Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I was lucky--they're using a different sedation these days, so I'm conscious, if a bit groggy. And here's how dedicated we get about the Challenge--the photo was taken from the garage of Hartford Hospital as we were heading in early this morning. My husband was a little incredulous that I was whipping out my little P&S, saying, "Look at that light! I need this picture for my blog!"

The light was magnificent, and I loved the juxtaposition of the old brick buildings in the foreground with the neweer office towers in the back. I know I use the Accented Edges filter a lot; but combined with a Warming filter, it helped bring out the sleepy glow of a city waking up to the morning.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I may not be able to post tomorrow. I will try to at least take a picture, but I suspect I'll have to post it on Wednesday (routine medical procedure...no big deal, but I usually wind up really knocked out by the sedative.)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the 365 Challenge. I can't tell you how much I enjoy browsing through your blogs everyday. It's like being able to wander in a private museum of photography. I'm in awe of the talent here! I'm grateful, too, for the time you spend making comments on my efforts as well. Between looking at what you do and listening to what you say, I've learned so much.

The Challenge has certainly caused me to open my eyes and deepened my awareness of my surroundings. If I didn't "have to" take a picture every day--especially the days I work in that dull building that sits in the middle of an industrial wasteland in Hartford--there is so much I would not see. And I wouldn't have undertaken the Challenge (or stuck with it!) if it weren't for all of you.

So thank you all--and congratulations to all of you for your stellar work!


The highway underpass on a dreary day...Using Posterize, Texturizer and Accented Edges brings out the urban grime and grunge.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

When I was growing up, Catholic churches had arrays of votive candles in front of statues of the Blessed Mother and various saints. If you had a special intention, you'd slip your money (a dime was the standard donation for a small candle, an unfathomable amount--probably a quarter--for the large ones) into the slot in a metal box on the front of the rack. Then you'd pull a long wooden stick out of anothebox that was full of sand. You'd say a prayer, light the stick from one of the burning candles, then light your chosen candle and extinguish the stick in the sand. It was all very solemn and filled with mystery. The churches smelled sweetly of beeswax.

It was a fire hazard. One of the side altars at my childhood church was badly damaged in a fire started by one of the votive candles. It seems also that this sort of devotion fell out of favor. Few Catholic churches in our area have votive candles at all. A few years ago, the church in our town installed electric candles. I'm actually not sure how they work, but I guess you put you money in the slot and one of the candles goes on for a certain period of time. To me, it lacks the mystique of real flame and beeswax. This is a picture of the new style "candles." I used a combination of
Smudge Stick and Accented Edges which seems to bring out the plastic element of the pseudo-candles.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We finally have flowers blooming oustide! There's a smattering of truly teensy snow crocuses beside the walk to the back door; and on the other side of the driveway is this lone slightly larger crocus. I have no idea how it got there. We've lived here since 1981, and there's never been a crocus there before. I prefer the original photo, but a combination of Watercolor and Smudge Stick delineates the details, especially in the center.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The office building where I work is situated along side of a complex series of highways and reailroad tracks. This is one of the overpasses. I was intrigued by the massive repeating supports. The switchback stairs in the distance lead to a bridge that crosses the Connecticut River. To get the lighter renditon, I used a combination of effects: Carving, Tint Black & White, and Pencil Sketch.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It wasn't the day I expected. I was just about to leave for work when I got a call from my 16 year old daughter--she'd hit her head in gym, and she really didn't feel well. I called in to work that I wouldn't be coming in today, collected Sierra from school, and monitored her for a while. I was pretty sure she'd had a mild concussion, so I took her in to see her doctor to confirm it. He concurred. She's OK; she's perking up nicely after having been sort of groggy all afternoon. At dinner I realized I hadn't taken my picture for the day. This handful of carnations is left over from the bouquet my husband gave me for my birthday on the fourth--clearly they have staying power! Dark Strokes was not a filter I would have thought would work with such delicate colors, but I like how it seems to make the petals glow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This is the infamous concrete office building in which I work. It's the only office building in an industrial wasteland bordered by highways and railroad tracks. It's not bad if you work by one of the windows, as I did for several years before the consultants were moved to the lightless, airless, soulless heart of the building. Still, this challenge is teaching me to open my eyes, and the exterior does have a certain classic geometric elegance. A combination of Posterize and Colored Pencil reduces it to its elemental planes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The weathered fence near the library has wonderful whorls and ridges. This photo took well to any number of filters, but Ink Outlines was the one that deepened the cracks and textures.

Monday, March 23, 2009

There's a tree on the altar of our church that started out bare at the beginning of Lent and is now blooming. I used Corey Barker's technique to create the sketch effect. Duplicate the photo, then apply Glowing Edges to the top layer. Invert it (CTRL-I), then desaturate it. Use the eraser to "paint" back the color where you want it. I like to use a relatively low opacity tfor a soft pen and watervolor look.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sometimes things don't work out the way one intends. The photos I took of the first crocuses in our yard were all out of focus. Fortunately, as we were driving past the reservoir this evening, there was no one behind us so we were able to pull over to get a shot of the sunset. It's not really a very exciting picture. As I was clicking through the filters, I ran across the Stained Glass filter. I'd never thought it would be useful for anything; but it transforms this rather standard sunset into a pointilist painting, making the water sparkle and highlighting the glowing rim of cloud.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our town's girls' basketball team played for the State Championship today. They lost 55-53 in a heartbreaker: after leading for most of the game, they started to flag towards the end. The other team put in the winning basket with just 4 seconds to go. I didn't crop this photo much because I wanted to capture the whole experience of being a championship game, not just the action on the court. Radial Spin seems to add the feeling of highly charged emotion and excitement to the picture.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Today was typical for March in southern New England: cloudy, glum and raw. The water of Paper Goods Pond reflects the sullen sky. The Dark Strokes filter works well with the lights and shadows and the moodiness of the scene.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Our daughter was a Confirmation sponsor for a friend on Sunday. John bought her flowers for the occasion. I thik they're called amaryllis, but I'm not sure. The Cutout filter was prefect for delineating the planes of vibrant color.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

