Saturday, May 23, 2009

Painting with Corel Painter II

We are officially into summer and the day is long. I look forward to when I can catch sunset at 6pm again. These days the sun seems to sprint from the horizon in one giant step, to my dismapy the soft light would disappear just as fast as I could set up my camera. I decided I shall spent some time learning Corel Painter II and see if I could transform some of my photos into art - my original plan anyway. One of the tools I had learnt a day earlier was using layers in Photoshop CS2 so my plan was to layer the paintings.

Below are two favorites from my study: I titled them the "Garden Series". I love the pastel wallpaper look, a little of Givenchy garden. It is interesting how they say one's art is an extension of one's feelings and emotions and that seems to be how it is with my photography and art. It is really an extension of my inner being -talk about baring one's soul. You can see more here at : my Smugmug gallery

"Garden" copyright Joochiang Lee 2009

"I dreamt of red poppies" copyright Joo chiang Lee 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A visit to Napa and Sonoma wine country

Back to my other passion......that of visiting the wine country, soaking in the beautiful scenery...and letting my creative juices run.

I had not driven up to Napa/Sonoma wine country for a few years now and I have been wanting to make a trip. Early May isn't quite the right time for photography as the day is so long and it is difficult to catch sunrise or sunset without having to stay a night in the area. Unfortunately, the way my schedule has been lately it is either now or wait a few months and visit in the Fall. Anyhow, I jumped out of bed early Saturday, with my cameras already packed in the bag, I drove north heading to Napa and Sonoma with a plan to visit Sebastopol and Bodega Bay in the same afternoon. I was not expecting much as far as photography goes....

"Napa wine country hillside basking in the early morning sun - I learned from a winemaker friend of mine that roses planted close to the vines for a reason..some of you may know why"

Left very early around 5:30am from San Jose, I am an early riser and you could get me out of bed wee hour of the morning if it is to catch the light for photography...As Napa is some 140miles away from San Jose, I did not get into town until 7:30am, and the soft morning light was already fading away....Fortunately I was able to catch a glimpse of it...just wished it had lasted longer.....

"Wine country landscape - I like the oil painting look"

The town of Sonoma is very charming...a bit of Taos, a bit of Palm Springs and a lot of wine country....many tasting rooms, great restaurants around the square, and world famous spas on the fringe of town.

"Morning sun showering into a very narrow alley between two weathered stone walls in Sonoma city square"

Also check out my blog entry on HDR High Dynamic Range photography here. I am speechless

Monday, May 4, 2009

The kids were simply adorable in their cowboy attire !!

Cinco de Mayo celebration - downtown San Jose, May 03 2009

I had not made up my mind what I was going to do when I headed out in my car this past Sunday. It was raining, though not very hard. I looked to the eastern sky and saw the sun was trying to break out from behind the early morning rain clouds. I was on 17W in the direction of Santa Cruz and had the idea that I would wait for the right moment and shoot the morning scenery as the light breaks and the rains stop with the mist still in the air. However, that never did work out. I surveyed the area I had in mind and decided that it would not be much of a shot. It was one of those mornings...I was searching for photo ops and really did not have any idea where I would find one - the elusive photo op :(. Not a good sign I was thinking to myself.

"Young cowboy and his craft"

I headed back into San Jose, decided perhaps I might find something downtown. San Jose is a rather interesting town with numerous century old buildings. I drove around the city square and was just about to give up to head to Trader Joes for my weekly produce shopping when I heard neighing horses to my left - Ah...a group of horsemen and their families had gathered with their horse carriages in the city parking lot a block from St James Park. Downtown San Jose is at the heart of Silicon Valley and so the horses were quite a sight to see. I parked my car quickly, grabbed both my cameras and sprinted across to where the small crowd had gathered. I had no clue what it was all about. In my mind, I had an image of a horse auction of some sorts, like the one one sees in the Western movies...I was told there would be a Cinco de Mayo celebration that morning and they were getting ready for the parade. The kids were all dressed up and looked so adorable in their cowboy attires. Some were sitting on the ponnies...I asked if I could take some pictures and many quickly obliged and gave me their email addresses to send them some pictures - Sometimes it is funny how things turn out..

"his eyes...there is something about them"

Above is one of my favorite shots (see more in my Smugmug gallery)....There was something about his eyes..... They remind me very much of the boy in the movie I Am David. There was definitely more behind that pair of eyes....I wish I know what they were.....

"I thought he looked rather like Paul Newman, this could have come from a movie..the ride along Pacific Coast Highway 1 in Malibu :)"

You can see more of my Cinco de Mayo photos by visiting my Smugmug gallery. The link is Cinco de Mayo 2009, San Jose