Archive: September 2009   |   View all recent posts

Day 260 ~ Connor
WHAT: Dogs, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: September 21, 2009
God wired me with a K9 chromosome.  For as long as I can remember I've been a fan of most animals (excluding horn worms), but dogs have always been at the top of my list.  I hate that stupid SPCA commercial with Sara McLachlan; every time I see it, it makes me want to adopt every dog they have.  That's why this particular session was so enjoyable.

Meet Connor.  Like the dogs in the commercial, Connor was rescued when he was just a couple months old when he was found on O'Connor Blvd (I'm assuming I don't have to explain to you where his name came from), and Ellen, one of the women Kylie works with, gave him a fresh start in a loving, nurturing home.  Fast forward to several years later, and Connor is now a sweet, friendly, gentle, loyal companion to Ellen and her husband.  When I asked what breed he is, I liked Ellen's response. "One of a kind.  An Original."

Yesterday Kylie and I met up with Ellen and Connor at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve to capture a few images of this big ol' teddy bear.  Here's a few of my favorites.

BTW, please don't mention these images to Mia.  She doesn't know we were out playing with another dog yesterday, and we'd just assume keep it that way.


Day 255 ~ Waterlogged
WHAT: Project 365 (2009), Random   |   WHEN: September 16, 2009
It's been raining here in Dallas since about Friday night.  It's been more of a steady drizzle with an occasional downpour, and we actually got a brief reprieve last night where the star formerly known as the sun came out to play for a bit.  Today, though, was back to the gray, dreary, soggy stuff.  It feels like spring time in Ohio.  If you live in Seattle, please accept my sympathies... you all must be suffering from a massive Vitamin D deficiency.

I was out back with the dog and grabbed this image of a lantern on our patio table earlier this evening.


Image Polishing - Before and After
It's been awhile since I posted a Before & After showing an example of how I add "polish" to images in Photochop.  This installment uses a recent image from Indiana, and these county road signs actually have some significance; these signs mark the intersection where the house that my father-in-law Garry once was.  While the house has not been standing on the lot for some years, the small workshop behind the house where Garry's father used to spend lots of time is still there, and these road signs probably bring back lots of memories for Garry and his brothers and sisters.  In fact, Garry's brother Mick still owns the farm land across the road and Mick's daughter Jennifer and her husband Steve recently built a house on that land where they can look out their front window and see the land where their heritage lived for years.  Kind of a cool story.

In any case, let's get started with a quick before & after, shall we?

Here's the original image straight out of the camera.  Not bad, but not very inspiring, eh?  Whaddya say we polish it up a bit?

Step 1:

Totally Rad Actions (TRA) "Oh Snap" at 50% opacity

Step 2: 

Kevin Kubota's "Tea Stain" at 40% opacity with the effect of this action masked in the sky area to maintain color & detail in sky.

Step 3:

-  TRA "Contrast" (80% opacity), sky masked to preserve color and detail
-  TRA "Clairify" (25% opacity), sky masked to preserve color and detail

Step 4:

-  Use clone and patch tools to remove ugly distracting plant to the left of the sign for cleaner overall image and better composition (looks like I missed a spot in the very lower left corner... oops.)

Step 5:

-  Added slight vignetting on edges
-  TRA "Warm It Up, Kris" (75% opacity) to add a tad more richness and, well, warmth to the feel of the image.

I could've stopped after step 5, but let's spiffy up this image just a little more.  Who's with me?

Step 6:

Added the following textures from the Firenze Italian Texture Collection I photographed in Italy:
-  "Sweet Sistine" (80% opacity, soft light blend mode)
-  "Scarred Leonardo" (15% opacity, hard light blend mode)
-  "Watermark" (50% opacity, overlay blend mode, masked grass background to lessen texture in this area)

Step 7:

-  TRA "Old Skool Fast" (40% opacity, soft light blend mode).
-  Sharpening around the signs, sign post, and vegitation at the bottom of the image.

That's all for now.  I'll post more before & afters ocassionally in future posts, so check back often.


Day 253 ~ Cereal Killers
WHAT: Fun, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: September 14, 2009

Opened up the pantry the other day and noticed we have 13 boxes of cereal... for two people.  

Good thing Kylie's an ace shopper.  Seriously, check out her savings from her most recent trip.  48% of the total was paid for with coupons.  Who does that?  Oh, that's right... my awesome wife does.  

The only downside is that she doesn't let me get Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries until they go on sale.  

On a related note, Crunch Berries, I'm sad to inform you, are not real berries.  The Cap'n was actually sued once because some lady claimed false advertising when she found out that there were, in deed, no real berries in the cereal, to which I can only say, cereally?


Day 252 ~ Let There Be [A New] Light
WHAT: Project 365 (2009), Random   |   WHEN: September 13, 2009
Well, it took 13 and a half months to replace the thing I hated most about the house when I bought it - the thing I swore would be the first thing to get changed as soon as i moved in, but it finally happened.  The hideousness that provided light in the dining room for over a year finally got replaced today.  The funny thing is Kylie has been waiting on me to pull the trigger for almost 2 months now.  We ( and when I say "we", I mean mostly me) found a light we loved at Restoration Hardware, but the $545 price tag seemed pretty steep considering it was basically 2 clean, simple, cylindrical shades nestled one partially inside the other.  That being said, I was tired of looking at dining room light fixtures at this point, and I was ready to shell out the dough for this ridiculously overpriced light because I couldn't find anything else that I liked any better that we could both agree upon.  Kylie kept on looking, though, and went the extra mile to find another light that was almost identical at a local appliance and lighting store for $330 less.  I was reluctant at first because it was a little smaller and, well, it wasn't Restoration Hardware, so how could it possibly be as good, right? I finally agreed, though, since 1) we could take it back if we didn't like it, and 2) well, okay, it was only $215 compared to $545, and so that's an additional $330 that could go towards my birthday present. [grin]  Kidding, sweetie.

Long story short, our friend Daniel came over to help install it today, and I think it looks pretty sweet.  Glad I talked Kylie into it.

And in case you weren't able to witness the awesomenification of the golden glory chandelier that was in the dining room when I bought the house, let me horrify - I mean jog - your memory.  The red swirly wallpaper with the the b&w diamond wallpaper was pretty sweet, too, eh?  We [un]affectionately referred to it as the "court jester" room.

BTW, if you say you like the latter ("before") decor better, I'm banning you from this blog.


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