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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Boo ‘tiful

Even though Halloween is not a true “holiday” (i.e. a day off from work) and what with no costumes to make or candy to confiscate, it is a day that puts an exclamation point on the best season of all (well, at least my favorite)…Fall! From now until next March or maybe even April/May, the landscape will go gray.  Maybe if we’re lucky at some point there will be some coating of white… but mostly just gray.  So until then, I will enjoy every last little bit of color that clings on…
when in doubt

on my way

The above photos were taken with my iphone and processed with Snapseed and a wonderful little App, by from the same talented woman that brought us Distressed Textures, called DistressedFX (♥!)

Halloween is veritably a fitting finale to Fall and in in keeping
with the SPIRIT of the day,
here’s 
Witching Everyone A Frightfully Delightful ...

inviting(above) Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia PA
 
The great pumpkin{above – texture courtesy of Lenabem-Anna}

happy halloween 2013{above – texture courtesy of Kerstin Frank}

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Til next time,
Maria

Taking the time

 

With so many unknowns looming in the day-to-day, what with shut downs, break downs, slow downs, etc. etc… the family and I headed out to just enjoy the day.  I had an agenda, but left my fate and the direction we took in the hands of my trusty navigator.  As I got turned around and completely lost all bearings (even though I was behind the wheel) on where we were and where I thought we were headed, my navigator knew exactly where were headed, a little town called St. Peters Village.  A day late for the town’s October Fest, but it must have been good because no one got up early to take down orange and white bunting on the buildings…. except for oneone-roomAnd a bonus on this beautiful fall day was a quarry just behind these buildings.  DSC_4407-Edit-2DSC_4412-Edit-1So much for agendas….  this was way better!
Til next time,
Maria

 

Happy First Day of Fall

I thought I’d celebrate with a before and after.  To say so-long to summer, my daughter and I took in an early morning stroll at the Philadelphia Zoo yesterday.  The zoo is one of those love/hate places for me.  I love experiencing and learning about animals I would never get to see otherwise, but I hate how some just look like they would be so much happier…free.  I also love photographing the animals but hate the unnatural environment.

Many of the animals were a bit more active (relatively speaking given their surroundings) than in past visits, the cool temperatures for some and the warm sun for others, I suppose.  My daughter and I had an agenda this trip, the debut of the snow leopard cubs, but we also got a few surprises… some very testy flamingos, the posing lions (they’ve never been awake for us before), the kissing giraffes, and then when I turned around these three…

Antelope-3-copyA shot you just can’t plan for.  Remember what I said about the unnatural background…case in point, not to mention all those highlights, their faces in shadow.   But this was so much more about what I did have... three gazelles perfectly poised.   That’s all I needed.

First task, getting rid of that hideous background… of course.  Topaz Remask to the rescue.  Antelope_remaskNext, letting my imagination run wild (no pun intended 😉 )…a sky, a desert maybe… off to my texture library.  For the background I wanted something warm & sunny, kind of like the day it was, but also with a little intrigue… something obviously has their attention.

I chose one of my all-time faves, and so appropriately called  Between Seasons by Distressed Textures http://distressedtextures.com/.

DT Then a little cloning of some grass,  some blending and playing with the opacity… but just not quite done.  When I saw the textured result, I imagined Noah’s Ark.  I really have no idea why, as my pair of gazelles brought a guest, but that’s just how my mind works, and that led to the final touch…

waiting-for-Noah-copyI hope you enjoyed this before & after.
Til next time,
Maria

A new pair of shoes

Pardon my absence.  A new job/new schedule and a pile of mulch that HAD/HAS to be moved will do that.

So tonight I am heading up the Doylestown Photography Club’s Focus Ring :-o.  I suppose I should explain what the Focus Ring is.  It’s a mini, about 45-minute, how-to session that is presented prior to the club’s regular meeting.  In the past, such topics have included matting, Photoshop tutorials, lighting, the business side . . . there never seems to be a loss of ideas for the focus ring.  So when organizing this month’s meeting, we tossed around ideas about artistic side of photography, composition, stepping away momentarily from the technical side of things.  It seemed like a pretty good fit that my photography and my work with textures would fit right in.  And then I got this plug in the club’s monthly newsletter, “Focus Ring featuring the Queen of Textures.”  Oh my . .  no pressure!

Well, I have to stop right here and say that the real “Queens of Textures” have some pretty big shoes fill.  I now have such an immense appreciation for the amount of time and work they put into their tutorials, tips, and most importantly . . . seemingly endless supply of inspiration.  Ladies, you know who you are (Hi Kim, Cheryl, & Leslie . . . just to name a few) THANK YOU!

I think the hardest part about putting together this little demo was, well, keeping it little.  After I started really thinking and planning it out, I realized how much is actually involved.  Granted, once you get the hang of it, find your flow and your style, you don’t even think about.  But finding a way to explain it so I don’t lose anyone or scare them off from trying it . . . or the worst, be uninspiring, is a rather large task.  I had to keep reminding myself that I am just giving them a little taste, a sampling . . .

So here’s the image I am using . . .  sweet and simple . . . I hope 🙂