Category Archives: Photography

When I’m feeling Blue…

…all I have to do is take a look at you…

…then I feel more blue hehehe.

Blue, in all its shades and hues, has always been my favourite colour. When I lived in the Andalucian mountain-top city of Ronda, in Spain, I’d heard fantastic stories of the Blue City of Morocco, Chefchaouen. But, although it was a mere hop, skip and jump away from Spain, circumstances and financial restraints meant I never quite crossed the Strait of Gibraltar.

Now that I’m based in Australia, physically getting to Chefchaouen will be even harder. Luckily, thanks to Pinterest, I can visit all these countries and cities around the world once only dreamed about, and live vicariously through the eyes of other tourists and their photos. Hurrah for technology and social media!

Chefchaouen is, according to Wikipedia:


Chefchaouen or Chaouen, as it is often called by Moroccans, is a popular tourist destination because of its proximity to Tangier and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. The name refers to the shape of the mountain tops above the town, that look like the two horns (chaoua) of a goat. “Chef Chaouen” derives from the Berber word for horns, Ichawen. There are approximately two hundred hotels catering to the summer influx of European tourists. One distinction possessed by Chefchaouen is its blue-rinsed houses and buildings.

Chefchaouen is a popular shopping destination as well, as it offers many native handicrafts that are not available elsewhere in Morocco, such as wool garments and woven blankets. The goat cheese native to the area is also popular with tourists.

The countryside around it has a reputation for being a prolific source of kief. The Chefchaouen region is one of the main producers of cannabis in Morocco. Hashish is subsequently sold all over town, but is mostly the domain of native Chaouenis. A nearby attraction is the Kef Toghobeit Cave which is one of the deepest caves in Africa.

For me, though, the reason I would visit Chefchaouen is mainly for the opportunity to be fully immersed in the colour blue. Here are some images I’ve curated from my Pinterest travels to Chefchaouen, to show you why I love feeling Blue.😄

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FREEBIES! Happiness posters

I’ve been playing with the App Moldiv, which offers just 2 things – Collage templates and Magazine mock layouts. I’ve already used one of its collage frames to create a deck of Lenormand cards. Now I’m experimenting with Moldiv’s Magazine layout templates.

Moldiv on Android

Moldiv on iOS

Here’s what I’ve done so far. The layouts come with text embedded in them, which can’t be changed. Which is a pity, in some ways, as there are a few grammatical and spelling errors in them. If I wanted to, I could easily create a worded poster of my own in Phonto and stick it over Moldiv’s text.

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Feel free to save or share these with your friends and loved ones. Happiness is Free, as is Peace, Joy, Kindness and Love. Let’s spread the word!

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

My Pin-up Poster Girl

I’ve had such a lot of lovely compliments about my pit bull girl, Shelagh, when I pinned photos of her on my Pinterest board. She’s quite the pin-up girl now lol.

So, today I’ll share with you here a few more photos of Shelagh. For those of you who don’t know already, Shelagh’s my 2-year-old pit bull dog, and the sweetest, smartest thing ever. I’m so inspired by her photogenic looks lately that I’m creating some t-shirt designs featuring her. I will share that with you all tomorrow.

But for now, here’s my sweet Shelagh.

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image Shelagh with her best friend, Scruffy

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Lenormand moves

…in the right direction, hopefully ;). I’ve been in a creative frenzy lately, creating decks of Lenormand cards. What started out as research rapidly escalated into a full-blown obsession and passion for these seemingly inocuous divination cards which traditionally utilise playing card pips as insets.

And now Bobbie Kelley aka the Rogue Perfumer aka Psychic Twin Bobbie-el, based in Maui, Hawaii, has caught wind of my Lennies (as they are fondly referred to in the Lenormand community), and will be reviewing them on her YouTube channel. Yay, happy days!

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Bobbie asked what my thoughts were or what I’d like attention drawn to, for when she reviewed my decks, beginning with the Moonshadow Lenormand, my very first. So I sat down and wrote about my approach to Lenormand.

