Saturday, April 30, 2011

Exciting new sites I discovered!

Blogging is like a maze of wires interconnecting with others of like minds. I don't remember how i found these new sites...oh, yes I do. I was reading Betty John's blog: and saw one of the buttons she has collected. It looked interesting so  I checked it out.
 Here it is:  From there I found this sweet site: And she led me to: where she is sponsoring a portrait contest. Well, that is my thing, y'all. I love flowers and all, but my real passion is photographing people. So I just had to get in on this. Oh, this is so much fun!

2nd Entry for Photo Contest

Ben has electric blue eyes,enhanced but not lightened with PSE 9

Smug Mug

Here is another discovery that you must check out:  It is all about shabby chic decorating. Just sooo pretty.
Hope you have a wonderful day!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Photo Feature Friday!

I just joined Tricia's group,  "Photo Feature Friday", a place where you can share your photos and tips. I love seeing other people's work and get inspired. So here are my entries: Constructive criticism is appreciated:

All the best,



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Photographing Children

Taking photos of busy little ones can be quite a challenge! Yesterday I brought some soup to my sick friend who was taking care of her grand children. Actually she wasn't "sick" sick. I think she suffers from allergies, known to afflict a lot of people here in the south.
Since I had my camera in my trunk, I brought it out to take some photos of K and C.
It was around 1pm and overcast when I got there. As soon as I attached my 50mm lens to my camera, the sun came out. Curses! This is not a good time to shoot pictures of people because of harsh glare, plus everyone is squinting to keep the sun out.

So, plan B; find the shade. I shot about 30 photos, but only could use 3; the one above and these:


Little Gardener

K with FB "Smitten" action

I know that there can be improvements here. Every photo op teaches me something.
Thanks for looking! Blessings to you!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Resurrection Sunday: Focus 52 photo

I have to admit, I had a hard time with this week's challenge. Probably because with this being the most holy week of the year, my mind was not focused on photography like it usually is. I know the background is too busy but here it is anyway.
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Katie's Father

It is with a heavy heart that I write this posting. The father of our adopted daughter,my former husband of 13 years, is in the last stages of metastatic bladder cancer.
Katie got the text message from her step mother that Nick was taken to the hospital near Santa Fe, NM, and is in intensive care. Katie flew out to see him this morning, thanks to a good friend who gave her a buddy pass. With her, she took the tank top bearing the photo above, that she wore in a Marathon, running in tribute of her love for him.

It was always his dream (I shared the dream) to live out in the west. We have both had a love affair with the west for as long as I can remember. At one time we owned a house in Sedona, Arizona, but never actually lived in it. Well, he finally realized this dream and moved out west about one year ago. He and his wife and daughter are renting a house while their new house is being built. Moving day was to be Easter weekend. Now he is dying and the reality of his stepping over the threshold of his new house remains unseen.

Divorce is a painful thing for all involved. But no matter what, you always remain a part of that person. It hurts so much that someone I once loved and lived with, is suffering so much pain. I pray that God' will be done. You can't go wrong with that prayer.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Focus 53 entry for April 17

Normally, I would have waited until Resurrection Day or Easter as we call it now, to post this. But the theme this week for Focus 52 is Hope. This is the sign of my hope; the risen Christ.

In my early years I was raised a Catholic and I was a pretty good one then. But after high school, I became a wild child, unknown by my parents; they would have had heart attacks and disowned me. I was not living as a Christian. Remember the "me" generation; "if it feels good, do it". That was me. And along the way, I lost my belief in God. "God was dead" as the Time headlines said. It was a lonely time. And with all the freedom that I had to do whatever I wanted, I wasn't really happy.

So I started a lifelong search for the meaning of life. I studied a lot of different religions but they eventually came up short. Buddhism had some meaning for a while but that ended pretty quickly also.

When we moved to Atlanta, I started to read the bible from the beginning to the end. And as life would have it, my husband left me. Those hard times I think God uses to draw you near to Him. I needed Him and I cried out to Him and He heard me. He never forsook me. He was always there waiting for me.

Now in my "twilight years" I am so blessed to return to my roots; we are now worshiping at a Catholic Church right in our neighborhood and loving it. I am definitely wiser now.

Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Edits of the Engagement Photo Shoot

All afternoon I have been editing these photos. It is really a job, albeit a fun one! You have to remember to save the original and not to get too "fancy".

And remember to reflect the personality of your subjects.

