Welcome to my haunting…it follows me wherever I go.

I’ve grown quite fond of it now, and I’m content.

There’s something beautiful about it’s shadows and fog; something comforting about the blanket of mystery it wraps around me, daring me to look beyond my own costumes and masks and see myself in its reflection.

We’ve become rather friendly now, and have accepted each other’s flaws and darkness.

I suppose that’s why I seem to shine so brightly to others, and appear to have no darkness whatsoever.

Light is brighter in the dark, right?

~C

Hi hi hi… Mextures formulas episode 10 has been a long time coming, hasn’t it? I wanted to get some shots that were crosses between fall and winter, because that’s the mood I’ve been in since December. I just can’t quite go full on into winter this year. I keep wanting to hold on to what warmth is left of fall…and the likelihood is that I’ll be jumping into spring about a month early, too. ((giggle)) It’s not like winter’s made it easy to go into winter mode this year, with it’s fantastically warm temperatures and tricks of the plants, who seem to be even more confused than I am. I’ve had several almost bloom and then die back, some more than once, this winter.

As always, I hope you enjoy these formulas (one of the images below uses the same formula as another image, so take note). Please remember that blend modes of layers (and the layers themselves) may require tweaking depending on the light/style/tone of your image and they will not necessarily look exactly the same on your images as they do in the provided versions.

If you have any questions about Mextures or using formulas, feel free to ask them in comments or via e-mail or social media/messaging. Enjoy!!

 


Formula Name – Swamped
Formula Code – GFXBBNU
Formula Name – Weird Days
Formula Code – EGNZHHQ


Formula Name – Swamped
Formula Code – GFXBBNU


Formula Name – Weird Days (Warm)(Catacosmic™)
Formula Code – XNHZMFX


Formula Name – Vines (Warm)(Catacosmic™)
Formula Code – WUCBUCV

 

“I’ve learned to live half alive

And now you want me one more time

Who do you think you are?

Runnin’ ’round leaving scars

Collecting your jar of hearts

And tearing love apart

You’re gonna catch a cold

From the ice inside your soul

Don’t come back for me,

Don’t come back at all.

Who do you think you are?”

Christina Perri

**iPhone, Mextures
Mextures Formula – DZECFFE

Welcome to another installment of Instagram top picks from my gallery. Those of you who have followed my photography for a while know that my strong suit and the genre I love is macro photography. I love getting in close, I love seeing things in a different way, and I love the little details (of both nature and life). I pay attention to EVERYTHING, and I find so much inspiration in the details. This post is a list of my top five favorite macro shots currently in my Instagram gallery (not including droplets, which will be a post in itself). I hope you enjoy it!

05. Little Green Curls

There is infinite beauty in nature, and many lessons in its detail.

**Lumix GF3, Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8, manual focus on full, handheld.

04. Bokeh

My favorite bokeh shot I’ve ever done, because the bokeh in this wasn’t done on purpose. It’s just sort of what happened, and this shot introduced me to working with bokeh on purpose.

The plant in this shot was laying on a glass patio table and it made unexpected prettiness with macro filters.

**Pentax K110d, 18-55mm kit lens, +4 macro filter attached, manual focus and handheld.

03. Colors 

“Life begins with a beautiful mind.”

**Pentax K110d, 18-55mm kit lens, +2/+4/+10 macro filters attached (stacked), manual focus and handheld.

02. Skeleton 

I have developed an affinity for death and decay over the last couple of years – I find it strangely beautiful and comforting. Very fitting I suppose, since the summer of this year. I love the detail of the skeleton of this leaf. It tells as beautiful a story to me as the green leaf would have on the tree, or as the fiery leaf would have in it’s fall splendor.

**Sony Alpha 37, 35mm prime f1.8, +1/+2/+4/+10 macro filters attached (stacked), manual focus and handheld.

01. Zen Honeysuckle

My top favorite macro shot is my favorite for a lot of reasons. I love the simplicity, the minimalistic feel, the color, the framing, honeysuckle is special to me (so special that’s what I have tattooed on my left foot/leg, in memory of my Mama Kay), but mostly I love this shot because I did this after mowing my dad’s grass one day this past summer not long before he fell ill, and he was with me when I shot it, watching me work my camera magic and asking me questions about it.

Daddy loved my photography and always encouraged and supported me doing it by being actively involved in it, asking things and being fascinated by it and always telling me encouraging things… He was just an awesome dad.

**Lumix GF3, Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8, manual focus on full, handheld.

Flowers!?? Of course, flowers! How could I not start this whole top five/top ten thing with anything else when that is what I shoot the most?? OK – it’s probably a tie with droplets, but even those are technically flower shots. ((blows raspberry)

Specifically, as you’ll remember me mentioning Nicole if you read my last post, flowers are what she first asked me to choose as a top five list. I’m going to have to go with ten, though, because I share so many flowers it was too difficult for me to choose just five. In fact, it was extremely difficult for me to put these in any sort of order. The rest of these will likely be “five” lists. This one was definitely the hardest.

10. Blue

I love this one because it combines different visual elements but still keeps the flower  as the focal point. Another reason this one is special is because I shot it to complete a calendar I was doing for my Mom and it reminds me of the blue and white ceramics that she collects.

**Sony Alpha (a37), Tamron macro 90mm f2.8, manual focus on full, tripod, external flash. Unedited, aside from crop.

09. Calla

I love this flower edit, done with DistressedFX on the fly. I shot this Calla lily at the oil change place with my phone. It was February, and I was attempting to leave for New Orleans for the third time in two weeks. I was so desperate to get there and find something. What I was looking for exactly, I’m still not sure, but I found a lot more than I bargained for and my plan to stay was foiled by understanding and learning in a very tangible way that you can’t  always escape reality, and that when you love someone you’ll always return to them. My dad fell ill and that’s why I ended up coming home in the end – which I wasn’t planning to do at all…and from there my life began to unfold a chain of events that would forever change it – but not all for the bad.

