eye, don’t panic nothing bad, just…….annoying.

All week I had been looking forward to my two shoots on Saturday and then my Workshop on Sunday. Last week was a bit of a stressful one and I was so looking forward to a bit of fun. The call came from Mel and Jess that Saturday afternoon needed to be postponed, that’s OK it meant we get a full day to play instead of just 1/2 a day…..so stay tuned on that one.

Then my shoot for a new model just never happened. I was all set up and ready to go, double checked and clarified everything with her a few days before. Spent Friday night and Saturday morning setting up for it all……..and then nothing. 10:00 am came and went; no message, no call, no text. I tried to contact her several times, but nothing. I still have not heard anything……….very strange. I wonder if she is OK? That’s my second no show from this particular Facebook group, I’m beginning to wonder if I should continue to use them?

So I had Saturday to my self, I played around and did a few images.

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And spent the rest of the day setting up for my Dark and Moody Still Life Workshop # 1, phew what a name huh? What a blast, so much fun, these six students had been to my beginner workshop last year, so we did a bit more exotic and advanced stuff.

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We have also been having a bit of a Movie marathon; I have been wanting to see the latest Resident Evil movie (I know I normally don’t go in for that type of movie, blood, guts, violence and zombies…can’t explain it, I adore Alice) Moth has not seen any of them, so we went back to the start. Currently seen the first four and are slowly working our way through. Gotta love a good chic flick that gets the guys in too!

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I have stuff on this week, my new exhibit opens tomorrow night, unfortunately it was the cause of most of my stress last week, this exhibit is badly organised and lots of confusion and mixed messages, and no answers to inquiries about when where who etc. I just hope it is worth the time, money and effort. I have no heard whether any more of my Alice (In Wonderland not Resident Evil) have sold from my current BSG Exhibit which finishes this week, at least selling one was super exciting.

I have been awarded the Foto Art II (Facebook Group) banner of the day for my Kangaroo pic and also been told my another of my images will appear in July issue of Fine Eye Digital magazine, as well as a in June issue of Artists Downunder, which comes out in a few days.

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I might take a few days of downtime, it’s been a busy few days. Don’t worry I have a few posts already scheduled for this week ๐Ÿ™‚ Tieve Tara Gardens, some images for my new exhibit and a few other bits and pieces, oh and of course I will pop by everyone’s blog.

Have a great week…happy snapping

~ Julz

 

52 Week Challenge – Week 35

This week’s challenge from The Girl That Dreams Awake is From Above, this is one of my favourite angles for taking a photo, and I don’t use it as much as I would like. It’s quite difficult to take a good landscape photo from above a subject (unless you are on top of the mountain or skyscraper), and people do not often have their portrait taken this way. But it is effective and can be a lot of fun…..if slightly awkward at times.

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Butterfly Kisses

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Of course it is just perfect for Still Life, and I adore my Still Life, I often wish I had more time to pursue it, but with the colder months now here, there is more reason to spend time in the studio.

~ Julz

Topaz FX Labs

I have fallen in love with an old program that is fairly new to me; Topaz FXLabs, I received this in a bundle I got a little while ago from Topaz Labs. Sure I regularly use other programs in Topaz; Adjust, Denoise, B&W, Impressions, just to name a few. Some of them seem to crash while trying to use them and I eventually gave up. FXLabs didn’t really seem to make much sense until I watched an eye opening tutorial by Jai Johnson at Daily Texture.com. Once I learned just how amazing and powerful this program could be, I could not wait to start playing with it.

Now my first few tries, weren’t exactly a huge success, but it did not take long to get use to it. It has built in layers and masking and scale, and adjustments, you can open multiple images from Photoshop or without, but the beauty is you can then access all the Topaz plugins directly, and so far………..NONE of them crash while inside FXLabs.

The control and ease of use of the program as become a go to for me, sure there are some things I still do in Photoshop and Camera Raw and basic editing I still use Lightroom, but I must say I am adoring this cool new (to me) program. It can be used with other editing software, like Paintshop Pro as well.

I must admit I have done several YouTube tutorial by Jai now and they are mostly quite long, but very informative on this subject, her backgrounds and overlays which can be purchased are truly stunning as well, and yes I have purchased a few to play with.

