Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Memory Art #6 - English Harbor, Antigua

Memory Art is art inspired by stories or photos from my past.
English Harbor on the island of Antigua is probably one of the most beautiful and popular anchorages in the Caribbean. The bay goes well inland with several twists and turns. Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson used English Harbor in the early 1800's for watering the British Navy as well as for boat repairs, and it became know as Nelson's Dockyard.

Many stone buildings were built around the harbor, and over the years have been beautifully restored. Some of these buildings were converted to modern use - a grocery, a post office, a marine store, and a sail repair shop.

There were frequent reminders of how short in stature people were a couple hundred years ago. Leaving an office, I had to reach way down for the door knob, and Ed often bumped his head on the beams in the marine store.

Our first visit to English harbor was in 1980. Here I am posing with an impressively large cannon.

While we loved English Harbor, we wanted to see more of the island. We applied for a month-long crusing permit that we put to good use exploring the many good anchorages along Antigua's 60 miles of coastline.

That's Tropic Moon, front and center in the English Harbor anchorage. (The orange ball on her nose is a sail bag.)
And now for my magic trick.... I'll take the above picture of the anchorage and convert it into a length of striped fabric. (Drum roll, please.)

In Photoshop (of course), I made four copies of the picture, changed their orientations, and put them together to form a new image.

Then I made four copies of that image, and again stuck them together.

Ditto, one more time. Then I made one copy of this image and put the two together, side-by-side, to form my length of striped fabric.

Ta Da! (Okay, it's not really fabric, in case you wondered. But maybe it could be.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Memory Art #5 - Bermuda

Memory Art is art inspired by stories or photos from my past.
In June, 1982, after 3-1/2 years in the Caribbean, we left the Virgin Islands on Tropic Moon and headed north to Bermuda. The passage was 850 miles of open ocean, and we reached Bermuda in eight days. During that time, we stood watch, 24 hours/day, four hours on and four hours off. Combine that with a constantly moving boat and seasickness, and I was tired and more than a little crabby by the time we reached Bermuda. And, yes, it showed!

As we slowly approached Bermuda, more of the island came into view, and at one point we saw a plane landing at the Bermuda airport. Back in 1982, people communicated from boat to boat by marine radio. While we had a radio, the radio had issues with our battery system, and we never had in on unless we actually had to contact someone. We sailed into the harbor at St. George's, found a spot amongst all the other sailboats, and dropped anchor. It was about mid-morning and we were so looking forward to climbing into our bunks and getting some uninterrupted sleep.
While we were settling Tropic Moon, a man motored over to our boat in his dinghy. He (someone who did keep his radio on), was aware - as were probably most of the other boats in the harbor - that the Bermuda Customs, via radio, had been trying to raise us. We were not allowed to drop anchor in the harbor without first motoring into the dock and clearing customs.
A couple things: During our time in the islands, we anchored almost everywhere we went, and only went into the docks when we needed fuel. Parallel parking a 42-foot, 20-ton sailboat at a dock was not overly high on our skill set. Plus we were exhausted. But when Customs says show up at the dock, you do it. We didn't have an electric winch, so Ed hauled up the anchor by hand and we headed into the dock.
I'm at the wheel when we go into a berth or alongside a dock. The deal is that the other person has to stand in the bow, direct the boat with hand signals, and then jump off from the bow to the dock to secure the bow rope. We tried it with me in front - once - and I wouldn't jump off the boat till we hit the dock. That left me at the wheel, and over the years I had gotten pretty good at following Ed's hand signals.
There was a space between two other boats and we did a pretty neat job of getting ourselves into it. Ed jumped off the bow with the bow rope, then held the bow off so that it wouldn't hit the dock. I took the stern rope and threw it to a man who had gotten off one of the neighboring boats. He pulled in our stern line and then cleated off the rope. This man had come in from the Chesapeake on a sailboat with five other men. He asked me where we'd sailed from, and I told him the Virgin Islands. He looked at me, looked at Ed, and then he looked back at me, and asked, "Just the two of you?" All of a sudden, all the discomfort and exhaustion of the trip seemed worth it. I stood a little taller and said, casually, "Yes, just the two of us."
Expecting another "Caribbean" island, we were pleasantly surprised when we reached Bermuda to find an island whose lushness of foliage and richness of color made her sisters to the south seem a bit drab by comparison. Bermuda's friendly people, lovely sights and excellent bus service made our two-week stay there a very special time. We enjoyed playing the tourist, sightseeing around historic St. Georges where we were anchored, viewing the Queen's birthday parade in the cosmopolitan city of Hamilton, visiting the beaches and sampling local fish in the restaurants.
We also visited Fort St. Catherine, which I've decided to use in my Memory Art. Working in Photoshop, the first thing I did was remove the paddle boats and tourists from the picture. (You can click on any image to enlarge.)
I converted the image, first to black and white, and then to duotone, and selected colors to mimic sepia. I added a feathered border to give the picture an old-fashioned appearance.
Having enjoyed working with that picture, I decided to use the same techniques on two other photos that we'd taken at the fort.

We left Bermuda in mid-June, and another week of sailing had us reaching our destination on Long Island, where Ed's parents had their home.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fort Macon State Park

My visit to Fort Macon State Park yielded several good photo opportunities.

An entrance heading down into the fort.

Further along...

Many of the rooms were empty, like this one. The architecture was beautiful!

The sign says, Please Do Not Climb on Cannon. That must be so tempting to the kids!

