Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ghosting technique, and Bitterlakes...

"Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have someone click the shutter."  -Ansel Adams

The rule of thirds, polarizing filter, neutral density filter, remotes, wide angle lens, framing, HDR, 
hyperfocal distance, low and high key light. These are just a few of the things I have learned in my Advanced Composition class.  Whew...and it has only been a week.  It has been challenging and fun.   Our first lesson was to take pictures of a landscape.  I chose Bitterlakes.  This assignment had me getting up before sunrise to get some pictures in the golden hour, only to find there was not a golden hour for almost a whole week.  Sunsets were not much better.  I used a lot of gas, and lost a lot of sleep.  (I am not a morning person).  We had very nice gray skies, with tons of cloud cover.  I was getting rather worried about getting something to turn in.  On Friday in the late afternoon, the clouds broke, and I was able to get some nice sunset pictures.  Thank you, Jesus.  I had prayed that He would thrill me with His creation, and He did.  
The grasses interacting with the sun's light.  So breath-taking.

A few remaining flowers before it gets really cold.

Overlooking Bitterlakes.  There was not much water due to the drought.

What a view!  Definitely a "golden" moment.  See the Crane in the upper left.  I could not believe this amazing.

Gorgeous Fall colors.

The Sandhill Cranes flying overhead.  There are a lot of different birds, and their voices fill the air with lots of honking.

This is the my lesson 1 Assignment that I turned in.
Last night in our weekly class chat, our instructor gave us directions on how to "Ghost" a person in a picture since it was the day before Halloween.  I am not too crazy about Halloween (I prefer a Harvest festival), but I did think it was an interesting technique. My ghost is not too scary.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My computer continued...and a new class...

" A thunderstorm is God's way of saying you spend too much time in front of the computer."- Unknown

In my past post, I explained how my computer was so slow...very forever slow.  I was instructed to take it to South Eastern Business Systems by Apple Support.  I left it, but did not have a good feeling about it.  I went the next day to pick it up.  The man there was not happy with me.  I decided to call Robert Carson, our PC computer expert, and beg him to look at my Apple.  I was so happy when he said he had started servicing Apple computers.  Thank you, Jesus!  My suspicions were right--my hard drive was slowly dying.  I decided to upgrade everything, which meant I had to upgrade software, too.  Well, in a misfortunate accident, my "mother board" (is there a father, and child board, too), was damaged.  So, my options were to: 1. go ahead with the repairs and Robert would pay for everything his company broke.  2.  Get a whole new computer with all the updates anyway, and Robert would pay for part of the computer to make up for breaking the mother board.  I opted for option #2.  Robert will put on all my old files, all my software, and make sure it is running like a top.  I am so glad because I hate trying to transfer and load everything.  Thank goodness for Robert.

My computer failure happened at a most inopportune time--is there ever a good time for a computer to go out?  I started a new photo class (at Jessica Sprague's website)  this past Monday: Advanced Composition.  It is proving to be a very challenging class, but I think I am going to really learn a lot.  I am learning to make friends with my laptop to get the assignments done.  This class has me out taking photos before sunrise, and looking for that golden light of sunsets.  Right now we are learning about landscapes, and there are not many great landscapes around here.  Our first assignment is to take photos  of an interesting place, and designing our photos as if they were for a travel brochure.  Right now I am hunting that "interesting and breath taking" place.

On a side note, I won a photo challenge contest at with my tilt and shift picture of the NMMI box.  Yeah.  The next challenge is to do a photo that is part sketch/part photo.  I submitted this photo.  I love this technique!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Warren's 66th birthday...

"I have tried to walk a Christian life.  And now that I 'm getting older, I realized that I'm walking even closer with my God." -Andy Griffith

Happy Birthday, Warren...

Oh my, Warren was another year older on October 20th...he now has 66 years to his name.  I asked him if he had any comments on getting older, and he said, "No."  Maybe next year he will have a comment.

This year he had two birthday parties.  One here, and one when we went to visit Mark in California.
Maggie helped me get the presents wrapped, and the decorations up.  That is why it took me longer.  She loved all of project supplies.  I  had to chase her down to rescue some of them.  After I got everything done, I loved the look.
Maggie...she is giving herself as a present to Warren.  

