Hidden Falls at Hanging Rock State Park

This is a photo I took in October 2015, at Hanging Rock State Park, here in North Carolina. I had a great day, taking a few short hikes with Panzer and Sasha, but I wasn’t very happy with my photos. I had intended to photograph the waterfalls surrounded by autumn foliage, but nature just wasn’t cooperating. The leaves were not at peak color yet and I’m not sure if it would have made much of a difference anyways, the rhodadendrons around the falls would have stayed green. But I was so proud of myself for using a long exposure to give the water that beautiful gauzy effect. And its a very pretty waterfall and I was happy with the compostition, just not the colors. It took me over a year to settle on the obvious solution, change it to black and white. And now I love it!

I’m not sure “Hidden Falls” is the best name for this waterfall. There is a very clearly marked, relatively easy trail from the parking lot to the river.

In my sketchbook: Magnolia

Last year I started a magnolia illustration in Adobe Illustrator, but I wasn’t happy with how it was coming along, so I put it aside for awhile. Recently I decided I’m ready to go back to it, so I started a preliminary study in my sketchbook.

First, a pencil drawing, to get the rough shapes in place.

Next, I traced an outline in pen and started adding color.

Finished adding color. I’ve used Prismacolor markers in the past, but I tried these ones from Windsor and Newton and was really happy with the result. They are very pigmented, and give good even, non streaky coverage and blend easily. They are also slightly less expensive than the Prismacolors.

My finished sketch. I really love this, and hopefully, I will soon have a finished digital illustration based on this sketch to share.

Beaufort Old Burying Ground

One of my favorite places to walk locally is alone the waterfront in Beaufort, the next town over, and through this old cemetery. Its all overgrown with amazing live oaks, and mosses, lichens, and even a few ferns on the old weathered headstones.

Still on my black and white kick. I loved this tree covered in vines.

Staying organized: Happy Planner

I am not a naturally organized person, but for more than six months I’ve actually managed to stick with something, my Happy Planner. The Happy Planner system is made my Mambi, and it works for me because it is so customizable. And its pretty and fun to use. At first I wasn’t sure about the vertical lay out, but it actually works really well, and allows me to divide each day into sections for my Etsy shops, around the home, and has room for me to keep track of Jon’s travel schedule, meal planning, and my yoga workouts. For this weeks layout I used mostly stickers from Mambi, but also some I got from Peaceful Mind Design¬†on Etsy. Its happy, and cheerful, and keeps me motivated, and reminds me to pay my bills on time. Its also really easy to add and remove pages, so I can make it less bulky to carry around by only have 3-4 months in it, and I can keep sections for my Etsy shops, goal setting, notepaper, and a penholder so I always have everything I need with me.

What helps you stay organized?

*I purchased and actually use everything in this post, none of it was given to me for promotional purposes.

Black and White or Color?

I recently read an article about how to take good black and white photos, and it got me thinking. Back in the dark ages, when I learnt to use a SLR, I shot almost exclusively in black and white. Mostly because I had to for assignments, and it was cheaper if I had free access to the chemicals for developing film myself. Also, I had some bullshit idea about it being more artistic. These days I shoot in color, but occasionally take a photo that works just as well, or better in black and white.

I took this pic with my iPhone 6. It works great as a black and white because the focus is on the structure. I feel like it also enhances the contrast to create a more dramatic image.

I took this photo with my Canon 7D DSLR. I used a polarizing filter, thinking that it would enhance to red rocks. It also darkened the sky and the details really pop.