Sailboat at Sunset

I photographed this sailboat at sunset a few years ago on the Outer Banks. It was such a peaceful scene but I’ve never really had the same feeling I had that evening. (see original below)

Today I brought it back to Photoshop and used a cooling filter and now feel the serenity I felt that evening.

You may have some favorites on your computer worth revisiting too!


Sailboat at Sunset original


Quiet Thoughts

_3210011What a glorious morning!  Light snow falling as Spring tries to come forth. My power went out along with all the sounds of the house. So I sat by an open window near my dogwood and bird feeders to take in the sights and sounds of the outdoors.  This wasn’t about taking a fabulous photo… it was about embracing the moment.

I wrote down some thoughts and took a few photos but mostly just enjoyed the serenity.


A feeling of disappointment came over me when I heard everything chug back on and the stillness was gone. My posts are usually about technique and such but perhaps this is the most important one… take time to sit in the silence and just take in all that Nature offers.


PS  I post every weekend but just didn’t have anything in particular that I thought was worth bothering your inbox this past weekend.  Now I am glad I waited and hope you appreciate these thoughts.  And I am happy to have power back of course!

Photoshop Glow

This is an easy method to add mood to your images.

Duplicate Background Layer

Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur – I used 100-130 on these images but it depends on the look you want, so have fun experimenting

Then change your blending mode on the Layers palette to Multiply. You may want to reduce opacity on the top layer.

This can work on scenes too.

Light colored subjects can give a nice, ethereal impression.


Indoor Simple Setup

I bought these flowers at my local grocery for $4.00.  The background is black foamcore trifold available at office supply stores and others.  The base is a card table. I used the Magic Water Gels (see 2/17/18 post) to keep the flowers steady in the small vase with some HandiTak… a gummy substance you can find with glues at craft or hardware stores.

Natural light was my only light.  I added a light flare to one images, otherwise no real post processing.  You can have fun any time with just a few flowers!

Canon 5D Mark II with Lensbaby Velvet 56.

Many Versions


I enjoy using Smart Photo Editor to come up with new looks for my images. Sometimes I just get an idea by browsing their extensive library of over 6,000 effects and then make my own version in Photoshop… other times I like exactly what it does in their software.

This program operates on its own, so you do not need Photoshop or Lightroom to enjoy it.

The software is $29.95 and you can get an additional 10% with my code of LL1914.

All of these images were photographed with my Canon 5D Mark II and a Tamron 90mm macro lens.

The upper left is the original photo using a background of greenery I photographed defocused to get the blur of color. I printed the image and mounted it on foamcore to use indoors or in the garden.

The flower is a Frizzle Sizzle pansy.  I was buying some plants at a local nursery and they were getting ready to dump a whole flat (18 – 4″ plants).  Lucky me… she gave me the whole flat!  The plants needed a some cleaning up but it didn’t take me long and they now surround my mailbox.  Love the ruffly edge.


Magic Water Gels

Flower Arranging – one of the ongoing issues with flowers in vases is getting them to stay where you want… and not flopping over.  You can use flower sleeves that come on long stems like daisies and tulips at some vendors, but magic water gels work much better in my opinion.


Magic Water Gels

Magic water gels come in a variety of colors and are inexpensive. The only downside is they take about 4 hours to expand for use. They come in a small tube and 2 tsps of the beads grow into a full vase of colorful beads.  They are lightweight and easy to move around. They hold even fragile stems in place.

In a glass vase you see the color. They also come in clear.  You can layer the colors too.   They may appear cloudy after being with flowers for a long time but you can rinse them.

They are fun to photograph on their own too to create abstract patterns.

In an opaque vase you never see them. I have tried all kinds of ways to hold stems in place but like this the best by far!  Here is a link to one of the products on Amazon but there are many available.

Magic Water Gel

Finishing Touch 2

Last week I showed you how to add keylines to your greeting cards or other images. This week I’m showing you an easy soft white border.  Your printers generally do not print within 1/4″ of the edge, so this border takes away any issue with that!


Use the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and type 10 px in the Feather box on the top toolbar.  This will soften the edge and give you rounded corners.  This is for a 5×7… if your image is much larger you will need to feather more. Draw a box within 1/2″ of the edge as shown by the marching ants below.

Soft border

Now Cmd/Ctrl Shift I to invert your selection so just the border is selected.  Edit > Fill > White 100%. You will see the feathered edge towards the center.  Ctrl D to deselect the box. You can make a wider border if you like.

Soft border final