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Beastie Boob…!

Beastie Boob …how Breast Cancer rocked my world aged 44.

2010 Caithness jpeg

My journey began in March 2018 aged 44 years. Id been waking up with an ache in my left armpit for a few months, bit like when you’ve slept the wrong way and feel a bit stiff. Nothing to really complain about as there was no big pain or soreness. I’ve always been a bit strange in having my left breast slightly larger than the right, it was certainly nothing noticeable and never worried me, afterall who has the perfect body in symmetry? I was proud of my breasts, a lovely 36B and not saggy even at my age, I’ve always tried to look after my body….

27th March 2018…   I was seeing my GP, the lovely Doctor Sheila about something else when my Husband pushed me to tell her about my armpit ache. I really felt silly making a fuss about nothing. She gladly checked me over but wasn’t sure as there was no obvious lump or colour/texture change to the breast. Doctor Sheila referred me to the Inverness Breast Clinic just on the safe side to be sure ..After all it was highly unlikely due to my age. I really didn’t feel there was anything to worry about but was happy to go for peace of mind.

Easter … 04th April 2018. Breast clinic appointment at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness. I remember happily driving across the Struy, a high pass shortcut on route to Inverness, not a care in the world with my family. It was snowing and ice on the roads, I was wary driving and slowed right down, then suddenly the car lost control and went sideways, somehow I managed to pull it back but it really shook me up ..This was to be the start of my roller-coaster ride that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.

Arrived at the Hospital, didn’t have to wait too long,  the waiting room was quiet and everyone looked so serious. I was more thinking of retail therapy, what new clothes could I buy, make use of my time in the City, thinking I’d soon be done and dusted and on my way. A lady Doctor examined me with a Nurse by my side, she wasn’t sure after examining me so called in her boss the Consultant Mr Mullen. He examined me and he wasn’t too sure either, to be on the safe side he wanted belts and braces, the full works. Sent me straight away for a Mammogram on both breasts, it felt like one of those road roller machines, it squashes your breast between two plates and really does hurt. Didn’t take too long, about  5-10 minutes and the Nurse doing it was so gentle and kind with me. Then it was back to the waiting room with my Husband for the results. Didn’t have to wait long, they now wanted me to have an ultrasound and possibly an immediate Biopsy. I still wasn’t overly worried and sat waiting patiently. Was called in for the Ultrasound, it was all very relaxed and chatting to the Nurse about where I live. Back to the Doctor’s Office to be told it was the big “C” …Cancer, my heart sank, I remember asking them if their sure, the Doctor said yes there’s a shadow/mass. I looked at my Husbands face, his eyes were filling up, we were both numb to the core! My whole body was visibly shaking, I couldn’t stop it and never experienced anything like this before. After the word “Cancer” I didn’t hear or say very much after, other than sobbing and saying I don’t want to die, please don’t let me die. I was then introduced to a lady called Karen …………Macmillan Nurse, given a ton of leaflets which I threw in the bin when I got home.

Biopsy

A Core Biopsy via Ultrasound was to be done immediately. Now I was starting to ask questions, not so chilled and no thoughts of retail therapy. Would it hurt? How many stitches? How long will it take? When will I get the results? I asked if my Husband could stay with me but they said no as it was a very small room which it really was to be fair. I was still cool with that, just wanted it over and done with.  I laid on the bed as they did the procedure with tears rolling down my face, this didn’t feel real, was like a bad dream, surely I’ll wake up soon and it would all be over, things like this don’t happen to me. There was a Nurse, trainee doctor as Raigmore is a teaching hospital and a Doctor who was very chatty, her exact words will always stay with me ” your so glamorous you’ll be wanting reconstruction ?”. I was so angry that she would assume such a thing, she doesn’t know me. I snapped back that I’m not glamorous and would not be wanting any reconstruction, plus it would complicate the surgery more, to me that would be more pain and hospital visits, so no way, I’d rather stay flat. They used a Local Anesthetic to numb the area affected, then using a gun type of machine to try to hit the Calcifications in my Breast Tissue. The needle going in each time was painful, they topped me up with more Anesthetic which helped a wee bit but soon wore off. I lost track of the times they fired, it was well over twenty times.  Each time the gun fired ( it was quite loud) my heart skipped a beat,  I was getting really upset and anxious! The Nurse by my side calmed me down, the pain was unbearable, I hated this and wanted to run out of the room to my Husband. I would  hear the words ” the needle is getting blunt now“, the Doctor took over, her hands were shaky ,she was brutal, stabbing the needle in and moving it around my chest. In the end they said it was too much for me and had enough to work with. The lovely Nurse who was helping clean all the gel off my chest and helped me get dressed. She whispered in my ear. ..”Promise not to tell anyone, but I had Breast Cancer twenty-five years ago“, I burst into more tears and gave her a great big hug.  Mr Mullen came to speak to me, all I heard was… Mastectomy, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Hormone treatment, the rest of the words went over my head whilst I was still shaking from head to toe.  I was told I could contact Karen the Breast Care Nurse anytime by telephone and to come back in a weeks time for the Pathology results. None of this seemed real, I just wanted to be home with my family. I don’t remember much of the week other than being in a lot of pain from the Biopsy. Bought a Sports Bra with no clips or wires, even had to sleep in it as my breast was so painful without. The bad boob was now officially named “Beastie Boob”. In the shower I could barely touch, look or wash Beastie Boob, it was bruised, ugly, painful and I hated it!!

Vacuum Biopsy

Results day had finally come, then comes another shock, the Core Biopsy wasn’t good enough, needed another Biopsy but this time a different one, a Vacuum Biopsy done by a machine in a sweeping motion, it was more precise apparently .. Why it wasn’t done in the first place I’ll never know!! I was assured it wouldn’t be as painful as the Core Biopsy. The Radiographer lady was the kindest ever and the Nurse who supported me was truly amazing. I cried the whole way through, she held my hand and knelt on the floor as the machine and bed I was laid on went into so many weird positions at one point I thought I was going to fall off, this was whilst the machine was still attached to Beastie Boob!! I sobbed my heart out saying all I want is my Mum, the Nurse lovingly replied “I’ll be your Mum today, I’m here for you“. Literally as I type tears are flowing! The whole procedure took about thirty minutes, it wasn’t quite so painful as the Core Biopsy but it was bad enough, probably made worse as I was still sore from the previous Biopsy and really scared of what laid ahead of me. The Nurse put a dressing on Beastie Boob and that was it, told to come back in a weeks time for the Pathology results …again!!  All I could think of was getting back to my Husband and my two fur-babies Bo and Caley.