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I was concentrating mostly on animals, birds in particular, but have branched out and used it with people with equally stunning results.

There is something so sumptuous and earthy about these textures and this technique, I love the end results I am achieving. There is a 30 day Free Trial available on Topaz Labs if you want to check it out too, it’s not on special or anything and quite frankly the whole bundle is expensive, but if you can get it on sale or afford just a few of the kits, FXLabs, Clarity, lens effect, Adjust and Impressions……….it’s a great start.

~ Julz

Creating a Concept Shoot

I thought today I might share a little of the behind the scenes information on shooting a conceptual shoot, as I find it is the most often asked question……..

“how or where do you get your inspiration?”

Firstly I find if I work in a series it is far less stressful. I can work out the basic scenario and then I just have to work out the individual images. The hard work is in the initial setup.

I have a shoot list and I will pick random things that can help me create the base image; colour, mood, theme, character, emotion, scene, time period, props, etc. So I might pick red, woman, dress, sorrow, ocean, cliff, dark and intense, sitting or standing, late afternoon sun. So I have pretty much all the elements; a woman in a red dress, sitting on a chair, on a cliff overlooking the ocean, sun glinting off the waves. Then I might add unexpected elements, the balloons and bear, is there a story in the teddy bear and balloons? What does it say to you? I love the juxtaposition……I mean why on earth is a woman sitting on a cliff in a red ball gown with a teddy bear and a bunch of balloons? Such fun!sunset-reflections

Same dress, same location, but I wanted a sense of freedom with the light breaking through the clouds and wind blowing her hair and dress. In both of these images I went for over saturated colours. I wanted to create a sense of freedom and flight.juliepowell_fear-of-flight

This next image is so simple, yet powerful at the same time; a simple tu-tu and ballet pointe shoes. Same again I wrote a list; Blue, tu-tu and ballet pointes, dark and dramatic, no people, a little mysterious. Does it tell a story, where is the drama or point of interest, add a pop of colour and heavy contrast……what story does it tell?dsc_6473

Things that also need to be considered is;

  • A clever (or fun) Idea and great photos
  • Cool setting or Background (Even a plain black backdrop is great in the right setting)
  • Beautiful Models or real people (Someone you can connect with, sometimes it is anonymous with no faces as such) remember the hero does not have to be a person.
  • Unorthodox wardrobe (Honestly some of my ‘clothes’ are sheets pegged at the back)
  • Unexpected Props and poses ย (Red Balloons and teddy bear)
  • Composited elements (will I add additional elements or just as it is shot)
  • Trick Photography (levitations shots)
  • Textures for toning
  • De-saturated or over saturated/ Dark or Light
  • Use of one striking colour (perhaps red or blue on black or white, I love mauves, blues and reds.)

These are questions I ask myself, I don’t use all of the aspects listed above, but just a few, so one simple pose, one single prop, plain Black background. For Instance in my Tarot series I am mostly going for Dark desaturated colours. Jess below in wearing just street clothes with a platinum blonde wig and a black cape, holding a wooden branch in front of a black background

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Ace of Wands

The smoke, light beams, vines and butterflies are added in post in photoshop. Also I used additional textures subtly to add depth. The below image is shot on site, with just the bird added in post, so the actual shot was taken keeping in mind I wanted to add a bird on Mel’s finger, and she is looking directly at it.

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So even after all this I still get asked, where do the ideas come from? Dapper Rabbit came to me in a dream and the story flowed from there, once I had the story I had the images I would required, the models, scenes, props, poses etc.

Alice………so easy; Jess had the costume and I just watched the movie and flicked through Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration, wrote out a shot wish list

The Tarot, my initial inspiration was from Rusty McDonald and Dividing Me……and then of course I went straight to the Tarot Cards for my shot list, needed particular props and poses; wands, swords, crowns, cups and am still working on my pentacle.

The Red Dress series was inspired by a red ball gown I was given, just needed different locations and moods and props. This is a continuing series. So I have a woman (usually) in a red dress…….I think of different locations and props. The Beach, a forest, sitting, standing, add in some props, do I want day or night, do I want happy, sad, anger etc. What mood, what atmosphere etc, etc, etc.

If you practice on these enough, it becomes a much quicker process. I also am always looking on-line; Flickr, IG, 500PX, DeviantArt, ShiftArt, YouTube, plus of course some of my favourites like Brooke Shaden and Rusty McDonald for an endless supply of inspiration.

~ Julz

P.S. Still not sure? Try ย this one hour YouTube video from Brooke, it literally changed the way I think and work.

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – All one colour

green glassI found this week’s challenge…….well a challenge. I rarely take pictures of something all of one colour, monotone or monochromatic as it were. I love pops of colour, even if I am working in one tonal range I still usually add in something, ย a little pop to add contrast and depth. So this week’s challenge is all one colour…..I tried and came fairly close ๐Ÿ™‚ Mostly my art, but a few actual photos scattered in too.

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On Moonlit Wings Mother Nature – Original Photo by Anna Karina

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Have a great week and happy snapping…

~ Julz

Share Your World – 16th May, 2017

Join us for another week of Share Your World? Each week Cee asks four questions, with which we get to share a little of ourselves with our readers. Want to join in too? Visit Cee’s Page for more information and her questions.

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The Future is in their hands

How many languages do you you speak?ย One and barely lol………unless you count Aussie, then I guess I speak Aussie fluently and English marginally lol. G’Day Mate! I must confess to speaking better than some of my Australian countrymen and women. Honestly some of them speak so badly, no proper pronunciation and what’s with all the mumbling? Am I just turning into one of these geriatric old ladies who is deaf and continually asks you to repeat what you said? Is it possible, that Young adults these days spend so much time on their smart-phones, that they have forgotten HOW to communicate verbally? Rant over!

What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?ย Eating Yoghurt with raspberries and a cup of coffee while reading blog posts and listening to the soothing sounds of my heating trying to keep me warm, my office is like a freezer! It might be great in Summer, but not in Winter. Reading, I don’t really read any more, apart from artistic magazines, I just can’t seem to find the time. I watch a lot of Youtube videos and read blog posts and I feel that is sufficient for the moment. I will occasionally watch TV, I am currently binge watching; Grimm, Blacklist, Greys and a few others.

What was the last photo you took with your phone? Actually it was on Friday Night at the opening of my latest gallery exhibit and I sold a piece, so naturally I had to take a quick snap of the red dot! The gallery was so jam packed with people, I could not stand back and get a good shot, so it’s at a bit of a crazy angle……..still it’s a sold piece ๐Ÿ™‚

What is your favorite time of day?ย Loaded question really, it changes depending on my mood and the weather. Let’s see, I love to be up real early and shoot an amazing sunrise, but in reality I am usually fast asleep in bed, but if I do get up, I love the peace, the calm, the tranquility just before the sun rises. In Summer I love balmy evenings, in Autumn I love the later afternoon sunlight, in Spring I love the early morning light and Winter……I don’t really like Winter very much, but I suppose the mornings, crisp and cold and full of promise; however I prefer to be snug in my bed or on the couch with my dog. I grumble and complain and then rug up and go out and shoot something (with my camera) or like last year I hold my studio workshops……I think I will this year too.

Optional Bonus question: ย What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? ย 

I sold a piece at my latest exhibit, then I featured in an Interview with Quill and Camera, I then had my third paid job in just over a Week, so that is a good week. On Saturday, I had a fun shoot with a collaborating photographer Beck Faldon and her Son, Quinn; Circus, Pirates and crazy imagination of a hyped up six year old (McDonald’s was to blame apparently) and my own brand of hyped crazy ๐Ÿ™‚

I had a shoot with an aspiring actor just launching his career, I hope he does well; more of a Jack Black and a Ryan Gosling.

One of my models, Hayley has been in hospital after a back injury, she is slowly coming good, but is facing surgery in the next few days. Please, wish her well. She is hoping to be home next weekend, I wish her a speedy recover.

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Hayley in ‘The Wallflower’

I have an open and empty diary this weekend, feels strange, but I am looking forward to it. So many possibilities, although I really should be doing some work around the house; gardens, cleaning, general tidy up before Winter really sets in.

That is about all for this week, feels a little quiet after all the excitment from last week. I hope you all have a fabulous week ahead.

