Sunday, January 31, 2010


Sharing a place you love with those you love is a wonderful thing. We took our grandsons to Yellowstone with us last Spring. They had a great time and learned things about nature and, of course, a little about fly fishing too.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Which Version?

These are a couple of pictures I edited in PhotoShop using two different methods.
I didn't use any filters or plug-ins, just tools that are available in the program. I'm taking a poll to see which version most people prefer. As I recall, the version that I actually saw was somewhere in between the two. Thanks for participating.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


These are a couple of pictures that I modified using a number of different steps & plug-ins. I merged the original picture of the daisies with a picture of a stone background, lowered the opacity to allow some of the background to show through & then used an artistic filter in PhotoShop to bring out some detail. For the top picture, I converted the color photo to black & white, adjusted the various colors to get the intensity I wanted & then used a Topaz Simplify plug-in to add an additional artistic effect. The final step was to apply a fairly high amount of sharpening to bring out the fine details in the petals.

A number of years ago I took an aptitude test and one of the attributes it measured was creativity. According to the results, I didn't score very high in that area. However, I think that if you try hard enough, you can overcome weaknesses and succeed in areas that might not come naturally to you. If you think you can't take pictures, or you can't draw, or you can't write, just work diligently and you may find out that what you don't have in natural ability can be compensated for with hard work and perseverance. So, get out there and do the things that you've always thought you couldn't do. You can do anything you want to do if you believe in yourself and work hard enough to make it happen.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Some friends and I went to the Grand Canyon exhibit at the Kansas City library yesterday. The photographs are absolutely beautiful and I would encourage everyone to visit this exhibit if it comes to their vicinity.

Some of the photographs had quotes on the accompanying plates. The following quote tells what photographer Dugald Bremner, who was killed in a kayak accident in 1997, thought was important in photography and in life. "To find inner harmony, to lead an exciting life, to have a sense of accomplishment. And to always cultivate wisdom."

Although my photographs pale in comparison to most of the photos I saw at the library yesterday, I will keep trying, and will continually strive to do the best I can, in life and in photography. The above picture was taken in Glacier National Park, but at some point, I would like to return to the Grand Canyon and try to capture the beautiful colors I saw in the photos yesterday. Perhaps that will be one of my projects for next year.

I hope you have a wonderful day and will try to lead your best life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Have A Good Day!

No words of wisdom, no quote and no photo tip today. I just wish all of you a safe, productive and fun day with your friends or family. After all, that's what's important. Have a good one!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lone Wolf

This is an example of some of the fun things you can do using PhotoShop and plug-ins. The bottom picture was adjusted in PhotoShop using Shadows/Highlights, Levels and a couple of other little steps. Once that was done, I took the picture into Topaz Adjust & used one of the adjustments to create the effect you see in the top picture. If you use a plug-in such as Topaz, make sure you make use of the various options and sliders. They make a lot of difference in how the final picture looks. Used correctly, they can make an ok picture look fantastic. Which version do you like best?

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Life is like a book that never ends. Chapters close, but not the book itself. The end of one physical incarnation is like the end of a chapter, on some level setting up the beginning of another. Marianne Williamson

Don't dispair when things change, when your five year old "baby" gets on the school bus for the first time or when your teen-ager goes away to college. It just means that you're entering a different phase of your life, a phase filled with new challenges and new possibilities. Change can be difficult and the road may not always be easy, but if you approach it with a positive attitude it can bring you a new sense of joy and fulfillment. Change is always going to happen. Just make sure you do your best to accept it with grace, embrace it and enjoy it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

YOU Make a Difference!

This is from the little book "I Hope You Dance", which was given to me by my daughter a couple of years ago when I was going through a tough time after my mom passed away. I know this picture doesn't have waves or stars in it, but I thought maybe it'd work just as well. I hope you enjoy it.

"If you're ever lying on the beach with 80 billion grains of sand beneath you,
700,000 ocean waves before you,
60 million stars stretched out above you,
and you're still not impressed,
I want you to think about this:
The light you see reflecting from the stars is over one million years old.