Here’s what I wrote, for your ease of reference:

Well, I’m relatively new to Lenormand. I was drawn to Lenormand because the playing card insets intrigued me. My first deck was a Piatnik, followed by a mini Ukrainian deck, a Laura Tuan Dondorf deck, and Ciro Marchetti’s   Gilded Reverie. Then I discovered  artist self-published decks…

I’m a digital photography artist and my “studio” is my Samsung Galaxy S4. I’m also recently a licensed artist with several companies in the US, Canada and the UK. I sell my Art also on Society 6. When I discovered I could create my own physical Lenormand card decks, and not just virtual art, I was inspired to try my hand at making my first Lenormand deck. This rapidly became a passion and obsession, and I’ve since then created 7 Lenormand decks, and am concurrently working on my 8th, 9th and 10th! Yes, I’m very prolific 😄. You can or will soon enough find my Lenormand card decks on my eBay and Etsy pages.

I learn by doing, so with each individual Lenormand card and deck that I create, I’m finding new nuances and perspectives. I’m also learning new aspects of my chosen format (digital mixed media photography art) as I go – freestyle design in one, using frames and templates in another, creating one card at a time, or creating an entire deck one layer at a time. My Lenormand decks utilise my own photos and public domain/copyright free images and clipart. I’ve built up quite an archive of Lenormand archetypal images now, on my Samsung Galaxy S4!

So, my approach towards Lenormand is two-pronged – 1) from wanting to learn a new esoteric language and 2) from an artist’s viewpoint. Now that I’ve created several decks in various styles – eclectic, modern, geometrical, plain and simple, time-worn, half-tone, etc I feel the need to share them with the rest of the Lenormand community. I’m sure that whatever style you prefer, or if you’re a deck collector, you’ll find one or more of my Lenormand decks that suit you!

You can catch Bobbie’s videos on YouTube, under her name “Rogue Perfumer”. http://youtu.be/CIHncKg4Vpg

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Half-Tone and Altered Half-Tone Lenormand

I was looking for an App that would give me a framework upon which to hang my Lenormand archetypal images. And I found a new (to me, anyway LOL) App on the Android Google Play Store, called Moldiv, that has heaps of cool collage templates. Moldiv is also available on iOS here.

For my Half-Tone Lenormand divination card deck, my initial idea was to create some sort of newspaper/scrapbook effect, as if I’d cut my images out of newspapers and magazines, and stuck them to my template.

Firstly, I collated the images I wished to use, into a folder on my Samsung Galaxy S4. Said images came from my library of my own photographs, public domain/copyright free images and clipart.

Then, I found a simple App that would give me the Half-Tone effect I wanted, called Just Sketch It. Of course, the App does give more than one style of sketching, Half-Tone being merely one.

I ran all 36 images through Just Sketch It, one after the other, and saved them to a new folder. (Thank the Universe for my S4’s expandable memory, I’d be lost without my 64GB memory card).

Then I set up my template in Moldiv, selecting a simple 2 photo frame, accommodating one large and one small photo. The App is versatile in allowing users to change the ratio. For this Lenormand card project, the 2:3 ratio worked a treat. I chose a neutral light grey textured background, and a font that I liked. I already had my 36 playing card inserts, created previously, waiting in another folder on my S4. We were all set to go.

The creation of the Half-Tone Lenormand was relatively straightforward. I did everything in-App in Moldiv – rotating and resizing the images, tweaking the colours, brightness and contrast etc, putting in the playing card inserts.

Here are a few of the completed cards:

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Then I got creative. I stumbled upon a long-lost old friend, an App that had previously been on Apple iOS only. The developers, Jixipix, have at long last made some (but not all) of their iOS photo editing Apps available on the Android platform, so when I came across Grungetastic, I knew my Half-Tone Lenormand project was going to produce not one, but two separate decks. A nice, clean one, if you will, and a dirty, grungy one that looks terribly worn. I adore grunge and texture! I’d already found an App that gives me the effect of torn washi or decorative tape, which I dearly wanted to use. (I will write about that App, as well as Moldiv, Just Sketch It and Grungetastic, in future posts). The App is called Masking Tape.

