backtotop

Thanks to a friend suggesting to me that I try out animation, I have started planning a new project. The ideas are still in the development stage, but I’m excited to start working on something completely new and different from anything I’ve done before.

A few weeks ago, on a trip to Louisville, I got an idea to start a project based on nighttime photography and my interest in film noir. I am working on a website for this project right now. As my idea grew, I wanted to incorporate some other elements to tell stories. As I have talked about this with a friend, he encouraged me to try putting together the stories with an animation program.

For about a week, I’ve been learning the Daz 3D program. It is a nice free 3D animation program. Right now, I’m using it for creating still and playing with understanding all that it can do.

This is a character I made, rendered out to a pgn file then in Photoshop added a background from a photograph of mine.

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Categories: Job search

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 11.09.41 AMAlthough I’m a happy Jeep owner, I’m still spinning my wheels in the mud. Not literally, or in the off roading sense, but in looking for a satisfying career in my chosen field–library science.

I’m certainly not to the point where I wanted to be post graduation from library school. So, I have decided to try yet another career coach to see why I’m facing many obstacles in this quest.

I’m hoping this will be the one tool, like the 4×4 on my Jeep, to get me out of the mud and back on the road toward a great and rewarding job.

Also, hoping to pick up some tips on how to expand my photography business to include more projects in the coming year.

 

Categories: Photoshop

The title kinda reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live skit, Fun with Real Audio. But seriously, I’ve used Photoshop for years back to my days in college and I’ve always enjoyed creating fun things using the software.

A few days ago a friend sent me a link of awesome Steampunk related sites, tutorials, brushes, fonts, etc. I had to try something, so I picked making a steampunk person… except I used one of my photos of my dog Roland.

So I give you, Steampunk Corgi:

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If you know me or spend anytime around me, you know I’m a huge animal lover. As long as I can remember, I have had pets and have had a soft place for animals of all types. In fact, I remember the first thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a veterinarian. Actually, there are days I look at what exactly it would take to get into vet school… but my math ability, or lack of, probably prevents me from ever getting in.  So, I do the next best thing by volunteering with several local animal welfare groups.

Here I can lend my talents and interests in photography, videography, web design, public relations, and graphic design to make a difference.  I’ve been very happy with even just going to the shelter and walking some dogs for the afternoon too.

Recently my dog, Roland, and I participated in 2K walk to raise money for a low-cost spay/neuter clinic for the Charleston, W.Va. area.  Because of this fun run/walk, I decided to see about volunteering with the Charleston Regional Spay Neuter Clinic soon after.  I discovered they needed someone with graphic design, photography, and web site experience and were very excited to have me come on board.  I was pleased to lend my skills to help.  And I was able to hit the ground running with contributing to meet their needs.

First, I designed a graphic for their Amazon Smile program.  That’s a project were Amazon.com gives a percentage of their sales to community organizations.  CRSNC is in the program, so if you don’t already support an agency through Amazon Smile, add us!

Anyway, his majesty (aka Roland) got to be the poster boy for the cause. And here’s the graphic I designed.

CRSNC_AmazonSmile

 

The other great project I was able to help with was for Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday following Black Friday. This day is counter all of the commercialism starting the Christmas shopping season. I believe it’s a great idea and the CRSNC sent out a video in their Giving Tuesday email.  I conducted a few interviews with members from local animal rescues to talk about the need for a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in the area. While the production value needed help (I didn’t have a good microphone), overall I was pleased with the video and the turnaround time on making it.

Categories: Photography

I’m not one for a lot of Photoshopping of images. I like to get them right in camera but there are times when some post processing is need. As for major overhauling of images, I’m not a fan.  However, there are times when an image just begs for some digital artistry.  When I saw this one from a recent photo shoot, I knew it needed to be enhanced. Since I’m a sci-fi fan, a Doctor Who fan, a steampunk nut, and love time travel this image stood out as something related to time travel.  I added a little steampunk-ness to it and a lens flair on the pocket watch.

My model brought the watch, it was his grandfather’s. The scarf is one I knitted to sell, a reverse cabled scarf. Behind him is the Williamstown Bridge which connects Williamstown, W.Va. and Marietta, Ohio.

My friend is available as both a makeup artist and a model.  Check out his Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/BlushStrokes.Makeup

Time Traveler

Categories: Halloween

It’s Veteran’s Day so I should post about Halloween. All joking aside, I was remiss in talking about my favorite holiday and the makeup I did for a couple of events.  I found out about the Charleston zombie walk a few days before it happened, so I didn’t get much time to plan for it.  I had some leftover makeup from a previous year of doing zombie makeup and I quickly came up with the hippy chick theme.

The walk itself, through the East End of Charleston, was pretty fun.  There were all sorts of crazy things going on that night.  I got a selfie with the Zombie Hunter car too.

 

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My other big costume was as the bride of Frankenstein monster and at this rate probably my one and only time to be a bride of any kind.  I did a couple of contests with my dog Roland as Frankenweenie (aka Sparky) as well.  But this was for my photography club’s Halloween themed meeting.  I upped the scars this night over the drawn with grease pencils I had been doing.  I grossed out a few of my fellow members too.

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It’s fall, which is my favorite time of the year anyway, but even more so for photography. And where I live, fall is spectacular. The mountains and the different types of trees covering them give beautiful views from late September through October and sometimes even into November.

