This winter has been absolutely beautiful. According to the Fox 12 Weather Blog from late January, the long-range weather forecast for Portland is decidedly un-Portland-like:
• Little to no rainfall is likely from this Wednesday afternoon through at least the 10th of
February, possibly longer.
• Little or no snowfall in the Cascades for the next 10-14 days... essentially the first half of
February could be snow-free in the mountains.
• No flooding, windstorms, snow to lower elevations... or strong wind for 95% of us during this
• Lots of chilly nights, sunny & comfortable days.
• The mountains and the coast should be unusually warm this coming weekend.
So, hurray for spring, right? Flowers are blooming...
...but just in time for me to spend every waking hour outside, the Portland weather comes back:
Yes, that's right, that's snow you're seeing there. ...Sigh...
_This week's Edit Me challenge photo comes from Rosie of Leavesnbloom Studio. I took advantage of this sleepy-sheepy castle scene to try out a new technique: imitating the effect of a tilt-shift lens.
_I adjusted the blurry and non-blurry portions with a low-opacity black brush and a low-opacity eraser. The rest was just tweaking colors. I'll probably get better at making it look more realistic with practice (and by more realistic, I mean of course more fake-miniature).
I'm participating in the first week of Photo Feedback on Mom Tried It. The purpose of this particular blog hop is to give and receive feedback about photography. This chicken photograph is my entry. This is a friend's chicken. I had a hard time getting one of them to stay still long enough (there were three of them), and it wasn't just a fast shutter speed issue; they were in and out of the frame before I could compose the shot most of the time. So, this was my best attempt.
Please critique my photograph! Tell me what you think I did well, and what you think I could have done better with this shot. Even if you don't know anything technical about photography, you can still give me some feedback. I look forward to reading it!
This week's Edit Me Challenge comes from Selena of Stoneyville. The original image (below) had some challenging elements, most notably the sky with complete lack of color or interest.
_With my first edit, I did so many things to it, I don't even remember them all. It ended up looking a little over-colorized, but I think I like the effect anyway. I definitely added some sky color, and warmed it up overall. I changed the contrast and saturation on the couple's clothing as well. This one is my official entry for the Edit Me Challenge.
_On this second edit, I simply altered the levels, brightness, and contrast, and then burned in some details. After editing both ways, I'm still not sure which I like better - more color or less color (I did try knocking down the saturation of the vibrant edit, but it left something to be desired).
Andrea and Megan, with the epic rack of aprons
Craft Day 2012. Celebrating its 10th year, Craft Day inspires craftiness in even the most ardent non-crafters. The event is hosted each year by my friends Megan and Andrea, and they provide all the necessary tools to get one's craft on.
Left photo courtesy of Lydia Brooks of Board Shanty Photo
Immediately upon arrival, guests are directed to an enormous rack of aprons, many of which have been constructed at past Craft Day events. Nearly all attendees choose to don an apron for the day (I'm kind of kicking myself for not getting a photograph of the colorful apron rack — Edit: Found a photo of Andrea and Megan with the apron rack [top of post], taken by Lydia Brooks).
Supplies of all kinds are provided. Basic raw materials like colored paper, fabric, and old magazines, as well as basic tools like scissors, markers, and glue are readily available. But Megan and Andrea don't stop there: they also provide sewing machines and typewriters, irons, glass etching supplies, old board games, stickers, button-makers, and even cookies that need a little decorating.
Some participants arrive with a plan in mind, or their own supplies. Some just wait to be inspired by something when they arrive. Some come to learn a new skill, and some teach their existing skills to others. It's nearly impossible not to make something in this environment.
One of my favorite things about Craft Day is the "let's make it happen" attitude. If someone has a craft goal, but no idea about how to accomplish it, everyone nearby pitches in to help the idea come to fruition. Supplies are found, skills are learned, and the crafting abounds.
Some attendees show up just for the social atmosphere and to support the efforts of others, but all skill levels are embraced, and nearly everyone ends up proud of their Craft Day accomplishments.
Edit: This photo series has been named "Mint Condition" and is available for purchase as cards, prints and posters on Redbubble.
There is a truck in my neighborhood. It's an old truck. I don't know nearly enough about cars to be able to begin to tell you anything interesting about it (nor could I find anything that piqued my non-car-loving interest on the internet), but I do know it's a Chevrolet Apache 10. Oh, and the color of the truck is amazing.