And so I went to town playing with first sticking on virtual tape over my images with Masking Tape, then grungifying (is that a real word?) them in Grungetastic.

Et voila! The Altered Half-Tone Lenormand deck:

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I had such fun doing this 2-in-1 Lenormand deck! 😄 Both versions will be made available on my eBay and Etsy stores in due course. I shall also post up video slideshows of them on my YouTube channel.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Idle Hands…

What do Kim Kardashian’s recent nude bottom photos and these obviously Photoshopped mutant animals have in common?

Idle hands and creative minds, that’s what.

Never mind the big hooha over KK’s ample backside, we all know every pic that gets into a glossy mag has been Photoshopped and airbrushed to perfection. Take a look at these imaginary mutant animals, and wonder at the inventiveness of their digital creators. They may not be in the tabloids, but they’re certainly more interesting and newsworthy than recent events. (BTW I didn’t see That photo, just a parody of it using a coffee machine. Disgraceful! I don’t even know who KK is, as I don’t read the tabloids, however it IS very hard to escape these things on Facebook!)

Just goes to show you can’t trust what you see with your own eyes these days. (All photo credits and copyrights belong to their rightful owners, there are too many to cite here. You guys and gals are soooo talented!).

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Videos of my Lenormand decks

While currently working on my 8th Lenormand divination card deck, I decided also to create a slideshow of some of my previous decks, so viewers can have a better understanding of what they look like.

I’m on the Android platform, so whilst in the past I would’ve created my slideshow using iMovie, I didn’t have that facility now on my Samsung Galaxy S4. So, as I hadn’t created a video in a couple of years (wow, how Time flies!), I now had to cast about searching for a slideshow/movie maker App that was easy to use. I didn’t need any fancy schmancy effects, just a straightforward no frills slideshow.

Turns out there’s a plethora of moviemaking Apps available these days, a far cry from a couple of years ago when there were only a few to choose from. Now they number in the hundreds, all vying to be the best, easiest to use, the one with the most bells and whistles, the fastest, etc etc.

After trying on a few Apps for size, I settled on Videoshow. It was the easiest to use, did what it says on the tin, I could add music to my slideshow if I wished (I didn’t), and it was free.

Videoshow boasts 18 million users worldwide, and claims to the world’s No.1 video editing App on the Android platform.

Now, I know I could create some really fancy videos with this App, if that had been my intention. But my intention was simply to showcase all the cards in my Lenormand decks, no more no less. So, here are the videos of my Lenormand divination card decks:

1) The Moonshadow Lenormand

2) The Modern Lenormand

3) The Olde Worlde Lenormand

All rights reserved AlyZen Moonshadow.

I will post up more videos of my other decks later, when I’ve created them. These Lenormand decks are available to purchase on eBay and Etsy. Just search under the names listed above. I’m there as either AlyZen Moonshadow or AlyZen M. Thanks for looking! :)

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part IV

Thank you for following my Lenormand Project so far. I had fun creating the cards, and also sharing the process with you all too. :)

Here then are the first 18 cards from the Moonshadow Lenormand:

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This will help with the meanings:

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The “Moonshadow Lenormand” is available now on my eBay and Etsy shops:

http://m.ebay.com.au/itm/261630354440

https://www.etsy.com/listing/207677660/the-moonshadow-lenormand-card-deck-by

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part III

In Part I of this mini-series, I talked about how I created my Palimpsest templates. In Part II, I explained about the archetypal images used in the Lenormand cartomancy system and how I sourced my images. Now that I had both my Palimpsest templates and my photos/images ready, I was ready to start working on my Lenormand cards.

