Thursday, March 30, 2017

Finding Yourself

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."  Mahatma Gandhi

Doing things for others doesn't only help that person, it also helps you.  It improves your sense of well-being and contributes to a happier, more productive life.   It gives you a sense of purpose, a reason for living.  Being engaged with other people, whether in a volunteer or social setting is important to several aspects of our lives, including our physical and mental health.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I Love This World!

I am in love with this world . . . I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings. John Burroughs

I know I've posted this photo before, but I thought it was very appropriate for this quote by John Burroughs, so I decided to share it again.  This picture was taken a couple of years ago with my iPhone at Red Rock Refuge, which is just a few miles west of the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park.  If you're in the area, and have some extra time, be sure to check it out.

I hope you enjoy the blog and are having a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"The Earth Beneath My Feet"

"What a joy it is to feel the soft, springy earth under my feet once more, to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny brooks where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of rippling notes, or to clamber over a stone wall into green fields that tumble and roll and climb in riotous gladness!"  Helen Keller

I love sitting next to streams, listening to the soft sounds of the water falling over rocks, rushing to an end destination.  When photographing streams I sometimes use a fast shutter speed to stop the motion of the water and show the tremendous power that it possesses.  Other times, like in this case, I use a slow shutter speed to alter reality by slowing the motion of the water to create a soft, gentle look.  Creating the "soft water" look is my favorite method of shooting waterfalls and streams, but I usually shoot them both ways for those who prefer to see the individual droplets of water.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Moments That Take Our Breath Away

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."  Maya Angelou

I've always like this quote and I think there's a lot of truth to it.  If we  go through life just breathing, working and taking care of business are we really living or merely existing?  As busy as our lives are today it's very difficult to slow down enough to enjoy the everyday things that happen, like a baby's first smile or the joy of the family dog when he's catching that
far-flung frisbee.  In spite of how busy you are, try to take some time for yourself every day and just do something you enjoy.  Maybe you'll only have time for a few minutes, but it will still make a difference in your sense of well-being and your satisfaction with your life.

The first picture here was enhanced using Topaz Impression 2, because one of the things I enjoy is playing with my images to see what I can create, how I can alter reality to create a special feeling or impression.   The second picture was edited only in Adobe Camera Raw in Lightroom.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and will start spending a little time each day focusing on something that you enjoy.  Start today and see if you can find some small pastimes that will take your breath away, even if only for a moment.

The Mind is Everything!

"The mind is everything.  What you think, you become."  Buddha

I agree with Buddha.  If you think you will be successful, you will be.  If you think you're going to fail, you will.   Many of the decisions we make in life will determine the outcomes we'll have, good or bad.   So, when you're planning your day, your week or your year, think about how those decisions  will impact the rest of your life.  That being said, however, you can always change things to improve your situation in life.   Just by changing the way you react to things or the way you think about your future can have a tremendous impact on how your life will turn out.  Start today.  Think about what you want to become and then do it.  Have a great day!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Explore, Dream, Discover - The Sky's Your Limit

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover." –Mark Twain

So, follow Mark Twain's advice.  Get out there, do the things you really want to do and have fun!  Don't leave anything on your bucket list when you're done!  The sky's your limit! 

By the way, I did use a slight oil painting effect from Blake Rudis on this picture of the mountains.  I liked the original, but wanted to add a little bit of a dreamy effect to the picture.   I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Soda Butte Lodge

This is an old lodge in Cooke City, Montana.  I've taken several pictures of it through the years, but have never processed one in black and white.  I decided it was about time to try that.
I processed this image in Lightroom using only Adobe Camera Raw.  Here are the steps I took:
I used the eye dropper tool to get the correct white balance (I hadn't yet decided to convert it to black and white at that point).
I held down the shift key and double clicked on first the white and then the black to set my white and black points.
I then tweaked the exposure just a little to bring out a darker sky.
I opened the shadows up a little using the shadow slider.  I also used the adjustment brush on the inside of the house to open those shadows up just a little more.
I moved the clarity slider up just a little.
I added some contrast.
I hit the "v" key to turn the photo to black and white.
I added a little more clarity and then I was done.
This lodge now looks quite a bit different.  One side is almost completely gone.  When you see something that interests you be sure to take a picture of it because the next time you see it (if you do) it may look totally different.  I have pictures of this lodge with the walls all standing, with one of them bulging way out and with one of them mostly gone.  It's been interesting watching the progress of the decay of this wonderful old building.  I wish someone had taken care of it or restored it.  Too much history has been lost through decay and neglect.  There's nothing I can do about that, though, so I'll just take pictures to document what happens and enjoy the history that I'm able to capture.  I hope you enjoy it too.