I took some shots of the truck today, as I walked around the neighborhood. I frequently bring my camera with me as I walk, and I often find interesting things to shoot, but I don't always take the shot that I want.
Check out those rims! The color or this truck makes me want to eat ice cream.
I wonder about the owners of the things I want to photograph. If I looked out my window one day, and saw someone in my front yard taking pictures, it would be a little creepy. I definitely don't want to be that person. And yet, this truck is just sitting there, being all minty, begging to be my model.
So, then, what to do? Mostly, I just keep my camera to myself, or stick to shooting things that are definitely hanging over into the realm of the sidewalk. Or, I walk past the same thing over and over again before I get up the courage to take a picture. Like with the truck. It's been parked in front of the same house for at least 10 years. I finally took pictures of it today.
What have you always wanted to take a picture of?
I have begun a massive project.
I hope I can get it done in some sort of reasonable time frame.
I decided to assemble my photographs into a static, published book.
Reason number two is Photoshop. I have albums full of crappy snapshots (intermixed with some pretty great, high quality portraits, mostly taken by my dad). A crappy snapshot is album-worthy, but if I'm going to put it into a book, I'll be scanning it anyway. And once it's on my computer, I can correct all kinds of things: dust & scratches, colors, lighting, noise, removing unwanted elements.
I have a stopping point: May 2000. Any photos taken after that will go in the next book. I'm almost done with the scanning stage, which is huge in itself, but the editing of nearly every photograph and arranging them will take a ton of time. At least I don't have to organize them much; their arrangement in my albums was strictly chronological order.
Go back up your data.
So there I was, sitting at my computer, minding my own business (as usual). Suddenly, a warning box popped up on the screen. Apparently, I had removed a device without ejecting it properly.
All of them were either unsuccessful, or they would let me see my data, but only save it if I was willing to fork over $100 - $200. If I had lost everything, $100 would totally be worth it, but I only wanted 20 days worth of data. Can I get that for $5? Each of these attempts took several hours, as I waited for each program to find what it could find from my faulty external drive. I did nothing else yesterday.
I finally concluded that I probably could have spent all day taking some new pictures instead. I wiped the drive, and started over. Now it works just fine. It has been reloaded with its 0-2011 data once again. And I backed it up today, just for good measure.
Pictures I took in 2012, like this chair with the pumpkins, that I wasn't quite satisfied with and wish I could keep editing, are now stuck in this permanent state. I wish I could get that original back and edit it differently. Oh well.
Have you backed up your data today?
Go do it.
There was a moment, this fall, when the figurative planets aligned. The end of October was going to bring with it the much anticipated Halloween celebration. Halloween always means much planning, preparation, and time. Time is something we have precious little of.
The biggest time sucker is, of course, the Haunted House. In order to make it deliciously creepy, we needed English Ivy and dried leaves aplenty. But fall happens very quickly. By fall, I mean the actual "fall"—that day, once a year, when all the leaves decide to relinquish their grasp on the trees. It seems as though one day there are only one or two leaves on the ground, and the next day there are only one or two leaves on the trees.
So, in this planet-aligning fall leaf timing scenario, here's what happened: I realized, all of a sudden, that today was Fall; all the leaves had hit the ground. They were also, miraculously, still dry. If you are familiar with the Pacific Northwest in fall (spring, summer, winter), you know that a dry day when you need a dry day is far from a guarantee (outdoor weddings with umbrellas can be charming). In fact, on this particular fall day, it was sunny. So there were all the leaves, just sitting there, still dry and crunchy and crinkly, and perfect for the haunted house still 3 weeks away.
__Ordinarily, this would cause me to pause just long enough to think to myself, "we should really collect some of those leaves while they're still dry," before rushing off to my next task. But on this particular sunny-dry-fall day, I had an entire half hour free. This is unheard-of. Free time is not a thing that happens.
_Put all this together: Dry Fall Leaves. Sunny Day. Half Hour Free. Several Enthusiastic Helpers.
In 20 minutes, we had 10 huge garbage bags full of leaves for haunted house ambiance, stored under a building until they would be needed in three weeks.
I tried editing this photograph, because it has such interesting colors, but I wasn't able to do anything to it that I liked better than the original, straight out of the camera. Love that Acer.