The opposite of work…

Happy New Year!  Ahhh, a day off… and on a Thursday nonetheless.  It’s not very often I can say that…  As a work-at-home independent contractor, if there is work, it’s usually never a question… work comes first.  And if there isn’t work, there’s always something else on the to-do list, clean, cook, shop… something.  So what better way to welcome 2015 than to take the day off…really off.   But what to do?  It’s too cold outside.  I thought about taking in a museum, but it is a holiday after all.  Ah-ha! I’ll go through my photos, organize my files, etc.  It wasn’t long before that felt like work and I was just browsing through the photos I had taken over the year.  Opening this one up, and that one. . . popping it into a plug-in and seeing what this would do, what that would do.   No real goal in mind, no particular purpose.  I was playing!

And as it turns out, by the end of the day, I had created my own year in review of sorts. . .  in no particular order.

blanket-of-lavender

white-peaks

Untitled-1-15

color-spectrum

Untitled-2-15 a-day-remembered Lasting-Impression

summer-dazeheading-home

Oh well, the organizing will just have to wait for that next day off . . .

May your year be filled with Love & Joy, Health & Happiness
. . .  and time to play 🙂

Til next time,
Maria

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When life gives you lemons…

KK Pop Edition
… you make Lemonade, of course.   You can apply these little words of wisdom to photography too. . . with a little help from a plug-in or two.

Is there such a thing as too many . . . plug-ins that is?  Did you catch the Perfect Effects 8 freebie a while back?  I did and have added  it to my plug-in library along with the Topaz and Nik plug-ins, and if those were not a enough, I just added the the quirky plug-in Fractalius to my library.  Like all the software I use, I wish I had more time to dedicate to learning each one of the programs inside and out.  Unfortunately, my day seems to be all about “Units of Time” (I borrowed that one from the movie, About a Boy, …love those quirky (yes, my word of the day) British films).  Anyway, so at the end of the day when all I have is about “one unit”…if that, I finally get to play.

Working with plug-ins, for me, is a lot like cooking without a recipe.  Sometimes all you need are the  basics, a good photo, add some basic adjustments (sharpening/contrast) and wah-la.   But what if your main ingredient isn’t that great?  Well, it’s not a total loss… you just add some special ingredients . . . the plug-ins.  CLP blog timeline May 2014 copy

So here’s the original.  An iPhone snap-shot.  Kind of cute… I Love how it documents the day and actually a very rare photo of me that I actually kind of like, but it’s only 72 dpi (sent to me via email attachment), dark, and kind of lifeless.meg and me in nest_no edits

Sure there are plenty of iPhone apps that probably could achieve the same result, but I wanted to do a little more.  In this case I thought it would make a fun time-line for my FB page.  So, I started with a good crop, ran it through my fave Florabella actions, brushed in my own straw with a little bit of Fractalius added, sent it into Topaz Adjust, then back again to Topaz Simplify, added a little Nik Color Efex (but at this point I can’t remember why), and then garnished with Perfect Effect 8 for some blur and vignette.  Too much?  Nope…not for me.  Because now I have a photo that I can share with you and my FB friends.

CLP blog timeline May 2014Am I suggesting everyone run and and get some plug-ins.  Nope.  Most everything I did here can probably be done in one of the many editing programs available, but for me, when time is short, they really come in handy.

Til next time,
Maria

 

Better Late than Never

Oh my! Day six into the New Year and I’m already running behind in wishing everyone Happy New Year  Hmm, I think my moto for 2013 should be Better Late than Never. And my word for 2013. . . time.  As in time to reflect, time to love, time to grow … or time stops for no one, if I just had a little more time to . . .

Our snow here in eastern PA is all but gone, but then again we only got maybe an inch or two.  The dogs are enjoying the last of the chunks of ice laying around. They like to go out at munch on them almost as much as what the rabbits leave behind.  TMI?…eh, maybe.   Anyway…. I bared the elements the day of the snow to go find a favorite barn of mine.  I thought it would look so pretty in the snow.  Unfortunately, hurricane Sandy looks like it got the best of the old barn and it now has a gaping hole and is barely standing 😦 .    Discouraged by not getting a photo of the old barn or having anything new to work on, I decided to revisit MY year in pictures and make the old new again.

I also felt I needed a challenge myself. I didn’t want this post to get blown out of proportion, get too involved in the details, or spend too much time on it  {a definite must to improve upon in 2013 when it comes to my blogging}.  So the challenge …keep it fun!  I set a few conditions:  First, I searched by month.  This is where keywording can be very important.  I could only pick those photos that showed up in that month (Reminder to self:  Don’t forget to keyword by month 😉  .  Second, the 5 second rule.  I could only view the photo for 5 seconds (i.e. a relatively short period of time) and then either pick it or move on.  And, if I picked it, that was it, no give backs.  Third, the processing.  Here, again, pick something, but something new… a new action I haven’t tried before, a new texture, a new process… and work with it.  No second guessing, no fussing… okay, maybe just a little fussing.  And so this was my 2012 . . .

gather The winter months are perfect for this.  Yes, reading a good book, but I was leaning more toward shooting still lifes.

LUV Given to me by a dear friend … I just ❤ this.

natures-marvelous You just can’t plan these sort of things…

big-guy Don’t you just want to hug him <3!

hidden-treasure Sometimes life’s not fair …

Path … that’s all. waiting…take a break.

starfish What is it about the seashore and all it’s treasures … so inspiring, so relaxing.   I wish I could package it and carry it around with me all year.

closed-til-next-year Fall Colors!

fancy-fall I love this flower’s resilience.

on-the-run Seriously, there’s just no stopping him.

Little-red-barn my barn in the snow after all.

Bombay Hook

I made it!  Linda was so impressed on her visit the previous Sunday, she wanted to go again and so we went this past Sunday.  We made it in a nick of time to catch the sunrise which was definitely worth getting up at 5 and traveling 2 hours to see.  Unfortunately, I plugged in the wrong address into the GPS which took us to another spot.  In a mad dash to get to the actual preserve, the sun began to rise, so we jumped out of the car and set up.  I’m glad we did.  The sun just lit the tops of the grasses along the road and made for a beautiful setting.  We then headed into the preserve.  There was a bird watchers perch and we took advantage of it.  You should have seen Linda and I up there with our tripods in this 3 x 3′ (if that) rickety tower about 8′ off the ground.  But from there we got to watch an eagle perched in a tree.  We watched for a while, but of course once we took our eyes off him, he dove into the grasses, and we missed it.  There were plenty of other water fowl to see, the fall colors were still very vibrant, and the weather was perfect for a morning of shooting.  I never did see the foxes, but I hear the spring will be a good time to go back.  And I hope Linda isn’t too upset with me that I forgot the bug spray.   Note: Don’t forget your bug spray.