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Entries in Italy (6)

Thursday
Feb232012

Tilt-Shift Photography in Photoshop Tutorial

Hi friends! Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. I have still been feeling 'blah' lately and I really just needed a day to rest. I hate feeling less than 100%, especially when I don't even have the energy to blog. To make matters worse, I have family here too and I hate feeling run down while guests are here. Just as family leaves I'll probably start feeling better...what a pain.

For today I have a fun tutorial for all you Photoshop lovers out there. I was inspired by Instagram actually (do you Instagram?) and their tilt-shift feature. What is tilt-shift photography? It is a selective focus photography where pictures have a shallow depth-of-field...meaning there is a small part of the image in focus and the rest is out of focus or blurry. Tilt-shift can produce some very dreamy images and I like how Instagram has added that feature into their app. It is fun to play around with. There are tilt-shift lenses you can buy but I looked around online to find a way to fake it in Photoshop. I followed this guide on Tilt Shift Photography but I've included my own steps here.

I found a few favorite pictures that I took in Capri, Italy. They were perfect for experimenting and now I'm going to show you how to tilt-shift your own images in Photoshop. The above image is the 'before.'

First, open up your image in Photoshop. I have version CS2 so depending on your version, your screen might look different. These steps are pretty simple though so regardless of version, you should be able to follow along.  

Next you want to enter into Quick Mask mode. Just hit 'Q' on the keyboard. Or click on the icon I've pointed out in the image above which is the Quick Mask icon. 

Then select the Gradient icon (or press 'G' on the keyboard). At the top you have a few options for different gradients, choose Reflected Gradient. Then in Gradient mode you will want to draw a straight line on part of your image. I drew a vertical line in the center of the image which I represented with the black line above. The location of your line will be the in-focus area of your image. Once you draw the line, this red mask will appear which also represents the in-focus area.

Then you will want to exit out of Quick Mask mode. Just hit 'Q' again to exit. You will then have parts of your image that are selected. The areas with the little lines around them (selected areas) will be the out-of focus parts of your image. Above I depicted the in-focus area in white and the out-of focus area in blue.

Next go up to the top menus to Filter, then Blur, and then Lens Blur. You will enter into this dialogue box that you see above. The default settings are pretty good so I usually just adjust the 'Radius' button. Adjust buttons yourself and see what you like. When done, just click 'ok' at the top to apply the blur. Then just deselect your selected areas and your image is complete.

And you should get something like this! A really nice tilt-shift blur don't you think? You can go back and adjust the gradient to vary the placement of the in-focus area and tweak different settings until you get the right blur for you. But with just a few steps, you can transform your normal pictures into tilt-shift photographs quick and easily.

Instagram also has the option to do a radial (circle) tilt-shift and you can create that same effect in Photoshop too.  When you're in the Quick Mask Mode, make a circle with the Elliptical Marquee Tool and then apply the gradient just within that circle. Follow the steps the same as above and you will get something like this:

The before.

And the after.

This is a pretty quick and nifty Photoshop feature, one which I'll be experimenting with on all different kinds of images. Have you made tilt-shift pictures in Photoshop before? Do you like the look of tilt-shift? Let me know if you start experimenting. I'd love to see your results. 

Have a great Thursday everyone.

Monday
Jan302012

Ferrara, Italy

Hi friends! How is everyone's Monday going so far? Today I have some photographic inspiration to share with you, some of my own photographs that I took a few years ago. When I was living in Italy and going to school there I was based in Como but being in Italy you have to travel around to experience as much of the insanely beautiful country as you can. Today I'll share a few of my pictures from Ferrara a small, medieval town in Emilia-Romagna (close to the Veneto). 

I spent most of my weekend editing these images and compiling them into a Blurb book. This will be my second book with Blurb. I just loved seeing my Amsterdam pictures bound together so I'm on a role now with my second one. Hopefully a third, fourth, fifth will all come soon after too. For years these images lived on my external harddrive but I wasn't able to appreciate them. Now these books can sit on my shelf and I can open them up whenever I need a pick-me-up. 

