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

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Double Duty

Finally making some time for … me.   It feels so good to be working on some photos.

KK Pop Edition

Linking up, above, with KK’s Texture Tuesday ~ the POP edition ~ with the help of KK2 ( one of my all time favorites!), beached, and robins egg.  I’m also catching up on my 52×52.  Ugg … backing up all the way to Week 5:  Fruit (how did I get so behind).   I was 99% sure, but since I don’t know anyone that eats a lemon like they do an orange, I figured I should double check.  Sure enough, it really is a fruit…

With a little help from some friends at the Zoo, here are Week 6: From a low angle; Week 7: Eyes; Week 8: a bad habit; and Week 9: Childhood memory.  Can you match up the photo with the week?zoopendous dayGive up?  … I’ll give you some hints.  Week 6:  They’re really tall and I am really short.  Week 7:  A beautiful gaze.  Week 8:  Sleeping on the job.  Week 9: What kid doesn’t like playing on the monkey bars 😉

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.

Chatting with a Cheetah

“can you speak rhinoceros?”
I’d say “of courserous! Can’t you?”

What a week!  I knew lots of changes would be in store for me as I started a new job.  I guess now that it is Friday, looking back, I could have spent my down time on Tuesday (I started the new job on Wednesday) doing things like stocking the fridge with food, maybe doing a load of laundry or two, or vacuuming up some dog hair.    Well I am so, no make that Super-duper glad I put all those chores and responsibilities aside and spent the day at the ZOO!   My hubby, daughter, and I were like three little kids ooing and ahhing at the animals, enjoying a-couldn’t-be-more-perfect day at the oldest Zoo in the U.S.  Yes, Tuesday was the perfect reboot!

          

If I could talk to the animals, just imagine it,
Chattin’ with a chimp in chimpanzee, Imagine talking to a tiger,
chatting with a cheetah,
What a neat achievement it would be!

There is definitely going to have to be a Part II to this post.  As I look through the photos I took (all 529 :-0 ), I feel so thankful . . . like I said, there is sure to be a Part II.