29.9.12

Crystal Picking in the Fish Creek Forest

Just outside of city limits there's a forest that I take my dog Dexter to often. It's got tons of trails, some that go down into the creek and some that just circle around, up and down. Several years ago some friends of mine discovered an area of the forest where all along either sides of the creek in the rock face were quartz crystals forming.






Every couple years we meet up, head down to the creek and see how much it's changed. Sometimes we find huge crystal formations and other times just little baby ones. I collect a handful and bring them home to wash and then set on my window sill. 

Fun fact: It's said that holding a quartz crystal in your hand doubles your biomagnetic field as is seen by a Kirlian camera. Quartz also enhances muscle testing and protects against radiation.




The forest is so alive with colour and light this time of year.







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Sweet Autumn

It's my favourite time of the year for photos. Smokey aired riddled with falling dead leaves, cool enough to wear your warm fall boots and thick winter scarves. I spend half my life in yoga leggings as I teach a class or more almost every day, and they always look so cute paired in a big comfy tunic or oversized army jacket... but I'm off topic.

Photos! Yes the photos! Here's some of my recent work with clients around the area ...






On Friday I set up my business account at the bank and all went well. I need to contact RBC's business advisor to organize a credit card, and wait for my debit card to arrive in the mail and then I'm pretty much set for banking.

Monday I need to make an appointment with an accountant to get some good ol' fashion accountant advice, figure out what I can and cannot write off and all that good stuff. Taxes used to be so easy before all this business rigamarole.


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28.9.12

How To Use Photos Instead of Colour for Your Text



This is one way to do it. I might post another way later on, but this is way I've been using most often ...

In photoshop, open up a blank canvas and select the text tool. I'm using a 2000 x 2000 pixel canvas ...


Set your font {it's good to use a thick one} and choose a font size. Mine's set at 100 pt ...


Type out your chosen text ...


While your text layer is selected, click Layers > Rasterize > Type ...


Cool, now open up some sweet pictures with cool colours, textures or funky little bits of whatever that you think would look snazzy as text ...


Now, head back on over to your text canvas, and choose the Rectangular Marquee Tool ...


Select your first word ...


Now choose the Move Tool and move your selection just a tiny bit, so that the outline of your text is now selected ...



Copy your selection {command c for mac or ctrl c for pc} and head on over to one of the photos you previously opened and paste your word {command v for mac ctrl v for pc} ...


Move your word to a spot on the photo that you think would look sweet as the colour fill... OK, now using the Marquee tool again, select your word just like before. And then once again using the Move tool, move your selection just a smidgen to select the outline of the word ...


Now select the background layer and once again copy your selection {command c or ctrl c}...


Open up a new blank canvas the same size as your first one, and paste your selection {command v or ctrl v} ...


Hah! Hey, how neat is that? 
So carry on with the rest of your words or letters repeating the steps we just did. If you decide you don't like the selected part of your picture just keep trying different spots until you're happy with it ...

And you should wind up with a pretty little mess of words and photos!

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26.9.12

The Fastest and Easiest Way to Remove Red Eye in Photoshop

I've read a ton of red-eye removal tutorials online and in PS how-to books, but this method I've come up with seems to be the easiest and quickest way to get the job done.

This way is best used for photos where your subject isn't close up, so maybe for your head shots and portraits you'll use a more detailed method.

This way is great for when you're pumping out a lot of group shots ones after another in photoshop.

So begin with your red-eyed devil subjects ...



Select the sponge tool and set the mode to desaturate and your flow to 100% ...





Brush over the red eye and remove the saturation as best you can on both eyes ...


Select the burn tool next with mode set to midtones and your exposure at 25% ...


Brush over the area you just desaturated avoiding the white of the eye {including the light reflection} ...


Complete both eyes, and any other pair of eyes gone crazy in the shot to complete the removal ...


Finish processing the photo as per your usual and you're done!




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What I've Learned So Far About Careers




The first and likely most important lesson learned since quitting my day job, is being happy in what you do for work is something you simply shouldn't compromise on.

I wake up every morning still, and think this is too good to be true. Coming from someone who used to wake up between 4 and 6 am to leave for work {sometimes a 40 min - 1.5 hr commute} and then spend 13 hours at a desk or sitting inside a vehicle waiting for bad things to happen, I'd say I'm in heaven.

Eventually the glamour will fade and this will just become the norm for me, but it's a normal that I'm prepared - and excited - to live with until I retire. I was just recently talking to my best friend about her job and the issues she's been having. Loves the work, hates the company; she's treated like shit and discriminated against for being a young pretty girl in a truck driving industry dominated by men.

I gave her the same advice I'd give anyone unhappy with their jobs - quit. There's something better out there, you just need to find it. Whether it's a different company or different work all together, find a job that you want to wake up to; where your time is valued and appreciated, and the hard work you put in is recognized. Find a job that doesn't feel like work and you'll never have to work another day in your life!

We spend the better part of our lives working, so why wouldn't you want to make that time count? If you're young and you can figure out what you want to spend you life doing, then follow that path. You're already ahead of the game. If you're already working for a living, ask yourself if you're really happy with what you do. Could be you be happier? Is there something you've always wanted to make happen, like open a cafe, teach art, or go back to school? Those dreams should be your priority, and you should follow them until you make them a reality.

Anyone can find happiness in their work life, you just need to seek it.

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24.9.12

What's the Dealio



What is the Ash Tree Collective?

I've created this space without any intention of growing it into something specific. I like the idea of not knowing what it will become, and allowing it to grow and define itself in time.

At this date of writing, I've just recently registered Ashley Alexandra Photography as a business in the province of BC. Here I will share and document my stories and experiences as I venture further into the world of small business ownership.

Apart from the business aspect of the blog, the Ash Tree Collective will house an array {or collection} of ramblings, photos, tutorials and likely a lot of venting and exciting {or not} life stuff!

I'd like to inspire others with my stories and share the ups and downs of living the life of a starving artist. I think if I can just encourage one person through this online mess of words and photos that living a life they love is the only life worth living, that it will all be time well spent.
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