But then, just before you start to feel like a mere blip
in the gigantic scheme of things, please remember this:
Yes, you are small, but you're also irreplaceable
and invaluable
and miraculous.
Those stars don't have anything on you."

So, if you're ever having one of those days when you feel like you're not important and that nothing you do makes a difference, remember these words. No matter what we do, it has an impact on someone. You ARE important. You DO make a difference.

Have a GREAT day!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's Just Life

" Meditate, engage in daily prayers, read uplifting books, commune with Mother Nature - in some way try to remove yourself from the discard of the everyday world that invades your sense of inner peace." Stephen R. Covey

Difficult situations are just a part of life. We all have sorrows, disappointments and trials that we have to endure. However, if we try to continually surround ourselves with things that create positive feelings, we'll be better prepared to handle the difficulties of live and to see our problems as opportunities rather than as obstacles.

I wish you a day filled with the ability to see challenges as opportunities and the strength to rise above them.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


" Release your perfectionism. The process of life is always changing. Demanding perfection holds the universe in a straitjacket." Christiane Northrup M.D.

Perfection isn't always what it's cracked up to be and always demanding it from ourselves or others can impeded progress and strain relationships. If you look at nature or at old buildings, you'll notice that things aren't always perfect. These imperfection can sometimes have a beauty all their own. Always do your best, but realize that there are limits to what you can do.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Top Of The World?

" I'm sittin' on top of the world, just rolling along, just rolling along." Do you think that's what this lemur is thinking as he's sitting on top of this pole? Do you remember that song? I guess you have to belong to a certain generation to remember it. I think the only reason I know it is because my Mom was always singing when I was a kid, and usually it was songs like this.

Growing up with music in the house was a wonderful thing. There were piano lessons, violin lessons, drum lessons, and Mom and Dad singing and playing the piano or guitar or listening to records all the time. Records? Do you remember records? Have you ever seen a record? Many members of today's younger generation don't even know what a record is. I showed one to our grandsons a couple of years ago, so they know, but I'll bet a lot of their friends don't. Does it make a difference? Probably not, because their generation has their iPods (& so do I), iPhones, etc. Things change. Technology changes, sometimes so quickly that it's difficult to keep up with it. Is that a good thing or a bad thing. I don't know. I think it just "is". So, we just muddle along, trying to stay up to date with the latest technological advances, trying to figure out how to use the latest devices and trying to keep our heads above water. I wish you luck in keeping up with it all. Me? I'm getting ready to buy another laptop that will be out-dated before I even pay for it. But, that's just the way it is. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Life Is A Candle

"Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." George Bernard Shaw

What a beautiful quote! If we all lived in a manner that made the lives of others a little brighter, and had a postive influence on their lives, wouldn't this be a much better world?

I hope you have a splendid day and make a difference in the life of, at least, one other person. Make a concerted effort today to make someone elses' day a little brighter. By doing so, your own day will be brighter too. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Walking My Dog

"We think in generalities, but we live in detail. " Alfred North Whitehead

I guess there can't be much more detail than in this skeleton, so I decided it would be an appropriate photo for today's quote. What is Mr. Whitehead trying to say, though? Is he implying that we put too much emphasis on the details or is he saying that we should consider the details more as we think and plan? Maybe he's simply saying that our lives consist of so many little details that the general, over-all picture becomes obscure & detracts us from the joys we should be experiencing. So, take some time today to sit back, relax, spend time with your loved ones and enjoy life.

