Monday, 27 April 2009

I ♥ Faces - Week 16 - Reflection - Mr Wrinkles.

Meet Mr. Wrinkles :D

I really liked his screwed up little nose in this shot!

This weeks challenge was exactly the that - A face AND a reflection of that same face - WOW - stretch the beginner or what!!
We don't live within walking distance of any nice clear blue waters and I don't drive, so mirrors it had to be. The one in the picture is the only portable mirror in our house and, as I've said before, our house is not good for light, so we took it outside and played. Of course posed was my only choice and although I got some nice shots of my eldest son (who I wanted to use) he said he didn't like posing (yeah right!!) and wouldn't play along with me - well not MY way!! I gave up and handed the mirror to the little ones - and my entry was the most candid and funny one I got, but I think it was also the best compusure and focus :D
I'm going to post a collage of the misses, just for fun! Click on the 'not entered' label to see it (or go to the blog's home-page)!

BTW - no adult entry from me this week :( Self-portrait was hard enough, but to add a mirror into the mix... I simply could not figure how to hold the camera to take me and a pic of me and hold the mirror for my reflection all in one go - and there is no way Paul would let me shoot him for this! 

Reflection - The Misses...

There were some nice ones here too, but just not quite 'it' :)

Friday, 24 April 2009

Fix-it-Friday - Week 11 - Cooing Baby



Edit 1


Edit 2


Edit 3


Edit 4


Edit 5


Edit 5 close up

Now what did I do with this gorgeous baby?

In Pain.Net:
duplicate image
lasso, brighten and sharpen eyes - apply
lasso & sharpen lashes (just +7) - apply
soften whole layer (1) (original invisible) -  normal blend
save and continue - edit 1
duplicate layer 
change layer 1 (middle layer) properties - lighten blend, opacity 223.
erase eyes & merge down
Now work in top layer  - opacity 31, - normal blend.
merge down
make original visible.
(save and continue - edit 2)
Make original INvisible again
Apply B&W effect the make very slight long-s luminescence curve.
(save & continue - edit 3)
undo the flattening
make original visible 
Save - edit 4
duplicate layer to make 2nd layer
erase eyes on layer 1 - screen blend - op' very slightly down
flatten & save - edit 5

These were my basic fixes. Then I took all my edits into Picnik and played with rotation & flipping, cropping, vignetting, matte edging, framing and a touch more softening for edits 4 & 5.

I am gradually getting the hang of this layering thing, but does not have 'create layer mask' buttons!! Gimp has something like it, but it's generally more complicated to use, so I'm starting where I am at. I may have gone around the houses a bit with this, but I got what I wanted in the end!!


I kind-of went crazy, but really all I did was save along the road. At the end of the day the real editing is done in the first fix and there after it's just tweaking and playing and twiddling and fiddling and seeing what I come up with - saving every time I see something that pleases my eye - then going back to play some more!!
I was thinking about 'scrapbooking' the photo, or clip-masking, or texturising - but at the end of the day a baby is just as a baby should be - smooth & fresh and unadulterated beauty (milk spots and all) - that is so fleeting and so absolutely in need of capturing for time immortal. I just didn't want to 'change' this baby in any way, it was just the photo that I wanted to edit - a little ;)

I had fun - I hope you like what you see here and that you had fun too :D

Now, don't forget to take a look at what other folks have
done with this lovely photo this week.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

iHeartFaces - Sharing Photography of Faces: Blurb Book Photo Contest & Giveaway

iHeartFaces - Sharing Photography of Faces: Blurb Book Photo Contest & Giveaway

Monday, 20 April 2009

Iheartfaces - week 15 - SP - Adult

I seriously don't like ANY of the pictures I have taken of myself, but this was probably the best of the bunch, so much as I don't expect to win any fame for this one, it's here and I've not missed an entry - and you get to see my face. In the sunshine you don't see me without shades and a hat (hence the shady forehead). We have an expression in our house - "if you don't like what you see, just look at the flowers." It's a long story, but I recommend you do just that for this one ;) !!

So there you go - I hate it , but I did it!

