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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I ♥ Faces - Dramatic B&W

I have made time tonight to get back to my blog and post something. I've been easily distracted of late. I am happy to add my image to the list of (over 1000 now!!) I ♥ Faces challengers. This week's challenge is all about dramatic B&W photography. I have so many pictures, but only a few that would fit into this one. Most of them are on the other computer though, so I chose one that I took during a location photo shoot a couple of weeks ago. The little girl is just precious (and very hard to get a non-blurry picture of). The daughter of one of my friends, Emma, is seen here walking with her mother. Luckily, this week's challenge does NOT require showing a face, just so long as a person is IN the photograph. So here it is!!
To see more Dramatic images, be sure to visit I ♥ Faces!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tag You're It...or am I IT?

Here we are again, I was 'tagged' by a fellow blogger and would like to say thanks. I have a hard time, sometimes, getting on here and coming up with something to write about that I think others will enjoy reading about. Brea over at Brea's Befuddled Brain has tagged me. Now there are rules to being tagged that I will try to explain.

When you are tagged, you are to create a post adding the 10th image in your 1st picture folder on your computer and tell the story behind it. Then, once you've accomplished that, you are to tag 5 more people to do the same.
Now lets see what image I come up with...
This is the 10th image in my 1st folder, I'm not cheating like Brea did!! :)

The story behind this picture:
     This is my son's first and only pet of his very own, he calls him Fwoggie. He was obtained at Pet Smart on a trip there with the hopes that Ashe would enjoy having a pet, yet ensuring it wasn't a super hard animal to take care of. He is 13 and VERY forgettful, yes, he's actually worse than me. The frog is what is referred to as a PacMan frog, among other common and proper names. This is the most commonly used though and came about because of the enormous size of it's mouth in relation to it's head. Since this is not a head on shot, it's hard to see. When he opens his mouth he looks somewhat like PacMan, hence the name. I took this picture the night we brought him home, mainly because I am still taking pictures of everything I can point my new camera at, but also because I like to take pictures and I like to have pictures of people, animals, and other things.

So there it is, I have completed my first task, now to pass this TAG on and hope that others will play along.

1st - Lynette at Crazed Mind
     She has been a dear friend and is one of the people who got me interested in blogging to begin with.
     She is my other influencer to start a blog, hope she's back from her vacation to participate.
3rd - PJ from PJ's Prayer Line
     I met PJ after I started blogging and I have even done some photo restoration work for her that turned out rather well.
4th - Jen at Rants & Raves
     She is one of my best friends and whose 3 1/2 year old I recently did a portrait session on that produced some great shots of that little angel (devil).
5th - Cindy at Chalk It Up!
     A fellow artist and an all around nice person. I enjoy her blog and am glad to have found it.

So there you go, thanks again for the TAG, Brea. This is a nice change of pace from  wondering what to post about.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have not written in a while, I know I should do better, but I keep getting sidetracked working on new ways to create an income. I've been working my full-time job at the store and I worked a few nights at the cabinet shop a couple of weeks ago. I feel completely drained of all initiative, and I don't know why. I haven't been back to the cabinet shop in over a week because I needed rest, I was on vacation from the store so I wanted to try to rejuvenate myself so that I could go back to work and not feel so tired of everything. It seems that right now everything is working against me, even myself. My kids are having problems at school, my house has so many problems I can't even list them all, my job is making so many changes that I can barely keep up and hardly do all that is required while trying to remember all that I'm NOT supposed to do anymore. I feel overwhelmed and I don't know what to do about it.

In the midst of all this, I am struck with how different people percieve things differently. The Health Care bill that just passed is one of them, I have no opinion to give right now as I have to do some research on it before I can form an educated opinion. In short, it's the tomato / tomato discussion. One person percieves an act or item one way, while another percieves it totally different. So who is right and who is wrong? Or is there a right and wrong beyond one's own perception?