Waiting for Pathology Results

What do you do with yourself all week waiting around for results, thoughts racing through my mind ….Will I get away with a Lumpectomy and save most of my Breast or will I need a Mastectomy which absolutely horrified me. Id never had Surgery other than Tonsils out aged four that I don’t really remember much about other than having to eat strawberry ice cream before they would let me home, I hate it to this day! My wonderful GPs, Doctor Janet, Sheila and Clare all supported me and gave me their time, time is something very precious. I couldn’t wish for a better team and will forever be thankful to Doctor Sheila for sending me to the Breast Clinic in the first place. The days were never ending, my whole body was like a brick, my neck felt so tense I could hardly move it at times. When I managed to get a few hours sleep Id wake up in sheer panic, my body was shaking but at the same time so tense, I couldn’t relax at all. With all this, weight dropped off me, I wanted to lose weight but not this way.

Telling People

Then came the task of telling people, it was awful seeing/hearing their reactions, I know nobody knows what to say when you tell them you have Cancer. What hurt me the most were the ones who would say “Oh feck“, “Oh god“, ..like I was about to die, “Breast Cancer is the best Cancer to have“.  It was the ones who asked what can be done, asked how I was and they would be there for me no matter what … Those were the words I needed to hear.  I actually lost a couple of friendships after this, I don’t think they knew what to say to me, therefore best say nothing and walk away. Cancer really does show your true friends and family. On a plus side, I joined a Facebook group called “UK Breast Cancer Support Group – for Sufferers and Survivors”,  made some amazing friends, the support from these women is truly remarkable, girl power at its finest, we were all in the same boat together although each have a different story.

Results Day

The day had finally arrived, results day!! My rock aka my Husband was with me and holding my hand. Appointment with Mr Mullen ( Consultant) and the lovely Karen ( Macmillan Nurse). Mr Mullen came to greet us in the waiting room straight away, I was so pleased to see him. As we all sat down in the small room, Mr Mullen is a very straight talker and went straight to the point after explaining briefly the Pathology results which I didn’t take in at all, my head was spinning, body shaking so much I thought my head was going to fall off. I heard the words “Mrs Cameron your booked in for a Mastectomy and full Node clearance next Thursday (26th April 2018) “, then more blur and “you have to learn to trust me“. I asked him how easy the surgery is for him, he replied ” easy as driving a car“. It was essentially two separate operations but mine was to be done in one go so I only have one scar. After that I don’t remember much else other than going for my pre-op at the other end of the Hospital. They were all very good fitting me in so I didn’t have the long journey another day, it’s sixty miles each way from home to Hospital mostly on bad roads. It seemed like Id been in the Hospital forever, I just wanted to escape, so overwhelming. Thoughts flying through my mind, Ill need new clothes, what will I  do about a Bra, how will I hide it, no low or tight tops. What would I wear for my stay in Hospital? I went into the shop Next in sheer panic racing around grabbing all sorts, my mind was overloaded all I wanted now was home, my safe haven, nobody could hurt me there.

Surgery

My big day had finally arrived, we stayed overnight in Inverness as I had to be at the Hospital for 7.30am. I was first on the Surgical list due to my team knowing how afraid I was. Given my own Private room and told this is where I’d be brought back to after Surgery. It made me feel alone and even more scared, so I requested to be on the Ward with all the other ladies thinking at least Id have someone to talk to in similar situation. Mr Mullen thought I was crazy refusing a Private room but hey ho if that’s what I wanted. I was told to undress and given some very sexy (not)  Knee-high Support Socks and the good old NHS gown that ties up. A lot of this was a blur as I had tears streaming down my face and holding my Husband’s hand so tight I’m surprised I didn’t cut off his blood circulation. I couldn’t bare to leave him but the Nurse said they were waiting for me upstairs and time to go. Was one of the longest walks ever mentally. I remember the Nurse asking me whilst we were walking up the never-ending corridor was I sure I want to go ahead with this? I replied with my snotty nose from all the tears ” No, I want to run away and not ever come back to this place“. She stopped me in my tracks and said “are you sure dear“? ..Of course I was sure, I was terrified, it was like the walk of death …but the sensible voice in my head told me not to be so silly and this Beastie Boob must be removed. Gave my head a wobble, we carried on the walk and up the Lift to the Theatres. Id never been in such a Surgical environment. Was asked to wait in sitting area until they were ready for me. I sat there alone with tears streaming down my face, shaking from head to toe. Eventually I was walked into a side room and asked to get on the bed, this is where I’d stay for the Surgery and told to get comfy. The two male Nurses were really chatty and trying to calm me down talking about Photography which they knew I did and the areas I go. Then came along Doctor death, he must have been in his late sixties and surely should have retired by now. He approached me in a stern manner with a Cannula he put in the back of my hand, after a few minutes of faffing around he said ” this will knock you out” and put the whatever I presume Anesthetic into the Cannula. I don’t remember anything after that and what seemed like a few minutes I was being brought round by a Nurse telling me it’s all over and the Surgery went well. I could feel tightness on the wound site but I wouldn’t say it was painful. My gown was covering it up so I couldn’t see, this was a big fear of mine, how would I feel looking down and not seeing my boob. They took me down to the Ward on a trolley, my Husband was waiting for me in a corridor, I shouted out ” Love you babe” and they kept pushing the trolley away from him and continued taking me to the Ward where all my belongings were and transferred me to the new bed. This really upset both of us, all we wanted was to see each other. They wouldn’t allow him in the Ward as an elderly lady was eating her lunch. Eventually he was allowed in, I instantly felt so much better and happier, he is my ultimate soul mate and absolute rock. I decided it was time to “look down”, we did it together. All we could see was the dressing about two inches wide going from the middle of my chest to just under the armpit, all looked really neat and tidy. I felt proud of myself that Id come this far and still alive. I had no wifi in Hospital, so it was just Phone Texts …I texted my family and friends to let them know I was ok, Ill be forever grateful for those who kept me going whilst my Husband couldn’t be there due to visiting hours, you all know who you are and have a special place in my heart. I had a drain in my side for my time in Hospital, thankfully it was removed before I left. Id say this was the worst experience of the whole stay, it hurt like hell being removed, you know it’s going to hurt when they teach you breathing techniques to breathe through the pain. So glad that was out, it felt another task ticked off the list before I could go home. I had to see the Physio before I left too who gave me exercises to do as my arm was almost glued to my body, maybe move it a couple of inches at best, it felt solid and heavy. My lovely Nurse Karen came to dress me, she fitted me with a Surgical Bra and placed the Softie inside so when I walked out the Hospital Id look normal. That was me now waiting eagerly for Mr Mullen to discharge me and pain medication from the Pharmacist. I was so happy and chatting to other patients, walking up and down the corridors looking for nurses as I was craving biscuits. At last I was allowed home, by this time it was about 12 noon. Couldn’t wait to see my fur-babies waiting patiently outside, this was the first time Id ever left them overnight. I was so happy to be home but really tired, so straight to bed which was a bit of a performance but together with my rock I was sitting upright in my cosy bed, surrounded with about six pillows. My favourite pillow of all time was the Heart-shaped one that I held under my arm for support, I couldn’t live without it, total life safer and kindly made by some ladies at a local sewing club who donate them to the Hospital for patients like me.