Be sure to go check out all the much more beautiful Self-Portraits this week at 

IHeartFaces - Week 15 - Self-Portrait - Kids

This was taken when my 3yo and I were messing on the sofa one afternoon,when I was practicing working with no flash indoors (for no-flash week). It's not as crisp and sharp as I would like, but I still love it!  I usually HATE pictures of myself, but this one just seems to encapsulate me when I am happiest - messin' with my kiddos :D We were both laughing together  so much over something very silly! :D

I've converted it to B&W (with a subtle hint of colour) and I like it better still this way - I hope you do too. I think it is actually my first B&W entry :D

I've come to the conclusion that my not-so-little bridge camera simply does not have what it takes to shoot lovely sharp shots indoors without either using the flash, taking the f/ stop right down and/or taking down the shutter speed to something impossible to work with free-hand (like 1/5), seriously bumping up the ISO, which then looks grainy and yuk - and besides it only goes up to 800 (which for my dark UK lounge is not really enough), or a weird combination of all of the above. The flash though adds something orangey, so I like to TRY and work without atm - it's good practice anyway :D If anyone has any tips on using a Canon S3 INDOORS in a not so light room I will be eternally grateful :D I'll add 

ISO probably 800 

I'm not sure if I can convince myself to enter the adult catagory this week though, just can't seem to get a shot I like well enough to make it public! :( I'll try again today - the sun is shining so I can shoot outside - but we'll see...

Be sure to go check out all the beautiful self-portraits this week over at

Friday, 17 April 2009

Fix-It-Friday Wk 10 - Peek-A -Boo-Baby



Edit One.

This was basically just lassoo around child and sharpen, cropping out excess rock face + cloning out the black in the background (using The cloning is not as good as Amy's cloning though! I decided I wanted to keep a fair amount of the rock to maintain the archway and the sense of walking through something, so I just cropped of a bit all round and pushed the boy over to the right in so doing.

Edit Two.

Not really sure what I did, but I took the picture into Picnik and played! I know I used some focal zoom with lightening effect. I thought it gave the look of walking through a ray of sunshine :D I then rotated it slightly for effect. Then I recoloured his trousers (as I felt they were distractingly bright) using the 'tone' tool on darken. I added a matt edging and slight frame to match trousers. There may have been some other tweeks, but I can't remember them!

Edit three.

I'd done lighter, so I thought I'd try darker! Problem is I 've no idea what I did!! It did involve faded LOMO, vibrance and some desaturation - I know that much. I vignetted the edge and then added a clip-mask frame from HERE. I quite like it but not as much as the first edit.

Edit four.

For fun I thought - "well it's a bit blurry - let's play with that," so back in I added the zoom blur with just his face in focus. I liked it! It made him look like he was walking through a warp-tunnel!!

Edit Five.

And lastly I thought I'd like to try it in B&W but couldn't get it looking anything special, until I fiddled with the zoomed edit - and this was the result! I think it brings your focus almost entirely onto his face and although it's not fantasic I do like it - in a wacky kind of way!! Added another clip frame too, but not sure whether it might have been better left without - I just like frames I s'pose :)

Now, don't forget to take a look at what other folks have
done with this lovely photo this week.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Week 14 - Spring-Easter

I was all out  of 'flowers' in her hair spring shots (just didn't have any good enough). And then I remembered the sparkly bunny ears we got given a couple of years ago, so decided to pose a few shots in the garden - in front of this gorgeous blossoming bush  - it turned out well :)

This was a posed shot turned candid when I tried to get P to say "supercalorfragilisticexpialodocious"! 

I really was unsure of which catagory to go for this week. I think I qualify in 'amature' so I've gone for that - I knew i didn't stand a chance against all the pro's who are obviously going to use the other 'kids' slot this week. I'm just not sure I am good enough yet to sit in the 'amature' catagory either - but I am learning daily, saving for a course, reading lots on the net, improving slowly and definately aware of how much more there is for me to learn!

Please leave your comments (it's working now!!) and let me know what you think of my shot. I'm open to suggestions on how YOU would work with it too :D

I thought I'd add the Exif (shot in manual mode):

Don't forget to take a look and see all the other lovely 
Spring and Easter faces over at!"

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Constructive Criticism Friday

OK - Here is my original shot (right at the top) and all my edits of it following. This is the daughter of some close friends of ours - isn't she beautiful! I spent hours on this and am actually quite pleased with the results, BUT there are always things that can be made better, so I'd like to hear what you think and what you would do to make these even better. Is there something I am missing? 

Most of my editing is done in Picnik, with a little in (eyes mainly) & Gimp.

Camera - Canon Powershot S3 IS - EXIF....

I have NO idea why I was shooting on 400 ISO - I was in a really light conservatory area! I think I just forgot to turning it down again. I was to-ing and fro-ing between this conservatory and a much darker indoor space. It was hard to stay in manual mode, but I did and for the most part succeeded in getting some great shots :D Despite the high ISO I do actually quite like the brightness of the face and photo as a whole. Obviously the glass behind E is a problem, and even more so the 'mess' behind her, hence the replacement of the background with something more fitting - which took me an age to get right - so fiddly! Is it any less fiddly with PS (which I do not have and won't have any time soon!)?