Here's a challenge for you...the next time you come across a situation where differences of opinion are, take a moment to listen to the other person and try to see why they feel that way. I'm not saying you have to change your opinion on the matter, but rather make the attempt to 'walk in someone else's shoes'.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Photo Restoration - A Completed Project

I was recently given the opportunity to do some restoration work on some old photographs. I have finally got them all completed and even did some coloring. I am very pleased with the result and so is the client. It is always a great feeling to complete a project and even more so to know that I have made someone happy with my work.

If you would like to take a look at the photos, before & after, then take a quick trip to my Phototography Blog and check them out. I would love to do some more restoration work, so if you have any old photos you would like fixed then send me an e-mail and we can discuss the details.

Here is a restoration that I did a month or so ago. It was a test photo for an online restoration shop. I am not real happy with the colored image or the background, but we all learn from our mistakes.


This was a very challenging photo to try to restore and it was one of my first few attempts to truly restore a damaged image. This is probably the worst looking starting image I have worked with and it was a big challenge to try to make it look good again. I welcomed the challenge as an attempt to test my skills. I think after doing some other restorations I may come back to this one again and see if I can do better. This photo may become my own personal gague to see if I am improving my skills.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Day at the Park

As you can see it was a beautiful day to take a trip to the park. Kevin, Amy, Ashe, and myself took a short drive to the local park to have a day out together. We were also due to meet up with some friends there for a photo shoot. I posted some images on my Photography Blog of that shoot if you'd like to see them. We all had a great time and took lots and lots of pictures. It was nice to spend the day with family and friends, some of my favorite people in the world.

I've noticed a trend with my pictures of my children lately. I have some great one of Ashe, and some great ones of Amy, but very few of them together and almost none of them great. At least, not the hang on the wall type great. You see above why I don't have very many good pictures of them together.


This is a great shot of Kevin, my love, although it is a tad bit blurry. That's what happens when someone is walking toward the camera and I can't focus quick enough. Silly Kevin...I can't ever get an expression like this when he's holding still either.

Poor Ashe, sporting a brand new buzz cut and his very first black eye. He got into a fight (well, another kid punched him, wasn't much of a fight) at school last week. As for the hair, well, it was in bad need of cutting.

Amy had to wear her cap to the park and the shot right before this one would have been awesome except for the major shadow on her face from the brim of the hat. So I knocked it off her head and took another shot. It's what any mom would do right?


A day out with Kevin is never complete without some sort of off the wall posing by Kevin. He never disappoints when it comes to great silly shots. It's part of what I love about him.

All in all it was a great day. After we left the park we all came to the house to cook out and spend some more time together. It seems time is a precious commodity for everyone these days so we take advantage of the little time we have spare. Kevin grilled, pork ribs (of course), hot dogs, brauts, fruit and vegetables, and chicken. We also cooked some fresh green beans inside on the stove. It was a wonderful day and I am worn out from it. I took so very many pictures today and it will take me a while to go through them all.

How did you spend your Saturday?

Monday, March 8, 2010

I've Been Snake Bit!

My poor poor python, Madmartigan. He was shedding this afternoon and apparently had a little bit of difficulty getting the last bit of skin off of his tail. I have assisted my snake Razelle numerous times and even helped Sorscha. Kevin has assisted all three of them before with the only mishap being they excreted on him in the process.

Now Madmartigan likely could have completed his shed on his own in time, however, it is my understanding that the dry dead skin tend to be uncomfortable and itchy to the poor reptiles. I pulled him out of his tank and when I noticed he still had some skin, assisted him in removing the skin. He did pee and poop all over the floor right as I finished helping remove the skin, that was nice and messy.

I placed the freshly shed snake back into his tank and then realized I hadn't fixed the 'log' that they like to hide in so it was all cockeyed. I tried to move him out of the way again, and he flat refused to cooperate, however he did get into a position that I felt I could relocate the log without injuring him. I reached in to grab a small piece of the shed skin that was laying around and poor little Madmartigan firmly let me know that he'd had enough of me poking around in there.

