Saturday, August 6, 2011

Timeless Memories

Fellow SmugMug Daily Community Member Art Hill gets the credit for today's title. Thanks! I took a picture of a bee and a snake yesterday, and they just aren't worth sharing here, so I'm posting another frozen rose shot/frame/text. This is the back side of the rose from yesterday. It looked very different from one side to the other.

Two frames from PhotoFrame and some text with just a bit of a crop. The rose part of the pic is unedited.

Here's the rat snake that was hanging out near Christine's hummingbird feeder yesterday before school:

Off to my dad's house for the day. There will be many trips to get things in order there.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Love Melts the Coldest Heart

Here's the link to the picture on SmugMug in my Picture of the Day gallery.

There's a bit of s story here. I went to my neighborhood Food Lion grocery store about 5 months ago and came home with my groceries and a free dozen roses. At that store, when the flowers expire, they give them away. In this case, the roses were still looking great. After I got home and put them in a vase, I got to thinking that I'd like to freeze one in water and take pics of it on a future day. I remember last winter one of the daily folks (very sorry can't for sure remember who) posted a shot of an outside real by nature frozen rose, and I was very interested in doing something similar. Little chance of a real frozen rose here in Raleigh! So I got out a cheap fish bowl and put the rose in water. Oops! Won't stay in the water. Floats on top. Problem! I cut a piece of cardboard for the stem to go through and used a combination of a huge puddle of hot glue and a few rocks to get the rose to stay in the middle and upside down. It wasn't trivial! As time passed, it looked cool every time I would open the freezer, but it just wasn't the right day to try the shots. I don't know why at midday yesterday in 95 degree heat in full sun I decided it was THE time. Go figure. One of my issues had been what to put under the glass/ice and would I really break the glass and how. Here is one of the results of that shoot.

Another that I liked:

The original red rose shot:

I cropped a bit and adjusted the colors some plus adding the text and frame.

Thanks to my friends Don and Christine for talking over possible titles and slants on how to package and prepare one or more of these shots. We were thinking frozen memories or freezing passion or something along the lines of a failed romance for a while but then spun the warm red into something positive.

A collage showing the set-up:

 Yes, those are shirts I actually wear:-) When you're short on colored fabric, raid the closet!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


A big thanks to Christine, Madi's mom, for AIM'ing me yesterday morning to let me know that she had a Monarch making the rounds in her garden. I grabbed my camera and was across the street in a flash! This guy was pretty cooperative letting me take nearly 100 photos. I got about 8 wing open shots, and this is the one I thought was the best.

I did quite a bit to get it ready to share with you:
A layer to separate the lantana flower to darken it
A layer to separate the lantan leaf to darken it
A layer for the butterfly to adjust the color
Remove brown illy stem from background on a copy of original layer
Add two frames in PhotoFrame

Here's the original:

Here's a lovely side view:

Here's an artistic embossed style version:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guardian of the Pond

Just a quick dragonfly shot I grabbed walking between Madi's house and my house yesterday. After yesterday's vivid pp, I've left this one untouched today. You can safely drink your coffee over breakfast or sip your afternoon tea;-)

Here's the link to the picture on SmugMug in my Picture of the Day gallery.

I caught one of the first year cardinals being cute again:


This is really my favorite shot of the day. Kindof so ugly he's adorable I think. Pretty sure this is going to be a male. By fall he should be all red including the beak

An adorable Tufted Titmouse:

Johnny is going to town building his Cars 2 Lego set! His favorite is of course building the cars, but he started on the pit stalls last night too. I'm really proud about how he's following directions and how long he's staying on task.

 Joey was using Blaze as a pillow as he read last night. Geronimo Stilton for those that want to know:-)

You'll appreciate the Joey is using many of the pics I've taken as part of his first homework assignment of the a collage about himself. He still needs to write in some labels on the project. Last night he cut out and used glue dots to apply the pics. I encouraged him to 'cut up' the pictures to give it a kid and random sort of feel.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Warp Speed!

A pp'ed version of this shot of Madi taken at Marbles Kids Museum on Saturday:

Some of you on the dailies may remember this shot of the same window and Johnny from last summer:

The concept that I had for the original shot was to make Johnny look like he was in the window on the Millennium Falcon traveling very quickly in space. I figured out this time how to 'warp' the background. Basic pp'ing for today's shot:
Duplicate the main layer
Gradient map filter to duplicate
Posterize filter to duplicate
Glowing edges filter to duplicate
Duplicate pp'ed layer
Apply a radial blur (to the side) to duplicate
Duplicate pp'ed radial blur layer
Make sure layers are in order of radial blur, non radial blur, radial blur, original
Start erasing the window parts from the radial blur top layer that's over the non radial blur layer
Fix - Select from radial blur layer, layer new copy, order to top, erase as necessary
Link erased layer and non radial blur layer
Shrink linked layers to fit over bottom radial blur layer
Add line frame around linked layers and turn the color green

It's not perfect, but I did the best I could with the erasing and about 90 minutes of time working on it. Hopefully Madi enjoys being Captain for a day:-)

Carolina Wren shot from yesterday:

Dragonfly shot:

Lego bricks rule at our house right now!

Johnny is doing a great job putting together the Cars 2 sets.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Male Cardinal

Leave no doubt who has first dibs at the feeder and bath...

Today is the first day of 1st grade for Johnny and 3rd grade for Joey (year round school). They're a bit nervous, but I know that will fade the minute they are in the classroom.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Boy!

Loving the smiles both boys have on their faces as Johnny opened his presents at home yesterday. Johnny is 7! Joey is proud because he helped pick out the Cars cars in the present bag and to then 'wrap' them.

Johnny kissing Joey he's so happy too:

The boys spent quite a good while playing with the color change cars and the new Ramone 'water' Garage.  The color change cars, Toys"R"Us has exclusive rights to the ones for Cars 2, have been one of the best toys ever for the boys.  At 72 degrees, the cars change from one color to another.  Ice water in one bowl and hot water in another bowl had them changing back and forth easily.  I got my kitchen floor cleaned too:-)

Collage from the party at Marbles:

I'm kindof partial to the shot Madi took of me and Johnny:-)

Madi was just adorable with her special wrapping paper:

I'd call the day a success. I think Johnny felt special on his special day.