Ferrara is the perfect, quaint Italian town. The historic center is easily walkable and bicycles are everywhere (it's the Amsterdam of Italy!). There is fantastic Renaissance architecture, as well as even older buildings. Cars are not allowed into certain parts of the center so it is quiet and very pedestrian friendly. It is not a main stop on Italian tours but I am so glad that we stopped there. 

We were part of the bike culture and rented our own. Hours of entertainment ensued.

The old city walls are now converted into a raised walkways for bikers and pedestrians. You can see up over the city and get away from cars. Such a nice spot. I wish my walking route looked like this every night. 

And yes, that is me on a zipline having the time of my life. We found this children's park on the edge of the city with this mini zipline and an oversized slide. Good thing there weren't any kids around because these twenty-somethings sure got a lot of use out of these toys. 

Aw, these pictures make me happy. A good way to start off a Monday. Has anyone ever been to Ferrara? What spot are you dreaming about this week?

Saturday
Jan282012

My Week Through Instagram: Week Four

Here is what week four looked like through me...through my Instagram lens of course.

Sunday: Started my morning with chai tea and a good book. Every morning should be so great.

Monday: Anthropologie tweeted that it was National Pie Making Day. I couldn't resist fixing up this apple pie again. I have been lucky to enjoy this delicious treat all week.

Tuesday: Trying more watercolors this week, this time peach tones.

Wednesday: My digital camera finally got fixed and came back to me. It was the sweetest surprise waiting for me on the porch when I got back from my evening walk.

Thursday: I made this adorable deer plaque and you can make it too! Here's the DIY.

Friday: After my first successful Blurb book I'm working on my second one. I spent Friday (and today) editing Italy images and compiling them into book form. 

Saturday: A chill Saturday at the computer. I had to represent my team and wear purple and gold. Go Lakers!

What did your week look like?

Follow me on instagram if you like. My username is laurenelisecrafted. Or see all of my pictures on the computer through Followgram. Happy weekend! 

Monday
Nov082010

One of My Favorite Things!

Today I got to spend time with a really good friend.  A friend I haven't seen in months (he was teaching English to kids in India for 6 months).  Seeing old friends always puts me on such a high and our little meet-up today will keep me in a good spirits for days!  But the best part, by far, about today was getting to reminisce about our shared experiences in Europe. 

Talking about our trip abroad and recalling all of the little details is one of my favorite things.  Because everyone remembers things differently so someone may bring up something that you may have totally forgotten about.  Eventually with time, memories start to fade but when I get together with my friends and laugh and talk and catch up, Italy feels like it happened only yesterday and the memories seem so much more alive.  

I am so thankful to have such great friends + some really awesome memories that we all share!

Here are some of my pictures from Como, Italy highlighting a few of the little details that I remember.  I long to go back to this place everyday...it is always in my heart.

♥ LOVE ♥ 

Friday
May142010

What I Want...Friday, May 14th

It's Friday again and here is another edition of "What I Want Fridays."  There definitely is no theme this week and my wants are pretty random.  Nothing on this list will be realized this weekend either...sad!  Usually there is at least one thing that is obtainable, even if it's just music that I can listen to on iTunes.  Some other interesting things may come my way this weekend but they definitely won't be these things.  One day I should do a Monday follow-up post called "What Really Happened..." and show the huge discrepancies between what I want and what I actually get.  The differences are staggering obviously.  So here is what I want but won't be getting for this weekend:

 

Where I want to { go } :: Lavanda Casa de Té

I'm dying to go to a lavender farm because how can you look at the above picture and not want to go.  It's absolutely beautiful.  The color alone is a photographer's dream.  There are a lot of lavender farms up in Washington and Oregon but this particular farm Lavanda Casa de Té in Frutillar, Chile really sparks my interest.  The farm itself looks gorgeous but they also have a cute tea house that seems like the perfect, calm atmosphere for a relaxing weekend.  They offer you the opportunity to pick your own lavender and they also have a classroom setting so people can hold meetings or workshops.  Someone should do a photography or craft/styling workshop here.  It would be awesome to incorporate the purple hues.  Decor8 also had a blog post about this place and it includes some other cute pictures.

