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This Day in My History


In my minds eye, I visualize how a particular . . . sight and feeling will appear on a print. If it excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph. It is an intuitive sense, an ability that comes from a lot of practice.

-- Ansel Adams

Yesterday's Entries

2000: Memories are Made of This
2001:  It's My Rut and I Like It
2002:  When Yogurt Goes Bad


Breakfast:  Toast with Peanut butter

Lunch:  picked at leftovers

Dinner:  Turkey casserole


Jeri, Walt and I watched The Lord of the Ring: The Two Towers in preparation for seeing Return of the King in the theatre this week.


The Top Ten lists from the San Francisco Chronicle


Clear, sunny, crisp.



28 December 2003

My new—OK, not so new obsession is PhotoShop. I’ve used photo manipulation software ever since I started working with photos on the computer, some umpty-ump years ago. For a long time I used PaintShop Pro, one of the earliest versions, which I got as freeware in the years when freeware was visible everywhere. I never upgraded and did some basic things with it. It was a fun toy to play around with.

There was a looooong period of time when PaintShop was all I used, all I thought of using. But then Peggy introduced me to Photo Impact and after a bit of a learning curve, I discovered that it was more versatile than the version of PaintShop that I was using. So I started working with PhotoImpact (version 7, I believe).

Now in truth, I do not do upgrades easily. I get stuck in a rut and it takes a major kick in the pants to make me give up my familiar old routines and try new ones.

There was a time, in my very early days on computer, when I read software manuals for fun, much the way I used to enjoy reading cookbooks for fun. But once I became familiar with the things that a program did, I saw no reason to upgrade because the program I was currently using met all of my needs. I would have to (a) identify new needs, and then (b) spend time figuring out how to satisfy them. Somehow it didn’t seem worth the effort.

Peggy had mentioned that she had ultimately given up PhotoImpact and found PhotoShop much more to her liking. She does amazing things with graphics and I thought my needs/desires in that area were pretty basic. I had PhotoShop on my computer, but the screen was unfamiliar and I didn’t want to be bothered learning all the bells and whistles when I figured I’d never use them.

Then I went to Australia.

Not only does Peggy have PhotoShop on her computer, but she also has these neat tutorials on disk that you can run. There is a marvelous magazine that comes out of the UK which includes instructional disks. It ain’t cheap, and though I ultimately found myself looking for subscription information before I left Australia, the cost of a year’s subscription was just way too much for me to consider getting it. Since I’ve been home, I’ve looked at book and computer stores and find that there is nothing comparable in this country, unfortunately.

But I would frequently wake up in the mornings in Perth an hour or two before Peggy did, so I would lock myself in the back office and run one of the tutorials. It became my morning routine and I began learning some techniques I never realized I would think of using–and finding out how much it added to the photos that I could create using PhotoShop.

By the end of my time in Australia, I was so hooked on the tutorials, that Peggy copied them for me and I brought them home.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been watching one or two each morning and becoming much more comfortable with the abilities of PhotoShop. Tom also gave me a book on PhotoShop for Christmas, which nicely complements the tutorials, as it contains things I have not found on the disks.

I’m just having the best time starting to feel comfortable with this program. Right now I’m working on color levels and how to make an acceptable photo more interesting by adjusting the colors and cleaning it up a bit. The other day I posted a photo of my mother stuffing a turkey. The next day I did the tutorial on levels and I pulled up the photo and played around with it. The changes are subtle, but I think you’ll agree that the final result is a better photo.

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Can't see it?  Well, it should be a bit larger for you to get the full effect, but if you notice first, I removed the glare from the pot in the left picture.  Secondly, I blurred the background so that my mother stands out more.  I also took down the glare on the turkey as well, and slightly darkened my mother's face to make the skin tones look more normal.

Then there's this photo of Ned's "theatre" that I fixed this morning.   Ned has turned what would be the dining room in most folks' houses into a theatre, complete with theatre seats, surround sound, candles for ambience, and a large collection of DVDs.  We watched The Princess Bride there last night and I wanted to get a feel for the whole room, so I took a photo of the left side and of the right side.

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I have a program that will put photos like this together into a panorama, but this one wouldn't work, so I went to Photo shop.  I had to do a lot of manipulation, but came up with this final print:

theatre.jpg (24227 bytes)

It involved removing a piece of one of the white seats, creating a whole new end to the black chair, making the rug all the same color so you can't see where the two pieces joined.  I was really jazzed when I got it all finished.  I lightened up the left side a bit, but it's supposed to be a dark theatre, right?  There is a lot moreI would do with this photo if it were supposed to be a "good" print, but I just wanted it as a snapshot, and for that it's fine.

Then, Ned wanted a picture of his tattoo to send to his friends, now that the covering has come off of it.  I took a picture, forgetting to use the macro feature and when I got home discovered I had a blurry mess.  I worked with it and workedwith it and the end result isn't perfect by any means, but I think you'll agree that it's definitely an improvement:

tattooblur.jpg (41765 bytes)

My favorite, tho, is this one that I used for our Christmas letter:

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It's a picture of Walt on the canal boat he road in England.  Only no such photo exists.  It's a photo of Walt taken at a burial site in Ireland, cut out and pasted onto a picture he took of the canal boat going thru one of the locks.  So far everybody who has read the Christmas letter was amazed to learn that I created the photo in PhotoShop!

So I'm having a great time, in between cleaning and transcribing, learning this new program and think that it's going to greatly improve the quality of my photos.

Now when I print a photo of the day you'll never know if it's the way I took it or if it's the result of careful PhotoShop manipulation!


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Walt and his sister at the retirement home where their mother lives.


For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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Weight Lost to date:  48.6 lbs

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Created 12/28/03