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Making Things Happen: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT

1 Mar
Making Things Happen by rsmithing
Making Things Happen, a photo by rsmithing on Flickr.

Two things I’ve been doing lately: travelling and listening to Beats Antique (often simultaneously). The music is, for me, a perfect mood-setter: stimulating, forward moving, and compelling without lyrics. I saw the band twice in 2012, and captured this image of Zoe Jakes at a gig in Asheville, NC. This snapshot makes the perfect foreground for this vista from above the clouds off Florida’s Gulf Coast, brought together via iPhone with the masks & textures of Photoforge2.

Update 3/3: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT

JUXT LogoBig thanks to the folks at WeAreJUXT for including this image in their weekly showcase! This is the second image of mine featured there (here’s the first) and I’m totally flattered, since they constantly and consistently highlight such great creations with insights from their creators (and I’m not just saying that because I’m there). You should definitely check out the whole JUXT site. Here’s what I say about this image over there:

My favorite art is the kind that gets the viewer to consider things in new ways. I believe that’s the most exciting thing about sharing creativity: the opportunity for a mind-expanding experience. That can happen for me through words, music, or with visual art as in the works of my favorite artists, Salvador Dalí and Jerry Uelsmann. The story behind this image is that I was on a business trip last month and happened to be in the air at just the right time to capture a glorious sunrise from above the clouds. I knew I wanted to remember the moment, but didn’t know what form that would take. This week, the vision hit me: a dancer amid the clouds with selective lighting and textures was what I wanted to make happen. I instantly thought of this silhouette image I shot last year at a show by one of my favorite bands, Beats Antique, which happen to be on heavy rotation during my recent travels. The mysterious form in the foreground is the troupe’s Zoe Jakes as shown backlit from behind a screen with exotic costume accents. The spell-casting pose along with textures, layer modes and and masking in Photoforge2 makes the mind-expansion thing happen.

Bridge Ahead, Road Behind

9 Feb

Important: My vehicle was NOT in motion when this was taken! In fact, this was during a total standstill, which happened to afford a glimpse of resting gulls amid a view of leading lines in reverse juxtaposed with a pause in forward motion. Briefly. Shot with my iPhone, processed with the TTV Photo Studio app.

Solarized Tree – Rainy Day Inspiration and Flickr Feature

13 Jan

Solarized Tree, by rsmithing

One good thing about rainy afternoons is how the ordinary can take on more beauty. Here’s a snapshot of a tree I noticed in the post-rain haze of my neighborhood. It takes on new depth thanks to the Dynamic Light app’s “solarize” function and some finishing touches with the TtV Photo Studio app.

Flickr Explore PageUpdate: We Made Flickr’s Explore Page!

About 24 hours after this post, I visit the source image at Flickr to respond to any comments, and whaddya know: it’s featured on Flickr’s Explore: Recent Photos gallery!

Flickr’s “Explore” galleries are curated collections of 500 select photos each day. Considering the site gets photos uploaded by the thousands every minute, that’s very flattering. Other categories include “The Commons,” and “Galleries” – and all are fun ways to discover interesting new art and artists.

What an honor – thanks, Flickr!

What do you think? Have you ever been inspired to turn the ordinary into art by way of a rainy day? What are your “go-to” apps for photo editing? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Macro Mantis: Insect Photography Up Close

3 Jan

I see the world in new ways since discovering iPhoneography, especially in close-up macro view. A rich universe of detail exists all around us, all the time, just waiting to be appreciated. And with only a little effort we’re free to visit whenever we want.

Praying Mantis – Here’s Looking At You!

Macro Mantis by rsmithing

Macro Mantis, featured recently at the 1000 Words Showcase by the WeAreJuxt team.

I noticed this mantis on the porch one morning and brought him to the kitchen table with a glass and some paper. He seemed fine with that, and I was careful not to harm him throughout the shoot.

With my iPhone 4, a macro lens by Photojojo, and a high-powered flashlight from Home Depot, I captured several shots, some like this using Hipstamatic’s John S. lens and Rock BW-11 film. The app adds a random depth that I like.

Experimenting with the light and camera positioning, I coaxed out varying shadows and highlights, the most dramatic being when the beast seemed to stare right into the lens. No doubt he was experiencing what being abducted by aliens must be like for humans.

After about five minutes of that, it was back to the wild on a bush in the yard where he blended in much better than in the kitchen.

The good folks at Juxt recently featured this mantis shot of mine in their 1000 Words Showcase.

What do you think? Ever done any macro photography? What are your techniques? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Trade Street and Tree

16 Dec
Trade Street And Tree

Trade St. & Tree | See full size at 500px | Originals at Flickr

I’ve been meaning to document this doorway for a while. I ride by it at least a few dozen times every month. So it only felt right to work it into a montage. I snapped an image of it using Hipstamatic one day while waiting at a traffic light. Later, I realized it would be more interesting with the door part obscured and replaced with an image of a tree. I snapped the tree photo in the moment, especially for this image. But it still needed at least one more element, so I browsed through my repository of unfettered originals from here and there, and found the perfect complement in this outdoor light from a bar, Single Brothers, a few blocks up from where the door exists.

Trade Street and Tree

Originals at Flickr

So, I mix all this together in Photoforge2 with masks, a border, varying levels of curves/levels/clarification adjustments, and here we are: an image to accurately represent my creative vision that also represents a part of my city. There’s even more of Winston-Salem, on Instagram, courtesy the good folks at Airtype and their Winstagram project.

