Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Move Is ON!!!!

The Big Pack-Up!!

The Destination.

Yes - it IS happening :)   We go offline for a month as of Friday. Really looking forward to the space of the new house. Many boxes already moved over to the garage so that we can actually move here! As you can see from the girls room - it's a pretty mammoth job. Getting thoroughly exhausted, but the end is in sight. Tomorrow I pack the kitchen and it's fish & chips tomorrow. Then it's odd and ends and we're done :D Then it's just the legistics of getting it all over there!!

If I don't blog tomorrow - see you all in a month :D

Monday, 11 May 2009

I ♥ Faces - Week 18 - Laughter - Kids

This week's theme over at I ♥ Faces is 'Laughter.' I took this shot of El's in fits of giggles just after she bopped her big brother round the head spinning in circles with her bubble wand :D Her brother's misfortune just brought her down!! Can't you just hear her squeaks?! 

Now, don't forget to check out all this week's laughing faces over at  I ♥ Faces

Thursday, 7 May 2009

I ♥ Faces - Constructive Criticism Friday - No2.


Edit One (just a crop)

Edit two.

Edit three (change background colour)

Edit four (change colour shade and soften a little)

Edit five -can't remember!!

Edit Six - B&W faded & rotated

Edit seven - full B&W - straight.

Well, as this is CCF Friday again, which is all about learning what to do with 'problem' shots I thought I would chose exactly that. I had a number of shots I wanted to pick, so maybe those can keep for other times :D

One of my major problems is that I often seem to be shooting in crowded places, with either lots of people in the background, or general messiness (be that my messy garden, or messy house!). This means that my lovely faces are often hedged by unpleasent backgrounds - and that's a shame - I see it, but in many cases I have the choice to either let the shot go, or put up with it! :(

So here is a classic example. This was taken on the same occasion as my last CCF entry. What do you think of my edits this time? I did these a couple of months ago now and since then have learnt a little more about layering and masking, but all the same... All my editing is done in a combination of Gimp, and Picnik. I think the majority of this was done in and Picnik. I do all the layering in and then use Picnik for effects and framing :D

I have posted these in the order I progressed through my editing. The first is the original and then the last three are 'final' edits - They were all a little different and I wanted my friends to choose which they liked best! :D

I just want to respond to a few of the comments regarding position and zoom. If you take a look at this following shot you will better understand the location of the couple I was shooting. It was not easy to change my position - I was standing at the end of this LONG table. It was an after-church meal with about 300 people milling about. I DID zoom as much as possible (camera limiting) and try to hedge-out some of the background. I DID take my time over the shot and alter my position a little. The only other thing I could have possibly done was to get a chair and stand on it - only I was in a doorway!! I was shooting on manual the whole day - and I had the aperture set as low as I could, but it auto adjusts for focusing. I guess with PROPER DSLR some of the limitations of my camera would be illiminated, but for now... Don't get me wrong, I am not saying my shot was perfect by any means and I am hearing all the wonderful advice I am getting :D

I hear the comments on background etc... Maybe I will give it another shot later tonight (if I have time with all the packing) and see what I come up with two months down the line!

Now click the button and take a look at all the other entries this week (and the comments of course)  - there is so much to be learnt from these CCF fridays :D 

OK - so here is EDIT 7 - advice taken on board. I've simplified the background and tried to 'feather' the edges more (although there is no feather in gimp that I've found) - I used fuzzy circle on a lowish opacity. I went back to the original exposure and skin tones and just slightly s curved to bring out shadows and highlights. Smoothed out skin with cloning and healing tools, but did not want to loose the reality of their age too much - to me that is part of the portrait :D. Just a slight rotation so as not to loose his head so much and didn't want to go back to pre-first crop and do all the selecting out again! Found the spot I'd missed on his neck too - although it took some finding! Any more work to do, do you think?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

I ♥ Faces - Week 17 - HATS - adult

This entry is of my treasured friend. She would probably hang me if she knew I'd posted this, but I do love the portrait. 

