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Saturday, January 14, 2012

My favorite bonsai subject

About 5 years ago a friend of mine got me started in bonsai, using a plant called Portulacaria afra. You may have seen it under the name Elephant Food, or Elephant Bush, since elephants LOVE them!

Fastforward to now and I have a bunch of bonsai and future bonsai Portulacaria in my yard. It's a great outdoor bonsai, easy to care for and the only things that kill it are overwatering and freezing! Oh, and if an elephant or an errant goat get to them. Some of my plants have survived errant goats, but I doubt they'd survive an elephant :).

Here's a great resource, more information that you can scroll through in five minutes, all about the P. Afra! There's even information that I've sent the author, and I was glad to see he incorporated it into the giant website monograph.

Here's the link:

Portulacaria Afra Monograph

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Amy Marie Designs: Shopaholic Chick's Big Giveaway!!!!

Amy Marie Designs: Shopaholic Chick's Big Giveaway!!!!: This is the giveaway you have all been waiting for!! Over $300 worth of prizes will be given away at the end of this 10 day raffle!!

I'm a proud sponsor of this giveaway!!!!!

A bonsai digital painting, Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea (or bougie for short) is either a favorite bonsai subject or a ignored bonsai subject down here in South Florida, depending on who you ask. When in full bloom, the bracts (which most people think are the flowers) come in dozens of shades of reds, pinks, orange, white, and I've even seen green and multi colored.

Personally I don't have much luck with them, I usually let them dry too much and then end up drowning them. I think after the few I have are make into "finished" bonsai, I'll leave them to others!

Here's a digital painting I did of a real bougie bonsai, the photograph didn't do it justice due to a distracting background:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Turning a blah picture into something more unusual

Sometimes a picture that looked great in your head doesn't come out as brilliant as you wanted. I thought the bright sun and blue sky would make a great background for these boats at the dockside of a local waterfront hotel. When I had a change to look at the picture, it was..........a picture of boats against a normal sky.


So I tried changing it to black and white.

So now I had a black and white.......picture of boats under a flat grey sky.

Out of desperation, I tried adding a gradient filter.....After messing around with the hue controls, I came up with this yellow and pink gradient and NOW I had a fun picture of a Florida scene!

So don't be afraid to mess with the hue and add filters to a picture that just doesn't have the "pop" you were looking for!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Photography-On replacing cameras


One question people ask me a lot is "What camera do you use?".

Well, I currently use a Canon Rebel XTi, which is about 5 years old.
I actually have two of them, and I have a telephoto 70-200mm lens on the second
(the first has the stock lens). That's an easy question!

Some people will then ask "Don't you want one of the new cameras? Yours is OLD!".

I have to laugh at that. Yes, it is one of the older models, and I have thought about
replacing it. Then I remember a college black and white photography class I was taking
and I had no camera. A friend gave me a 25 year old Sears camera they had gotten at
a garage sale. Nothing fancy, but it did have a light meter and that was the only
requirement of the course. This was back in the film days and the days of carrying
10 lenses around. I took just as good pictures with that old camera and lens than the people who
had gone out and spent $500 on a new camera. Of course, all of those are "outdated" now
due to digital......

So old doesn't mean "needs replacing". It's not always the camera, as long as it has enough
MP to allow you to crop/enlarge as far as you need. Mine have 10mp and so far that's been
plenty of leeway for me! If you're thinking of replacing your "old" camera, consider if perhaps
a new lens would be a better way to spend money. Unless your camera's memory card is not longer used,
keep it!