By the way, I took this photo while riding in our truck on the way to Glacier National Park last September. I've found that if you set your shutter speed high enough, use the right lens, hold your camera steady enough and get at exactly the right angle, you can get some decent shots while riding at 70 MPG. Granted, I throw away most of the shots that I take using this method, but once in awhile, I get lucky. Anyway, I titled this picture "Walking My Dog", because that's what it reminded me of at the time. I hope it puts a smile on your face. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


"Life is never boring, but some people choose to be bored . . . boredom is a choice." Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

The only camera I had with me when I saw theses berries with fog frost on them was my little Canon point & shoot. So I parked nearby & stood in the street to take this picture. A different perspective would have been nice, but walking through four feet of snow without boots wasn't a good option. But, at least, I wasn't bored. :)

It's easy this time of the year, after the holidays have passed and when it's cold outside, to get the doldrums about everything. The more you sit around, though, the more bored you'll get. So, take some time to think of a new project to work on, a new subject to photograph or something you can do to help someone else. Whatever you do, don't just sit there. Life's too short to be bored.

There's always something interesting to do, or something interesting to see, you just have to be open to the possibilities.

Have a great week-end!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Small Things

The small things you do everyday - smiling at a stranger or paying someone a compliment - bring you closer to your spiritual truth, the purity of your soul. Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Everything we do effects someone else. Make sure the effect you have on others today is a positive one.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Patterns in the Snow

Some of my photo friends asked me to go shooting with them last week when it was about 8 degrees outside, but I wimped out. I took this picture of shadows on the snow from my dining room window. It certainly wasn't as much fun as going with my friends, but I did stay warm.

Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Sometimes when we can't see where we're going, we can see the clearest of all. Relying on faith can show us the way when our eyes can't.

The Simple Things

I believe a blade of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars. Walt Whitman

I'm sure I have a picture of a few blades of grass somewhere, but I didn't want to search my hard drive this morning, so this picture of the Kansas prairie will have to do. That's ok, though, because it will help to illustrate an important point. Several years ago I used to think that driving from Missouri to Colorado, across the Kansas prairie, was a boring and useless drive, something that just had to be endured to get to "beautiful" Colorado. Apparently, at that time, I was not truly "seeing" the details of the prairie and how the sun could light up individual blades of grass or cast interesting shadows across fields of grain. How we see can have a big impact on our ability to make good photographs. After all, how can we take interesting photos of the simple beauties of nature if we don't truly see and appreciate them? It's easy to look at the beautiful mountains of Colorado or Wyoming and know that they'll make a wonderful photograph, but sometimes it takes a little more effort to see the possibilities in the simple things. I'm making a concerted effort to really "see" what I look at. I hope you'll do the same, because it makes life a lot more interesting and more fun.

Monday, January 11, 2010

How We Think

All that man achieves, and all that he fails to achieve, is a direct result of his own thoughts. James Allen from A Man Thinketh

I don't have a picture that goes real well with today's quote, so I decided to use this one of my husband & son fishing at the Lake of the Ozarks. They had planned to go out earlier, but were fogged in. They stayed in this little cove until it cleared up some & then moved on. As soon as I saw the fog, I grabbed my camera and started shooting. Fog can provide the perfect atmosphere to make great photos. So, the next time people are lamenting the lack of sunshine or foggy conditions, just smile, grab your camera and start shooting. Maybe you'll capture the picture of a lifetime.

I hope you have a great time with your camera today & think about today's quote. How you think can have a dramatic effect on your life, either positive or negative, so think happy and positive thoughts. After all, it couldn't hurt.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kindness, Beauty and Truth

The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth. Albert Einstein

So does that mean that if we live our lives being kind to others, enjoying and creating beauty and always being truthful that we'll have the courage to be cheerful in the face of all obstacles? We sometimes encounter situations that make it difficult to put on a happy face. Perhaps what Einstein is saying, though, is that if we have Kindness, Beauty and Truth as our ideals, we'll be equipped with the tools we need to endure the sorrows and problems that sometimes occur and will have the strength we need to overcome our difficulties.

My wish for you is that your life will be filled with Kindness, Beauty and Truth.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ice Castles in the Snow

A friend of mine told me recently that she thought our photo club should give timely tips to the members, so that when everyone is going to be outside taking snow pictures, they'd know how to do it correctly. So, I decided to give a "shooting in the snow" tip today. If you're already an expert, just disregard it.

Note: You'll notice that some of trees in the background of this picture, and the steam in the front, aren't a pure white, but that's the way I wanted it. So, when you're taking pictures, or when you're editing, always keep in mind what you want the final effect to be.