I loved the pile of cannon balls! Wonder if someone polishes them every day?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Memory Art #4 - Pickled Onions

Yesterday I visited Fort Macon State Park, with the idea of taking some pictures. Wandering through this Civil War fort, I found this replica of a storage room. To the right of the Vinegar cask is a keg for Pickled Onions. Now that brought back some memories!

I poked my camera through the bars and took another shot. I guess they got their pickled onions from New York.

We used to get ours from Heinz. I had trouble finding a picture of the bottle - I don't think Heinz makes them anymore. At least not in the United States.

Here's a view of the right-hand side of the storage room. Please note that there's another Pickled Onions keg in front of the table.
Today, June 18th, is/was my father's birthday. He was born in 1913, and died almost 20 years ago. His name was Jean Edward Marchesseault. "Jean" is French for "John" and I was named after him. And this Sunday will be Father's Day, so he's been on my mind. Now back to the Pickled Onions. My mom would buy jars of them, but neither she nor my sister would touch them. But my dad and I, boy, did we love our pickled onions! For us, they went with everything.....

A couple days ago, I received a CD of pictures from my cousin, Paul. He had been collecting old family pictures, scanning them, and he kindly sent me a CD. The CD included this picture of my dad, taken during World War II. Several things came together for me - the CD, the pictures at the fort, my dad's birthday, Father's Day - and the pickled onions. So my way of honoring my dad's special day is to put him in a place where he could eat all the pickled onions he wanted. I accomplished this using Photoshop. Here's looking at you, Dad!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lizard Love

This is a common lizard of the Southeast, called green anoles by some people and American chameleons by others. Male anoles use a throat fan, or dewlap, to challenge other males. The dewlap is typically bright red. The display of the dewlap is often accompanied by the male lizard doing push-ups and bobbing its head. It's a riot to watch! This fellow was walking around on the rail and in the bushes that frame our deck. I'm assuming he was looking for his lady love.

Here's another shot of him. I can just imagine what he's thinking - "What'cha lookin at, lady??"
The source of my information about the lizard came from this website at the University of Georgia.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Flying High

I've mentioned that I don't have much success taking pictures of gulls in flight. While this bird was flying around, I was snapping pictures like crazy with my digital camera, without even knowing if the bird was in the viewfinder. When I got home and put all my new photos into Photoshop, I was more that pleased to see that not only had I captured the gull, but that the moon was in the same picture. I cropped the above photo - there was LOTS of extra sky in the original picture. The images below are the results of my efforts in Photoshop. You can click on the pictures to see enlarged versions.

When I save a new image as a .jpeg, I try to add all the filter information in my image title. Some of the titles get pretty long! This image was mostly "texture/grain" and "stylize/diffuse."

The main filter for this image was "artistic/fresco." Wouldn't this picture make a cool art quilt?

For this picture, I started by adjusting "auto levels" and then played with Image-Adjust-Curves. I've only found out about Curves recently. You put your mouse on a line in a graph and drag it around while you watch really cool things, in terms of color and light/darkness, happen to your image.

For this last image, I used Image/Adjust/Equalize; then Image/Adjust/Posterize (set at 8); than Image/Adjust/Hue-Saturation (I set Hue to -160, Saturation to +20, and Lightness to -30.) And, yes, code for all that information is in the title of the .jpeg!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beach Art - Playing in the Sand

Here's a photo I took of a boring bit of beach grass. After applying some filters in Photoshop, I had a more colorful image:

The next two filters I used were "emboss" and "posterize." I was surprised at the amount of color that generated!

Then I moved on to a picture of sand.
I used a Photoshop filter called Fresco, and got the following:
Last Friday I had done a blog called "What's Wrong with this Picture??" and one of the comments I had made in that post was: I never know when I might need an interesting image, like maybe a metal cover that says "Water." Well, I didn't think it would be this soon! Here's the cover:
And here's how I used it:

Fresh water at the beach? Hmm....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Beach Art

Late one evening I headed out to a beach near Ft. Macon in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. I took several pictures with my digital camera, and then played with them in Photoshop when I got home. I like to get a "painterly" look, so I use a variety of Photoshop filters.
One of my goals in life is to get a decent picture of a gull in flight. Usually when one flies overhead, my camera is in my pocket. When I have my camera in hand, it's still a major challenge because it's not like the gulls glide slowly by to have their picture taken. When a gull is flying around, I snap as many pictures as I can. I figure that the law of averages dictates that I will occasionally get a bird in one of my pictures. This bird was in the distance, but still, I take what I can get!

I guess I could call this photo "Casting a Long Shadow." Very cliche, but it was my first time trying this. Happily, I think it made me look thinner....

Right after I took this picture, the young man caught a fish. It was one of those ugly-looking flat fish - don't know what they're called, but it was about a foot long, and he was well pleased with his catch.

Unlike the gulls, the surf is always happy to put on a good show for the camera! I took several other pictures on this evening, and plan to post them in my next couple blogs. They're a bit more "far-out" and I'll be including the original shots so that you can see where they're coming from.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Black and White

I'm nuts about color, but sometimes the simplicity of black and white makes a pleasant change. Here's a sampling of six photographs that I've worked with in Photoshop, removing the color, and using a variety of filters on some of them. The image above is from a photograph I took on one of my walks. (Morehead City, North Carolina)

Shrimp trawlers at a dock in Beaufort, North Carolina. One of my friends wants me to put a wreath on the bow of the front boat and make Christmas cards for her. That would be fun!

A rocker on a front porch in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Bottom side of a fishing pier, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.

A beach on Peter Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was playing with texture filters, and also a technique for adding the cool black border.

This last is my favorite shot of a magnolia blossom from this spring's pictures. (my back yard, Morehead City, North Carolina)