Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coffee Shop Photography!

I just wanted to make sure that you had noticed the link on the left side of the screen to the Coffee Shop blog that offers free tutorials and actions for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. I have been really enjoying adding some extra flare to a few of my pictures and thougth you might too! The stay at home mom that authors that blog is amazing to share her actions for free!

Challenge: Emotion

The author of the Confessions of a CF Husband, Nathan Lawrenson also has a photography blog that he is offering to do photograpahy challenges on. He posted some pictures on his site and then challenged other readers to come along side him and do the same...I am always up for a good challenge :)!

So this picutre of Duncan I decided did evoke "emotion" as I am watching my young boy grow older and seeing how incredibly handsome and amazing he is...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Still in pursuit of spring!

I was outside cleaning out my flower beds and finding the little signs of spring popping out of the ground. It puts such a smile on my face to see to see the fresh plants growing! I have always loved Hostas too and was excited to see them growing up. We haven't had much rain here in my town (once in the past 2 weeks) so the grass is just now starting to green up.
I think another wonderful thing about plants and trees are that not all things are indeed created equal. I have a number of shrubs that have red or burgundy colored leaves (my maple tree and ninebark shrub are included with this). It is so wonderful to have many different colors to appreciate outside! This one above is the new buds for my Flowering Crab Tree. I can't wait until she is in full bloom within the next few weeks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Great Outdoors

I beleive that I am going to have to keep going back to the new life growing up around us this spring for color inspiration. I know that there is till lots and lots of drab all over, BUT, if you look really closely you can find little sprouts on the trees and some green grass coming in too....look, really look, it is worth it!
I have also noticed that not only is the grass growing in, but there is green moss growing on the trees, even the dead ones. It is fun to try and capture color now as spring is drifting in. I think we would have even more, but the April showers haven't really arrived yet. We keep being threatened with rain, but I have yet to see a shower arive.

So in the mean time, I will enjoy the sprouts of grass that are in the property behind us and the moss on the trees on the walking path near us. I am thankful that we have some outdoors to enjoy while we wait for summer to come!

Monday, April 20, 2009

One of my favorite places to find color is with food. Naturally food has such vibrant colors that it is an easy target for me to capture with my camera. Oranges especially increase my desires for summertime fresh foods! I can't wait for summertime watermelon, cantelope, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. How about fresh veggies...I am also excited for fresh picked beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. Summer is all about freshness!

Do you like a good deal?

If you haven't purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements...then this might just be the right time! The newest version is out 7.0 and is on sale on Adobe's website for only $59.99 this week...check it out here! Honestly, what a great program to use if you don't want to dive into the function and cost of the full blown version of Adobe Photoshop CS4. I have much to learn with my Elements, but I am glad I bought it (full price last year folks) and have since used it almost daily!
I am just learning more about actions and I also love it for designing my blog headers, working on logos, and editing my pictures of course. I know there are a TON more features that I haven't even touched yet that are amazing! Hope you like it too!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Toys, are great color too!

The other day the kids were watching a show and Minsan and I noticed that all the colors on the show were bright primary colors. Of course we determined that the majority of children's programs are bright and cheery...I understand that the kids just love it and are very attracted to it. Even if they are flipping through channels, children know right away if they have stumbled onto a child program.
My question for the day is, if many of us miss color in everything and it seems that most adults do enjoy color, then why is CSI: Miami the only brightly colored show out there? Everything else in the adult world seems to be less us adults not deserve to see bright colors too? Just a strange thought I had today...
Back to the picture... We were at the doctor's office yesterday and they had a toy for the kids to play with while we were waiting...of course, it caught my eye because of it's bright colors. See, if I pay attention, my photography can indeed capture color somewhere, even at the doctor's office.
Lucky kids, get to enjoy color all the time! I wonder what I can do to change that for my own enjoyment this point, I would probably just be happy with green grass!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Blue Skies

Like I mentioned before, at this point in the early spring, some our best color might come from the blue skies above. Having the sun out and clouds gone for a few days have proven to bring smiles to even the gloomiest of faces. It really is a color worth enjoying. With the contrasting white birch against it, I was quite pleased with this shot!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Color Phrases!

I posted a question last week in regards to coming up with other color phrases that come to the mind of my friends when they hear, "In search of color, where's all the color, our need for color and desperately seeking color". Well, I have some very, very creative friends and here are the ideas they come up with:

Experience color
Indispensable color
Tormented by color
Color obsession
Thoughtful minds love color
Color looks good on you
Picturesque Color
Color Collision
Color Examined
Examining Color
Color Quest
Pursuit of Color
Color Exploration
On Course for Color
Chart a Course for Color
Color Matters
A World of Color
Insatiable Color
Unending Color
Forever Color
Colorful Desire
Desiring Color
Destined for Color
The Color of Joy
Encounter Color
Experience Color
Color Experience.
Discover Color
Reaching for Color
Color Hunt
Hunting for Color

Isn't it amazing how many different phrases that they came up within a very short time! I was amazed and proud to be associated with such creative people. With so many choices though, it made it hard to choose, but the in the end the phrase Pursuit of Color stood out! I forgot to point out to everyone that the winner of the contest was Dawn Jansen and for her efforts in creativity I owe her a cup o' joe at her place of choice... If you want to get to know my lovely friend better, you need to venture over to Simply Dawn and see her for your self :)! She is amazing!

