Meet My Muses – Eph ‘n Murial

I’ve known old Eph and Murial for several years. Cantankerous, fickle, transient, one on my right shoulder and the other on my left. At times I think they hide in my armpits. When my head starts to itch, fog rolls over my brain, and my creative well runs dry, but my shoulders feel lighter and inspiration leaves. They’ve skipped again without notice.

Stress builds, I knuckle rap my forehead and cry out for Eph and Murial, but alas, no result. I can hear them giggling just beyond the pale of reach.

“I need you, at least one of you!’, I screech. ‘Eph, you get back here and help me out.’

No response. Photoshop sits blankly in front of me.

‘Murial! Oh sweet Murial. My muse of sanity and softness. I have a Snickers bar for you.’

Cajoling sometimes helps. Murial loves her Snickers. All I get in return a museful snort of disdain.

I know they hear me, I know they’re watching my distress. Are they laughing, or are thinking it’s time to cut the wires.

Days go past, nay, it seems like weeks. I’m pulling autumn photographs off “My Passport’ drive just to have something to play with. The snow is gone. A week of fiftyish weather comes along and that time goes to playing cowgirl.

‘Giddy up, Maggie!’

The sun in out and I don’t have to bundle up like the Pillsbury Doughboy to waddle through the barn.

The temperatures dropped again, the winds are back up, and I’m inside. Eph and Murial are helping me this week. There’s a side of Peeps to keep their long gone blood sugar pumped. Eph is willing to take chances. He likes color and boldness. I never know what will happen when he’s helping. I suspect he’s been hanging with the old Impressionists, and other bones of the modern art movement.

Murial, she’s traditionalist, feminine, enthralled with early photography and the great landscape painters. A downright frilly filly.

I end up posting a platter of stewed photographs … textured and layered, altered colors, some spring pics from last year when our crabapple bloomed, and toned a few. I really don’t know where my brain has been these past few days. I look at what I’ve produced and don’t recognize myself. I blame Eph and Murial.

Weekly Photo Challenge:Ephemeral

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Marching to a New Color

Short and sweet. Yes, it took the entire week to develop a spring based photograph in orange. Orange is a lot easier in October than March. I cheated, I got to practice my layers and textures skill. Not going to say a lot this week. It ends in three hours anyway and the challenge changes.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:Orange

 

Visit my new photography page at  ViewBug

 

 

My Half-fast Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is one of the most established principles of photographic arrangement. Its nine equal boxes dictate how the human eye responds to placement and dynamics of movement. If our eye lands on the wrong junction, our brain responds with a shot of bland. Throw in a pleasing curve, or place the subject off to either the left or right third of the arrangement and the brain responds favorably.

I photograph things that tend to be, well, busy. Lots of textures. Trees, prairie grasses and flowers, rows of corn growing, piles of fallen leaves. I work sitting on the ground, or flopped on my belly. Neither position allows for moving easily to find that sweet spot in the lens. These prairie flowers were shot at Aldo Leopold’s Sand County property near Baraboo, Wisconsin.

When I get my subject in focus it rarely stands alone. Wind blown plants wave behind and in front of my little beauties. Rarely does one tree stand alone, unless it has fallen and begun the slow process of breaking back to feed earthly creatures. Weather interferes. I haven’t shot a portrait in over ten years a still life in over five. Point the camera at one of my critters and they immediately move.

My half-fast rule is, if a third of my shots are keepers, I’m happy. I live with lovely, wild, natural bokeh. On a great day, I get close to a rule of 2/3. I’ve learned to live with it. Let me know what rules you’re willing to break. Thank for stopping by again.

I’ve just starting posting different works on a new photo site, ViewBug – Charly Makray-Rice .

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:Rule of Thirds

 

An Improbable Scale

One misplaced finger on the keyboard and an entire prelude, poof. Of course, I have no notes. Muse, where art thou?

Of course, unbelievable, incredible, farfetched on a grand scale. Nothing could top the cake, plant the flag on the mountain peak, or jump the puddle, on a more absurd beginning than this.

Kickstarting my muse is akin to getting the polka band in tune, and the residents of Bogside Senior Living Center onto the floor to jig with Stadler and Waldorf.

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Scale gives photographic material an acceptable variation of density.  This image is a layered composite of four different photos; Birch bark and a layer each of a leaf of Shagbark Hickory, Quaking Aspen, and the top one, I really have no idea.  If anyone recognizes it, please let me know.

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I recently discovered our bog is actually a ‘Shrub Carr’. There are several types of wetlands. A bog has a layer of peat moss covering the bottom layer of soil. We lack that. We do have Red Twig Dogwood, small willows, various ferns, (a bracken or bract, something which resembles a fish scale in texture), sedges, and later in summer wetland wildflowers. The image above is two layers, each a couple of different ferns, Sensitive and Ostrich (my best guess). Dang, I missed the leaf shadow in the lower right corner. Oh, well, as a friend accidentally embroidered, “nobody’s pecfect”!

