Category Archives: Before/After

Splash of Spring

Photo composite, "splash of spring"

Splash of Spring

For the past 4 years, I have been capturing macro images of flowers, water, oil, and ice. Using my Nikon 105mm macro lens I capture liquid images with splashes, solids and mixtures of splashes and solids. But since March, I began a project on combining these images. Curiosity was the impetus of this new image title “Splash of Spring.”

This composite (combination of more than one image) began with a thought of “what if I combined a liquid drop with a flower?”  The daffodils in our yard had recently blossomed, so I cut one and photographed it from multiple angles. Then I started thinking about how to combine them. My original idea was to have the milk drop explode out of the top of the daffodil. I searched through my milk drop images and found one that had potential. And the image to the right was the disappointing result.

First unsuccessful composite of "splash of spring"

First composite

I went back to the drawing board by moving the drop until I found the perfect placement. I rotated and resized the drop until it was on top of the bottom petals of the daffodil. I had an exciting new plan.

This needed to be a clean composite, so I used masking techniques to remove the bottom petals of the daffodil. Then, I “cutout” the drop and drug the layer to the flower image placing my “drop” petals at the correct angle. I copied the original daffodil flower base and elongated it to fill in the base that was hidden by the original pedals. The last step was to add a hue/saturation colorized layer to the drop and match the yellow tones. Once all the layers were in position I added a few final touches: adding shadows to the newly formed daffodil flower base and I added an additional random drop. Overall, I had 30 minutes of photographing the flower and about two hours of Photoshop-ing to create my finished product.

In the next few months, I plan to complete a few more composites like “Splash of Spring” with flowers and drops and hope to have a full portfolio to show.

Beginning images for composite "splash of spring"

Beginning images for composite


Also posted in Compositing Tagged , , , , |

Lively Lights

lively lights blur lively lights blur

The holidays have passed, but at Flagstaff’s Little America Hotel the seasonal display of lively lights continue to illuminate the property. I wanted to spend time photographing the lights earlier in December but my never ending list of “to-do’s” kept me away. Now that the new year is here, I knew my days were numbered capturing these lights. So I met my photographer friend a few days ago and we spent an hour in the cold weather gathering a few shots.

The first series of images I captured was using blur to my advantage. Yes, I intentionally captured images out of focus. Extending my Nikon 24-120 mm lens to about 100 mm, I manually focused (or defocused) to get the effect I wanted. The live view on my camera was essential for this technique even though the battery depletes faster. I forgot my shutter release, so I set the camera on a 2 second timer and of course, had my camera on a tripod.

lively lights bokeh lively lights zoom pull

To read the rest of the article and see how I captured two more techniques, head over to Arizona Highways Photo Workshop blog.

Also posted in night photography, Photographic Techniques

Morphing Manhattan

Liberty square tiny planetWhether it is going to museums or art websites, I learn more about light and creativity through the art and photographs I study. I have found installing a new app on my iPhone or iPad sparks my creative juices as well. For instance, on a recent family trip to New York City, I installed a new app to my phone: Rollworld. This app creates tiny planets, rabbit holes or morphing videos from the in app camera or using images from your camera roll. Let me explain.

  • A tiny planet is when the two ends of the photograph are stretched in a circular manner to meet so the sky becomes the outer edges of this circular photo.
  • A rabbit hole does the exact opposite. The sky becomes the center of the photo.
  • Morphing video is a moving picture that takes the photo from point A to point B. Any photos you create whether it it s a tiny planet or a rabbit hole (or both) can then turn into a morphing video as it transitions from one state to another.

RollworldThe Rollworld app offers many customizing functions to invert, balance, spin, smooth transitions, zoom, scroll, and offers a randomizing effect. Shake the phone or push the button and you will see a new creation each time. Creations are limitless. When you find something you love, export it to several social media sites or to your camera roll and choose the resolution (up to 3000 x 3000 pixels).


What I learned when using Rollworld app. I found images with a fair amount of sky or water worked well. With my long flight home, I created several versions of an image to see what I liked best and found that to be very entertaining as well. If you are looking for a fun app to show your creative side download Rollworld for free. There is an in app purchase if you would like to export the videos. But all image processing is free!

If you are interested in more iPhone/iPad tips and tricks, sign up for her iPhone and/or iPad course through Arizona Highways Photo Workshops at You can also follow her at


Also posted in iPad, Photographic Techniques, Technology

Top Hat

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This water image reminded me of an upside down top hat – with a face in it. As you can tell, I cropped in tighter and removed a few unwanted water drops. Keep watching for photos of how I captured this image! I decided to mix this one up with a little food coloring but kept the settings simple: 1/200, f/16, ISO 250, off camera flash at 1/8 power.

Also posted in Inspiration, Technology