A Family Gathering

Family Group


and camaraderie

found throughout the ages

amidst the love of


Family 2

Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while may remember that I used to regularly join in with the One-Four challenge, editing a picture in four different ways over a month. Unfortunately, the challenge changed from being monthly to being quarterly, and the month when it was running always seemed to clash with NaNoWriMo, when I was off the blog, writing.

Family Vintage

This picture – taken at Lincoln Castle this summer, during the joust – just screamed out for multiple edits. As I’m sure you can imagine, I had great fun playing around with it.

Family Group Painting Framed

I’d love to know if you have a favourite version.


Moonage Daydream

Mad Moon 2.jpg

“Freak out in a moonage daydream, oh yeah…” – David Bowie, ‘Moonage Daydream’

Like so many others across the world I waited eagerly for the supermoon to rise a few nights ago. Unfortunately I found myself to be disappointed as the overcast sky hid it from view. Luckily for me the sky did clear a few hours later, but the moon was so high by then that the pictures I took had little of interest to them – especially when compared to all the wonderful shots that had onto flooded the internet from around the globe.

Well, last night (after finishing my Nano writing for the day) I decided to have a play around with one of the shots in Photoshop. It’s been a while since I last did any real photo editing, so it was fun to get really creative with it. I found myself singing the Bowie song, ‘Moonage Daydream’, whilst doing so – one of my favourite tracks off the ‘Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ album. It just seemed to fit. If you don’t know it, you should follow the link above and check it out. 🙂

This, by the way, was the original photo I worked from. It’s quite a noisy picture, which is what gives the sky in the edited version its colour:


Back to Nano for me now. I’m still over 7000 words behind the daily target, but there are enough hours left in the day that I should be able to narrow the gap some more…

CB&W: The Lovers

The Lovers b and w 4

she leans

into his strength

knowing he’ll support her

knowing the roots of their love are


The Lovers b and w 3

This post is for Cee’s Black and White Challenge. The theme is still trees as Cee is currently taking a well-deserved blogging break.

The pictures are of a pair of trees that have grown together beside the stream, leaning out over the water. It’s these that the little ladder leans against. I love how the larger tree seems to support the smaller one as it leans at an insecure angle, its branches wrapped like arms around it. I named them ‘The Lovers’ as soon as I spotted them and their embrace.

I hope you like them.

One Four: February Week Four

This post is for week four of Robyn’s One Four Challenge. This is a quarterly photo editing challenge that asks us to edit one photo in four ways over a month, posting a different version to our blog each week. I would have liked to spend a little more time working on this final edit but, as today is the final day of February, I thought I probably ought to post it as it is!

Week Four Edit

Week Four Edit

For this final edit I wanted to create a cool, soft image with a slight painterly appearance. Thankfully, this week I actually remembered to record the steps I took to create it!

First I opened the image in Camera Raw where I decreased the temperature (-10) and increased the tint (+23). I then increased both the highlights (+61) and the whites (+26) whilst also shifting the shadows (-17) and the blacks (-2) a little. I increased the vibrance (+60), reduced both the contrast (-23) and clarity and finally increased the luminance all the way to 100 with a detail level of 21.

Next I opened the image in Photoshop Elements 13 where I added a Levels layer over the ‘campfire’ – increasing both blacks and the whites to make it stand out a little better. I also added a soft glow layer at 60% opacity, a ‘shiny sphere’ gradient map at 20% opacity and an angled strokes layer at 25%. To finish off I gave it a slight crop.

Here are all the edits together for comparison:

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As it’s week four it’s also time for a poll – please let me know which edit you like best!



One Four: February Week Three

This post is for week three of Robyn’s One Four Challenge. This is a quarterly photo editing challenge that asks us to edit one photo in four ways over a month, posting a different version to our blog each week. .

streamside camp week four 3 small

I know I said I’d try to remember what I did to achieve the final edit this week but, unfortunately, I can’t. I’ve made so many changes, going back and forth between versions, that I couldn’t retrace my steps if I tried. I do know that there’s a soft light layer (or two) in there somewhere and a few different art effects. And I cropped it slightly. Other that that, I really can’t remember!

My intention with this edit was to create an image that looked like it could be an illustration for a kids’ adventure story – a slightly magical woodland setting, a campsite beside a stream…

I hope you like it.

Here’s all of the edits so far together for comparison:

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One Four: February Weeks 1 & 2

Robyn’s One Four Challenge is back! Yay! This challenge has always been one of my favourites so it’s great to see it return.

For this challenge we’re asked to edit one photo in four ways over a month, posting a different version to our blog each week. I’m a little late joining in so rather than posting just a single edit this week, I’m posting two.

Week One

streamside camp week one small 2

Week One

I can’t remember the exact settings or even every step I took to create this edit. I know that I reduced the clarity, shifted the temperature and tint, increased the vibrancy and altered a few other settings in camera raw before opening it in Photoshop Elements 13. I then selected the area of the ‘camp fire’ and played around with the levels to make it stand out a little more. To finish off I overlaid a soft light layer in a low opacity.

Week Two

streamside camp week two small

Week Two

For this edit I reopened week one in camera raw and reduced the saturation. I again played around with settings until I was happy with the shadows and highlights, etc. In Photoshop I then added a faint ‘cooling’ photo filter to give it a chillier, bluish hint.


streamside camp original small


I hope you like them. Next week I’ll try to keep a better record of edits!