This really is a portrait of HER in my eyes; it says so much of who she is:- The strong-minded, intelligent, confident, elegant and VERY beautiful Oxford lady, the passionate walker and lover of the peace to be found in nature, the great-fun-to-be with friend, the nurturer & carer that she has always been to me. 

To me her hat is the crowning piece of the picture :D. 

The picture itself  is not such great quality I know. It was taken before my Canon S3, on my little P&S. All the same - constructive criticism welcome! :) 

My own criticism would be that her skin is a bit red, but in reality she does have quite red skin (she is a farmer's daughter and has a pleasantly weathered face from many mountains she has climbed!!) - and I wanted to not take away from the portrait aspect of the picture. Also, her eyes are a bit to dark and hidden, but again, I didn't want to make them look unnatural by brightening them falsely. To me there is a brightness that shines from her eyes despite their lack of 'pop' iykmim - just look at those lovely smile-lines :D I nearly took into B&W to rid it of some of these points (and it would have worked), but decided in the end that the colour in itself was part of the painting. The colour reflected another aspect of R's personality to me!

I find editing pictures is a fine balance between enhancement and distortion of truth! In this instance I wanted more to maintain the honesty of the photograph - the painting of a character - than to iron out all the flaws (the many flaws). After all, the theme this week is about 'hats' - and in this shot - the hat is the essence!

Make sure you go and check out all the other
beautiful faces & their hats, at...

I ♥ Faces - Week 17 - "HATS" - kids

As I looked back over my photos I realised that I had many-many photos with hats. It's a rule - my kids ALWAYS wear a hat from the day the are born near enough. Woolly in winter, cap in summer and no gap in between! So how to choose... So I whittled it down to only my 'new camera' shots (so that's a lot less already), or an edit of a special one of Boo from a couple of years back, but still there were a good many to choose from...And then I thought...

... about my 'should have been' adult entry for last week, (I missed it with all the packing...) - and realised that it had a 'hat' - :D -  Bonus!! Use it this week, but for kids!!

In this picture you can see three generations of my family : My Nanna, myself and Paul and Joel of course, reflecting us all. I love it and regret not entering it for reflections, but am glad you all get a chance to see it anyway :D And I must admit - I do think it would not be the same without the hat - it kind of 'makes' the photo what it is - don't you think?

PS - I have found that depending on your screen you might see this darker than on another. It looks totally different on my PC to my laptop, so I hope you can see the reflections clearly and not in too-deep, dark colours (as my PC shows it to be).

Make sure you go and check out all the other 
beautiful faces & their hats, at...

Yee-Ha Boo!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Fix-It-Friday - Number 12 - "My Shadow"

This week I am packing up my house (and for the next couple more), so don't have too much time to play. So I simply uploaded to Picnik and worked only there.

This weeks FIF was all about removing shadow, but actually in order to achieve this I actually up-ed the shadows (just a touch) and then the highlights +++, the exposure a fair bit and the contrast to match the highlights. This up-ing of everything in varying degrees served the purpose of lightening his face, but also the whole background area.

Just so the whole thing did not look white I texturized and mask-framed and THEN rotated, so that most of the frame rotated back out.

I quite like the result, but no multiple edits this week - sorry folks :D

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

And when you're done perhaps someone could give me some tips on what to do with THIS picture...

POST SCRIPT ... I decided to have another little play tonight - all with Picnik. Hope you like :D


Ok - so this was going to be a sweet photo of my son amidst the box-towers - but then I set my flash (too high) - seems I have forgotten how to use it in the midst of all this trying not to! So I completely blew out the shot. What can I do about it - can it be saved? Below is my attempt to bring something palatable from something disastrous, but I'd really like some pro tips ;D I don't have photoshop in any form, but am slowly working out how to translate photoshoppy type work into gimp and (and then Picnik). Can YOU help me?




I ♥ FACES - Week 7 - "I Wanna Dance!"

I ♥ Faces - Week 2- “Best Face"

I ♥ Faces - Week 27 - Pets

I ♥ Faces - Week 31 - "Crazy, Silly, Funny Faces!!"

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

Social Butterfly Award :D

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