Friday, September 19, 2014

Animations Add Fun and Interest to Projects

Animations are fun. They add a little personality to emails, some humour and interest to PowerPoints and web designs.

In looking at sites such as AnimationFactory, I've been pleasantly surprised at the diversity of images available.  No matter what topic is being covered, what mood is being conveyed,  there are generally options that appeal to my taste, the style and the tone of the project. It's been my experience, that whether your goal is to achieve something cutesy or businesslike, it doesn't take long to find the right animation.

However, when it came to searching for landscape animations, I wasn't sure what the results might be. With the exception of a waterfall or babbling brook, Mother Nature's artwork tends to be relatively static. Yet, there are times, particularly if you are looking for something inspirational, when these types of images are what would suit the best.

So I set myself to the task and though the search results weren't as abundant as  those from other quests,  they were adequate given that when looking for an image of nature, one tends to be as perfect as another. 

If you have the place for an animation in your projects and have never tried one before, I'd encourage you to take a look around. I suspect you'll like what you see.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

3 Collections of Beautiful Landscape Photos

Walking through the woods on my daughter's country property recently was a big sigh in the middle of a busy life. There's nothing like getting away from all things technological and taking in 'natural' entertainment to rejuvenate and refresh.

Strolling the winding trail back through open fields provided an open view of rolling pasture and distant trees. Once we came to the wooded area, we were enclosed in a landscape of flora and fauna, where amidst the tall trees and saplings,  tiny brooks and dense scrub provided comfort and security for skittish little wildlife.

Later, over dinner on the patio in the early twilight hours we were treated to the emerging crimson glow of  what was to become a glorious sunset. Then with darkness upon us, we circled 'round the campfire. With stars twinkling above, we looked across wide open spaces to the sparkling lights of the nearby city.

Landscapes are nature's works of art, equal to anything in a gallery and most certainly better than anything you can view on a television screen these days.  Whether above or around us, close up or far away, winter, spring, summer or fall,  the beauty of creation is picture perfect. Should proof be needed it can be found in these collections of wonderful photos of landscapes from iPHOTOS.com LandscapesClipart.com Landscape Photos and Acclaim Images Landscape Photos.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tips for Taking Great Landscape Photos

When it comes to grabbing my camera and taking pictures it's typically because one of my kids or grandchildren are in the vicinity. Those much-loved faces are my favourite subjects and there are few moments of their life, when in my company, that I don't want to capture for posterity.

Every once in a while though, I find myself looking towards a sunset or across the countryside and am compelled to add a landscape photo to my collection. One true source of inspiration, after visiting the area a few years ago for our daughter's wedding, is the beautiful French River in Northern Ontario, Canada.

Since then, our annual vacations there have produced some of the most amazing photographs. I say this with the utmost humility as  I take little credit.  With azure skies, verdant foliage and miles of clear waters, if I couldn't get a good picture I believe it would be time to turn my head towards a different hobby. However,  to be honest, while I'm  quite pleased with the result of my landscape photography there,  if I hadn't been lazy and relied so much on the subject material for a great shot there are some images I know could have been better.

Just because a landscape is beautiful doesn't mean it comes with a guarantee that a photo you take will do it justice. Just as a good artist with no schooling may paint a beautiful landscape, a little tutoring, a little attention to detail will help improve the results.  As with any type of photography there are elements, from composition to lighting to consider.

These tips then are intended to help you take your landscape photos to the next level:

Surefire Landscape Photography Tips from Digital Photography School

Pro Tips from Digital Camera World

National Geographic Landscape Photography Tips

Expert Tips for Landscape Photography From Canadian Living

Get Great Landscape Photos With Your iPhone

5 Tips for Awesome Landscape Photos

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Create Landscapes in Photoshop and Illustrator

When you look for the perfect backdrop for text a landscape will often fit the bill just perfectly. From sunsets to mountains and lakes, Mother Nature has provided us with some impressive subjects. Whether it's for inspiration or impact,  these types of images can set the mood by conveying a sense of power or freedom.

Though real-life depictions through photography are perhaps the most often used, illustrations of landscapes can set a completely different tone. And, unlike running out to grab a picture, creating your own project in an image editing program allows you to take on the role of Mother Nature. After all, why go looking for the perfect setting when you can do it yourself? 

Cast sunlight down on snow-capped mountains. Plant daisies in a meadow. Float ducks in a pond. Cover a country lane with the shade of lush maple trees.

It gives new meaning to 'landscape designer'.  Here then are some great tutorials to get you started, including some that let you put your personal spin on a nature photo:

Create a Stunning Surreal Landscape

Create Custom Landscapes in Photoshop

Create a Middle Earth-Inspired Landscape

How to Create a Mountain Landscape

Create a Landscape in Photoshop

Create a Detailed Lighthouse Landscape in Illustrator

A Simple Landscape Scene in Illustrator

Create a Magical Vector Landscape in Illustrator

Serene Fantasy Photo Manipulation

Adding Sunlight Through Trees

Create Silky Smooth Waterfalls

Monday, September 15, 2014

3 Sources for Beautiful Landscape Photos

Saturday was one of those perfect days, full of accomplished tasks, yet somehow incredibly relaxing.  My time was spent in the kitchen but with no commitments otherwise, all of the baking, cooking and cleaning up were worthy, but mindless activities.

The afternoon ended with a cupboard full of yummy stuff and a quiet drink with my hubby. One of our favourite things in pleasant weather is to sit on our deck and enjoy the view from our backyard. Though we live in an urban area, we are fortunate to have a relatively unobstructed view of the neighbouring countryside. It is green grass and blue sky, nights of sunsets and starry skies.

From our backyard we can see all of the changes that come with each season. Windblown drifts of fluffy white give rise and fall to the landscape in winter. In storms we watch, protected in the warmth of our home, as the snow flies across the expanse of field, carried on gusts of chilled winds. 

Spring brings the greening of the grass and cavorting of little creatures. Squirrels frolic, birds flit while trees and gardens begin to bloom. The summer shows us lush foliage and a distant cornfield below a temperamental sky, that of blazing sun, ominous clouds and dreary showers.

As autumn makes it way to us, the landscape changes yet again with crimson, saffron, gold and orange replacing the verdant lushness of before. Cornstalks brown and geese fly overhead. And then, we once again find ourselves looking out from inside at a world turned white.

Seasons will typically dictate what we are looking for when a landscape photo is needed for artwork, whether it's personal use or for business. Here are some beautiful examples from  iPHOTOS.com , Clipart.com and Acclaim Images