Photo: Lavanda Casa de Té  

 

What I want to { do } :: a mosaics workshop at Orsoni in Venice, Italy

Orsoni has been making smalti and gold leaf mosaics since 1880 and preserving the craft of mosaic art.  Orsoni tiles are pretty famous and their mosaics can be seen on buildings all over the world.  At their location in Venice they offer mosaic workshops so that anyone can learn the ancient art of mosaics.  This sounds like so much fun and something I would really enjoy.  The class is not cheap but you are able to craft your own mosaic artwork using all of their colorful tiles in their one or two week courses.  Their website shows examples of student work and many students appear to mimic a favorite photograph in the tiles.  This seems like a great opportunity to be creative and learn a historic art form.  

Photo: Orsoni 

 

What I want to { eat } :: Ladurée Macaroons

Ladurée appears to be the authority on Parisian macaroons (the debate is still out how you spell this word...Ladurée spells it "macaroons" but other places spell it "macarons").  I did taste macaroons in Paris (loved them) and then more recently tried the Trader Joe's frozen macaroons (which are a cheaper, more convenient alternative).  But I would love to try this shop's famous version.  I think what intrigues me the most are these exotic flavors like Jasmin Mango, Bergamot, Rose, and Blackcurrant Violet.  Yum!  Also, the cute packaging is totally enticing me.  It would be hard for me to justify eating these beauties if this package was given to me.  Obviously I would have to force myself.

Photo: Ladurée 

 

What I want to { buy } :: an old Labrador Retriever

I am dying to adopt a dog.  It has been about a year since our home has been dog-less and it is a tragedy.  I have always had dogs growing up and the only time I have ever been away from them is when I went to college.  I love Labrador Retrievers.  We have had a few Labs/Lab mixes and it is hard for me to imagine having a different pet.  They are so sweet, affectionate, and loyal.  Yes, they can also be crazy with high amounts of energy but that is why I'd like to adopt a senior dog.  So many senior dogs need adopting because people would rather get puppies but puppies are a lot of work.  I think a nice, calm senior Lab would fit in perfectly in our home.  This dog in the above picture is just the cutest thing in the world.  I want her!

Photo: Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue (SCLRR)

 

What I want to { watch } :: Babies

No, I don't want to watch babies in general (creepy), I want to watch Babies the documentary.  This movie documents four babies from birth until their first steps.  Each baby lives in a completely different environment in a different part of the world.  The four babies are Ponijao (above) from Opuwo, Namibia, Mari from Tokyo, Japan, Bayar from Bayanchandmani, Mongolia, and Hattie from San Francisco, California.  I think it will be fascinating to see how these babies are raised in each of the different cultures.  The movie is now playing in theaters and you can locate theaters in your area on the website.  Watch the cute trailer on the website too.

Photo: Babies 

 

What I want to { hear } :: B.B. King at the Hollywood Bowl

B.B. King and Buddy Guy are putting on a jazz concert at the Hollywood Bowl this summer on August 11th and I would love to go.  A few years ago I had wanted to see B.B. King but he was playing at a Indian casino and I was not 21 yet.  He is 84 years old and it is so awesome that he is still rocking out.  He is such a legend in the jazz world, in the music world, and it would be awesome to hear him play live.  I think David, my brother, would also enjoy seeing him so maybe we can get tickets.  The Hollywood Bowl also has some other awesome concerts this summer (Vampire Weekend!!) so we should really look into it.  Live music is such a treat and usually so much better than recordings.  

Photo: B.B. King website