Do you see it? I was shocked and surprised to say the least, and of course jerked my hand back as is the typical reaction of the human species when shocked and surprised. Luckily for me and more importantly the snake, he only struck and did not BITE and wrap as if he were feeding. My jerking could have caused severe damamge to him and likely more damage to myself as well. As you can see, or not, in the above picture, I was not really hurt by this bite. Here is a closer view so you can see what the bite looks like.

Keep in mind, that is my middle finger, so the scratches (because that's all they are) are very small. I've had worse from tripping over my own two feet. Some people who are unfamiliar with snakes will often use the excuse that they might get bitten to have one. I post this because I KNEW I'd get bitten eventually, it's a given when you have 4 snakes in the house as pets. However, what a lot of people don't realize is that most snakes, like any animal, will only bite when they are hungry or when they are aggitated and feel threatened. The python does not have fangs either, not all snakes have fangs. They do all have teeth.

The teeth in his mouth are very sharp and very thin, hence the scratches on my finger when he just barely touched me with them. They are also tilted toward the back of his mouth. This assists him in swallowing his food.

So, I have officially been bitten by a snake, I feel like a real herper now! Did it hurt? No, he was already pulled back from my hand before my slow human response kicked in, if I hadn't seen him strike at me I may not have even realized that he did for a few seconds. As for all snakes, I cannot say that a strike and bite will be this painless and trivial, the larger the snake, the larger the teeth. Snakes are very fast and can strike with little to no warning. This is the first time my snake, any of them, has ever struck me or even at me. It was also due to the fact that I was really stressing him out at the time. Next time he sheds, I'll know to be a little more easy with him!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Trip To The Zoo

Kevin and I traversed to the zoo today. This exhibit, MOLA: Museum of Living Art had it's grand opening today. It is an entire building dedicated to reptiles and amphibians. We probably spent a good 2 hours in this exhibit alone! So many very cool snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, crocodiles, it was just gorgeous! Here are just a few of the shots from today's zoo trip. On the Canon we shot over 400 pictures, that's not counting what we took on the two Kodaks we brought as well! I picked a few really nice ones to share with you.

This cute little guy decided to 'pose' for the camera! Kevin said it was showing a territorial display, like it felt threatened by our presence. I think he was just a little camera hog...er frog.

This guy was more green in real life, the flash that was required to get a decent shot threw his color of a little bit.

I found this to be one of the more interesting displays in the new exhibit...I was grateful for the informational card that explained exactly what we were seeing behind the glass! lol

This Ocelot was grooming itself most of the time I was trying to take pictures. It was just so cute I wanted to take it home!

This guy was a great model, he was getting a little restless and calling to the older (I think his parents) in the next-door exhibit. He was even calling out to them and it was awesome. I love cats and I would have gladly taken this one home as well, I'm not quite sure Drizzt would have appreciated a new male in the house to compete with though!

Who doesn't love some BACON at the zoo!


This creature here was the most fierce of them all and he scared all the little children. I was lucky to get this quick shot of him since he is rather feral and not fond of the camera noise!

Now, I have to tell the funny part of the day and hope that Kevin will still speak to me after 'telling' on him. We got to the zoo a little early so we waited in the truck for a little while and perused the newspaper we picked up this morning. Finally, we felt it was time to start heading into the zoo so we grab the cameras, wallets, and hats and lock all the doors, even remembering to lock the hatchback of the Xterra. We spent 5+ hours roaming the zoo, taking pictures, and having a great time. As we get back to the truck, Kevin, being the gentleman that he is, unlocks my door first then goes around to his side. Where he finds the window to the driver's side is rolled ALL THE WAY DOWN!! But....the door was definitly locked! We got lucky on that one, no one apparently noticed the rolled down window and none of our stuff (not that there was anything important) was pilfered. Needless to say, he will not be living this one down anytime soon!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Am I a Photoshop Sinner?

