Friday, April 30, 2010

Fix it Friday #52

The day is nearly over but I'm still going to play! This picture was full of possibilities -- as you can tell looking through all the wonderful submissions so far. So here's what I did -- started with curves, cropped, removed distractions, burned the yellow/black sign and the edges of the road and finally, use the Bubba Wildcat texture from Totally Rad. That's it. Oh, no. One more step. Added Gaussian blur to a duplicate layer and put it in Overlay mode. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reflect and Anticipate

Sunday evening seems like a good time to reflect on the prior week and begin to anticipate the next. I almost said something about resolving to do this and that in the coming week but I'm trying not to become attached to outcomes. Tricky as I'd still like to get a few things done:) 
This past week's triumphs were completing the requirements for licensure, meeting my triathlon training goals and reducing, though not eliminating, media time. Of course, photography and editing excluded! 
So what about this week? Not really over the hump of figuring out how to routinely meet training goals. It is so hard to get out of the bed early before work and nearly impossible to force myself at the end of the day. I've been cramming all the training into the four days I don't work. Doable at the current level of intensity and duration. Not so much in a few more weeks. And then there's balance and my children and . . . stop. Focus. I'd also like to spend a few minutes each morning while hubby is showering to meditate. This would be a new practice for me. I'm a little uncertain how to get started and will be glad to have the kids sleeping and husband behind a closed door! 

What's on your plate this week? 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happily Photoshop Learning

A little BEFORE . . .
and AFTER . . . 

I've been busily learning away in the last 24hr. And man-oh-man, what a marvelous thing Photoshop is! I was plenty happy with this pic before I learned all about the fantastic ways you can adjust colors with curves and add glow and, and, and . . . but now I LOVE it. Printed out both and am marveling and the difference. 

There is an artistic dilemma. Or maybe not. What do you think? Is it "cheating" to do post processing? Should the photo be what you saw in your mind's eye SOOC? Frankly, I'm not sure how much I care. Art is creating something unique and uniquely yours. I do hesitate in "fixing" the faces of people who I believe are beautiful just as they are. We have become too accustomed to a false ideal of beauty. Humans have dark eye circles. We have uneven skin tone and blemishes. We show our age in our eyes and smile lines. When we keep erasing these artifacts of living, we deny who we are. Now, don't hold me to this when you see pictures of me finessed! 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The end of a journey

This humble Thursday marks the end of a long journey . . . if all goes well, I will have finally accrued the massive number of hours needed to be licensed as a professional counselor. I don't quite believe its possible! It has been five years since completing my graduate degree and in that time, I've worked part time, had a second child and temporarily lost my job when there were budget cuts. And here I am today with 5 hours left . . . . unless all my clients decide that the sunshine is good cause to miss their appointments today, I'll be done early this afternoon. I need to pinch myself!

This has been a central focus of my attention for a few weeks now as I've steadily watched the number of hours still left to document dwindle but that's not to say there haven't been exciting prospects and projects on the horizon.

1. A friend has gifted me an unused copy of photoshop and I can't wait to dig into the tutorials on so that I can begin learning how to use this amazing software.

2. I want to redesign my website. Feels as if I've outgrown this particular layout but I'm not sure where to begin in creating a new one. Ideas, anyone?

3. Training for a triathlon this summer. It's been 3 years since my last one . . . I'm older, slower and a wee bit more distracted! But boy does it feel good to be running, biking and swimming. And I get to share it with a good friend.

4. And this summer, hubby and I intend to learn how to windsurf. I even have a gift certificate for lessons!! I can hardly wait . . . we'll camp on the river, sit in the sun, play with the kids in the water and hopefully, experience some soft of success with getting up on the board ;)

What plans and excitement have you got hovering on the horizon? Please share!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fancy Nancy turns Four

How did I miss posting my sweet girl's 4th birthday celebration?! Mercy. It was quite the affair. Pink. Fancy. That nearly sums it up. She is quite the fan of the Fancy Nancy books so this mama obliged.
There was the pink feathered boa, party hats, fancy table decorations and most amazing of all (in my humble opinion!) a three layered chocolate cake with home made pink frosting with chocolate shavings and cherries on top . . . Sis was also quite fancy, calling us all darling and using various other big words.
Hubby and I commented to each other frequently how disconcerting it was to see her so immersed in pink and dainty play-acting. She pranced about in her new plastic play heels, made pretend grocery lists on her pink Hello Kitty pad of paper and wore her boa and sunglasses with quite a deal of grown up decorum. So very sweet and cute. And yet, I don't want to rush her into the grown up girl world of worry about appearances and fashion. I have resisted the Princess stories, wanting instead to fill her imagination with strong, active girls who could care less about winning Prince Charming. People tell me its a losing battle. That pink and princess is part of the female genetic code. Well, we'll see. Perhaps we can encourage the budding activist that fights against injustice (you should see her on time out!), the athlete that competes alongside the boys, the mathematician or engineer . . . . the possibilities are endless. The stories she can write with her life are far more inspiring and exciting and rewarding then the pre-packaged tales sold by Disney. Who knows what else she (and we) will discover she can be!

