Friday, December 30, 2016

Foto Art Friday – December 30, 2016
Into Tomorrow
As I thought about creating this week’s piece, I reflected back on this past year – after all, isn’t that what one does when the end of the year rolls around?  And, then, I thought, that instead of looking back, looking forward might be a better way to approach this time of year.  This piece reflects that change of mind set.  Vintage music and a copyright free background make up the foundation of this piece, while specialty brushes of coffee rings and written words provided the finishing touches.  My own image of some trees in winter along a deserted country road brought to mind the idea of looking forward into the unknown – into tomorrow.
Into Tomorrow


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

And Other Views…..
My photo op drive also gave me other views, and I thought I’d group these all together, while letting the trees stand alone.  Altho taken at the same time, some thoughts may be different, while others just reinforce some realizations. 
 Old Homestead
Of course, if there’s a deserted cabin or homestead to be found, I will find it!  And, they do seem to dot the landscape here.  What a tale this cabin could tell us!  I’m not clear whether it’s still being used to hold feed for the cattle, but it looked pretty “alone” to me, sitting out in this field, with an old windmill alongside.  Still, the colors of the sky and grass, and of the cabin itself, lend a warmth to its station in life, doesn’t it?
Old Windmill
This image gives us a totally different perspective, doesn’t it?  The white-capped mountains in the distance reminds us that it’s likely cold outside, and the black & white finish makes the entire scene seem a bit desolate.  Add to that, an old windmill, no longer in use, but still standing tall, and the overall effect is of something forgotten.  A lost homestead, a former life – it’s for you to decide.
When I saw this scene, I felt a sense of community.  If you look closely at the foothills of the mountains, you can see a few farms/ranches.  Yes, the mountains sort of dwarf them in comparison, but I get a sense of the plucky, tough people that call those farms or ranches home, and make a life there.  Their lives may be physically tougher than ours, but they certainly have much grander views to compensate!
Abandoned Cabin
I found this little guy along a train track that ran along a highway leading to a very small town.  I would have loved to explore him up close, but there was a fence in between us that made that impossible.  Still, I love the rough wood, in several shades of gray, and the resilience that I felt just looking at this cabin, still standing, after years out in the middle of nowhere, withstanding winter storms, spring winds, and the strong sun of summers gone by. 
Church Bell
As I wound my way toward home, I saw this wonderful church bell perched in the steeple of San Vincent de Paul Church, in the tiny town of Punta de Agua, New Mexico.  This church was established in 1878, and is quite the tiny little church.  However, my focus was on the church bell.  I don’t know if it still rings out, calling people to worship, but I love the character of it, and the simplicity of the cross standing tall over it.  In a way, it’s a tribute to this tiny town, still standing and vibrant so far off the beaten trail.
Slice of Past Life
Still in the town of Punta de Agua, I came across a deserted building.  The open window would be mostly hidden during the summer months, by the leaves of the tree in front of it, but during this time of year, I could see thru it and into the remains of a past life.  An old stove is all that is left of what must have been the heart of a home, the kitchen.  The touch of turquoise around the window pane makes me believe that this was a well-cared for home sometime in the past.
Private Property
Another snippet of a deserted building in Punta de Agua.  The sign letting me know this is considered Private Property, speaks to a time when life inside this window was bustling with activities and daily chores.  I would have loved to step closer to look inside the window, but I felt I needed to respect the sign.  What’s inside?  A story left untold perhaps.
I decided that it had been too long since I took myself out on one of my photo op drives.  Generally, when I do this during the winter months (and it officially turned “winter” just a few days ago), I venture out during a snowstorm, so I can get some wonderful images of the landscape and trees covered in snow, or in the midst of a snow globe type environment.  This day, it was brilliant sunshine, and the only snow was on the distant mountain tops. 
Old Fenceline
Winter in New Mexico can be many things.  Today, it was blue skies and dead grass that appeared to be golden.  Add in a rickety gate on a barbed wire fence line, and you have a curiously warm feeling image of a tree in its winter sleep.  Winter days can sometimes seem never-ending, and the fence line sort of mirrors that feeling, as well as the sense of space that comes from being in rural New Mexico.
Fenceline Tree
Further down the road, and actually on a small dirt road off the main route I was taking, I came across this perfectly proportioned tree, with, again, a fence line leading me toward it.  If you look closely, you can see the snow-capped mountains in the background, sort of hidden by the tree.  It looks as if the fenceline, and the road alongside it, lead to the mountains.  Ah, but here, looks can be deceiving.  Just like the tree looks rather dead, but yet, makes me imagine what it will be like in the spring and summer, full of life.
Roadside Beauty
On the same dirt road, but a bit closer to my main route for this part of my journey today, I found this wonderful tree and view.  The things that draws me to this image are the lines of the fenceline, dirt road and power/telephone poles all leading to what seems to be a single point in the distance.  It sort of reminded me of how many different experiences in our life can end up leading us to the same realization of where we’re meant to be.  Which path shall we follow?
Gnarly Tree
I truly love the look of this tree.  I have to give you a bit of forewarning – keep an eye out for it in future photo collages of mine!  It has such wonderful character.  And, no, it’s truly not dead.  At least, I don’t think it is.  I believe it will once again bloom when the warm winds of spring arrive.  However, for now, I thought it was so stark, that only a black & white version truly suited its personality.
New Mexico Winter
Ah, a change of perspective!  Isn’t it amazing how viewing the same tree differently can affect how we see it?  In this image, the wonderfully magical New Mexico light has transformed it.  Yes, the tree and its companion are still without leaves, but the blue sky and light of the white wisps of clouds almost make the tips of the tree seem like they are alight!  The mountains in the background, with their snow caps, remind us that it truly is a bit nippy out there in the brilliant light.  It’s just a much more optimistic view of the same tree – and reminds us how a change of perspective can affect how we see our own reality!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