What do you think? Ever seen any interesting doorways in your city? What would you create in a photomontage? Let us hear from you in the comments.
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Synthetic Poinsettia

1 Dec

Festive, nevertheless…

Synthetic Poinsettia

Photo taken at breakfast, Cloverdale Kitchen, Winston-Salem, NC.

Friendly Fireman: Single Image Sundays

18 Nov

Friendly Fireman

I met this fellow last week. He is actually a fireman. And he was friendly enough to let me take his picture. I explained that it would end up in a wild edit and showed him some examples on the spot with my phone. He was cool with that. And here we are. Check out more like this at my Pinterest, Flickr, iPhoneArt, Instagram, or 500px collections.

What do you think? Ever met someone randomly and asked if you could take their picture? How’d that go? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Belief in the One True Power: Foto Fridays

19 Oct

Belief in the One True Power

Belief in the One True Power
Click for full-size at 500px

Here’s a photomontage I did recently using my iPhone and some choice apps. I was visiting the Grove Arcade in Asheville, NC a few weeks ago and noticed the sunlight looking interesting around this stairwell, so I snapped a black & white with Hipstamatic. Later in the week a gnarled tree trunk in my neighborhood caught my attention, so I snapped that.

Click to see the ingredients at Flickr

I knew I wanted to do something with the tree and the stairwell, but it looked incomplete when editing just those in Photoforge2, so I snapped a candle that happened to be burning when I was working on this. Finally, I added some texture with the TtV Photo Studio app, then some magic from the universe… and there we go.

But What Does it Mean?

The title of this image is from a lyric in a song by one of my favorite bands, The Deftones, titled, “Pink Cellphone.” It’s an airy, dark, and experimental-sounding track – qualities also applicable to this image, so I thought it was an appropriate fit. It’s not my intent to promote any belief an any kind of power whatsoever. I just like the sound of the song and the pairing with the image.

If there is any one true power as far as this kind of thing goes, it’s the brilliant photomontage work of Jerry Uelsmann. If you like my humble creation here, definitely check out his stuff. This piece in particular reflects my appreciation for his art.

Thanks to Mitzi Rice, who suggested this image for blog fodder over at Instagram. Check out her blog, Mit Lear Moments.

What do you think? Ever made a photomontage? Do you see a connection between visual art and music? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Up With The Sun: a MobileArtistry Feature

4 Sep

The Instagram-based group, MobileArtistry, includes me in their gallery today as a featured artist. I created this montage as an example of my style for the feature and did the following writeup on my technique. My huge thanks to them for the highlight.

Up With The Sun - click to see more like this at Pinterest

Up With The Sun – click to see more like this at Pinterest

Ever since seeing a book of Jerry Uelsmann’s photomontages in college, I’ve been fascinated with the art form and have since become motivated to become a professional graphic artist, designing for over 16 years now. Manipulating reality for artistic effect in Photoshop has always been my favorite part of designing, so when I discovered iPhoneography, and especially the app Photoforge2, which is very similar to Photoshop, I was hooked. It was seeing the evocative iPhoneography of Sion Fullana that inspired me to give it a go, and Sion was even good enough to share his guidance with me on what apps to get started with.

Repost of Up With The Sun at MobileArtistry

Repost of “Up With The Sun” at MobileArtistry

How The Magic Happens

I basically take photos all the time with my iPhone 4 of whatever I find interesting. When the urge to create strikes, I’ll mix ’em up and see what happens. It’s really as simple as that. Sometimes I know exactly where I’m headed, and other times I’m just along for the ride, letting magic from the universe do the driving.

For this montage, I combined two photos I took on a Saturday in late summer: one of a wig mannequin at a beauty supply shop, and another of a rising cloud at a winery out in the country. Both were shot originally in with Hipstamatic, using the John S. lens. Wig girl was shot with Rock BW-11 film, and the cloud was shot with Blanko film. You can see the originals at my Flickr stream.

Originals for this montage - click to view at Flickr

Originals for this montage – click to view at Flickr

I brought wig girl into Dynamic Light and gave her the Solarize treatment. I also used Noir to get the right mix of monochrome highlights in the cloud scene. Next, I brought both images together in Photoforge2, each on its own layer. I set wig girl’s blending mode to Overlay, then selectively hid and revealed bits of each layer via masking. Finally, I did some minor cloning cleanup in Filterstorm, then added the copyright & signature with Phonto. I named this after a U2 song lyric in “Gone,” an expansive rising track that seemed appropriate for this composition.

What’s amazing to me is how, as I’ve become adept with a few apps, I can pull techniques from each of them almost like selecting colors on a palette. It’s like having a box of tools to achieve an artistic vision… that fits in your pocket and makes phone calls, too.

Thanks very much to MobileArtistry for featuring me – it’s an honor to be included with such beautiful, creative art. Definitely check out their great gallery for consistently innovative creations.

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Cicada Eyes – Single Image Sundays

2 Sep

20120902-234507.jpg

These guys are making a furious noise in the trees here in North Carolina. Every 13 years or so, depending on the species they come around, and I was lucky enough to get some shots of one over the weekend. I believe it may be part of Brood I, but I’m not totally sure. I took this with my iPhone, using Hipstamatic and a macro attachment lens.

What do you think? Have you experienced any of these critters around your neck of the woods? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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