 

A few extractions from my Personal Diary.

A few days post Surgery, been beating myself up mentally thinking I’m not doing good enough with my exercises, cant shower &/or wash my hair, feeling so weak and vulnerable.

Day 4 … Turned the corner ever so slightly, Hubby washed my Hair, Blow dried and Straightened, it felt amazing. I felt a slight sense of the old me.

I have amazing support within the Community. Nurse Avie, a Community Macmillan Nurse came to check on me to see if the wound needs draining. GP, the lovely Doctor Clare phoned several times to check Im ok and said they are all routing for me at the Surgery.

Nurse Avie is back tomorrow, fingers crossed no draining as that just freaks me out.

Still sleeping on my back in bed, cant wait to sleep on my side and snuggle in properly. Baby steps all the way.

No drainage needed, whoop!! Such a relief!

06th April 2018 had Smear test that Id been putting off for a year or so. Cried and hugged Doctor Sheila, thanked her for saving my life with finding my Breast Cancer. Four weeks later results came back, all’s fine, no Cervical Cancer!!

Day 10 … Heavy Period started, all I need more hassle!

Day 11… Managed to dress bottom half of myself, go me!

Day 12…  First day out since coming home from surgery, went to Alness where nobody knows me.

Day 15 … Inverness trip from hell …Travelling in the car was hard going, cocooned in pillows, the vibration from the road was killing my arm. Had major meltdown in Next seeing all the pretty ladies looking to buy lovely revealing clothes, don’t know why I was so upset as I’ve never been one for such clothes. I felt so unfeminine and freakish looking, like people could see through my clothes to my Mastectomy scar.

Day 16… Still sleeping on my Back and showering a nightmare, I feel so vulnerable and emotional.

Day 20… Managed to get myself out of bed myself. This was a huge celebration!

The nearer it gets to results day on Thursday the more anxious and teary I get. I hate hospital environments and always have done from being a child. The thought of Chemo fills me with dread, I don’t know for sure that I’ll need it but I’m a realist with having full node clearance. And to top it off a heavy Period started last night. I’m desperately trying to be strong and positive but keep falling.

Feeling very nervous and emotional today. Had to wait an extra week for my results due to the Bank Holiday. Still very sore down the back of my Arm and Elbow. Doing my exercises which still hurt, drinking lots of water and Moisturising arm and Chest area.

Can’t even look at my discharge letter. Feel like I’m living in a bubble ..lah lah land ..today so so teary. I truly hate this!!

Day 21… Breast Cancer Nurse Karen phoned to say I needed Chemo, absolutely devastated! I really didn’t want to hear this, again more tears and emotions.

Day 22 … Test results and saw Mr Mullen again who was happy with my healing and signed me off. My Tumour was 16mm, I was Hormone Positive ii, Grade two Cancer, six out of twenty-nine Nodes found Cancerous, all removed.  Met my Oncologist Doctor Soh for the first time, cried through the whole one hour appointment. Couldn’t take in all the information and leaflets given. I was pushing them away, my Husband had to step in as I was telling everyone to put them in the bin. Such a long day at the Hospital, had four hours of talking with Consultants/ Doctors, was all overwhelming for me but they try to fit everything into one day for me as I live so far away.

Was suppose to start Chemo this Tuesday but its been delayed for three weeks as I’m not fully healed from Surgery or prepared mentally (mostly my choice). I’m getting more and more anxious about it as I have Fibromyalgia and take heavy-duty pain medication for the bone disease in my hip. Oncologist and Nurse have told me they don’t think I’ll see it through, which makes me feel even more nervous about what I’ll have to go through.

Oh me gosh” ….Can pull my hair out! Day 14 of first Chemotherapy ( F.E.C). Still looks a thick head of hair but literally pull it out very easily and hurts deep in the Follicles.  Do I leave alone or just brave the shave? I’m scared now, wasn’t quite ready for this yet and I don’t know why. After a few hours I decided the hair needed to come off. It was actually quite liberating, felt like I was the one in control and not the Cancer controlling me. My head instantly felt cold, I didn’t like the feeling of being bald. Around the house I wore bandannas or a hoodie with hood up gangster style and going out in Public Id wear Miss Wiggy.

Meeting Miss Wiggy with the lovely Georgie

Now I knew I needed Chemo for sure the NHS provided me with a Wig Prescription. I was horrified at the thought of such thing, me wearing a Wig, no never. ….never ever! I needed this task over and done with, so booked myself in for an appointment with the lovely Georgie at a high-end Hairdressers in Inverness. I tried telling myself this could be fun trying on different wigs and went in with an open mind. The first Wig she put on me I don’t even remember what it looked like, only my feelings towards it. Georgie saw my face change and whipped the Wig off straight away. She sat closely by my side and calmly talked about what I’m going through and how having to wear a Wig is a major deal. She was so lovely and put me at ease straight away, it wasn’t all serious, lots of laughs and I believe this was her way of finding the real me and what Wig would best suit me as a person. It took a couple of visits and lots of tears, but Georgie really did pull it out of the bag and found the perfect Wig for me. It was blonde in colour with highlights at the front, dark rooted and mid length. Best of all totally laced underneath, which looks more natural. I was so happy and gave Georgie the biggest hug for helping me get this far. Once home with wiggy was a different story, she got thrown in the bottom of my Wardrobe, I didn’t want to see or talk about her. I didn’t make friends with her until I really had to when I shaved my hair off, even then it felt alien to me. First time out in Public wearing wiggy I was scared she’d blow off in the wind, were people staring at me, was it moving, did everyone know it was a Wig. What would people think when last week they saw me with short hair and now I have long hair, do I lie and say their hair extensions, or just be honest. As time went by I got use to it and would happily joke to people I know about wiggy saying ” do you like my wig” or “meet wiggy”, it really didn’t bother me and was nice being open about it.