These are the Apps I used:
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PicsArt – my main go-to App, has loads of clipart
Photo Editor – for filters and resizing
Litho – has a wealth of texture filters and lovely antiquarian clipart
Pixlr Express – lots of filters, including nifty inky borders
Photo Studio Pro – great clipart
Smoothie – great filters and effects
Snapseed – good for textures and grunge
Repix – I like this for the special effects
iMagic Pro Image – has useful clipart and filters
Photo Editor – has lots of full colour clipart, however resolution is low
AThumbCut – great for cutting out images to make your own clipart
Touch Retouch – indispensible for cleaning up unwanted areas of images

Here then is the secret of how I created my images:

THERE IS NO SECRET FORMULA

You just have to experiment with effects and filters, bounce from one App to another, try this and that, until you arrive at a result you’re happy with. It really is that simple. Mobile photography art isn’t something that can be taught. Anyone can show you Apps, but it’s up to you to learn how each one works, and decide which ones you want to keep in your stable of Go To Apps. Everyone has their own style, and therefore their own favourite filters and effects. These just happen to be my personal palette.

Enjoy! Here are just a few of my favourite images from my Project:

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In the next 2 posts, I will show you the full deck, with explanations. So, watch out for Part IV and Part V, coming up next!

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part II

And so, following on from Part I of “The Making Of the Moonshadow Lenormand” yesterday, here is Part II.

For those unfamiliar with Lenormand cartomancy, it’s basically a set of 36 cards, with or without playing card inserts. Some readers use the playing card inserts for further depth in their readings, for example to add nuance or to signify people other than the querent. Others regard the pips as a leftover and unneccesary effect from when the first Lenormand decks were created using actual piquet playing cards. Some modern decks do not even have the playing card pips.

The 36 cards, regardless of which artist or publisher, always contain the same archetypes. There are modern, whimsical artist decks with Halloween or Christmas themes, where the imagery is dark and spooky, or bright and festive, and where substitutions might occur…for example in a Halloween themed Lenormand deck, the 1st card, which is the Rider, might instead be The Headless Horseman. And for a Christmas themed Lenormand deck, the Rider may well be Father Christmas on his reindeer sleigh.

Here are the 36 cards in any traditional Lenormand deck, and their corresponding Archetypes:

1 Rider
2 Clover
3 Ship
4 House
5 Tree
6 Clouds
7 Snake
8 Coffin
9 Bouquet
10 Scythe
11 Whip
12 Birds
13 Child
14 Fox
15 Bear
16 Stars
17 Stork
18 Dog
19 Tower
20 Garden
21 Mountain
22 Crossroads
23 Mice
24 Heart
25 Ring
26 Book
27 Letter
28 Man
29 Woman
30 Lily
31 Sun
32 Moon
33 Key
34 Fish
35 Anchor
36 Cross

Here’s an image showing Titania Hardie’s Fortune Cards (Lenormand style) and the 36 cards arranged in a Grand Tableau.

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When I first embarked on this Project or Journey, I knew I would encounter a few snags along the way. One of them was finding the archetypal images to go with the cards. Some of the more mundane images, e.g house, tree, clouds, birds etc were easy enough to source via my Samsung Galaxy S4’s camera i.e by taking actual photos. Others were not so easy…you just don’t come across foxes, bears or storks in your everyday meanderings. Or scythes and whips either. And I’d have to travel far to get a snapshot of a real maritime tallship or a mountain.

That’s where Google, Wikimedia and the beautiful term “Public Domain” come into play. I set up folders on my S4 camera roll to house archetypal images that I found online that were in the public domain. This means that I can then utilise these images in my work, without fear of stealing someone else’s copyright to them, as the original copyright owners have already voluntarily relinquished their rights to the image, i.e gifted it to the world, or the copyright has expired, 70 years after the death of the original artist/photographer/copyright holder. For example, I found that the copyright to Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit illustrations expired in January this year, 2014. Similarly, John Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and others of the same era, expired years ago.

Anyhow, I managed to cobble together my 36 archetypal images, and so began the real work – using my S4 and Apps to create the imagery for each card.

Of which more in Part III. ;)

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow