Welcome to another post of our Topaz series, Behind the Lens! Today we’ll be learning more about Hazel Meredith from www.MeredithImages.com, award winning photographer and professional content contributor for Texture Effects 2.
Why Hazel Became a Photographer
I have always had an interest in art, crafts, and photography – taking snapshots of family and on vacations ‘back in the day’. I also have a graphic design/typesetting background (pre-desktop publishing!). Then, I purchased my first SLR in 1979 – a Minolta XG1 – which I loved. Primarily, I was still taking snapshots, but I was learning more as time went on.
My husband, Dave, and I began covering auto racing around 1991. We had both grown up going to races – me at Riverside Park (MA) and Danbury (CT) with my parents, and Dave in Western NY. Dave and I both liked the modified-style cars. When we met someone at a racing show that was starting a new monthly regional newspaper, we offered to contribute articles and photos. We did that for about 13 years pretty regularly. After ten years of photographing mostly cars, I felt the need to get back to some other kinds of photography, too. That’s when I joined a local camera club and really began learning “the rules” and then how to break them. I’m very involved with camera organizations at the local, state, regional and national levels.
How Hazel Finds Inspiration
These days I find inspiration just about anywhere! Since I love working with textures, there is an endless supply of things to photograph in nature, around the house, just about anywhere! I especially love old rusty cars, trains, peeling paint, and abandoned buildings – anything with lots of texture!
My work with textures started about nine or ten years ago. I saw some examples in a Photoshop Elements magazine and thought it looked interesting. The first image I tried a texture on was an orange flower with a bee on it. I had taken it just after a rain at a garden so the bee wasn’t moving. I always liked the image but thought the water on the petals made it look a bit “soft”. Using a texture covered up the fact that it may not have been tack sharp and added some drama to the background.
The first few textures I used were ones I found for free on the web. I continued to experiment with various textures – both free and ones I had purchased. In the past few years I’ve been creating more of my own – both in-camera shots and ones I create in Photoshop with brushes. I now routinely use multiple textures in my work. In October of 2015, I released my first eBook, “Working with Textures & Overlays: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art”. I truly feel that you can take a so-so image and really create something fabulous with textures.
These 2 images show the “before” and “after” of applying textures to an image. You can easily change the mood of an image with a texture (or two, or three…or more!).
Hazel’s Advice: How to find a great texture and import it into Texture Effects 2
Textures that you photograph, download, or purchase can be imported into Topaz Texture Effects 2 for quick application to your image.
Open Topaz Texture Effects 2 and click on the NEW icon in the very upper right of the screen.
Once the panel opens, click on the “+” Add Adjustment. From the list, choose Texture. In this panel, select the square icon with the arrow next to where the drop-down says “All”.
This will open the Texture Manager where you can add your texture to an existing category or create your own category.
Once you select a category, click on the Import button and choose your texture from your computer file. Once it is imported, close the dialog box.
You can now go back to the drop down menu and select the category and texture you imported.
In this example, I used a texture I photographed of stone and modified with Topaz Texture Effects Muddy River preset + Topaz Impression Obscurity II + Lens Effects High Diffusion. After applying the resulting texture to the image, I then applied Topaz Texture Effects 2 Trendy Retro present and added another Dust/Scratches layer to give the effect of rain. I titled this one “Fire and Rain”.
The big project that I started on recently is a “Creative Photography Conference” to be held May 20-21, 2017 in Southbridge, MA. There will be at least a half dozen speakers covering a wide range of creative topics including textures, composites, iPhoneography, the Topaz Suite, in-camera creative techniques and more.
The next project over the Winter will be my second eBook that will continue the process started in the first book. There are SO many ways to utilize textures that I couldn’t cover them all at one time! I also have an ongoing blog that I post weekly free textures in my “Sunday Sampler” as well as other links to creative articles and how-to’s that I come across. I definitely keep busy these days! All of my photographic work is in addition to a non-photographic full-time job!
Hazel Meredith Gallery:
These are some recent images that use a combination of my own textures, commercial textures (some from 2 Lil’ Owls, the other featured contributor to Texture Effects 2), and a few others I’ve discovered over the years.
This steam engine in Lancaster, PA, was finished with Texture Effects 2 Sharp & Gritty preset. I like the drama it brings to this image.
I used several techniques on this peacock image. The textures are layered beneath the bird while some are layered over it. There are three texture layers and brushes were used to create the vignette and edges. Textures are from 2 Lil’ Owls and Flypaper.
This is probably my favorite composite/textured image to date! I like it so much it became the cover of my eBook. I call this “Cosmos”. The vultures on the tree were photographed in the middle of the day in Florida! I used the silhouette and combined it with a moon image from a super moon a few years back and then added several of 2 Lil’ Owls textures.
The bleeding hearts are from my garden. I photographed them in the bottle with scrapbook paper behind them. I then used a couple of brushes to “grunge” the edges and added the word art that I created with various type faces.
This is also comprised of a couple of my own textures, a frame I created with brushes and a watermark and “post card” taken from postcards from the early 1900’s. I scanned them and made brushes out of the words and watermark.
These are from a recent trip to an old lace factory that has been abandoned since 2002. Old buildings like this are great photo ops and also fabulous for textures (peeling paint, rusted metal, old brick and so much more).
The nautilus shell used Topaz Adjust and one of my own rusty textures.
More About Hazel Meredith
Besides photography, Hazel loves crafts of all kinds – sewing, floral arranging, making jewelry, etc., and reading, too – but hasn’t had time for most of them in the past few years as she’s always on the computer working on her next project. She definitely needs more hours in the day!
Hazel Meredith also finds all types of photography enjoyable, but tends to focus on nature and the great outdoors. She and husband Dave have made many trips to the American Southwest. She also loves the mountains, especially the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Hazel has done well in photographic competitions from the club level through PSA salons. She received four bronze stars and two silver stars from PSA for her journalistic endeavors. In 2008, Hazel received an honors distinction of Master Member of the New England Camera Club Council (MNEC) during its annual conference. In 2012 she also received the PSA Service Award and in September 2013 she was awarded an APSA distinction from the Photographic Society of America.
Hazel Meredith truly enjoys helping others “take and make great photographs”. She’s honored to be a part of your photographic journey!
A Final Word
Thanks for joining us for Behind the Lens with Hazel Meredith! As always, I want to personally invite you to check out Topaz Labs on social. We have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Did you know we also offer free Webinars and have a great Discussion Forum?
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