There will be lots to learn this Friday over at I ♥ Faces I am sure, 
so make sure you go have a look what's happening on other people's 
'Constructive Criticism Friday' posts :D

Monday, 6 April 2009

Week 13 - My Friend & I - Love hugs.

Looking through the entries this week I see that many have chosen to enter sibling friendships. With 7 children I have a mountain of those shots (gladly), but I wanted to challenge myself to find one that was NOT of two of my children, but of one of them with a best friend (they do each have one). As it turns out I don't have too many - note to self - must take more!! I have a fair few photos of their friends but not with them in too! 

So in the end it came down to this (or go back on my self-promise).

This photo is of my daughter and her best friend (S). It was taken a couple of years ago, but their friendship remains constant, despite some distance between them. I just love the softness of their embrace, just before S was to leave for home. They are ebony and ivory these girls - S is dark skinned with flowing almost-black curls and my Ellie is as fair as they come with the straightest, whitest hair you can imagine! Sadly the photo was a 'grab the camera' shot and has needed editing severely to bring it to this standard (including loosing the colour), but all the same it's one of my favourite shots of this relationship. I realise it's likely not to be prize-winning material, but it IS beautiful all the same & I hope you love it as much as I do :D

Remember to go take a look at all the other faces of friendship this week at...

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Week 13 - My friend(s) and I - 20yr Reunion.

Ok - I know the description for this week is my FRIEND (x1) and I, but this truely was the best photo I have of myself with any of my friends (I'm the one in the middle), so I'm hoping you will forgive me having two friends in the picture! I'm usually the one taking the photo and hiding behind the viewfinder!!

The photo was taken at our school reunion, marking 20yrs since we all left school! Meeting up with these two, after so many years, was very special to me and made school seem but a whisker of time since. I hope it won't be another 20 years before I see them again, but time does fly by so very quickly...

Taken in a dark nightclub (by my husband), with auto flash on my little P&S, the quality is not top-notch, but all the same it does capture the moment well - and somehow I figure it is more important to capture the moment than to miss for the sake of quality (even better if both is possible I know!!).

I have pp'd this to improve it some - I hope you like the result :) . I thought I would go with B&W to give it a more timeless quality. I nearly went with a 1970's colour set (as we are all 1970's girls!), but this simply looked better in the end :) .

Make sure you go & check out all the beautiful faces of friendship this week at...

Friday, 3 April 2009

Fix-it-Friday - Week 9 - Senior Spirit.


Fix 1

Fix 2


Fix 4

We began with beautiful girl in a blurry picture this week, but I hope you like my fixes (not sure I do though!!) :D

Here are my steps - all with freebie programs!

Open file in
Sharpen whole shot 7 points
Reduce noise 0.10 and 0.10

Lasso the eyes and sharpen just them another 7 points.

Save and open up in Picnik
Exposure tab; check local contrast and reduce strenth (to about a third), notch up the shadows a touch and the highlights about half way (forgot to note numbers), +20 exposure and +17 contrast.  (this gives an over all contrasty look, which I feel was necessary to loose the blur).
Rotate - to the left enough to loose weeds and drain on the right.

No for the fun bit!!
Fix 1 - simple B&W with fade to about 18% on a turquiose colour selection. Enough to bring up the green of the dress and the gold of the pompom  little, but leave everything else untouched.

Fix 2 - very similar, but this time used Hogla, faded out a touch and made a little more grainy.

Fix 3 - HDR-ish set to 20/200/77  + Boost 17

Fix 4 - same as  fix 3 above , but with added vignette at 40/40/0 & the words overlayed & faded slightly. These are from the Shabby Princess (thanks for the link Angie!).

I haven't framed any of them this time, I thought I just wouldn't this week.

All four fixes took me less than an hour to do - perhaps that shows a little to much!

Then I played some more and did these last two - only don't ask me what I did - I JUST PLAYED!! I know I used zoominess and fix 5 has cinemascope effect applied, other than that..?!

Fix 5.

Fix 6.

At the end of the day though, I'm not sure I like any of my fixes that much this week - and maybe get the 'could do better' sticker!! I just couldn't seem to get a handle on this shot, or get the clarity up to how I'd like to see it - and how others seem to have managed to. There are definately much, much better fixes than mine about this week!!

Any and all comments welcome as ever and... 

Don't forget to take a look at what other folks have
done with this lovely photo this week.

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I ♥ Faces - Week 35 (ii) - “PhotoJournalism"

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