December 23, 2016
Winter Snow Globe
We were having some winter weather here in New Mexico when I was contemplating this piece.  It was a semi-snowy, icy day, full of sleet, and it just felt so cold looking out the window of my studio and home.  Because of the icy sleet, I didn’t venture out to photograph scenes, but instead looked back on some images from other winter storms, and found this wonderful image of a willow tree in a past storm.  The day today was sort of snow globe-like, altho no snow stuck to the ground.  The snow and ice just sort of blew around, reminding me of a snow globe.  For this piece, I used some sheet music as a foundation piece, and then layered that with a Citra Solv background piece I created a while ago.  It has a bit of text in there, but the reason I chose it is because it helps to create the snow-globe effect.  Specialty brushes add some nice touches to finish off the piece.  Hopefully, this piece makes you want to snuggle up with a comfy throw wrapped around you, a good book to read, and maybe even a lovely fire in the fireplace.
Winter Snow Globe

Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16, 2017 – Foto Art Friday
Fly Away All
During late fall/early winter, I photographed this empty bird’s nest that was nestled in a large bush just off our back patio.  It reminded me of the summer, when I would sit on the patio in the early morning, listening to the birds chirping and flying around greeting the day, and seemingly wishing me a good morning!  I would also hear cheeping, most likely the baby birds that once called this home.   But, they are gone now, and only dead leaves are left in the nest.  They have all flown away…..and least until next spring!  The thought of the circle of the seasons keeps me from feeling too sad.  I don’t know – could this be another bird’s nest next year?  Home to yet another bird family of little ones?  I hope so!

