Rudbeckia with American Flag

American flag among rudbeckia
I was in the mood to do something creative this morning, so I took a photo of an American flag (similar to this U.S. flag photograph, both shots were taken at the Asbury Park boardwalk last year) and imposed it over a recent shot that I took of the rudbeckia in my garden. I used a mask in Photoshop to get the background of flowers to appear under the flag. The difficult part is the edges – one carefully has to go around and eliminate all the sky edges from the original photograph.

Happy Fourth of July.

Here are the two original photos used to create the image above:
rudbeckia front yard

flag on Asbury Park boardwalk
The top one of rudbeckia or black eyed susans was taken in my front yard. The bottom one depicts a U.S. flag flying on the Asbury Park boardwalk.

Oh Deer, Rabbit and Magnolia

three deer in a backyard
I saw one then two then three deer in a neighbor’s backyard. I approached them with my camera, and they backed into this corner. Then two hopped the fence. The last one stayed behind and nibbled an evergreen bush. New Jersey is getting so developed the deer are living everywhere, or so it seems.

This rabbit seems to be living in our backyard. I saw him twice yesterday.

magnolia bloom
My neighbor’s magnolia tree has started to blossom. You can see the buds of the magnolia on this post. The yellow background in this photo is from the forsythia.

magnolia blue background
I decided to give my magnolia blossom a blue background.

Crocus with Red Filament

crocus with blue streaks and red filament
April Fools a few days late – have you ever seen a crocus with a red filament? I haven’t. And the petals didn’t have blue streaks, either.

Pied Piper of Highland Park

Pied Piper in sepia
Unlike the original story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, in which many children may have died of the plague, the Pied Piper of Highland Park is the story of a girl who likes to put on a show. And her mother who likes to play with Photoshop.

pied piper
Her mother took all the background out of the original photo, except for a little on the right, after converting to sepia. Except for the red ribbon and the girl’s face.

stars pied piper
A Photoshop brush of a star helped create a vibrant background. No rats were involved in this Highland Park project. And no children died of the plague. Thank goodness!

Mosaic Wall in Sepia

Mosaic Wall at Raritan Valley Community College
You can see a full color version of this mosaic wall at Raritan Valley Community College in this post. To put this in sepia, I copied the original photo to a new layer in Photoshop, desaturated the photo, added yellow and red to get sepia, and then set the opacity of the sepia layer to 90% so just a wee bit of color would show through. I wanted to use the sepia effect to emphasize the textures of the mosaic.

For more sepia photos, visit Sepia Scenes:
bench in sepia

Mom Daughter in Sepia

mom and daughter
I love the way portraits look in sepia. I took a piece of a photo that my son took and used this tutorial called Basic Sepia Tone Old Effect. In the tutorial it suggests changing the whole image to Grayscale; instead, I just used Desaturate on one layer in Photoshop.

mom and daughter in color
Here is the original cropped section of the photo in full color. I used the clone stamp tool to change my husband’s bright lime t-shirt into the coloring of the tree behind. Here’s a good tutorial that demonstrates the use of the clone stamp tool.

For more photos with sepia, visit Sepia Scenes:

bench in sepia

Snow Near Donaldson Pond and Raritan River

Snow by the Pond in Donaldson Park, Middlesex County, New Jersey
Snow by the Pond in Donaldson Park, Middlesex County, New Jersey

We went sledding in Donaldson Park on Sunday, and in the distance I could see both the icy pond and the Raritan River beyond the pond.

snow by Raritan River in Donaldson Park
I took the photos from a sledding hill far from the river. My original photos had a blue cast; if you have Photoshop, you can use this video to learn how to remove a colored cast from a photo using Levels.

Here’s a glimpse of the main event: sledding!

Donaldson Park last December: less snow.
The pond in April: lots of birds!

For more watery links, visit Watery Wednesday:
Watery Wednesday

Playing with Fire

Fourth Night of Chanukah
Fourth Night of Chanukah

Each night of Chanukah we light one more candle, until by the eighth night we have eight candles lit. This is to remember the miracle that happened in the Temple a long time ago, when one little container of oil that should have lasted for only one day lasted for eight. In the photo are four orange candles for the fourth night, and the purple one called the “shamash.” The shamash is an extra one, the helper; the shamash lights the other candles. One can choose any colors; my daughter picked these colors. My sons and husband use an oil chanukiah (menorah), as the one in the Temple used oil.

I’ve been taking many photos of the lights, or as the title of this post declares, I’ve been “playing with fire.” Here’s the photo of the candles on a jar, using the warp tool in Photoshop as instructed in this tutorial on the warp tool effect.

Doors and Windows of Allaire

Allaire Village closed sign
We visited Allaire State Park back in early November. Here are some of the doors and windows of that pretty park. The above building in the historical village was closed, but many were open.

Strictly speaking, this is not a door or a window, but it is OPEN – so it’s like a gateway to the bakery. I enhanced the saturation of the colors in Photoshop.

We were able to visit the original home of the Allaire family. As I said on a previous post, we were not allowed to photograph inside, but here’s the doorway to that interesting home. It was said to still be inhabited by a descendant of the original Allaire founder in the 1950’s, and that 1950’s owner kept a horse in his kitchen. Eccentric.

This was a vertical photo, so I increased the canvas size to make it horizontal, and then I used the clone stamp tool and the blur tool to get the main part of the photo to extend a bit into the side areas.

What is that white board that looks like a door but is curiously up too high to be a door? Where there once steps there? I didn’t notice this until today, when I was looking through these photos. Does that happen to you; do you find mysteries in your photos that you didn’t recognize when you were on the scene?

These are windows in the train of the Pine Creek Railroad, which is next to the Historical Village. The train ride just goes around in circles, but we did get to see some deer as we circled about.

For more windows and doors, visit Window Views (hosted by Mary the Teach):

Watercolor Effects on a Creek Walk

Watercolor Effect Applied to Photo of Girl Walking in Creek
Watercolor Effect Applied to Photo of Girl Walking in Creek

I took several photos of my daughter’s adventurous friend walking in the creek at Howell Farm in Mercer County, New Jersey.

Creek Walk with Colors, Photo taken in August 2009 at Howell Farm, New Jersey
Creek Walk with Colors, Photo taken in August 2009 at Howell Farm, New Jersey

Another version, cropped differently
Another version of the Walk in the Creek, cropped differently

To learn more about the watercolor effect, see the tutorial:
Super Cool Watercolor Effect in 10 steps in Photoshop.

For more watery photos, visit Watery Wednesday:
Watery Wednesday