I am subscribed to a newsletter from Digital Photography School and one of the articles in today's newsletter was Warning: 10 Deadly Post Processing Sins. I had to read it because I do post processing, and I found it satirical and funny. It has recieved a TON of coments both in agreement and disagreement of the top 10 list. I knew it would be a racy topic because, as pointed out by ProBlogger in a recent article found HERE, the writer expressed an opinion. By expressing an opinion you open the floodgates for people to either agree or disagree. So what is my take? I am NOT a Photoshop sinner. Why? Well, the most obvious reason is because I don't use Photoshop, I use the almost unknown program PhotoImpact. As for committing one (or more of the 10 Deadly Post Processing Sins, oh yeah, all the time. But these are a list of sins as seen by this one person. If I thought they were that bad, I wouldn't be using them now would I?
Selective coloring was one of the sins listed. As shown in the above picture, selective coloring is removing color (or turning black and white) all of the photo except for one or more specific parts. I have used it a few times and I am ahppy with the results. It is a way for me to enhance the image to show and emphasize what I want seen. The reintroduction of the blue shirt in the image above adds a shock of color that provides interest and focuses on my daughter as opposed to the entire image, the background etc. Not everyone will agree, but that's ok, because you don't have to. Since this is my picture, of my daughter, and I like it, I don't really care if anyone else does or not. If I were to create this for a client and they did not like it, that would be another matter entirely. Does it date my images? Possibly. However, does it matter if I am still pleased with the end result?

I just posted about the constructive critisizm I recieved that stated that my photos were over saturated and over processed. Now again I find myself reading how someone out there says that oversaturated photos are a "sin". However, if you were to ask me if I thought this photo was oversaturated, I would say NO. Did I increase the saturation? Of course. I did so to bring out the bright colors that it created. Most people look at this image an ooh and aww at the vibrant colors and think it's fantastic. If you don't, well ok. It's not required by any law that I know of to like my photography or my editing techniques.

One of my more recent additions to my photography gallery. This one falls under sin #1. How so you ask? Take a look at this cutout and I'll explain further.

This was in the original shot. So as I'm framing the image and thinking what a great view this is going to be I see that some jerk has littered and now there is this horrid looking beer case in my shot. Trying to get down there to remove would likely have proven disatrous and there was no other way for me to frame the shot and get the full image that I was after. So, I said to myself, fine, I'll fix it after I get it on the computer. Is that a sin? I've said this many times when lighting conditions outside aren't what I would like, or when I have found other pieces of trash that get in my shot. I have even told my daughter this when shooting shots of her. She tries not to smile outright because she thinks her teeth aren't white enough. If telling her I'll fix it on the computer will get her to show her gorgeous smile, then I feel no guilt and do not feel that I should be required to slap myself silly for thinking or saying it.

So, in conclusion, if you are the type of photographer/artist that prefers to market your work as not having been touched with a post processing program, GREAT! If you are the type that likes to make a few changes and keep things simple, GREAT! If you are the type that likes to go all out and change your photo into a piece of art that speaks of your style, GREAT! Do what you love, and ignore everyone else. And please, do not pass judgement on those who do things differently than you.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I ♥ Faces - Hilarious Outtakes

This week I ♥ Faces is allowing up to FIVE entries in a blog for their Hilarious Outtakes Challenge. I will do my best to put up some funny pictures, at least ones that I think are funny. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else has put up as well. If you want to take a look at what everyone else has done then click the link below.

Here is one I took just yesterday of my boyfriend, he is not what I would call camera shy...but he is against having his picture taken frequently.

My son...apparently he's "Got A Little Cap'n" in him.

My daughter and her 'Jazz Hands'!

My friend showing off her new...balloon job?

And my all time favorite, if I do say so myself. I wish this image hadn't turned out blurry. It was taken quite a few years ago with an SLR that did not have a built in flash so it had a too slow shutter speed.

Hope you enjoy my outtakes and I'm headed to I ♥ Faces to check out everyone else's!