Photo of the Week - December 13, 2010

from: Sound Transit
Link Operations & Maintenance Facility - Public Art

Safety Spires - Dan Corson and Norie Sato (2006)

Using color, pattern and shape, the artwork Safety Spires transforms the O&M yard’s Overhead Contact System (OCS) poles into a celebration of transit, technology, and nature. One of the original inspirations for this artwork, created by artists Dan Corson and Norie Sato, was a prehistoric plant indigenous to this region – commonly known as the horsetail or Scouring Rush. The patterning on the horsetail, along with allusions to bamboo and spring growth seemed evocative of the renewal, maintenance and caring for the system taking place at the facility, the artists say.

About the Artists

Dan Corson and Norie Sato joined Sound Transit in 1999 as design team artists, helping to shape the art plan for the Central Link light rail system through STart (Sound Transit’s public art program). Both artists have extensive experience creating art for public space, and are exceptionally skilled at considering a project as a whole, resulting in site specific artwork that is well-integrated, meaningful and engaging.

Gifts Galore - Books, Calendars and more...

An early reader ABC book featuring flying, swimming and diving birds of the Pacific Northwest. Full color photography is sure to excite young naturalists.
softcover 7 x 7 inches
Until January 2011,
$5 from the sale of each book goes
to support local food banks

specify calendar choices

each calendar measures 3.5 “ x 6 “
printed on archival Crane Museo cotton rag paper
mix and match!
$ 3.25 each     $ 9.00 for 3     $ 25.00 for 10
Kaleidoscopes made from photographs of plants and animals
34 page hardcover book with dust jacket
$ 42.00 each

And for those who are hard to shop for...
why not give a gift certificate for
One on One Lessons
Photoshop or Photography
contact Michele today for more info
on photographic tutoring

Solution Graphics

Cool Christmas Light Photos using Blending Layers

Creating a Festive Holiday Light Photo
using Photoshop and sandwiched image layers

Finished Image

Image #1
The image is of a string of red Christmas lights in a clear glass jar
Canon G11
exposure: 1/60 sec. at f 4.5 ISO 200
custom white balance
subject distance   about 2 feet
focusing distance        infinity
In order to create this out of focus image, I took my camera out of auto-focus and manually set the focus distance to infinity, even though I was shooting something less than 2 feet away. 

Image #2
Canon G11
exposure: 1/5 sec. at f 8 ISO 200
custom white balance
subject distance 9 feet
focusing distance 9 feet
The image is of multiple strands of white Christmas lights, photographed while panning with the camera set on continuous shooting. See image below for the strings of Christmas lights photographed without panning.
Same lights as above
no panning
Image #3
Residential Christmas lights strung on a bush
Canon G11
exposure: 1/100 sec. at f 4.5 ISO 400
daylight white balance 
subject distance 1.5 feet
focusing distance infinity
By focusing at infinity, the individual lights show up as
soft circles instead of crisp lights.

How the composite image was made -

  1. Photograph the 3 original images and download to computer
  2. Make any adjustments to color and contrast; save adjusted images as flattened files
    (jpeg, tiff or psd)
    I shot my images in RAW and made minor adjustments in Canon's Digital Photo Professional software before transferring the images to Photoshop. 
  3. Open your images in Photoshop.
    If you are using Adobe Bridge, there is a shortcut for creating a layered document.
    • Highlight the images you wish to work with in Adobe Bridge;
    • Click Tools> Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop Layers
    • This shortcut will create one new document with all 3 of your images layered on the same canvas. Only the topmost image will be visible.
  4.  If you did not use "Load Files into Photoshop Layers" method described above, layer your files using the following method.
    • Make your second image your active image
    • Select > All 
    • Edit > Copy
    • Make your base image active. (the one you want on the bottom)
    • Edit  > Paste
    • Save your work as "holiday lights 01" or similar name in a psd or or tiff format
    • Make your third image your active image
    • Select  > All
    • Edit  > Copy
    • Make your base image active. 
    • Edit  > Paste
    • Save your work
    • Only the topmost image will be visible.

  • Make the topmost layer active
  • In the layers panel, click on the word "Normal" as shown in the photo below. Change your blending from "Normal" to "Lighten". The lighten blending mode compares each pixel of the upper layer with the layer below and displays the lighter of the two pixels in one spot. 
    for more info on blending modes and how they work, see Adobe's help file for Photoshop CS5
  • Make the middle layer active
  • In the layers panel, change the blending mode to lighten.
  • Save your work
  • If you wish, you can alter the effects of any layer by changing its opacity. For the example image, I changed Image #2 to 50% opacity to lessen the intensity of the vertical streaks. To accomplish this, I did the following.

    • Made Image #2 the active layer
    • Went to layers panel and moved the opacity slider to 50%. 

  • If you wish to post your image online or send it to a photofinisher for printing, be sure to make a copy of the image; flatten the copy and save it as a jpeg.

    • Image  >  Duplicate (File  > Duplicate in Photoshop Elements)
    • Layer  > Flatten
    • File  > Save As    file type jpg

    Finished Image

    Photo of the Week - December 3, 2010

    Common Goldeneye landing on Budd Inlet
    Olympia, WA
    December 3, 2010

    When and Where to Find in Washington
    Common Goldeneyes are among the least common breeding ducks in Washington, found nesting only in the northeastern portion of the state, with most birds nesting in north-central and northeastern Canada. From November to April, however, Common Goldeneyes are fairly common on both fresh water and calm salt water in both the eastern and western lowlands. It is one of the most common wintering diving ducks throughout much of Puget Sound, and can be found in large concentrations in the sound and along the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

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