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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Let’s Party

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
~Robin Williams 

Isn’t that the perfect quote for this time of year.  Everything really looks so vibrant and happy!

catching-fire SakuraIf only the spring blossoms could stay around just a little bit longer . . . one good rain and now the sidewalks are lined with pink confetti . . .

a-little-magica sign that Summer is just around the corner!

HAPPY SPRING!
Til next time,
Maria

Accidental-like

Another club Photo Quest due, and as usual, I had waited until the last minute.  I nice chilly, breezy, fall day, I headed out on the fly to a local college campus.  I meandered about a bit, took some shots.  I left not feeling overly inspired…but satisfied that at least I got the task off my to-do list.  Not something you expect a photographer to say…huh?  It’s been busy, busy, busy lately, so my camera (other than for my iPhone) has been a bit idle…  In hindsight, I’m actually grateful to have an “assignment” to help break the rut.

Anyway…
So I did my first run through.  My lack of enthusiasm had shown up in my images too, although I found a reflection shot I liked at the pond.

mdreyer_BC-1-before

When I zoomed in to get a closer look at some of the details, I really liked the lines and how the composition filled the screen, and especially the window, squiggly lines and all … so I kept it. mdreyer_BC-1-after

Feeling a little more optimistic and that I just needed to look a little harder, I went back to my images.  Tried again with some of the buildings, but they just weren’t stacking up to the one above, at least not for this assignment.  I also had a shot of a squirrel sitting in a tree ~ I haven’t given up on him either ~ but since it’s not the best of exposed shots and was quickly turning into an exercise in frustration to bring the little guy out of the shadows, I moved on.  Remember, I waited until the last minute on this assignment.

Next up, another shot in the shadows, which actually was my second shot of the day, a fence-lined walk by the pond.  What I saw when I was taking the picture were lots of pretty fall colors, nice lines, a good composition.  So to say I was a disappointed when I first viewed the original image would be a vast understatement…  mdreyer_BC-2-before

But!!!! And this is a very important point to remember … at least I hadn’t overexposed the shot (like in did in my very first shot of the day).  To see what I truly had,  I messed around with the sliders in LR, discovering these red dots…bigger than dots really… going across the image.  Look closely, do you see them in the photo above?.  After a few minutes of trying to figure out what they were and how I was going to clone them out, I realized I not only had to KEEP these red dots, which were actually leaves floating on a breeze up the path, but I NEEDED to figure out a way to accentuate them. mdreyer_BC-2-after A couple actions and a turn or two in Topaz Adjust, my photo came to life! 🙂

“I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both.”
~ Forrest Gump ~

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.

Words for Wednesday

I can’t believe it.  From a hurricane to the first snow of the season!  Although does it really count if it doesn’t stick?  Anyway seems like forever since I’ve been here on the blog.  I’ve also had some serious catching up to do on the many other blogs I love to follow.  There just never seems to be enough hours in the day to do it all.   So I can’t think of a better way to spend this snowy/rainy Wednesday evening than catching up.

A quick recap:  The arts fest season ended {sigh}.  It might not be the most lucrative way to get my photography out there, but I can surely tell you it is an amazing way to meet interesting, talented, and dedicated people.  I can’t wait until  next year.  During the winter months, there’s the photography club, which, again, mixes photography with meeting all sorts of people.   I never really thought of photography as being a social activity, but for me it really is!  From the bloggers, to the photographers, to the strangers I meet when I am out shooting . . . this is quite the social activity. . . at least for me.

Now for some photography . . .   This month’s photo club challenge , pardon me, I mean “Quest” is Portraiture.  My dilemmas:

1) Portraiture — Not the type of photography I usually do (this is definitely more of a challenge, at least for me).

2)  Getting my (insert expletive here) flash to cooperate.

3) {I thought} I needed a creative idea.

With Model #1 everything just seemed to click … right down to the breeze blowing through her hair.  But I had taken those kinds of photos before … model #1 and I watched plenty of America’s Next Top Model and she’s always willing to strike a pose.   I was still feeling the need to get a little creative … maybe to compensate for my lack of confidence in taking portraits.  That brings us to Model #2 and that dang flash.   I even brushed up on flash photography and portraiture, but even with all that preparation, I just could not get the images I had envisioned to show up in the LCD display.  Frustrated, I ditched the flash and used what little natural light I had … oh, and some red hot chili peppers :-0  Now that I think about it, this is more like how I was feeling while trying to get my flash to cooperate.

Lighting aside, you’re probably now wondering what the heck I was thinking when I wrapped this fella in lighted chili peppers.  I’ll just say it seemed like a potentially good idea in my head . . . that and model #2 is a really great sport for putting up with my crazy idea.

So in the end, the flash worked as fill when used outside; but for an indoor photo I fared much better when I put the flash away . . . at least for my intents and purposes.  So now the final portraits (sorry,  no chili peppers involved).  If you’re a DPC member and want to see them fresh at the meeting, STOP HERE.  Otherwise . . .

 

 

                         
BTW, Flora Bella actions used with model #1 ….Love These!!!!