Almost every year at Christmas time I buy an amaryllis bulb. I love their bright colors, textures and elegant shapes. Just throwing away something alive has always felt wrong, so I now have several ghosts of Christmases past, in the form of amaryllis bulbs.
They re-bloom every year. Left to their own devices, which is my general approach to gardening, they seem to have settled on March. Six of them are going at it right now.
One thing is pretty clear: I need to clean my windows!
It really rained yesterday and I noticed this bright, cheerful camellia when out with the dogs. It reminded me of how we sometimes walk when caught out in the rain, facing slightly down, the little petal almost looks like a hand put over to shield the eyes.
This is the last photo I took in July. As I looked at it I realized that it has an extraordinary range of red in it: From the rusty red of the pollen through burgundy in its speckles over to magenta in the petals.
In memorium of Armistice Day, and in appreciation for all veterans for their service.
When we were in England in 2018, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, there was a very moving memorial installation based on poppies. It was an amazing work of art, both in the creation of every individual poppy and the very careful placement to get the overall effect.
My amaryllises are still going strong, but I think this may be their last hurrah for the year. The three bulbs have been providing cheer continuously since the beginning of December. I’m not generally a great lover of red but the weather has been cloudy and I’ve really been enjoying the different shades of red and the way the light plays on the petals.
Being an amateur on a fixed income I haven’t sprung for the Adobe Photoshop software. I wondered if I could create a similar effect in the GIMP. GIMP stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program. It is shareware, which means the price right.
A bit of internet research and experimentation today led me to this process:
Step 1: Load my photo.
Step not taken:
Both Julie Powell’s directions and the video on Brashley photos post use a Photoshop filter in the pixelate menu called “mezzotint”. The GIMP doesn’t have that choice near that in its pixelize filter. There is a GIMP plug in to get the effect, but I decided to see what would happen without that step. I was in the mood to play with pretty things, not be a computer geek..maybe next week.
Step 2: Zoom Motion Blur
Filters>Blur>Zoom motion blur. I moved the center to the middle of the flower and cranked the blurring factor up to 0.515 and left the other parameters at default.
Step 3: Repeat step 2
If you wanted you could repeat this again.
Step 4: A positive spin on it
I made a copy of the step 3 layer and applied Filters>Distorts>Whirl and Pinch using the default settings to get this:
Step 5: A negative spin on it
I mad another duplicate of the step 3 image, moved it above the layer from step 4, and again used the Filter>Distorts>Whirl and Pinch, but for this layer I made the angle negative (I forgot to jot down the exact number, but I think it was around -200).
Step 6: Experiment with blend modes
Not much to say about this, I just tested all of the various blend modes on the layer made in step 5 until I found ones I liked. Here are my two favorites:
It was fun to give this a try and the GIMP was quite easy to use to get the twirled effect. So much so that I may become addicted to abstraction.