 

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Chemotherapy

Today’s the day of my first Chemo, been mentally preparing for this for weeks now. Was greeted by a lovely Nurse in the Macmillan Suite, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, she instantly put me at ease and walked me into the Chemotherapy Ward. It was a small ward with twelve Chairs in an oblong type of circle, all the Nurses and patients greeted me, it strangely felt a happy place straight away, not what I thought it would be. I was given a washing up bowl filled with hot water to place my hand in to open the veins for five to ten minutes. Then the worst bit finding a vein, I’m always told I have good veins so that was a good thing and sure enough within no time the Cannula was in and I was hooked up to the machine at the side of me. I have to say whilst having Chemo its not painful, I never know when it’s stopped or going in other than the Machine beeps to alert the Nurse that the Chemo has finished .. The whole process took about two and a half hours, 18 weeks to go.  Before leaving I was given a bag full of Medication to take when I got home, mainly Steroids and Anti- sickness tablets. I was told not to suffer any side effects and must phone the Chemo 24 hr Phone line any time. Walking out I felt light headed and couldn’t wait to get home. Once home I went straight to bed, didn’t feel well at all but managed to sleep. Woke up around 11pm feeling very nauseous, then it all started endless vomiting, I was in tears, hate being sick so phone the Chemo line who put me through to a GP in Golspie Hospital, about an hour away on single track roads. I begged him to come out to see me, he was so lovely and said he’d come straight away to give me an Anti-sickness injection. Once he arrived he said he felt sick too from the bad roads, I felt sorry for him but ever so thankful and calmed down straight away. After he left I was sick again but managed to sleep through till morning. I woke feeling so poorly, I can’t begin to describe .. The Hospital phoned to check up on me after last night, they wanted to admit me and would send an ambulance for which I refused as I couldn’t face the journey. They talked with my Husband to make sure I got plenty of fluids, the eating part didn’t matter too much. We were having a heatwave at the time, couldn’t keep the house cool enough, this seemed to exacerbate the nausea.  My GP prescribed more Anti-sickness medication which helped a bit and phoned every day for the first week.  I was poorly for two weeks, not eating as everything tasted so horrible and spent most my time in bed. Eventually I started to feel normal again but by this time it was time for my second round of Chemo to start. I spoke at length with the Oncology team, the Nurse even read my personal Diary. The Chemo drug I was on for the first three cycles was called F.E.C. In my Dairy I would scribble the words “what the feck” time and time again, mixed up with aggressive swear words written boldly, I truly hated this poison!!!! They agreed to reduce my next dose and gave me the Big Daddy Anti-sickness tablets called Emend. I was now on five different Anti-sickness tablets. My next two cycles on F.E.C Chemotherapy were better with the reduced dose, still had Nausea but not on the same level and was never sick. On the third F.EC cycle, my bloods came back not great, they wanted me to wait an extra two days for them to bounce back which thankfully they did.

My next three cycles were supposed to be a drug called Docetaxel which is known to be harsh, so my lovely Oncon team decided to change me to a weekly drug called Paxcitaxel which is kinder on the body with the same benefits of Docetaxel. The only downside was travelling every week but a no- brainer as far as I was concerned if it was going to treat my body better, which it truly did as my body was battered and weak. I tended to have the same pattern each cycle …2-3 down days which I spent in bed, then the rest of the week although very sleepy and tired I was ok-ish. Although still loosing weight, struggling with eating as food tasted of chemicals/ metal,  a constant runny nose, blurred vision and watery eyes from having virtually no Eyelashes!!

If I hear the words “it’s doable“, I think Ill scream. Everyone whos been through Chemo (apart from me and a certain special friend) all seem to use this phrase. Once you Graduate Chemotherapy your allowed to say those two words but not until. …..ARghhhhhhh……I will never say those words if someone asks me what it’s really like. Yes there are some similarities, for example… Horrible taste constantly in your mouth so you can’t taste food or drink, Sore mouth, Moon face from the steroids, Difficult bowel movements, Anemia, Memory loss, Neuropathy, Tiredness, Bone pain, Dry skin, Messed up and painful veins, Nails falling off, Hair loss of your entire body ..Yes ladies even your lady garden!! And yes I really did say that! One thing you soon learn in this special club nobody wants to be in is all your inhibitions go out the window, it really doesn’t matter, we’re all human beings. You find yourself chatting very openly with strangers about your most personal body parts and neither of you are embarrassed. I’m not saying this to scare anyone as some patients sail through it with very little symptoms and still go to work. Everyone is different and unique.

Overall it was kind of manageable in a weird way. You get to the stage where nothing surprises you any more, Cancer the gift that keeps on giving, even down to a collapsed Vein from the harsh damage of Chemo. I’ve never seen a needle put into a vein and no blood comes out, even with gravity. ..I can honestly say it didn’t upset me. The way the Nurses dealt with it doesn’t make it a big deal, it just gets laughed off in the nicest possible way and move on to find another one. Never thought in a zillion years that I would be like this as I use to be such a wuss. This whole journey as much as it sounds a cliche has really made me a stronger person.

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Dear Chemotherapy

Dear Chemotherapy , each time walking out of the Oncology ward I felt you, like poison running through my painful veins that already hurt from my last cycle. I want to scream, swear, lash out and shout at you but at the same time I know your saving my life. You’re in my thoughts each and every hour, it’s like dragging around my worst enemy. You make me feel empty to the core, you’ve stolen my soul, most of the time I don’t recognize myself. Especially when you took my hair, forced me to have my long locks cut into a short style, this was even before I met you but I knew you were due a visit, planned on staying with me for eighteen weeks and then probably some more whilst I kicked your butt out completely. People said how I suited short hair, but it wasn’t my choice was it, it was all yours! Then a few weeks into my first cycle you stole all my hair, why ….? Why are you so cruel. I didn’t cry, I wouldn’t let you bring me down, well …I was probably already on the floor mentally to be fair, I can only fall so far no matter what shit you bring me. Why did you have to take my eyes? They streamed constantly as you stole my eyelashes, not to mention the same with my nose hair! One day I hope they find a cure for Cancer and you will have no purpose to exist. I hope they eradicate all the suffering you do to us all.

 

 

Dornoch Beach 2018 middle of chemo
Dornoch Beach in the middle of Chemotherapy

Herceptin

Herceptin .. Biological Therapy. This is an injection into my leg every three weeks for a year. The benefits are to reduce the risks of Breast Cancer returning to the type of Cancer I had. To me this feels like a prison sentence, having to be at Raigmore Hospital every three weeks for whole year!! I started these half way through Chemotherapy.

My Progress so far end of September 2018

I now have four more weeks to the finish line of Chemotherapy and can almost see a teeny glimpse of light. Although last week my Eyesight has got so bad it’s been decided for me not to drive. It saddens me but I know it’s for the best until I get through Chemo at least. My whole body is going through so many changes, my hair is starting to grow back, looks more like grey fluff but its a positive and every millimetre is crucial to me. I cant stop touching my hair, it feels spiky. Really looking forward to the future more than ever before.

Nothing prepares you for what seems like an endless dark journey but I have to say it’s been an Education. I’ve met the most genuine people along the way and made some very special bonds with a few who have been there for me at my lowest and good times.

I’d like to thank all those who sent me beautiful generous Gifts and Cards, it truly means a lot to me and gave me the courage to carry on when I was ready to throw the towel in many times. I’ve kept every single one which I’ll cherish forever.

cards
Beautiful cards I’ll treasure forever

Photography

My Photography sponsors Haida Filter have been very supportive and stood by me. Checking up on me and making me feel part of the team. Such genuine and friendly people, an honour to work with. Can’t wait to get back working with them and their new Innovative products.