Thanks to everyone who entered...I love you all!

Your Decorating Style

I started to wonder if what our decorating styles were determined the style of photography we love? I am sure you can quickly tell that there are tons of photography looks out there, what is your favorite? Now, look around your home, does that favorite photography style fit your home style? Just curious if these two are one in the same...I wonder too if your home is like mine where we have multiple styles and if that is why I like multiple photography styles?

Look on your walls and then consider your style, then look at the pictures you take or they coincide? For example, in my newly completed guest bedroom, the room is calm and cool with the blue walls and the white bedding...for the wall hangings I hung close ups of outdoor life in the three different seasons (fall, winter and spring). When I look at them they do indeed follow the feeling of cool and calm...hmmm!

Just a thought I had and was curious if anyone else had any thoughts on it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A new picture, turned old!

I ran the old honey action on the picture I had just posted of my kid's is just like I remember it from my days as a kid!

Sometimes Color is Harder to Find

I think that sometimes, especially in Minnesota, we just need to be okay, that blues skies and colored jackets are as good as the color gets. So today, my daughter's pink coat, my son's red coat and my other son's navy blue shirt are the colors I sought out. At least the lack of color isn't slowing down my little people's high adventures in the great outdoors!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Actions, I am figuring this stuff out!

Ahhhh, the torment I go through not knowing software!!!!! I just don't always understand my Photoshop Elements, but I won't give up! PTL there are others that know it better than me! So, I found a person online that was giving away the actions she created for PSE for FREE! Did you hear that? FREE!!! I was so excited!

Here is her site: My excitement may sound a little unnecessary, but I have had troubles finding actions available for free online that would work for my Photoshop Elements program. There are plenty for the full version of Photoshop, but not for my version. BUT, thankfully, not only did I find this lady, but she is kind to share for free!

Here is also a lady that has taken the time to write out the instructions on how to install the said actions…which I needed.
So, here are my samples using one of the actions I downloaded. The one I used was Perfect Portrait!

Here is the original pic from the camera as a JPG.
Here is the same pic that I used the RAW version to increase the blacks and increased the clarity and vibrance. I think the picture looked good from there too!

Now here is the picture with the action Perfect Portrait run on the RAW picture that I had edited above.
Here is the same action ran on the original JPG. It is okay, but I think I like how it looks on the RAW photo more. Gotta love how this is all a personal opinion for the artist who took the photo! Not everyone will love what is done, so don't be offended if others don't like what you have done, what do you like?
I really like what this action added to the picture. I have no clue how to use my Photoshop Elements to create the actiosn for this picture on my own, nor do I desire to spend hours trying to figure it out. I am thankful that someone else is willing to share her time with me! Yeah for Rita at Coffee Shop!

Easter Day Outside Color

In the Puruit of Color...

Okay, Minnesota has far from sprouted color from every corner. In fact the ground is still very, very brown and the clouds still like to come and block out our precious sun. But in spite of the drabness that Minnesota brings, I have committed to finding some color from every area. Here are my finds from yesterday.

The best sign we found though was this little peonies plant that was starting to grow. I was surprised that it was sprouting up and was indeed the only thing sprouting in my mother in law's yard. The promise of spring was proven by the tiny green leaves amongst all the brown. Yeah!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My First Color Musing

(Copied from my private blog)

Sorry it took me so long to get this out here…it takes me so long to quiet my thoughts enough to get them out here sometimes!

Every since coming back from Hawaii I realized that what I loved the most about Hawaii was not the warmth (okay, that was nice too), but it was truly the color. Honestly, I can handle the cold in Minnesota in the middle of frigid winter, but when I look outside at grays, blacks and browns…I am far from inspired. I think more so since I took up photography. What in the world can one take pictures of when it is drab outside? So, what do Minnesotans do? They head out of state and soak up some color, OR, they sit around and long for SPRING. Glorious, wonderful SPRING!!!

I think it dawned on me too when viewing a friends pictures that she took in Idaho…although the temperatures aren't nearly as frigid as MN, they still have drab winters. Crazy how that can drain ones happiness right out of them…it is no wonder that so many of us are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. I think not getting the right vitamins from the sun plays a HUGE role in this. But I also realized that the lack of color does indeed bring many of us there too! Not just any color either, certain colors for some of us make the difference. Some are excited by the bright colors in Hawaii or somewhere else tropical; some like the muted color tones in somewhere like Martha's Vineyard or other beaches that attract you. It does amaze me that it does matter though none the less, what inspires you?