One-Four Challenge: October Week Four

Here’s my final October edit for Robyn’s One-Four Challenge. My main aim for this month was to learn how to layer images to create a composite. I also wanted to build up to a really spooky image for the final week. I’m feeling quite happy with everything I’ve achieved but I’d love to know what everyone else thinks!

Week Four Edit

Week Four Edit

This week I began by opening the original image in Photoshop where I gave it the same crop as week two’s edit. Next I found a picture in my archives that I could crop down to show only the eyes – one of the very rare pictures of me! I gave this a black and white gradient map before copying it into the main image. I reduced its opacity to 20% and used the eraser tool to blend it into the background. I then added a violet, green and orange gradient map with a 40% opacity.

I then took the image into Camera Raw where I  increased contrast, clarity, blacks and shadows by a lot. Highlights and whites were also given a slight boost but I mainly wanted to give the image a more menacing feel.

Next I returned to Photoshop where I added a textured layer that I found on freestocktextures.com. I lay this over the lower two thirds of the image with a hard light blend at 10% opacity and I used the eraser tool to fade its edges into the background. I then finished off by extending the canvas with a dark green fill to create a border.

As it’s week four it’s time to include a poll so you can all let me know which of the four edits you liked best. Here are all the edits together for comparison:

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And here’s the poll:

As those of you who also follow my writing posts may already know I’m joining in with NaNoWriMo during November so unfortunately won’t be taking part in with the One Four Challenge. The only posts I’m likely to be doing are the occasional writing update and some Wordless Wedsnesday. Hopefully I’ll be back for the review month in December but that depends on how engrossed I am in editing! If I haven’t managed to make my way over to your posts this month, I apologise – I’m trying to get the whole novel thoroughly planned before November!


One-Four Challenge: October Week Three

Here’s my October week three edit for Robyn’s One-Four Challenge.

Week Three Edit 3

I’ve been playing around with this week’s image so much that I’m really not sure what steps I took to reach the final version – but I’ll try to remember as best I can!

I began with the week one edit which I opened in Camera Raw where I increased both contrast and clarity by quite a lot. A number of other sliders also moved, but I’m not sure which or by how much.

I then took the image into Photoshop Elements 13 where I added a black and white gradient map. This was then shifted into the reddish tones using the smart brush (which I’d never used before) on the ‘spooky’ setting.

Next I added a texture layer that I found here. Using the eraser tool I removed the texture from the spider web, bokeh and from some areas of the gravestones. I also faded it slightly in other areas. The opacity of the layer was then reduced. I might have also changed the blend mode. I then repeated the whole process with the texture layer reversed.

The next addition was a few spiders. As someone with a severe case of arachnophobia this was not a pleasant process! Even looking at pictures of spiders makes my skin crawl. I found two different spiders on Pixabay that I copied and pasted into the image several times, changing their sizes, orientation and opacity to suit. Several different blend modes were tried out, though I’m not sure which ones I actually used. As they all still looked a little too sharp I used the blur tool to soften their edges.

Whilst I’m not completely satisfied with this week’s edit (the spiders just don’t look right), I am glad I managed to create the composite image I’ve been wanting to for this month – even though it took me most of the week just to work out how to do it! I’m already looking forward to trying out some of the ideas I have for next week.

Here is the original image and all the edits together for comparison:

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One-Four Challenge: October Week Two

It’s time for my October week two edit for Robyn’s One-Four Challenge. This week I wanted to focus on the spiderweb and bokeh. I also wanted to give the image a slightly a magical or spooky appearance. Hopefully I succeeded.

Week Two Edit

Week Two Edit

To create this week’s version I first opened the image in Photoshop Elements 13 where I cropped it and added a black and white gradient map. I then took it into Camera Raw where I made these changes:

Temperature -23 (to give it a bluish tone)
Tint +6
Contrast +57
Shadows +23
Whites +36
Blacks +12
Clarity -32
Luminance 42
Luminance detail 96

To finish off I returned it to Photoshop where I overlaid it with a soft light fill layer at an opacity of 13%.

Whilst I’m really happy with this week’s edit I had actually intended to create an image using blended layers. Unfortunately, I just don’t seem to be able to get the knack of it! Very few of the online tutorials seem to apply to Photoshop Elements 13 and very little I tried seemed to work as I wanted it to. Grr. Maybe I’m just too much of a perfectionist to accept my meager attempts… Hopefully over this week I’ll be able to spend more time working on it and by next week I’ll actually have something worth sharing.

Here’s the original image and my week one edit for comparison:


One-Four Challenge: October Week One

It’s now October and so time for a new image for Robyn’s One-Four Challenge. I took this image just last week when out for a walk around the village. I’ve always found graveyards fascinating places to walk around – I always wonder about the stories of the people buried there.

Here’s my first edit:

Week One Edit

For this first edit I’ve done very little, just a few tweaks. I quite liked how washed out the original appeared to be, with the bright light streaming through the gravestones, and I wanted to heighten this effect. To do so I opened it in Camera Raw where I made these changes:

Temperature +2
Highlights -14
Shadows -100
Blacks -35
Clarity +20
Vibrance -16
Saturation -12
Luminance 25
Luminance Detail 55

I then opened it in Photoshop where I reduced the dark splodge at the base of the gravestone on the left – I felt it was a little distracting – and gave the image a slight trim.

Here’s the original image for comparison: