Friday, June 26, 2015

5 Sources for Awesome Summer Vacation Clipart

A friend attended her son's high school graduation last evening. While we haven't quite arrived at the official date,  if there was any doubt that summer has arrived these ceremonies are a sure sign.

With the end of another school year,  young children are on the streets and playgrounds and teens are testing the waters in the shallow end of the employment pool. Young faces not glimpsed all day through the school year are now greeting us at stores and restaurants,  mowing our lawns and guarding our kids at the beach. Little ones free from the classroom are filling days pools, parks and gardens.

For moms and dads, not much has changed, though. Once a routine is set up to see to the caring for, and amusement of, energetic sons and daughters, it's just work as usual.

Except for one notable thing.  At this time of year,  adult minds are full of ideas and planning for the annual summer vacation from the day-to-day grind and rituals.  These thoughts lead us to campgrounds, beaches, zoos and museums. Or, in some cases, to quiet solitude in our backyard havens.

No matter where we wander, summer sojourns are the ideal time to reconnect as family, to recharge the batteries and to revive the soul.  They create wonderful moments and moods, all of which are held onto long after our return.

If preserving these memories in a scrapbook is a project you enjoy,  or if you have a job  that requires some cool summer graphics to make it pop, here are some clipart collections geared specifically to vacation time:

iCLIPART.com

Clipart.com

ClickArt Online

ClipartGuide

TOONClipart

Thursday, June 25, 2015

5 Collections of Graduation Clipart

When I think of the end of June my mind always wanders back to four particular events — the Grade 8 graduations of my kids.

These were such bittersweet events. It was so exciting to see a new chapter of their lives beginning. Though it's obviously not the milestone that future graduations would be, it was still easy to feel pride in their accomplishments to this point.

It was gratifying, too,  to see that pride reflected in their eyes as they thought ahead to the next phase of their lives.  And so wonderful to see a glimpse of the amazing adults they would become.

It was also, though, an emotional time for this parent as I acknowledged that nothing would be quite the same any more.  We were really saying goodbye to their childhood. With each passing day now they were going to face new responsibilities and challenges.  As would I as their parent.

While I've often thought that some parents go a little overboard with the whole Grade 8 graduation ritual  — gowns not intended for 13-year-old girls, renting limos — there's no question that it's a rite of passage worthy of a significant celebration. But, then I felt the same way about kindergarten graduation for that matter.

Anyway,  in recognition of this time of year and the ceremonies that highlight it, here are some fantastic collections of graduation clipart from:

iCLIPART.com

Clipart.com

ClickArt Online

ClipartGuide

Acclaim Images

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to Take Great Pictures at Night

Summer is here and as the old tune intones the time is right for dancing in the street. As well as a multitude of other fun nighttime activities.

I can remember a street dance in my hometown decades ago. It was obviously one of the highlights of that early teenage life as I recall a lot of it in vivid detail, right down to what I was wearing.  To give you a hint as to what era we're talking about here, it was pink hot pants and white go-go-boots.

There was something about taking music and dancing out in the open that seemed to notch up the entertainment factor.   The looks on faces against the backdrop of a night sky are snippets of memory caught forever in my mind.

Several years later, when newly dating my future husband, we attended a 'fun and frolic' at the rural schoolhouse he had attended as a youth. The same aura of frivolity,  the same carefree ambiance existed in a very different place from the crowded urban street where I had danced before.

Over the decades since,  my guy and I have attended many outdoor venues where people gather for the love of music or  a celebration of summer.  Always a people watcher, and now a bit of an amateur shutterbug, I am always inspired by the faces around me. 

I am, however, a little short on photography experience when it comes to capturing great pictures in the dark. With many night events planned for over the next few weeks, I have plenty of opportunities to practise, though. And with help from these informative websites there's no excuse for not having a bit more knowledge beforehand:

How to Photograph People at Night Without Flash

10 Tips for Street Night Photography

Taking Good Portraits at Night

Night Photography Tips and Techniques

How To Take Pictures at Night Without a Tripod

Ultimate Guide to Taking Portraits at Night

Night Photography Tips of People and Monuments

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fantastic Tutorials for Creating Seamless Patterns in Photoshop, AI, Corel and GIMP

In home decor, wallpaper creates interest and hides blemishes. It can be used as an accent or pasted on to all four walls.

Personally, I swore off wallpapering a long time ago. Having purchased a century home, the two previous occupants of which had both been septuagenarian,  for hours on end my husband and I steamed and scraped off dated patterns in ridiculous colours.

Then, as wallpaper was still all the rage and we had plaster problems to hide, we reapplied new designs, matching seams and corners on walls that had never been straight.  Only, of course, to remove them a decade or so later when paper became passé

Never, never again would I use wallpaper I swore then and never, never again have I.

Which, of course,  takes nothing away from its versatility. All the attributes it had then it has now.

The same can be said of using seamless wallpaper or repeating patterns in graphic design. There are so many ways to use them in projects whether you're a scrapbooker or a professional designer.  What's even better is that if you have image editing software you can  create your own  motif taking expertise and imagination to the next level.

Here are some fantastic tutorials using a variety of programs to show you how:

Create a Seamless Pattern in Photoshop

Turn a Texture in a Seamlessly Tiled Background

Repeating Patterns in Photoshop — The Basics

Create a Repeating Pattern in Illustrator

Create Seamless Repeating Patterns With Illustrator CS6

Create a Seamless Pattern With CorelDRAW

Use Fills and Patterns and a Corel App to Create a Seamless Pattern

Making a Seamless Pattern in CorelDRAW X7

GIMP Tutorials for Beginners — Seamless Pattern

Seamless Pattern in GIMP

Monday, June 22, 2015

How to Photograph Family Events

What a wonderful Father's Day weekend that was.  While the weatherman had predicted a miserable Sunday of cloud and rain, the reality was an afternoon and evening of warmly-soothing temperatures,  gentle breezes and clear, bright skies. It was the perfect combination for families to gather and enjoy time outdoors.

Our crew took full advantage, spending the whole afternoon chilling out under the hot sun, even getting in a little physical activity,  dusting off the  old ball gloves and bats for an impromptu game.

Not that I was involved in that last part. Let's not be silly. There are other things for me to do, at which I'm much better than playing ball.  Besides getting in my share of toddler cuddles,  for example,  I kept my eyes peeled for some photo ops.  With camera strapped around my neck I was snap happy as always, trying to freeze forever every special moment I could.

It's always fun to photograph these family times and I like the challenge of finding different ways to do it. One of my proudest from Sunday is a photo of my daughter and her sweet Adelaide lying on the grass. Mom saw me coming and knew enough not to react, while her little one was all about snuggling and really had no interest in moving away just because the camera was in her face.  The result was the kind of shot that makes this amateur shutterbug feel pretty satisfied.

In this case I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time for a picture that hadn't happened quite that way before. Inspiration and opportunity don't always fall in your lap this easily.  To help you find them both, here are some great sites with information on how to photograph family events, as well as tips for better candid photography:

Photograph Your Family and Friends

Tips for Better Candid Photography

Photographing Family Events Using Your Digital SLR

Family Events — Be Involved and Photograph Them