Yesterday I was wanting to take a little scenic trip and shoot some of these fantastic colors. Unfortunately, here in the Kanawha Valley around Charleston, the colors are not at peak yet. However, to the south and into to higher elevations the colors are near or at peak. So, it was a perfect day to drive about an hour and fifty-five minutes southeast to the New River area of the state.

One of the most photographed, and possibly iconic, images from West Virginia is the grist mill at Babcock State Park.  While the mill wasn’t originally located where it stands today, it has become one of the most beloved images from the state, especially in the fall. It is actually pieced together from three different mills completed in 1976.  There was a mill on Glade Creek near where the park’s parking lot is now. This is a working mill, and the cornmeal can be purchased in the gift shop. Although this time they did not have any for for sale.

Despite it’s well known status of a West Virginia landmark, I did not have a photograph of the mill in the fall. I had spring and summer shots but, for whatever reason, I never had that glorious fall shot. Well, that’s changed now.

 

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Thinking about these photos and my love of outdoor photography, I want to start a gallery and blog posts on the scenic shots from my home state.  I think these will be a great start.

Categories: Crafts

It’s October, my favorite time of the year. I love fall and, more importantly, I love Halloween. I’ve always be big on this holiday. As a kid, it wasn’t because of candy that made me like the time of year–it was the costumes and the decorations. For as long as I can remember, my mom had scary Halloween decorations all over the house and the yard. I even got a skull candle as a gift from my great-grandmother as a preschooler. Yep, Halloween is my time of the year.

I never considered myself Goth, although that was big when I was a teenager. But I love things that lend themselves to the Goth movement. Anything Victorian and a bit creepy is all for me. If it looks like it belongs in the Munster’s or the Addams Family homes, then I’ll probably want it.

Since Steampunk is also a huge favorite look, I wanted to do something that would be useful for a Halloween decoration. Last year I thought about making a jack o’ lantern in the steampunk style.  Halloween crept up on me before I could get it started, so it had to wait until a few weeks ago. I decided this year my steampunk Jack would be made.

I started with a plastic jack o’ lantern, you know the kind you probably had as a kid. My mom likes to shop after holidays, so at some point she picked up one of these. I added dimensional paint to the plastic pumpkin to simulate rivets.

jack3

Next I needed a top hat because what self respecting Steampunk Jack would go without one? Right?  First, I researched making a top hat. There are lots of tutorials online about making steampunk style top hats. I wasn’t sure if I’d make one or buy something.  My goal was to spend as little money as possible but make a killer Steampunk Jack.  Luck would have it that will in Target I found a plastic party hat for one dollar.

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More dimensional paint.

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Next, the black had to go. I wanted it to look more leathery or cloth-like. I painted it brown first. Then did a faux finish on it in gold, cooper and gray.

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After the hat was somewhat finished, I when to work on the pumpkin. My original idea was to put a silver wash on the pumpkin to let the orange show through. But the paint I had didn’t cover well at all so I ended up using spray paint to cover the whole surface.

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After I painted Jack, I sent to photo to a friend and he made a great suggestion. He thought I should put some copper highlight on it. I agreed since this was close to what I had originally envisioned my Jack to look like. So he became this:

jack

 

I was pleased with this little change.  My friend also suggested that my tophat needed some type of gear buckle. I added some electrical tape for the band and a large washer, painted gold, and some lock washers that look like gears. Plus a black feather.

hat

 

And finally, Steampunk Jack was finished:

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Categories: Uncategorized

sickcatI was expecting that my lack of writing mojo would end my blog a month idea but it was a bug. After attending the Woof Fest in Parkersburg on Sunday, I didn’t feel great. I expected it was my fall allergies but it turned out not to be that and a cold instead.

I had planned to write some about the Woof Fest, which Roland won scariest for his Halloween costume. And we won the door prize, a huge basket full of goodies.

Also, my Halloween projects are coming along. I have finished my wreath and will post photos later.

Oh well, maybe without the pressure of writing I will be able to find my mojo.

Categories: Volunteering

003Today, I’m going to focus on something that is very important to me at a personal level. Animals. Today, October 4th, is World Animal Day. This is partly because it’s the fest day of St. Frances of Assisi the patron saint of animals.

I’ve always been an animal lover. Growing up we had either a dog or a cat or both. Right now I have 2 dogs and 2 cats. My younger dog, Roland, is a very special guy. He was an orphan and had to be bottle fed. I’ve had him since he was one week old and he’s just as close to me as if he’d been a human child.

In more recent years, I have been active with animal rescues. I believe strongly in the no-kill shelter movement and spay/neuter campaigns.  Next week, in fact, Roland and I will be participating in a local 5k/2mile fun run & walk to raise money build a local spay/neuter clinic. I can’t wait. Not so sure if Roland will be able to make 2 miles of walking but we’re going to try.

So today, if you don’t already, is the perfect day to help an animal in need. If you can, volunteer at a shelter walking a dog or play with the kittens. Donate old newspapers, bed linens, towels, or food to a shelter. Believe me, anything you can do will help and be appreciated.  If you have a special skill or interest, see if you can be of use to a shelter or rescue. And if you have room, become a foster. This is one of the most important links in creating no-kill shelters.

Here are some other suggestions from the WAD website on things to do: http://www.worldanimalday.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/IFEEL-WAD-CHALLENGE-e1411387347504.jpg