~ Julz

Monday’s Musings…

Had such a wonderful week last week, although the weather is turning much colder and there has been fog and even dew on the lawns in the mornings, and the leaves have all turned lovely shades of red, gold and orange; Autumn really is here. All too quickly it will be gone and Winter will settle in. I had such a busy weekend; Friday evening we attended the opening of my latest gallery exhibit, to which I have already sold one piece and a friend of mine won an Honorable Mention, with such a great piece too. Ran into a few familiar faces, checked out all the fabulous art then headed into Lygon Street for Pizza.

I then had not one, but two shoots on Saturday……

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Honestly could they be any different? But such large personalities and expressive faces. Young Master Quinn, had fun in a circus styled shoot, but we threw in some other fun stuff as well; There be pirates……..ARRRRRRGGGGGG! (Yes I will do a post for each of these shoots, more so one than the other).

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Sunday was Mother’s Day, I did not get the requirement of Breakfast and coffee in bed, alas……but I was awake and up early anyway, so I got my own coffee! ๐Ÿ™‚ I did get some lovely flowers and chocolates from my daughter…..need to do something with those flowers! ~ where is my camera lol

We then went to visit with my parents, had lunch and chatted about all sorts of stuff, as you usually do. ย Spent the rest of the afternoon in editing mode, so much work. This weekend coming up is free and already my mind is wondering what to do. I still have not caught any real Autumn colour and a few spots have been calling out to me, is there time for a day trip? However there is plenty to be done around the house as well. Sigh.

Last week was quite and exciting week, between the exhibit and my interview, I found it difficult to settle, not to mention the busy weekend. I have most of my editing under control now and can spend this week playing, I have a few more competitions I need to create for as well. So a quiet weekend is not such a bad idea.

Not much else to say, I hope you have a brilliant week and happy snapping…

~ Julz

 

52 Week Photo Challenge – Week 33

Week 33 of the 52 Week Photo Challenge by The Girl Who Dreams Awake is Rain! How fitting for this time of year and I have the perfect picture. I shot this on Saturday in the studio with one of my Models, Hayley.

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Silver Linings

That’s it for this week, one shot only……I generally do not shoot in the rain ๐Ÿ™‚

Til next week, have fun, stay warm and dry and happy snapping…

~ Julz, xo

 

 

 

 

 

Monday’s Musings

OK, my crazy month of April has finally come to an end…….it was a wonderful month full of travel, friendships and experiences beyond my wildest expectations. So Now I am back in the world of reality, work, family, housekeeping and Portrait shoots ๐Ÿ™‚ I loved every minute of April, but it did leave me exhausted. So time to find some stillness and catch my breath.

So I spent most of last week between editing images, catching up on housework and relaxing, the weather is really getting quite crisp and I feel Winter is coming soon ( as is the next Game of Thrones installment, but that’s another tale ๐Ÿ™‚ )

I spent Thursday and Friday evenings try to sort out the studio, I had dumped stuff everywhere from workshops and travel, my prop box needed to be sorted out as I had a Concept Shoot on Saturday with the wonderful Hayley. We wanted to work on some really different pieces, more emotive, but based on a similar theme. Hayley has a creative soul and enjoys doing things just a little different. So I wanted to delve into some styled shoots I have wanted to try but had not had the chance. It was a relaxed morning and and easy shoot, even the edit was not overly taxing.

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I also went back to shooting portraits this month, because……….well hey gotta help pay the bills somehow right? I Had a lovely lady who wanted a fashion/glamour look in the studio. Hair and Makeup done by Dee Harding. Interesting shoot, I don’t do a lot of fashion but it is fun.

I also finally got around to playing with some still life, I had to let the ball drop on this one, as I had so much on with travel etc. So it was really nice to just play and breathe; my Still Life is my Zen, the ying to my dramatic yang as it were.

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This weekend, coming up, I have another corporate shoot and a concept shoot, this time I am shooting with another photographer; so that should be fun. I am setting up some workshops for later this month and next month; Still Life and Conceptual Portraits………so that is time consuming, but will be exciting. I have also been doing a big clean up on my photographic catalogue. Sorting it all out, it’s such a mess, but now slowly getting under control. Finding lots of images I forgot I had, or which I had shot but not touched for a few years; and would love to re edit. Something for those cold wet, rainy days I don’t want to be out shooting ๐Ÿ™‚

So here is to a great week ahead & happy snapping…

~ Julz