**iPhone 5

08. Finding It

This cute little flower was hanging out on my cousin Gail’s porch at the farm. I shot this during a time when I felt so…overwhelmingly lost. It was a day when I was struggling to find meaning in ever leaving my room again, and when I saw this flower and spent thirty minutes photographing it and even longer playing with the DistressedFX/Mextures edit, I found a ray of meaning to get out of bed the next day: a desire to find more flowers to shoot. It was a very meaningful day because of this tiny little flower.

**Lumix GF3, Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8, manual focus on full, handheld.

07. Energetic Shift

I found these daisies on clearance at Home Depot around mid-spring this year. This experience was something on many levels that I can’t even put into words…but this shot is visually one of my favorites because of the angle, focus and colors.

**Lumix GF3, Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8, manual focus on full, handheld.

06. Refuge

Some form of wild sage, I think. I shot these while walking in the woods somewhere in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I love these little purple flowers, and I didn’t have any super special experience with this shot. I just love the textured edit I did with it using Mextures.

**iPhone 5. Mextures Formula Code – TWTIYIE

05. Lightroom

With this shot, I was playing with Lightroom – which, at the time, I hadn’t done for a very long time. I’d been using mobile apps and devices and hadn’t touched my computer for months (ok, truth be told, years). Here I was trying some different styles with some shots from earlier in the year, and I was especially addicted to some Lightroom presets I’d gotten from Creative Market. Mixing presets and filters with Mextures formulas and effects from other apps, like DistressedFX and Stackables, is fun and you get some pretty cool results.

**Lumix GF3, Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8, manual focus on full, handheld.

04. Soul Dance

I chose to include this image because I love the gradient of the colors in the edit, but when I looked back at the original post I remembered very clearly how I felt on that day and why I called it “Soul Dance.” It was all down to music – a song called “Crystallize,” by Lindsey Sterling – as my moods often are. Internally, I was having such a hard time. I remember how light and how empowered that music made me feel, and as I was editing this image whilst listening to it and was trying to imagine my spirit flying like these dandelion seeds soon would be, I titled it after the song.

**Lumix GF3, Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8, manual focus on full, handheld.

03. Sun Goes Down

Continuing with my dandelion obsession this year, this shot is one of my all time favorites. I shot this while walking a trail at Norris Dam State Park, located on the Clinch River in Campbell County, Tennessee. I was sitting down, talking on the phone with my Dad (one of the last times I ever spoke with him before his illness and death), and he was telling me he was still not feeling well. It was at that point that he was going back in to the doctors to request more blood work and I was very scared and concerned and asked if I needed to come home. He said no, he’d be ok.

I remember telling him that the sun was going down and I saw this shot I wanted to try to get while I’d been sitting on the path talking with him (this shot), and I had to go, but I’d call him later that evening when I was back at the place where I was camping. That return phone call was when I told him about my art show in Knoxville, and he was so excited about it and didn’t say a whole lot about his health the rest of the time I was on that trip. It was just a couple weeks after I returned home that he went into a diabetic coma.

Sigh. It’s sometimes very emotional for me to see how things fit together when I look back on them. I’m so grateful that I got a good shot of this. It’s funny to me now that half the dandelion is missing – half of me is missing now, too…

**Lumix GF3, Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8, manual focus on full, handheld. Unedited, aside from crop.

02. Invisible

A very recent edit and a new favorite, I shot this the same day that I shot the blue flower at number 10. I was still experimenting with the external flash, and decided to play with this paper white bloom that had fallen to the floor when I’d moved things around for the blue flower shoot. I love the way the shot turned out, and edited it to further blend into the lighting with Mextures and the Stackables app. One of my all time favorites of my edited shots.

****Sony Alpha (a37), Tamron macro 90mm f2.8, manual focus on full, tripod, external flash.

01. Eternity

My number one favorite flower image is this macro image of a rose that was in one of the many gorgeous vases that were delivered to my house the day after my Dad passed away. I suppose we all know that flowers are my favorite, they are my friends, and I photograph them more than anything else. I just absolutely love flowers and have a fascination with them at many levels. This is something, interestingly enough, that I shared in common with my Dad. I kept my sanity during the weekend before we were to plan his funeral by shooting these flowers, somewhere in my heart hoping that he was there with me, invisibly enjoying them, too.

As I was shooting this particular flower, I had one of my first spiritual experiences with my dead father, as well as my first completely overwhelming, breathtaking, soul wrenching moment of grief. I remember falling to the floor and just completely breaking down for the first time that afternoon. I began to talk to my Dad, out loud, and I remember having this revelation that got me through that night and the next morning (the funeral home, picking out the casket and all that happiness).

As I shared on the original post:

I used to think that nothing lasts forever. Now I know…the love of a father does. I feel it all around me, especially when I close my eyes, and especially when I cry…even though he is gone. What a beautiful thing.

**Lumix GF3, Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8, manual focus on full, handheld.

I love fall flowers…I love how they feel like summer’s last hoorah, or perhaps Mother Nature’s final gift before the long, cold winter…

When the season of death is upon us, both literally and figuratively, in nature and in life, I think we are often give this gift but tend to take it for granted.

I suppose that’s why I shoot so many details, and so many natural things…I wish to bring them back to the consciousness of those who live a sadder life because they’re forgotten them…or just become too complacent to see the gifts and the beaut that is always right before them.

Enjoy these flowers, and have a blessed and beautiful day.

*all images processed using Mextures

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