Friday, November 20, 2009

Fix-it Friday Autumn Beauty

Well, it's that time again and this week's editing challenge had a darling little beauty burried in a pile of leaves. I played around so much with the edits that I wasn't able to keep track of my steps, so I'll just let the pictures tell the story. I cropped and rotated the image to give the subject a slight tilt. Many others cropped out the tree and grass. This is a nice touch that gives the illusion of an endless sea of leaves. However, for me, I liked the green contrast from the grass and I thought the tree balanced out the subject, so I kept those elements in my final crop. I also thought this picture would work well with a painterly effect, so I played around with that too.

You can click on any picture for a larger view.




For other great editing ideas, go here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Staying Home

The Flu
Today I had lots of big plans at work. I had an appointment with an accountant to audit one of my projects. I have three contractors scheduled to perform various tasks on another project and I have paperwork and design work to do for my next project. It was supposed to be productive.

But then, stuff happens when you're busy making plans. Here it started around midnight. Chloe woke me up to tell me her tummy hurt, just in time to make it to the bathroom. And so it began. Now it is 13 hours later and she is still sick to her school, no work, no rest. I am hoping Dad can step in and give me a break in a little while.

I took a picture of her sitting by the fireplace, snuggled in a blanket. If only she felt as good as she looked. I am also throwing in a couple of miscellaneous pictures. One is a family portrait I took a couple of weeks ago. I cannot believe how difficult it is to get 13 people to not blink or make a funny face at the same time, especially when 5 are children. I don't really see a future in this for me, but it was sure fun to try.
Learning Curve

Yesterday it was cloudy and gloomy all day. We didn't get any precious rain, just the clouds. Finally, right at sunset, the clouds broke apart enough to allow for a beautiful scene. I had to steal away a few minutes early to capture this image just down the road from my house.

I've got the girls to myself this weekend. Dad is going sailing to Catalina Island with friends. Hopefully, if we are all feeling well, we can get out and do something fun as well. Until next time!
Shafter Sunset

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ninety Years Ago

Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States of America. World War I was over and the Treaty of Versailles was signed and the Nazi Party was formed in Germany. The sale of alcohol was prohibited. We were still ten years away from the Great Depression. The Cincinnati Reds won the World Series over the Chicago White Sox, taking the series in five games to three. Milk was a whopping 62 cents per gallon, bacon was 55 cents per pound and the average wage was a record $1272 per year. The average price of a new home was $5,626...........and Earl Williamson (my father) was born in Vernon Texas and later moved to Oklahoma as part of a family with 10 kids. Now, only three remain, including my dad.

This past weekend we traveled to Las Vegas and Pahrump Nevada to celebrate my father's 90th birthday. His health is good and his family is grateful. My brother couldn't make it at the last minute, but we did have a nice turnout all the way down to the great grand children. I am so happy that my daughters are able to see and know their grandparents, all four of them. It is more than I ever could have hoped for when we decided upon adoption.

All the rooms in Pahrump were booked Friday night so we stayed at a nice resort hotel in Vegas. We drove through Red Rock Canyon to take a couple of quick pictures on our way to Dad's birthday party. I reserved a dining room at the local winery restaurant and we had an amazing time visiting, swapping stories and enjoying each other's company, plus an amazing 5 course dinner. My sister, the florist, brought a beautiful exotic bouquet of flowers as a centerpiece and a carrot cake which was topped with airplanes in recognition of Dad's lifetime career of working on them and flying them.

As always, Chloe and Pearl had a great time and I lament that I did not get outside to take some great Fall vineyard shots with them. I was just having such a nice time with the family inside. By the time we finished, the sun had set but we were all thankful to have another wonderful memory to add to our collection.
We stopped off at Red Rock Canyon to shoot a couple of pictures before going to the party.
My sister made this beautiful arrangement.
Dad and Mom enjoy the company.
Grandaughter Lisa (my niece) and fiance Brent
Carrot cake with airplane toppers
Dad blows out the candles.
The next day Chloe and Pearl play with rocks at Grandpa and Grandma's house.
Daughter Nancy (my sister on far right) with grandson Brian and great-grandchildren Isabella and Greta.

Mom and Dad

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fix It Friday #35


This week's picture was way too perfect to start off with, so I was challenged to come up with different ways to edit it rather than "fix" it. I have been having a lot of fun making up presets in Lightroom. Mostly I create presets to give a unique color cast to an image, like purple or gold. With this picture, I sharpened and brightened the eyes in Photoshop. The rest is simple playing with the colors. I am showing several variations here. To see other edits, click here.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween 2009--Happy and Sad

After three and four years home with us, the girls are really getting into the swing of Halloween. It is so much fun for Kindergarteners and First Graders. Chloe and Pearl are still in the princess phase, so I told them it was time to move up to the "queen" level. Pearl decided to be the Queen of Hearts and after a couple hours of re-sizing her costume, she looked quite majestic. Chloe was dressed as the Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra. I thought it would be unique and original and that I would have fun with the make-up. Well, as it turned out, we ran into two other Cleopatra's at the park and Halloween parade and I am not as great a make-up artist as I thought I was. However, I was able to "fix" Chloe's running and smeared eyeliner in Photoshop. Take a look at the lovely picture below where she is crossing her eyes. Actually, out of character, Chloe was NOT in the mood to have her picture taken. What's the fun in all this dress-up and make-up if Mom can't get a picture to remember it by? At least Pearl was willing to pose for me and I had a lot of great shots of her.

On a very sad note, we learned when we arrived home from trick-or-treating, that our friend Catherine lost her husband Jimmy to the H1N1 flu. We had been anxiously reading updates whenever Catherine had time to post on Facebook and we were constantly thinking about what they must be going through. Catherine and Jimmy are adoptive parents like us. They adopted their little girl from China at the same time we adopted Chloe. As anxious parents waiting for referrals, we joined a support group called the "Sweet Peas" and Catherine and Jimmy were part of that group. Now it is with a heavy heart that we keep Catherine and her family in our thoughts as we wish them peace and comfort in their time of grief.

UPDATE: After the parade, we left the park and carnival early to go trick-or-treating. We just found out that Chloe won 1st prize and Pearl won 3rd prize for their Halloween costumes! I am so sorry they missed it.