See, although I had the joy of experiencing some color in the middle of winter over in Hawaii, I think it has increased my longing for color. In this process though I can see my vision for what I enjoy about photography. It brings the ability to capture color and look at it over and over again and bring smiles to your faces. Look at your computer desk, I am sure you picked a colorful screen shot. Mine, is a crab apple tree with amazing white blossoms, sun kissed with wonderful green leaves and the blue sky as the backdrop….yep color and a promise of springtime! Brightening the drab…

When I reorganized my office, I also removed a lot of my old black and white photos…once again, although I love them, the lack of color is actually quite depressing. So, I replaced my pictures with some brightly colored ones of my kids that I took the last couple of years…ahhhhh, smiles, joy, happiness and COLOR! I can't believe the difference that it made in my small office! I love it! I also realized that there is a reason that I love having color on my walls at my home. I have so many too! The Pioneer Woman blog had a question about what your common colors were on your walls and I couldn't give a simple answer since I have sooooo many different colors with purple, red, blue, tan, brown, gray and even lavender on the walls in my home. Honestly, we just love color here! I am glad since it puts a smile on my face.

God was so amazing to give us a world that has lots and lots and lots of it! What a great way for him to show His glory to us! If I can sit here and think that the colors that we see here are amazing, HOW MUCH BETTER will heaven be. Ooooh, the Lord is soo good and it will be great to meet Him when it is the proper time. I believe that the Lord opened my eyes WIDE to His glorious colors. I can only thank Him for planting in me the seed of photography and also the seed to be able to see what He has offered to us as a gift…the wonderful use of His earth loaded with colors that are unimaginable. So cool!!! My desires right now are to capture glorious color in my photography. The reason I asked the questions of all of you regarding color was that I was seeking a new mission statement for my photography. I realized more and more that I love to take pictures not only of people, but of anything and everything….so my focus is going to be COLOR!!!!!!
In the process of reading everyone's comments I came to realize that this one stuck out the most to me, "In Pursuit of Color". Keep in mind, I loved, loved, loved all the other phases everyone came up with too and you can guarantee that you wil see them in the days to come when I find something especially wonderful! So there you have it, for right now, that is my new theme while I am taking pictures. I am positive there will be times that I am not able to get color and I need to be okay with that since after all, I do live in Minnesota, LOL! I haven't figured out if I will go too far into it, but at some point, as I take abstract shots or scenes, I might be so bold as make an Etsy shop or something like it with it for sale….we will see how that goes. Since I am a true amateur too, I am not sure that this is really going to be a money maker for me (not sure that I care to be honest since I really just love it for the joy of it!). But to be clear the description of amateur that I liked the best is this: a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons. I don't want to lose my love for it by making it a business, so there is a good chance that if I happen to get pictures that I think are worth selling it will be by accident only, because the truth is, I am TOTALLY in this for the delight of it all! ;)!

In the mean time I did create a blogspot site ( ) to potentially put some of my favorite shots out there. I even left it as a public site (that is huge for me!) so others could potentially trip on it. At this point, there is absolutely nothing out there…sorry, I can only do one thing at a time and that just isn't yet. But I did create it. I may have them posted there and on this site since I use this as my memory page. My Chronicles site is primarily for friends and family to keep track of me and for a journal for my children as they grow and want to see what our life was like. I am so thankful for this site and can't believe that I get to do it, it feels like a special gift for this stay at home momma. In any case this site is a private one, if you googled me, you wouldn't find it and that makes me quite happy. It keeps it as a safe haven for me, family and friends. I suspect there are some out there reading my blog that I have no clue who they are since I don't password protect and the site can be accessed by anyone if they have gotten the site from either me or someone else, which is also just fine. But not having it accessed by the whole world and a million strangers….that is priceless for me! Wow, what a digression from the blog post title I just ran on!

In the conversation of color though, I have been so thankful to better understand my camera, taking RAW pictures, learning a little bit of editing and getting more experience taking pictures (Thank you Lord for Maui!). I feel such delight in this and I know that the Lord gave this to me which makes it all the more fun! Now, what does He want me to do with it…well, my heart, my eyes and my ears are open!!!! The High Adventures with the Lord are always wonderful so I can't way to watch my life unfold even more! What is more fun is I can't wait to share them out here with you! Who would want to keep it all to themselves…boring! Thanks everyone for being on this color journey with me…what a great time we will have!
So here is your assignment folks….go out and find color and smile! Thankfully Easter has arrived and even the color of dyed Easter eggs (Star Wars ones to boot!) can bring a smile to your face…how about at church tomorrow morning… there are tons of flowers there that brought a smile to my face at the Easter Egg Hunt today…

We have a little longer here in Minnesota to find color outside, but maybe, just maybe we can find color where we least expect it!