Photo Tip 1: When you're taking pictures of snow or ice, you want to make sure that the whites look white and not a dirty gray. Our cameras don't see as we do, though, so how do we accomplish this? Since your camera is going to try to make the snow appear as a middle gray, you have to "open up", or increase the light that's getting to your camera's sensor. You can do this by using your exposure compensation button & setting it to +1/3 for a start. That probably won't be enough, but it's a place to start. After you take the first picture, check the histogram on your camera to see if that's enough. If not, increase it to +2/3, etc. Sometimes you might have to increase it to +2 in order to make the snow a true white. Lighting will change this a lot, so if the sun is going in and out of the clouds, check to see if you need to change your exposure compensation. You want the snow to be white, but you don't want to blow-out the highlights. If you bump up the exposure compensation too much, that's what will happen. If you're shooting a white object on white snow, this gets even more tricky, so check your histogram frequently to make sure you're getting the shots you want.

Photo Tip 2: When you're getting ready to go take pictures in the cold, take the largest and strudiest Zip-Loc type bag(s) with you. BEFORE returning inside, put your camera inside the bag & zip it shut. Let your camera & lenses warm to room temperature before reopening the bag(s). This will prevent moisture condensation inside your gear.

Now, get out there in the cold, make some pictures and have great fun.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Stepping Stones

If you're given a bag of concrete and a bucket of water, you have two choices. You can either build a stumbling block (a concrete barrier), or you can create stepping stones which can become your bridge to success. It's your choice. Make it the one which will help you achieve your dreams.

I didn't have a picture of a bag of concrete, so this picture with one stepping stone will have to do. I hope you enjoy it. Have a wonderful and productive day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." ~ Albert Einstein

This simple quote helps explain how a spark of imagination led to the creation of many of our most important inventions. If the inventors had not had the imagination to first dream about electricity, the automobile or the computer, they would not have used their knowledge to create these things that we depend on so much today. Before invention comes imagination. Without imagination, knowledge is like an empty vessel. It's only when the imagination is stimulated that knowledge can begin to grow & the desire to create ignited.

Don't Wobble

" In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don't wobble. " Yun-Men

I had this picture of a Mallard Duck that I took last week and saw this quote from the Little Zen Companion and thought the two kind of went together. Or, maybe it's just my strange sense of humor. I don't know. Anyway, I decided to share it with you.

I hope you have a great day and remember, don't wobble. LOL!

Monday, January 4, 2010

How We See

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." ~Henry David Thoreau

Two people can look at the exact same scene and see two entirely different things. What we see, what we feel and how we react to things is dependent on how we were raised, what we've experienced and what filters we've developed during our lives. This scene, which to me depicts a quiet & peaceful country road, could bring back feelings of dread to someone who has had a bad experience in a similar setting. What we are looking at is exactly the same, but what we are seeing is quite different. So, before you "make" your next picture remember that what you photograph may be seen in many different ways. Some people will be drawn to your photograph & others will be unaffected by its' beauty. This is not because of the merit of your photo, but because of how the viewer "sees" it. "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

Sunday, January 3, 2010


The elevator to success is out of order today. You're going to have to take the stairway, one step at a time. By: Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Success doesn't always come easy, but most things worth having do require some work on our part. This owl certainly isn't going to catch his dinner by sitting in the tree watching the world go by & you won't reach your goals by sitting on the sidelines. So, if you want to reach the goals you set a few days ago, buckle down and get to work. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Have Fun!

I took these two pictures from my dining room window yesterday with my little Canon point & shoot camera. Sometimes doing simple things, like using a little camera, can be fun! Everything doesn't always have to be about using the most expensive camera or traveling to far-off destinations. So, if you only have a point & shoot camera, or don't own the camera of your dreams, don't worry about it. You can still get good pictures if you follow the basic rules of photography and take time to let your subjects "speak" to you. So, remember to think before you click the shutter &, most importantly, have fun.