Archive for February, 2011

February 19, 2011

Saturday randomness

Matthew is at his dad’s for the weekend and I am enjoying a slow and relaxing morning alone.  I slept in (my once every two week indulgence!) and sipped coffee while listening to Car Talk in the kitchen on NPR.  And I took pictures.  I have no specific plan for the day which is fabulous.

Though I’m a day late I decided to join Household 6 Diva’s Foto Friday.  This week’s theme is love.  I saw the below idea on a blog that was linked up to Shoot and Edit a few weeks ago and thought it was terrific and wanted to try it.  I went back to try to find the blog today so I could credit it and couldn’t find it.  So a shout out and apology to the creative soul who did this first.

I wonder how many neighbors saw me in my backyard in my bathrobe this morning and wondered what the heck I was doing?

I also got a yummy package in the mail this week.  My new Cheeky Lime camera bag!  Since I’ve made a commitment to take more pictures I’ve found it a challenge to carry my camera with me everywhere I go.  I am a huge fan of handbags and hate the idea of carrying a separate camera bag or of combining the contents of my purse with my camera in some ugly carry-all.  Problem solved!

Is this seriously not the cutest camera bag ever?  It’s stylish enough to satisfy my need for a nice handbag, and has room for my DSLR, separate lenses, and all my purse contents.  Check out the darling inside:

Though I didn’t take a picture of it, it has a detachable pouch inside that can act as a wallet.  And that little pink charm hanging from the hardware outside is a tiny camera.  I’m in love!

February 17, 2011

Shoot and edit: love/romance, the edit

Things are starting to click….maybe.  I finally figured out how to do a layer mask, it was like the lightbulb went on.  And I actually understood most of Ashley’s tutorial today.  Progress!

Here is my edited shot:

Steps using Photoshop CS3:

  • Opened image as Camera Raw and adjusted white balance
  • Applied high pass filter with soft light blending mode
  • Performed curves adjustment (still not sure what I’m doing here but I darkened the darks and lightened the lights a bit)
  • Used Paint the Moon’s Whiten your Whites action and a layer mask to lighten the yellow cast that was on the wall behind the bookshelf

This was my SOOC shot:

Overall I think I’m pleased.  Any constructive criticism would be welcome!

February 14, 2011

Shoot and edit: Love/Romance

Blech!  As a chronically single person I have an involuntary gag reflex over the Valentine’s holiday.  Since I have no romantic “other” in my life I puzzled for a bit over this week’s shoot and edit prompt.  Then realized I had the perfect shot.


I have “romance” in my life…in the form of my gigantic collection of cheezy romance novels.  No, they don’t buy me roses on Valentine’s Day.  But they make me smile.

February 12, 2011

One Little Word | Captured

Week 7

The past year or so I’ve been thinking about self-discovery.  Of “figuring myself out” and who I want to be post-divorce.  Being a single mom wasn’t part of my life plan and its taken me awhile to decide that it’s OK to be somewhere unexpected.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading.  And OLW has helped focus my thinking too as I look forward.  As I spend this month creating pictures that capture what my word (renew) means to me, this is one of them – these books have, each in some measure, helped me in my path towards getting there:

February 10, 2011

Shoot and edit: Hearts, the edit

So my Photoshop books arrived today.  Photoshop CS3 for Dummies by Barbara Obermeier and Teach Yourself Visually Photoshop CS3 by Mike Wooldridge.  I figured since I don’t know what I’m doing I’d better start learning fast.  There’s only so much I can pick up by reading blog posts (though it is amazing what I’ve learned so far, I have to admit).  If anyone else has suggestions for great Photoshop resources for beginners I’d love to hear some suggestions.

Here is my edited shot for shoot and edit this week.  Any and all suggestions and constructive criticisms are welcome, because really, let me be perfectly honest here – I have no idea what I’m doing.

I now have 4″ of Photoshop manuals however and plenty of willingness to use trial and error.  There’s only up from here.

February 10, 2011

Love Letter to Kitty Paw

Max has a crush on Kitty Paw.  So when he saw this photo challenge he begged me to join.  He whined, licked my hand, and purred in my ear until I agreed.  Here is his love letter:

To see more love letters to Kitty Paw (the second cutest black and white cat I’ve seen lately), check out:

February 8, 2011

Shoot and Edit: Hearts

I’m a day late and uninspired.  But the snow Matthew plastered on our back storm door caught my eye and this is the best I could come up with.  I wish I had thought to do this when the sun was still in the east this morning and the light was shining on the back of the house.  Oh well.  I thought about skipping this week but the point of this is to get me to use my camera and practice, practice, practice.

My SOOC shot:

February 7, 2011

One Little Word | Captured

Week 6

This week I was not focusing on renewal.  The blizzard hit Chicago on Tuesday afternoon and at 8pm we lost power.  I agonized over whether to tough it out through the night at home, or pack up Matthew and head on foot to a neighbor’s with power.  We stayed and by the morning it was COLD but we were fine.

On Wednesday the day could have been awful but was instead lovely.  Our neighbors took us in and we were delighted with their warmth and graciousness.  I shoveled snow for the elderly woman who lives 2 doors down, and it seemed the whole community took to the street and sidewalks to catch up and play in the snow.  Matthew had a ball playing outside for hours – thank goodness for our great friends who fed us and kept us warm until our power came back on!

I think the lesson for me is that renewal can occur in unexpected places.  I renewed some connections with neighbors and had a terrific snow day with my son.  That carried me through what turned out to be the rest of a pretty crappy week.

What’s interesting for me as I explore my word is how its meaning seems to be changing for me.  I had picked it as an opportunity to take a life-reset.  Start over. Do things differently.  But it’s turning out to be the case that I’m finding renewal by accepting and appreciating what I already have.   Like a blizzard and no heat in 20 degree weather.  Which turned out to be a pretty OK thing.

February 7, 2011

Shoot and Edit: Red, the edit

Well I missed the linkup on Thursday because I was dealing with a blizzard, losing power for 24 hours, trying to actually work, and entertaining a 5 year old with 2 snow days.  Last week was NOT the best I’ve had in recent memory.

Even though I missed the linkup I’m posting this picture anyway so I can hopefully look back over my progress as I get better at using Photoshop and learning to edit.  Here is my edited photo:

I would have preferred to keep the photo all color.  I played around with many different edits, but struggled with how to correct for the over-exposed yellow bucket in the original.  I couldn’t get it right…I think I’m supposed to apply a correction and using a layer mask paint off the correction everywhere else but I have no idea how to actually do that.  I think it’s time to buy a CS3 manual.

After several frustrating attempts I did this.  Which is OK.  I also think I need to get into the “less is more” mindset where editing is concerned.  If my original photo is OK I need to be OK not editing very much.  So much to learn!

February 1, 2011

Shoot and Edit: Red

I’ve stalked.  Each week I’ve looked and followed along.  And finally I’m joining the shoot and edit fun.  I’m nervous b/c I think that my skills really aren’t up to par, but I’m hoping that by participating I’ll learn and improve.  I think my photos are entirely average, and my Photoshop skills can be best categorized as “rank amateur”.  I’m learning to be OK with that, and already I’m amazing at how much I’m learning just by trying.

Here’s my SOOC shot:

Anyone visiting from Jill or Ashley’s linkup…would love your constructive critiques on this or my edited shot once it goes up!