Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

Singing Robin

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

The European Robin is one of the few birds in the UK to sing all year round. This is one of the many reasons why I am especially fond of them. In the midst of winter their song takes on a brighter, more urgent tone. I’ve always thought of this as them singing for Spring! In many ways they are doing just that. While reaffirming their territories they are also singing to attract a mate. Robins are such expressive little birds and this is my favourite time of year to watch and listen to them. I’ve adapted a traditional nursery rhyme that some of you may know, Sing a Song of Sixpence, to express my joy at hearing the robin sing 🙂

Sing A Song Of Springtime

Sing a song of Springtime
From your perch on high
Four and twenty robins
Are calling to the sky

And when the sky has brightened
The other birds will sing
And there will be a chorus
That dawn will surely bring


One Four Challenge: January Week 4

One Four Challenge - January Week 4

One Four Challenge: January Week 4

It’s the final week for January’s One Four Challenge from Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me. I’ve loved working with this Dahlia image this month and I’ve really enjoyed all your great feedback. I thought I would carry on working with the flower in a classic design theme inspired a bit by last week’s image and all the comments I received. My thoughts behind these designs were vintage fabric prints. This week I’ve kept the colour but made the overall look softer and subtle.

Photoshop CC
Select flower using polygonal lasso tool
Refine Edge
Fill Background Black
Select Black Pixels
Refine Edge
Layer via copy
Apply Radial Zoom Blur to both layers
Copy Background Layer and add Radial Swirl
Overlay Blending 20%
Merge and Flatten
Add an Invert Adjustment Layer
Difference Blending
Flatten Image

Greater Than Gatsby
Sentimental Colour Base
Sky Harbour 20%
Bright Pink Burst top left 90%
Soft Lavender Burst bottom right 75%
Eloise 30%
Paddington 20%
Moody Brush applied to flower centre
Bright Contrast 30%
Brooklyn Theatre Fire 60%
Merge and Flatten
Painterly Soft
Flatten Image

Open Paisley Texture Image
Apply Hue/Saturation Adjustment
Apply Brightness/Contrast Adjustment
Flatten Image
Add Texture Overlay to Flower
Create several copies of the flower
Transform size and opacity and place flowers diagonally across image
Merge with Multiply, Soft Light and Normal Blending
GTG Tuscan Vingnette 60%

Analogue Efex 2
Basic Adjustments: +detail -contrast +brightness
Light Leaks: Soft
Cool Film Type

Here’s my gallery of all the images for January and a poll if you would like to choose a favourite:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity


Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

Serene Spirits

Time slows to a gentle
Pulsing beat of the heart
The world exists only in
This moment of serenity
Transfixed by their grace
Sylph-like they flitter
Ephemeral enchanters with
Dusted wings that glitter
In a flutter of delight
Glimpses of bright colour
Caught by coruscated light
Filtered through foliage
Dancing in the breeze
And here and there
Shadows cavort to a song
That only they can hear
Pulling at my soul to join
With them in celebration
Of the simple pleasures
Of a great star that
Warms and stirs the air
Of twisting currents
Rising above running waters
Of freedom to drift and soar
To follow the heart’s desire
To continue this fleeting
Life cycle and re-emerge
In pristine nascency
A renewal of selfhood
An ascension of spirit
Soaring skyward in a
Transitory ballet played out
Upon the winds of time


One Four Challenge: January Week 3

One Four Challenge - January Week 3

One Four Challenge: January Week 3

It’s the third week of this month’s One Four Challenge, from Robin Gosby at Captivate Me, and I’ve used another combination of processing software to produce something completely different! I don’t expect anyone to try counting them, but there are twenty-four versions of my original dahlia in this composition.

Here’s the list of the processes I took and a gallery of the images.

Photoshop CC
Polygonal Lasso Tool
Select main flower head
Refine edge – feather, smooth and reduce size

Delete Background layer
Apply BW Filters: Yellow, Neutral Density, Maximum Black, Infrared, Blue, Red Filter

Create an invert of all BW versions

Add Black Fill Layer To Background

Copy and paste all versions of the BW Flower
Resize, rotate, and arrange
Duplicate selected layers to completely fill the image
Blend with a combination of Luminance, Overlay, Hard Light and Difference
Use Soft Eraser at Low Opacity to gently soften petal edges and details
Merge Visible
Flatten Image

Greater Than Gatsby
Lighthouse at 15%
Stillwater at 25%
Clean Drama at 25%
Soft Cool Burst 20% bottom right

Import with GTG Muted Edit Preset
Drop Clarity -10
Vignette +10

Nik Software
Colour Efex Pro 2
Tonal Contrast
Detail Extractor
Pro Contrast
Glamour Glow
Graduated ND

Export to Lightroom
Noise Reduction
Split Toning mauve highlights