My local Meetup group does meet up on a regular basis. We get together monthly for an evening of socializing, and the restaurant who hosts us lets us hook up a computer to their TV. Anyone who wants to can bring in their latest photos to show others on the big screen. Through this group, I have made some really nice friends, all of whom do NOT do my kind of photography. That makes me a bit of an oddball, and that’s ok with me.

One of the local photographers, my friend Jerry, ┬áput on a Saturday presentation for a few hours on how to get creative with photography. Jerry had it very well organized, and he had us think outside the box (literally) for part of class. With the 9 dot puzzle, we all had a few minutes to work on connecting the 9 dots with 4 straight lines. To complicate matters more, he actually chopped off the erasers of every pencil and sharpened both ends.┬áThe rules: connect all 9 dots with 4 straight lines–your pencil may not lift up off the paper (so all lines must connect).

9 dot puzzle

Some of the photographers really had a hard time with this. Mine, not to my surprise, did not look like the typical way people figured it out. No worries, for I completed the task properly.

Our next project was to get creative with crayons. Jerry handed each of us 4 crayons. Our goal: to create a photo using these (or other crayons) in some fashion. It didn’t matter if we turned them into golf flags or birthday candles–our task was simply to be creative with candles and post them in the Creative Challenge by December 7. There were about 50 people in the class, so I knew I’d really have to think outside the box.

Although I had one idea sketched out and had found a model, it didn’t feel right for some reason. I’ve been doing a lot of composites, and I wanted this to be one as well. Somehow, the idea of raining crayons popped into my head. My adorable little 6-year-old niece Kitty welcomed me into her house wearing this adorable outfit the day before Thanksgiving, and I knew I had to use her as a model with the same outfit. She’s quite a ham and had no problem modeling.

The composite was actually a little more troublesome than I had anticipated. I shot it outside with my sister and another niece holding up a blue sheet as a backdrop, but it was too small, and the wind was blowing pretty heartily. It took a while to get it centered and cropped the way I wanted–remember that my model was only 6, and her 4-year-old brother also grabbed an umbrella so he could have his photo taken too.
Juliet Julia KittyLittle John and Kitty


Once I got the background put together, I changed the color of the sheet to black. Too cartoonish. Then I messed with it a bit and decided on a dark blue. Clouds were added several times, but I didn’t like the results of those so they were bid farewell. The grass and sky didn’t blend too well, so I goofed around with cloning and masking with the 3-grass-stem brush and made my own clouds on several layers to add in a little atmosphere.

The trick is to not be afraid of experimenting!

The trouble is that I don’t do crayon color images. The whole thing just felt off, but I couldn’t make it all subdued as the whole point was to use the crayons. So after playing around with the vibrancy and saturation, I finally ended up with something that’s fun, my niece will love and gave me a challenge.

Usually I just come up with my own ideas, so it was fun to have someone else give me parameters. How do you break outside the box?

It's Raining Crayons