Thursday, March 31, 2011

Week 12 good to WOW Edit Green

Time to show what we've done to our pictures from earlier in the week.  I cannot wait to see everyone's edits, though I won't get to make the rounds until later this evening.  A friend is bringing her baby over so I can pretend I know how to take pictures!  I am so excited.  I've been reading tips all week.  We'll see how much sunk in.  I just wish the sun would peek out!

The tutorial on grass was quite informative.  I can see lots of ways this can be useful, not just with grass.  I learned how to fill my layer mask with a color from it, also!  Yeah, me!

Now whether it helped my current pictures, that remains to be seen.  I didn't have time to make a before and after collage, so you'll just have to scroll up and down.  I do have some actions installed with clipping masks, etc. but I couldn't tell you how to use them!

I'll start with my grass picture.  I actually liked this shot a lot (except for his blurry face) and didn't really notice the grass, but I can see the difference.  It is a pain to go around Huckleberry so he isn't green.  Should have used my lasso tool, but was more than half way done when I realized it.

After--I don't remember the tutorial telling me to set the blending on the grass to soft light, but it must have--or another blending mode.  Straight on, this was not pretty!

I played with adding some green and brown to this picture of Huckleberry in a tree, also:

It did bring a lot of color pop to the image, but I am not sure if that is better.  Huckleberry seems kind of not there.  I guess this would be another time for a diptych as someone suggested--one with the color pop on the tree, and one where the tree is less saturated and Huckleberry is emphasized.  Well, out of time for now, but something to play with later.

This was my favorite image, and really I just like it as it is, but I am happy with the edits.
I tried editing this with just levels, but I wasn't liking it at all, so I opened in ACR for my clean edit.
Adobe Camera RAW--it was taken as a JPG
Then I ran Nice & Easy, and I was not liking the levels adjustment.  It helped Huckleberry, but it totally made the tree bokah lighter and blah.  Then I remembered Layer Masks!  I painted the layer mask black in the background so it wouldn't lighten the trees.  I did keep the Warming Filter in the Nice and Easy, but removed the pink.  Here are these results:
Final Edit
Looking at them at the same time now, I think I like the skin tones on the final edit better, but the deep rich colors of the sweater and background in the ACR best.  I guess I should have done more layer masking!  What part of Nice and Easy helped the skin tones?  Ummm, I need to figure that out.

Thanks so much, Jill and Ashley, for running this.  For even more Green WOW's (and seriously there are some awesome WOW's out there!) make sure to head over to Ramblings and Photos to see the party.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Black and White Wednesday--Sunflower

I decided to participate in Black and White Wednesday at The Long Road to China {and back} again because I really enjoyed looking at so many pictures of families with children from China.  I thought about putting this on my family blog, but I just recently did a post full of photos of Sunflower so this blog gets the post.  It puts my family blog way behind in number of posts compared to this blog, but it would be cheating to post this over there just to even the numbers.  I really need to stamp out the competitive part of me.

Moving on...

Sunflower was sick for about a week, but by last Friday she was back to her usual self.  We went to Huckleberry's school in the afternoon to see him receive a Citizenship Award, so she got to spend some time at the playground.

I see the Swings!
Don't get too close!  Stay with Daddy!
Huckleberry and I together!  Sheer Bliss!
What?  Did you say time to go?
I don't wanna go!
Check out The Long Road to China {and back} for more Black and White Wednesday.
the long road

Monday, March 28, 2011

Texture Tuesday--March 29th

I have not explored with textures very much; I am finding I just really like my photos to represent what I actually see.  I'm not very "artsy."  However, I have seen people use textures in some lovely ways and sometimes "blah" does become interesting with a texture.  So this week I am joining Kim Klassen's new link--Texture Tuesday.  I have learned a lot about using Photoshop Elements from her and love getting her free textures in my e-mail each Friday.

Here is my currently favorite texture photo:
This done with Kim's "Nature's Beauty Jan 28" Texture

Have a Blessed Tuesday!

Sweet Shot Tuesday--Sunflower

I hope you are having a terrific Tuesday!  Sunflower has a playdate with another two year old and her five year old brother.  First playdate with this family, so I hope Sunflower minds her manners.  She'll probably be as bossy as usual, but maybe I'll get some more sweet shots of my beautiful baby.
Hop on over to Darcy's blog to visit some more Sweet Shots!
Sweet Shot Day

Week 12 good to WOW SOOC Green

Time to post our S(traight) O(ut) O(f) the C(amera) shots for Jill and Ashley's challenge.  I thought I had a clear pick, but turns out it is a little more out of focus than I like (which I don't think is salvageable with an edit) so I'm showing you three photos.  I just could not decide.  I want them all to become WOW.