Whilst going through my Cancer treatment I haven’t picked up my Camera, been too weak emotionally and physically. I was so worried I’d forget everything I’ve learnt and Id have to start all over again. Once I’m done with active treatment I believe Photography will be my saviour and help rebuild “me“. Photography is in my blood, I will come back bigger and better, watch this space!

camera 1
Isle of Skye

 

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Thank you in advance to all those who have taken the time to read this.

Best wishes, Jenny xx

 

 

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About Jenny Cameron

Jenny Cameron is a Fine Art Landscape Photographer living the dream in the Scottish Highlands with her Husband and two dogs. Her passion for the wilderness began from a love of travel & outdoor life. Sadly Jenny was diagnosed with a rare bone disease a few years ago in her hip called Avascular Necrosis. This put an end to her mountain adventures ( hiking, winter climbing, skiing, backpacking to name a few). She spiralled into a dark place for a short time but thankfully found her solace in landscape photography and her journey began in October 2015 never looking back.

Jenny Cameron is a Fine Art Landscape Photographer living the dream in the Scottish Highlands with her Husband and two dogs. Her passion for the wilderness began from a love of travel & outdoor life. Sadly Jenny was diagnosed with a rare bone disease a few years ago in her hip called Avascular Necrosis. This put an end to her mountain adventures ( hiking, winter climbing, skiing, backpacking to name a few). She spiralled into a dark place for a short time but thankfully found her solace in landscape photography and her journey began in October 2015 never looking back.

February 2016, Exhibited her work in Power of Women Gallery, Trenton, New Jersey, USA.

April 2016, Exhibited her work in Power of Women  (ii) Gallery, Trenton, New Jersey, USA.

July 2016, Exhibited her work at All night Art Exhibition, Trenton, New Jersey, USA.

January 2017, her first Publication on the Front Cover of the prestigious Scottish Field Magazine.

February 2017, ten of her Scottish images Published in two different Coffee Table style Photography Books.

May 2017, Approached by Black Magazine wanting ten of her Scottish Monochrome images for Publication in their May 2017 issue.

 July 2017, one of her most popular images “Altnaharra” was chosen for an Art Exhibition in England.

January 2018,  Proudly became UK Official Photographer for Haida Filters.

March 2018, Photography Masterclass kindly invited her for an interview as their Feature Photographer of the Month.

April 2018, The Publisher WEPhoto approached her for ten of her most recent Scottish Landscape images. Published in a Hard backed Photography Book.

May 2018, Jenny was approached by an Art Gallery in Southern Scotland, where she exhibits a selection of her Landscape Portfolio.

July 2018, Photography Masterclass Magazine Published her very first Post processing Tutorial.

Jenny continues  pushing the boundaries and looks forward to the future.

See more of Jennys work, ViewBugFacebook500px

Contact email; jennycameron121@gmail.com

My Interview as Featured Photographer with Photography Masterclass Magazine

My Interview as Featured Photographer with Photography Masterclass Magazine.

Clansman
Glen Etive, Scotland

Short Bio:

Jenny Cameron is a Fine Art Landscape Photographer living in the Scottish Highlands with her Husband and two dogs. Her passion for the wilderness began from a love of travel & outdoor life. Sadly Jenny was diagnosed with a rare bone disease a few years ago in her hip called Avascular Necrosis. This put an end to her mountain adventures ( hiking, winter climbing, skiing, backpacking to name a few). She spiralled into a dark place for a short time but thankfully found her solace in landscape photography and her journey began in October 2015 never looking back. 2016 was a great year, several of her images were exhibited in three American Art Galleries, followed by her first Publication on the front cover of the prestigious Scottish Field Magazine January 2017 issue. The New Year brought ten of her Scottish images published in two different Coffee Table style Photography Books. In July 2017 one of her most popular images “Altnaharra” was chosen for an Exhibition in England. Jenny continues  pushing the boundaries and looks forward to the future.
How did your love of Photography start?
I’ve always enjoyed taking photos from a very young age and trawling through golden oldie family snaps. I think it hit me when I realised I enjoyed taking photos of landscapes more than I did of my beloved dogs which sounds terrible but its very true. Anyone who knows me knows my dogs are my children and absolute world to me.
What’s your Long-term Photographic Ambition?
I would love to help and inspire other landscape photographers in some kind of educational way, maybe workshops &/or tutorials in the future as its something I get asked often. I enjoy chatting far too much, so that with my photography passion would be heavenly.

Where does your photographic inspiration come from?
My love of the outdoors, the way the light plays on the land totally blows me away everytime. Living in the Scottish Highlands I’m surrounded by so much beauty, it never seizes to amaze me.
What would consider to be your greatest achievement (or achievements) in your photography to date?
My proudest moment would have to be my first Publication on the front cover of Scottish Field Magazine with my beloved girls ( cows). As most will know I live on a farm in the Scottish Highlands, in 2016 we had some adorable cows. I use to visit them a few times a day with my dogs, they knew we were coming & started to recognize my voice & would head towards us. I grew quite attached to these cow, would often sing to them & tell them all my woes of the day. So, to have my gorgeous girls on the front cover of such an old & prestigious magazine displayed in all the major newsagents/ supermarkets across the country was a very proud and emotional moment for me.

What’s your favourite photo that you’ve ever taken & why?
Its got to be one named Wilderness taken in the County of Sutherland, the far North of Scotland. It was one of the first ones taken with my first full frame camera ( Canon 5d mark iii), it became very popular on social media & seemed to put my name on the map so to speak. I was driving home after a day shooting on the north coast, one those moments where I had to stop the car and jump out. It was a cold autumn afternoon as the sun was setting, I wouldn’t call it a sunset, it was just the way the light softly tipped the area, really very beautiful & unforgettable experience.
What’s inside your kit bag?

Canon 5d mark iv
Gitzo Systematic 5 series Tripod
Gitzo offset ball head
Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens & Hood
Canon 70-200mm USM L Lens & Hood
Remote Shutter Release
Cable Release ( as back up)
Lee Filters; Circular Polariser, Big Stopper, Little Stopper, 0.9 Pro Glass ND.
Umbrella
Headlamp
Shower Cap
Too many batteries
Chocolate
What’s inside your dream kit bag?
I pretty much have all I need right now. Possibly if money was no issue Id love to play with the Canon 400mm F2.8 L IS ii for the odd wildlife shot.
Which piece of kit couldn’t you do without?
My beloved Gitzo tripod. Tripods often get forgotten about to any extent as people think the camera or lens is the most important piece of kit. For me after coming home from two photo tours with disappointing images, the only issue was with my tripod. Although I thought my old Tripod was sturdy enough, it didn’t move visually on location but once the images were uploaded to Lightroom it was clear to see slight movement, it really got me down, I blamed myself. Once I bit the bullet & upgraded to the Gitzo there was no looking back, I even went to the length of having some spikes made which screw into the bottom of the legs.
What words of advice would you give to beginners?
Find your favourite photographers & take inspiration from them. Practice, practice & more practice, its the only way. Know your camera well, read the manual over & over until you know it inside out. Don’t rely on post processing to save you, without a great base image you’ll never make it work. Don’t let gear go to your head but also don’t buy cheap.