Fly Away All

Friday, December 9, 2016

Foto Art Friday – December 9, 2016
In A Deep and Dark December
There’s been quite a bit of wintry weather going on all over the country, it seems.  I felt like I wanted this piece to match the week’s weather, so I went back into my image files and found this image of a wintry day here from about a year or so ago.  I layered it with a number of different backgrounds and effects, blending and merging them until this result happened.  As I played with this piece, the old Simon and Garfunkel song “I Am A Rock” kept repeating in my head, specifically the line “in a deep and dark December”.  I knew I just had to name this piece for that line, as it certainly does look like a deep and dark December.
In A Deep and Dark December

Friday, December 2, 2016

Foto Art Friday – December 2, 2016
I have an image of some Joshua Trees that I took which I had converted to a black and white photo.  I loved the sort of creepy feel the trees had in that particular image and decided to play on that feel for this piece.  I merged a background I made using Citra Solv and a book text page.  I then added the image and blended it with the background so that the trees were highlighted.  More blending and merging of digital elements allowed some of the text to sort of “pop”.  The two trees that are in the foreground gave the piece its name.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Foto Art Friday – November 24, 2016
The Raven
On a recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park, I was lucky enough to capture a wonderful image of a raven soring overhead, with some boulders in the background.  The raven became the focus of this piece, because I just feel like he perfectly illustrated the freedom that everyone loves and craves in their lives.  I complemented him with some CitraSolv background I created, and then used a variety of brushes and other effects to create the final piece. 
The Raven

Monday, November 21, 2016

Artful Views at Joshua Tree National Park
We had two wonderful days at Joshua Tree National Park, and some really lovely photographs were possible there.  Let’s take a look –
Black & White Joshua
As lovely as the Joshua Trees are in living color (see next image), I thought it would be striking to process an image in black and white.  The starkness of the limbs of the trees gave me the idea to try this.  The desert landscape and rocky mountains added to the effect, with only the clouds above to soften things.
Looking Up a Joshua Tree
As interesting as the gnarly limbs of a Joshua Tree are from afar, I thought it might be cool to look up a tree.  I was careful not to get too close (I wasn’t sure if touching the trunk would be a painful experience), but was able to get a good view of a complex structure.  Again, the softness of the clouds offset the roughness of the tree.
Rock Formation
I posted a similar image to my travel blog.  I decided to include it in my art blog because I loved the tonal quality of the formations.  I processed this image in “true” HDR, merging 3 images taken with different exposures, so that the subtle qualities of the colors could be highlighted.  Don’t you just feel like you could reach out and touch the smoothness of the stone?
Taking Wing
There were many ravens around, and I took many images of them soaring overhead.  This image looks like I’m capturing a shadow on a rock wall.  In reality, this is the actual raven with a rock formation as a background.  He was flying around the very large boulders in the area.  This image just has a sort of magical feel to it.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Foto Art Friday – November 18, 2016
Old Friends
I took the image that’s the foundation of this piece a couple of years ago, but I kept thinking about it and decided to create this piece.  Altho new friends are wonderful, and a great way to expand our life and experiences, there’s something that’s also wonderful about old friends.  These are people who “knew you when” and have seen you thru joys and sorrows, your best and worst decisions, helped you thru the toughest times, and celebrated with you in your happiest times. These two older gentlemen were sitting at a bar in a local pub and eatery, and I couldn’t resist capturing their comfortable relationship in this piece.  Just a gentle reminder to celebrate both your new and old friends – both are treasures!
Old Friends

Friday, November 11, 2016

Foto Art Friday – November 11, 2016
Dust Storm Saguaro
On a driving trip through the Southwest, my husband and I happened to get caught in a large dust storm, called a haboob.  As visibility became more and more difficult, I attempted to capture what was happening with my camera.  One of the images I captured were some saguaro cacti on the side of the highway.  When I processed the image, the feeling of the haboob was accentuated by the fact that my view of the cacti were filtered through both the wave of dust we were driving through and the windshield made dirty by the storm.  I decided to feature that image in this piece.  To me, it captures the feeling that I sometimes feel when life hands me a difficult situation.  It feels like the answer is there, but I must look for it through a screen of debris.  Digital collage elements, including a background I created using Citra Solv, a variety of paintbrush effects, and multiple layers merged together created this final product. 
Dust Storm Saguaro