These are the improbable components in the scale of my life. Not likely to cause a major eruption on Facebook or other social media. I’ve been playing around with On One Perfect Photo Suite again, and recently added Topaz Labs ReStyle and Detail 3 to my collection. Still a seeker, more aha that’s interesting than oh my so boring again.

Thanks again for stopping The Less Paved. Let me know what you think of my experiments. If you’re playing as well I’d like to hear about your work.

 Weekly Photo Challenge:Scale

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Travelling the Express Route on The Road Less Paved

Sitting in the bog in back of my house. My ass is wet, it’s cold but not freezing. I’ve just learned that deer leave an amazing amount of poop in the woods. They must back up and, like dump trucks, use the same site every morning. I know there’s a joke about bear business in the woods, if anyone knows one about the common whitetail deer let me know. I managed to avoid all mountains before I sat.

I’m trying out my second new camera of the year. I sent the first back. I learned the problem with manufacturers stuffing ever-increasing pixels onto compressed sensors. On a full size screen it looks like a toss-up between finger painting, and an old chipped mosaic tile floor. I had better results fifteen years ago when cameras only had 5 to 7 pixels.

I didn’t get everything I wanted. The high hopes for a respectable point and shoot went out the window. The only cameras that serve my nitpicky needs are still well over a thousand dollars. Not in this lifetime. I ended up with a Nikon D3200. I bought a camera bag that looks like a big tote bag, so it will serve to tuck and go, point and shoot.

These are first shots out of the new toy. I’m processing with Photoshop, OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 8.1, and trying out a couple of the Topaz plug-ins. I’d like to try more, but my laptop crashes when it tries to open them. Thanks MS for making crappy onboard graphics processors that won’t talk to programs.

I’m certainly happy to have an entire day to spend expressing myself – breaking out of the mold and moving in the direction I want to go. Thanks for stopping by the road. Please leave word on what you think of expressions.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:Express Yourself

 

Warm Heart, Cold Nature

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Warm and fuzzy happens when my brains clears its anxieties, and stumbling stones. A year ticked past since I cancelled and deleted my photography website. I haven’t used Photoshop in three years. I felt a wind blowing from a new direction up the road, but I hadn’t yet walked into it. 2014 started with a hint of foreboding and a cold heart.

Today I downloaded the monthly Photoshop/Lightroom package, and surprise, the old familiar, organizational friend, Bridge is back. My bloated computer is going to belch occasionally, while my work freezes and implodes into another dimension. I’ll have to remember to save often, and work from copies of originals. Been there, made those mistakes before.

I replaced my point and shoot camera. My goofy horse knocked the last one into the sand during a video session. She thought the round pod bag I use for support was an apple. The last couple of days, into the next few weeks, pics taken will be in on a learning curve. While enjoying the old processing favorites in Photoshop, I’m blending them into my love affair with OnOne Perfect Photo Suite.

Warm and fuzzy came just in time to keep me occupied. Bitter cold weather returned, my brittle temperament feet first to the heating source. I finished two photographs today. Shooting nature is cold, but the work is from my heart and that warms me. I’m finally headed into the wind that’s whispering my name.

Thanks for stopping by again. Let me know what you think. Have a very Happy New Year!

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Weekly Photo Challenge:Warmth

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Mellow, butter, goldenrod, lemon, cream, canary, primary, and get my sunglasses, yellow

Less than sixty minutes remain of the winter solstice. I don’t celebrate Christmas or New Years. I’m among the group of people in which holidays hold nothing but bitter memories. As mid-summer passes into fall, I count down the days until December 21st of each year. I’m starved for the individual flavor each additional minute will bring to my evening table.

The solstice means I’ve made it through another year. I’ve survived the worst of my imagined and real terrors. Except for the weather, hopefully everything will continue on for another year. There was a time in my life when yellow was my favorite color. I couldn’t be miserable wearing yellow. My living quarters, even without southern windows looked sunnier with a touch of yellow on the walls.

Somewhere along the way, I realized I really don’t look good wearing yellow. Decorating with yellow looked dated past the 1970’s. As life moved on I shifted my love of yellow to flowers, admired golden sunsets on the prairies, and on rare days when I woke early, appreciated the butter soft glow of a misty sunrise.

Today I’ve taken time to break all the rules about photographic placement, color, form, and size. I’ve gone back into my vault and overhauled a few old favorites taken at a Pow Wow in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin several years ago. The yellow were everywhere. I stopped short of pulling out the yellow-green.  It was a close call, but I’ll save those for another day.

Feel free to let me know what you think of my solstice madness.Enjoy your own mid-winter, or mid-summer holidays, depending on which half of the planet you live on. Thank for stopping by. See you next year!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:Yellow