We are so proud of you, Sis! All your spunk, intelligence, energy, tenderness . . . 

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Sun low in the sky, bubbles and a happy boy. 
My dad was visiting last weekend and for a bit of play as well as some experimentation on my part, I bought bubbles. The kids twirled and jumped and giggled while Papa and I took pictures and laughed at their antics. 
It was wonderful. It had felt like weeks (and really kinda had been) since I'd just enjoyed taking pictures, thrilled with the images I see in front of me. It was like taking a deep cleansing breath . . . 
Hoping for plenty of relaxed down time with the family this weekend. No plans, just ideas of how we might spend our time. 

How will you be spending your weekend?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fix it Friday #50

I'm playing along with iheartfaces today and this is their Fix Friday challenge. The photo was submitted by Debbie and what a beautiful girl she has!
So here's how I played today:
1. Levels adjustment to lighten things up
2. Selected and then sharpened the eyes
3. Painted the skin area after selecting the tone from her face, adjusted opacity
4. Smoothed out the skin by using the surface blur filter (Not sure that's what's it for but I like it)
5. Clone stamp for a few little blemishes and to smooth out under eye lines
6. Flattened the layers and then added an overlay layer (to make colors pop a bit more), adjusted opacity
7. Finally, added an omni lighting effect and again adjusted for opacity. I centered the light on her left cheek. I kinda like the the way it creates a lovely glow on her face and highlights her eyes.

So much fun!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Celebrating "Three"

A coworker and friend honored me by asking if I'd take pictures of her sweet newly-three year old son. Oh, he was fun! He ran and rolled and blew bubbles and attacked dandelions with vigor. 
We had beautiful sun all day. I was drooling with the anticipation of taking some lovely late afternoon pics. And then the clouds rolled in and it got dark. Very dark . . .  Never fear, the bright fresh colors of Spring and his red sweater, saved the day!
Thank you, for letting me play with your boy and take pictures. So much fun. And it really is a pleasure to be able to give a mama pictures that will capture this precious, passing moment. It goes by so quick.  The "baby" pictures that I have of my two children will likely always be on my walls. I can't bear to hide them behind new pictures . . . it creates quite a dilemma. I'm simply terrible about framing some of the recent pictures so they pile up on the bulletin board and in computer files. I need someone to take charge of filling my picture frames:) Anyone up for the task? I don't pay much but I'd happily return the favor with pictures. 

What do all you avid photographers do with your photos? Do tell! 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


He, he. How appropriate! A shot of porta potties . . . I'm back in that place of feeling small and inadequate and all self-doubting. When will this go away! I'm sick of coming back to this particular intersection in my journey. Oh, there's a story to go with this feeling but it is uninteresting in its everydayness. Just an off day, saying and doing the seemingly wrong things, cranky kids and a messy house. It clearly doesn't take much. But enough. Let me tell you why I took a picture of these lovely Sani Huts!
A dear friend of mine and I ran the 8K at the Shamrock Run. It was a beautiful and clear morning -- lots of sun as you can see in my sun flare obsessed photo above. There were thousands of runners in several different events. It was quite the party on the waterfront. 
I'm the gal with the blue headband . . . we had a blast. There is a certain energy that gathers with the crowd at the starting line. A sense of being part of something big and exciting. You end up grinning at complete strangers because you share a goal and an adventure. 
Does she look excited? Just a bit? :) 
My children were cold. It was the first race they had gone to and I was so aware of their presence. I want to share with them the joy of a strong, healthy body. Sadly, hubby and kids did not see my "grand" finish. Huffing and puffing. 

It was a wonderful day. And there are many, many of those. I need to practice forgiveness and compassion for my little ol' self when the self-doubting days come now and again.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lovely Day

It was a busy, busy weekend. Little Sis celebrated her 4th birthday with family on Saturday. It was quite the "Fancy Nancy" affair. Pics to follow shortly . . . and that afternoon, after dropping my dad off at the airport for his return flight, we headed to Forest Park for some picture taking. 
I wanted to see what kind of light I might find at that time of day as the next day, I was to take pics of a coworkers newly three-year old son. What I found was lovely! Apparently I'm a little partial to sun flare. Though I can imagine some well-meaning person thinking some terrible accident had marred the photos!

Big D was in fine silly form as usual. Initially both of my children played hard to get while mama tried to take their pictures. I was getting a wee bit huffy! Then some running and rolling down the hill seemed to joggle their helpfulness back into position.

I wish I was a better person when life becomes chaotic and unpredictable. This was a beautiful weekend - celebrating a sweet girly girl. I so enjoyed baking her cake and fixing her birthday lunch. And I enjoyed seeing her grandparents and brother join in the fun with her. But I also watched myself become more edgy and irritable. Why is that? Oh, I know why. I just don't like the answer. It's my struggle to stay present in the moment. To be responsive and flexible to what the moment demands without getting sucked into thinking and feeling the demands of what the next moment might present. 

I'm working on it. Right now in this moment, I'm enjoying my cup of coffee, listening to the dryer and appreciating the spring rain falling outside the window. In a moment, the kids will pop out of bed like energizer bunnies and we'll be off . . .