Links;

https://www.facebook.com/JennyCameronPhotog
http://www.fotodiyafram.com/profile.asp
https://www.viewbug.com/member/jennycameron
https://500px.com/jennycameron2
https://www.instagram.com/jenny.cameronscotland/

Don’t be defeated by the weather!

I chose this image to share with you as literally there is part of my heart within. I do hope you like my story/image and can relate somewhat. Would love to hear your stories too?

©Jenny Cameron 2017
Thought I’d share this one with you all. Ryan DeFreece-Dyar one of my biggest inspirations in Landscape Photography posted about “a piece that represents best what they constantly strive to make… a defining moment in their own history when everything comes together and falls into harmonious place.”
My image “Elysian” instantly came to mind. I’d like to share with you the story behind it.
After a morning of heavy rain and patiently waiting in my car with a flask of peppermint tea I really thought I’d have to turn around and go home. You know when the kid in you wants to stamp your feet and have a tantrum? Thankfully only thirty minutes from home but my heart was sinking. Then suddenly, something switched inside me, almost determination saying feck it to the world, it’s only rain I won’t shrink! I gathered my waterproofs, rucksack and went for it.
Sat at the top of a peak with all my gear set up under a large golf umbrella and generally feeling rather sorry for myself, black mascara running down my face to complete the look! Then suddenly out of nowhere the clouds opened like they were saying hello and welcoming me.
The beautiful sunlight peeped out, I was scrambling for the remote and Haida Filters  in a real fluster with wet hands. Finally pressed the remote, let the camera/filters do their job whilst I sat back & let the light flood in.
Such a beautiful moment, it seemed to last forever but in actual fact only 152 seconds exposure.
I drove home in more rain with the biggest smile ever on my face. Scottish weather isn’t the most predictable, but it sure gives great mood.
I chose this image to share with you as literally there is part of my heart within. I do hope you like my story/image and can relate somewhat. Would love to hear your stories too?
Equipment/ settings used …Canon 5d mark iv, 16-35mm @16mm. ISO 100, F11, 152 secs. Haida Filter N.D 3.6 (12 stop).
The moral of this story is don’t be defeated by the weather!
Best wishes to you all from a cold and windy North of Scotland in the middle of August, how rude!!
Jenny ~

The Buachaille

Buachaille (jpeg for web).Buachaille Etive Mor known locally as “The Buachaille” is a Scottish Munro at the head of Glen Etive. Driving up the A82 from the south your suddenly in awe of this majestic peak. I remember 20 yrs ago a climber had a horrible accident ..I was heading back to the car after a hike over Rannoch Moor when a guy approached me asking for help, one of his climbers were suspended on a ledge almost at the top of the Buachaille & could I drive him to the Hotel ( not many people had mobile phones back then & even if they did they wouldn’t have a signal). Ive never driven so fast in all my life, we finally got there & phoned for Mountain Rescue. It seemed to go on forever waiting for the Helicopter to arrive, I think about 2 hrs plus it was going dark. The Climber was rescued & taken to Fort William Hospital, his knee caps were all smashed, they said he would never walk again. The following summer I heard he was back on the same mountain climbing again … Such an inspiration, never give up!! This area is in my heart and soul .. I truly love it, my happy place.

From Start to Finish

Here is the Raw file we will be working with. Taken with a Canon 5d Mark iv, Canon 16-35mm USM Lens @34mm, ISO 100, F11, 131 seconds. With a Haida ND 3.6 (12 stop) Filter. On the beautiful banks of Loch Assynt, Sutherland, Scotland.

©Jenny Cameron 2017

 To begin with we are going to make sure we’ve removed any unwanted objects. With this particular image I decided to remove the reeds in the foreground as I felt they looked messy and uninteresting. I will leave the small foreground rock as an anchor point to draw the eye into the scene. We are going to do this with the help of Content Aware technology in Photoshop.

1: Start by duplicating your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

2: With Layer 1 selected ( highlighted in white) > Go to your Tools panel > Select the  Lasso Tool and roughly draw round any unwanted objects (as seen in the image below).

3: Go to Edit > Fill. This will provide you with a pop up box. At the top of the box you’ll find a drop down menu > select Content – Aware. Check the Color Adaptation checkbox, sometimes this can give a smoother color transition. Copy my settings from the image below.

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number 1

4: Just like magic! Photoshop did a great job in removing the reeds, see the results below. You now need to deactivate your selection by holding Ctrl+D, or CMD+D on a Mac. Flatten your image by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one. You can do this sequence several times to improve results if needed.

©Jenny Cameron 2017
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5: The image is looking too blue for my taste.  I’m going to lower the blues in Adobe Camera Raw ( ACR).

6: Open up ACR > You do this by going to > Filter > Camera Raw Filter > which brings up a new screen. >Go to the eighth tab along in the Basic Panel (right hand side) named Camera Calibration > Go to the bottom set of sliders named Blue Primary. Set the Hue slider to minus 14 or thereabouts, and the Saturation slider to minus 100. See my settings in the image below.

4 acr blues
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7: Flatten your Layer stack by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.

8: Again, duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

9: Go back into ACR, this is where we are going to control the light. The light is coming from the left side of the image. Start by grabbing your Gradient filter which is the second tool from the right on the top left row. I use a bright Pink colour ( see my image below) as my Mask colour seen in the lower half of the screen, as its a colour not commonly used in nature, making it stand out to enable me to see where the actual Gradient will be rather than the Overlay option checkbox which gives you a lined area. Simply drag down the Gradient Filter with your mouse to where you think is best and click OK, which takes you back into Photoshop. Flatten your Layer stack by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.

5 gradients acr
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10: You can see in the image below the effect its given from the settings I used.

6 grads
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11: Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac

12: Back into ACR, using the Gradient filter again I lowered the exposure of the water. All the time my aim is to draw the eye to the trees.The lighting is now looking more directional. See my image below of the work so far. Click OK & back into Photoshop. Flatten your Layer stack by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.

