Monday, August 31, 2009

Add To The Joy!

I found this quote in the Random Acts of Kindness Journal.

"It is possible to decrease the suffering in the world by adding to the joy. It is possible to add light rather than trying to destroy the darkness." Dawna Markova

Speaking of light, I have to give a presentation on light painting at a meeting Wednesday night and, since I haven't done any light painting in 1 1/2 years, I decided I'd better practice. So, I drug out my tripod and camera and played around a little. Here are a couple of the pictures I took.

Light painting is a unique technique which can yield some interesting & varied results. You turn out all the lights in the room & illuminate the subject with a small flashlight. The main challenge is to not fall over your tripod.

Come again soon. Please leave me a message, so I'll know you stopped by.

Filters for B&W Photography

Here's a photo tip on using filters for black & white photography. Although you can use channel mixer in PhotoShop to bring out different colors in a B&W image, you always want to get the best picture, in camera, so you might want to try using some different filters. Filters lighten their own color and darken their complement. So, a red filter would lighten reds & pinks while darkening greens & blues. Yellow accentuates cloud structures by darkening blue areas of the sky & green lightens foliage & adds ruddiness to redish skin tones. Darker filters, of course, produce stronger colors than lighter ones & if you underexpose a little, the colors are exaggerated. A rather inexpensive way to get into using filters is to purchase the Cokin filter system. You can find info on these, & other filters, at places like B&H Photo, Adorama, etc. In addition to the normal UV & colored filters, there are also filters which can add various artistic effects to your photos. I usually purchase most of my photographic items at B&H in New York. I've found them to be very reliable & they have free shipping on some items. In fact, if you're a member of NAPP, shipping is free on all items. Have fun experimenting with filters.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I thought this was a good quote for today. "Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness." Seneca

Ok, this is a photography blog, so here's a little photo tip. When you're photographing wildlife, don't take time to call a friend, because as soon as you do, the animal will take off. I say this from personal experience. I was photographing this Great Blue Heron yesterday and called to tell a friend that it was back and, as soon as she answered, it took off. I did get one half-way decent shot of it flying away, but that was it. So, concentrate on your photography and leave the darn cell phone in its' case! :-)

Here's another photo tip. This image was enhanced with a plug-in called Adjust Simplify. I used it because I like the painterly effect it gives the picture. You'll need to click on the picture & enlarge it to see the full effect. I used the same plug-in on today's "pic of the day" on my website too. Take a look & let me know what you think. Some people like enhanced photos and others don't. I think it depends on the picture, the plug-in or filter you use & the adjustments you make to it.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Reflections can be many things, just a pretty picture in reverse, a copy of what we see in the mirror or a glimpse into our souls.
You can reflect about your life
And you can reflect about your day.
Just make sure the reflections you see,
Say what you want them to say.

Reflections mimic what we see,
and reflect the soul of who we are.
Do they project what we want them to be?
Do they follow our celestial star?

Our lives are like mirrors,
Reflecting just what they see.
So make your choices wisely,
And be the best that you can be.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Just Do It!

I'm pretty sure that my mom, who was the most remarkable person I've ever known, coined the phrase "Just do it" before Nike started using it in their ad campaigns, but we'll let that go. Anyway, here's Mom's version of "Just Do It".

Just Do It
When you have within your conscious mind
Some things you want to do,
It takes some perseverance, just to see the matter through.
You've planned to do some things for years,
And to fail would break your heart;
Remember, the most important thing, My Friend,
Nothing happens, until you start.

Written By: Geneva M. Martin

I Hope You Dance!

This is from the little book I Hope You Dance, by Mark D. Sanders & Tia Sillers, written about the song of the same name, by Lee Ann Womack. I thought it was worth sharing. I hope you enjoy it & will follow its' advice.

I Hope You Dance.
Let the music move you,
Let the moment take your hand,
Let it lead you out into the middle of the dance floor & embrace you.
Dive off the high board,
Ride with the top down,
Thrive like a wildflower,
And sing (who cares what you sound like) with a voice all your own.
I hope you dance!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Way You Think

Experts say that what you think influences how you feel and whether or not you succeed in life. So, if you're having trouble maintaining a positive attitude, find yourself a good book, watch an uplifting movie, listen to your favorite tune, go take some pictures or talk to a positive friend. Do whatever you need to do to get, and maintain, the type of attitude that will help you succeed in your relationships, advance in your career and improve your life. Adopt a good attitude to have a great day & a great life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Right Actions

Taking the right actions and thinking the right things, first thing in the morning, will set the tone for the rest of the day. So, how do you want today to go? Decisions you're making right now will determine how the rest of your day plays out. So, get your cup of coffee, make your plans, put on a big smile and get going. :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I was driving in my neighborhood the other day and saw this old Thunderbird. I'm not really a "car gal", but I do kind of like some of the old cars like this one. So, I stopped on the side of the road and snapped a quick pic with my little Canon point & shoot. It's certainly not an award-winning photo, but I'm glad I got it anyway. If you don't want to carry your big DSLR around all the time, at least stick a little P&S in your purse, or pocket, so you can get pictures that may not be available again.

