This is a repeat of a picture I just put up here recently, but I must repost this for IHeartFaces. Between her eyes and her dress, I can't get any bluer than this photo.


Doesn't this cat look happy?

Ok. So maybe this is stretching the "Happiness" theme at I Should Be Folding Laundry's weekly photo challenge. But as I was looking at these photos I took today, I could help but think, doesn't that cat look happy? You see my cat doesn't just catch mice, but she catches birds, bugs, rabbits, and snakes. Yes, snakes. This wasn't the first time either. She loves to catch snakes, torment them a while, then let them go. It's a good thing for her that we don't live in poisonous snake territory.


So here are my photos.



I Heart Faces - Completely Candid

I am participating in this week's I Heart Faces photo challenge. This week's theme is Completely Candid.

Well, I was trying to stretch my brain for what photo is completely candid. Of course, much of what I shoot is candid. But, very seldom are the people I take pictures of lost in what they are doing to the point that they hardly know I'm there. When we go to the beach on a warm day, that's what happens with my girls. They are in heaven.


I Heart Faces - Redhead Fix-It

The Fix-It photo this week at I Heart Faces was fun and easy to work with. I just love how red-heads pop in photos don't you?

Here is the original:


Here is the fix:


I applied very easy and common fixes I often use on photos.

  • I applied a custom curve to the photo by applying a curves adjustment layer and pulling up the curve a little (like an arch).

    This photo needed to be lightened a little - this is the most effective way I know to do this in Photoshop. In Photoshop you can apply a curves adjustment layer by going over to the layer pallete and choosing the half black/half white circle, right clicking on it, and choosing curves.

  • Then I applied a brightness/contrast adjustment layer, adjusting the contrast to 50%.

    Because of the slightly foggy look of the photo, upping the contrast a little was helpful for this particular photo. However, if I hadn't lightened the photo enough, upping the contrast would have looked dark.

  • Then I applied a levels adjustment layer to the photo, pulling the grey slider to the right a little.

    I did this so that the midtones in the photo would be a little more rich. If you were to pull up the blacks, you would have lost some of the rich colors.

  • I, then, flattened the image.

  • I duplicated the image.

  • I applied a strong sharpen on the top layer - something like 250%, 3 pixels, and level 5.

  • Then I applied a alt-add vector mask to this top layer I just sharpened. This gets me a black vector mask that will hide my layer, with the exception of areas I paint with white to have the layer show through. I set my paintbrush opacity to 50% and paint the eyes (just the dark circle portion of the eye, not the whites or the eyelashes).

  • If I like how the eyes look and they seem to blend, I'll leave what I've got. If it need to be toned down slightly, I'll adjust the opacity of the top layer (the one with the alt-layer mask applied to it), by making sure that top layer is selected and using the opacity slide feature by moving the mouse over the word "Opacity" in the "Layers Pallete".

  • I'll flatten my image and apply a final mild sharpen to the entire image - something like 50%, 2px, level 5.

  • That's it!

I hope you enjoyed the walk through of my fix.

Some New Things

I'm participating in:


This week's theme is new. Checkout You Capture for a lot more great photos.

Here are some new things for me:


These are new eggs. Still in the nest box.


No, this isn't grass. This is newly seperated and replanted Irish Moss. This is the first low lying ground cover I've been happy with how quickly in fills in (at least in my soil). I'm seperating it and growing more.


Here is some new Banana Bread I've just made. It really is new because I'm playing around making my own recipe for Whole Wheat Sourdough Banana Bread. It was alright, but I still have to tweak it.

Learning New Things - Illustrator

OK. So, I've wanted to learn Illustrator for a long time. But, the most basic tutorials seem to require a knowledge level I don't have - such as how to use the pen tool. You know, I figure I can do funner things with Photoshop, if I learn a little Illustrator, so I'm determined. I also figure that if I learn one new thing a day, I've learned 365 things is 365 days. So, I learned one little thing today - a small piece of how to use Illustrator.

Here are some other pen tool exercises which teach you how to make a motion trail (wavy line) in Illustrator.

Color Correction Link

Sometimes slight variations in colors that Photoshop makes in the final save of a file can be just crushing. That wasn't what you wanted your image to look like! You have just experienced the mysterious "save for web" color shift and Doug Avery can help you with this frustrating experience with this tutorial:

Real Emotions

I've been surprised how few pictures I've been taking in the last week or so. But, here is one for you today. My toddler with a little of her raw emotion.