Maggie had a great time playing in the crepe streamers...too much fun I might add.
Believe it or not, Warren wanted to have Domino's Pizza for his dinner.  I knew the grandkids would be happy about that.  He studied the menu for so long that I thought he was going to have it memorized.
Warren...trying to decide.  Decisions, decisions
I wanted my decorations to be bright, cheery, and colorful.  I made a wreath out of balloons (it took 256 balloons), and pipe cleaners, I painted a big number 66, and filled a jar with M&M's with two 6 candles showing though. I had a topiary made of Dum Dum suckers, and three bright colored candles decorating the table.  I took down the curtains from two of our dining room windows, and strung crepe paper from the top to the bottom.  It all looked very festive indeed.  After all that decorating, I think I am finished decorating for the rest of the year.  Well...maybe.
The table...

The room, and my awesome husband makes a pretty fine addition to the decorations.   His shirt goes right along with the bright, cheery, and colorful theme.

My M&M jar with the two 6 candles inside.
The Balloon wreath...with pipe cleaners.  Pipe cleaners are Maggie's favorite toy.   She kept running off with them.
Warren's favorite is Chocolate cake.  This one had a Ganache filling.   It was so very good.

We all sang Happy Birthday while Erynn played the tune on the piano.  Her piano playing was much better than our singing.

Blowing out the candles...

One of Warren's presents...

Reid gave PawPaw one of his was filled with a lot, and I do mean a lot of money.   Money that Reid had saved up.  Wasn't that so nice.

Ian made a hilarious card...that is what they are reading and laughing at.

Still reading the had a lot of pages...

More presents...

Another shirt...

I love this picture of Reid taken with my iPhone.  He is playing a game on the iPad.

Good old Ian...and he really is old...He turned 40 this year.  

On Friday, October 19, we drove to Albuquerque to fly to LA to visit Mark.  Unfortunately, Amber was out of town at a Bachelorette Party.  We missed her.
Our plane.  We sure liked the extra leg room.
We went to Star Bucks before we went to get our massages.   Yes, we both got an awesome massage.  It was divine.

Mark...I don't know about that look...ask him.

Mark and Warren rolling out their muscles...

This is the view from the living room window.  That building on the left is not really leaning.  It was my camera lens that made it do that.  I really liked the clouds.

We played Scrabble.  Mark won, scoring 75 points for the word "Zips", can you believe such a little word got so many points.  I came in last.
Mark made breakfast for us each morning...and it was sure good.

Chef Mark...

The eggs...going into the pan.

Our breakfast.  

Fall flowers Amber left to welcome us and decorate the table.  So beautiful indeed.

This is taken in a mirror.  I just wanted to try it.  You would not know it was a mirror unless I told you...Right?
Next we celebrated Warren's birthday.  Mark took us out to eat at a wonderful Italian restaurant.  The wait staff were all Italian and even spoke in Italian.  I was not always sure what they were saying.  Even their English sounded like Italian. We finished off the evening with our own little birthday celebration.  I thought of the cupcakes and Mark thought of the rum raisin ice cream.  It was good and fun!
More candle blowing...this one was easy with only one candle.
 I was very excited when Mark said he needed some pictures for his resume.  We took these on the last day we were there.  Hopefully, he will like one of them.  I like them all.                                                
Warren says Mark should be a model.  I did not do any editing of this picture except to remove a small bruise on Mark's cheek and drop in the background.  

So which picture should Mark use?  I can't wait to hear which one he picks.  It will be a tough decision.
Whew.  That was a lot of pictures, but I like pictures anyway, so I do not mind.

Happy Birthday, Warren...again.  I love you very much...more than ever.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Computer problems...

When I went to pick up Luke in Albuquerque, I took my computer in to the Apple Store, because it was getting a little slow and my color wheel was showing up way too much!  They did a repair, and I asked about getting the new operating system, Mountain Lion, but was told if I got it many of my programs would not work since they were so old--like my 2004 Microsoft Office.  I elected not to upgrade at that time, since I would have to purchase new software too.  Well, my computer worked fine for a few weeks.  Now it has a to think a long, long, long, long time before it does a task.  I am talking minutes here.  After contacting tech support several times, I was instructed to take it to South Eastern Business Systems here in Roswell because they are an authorized Apple dealer.  I am so glad I do not have to drive to Albuquerque.  The outcome is not good.  I need a new hard drive.  Thank goodness I have Apple Care, so it will be free.  My Apple Care runs out in December so I am glad it my computer started acting up before instead of after my Apple Care ran out.  The bad news is all my data will be lost.  The good news...I have Carbonite.  I also have an extra external drive just for my pictures.  Whew!  I am not looking forward to the idea of restoring everything.  Warren already had to do this on his computer and it took 2 days.  I am so thankful everything is backed up!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New photo technique...