And include one or two single portraits of each person, especially if they are gorgeous like this one.

And check out your surroundings to get the best backdrop for your photos.

And get different poses.

Kissing is encouraged!

Serene pose by a pond.

Instant frame from a cottage window.

It is so easy when you have such a cute couple!

 Another single portrait of F. Isn't she gorgeous? is in the air!

Sitting on an interesting tree trunk and whispering sweet nothings.

 Such pretty blooms to reflect her yellow top!

Can never get enough kissing shots. :o)

They are soooo happy!

They wanted a serious pose...this business of love and marriage is a serious path. I wish God's will and strength for this couple. Somehow I know they will be fine!

Thanks for looking! There is another post right below this one, about this photo shoot, if you are interested.

Engagement Photo Shoot

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of shooting photos to commemorate the engagement of a beautiful couple. Our setting was at the fabulous Smith Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, GA. Sixteen acres of lovely blooms, trees and foliage! Doug, the manager, was gracious enough to allow them to use the apartment above the Carriage House to change outfits.

It was simply a lovely time. We shot between 9am and 10:30am. It was overcast but still bright. I encountered a problem: the bride-to-be, wore white, as did the groom-to-be. together, they reflected off of each other and created a "blow out" nightmare. I had my ISO set at L1, the lowest I could go. I wanted to get some good bokeh, but the 1.8 f-stop
still let in too much light. Here is the result:

I tried opening "as RAW" but a blown out picture is usually not fixable. I attempted to "fix" it by selecting the front of her dress and using a floral brush, and choosing the color of the lower dress, brushed away. But I don't like it very much. Maybe because I know that it is fake.

Good thing, it wasn't the wedding photos! I need to figure out what to do next time I have this situation. I am thinking that I need to underexpose? Anyone have any ideas out there?


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Focus 52 entry for April 10 Theme Yellow

Happy Sunday to all of my Blogging Buddies! What a glorious day it is here! Sunny with just a little wispy breeze every once in a while.

This week's theme for Focus 52 is yellow. My first inclination was to ride through the neighborhood to check out some yellow blooms. But alas! Most of the yellow has quit by now. I mean the forsythia, daffodils and least around here. All that I noted were yellow pedestrian and other warning signs. Back to the drawing board.

Then I noticed that my little dog, Elmo, was still wearing his little jacket. He received his summer haircut a little early and since it has been somewhat chilly here, he needs the warmth of a coat.

You could say that Elmo and I are joined at the ankle; wherever I go, he goes. So it was a challenge to photograph him. As I would back up to take a shot, there he would be walking forward to make up for the space. LOL

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Magic of the Levels Adjustment!

My friend, Betty John, is the one who enlightened me about the Levels Adjustment Layer on PSE 7. My photos are usually underexposed, a problem that was recently solved. But it still helps to go to the Levels Adjustment. Let me show you:


It doesn't look too bad, exposure wise, to me. But let's check:

See that white triangle to the right of the input levels? If I drag it to the left to the first peak , it will make a difference in how the photo looks. Watch:

And here is the picture after the adjustment:

Much better, don't you think? Next flatten your layers.

Now look what happens when you go to make a hue/saturation levels change:

See how the background changes to more of a blue? I don't like it in this case, but don't be afraid to experiment.

Okay, now I am ready to continue with my edit. Of course, flatten at this point.

I don't like how the background is not all the way to the right, but we are going to fix that with the Marquis tool.This is a trick that I learned from Shauna at Flora Bella:

Now, you are going to grab the transform tool, shortcut is "Ctrl t". And then place your cursor on the right part of the line and drag it to the right, to fill in the purple background.
Like this:

See how that works!

Next, I am going to get rid of that little white line on the upper right by using the crop tool.

Now, that's better:

I like to do a "Screen" with opacity of about 50-55% like this:

See how the whole picture is lightened and has a softer look?
Next, I am going to run an action by Flora Bella, called Sweetness:

At this time, I like to add a texture so I am going to head over to my files by  Kim Klassen to see what I like today:

This is a Kim Klassen texture called "Life is good" and I applied it with the free MCP action {} that automatically adds the texture and gives you multiple ways of adjusting it. I chose Overlay and Color Burn, then selected each layer, I used a soft black brush with a lower opacity of about 75% and brushed away the texture from the flowers and vase.

I don't like the blank, stark white on the bottom, so I am going to do another texture called Kim Klassen's paper:

This is my final result. What do you think? :o)

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