TAGGED: This is a photo of my older grandson, Aidan, celebrating his first birthday with lots of chocolate. (It was hard for me to figure which picture to choose, as my folders are arranged by year and then by seasons within the year...so there are 4 folders in the 6th folder. I figured out which would have been the sixth one taken. Despite the Halloween bib, Aidan's birthday is in January.)

I hope this is OK, but I didn't tag anyone 'cause it looks like everyone's already been tagged.

This strange looking piece of equipment sits beside the railroad tracks in the weedy lot next to my office building. Interestingly, it took well to all sorts of filters. I had a hard time deciding on my favorite. In the end, I chose Colored Pencil, because it does lok very much like a sketch. It just exudes grey, gloomy urban grime.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's St. Patrick's Day, and we made our annual journey home to NYC for the Parade. This year, I was IN the Parade. It was dedicated to the Sisters of Charity on their 200th Anniversary. I went to a Sisters of Charity collge, so I was invited to take part. We marched near the beginning, so I was able to double back and watch the rest of the Parade. The gold kilts of this pipe band caught my eye. (I LOVE men in kilts!)
The Poster Edges filter brought out the crisp contrast between the black and gold in thir uniforms.

Monday, March 16, 2009

There's a band of these phragmites near my gym. It was tough to find the right filter for it. At first, I wanted something that would bring out the detail in the head of the weed. In the end, the Cut Out filter worked better by emphasizing the color and airiness of the plant instead.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lent is a solemn time. In our church, the altar is nearly bare but for a few candles and some purple cloth. when I took this picture, I didn't know the flash would cast the shadow of the flame. I didn't know a flame could have a shadow! I used the Colorful Center effect with just a very low opacity overlay of Pencil Sketch to draw the eye to the flame and its shadow.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Another sign of spring: seed racks at the hardware store. The Posterize Edges filter gives it something of the look of an old time seed catalog.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I was early for an appointment in Middletown today, so I drove around the neighborhood looking for a picture. I found this small pond, and I was intrigued by the repetition of vertical lines. I've never used the colored Pencil filter before, but I found it perfect for drawing attention to that feature which had attracted me to the scene.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I have to admit that there often aren't a lot of photo ops on the days that I work. I get on the highway, drive to an industrial area of Hartford to an isolated concrete office builiding; then reverse the process in the evening. So I've fallen back on an old stand-by: literally a stand-by, as these trains haven't moved for over a month. I liked the image on the right. To me, it looks like a piece of pizza; my husband thinks it's a party hat on its side. I used the Glowing Edges flter, then inverted it to make a sort of coloring book effect that brings out the playful graphic nature of the graffitti.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It was a raw, cold, drizzly day. I was intriged by the raindrops clinging to the branches of this thorny tree that borders the parking lot at my office building. (The parking lot is on surveillance video--I just kow the security guards wonder what on earth I'm doingas I wander around my car, trying to be unobtrusive.) I'm not yet really comfortable with the settings on the new camera; so the focus on the original is pretty soft. Accented Edges managed to bring out the texture in the branch, the light in the raindrop and the threatening points in the thorns.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The orchard is still dormant. Today, the late winter sun cast a pallid light on the skeletal branches. The use of the Chalk and Charcoal filter with a bit of subtel coloring creates an eerie moonscape.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Yesterday, after spending hours shopping for prom dresses with three 16 year year old girls, I came home hungry and weary. Just as I finished up making dinner, I knocked a full jar of maple syrup off the counter. No, it didn't smash into a sticky mass of lacerating glass. Instead, it landed on my toe, fracturing it. Limped off to work today; but I forgot to put the SD card in the camera--so no photos. When I got home, I found my husband had invited people for dinner! Under these circumstance, a glass of Yellow Tail was certainly in order. A combination of the Chalk and Charcoal filter with the Old Photo effect makes the photo as mellow as I wish I'd feel.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I spent most of the day at the Dreaded Mall and other stores shopping for a prom dress with my daughter. Don't ask.
Along the way, I caught this photo of the Starbucks franchise. The Angled Stroke filter with the Pencil Sketch effect at a very low opacity works to focus a random shot into a study of the human activity at a mall.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Such is New England weather: on Monday, we had a foot of snow; on Tuesday and Wednesday, temps were in the single digits and we were loading up the woodstove; today, we were hiking in shirt sleeves. No signs of green yet on the Sleeping Giant, where we skidded through patches of snow and jumped across rivulets of meltwater...but here and there were beech trees with last year's paper leaves still clinging to the branches. They were the only hint of color in a late winter landscape. The Photocopy filter outlined the veins and lit up the leaf.