7 grads
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13: Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

14: Back into ACR > Take the fifth tool from the top left set of Tools named Target Adjustment Tool ( I call it the Tat Tool ). It will provide you with a movable cross shape icon > zip across to the Basic Panel (right hand side) to the fourth icon named HSL/ Grayscale. You’ll see three  titles named Hue, Saturation & Luminance.> Click on Luminance, place your cursor over the area you want to work on. In my case I’m starting on the trees. > Now drag your cursor/mouse upwards, this will lift the Luminance values. You can see how my settings in the image below has lifted the shadows on the trees and made them stand out more. Also have a play around with the Saturation & Hue sliders with the same technique. Be careful as it’s a very powerful tool and has a tendency to show weird colour transitions if pushed too far.  Once you’ve finished click OK. This will take you back into Photoshop and you’ll need to flatten your Layer stack.

8 hsl
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15:Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

16: We need to take this a further step as the trees aren’t popping off the screen as much as I’d hoped. So…head back to ACR and follow my settings similar to the image below. Again, once you’ve finished in ACR click OK which will take you back to Photoshop. Do not flatten your Layer stack this time.

9 acr brighter
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17: The image is still looking flat and boring with no depth. So lets mask off the brighter areas which are not needed. You can also see in the histogram that some highlights are blown out which isn’t great. We need to control this, hopefully once masked off it should bring them back. If you have never used masks please don’t worry, we will work through it together in baby steps. Once you get the hang of them it will open up a whole new world for you.

18: With Layer 1 selected, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide all. This provides you with a black mask hiding your top layer (layer 1).  Make sure your foreground and background colours are set to the default of white and black. You can do this by pressing “D” on your keyboard. Set your Brush Opacity to around 20- 30 %, its best to build up slowly to give a more natural feathered effect. Now take a large soft brush (1100px approx)  using your white foreground colour (this will reveal your hidden layer) and carefully paint in the light you want to show. You can alter the size of your brush by using your bracket keys. Adjust your Opacity in the Layers panel if needed. Flatten your image by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.

10 mask
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19:  Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

20: Go back into ACR and grab your TAT tool (Target Adjustment Tool). Im now aiming for the brighter areas of the sky around the trees. With your Cursor drag down the highlights in the area, this will help the trees stand out and blend better.

21: Whilst in ACR go to the Basic Panel> Selecting the seventh icon along named Effects> Select the Dehaze Slider and increase by around 17. This gives more definition and contrast. Press OK which takes you back to Photoshop. Flatten your image by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.

22: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

23: Still working on giving extra light to the trees. Select Layer one > Blend mode Linear Dodge ( Add) > Set your Opacity to around 75% and Fill to 25%. This really gives great highlights. Again you’ll need to mask off certain areas that aren’t required, (same as in step 18 above to reveal some eye popping light effects). See the results in the image below.

©Jenny Cameron 2017
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24:  Back into ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) to the White Balance tool. This can help with not only colours but also Luminosity too. Top left you’ll see an eye dropper Tool, third icon from the left. Place your cursor over it and drag to a neutral part in your image and click. Try different areas for different effects. Click OK which takes you back to Photoshop.  See the results in the image below. Not a massive difference but each little step really does help.> Flatten your Layer stack.

©Jenny Cameron 2017
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25: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

26: Back into ACR > Go to the Basic panel> Seventh icon named Effects> Post crop Vignetting> Add some Dehaze.  Click OK and back into Photoshop. Adjust your opacity slider to what you think looks best in the Layers panel. Flatten your image. Follow my settings from the image below.

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27: Back again to ACR > HSL panel> Saturation section> Take your TAT tool and drag down those brashy blues to help the trees stand out better. Click OK which takes you back to Photoshop and flatten your Layers in the Layer stack.

28: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

29: To me the Vignette is looking a wee bit too heavy, so go back into ACR and the HSL Panel. > Luminance section and lift those dark shadows. For me it actually lifted more around the trees which was great as it gave more contrast. Click OK and back to Photoshop. Flatten your layers.

30: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

 

31: Go to  > Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask>. Copy my settings from the image below. Click OK.

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32: Go to >Edit > Fade unsharp mask> this brings up a pop up box > Click OK >. In your Layers panel go to > Blend Mode Luminosity. That’s your sharpening all done but do we really want sharp clouds? I think not, so…..lets mask off the parts we don’t want sharp.

33: With Layer 1 selected, go to > Layer > Layer Mask > Hide all. This provides you with a black mask hiding your top layer.  Make sure your foreground and background colours are set to the default of white and black. You can do this by pressing “D” on your keyboard. Set your Brush Opacity to around 30- 40 %, its best to build up slowly. Now take a large soft brush using your white foreground colour to paint in the sharp areas you want to show. You can alter the size of your brush by using your bracket keys. Adjust your Opacity in the Layers panel if needed. Flatten your image.

34: To save for the web, go to > Image> Image size>. Follow my settings below and click OK..

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35: Go to > File > Save as >. This will bring up your personal PC Library >. Now save and name to whatever folder you wish. Remember to select in the drop down menu that you want it saved as a Jpeg.

Final image below.

©Jenny Cameron 2017
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Tips: You can also save as you go along which is something I’ve learned the hard way with my crazy connections here in the wilds of Scotland. My internet can oftentimes drop or slow down, and for some reason it closes Photoshop losing all my work. So if you save as you go it saves any heartache that may happen. Some people like to work in large Layer stacks which is fine, we’re all different and have different circumstances.

I do all my sharpening at the end of the process as Contrast, Clarity and Dehaze to name a few can add to the effect, so if you do it at the end you know the correct amount to add. It also depends on where the image will be shown, in this case it will be posted on social media platforms.

 Try not to focus on the sliders. Place your cursor on the control and move it without looking at it. Look only at your image and how the slider is affecting it. This way it’s easier to see when something will look right.

I truly hope you enjoyed this tutorial & found it easy to understand. If you have any questions you may like to ask please feel free to give me a shout on Facebook Messenger and I’ll be happy to help. Most of all have fun and enjoy your Photography, it’s all about you, not what others may think.

Jenny~

Jenny Camerons Masterclass

Over the years I’ve been asked many times if I do Editing tutorials, and I never have until now when Photography Masterclass invited me to share a few of my favourite  Techniques, so here goes my very first..

Over the years I’ve been asked many times if I do Editing tutorials, and I never have until now when Photography Masterclass invited me to share a few of my favourite  Techniques, so here goes my very first..

I don’t have an exact Workflow that I follow as a rule, every image is different, therefore deserves its own treatment. People often ask what Plugin or Effect do I use, the answer is none. I wish it were that simple but the truth is you need to work at it with several techniques from your Creative self. I’ve been known to spend weeks on one image and even then there’s a possibility it will get deleted or I  walk away for a few months till I’m in the right head space for that particular image.  Other images can flow easily and done in an hour.. It all depends, they’re all different.

So …grab a Coffee, pull up a chair, load Photoshop, and chillax for some unconventional Jenny style editing. OHhh..and don’t forget the biscuits, they’re the most essential part!!