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Napa Back Road
There is a road that cuts thru the hills between Napa and Sonoma at about mid-point of the 2 valleys.  It’s a twisting, turning road, called Trinity Road.  It actually has several names as it passes thru the hills, but in the beginning, on the Sonoma side, it’s called Trinity Road, and that is how I always think of it.  I truly love to drive down this road when we visit this area because it reminds me of what I always picture when I think of driving thru wine country.  A small, winding road that always holds the promise of what lies just ahead.  When processing this image, I decided to convert it to a painting effect, because it seems to soften it, much like our minds do to favorite memories.
Napa Back Road
Misty Mood of Wine Country
This was the first time I had ever been to the Napa/Sonoma wine country when most of the time, it was rainy.  Altho after a while, it did wear on me, I have to admit I truly loved some of the great moody photo opportunities it provided me.
End of Season

The trees have just about lost their leaves for this year.  The crush of the wine grapes is over, and the leaves on the vines are turning glorious fall colors.  Yes, these things I’ve seen on previous visits.  What I hadn’t seen before, and what lent an entirely different feel to the landscape was the fact that I truly felt the hills in wine country this time around.  Why?  Because I seemed to see them more clearly this time, ironically, because they were often covered with misty clouds rolling down them.
Misty Mood
Would I have noticed this small grove of trees had the sun been shining brightly?  Well, if I would have, it would only have been in passing.  Shrouded in mist, they seem to have taken on a mysterious quality, and almost seem like a perfect setting for some sort of tale of mystery.
Green in the Fog
Altho the fog frequently seems to mute colors, in this instance, it made the green sort of stand out, albeit in a soft way.  This lonely little cabin truly left me with a feeling of loneliness, which is why I positioned it where I did in this image.  Surrounded by nothing.
Low Napa Rainbow
What do you get when you mix water with just a bit of light?  The prism effect of a rainbow!  I have to say, tho, this one was a special treat, simply because it was so low to the ground!  I don’t recall ever seeing one that almost seems to want to hug the earth below.  And, after a day of grey shadows, it was truly eye candy to see the bright colors!
Beauty in Nature
Being in wine country in the fall seemed to provide not only the colors one would expect in the fall, but also some bright colors that I would typically expect during the summer.  All of them really showed off Nature’s palette and versatility….
Autumn in Full Glory
Of course – the brilliant colors one would expect in October!  I truly love the way yellow, orange and red blend in the leaves of this tree.  And, in what I find is often the case, I needed to look up to see the beauty just above eye level!
We were in Napa/Sonoma at what was a rainy time for them.  So, just a few steps from the fall brilliance, I felt like I was seeing the result of spring rains.  The colors of these leaves and the rain drops on the petals of the flower reminded me of the old saying about April showers and May flowers!
Interesting Autumn Colors
Let’s shift gears again, but in a much unexpected way – to autumn colors that included purple!  Yes, it’s true!  I can’t recall seeing any purple before in the fall, so I will count this as a first, and a true treat from Nature.  I do love the softness of all the colors – and this time with nary a water drop to be seen.
Autumn Leaf in Sunshine
This would be a somewhat typical expectation of autumn in wine country.  A leaf on the vine in mid-color change, with the warmish autumn sun shining thru it to also reflect a bit of the shadow of the vine.
Raindrops 2
But, I’ll leave you with this taste of false spring.  Roses are very plentiful in wine country, and this one seems to be getting ready to drop on a green rosebush leaf just below it.  I always love when I can capture raindrops on flowers or leaves – the real thing and not something that has just been sprayed or sprinkled on!  I tip my hat to the versatility of Nature.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Foto Art Friday – November 4, 2016
End of Season
This piece was inspired by a happy accident, which can happen with fairly decent regularity if we’re open to that.  In this case, I accidentally merged 3 distinctly different images I took in Napa, California, into 1 high dynamic range image.  I didn’t realize I was doing that, and when I saw the result, I just sort of sat and looked at it.  I knew I needed to make it a photo collage piece, because I had already sort of started down that path by accident.  So, I added another image of a tree with most of its leaves gone, because it’s the end of the growing season in Napa, and fall is quickly upon us there.  The circles in the lower center are of a clock, and several lighter shadows of the clock.  I purposefully did not make it very clear, because, as time passes, when recalling things, the time that they occurred sometimes gets muddled, and fades.  I then added some photographic grunge effects, some other brushes in Photoshop Elements, and the result is what you see. 
End of Season