My oldest child, Huckleberry*, age 11.  In a tree:
1/80  f/5.3  ISO 800  175mm
On a swing:
1/320  f/5.6  ISO 100  200mm 
And since Ashley said she was going to talk about the true color of grass, running toward me:
1/500  f/5.6  ISO 100  200mm
Come on!  Join in.  Every one is very nice, and you can learn a lot.

* all of our names have been changed to hide the guilty

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday--March 27th

I do think this is one of the most fun photo challenges.  It forces you to take pictures you wouldn't otherwise take thus growing in your photography and while I love enjoying the skill of other photographers, the creativity in finding the 5 items for the hunt makes it fun for all.  Which is great for me.  Now it does take a little more time, but that...well.

I thought the "Things that make you go 'hmmmm'" would be the hardest one to find, but I forgot I had three children.  They make me go 'hmmmm' all of the time.

This is a salt crystal growth (didn't know that the first time around):
It is a pudding and a sandwich, not a pudding sandwich, for $4.02.  Very glad he clarified.

He was told to pick nice clothes for the field trip--either a polo or a dress shirt--both is more his style.

For Kitchen it was suggested you do a self-portrait.  It didn't seem right to give my new blogging friends the mistaken impression that I spend time in the kitchen, especially not for cooking.  This is a more common scene:
(A tutorial on getting rid of glare would come in handy if any knows where to find one...)

Since I didn't do a selfie for kitchen I thought maybe for decay, but let me tell you, taking pictures of my teeth cavities is very difficult--especially if your camera won't let you take a picture if it doesn't think you have a focus lock.  (No, I didn't actually try it.)  Luckily I did not have to go far to find some wood decay:

These are only a few of the samples available in my backyard, and no, we do not have a lot of land.

"Me Time" definitely seemed the best theme to use a self-potrait.  With no tripod (well, I have a tripod, but it isn't strong enough for my new camera)  I had my husband take the picture:

The only remaining hunt item is "groups of three." If you did not notice, I have had several groups of three already, but this is definitely my favorite group of three in my life:
My three children!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Week 11 good to WOW edit Flowers

II have been anxiously waiting for today all week!  I edited my one crocus for a sweet shot on Tuesday and ever since my little group of crocuses (thanks for the name of the flower everyone) looked so dull!  I couldn't wait to make these colors pop and learn Ashley's next step.

Here is my original:
Here it is after my Levels Adjustment (I've found this is usually fine unless the photo is really off, then I open in ARC to give me more fiddle room):
Then I ran through the usual steps I do and on a different copy tried Ashley's Action (I copied the steps so it wasn't exact--I downloaded a ton of actions this week, but I haven't installed them yet).  They seemed to appear almost the same, so I won't bore you with both.  Instead here is the one with Ashley's steps (I definitely think I'll like the action when it is installed):
Side By Side Comparison:

Then I don't yet have time to download and play with pixel bender, so I played around with the artistic filters--a lot.  Probably would have been faster to download and install, but I don't know how to install.  I didn't really find anything I liked better than the original photo or even found interesting enough to share.  So I switched images.  But the first image I didn't think was even improved with my clean edit process so I went back to the original:
Sorry, I had to share.  All the artistic stuff took away too many details and didn't change the background at all.
I did finally find a picture where at least the changes were interesting.  I used the Rough Pastels Artistic Filter:
It was a nice morning learning. Maybe tonight after the kids are in bed I'll have time to install some actions and some plug-ins.  Won't that be fun?  Have a great Thursday!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Black and White Wednesday--Abide

This is my first time participating in Black & White Wednesday.  It is hosted by The Long Road to China (and back) a blog I peek in at every so often because she is home with her adorable baby girl which gives me hope and I LOVE her photography.  I wanted to join this week because this photo was almost black and white already.  A little PW Black Beauty action and some text and voila...

As we renew our own paperwork for China I frequently need the reminder to "Remain in Him."

Happy Wednesday! 

the long road

Feel free to visit My Real Life Blog for another reason I love this picture.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sweet Shot Tuesday--Purple

I had such a great week learning how to shoot manual this week and loving the flowers starting to show up around here (though not in my yard yet!).  It was hard to pick my favorite flower shot when every flower is pretty and unique in its own way, but I haven't shared this one anywhere else so it is this week's Sweet Shot:
f/5.6  1/100  ISO 100  175mm
Sweet Shot Day

Week 11 good to WOW SOOC Flowers

I don't have any flowers in my yard, but my sister-in-law did and the hotel we spent the weekend did, so after 700 pictures I have narrowed it down. It helps that I took all of them on manual mode and forgot to check my ISO for 42 pictures, so I have 42 completely white pictures of Daffodils on ISO 1600--they looked great in the view finder. After that I did get better at checking my histogram each shot.

I actually narrowed it down to 8 different pictures and had my friends at my Real Life Blog help so I could follow the rules this week.

f/5.6  1/250  175mm ISO 100
 Thank you for the challenge and the motivation to get out and shoot!