I thought Id start with the ever popular Romantic Orton Effect, its like something you’d see in the Movie Lord of the Rings. Developed my Michael Orton in the mid 80’s, which gives an almost surreal dreamy effect. There are so many different ways to do this and Tutorials all over the Internet. It’s a great effect that I use in the majority of my work and normally applied towards the end of Processing, which I personally think gives an extra polished look. Here’s how I do mine and the image we will be working on below.

©Jenny Cameron 2017
Sgurr nan Gillean, Isle of Skye. Scotland.

1. Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

2. With this New Layer selected, go to Image>Apply Image. Copy my settings from the image below.

use this one

3. Make another Copy in the Layers Panel by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac .Your Layers Panel should now look like this.

orton

4. Now go to> Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur. Select a Radius around 38 which is what I prefer when using my Canon 5d mark iv in Raw Format, but it depends on the size of your own image file. Have a play around with different Radius.

5. Close the Eye icon on your Background layer (see example circled in Red). Go to Layer > Merge Visible, this will Collapse your Three Layers into Two. Go back to your Eye icon and Open by un-checking it. Your Layers Panel should now look like this.

orton 2

6. Go to >Blend Mode >Multiple. This will look way too heavy and over cooked, so don’t lose hope, stay with me. Go to your Opacity Slider and Dial it down to whatever you feel looks good, usually anything between 12 and 30 Percent.

Tip: You can also Experiment with different Blend modes ..Overlay, Soft Light and Hard Light can work quite well too for more Pop! Word of caution though, dont over do it, it’s very tempting I know but it will stand out as overdone and fake. The trick is so nobody knows how you’ve Edited. Suiltity is your best friend, bet you never thought Id say such word ..lol.

©Jenny Cameron 2017
After

Controlling Blown out Highlights.

Apply Image is one of my favourite tools in Photoshop, you can use it in many situations. Here’s how I control any blown out or over powering highlights as illustrated in the Image below.

©Jenny Cameron 2017
Before

1. Start by duplicating your Background Layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

2. Select Blend mode Multiple on your top Layer.

3. Select a White Layer Mask.

4. Go to Image > Apply Image . Make sure your settings are the same as mine below.

kylesku 1

5. You can Experiment with different Blend modes and Channels within the Apply Image box. Have a play, see what you come up with.

6. To achieve different Effects you can take it a step further by checking the Mask check box in the bottom part of Apply Image dialogue box, this will crush the highlights more. Click OK.  Follow the example below.

kylesku 2

7. If you feel it’s too soft and flat you can always add a Curves Adjustment Layer. Start by making the Curve a steep “S” shape > if you double-click on the White Mask it kindly provides for you it allows you to add a Feather, making it not too harsh of a Contrast.  Set the Feather to approximately 10 pixels.

8. Adjust your Opacity to taste and Mask off any areas that you don’t want.

©Jenny Cameron 2017


Give it some Punch!  This gives extra Detail/ Clarity.

before jpeg thursday
Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

1. Duplicate your Background Layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

2. Go to >Filter> Convert for Smart Filter.

3. Filter > Other > High Pass > Set to 3 Pixels.

4. Blend Mode >Overlay ( or Soft Light / Hard Light ).

5. Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options.

6. Go to the Blend If area in the lower half of the box where you see two sliders ( This Layer and Underlying Layer) > Go to “This Layer” > . As in the image below.

blend if 1

7. Hold down the Alt Key or Option Key on a Mac > Place your mouse over the left slider and click > this will instantly separate the slider in two.

8. Move the sliders to show> 50/100.

9. Do the same with the Right hand slider making sure your still working on “This Layer”> Hold down the Alt Key or Option Key on a Mac > Place your mouse over the Right slider and Click > this will instantly separate the slider in two > Set to 150/200 > Click OK.

10. So your Image looks like mine below. Area to work with Circled in Red.

blen if sunday

11. Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

12. Adjust your Opacity to what you think looks best. You can use the White Masks on the Smart Filters within the Layer Stack to Mask off any areas with a Large Soft Black brush that you don’t want.

after jpeg thursday
After

Painting with Light

before with text jpeg
Before

Here we are literally going to be Painting Light and/or Shade directly on the Image. Learning about Light was one of my first Nemesis, it didn’t come natural to me at all, but I knew I had to fully understand it if I wanted to pursue any type of Photography.

Really think about where your Light source is coming from, ie. the Sun, Moon, Diffused Light from a Window or a Light leak/s from Clouds to name a few. Remember one thing, Light always travels in straight lines, and wherever there is light there has to be Shade.

Photoshop really does make this an easy task.

1. Start with your Background Layer in your Layers Pallet.

2. Go to >Layer (on your top row) > New > Layer >You can name this “Light” or whatever you prefer to use and set the Blend mode within the pop up box to Soft Light. Like the example below.

apple

Option: You can use Blend Mode Overlay as an alternative if you prefer, it will give a stronger contrast.

3. Select a Colour  from your Image using the Eye-dropper tool to give a more natural look that matches your image. Look for a slightly more Saturated & Lighter Colour in the Colour Swatch. Always best to experiment till you have the right tone that your happy with.

4. Grab a Large Soft Paint Brush with your chosen colour, this gives a more feathered natural look.

5. Using your Bracket keys for the correct size> Simply paint in the light you need on the New Layer.

6. You can do this with Several Colours. I tend to work in areas and make sure you use a New Separate Layer for each Colour, it’s just easier and more controllable.

Tip: You can do the same for Painting in Shadows with darker colours. Rather than having plain Black and Boring blocked out Shadows.

It’s very time-consuming, there’s no quick fix. The best way I’ve found so far ..Put on some great Music, zone out whilst you Paint some Beautiful Light & Transform your image like a boss! It’s actually very therapeutic.

after with text
After

 


Thoughts

Within Photoshop and Lightroom you can change the Background colour by simply right clicking over the area. It brings up a drop down menu, with the options black, dark grey, medium grey, light grey and  customized.. Try changing the colour to see how your image looks on different backgrounds and also zooming in and out, this can really help to show your Highlights and Shadows. Remember to always stick with the Default for your main workflow ( darkest grey). Think about where your image will be  displayed. Social Media platform layouts are all different, sometimes it’s a small thumbnail that viewers see first or maybe displayed in a Gallery.

Never worry what other people think, do it for yourself, what pleases you. I’ve tried listening to the Purists who can’t wait to tell me I’ve overdone something,  but it doesn’t rock my boat, why should I please them?  Would you start a Career in something you don’t want just to make others happy? I think not! You might not always get the most Likes, Comments or Followers on Social Media, but does it matter? Do it for yourself, listen to your heart, it will guide and fulfill you I promise.

I hope you guys all enjoyed this and have lots of fun experimenting with the new techniques.

If you’d like see more of my work please feel free to check out my Facebook500pxViewbug

Jenny ~