Linking up with Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday.
The classical Greek philosophers taught all of matter was made of four elements: air, earth, fire, and water. Of these four, water seems to me to be the most instinctive, primitive material. Alchemists believed that if they could extract the primary element, or spiritual spark, to create the philosopher's stone, and apply a sliver of it to water in a container, all of Creation would occur before their eyes in miniature.
And then there are mermaids. The fairy tales of selkies and sirens are a tone more sober than others; closer to home, more possible. The ocean, for many, was/is such a familiar mystery, the source of boons and punishments. As is, I suppose any body of water in any form near a people. The nearby lake or river or spring or what-have-you wasn't just part of the scenery. It characterized the soul of the community.
Maybe it's some genetic memory of that first life source rising from the water. Or maybe it's our first sense of being, in the safe waters of Mother's womb. The sound of water is soothing and unmistakable. Ocean, rain, and waterfalls are our soundtracks to a peaceful night's sleep. Water is life. We must be baptized in water for the Sacrament to be legitimate--even tears are not an acceptable substitute. Fire purifies, but water generates. If fire is the spark of life, then water is the passive substance upon which that fire acts.
Last week's sojourn at the beach provides this week's material. I wanted to do something different, and just participating in Theme Thursday every week has caused me, without my knowing, to absorb some learning that I would never have had the motivation and commitment to set out to do on my own. Micaela's self-portraits encouraged me to open up the menacing Photoshop, and Cari's links and edits led me to the Coffeeshop Blog's free PSE actions and spurred me to use them, rather than just look, say "That's neat, I wish I could do that," and then forget about it.
So here is the original photograph. Not going to stay straight out of the camera because I always augment the light and shadows in Picassa before anything else. It's very rare that I like an un-edited photo more than a fixed one. I think that's probably a photography fault on my part, but I'm working on it!
ISO 100, f/1.8
I like the ripples and texture of the water here, how it clings to the Squirt's hand like cobweb. Okay, but let's try something new.
I applied the Coffeeshop Blog's action Teeny Tiny World, and painted in the Blur layer so that the arm and hand pops out of the background in focus and the rest is muddy. I thought at first that the lines of the arm bleed into the light because I was sloppy with the coloring tool (I'm an instant gratification kind of girl), but looking at the original picture, I think the combination of some movement and the extreme f/1.8 aperture focus made it that way to begin with.
So there's that, but it's kind of dark and dirty-looking to me. So I applied the Starstruck action in Photshop Elements and adjusted the layers. It could have been much more pinky-purple, but I toned that down. I colored the swim trunks in the layer titled Color Pop, with the opacity pretty low so that it didn't look too obvious (I hope?).
I also activated the layer titled Color Contrast and the layer Matte and fiddled with adjusting opacity.
Without the Matte layer, it looks like this:
But that was a little bit bruise-y, so I replaced the Matte layer and removed the Color Contrast layer. (Note: you don't have to remove the layers entirely if you feel like the effect is too strong; that's what altering the opacity is for. A 15% opacity will be much more subtle than a 43%, but still present.)
I liked that one the best, for whatever reason. Maybe because of the calm, dreaminess of the light and color. This is the photograph I used with the text way up top, after waxing philosophical.
So my grandmother gave me a very generous check for my birthday, and now the possibility of upgrading (i.e., purchasing) to a more recent model Canon EOS is in my peripheral. I don't know if I should, though. I mean, if was going to make a business out of this, even someday, I could justify it. Otherwise, I have a ton of options, ranging from paying the rent (how responsible) to investing in the chicken egg business everyone's crazy about these days. Or hoarding it. You know.