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Art at Del Mar Beach
We took Miki to a dog beach in Del Mar, California, when we were in California, and I took a couple of images that just really spoke to me about how peaceful it can be on the shore, even when the waves are rolling in.  As I processed these images, I just felt like they should be converted to some other sort of media – or at least look like they have been created in a different medium! 
At the Dog Beach
This image was captured as we walked across a bridge up above the dog beach.  I love the perspective of being up above things looking down on a calm view.  I converted this to a sort of crayon type drawing.  I loved how the messiness of the effect sort of mirrored the way the waves rolled in, and yet had an overall soft feel to it.
Wave Action
This image represents the opposite perspective – up close to the waves.  I converted this to a sort of impasto painting effect.  The shades of blue fading into the sand and white foam colors create a lovely transition.  What I think I like the most about this image/painting are the shadows you can see from the foam of the waves on the sand below the water.  It’s an unexpected depth that almost creates a 3D effect…..except its real!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Foto Art Friday – October 28, 2016
Let Go
Recently, I saw a quote that spoke to how autumn was nature’s way of telling us letting go can be beautiful, or something to that effect.  The sentiment, if not the exact words, stuck with me, and became the inspiration for this piece.  The rainy autumn leaf was taken while wine tasting in Napa Valley, California, but it could have been a leaf taken anywhere that experiences the brilliant colors of autumn.  I added in collage elements of vintage music (as sometimes a song takes on much significance during a time of loss), brushes of birds flying (as birds leave their nests every year in autumn when they migrate), and other colors of the season.  I found it appropriate that the leaf was covered in raindrops, perhaps signifying the tears that comes with letting go.  And, finally, the advice to simply “let go”.  At times, we cannot move forward without letting go of the past.
Let Go

Friday, October 21, 2016

Foto Art Friday – October 21, 2017
I was looking thru images that I shot earlier this year, and an image of daisies caught my eye.  They were reaching up high, as if they could touch the sky or the sun.  And, I thought that the happiest people I know are like those daisies, always reaching high for something better, different, or new to them.  They are always looking for new experiences, and yet have their feet firmly on the ground – they have good roots!  This piece is dedicated to them. 
To create this piece, I used a vintage handwritten letter, background that I created using CitraSolv and some specialty brushes in Photoshop Elements.  Credit: On Thin Air (coffee ring brushes)
Note:  This piece is available for purchase in my Etsy shop – www.photoimagerybynadine.etsy

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sunset Sky
On one of our last day’s home before our California wine country trip, there was a lovely sunset.  I captured a few images of it, but rather than have me ramble on about how beautiful it was, I thought I would just supply some quotes about the beauty of nature to complement them.
Sunset Colors
On earth, there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.
-  Jules Renard 
Homes, Mountains and Sky
Nature always wears the color of the spirit.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mountain Silhouette
The mountains are calling and I must go.
– John Muir
End of Southwest Day
Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second.
– Mattie Stepanek

Friday, October 14, 2016

October 14, 2016 – Foto Art Friday
Surf Play
Summer is at its end, and the thought of this made me reflect back to some enjoyable summer memories.  When in San Diego, a friend of mine and I walked along the beach.  I saw a little girl playing with the surf, not IN the surf.  She would run down to the shore and then squat down and wait for the waves to roll back in.  Then, she’d race the waves into the shore.  This would happen over and over again, to her delight!  I’ve been thinking about her for a while, and decided to make her the focus of this piece, celebrating summer, life, childhood and fun.
Surf Play