By the way, the special effects on this picture were created with a plug-in called Topaz Adjust. I don't always like this look, but thought it was appropriate for this car pic.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Watch Your Backgrounds

When you're taking pictures, remember to look at the background, not only your subject. I saw this picture recently, used in a real ad, of a young couple in Italy & I wondered why in the world it was selected. I'm sure that most of you would have asked the couple to move over a little to create a more pleasing background. You never want to place your subjects in front of something that appears to be growing out of their heads. So, remember to look up, look down, look all around, and then take your picture.

This picture of the man & the boy fishing was composed so that none of the trees were growing out of anyone's head. By the way, I would be glad to license this photo for an ad. Any ad execs out there? :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Be Careful!

My thought for the day has to do with being careful. I was taking pictures of this photo yesterday when a large board that was leaning against a wall, fell on my head and shoulder. It kind of ruined the moment. So, always look around you to make sure there's nothing that can fall on you, don't stand too close to the edge of a cliff and always watch for cars.

I'm attaching 2 versions of this picture, so you can see what can be done by applying filters (Topaz Adjust in this case). You may like one, but not the other. We're all different and what appeals to one person, may not appeal to others. Which version do you like? Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We are all connected in today's small world. Everything we do and every action we take has an impact on the chain of events in this chaotic world. We have an impact, either good or bad, on everyone we meet. So, as you make your way through this adventure we call life, remember this and smile more, love others, forgive, speak gently, be respectful and try to live by the golden rule. If you do this, the world will be a better place because you were here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


If, before you take a picture, you consider that this single image could be the one that you'll be remembered for, would it make a difference in how you proceed?

This is one of my favorite images, partially I suppose, because I remember the circumstances. That shouldn't make a difference in how we judge our photos, but it's sometimes difficult to separate the logic from the emotions. Anyway, I hope you like it.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Time flies. Time goes by. Time after time. We seem to be obsessed with time. Perhaps that's because most of us aren't very good at managing it. If we don't manage it, however, it goes by and we don't have anything to show for it but a lot of regrets because we "didn't have time" to do this or that. Don't let that happen. Step back, decide what you want to do & manage your time so you can reach your goals. You'll feel more in control when YOU control time, instead of letting it control you.

This picture is of the inside of one of the historic Longview Barns in Lee's Summit, Mo. The owners of this farm had technology far beyond their time. They set goals & managed their time to get the technology installed to run a more efficient farm. Are you using your time in the most productive way or is time just slipping through your fingers? You're in charge. All you have to do is pick up the reins.

This picture was processed using the Photomatix HDR program after shooting three pictures, one -2, one at 0 and one at +2. Try HDR. It will allow you to get good photographs that you, otherwise, couldn't have gotten due to extreme light differences.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


"A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself." -Jim Morrison


Hubby and I watched the four hour documentary on Woodstock last night. Why didn't we go? We had a 9 month old baby and were busy with famiy life. That probably had something to do with it. In retrospect, I wish we'd gone! Life's too short for regrets, though, so I won't dwell on it. :) Here's a picture of our grandson's on our Yellowstone trip earlier this year. A different trip, but much more fun, I'm sure.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Enough Time?

"The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough."
- Rabindran Tagore

That makes you think, doesn't it? We're always saying that we don't have enough time. Maybe we just don't manage it as well as the butterfly does. I think I'll start acting more like a butterfly. :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

These two pictures were taken at the historic Longview Farms in Lee's Summit, Mo. The picture at the bottom is the normal shot of three that I took for HDR processing. If I had not been shooting for HDR, I could have used levels, curves & other PhotoShop tools to improve the shot somewhat but, for comparison purposes I didn't do that this time. The other shot was processed using the Photomatix HDR plug-in and I then applied a plug-in called Topaz Adjust which I learned about at the Rick Sammon seminar last Sat. Shooting for HDR is easy & can save an ,otherwise, unsalvageable picture. The Topaz Adjust plug-in can give you a variety of effects, from looking like a painting to a psychedelic rendition, depending on what you like. You can find both of these plug-ins on Rick's site at Just click on links and then plug-ins. So, leave me a comment, so I'll know which version you like best.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Every time I attend a photography seminar I am motivated to get out and take more pictures and to be a better photographer. The seminar last Sat. was no different. Watching the joy that photographer Rick Sammon gets from his photography, and watching him make simple adjustments that totally change the tone of his photographs, made me want to be more creative in what I do. I tried one of the plug-ins that Rick suggested and am having a lot of fun modifying some of my older photos. Here's the before and after shots of the Longview Mansion. Which do you like best?

Monday, August 10, 2009


Sometimes it takes something like a seminar, an outing or just reading a good book to revive your interest in a hobby or a passion. Life's too short not to pursue your passions and to live your dreams. So, get out there and take pictures or paint, or play tennis, ride your motorcycle or whatever your passions is, but do it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Making pictures

Why just take a snapshot when, by spending just a little more time to compose your shot carefully, you can create something beautiful? Look up, look down, look all around, find your subject, select the best background and "make a picture".
If you live in the Kansas City Area, call 816/228-7737 to register for the Rick Sammon seminar this Sat. For only $45 you can get some great tips from Rick that will help you take better photographs.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Question: What's most important to you in life? Money? Possessions? Status?

My Answer: Family & good friends!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

For this day acknowledge the restoring power of hope. Direct that power to all that needs healing in your life, including your negative attitudes and disappointments. - Caroline Myss