Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Digital Magic In Photography

One never knows when a photographic idea will hit you. One that hit me while returning from an assignment up North has finally come to fruit. CROIX AND THE MAGIC BURL.

Eight years ago I took a class at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota. It was called; Wood Bowl Turning-Norwegian Ale Bowls. Basically, I learned to turn wooden bowls using a centuries old technique using just a wooden pole and a rope.

I had a blast and still enjoy turning bowls as a hobby. But, I did switch over to a power lathe!

Such diversions for artists are a natural release. It's not uncommon for artists to find another creative adventure outside of their own creative passion. I took to wood turning like a squirrel to a bird feeder.
It served as a good source of creative therapy.

Driving home from an assignment up North a few years ago, I stopped for a short hike along the Cascade River along Minnesota's North Shore Drive. When I reached the first set of waterfalls, there was an impressive spruce burl just off the trail. It was huge. And, for woodturners, most burls are prized for their exceptional grain patterns. Not spruce.  But, the burl had a funny pattern on it that looked like a face. I fired off a few frames of the burl and moved on.

Back on the highway, that burl face kept gnawing on my brain. Then, it came to me. I should do a book on the forest using the face of old burl as the voice to teaching kids about the forest and trees. So, finally here it is;

Croix And The Magic Burl
A Young Girl Meets A Magic Burl In The Forest 
And Learns The Value Of The Woods.

Here's the links;

PRINT VERSION:  http://www.blurb.com/books/5049117-croix-and-the-magic-burl  
(Shows the entire book)

less expensive version;

eBook:  http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/460166-croix-and-the-magic-burl  
(only shows 11 pages)
One of the decisions in this book that once made, seemed to be a perfect fit, was the digital conversion of my photos to watercolors using Photoshop. I tried it with photographs right out of the gate. But, photographs seemed too definitive, too exacting. Converting to watercolors allowed some room for the imagination to wander. This felt like the appropriate technique for a young kids book.
Some images worked and others didn't. But, that's true with every story you shoot. Tough editing, even eliminating those you really want to share, is imperative for the collective good. Otherwise your project can travel down paths less focused on the theme. Stick to your guns and be a tough editor.

Using the available tools in today's digital climate can be a tremendous advantage for your creative outlet. I was amazed at the transformation of my images into another medium. I was very suspect and concerned it would fail horribly.  Instead, it served up just the right look. I got what I wanted and hope to tackle another one some day when the inspiration strikes.

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