I have learned how to do a photo effect called ANGEL GLOW.  It is simple and I like the results.

The technique using Photoshop Elements 10:  THE ANGEL GLOW EFFECT
1. Open photo
2. Duplicate: command J (on a MAC)

3. Enhance--convert to black and white (portrait)
4. Enhance--Adjust lighting--lighten shadows and midtones
5. Filter-Blur--gaussian blur--4.7
6. change blending mode to overlay--adjust opacity
7. Flatten

Oil Painting
1. Duplicate: command J
2. Filter- artistic-underpainting- adjust sliders to your liking
3. Filter-blur-gaussian blur- to liking
4. change blending mode to overlay-adjust opacity
5. Erase over eyes to sharpen them
6. Flatten

To enhance background color
1. duplicate
2. enhance-brightness/contrast-boost both
3. filter-blur-gaussian blur
4. blending mode- overlay
5. Erase over subject

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My absolute favorite TV show...

"Thank you very much." --Kara Sedgwick (The Closer).

Once upon a time, the TV series, The Closer, was my all time favorite, favorite, favorite show.  I could hardly wait for Mondays to roll around.  The characters on the show are funny, and their lines are priceless.  And funny, too!  It was a short series that only aired during the summer months.  Kara Sedgwick played by Brenda Lee Johnson was Deputy Chief of the homicide division of the LA Police Department.

I was most distressed when I found out the series was being discontinued. Like major melt down kind of distress... until I found out there was going to be a spin-off using the same characters.  Brenda Lee Johnson was being replaced by another equally dynamic character: Sharon Raydor played by Mary McDonnell.  Whew!  I could regroup from my melt down.  The spin-off called, Major Crimes, debuted and I could not believe that I liked it so much better than The Closer.  This has now become my favorite, favorite, favorite, favorite show.  (I added one more favorite than The Closer had).
Monday nights I can be found glued to the TV watching this series.  (Warren records it so we do not have to endure commercials).  I am always so sad when the hour episode is concluded.  Next week will be the season finale, and already I am bummed out about it.  I do not know how I will make it until next summer when it comes on again.  At least, I hope the series will be continued because it is my favorite, favorite, favorite, favorite TV show.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Heart Faces Conference...

"Dream's better to have an impossible dream than no dream at all." -Sue Bryce

October 6th was a big day for me.  I was at the I Heart Faces Conference at South Fork.  If South Fork rings some bells, it is where the TV series "Dallas" is filmed.
The "Dallas" ranch house: South Fork
It was a nice location, but not as plush as I expected.  I never saw so many ladies with cameras, bags, and camera accessories.
The main conference room
The speaker who kicked off the morning was Kelle Hamton who gave a very emotional talk about her evolution as a photographer and mother.  Her second daughter was born with Down's syndrome and that event changed how she approached life and photography.  She shares the story on her blog:  Keep some Kleenix handy.
Kelle Hampton
My favorite workshop was "How to photograph children with natural smiles" by Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman.  Website:  She showed us how, by using kids she had never seen or met.  They were adorable.  The first was a little 2 year old girl.  And least one think it was a small crowd, think again.  Picture a two year old going into a strange situation with an unknown lady and 40 people watching.  I think that would be intimidating for any one.
Part of the crowd...look at all those cameras.  And it was so cold outside!

Is this not the cutest little girl?
Next was a 4 year old boy who was equally cute.  He was so excited to do all the things Jennifer asked of him.  And with the biggest smile ever.  Notice how he is pulling on his pants, and shirt.
Here's the little boy
We learned never to say "cheese" or count.  Hmmm.  I am certainly guilty of that!  I cannot wait to try out her methods.

The last speaker was Sue Bryce.  She was funny, inspirational, and practical.
Me with Sue Bryce

Sue Bryce with the founders of I Heart Faces: Amy and Angie.
In one of our breakout sessions, we did not have enough models, and I was chosen to be the model.  I tried out my Sue Bryce pose: Sit tall, chin out and down, shoulder toward camera.
My Sue Bryce Posing
Finally, some fun shots of me.
This is taken in a mirror in the Ewing Master bath.

At the hotel goofing around.  

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