2011.11.27 After Thanksgiving quotes and encouragements

Several from Henry Van Dyke:

Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best.

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.

Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are.

. . . and from others:

You are not here to merely make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope that leads to achievement. You are here to enrich the world.
~ Woodrow Wilson

Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
~ Isaiah 40:31

. . . do it all for the glory of God.
~ 1 Corinthians 10:31b


2011.11.24 Finding joy in . . .

enough land so that friends and family
can visit and bring motorcycles, offroad vehicles, or horses . . .
 (PSE B&W / CoffeeShop AutumnGlow action / PSE vignette)

(ShadowHouse Scratch1 softlight50 / ShadowHouse RusticCharm2 overlay100)

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Well, it's back to cooking . . .
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the States.


2011.11.22 PSE indecision

We had a hard frost a week ago (brrrr),
so I took my camera on my mailbox walk
and shot some frosty photos on the way to and from.
One of the photos captured my attention . . .

It's mostly some shriveled hosta leaves on a walnut stump.

I liked the photo . . . the colors, the frost, the decay, the composition.

But, when I added textures . . . oh, my.
And that's where the indecision appeared.
Usually, one texture or one blending mode outshines all the others.
Not here.
And not my usual choices of saturated colors.

The results of my PSE indecision . . .
 (Kim Klassen AutumnBurst hardlight100)

  (Kim Klassen Mayzee exclusion100)

  (Kim Klassen Mayzee hue100)

  (Kim Klassen Mayzee linearlight100)

  (Kim Klassen Paper1 color100)

 (PictureSpeak blog by Roshanda Glenn TexturedSlate lighten100)

All textures except the last one are by Kim Klassen.
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2011.11.19 Quote for Thanksgiving and everyday

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. 
― Melody Beattie, author


2011.11.18 Water Study á la Monet

Using Pixel Dust's Wicked texture . . .

Thank you, Bonnie.
I LOVE this texture.

At Bonnie's request, here is my "go-to" editing procedure in PSE:
Adjust levels if necessary.
Boost contrast if I think the photo needs it.
Add a texture.
Test and select a blending mode.
Vignette if desired.
[ I use PSE's Correct Camera Distortion filter as the easiest way to vignette. ]
Save as a new file with the filename reflecting the textures and actions used.

And, a hint which I discovered by accident . . .
to see how various blending modes affect the texture,
select the first one with the mouse
and then use the cursor up and down keys to scroll through the blending modes.

Hint #2 which I learned on the web . . .
to see the effect of all the various layers on the original photo,
click the "eyeball" off on the original photo (the Background layer)
WHILE holding down the alt key (on a PC).
Doing this effectively turns off all the layers except the Background
so you can compare the original photo to the altered photo
with only one click.
Click the Background's eyeball again to "see" all the other layers again.

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2011.11.17 Finding joy in . . .

. . . excellent books.

My two most recent reads,
get the highest recommendations from me.

The first one is fiction; The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany.
However depressing this topic usually is,
this book is extraordinary
and, somehow, positive.
The writing itself is different,
with thought-provoking uses of words,
a stylized text,
the narrator . . . well, the narrator is Death.
It is published as a Young Adult book,
but this book is for everyone interested in human nature.
Please don't let the setting keep you from reading it.

The second book is non-fiction.
My Stoke of Insight is written by a brain scientist
(Harvard and the Indiana University School of Medicine)
who had a stroke at age 37.
The book is amazingly readable
and details the biology of the brain,
her first hours when she realizes she is having a stroke,
and her 8-year recovery.
Everyone should read this book.

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2011.11.17 Sunflower love

Sunflowers are such happy flowers,
holding memories of sunny, warm days
and providing food to our wild animals.

Last week I bought myself a bouquet of fall flowers from WalMart
while doing the weekly shopping.
(The bottom row in the fresh flower display often has half-price bouquets!)

One of the flowers was a sunflower.
The dried stem was sculptural when I removed it from the vase.

Time for the camera and some PSE texture fun . . .
(ShadowHouse PaintedSonata darkercolor100)

(PixelDust ArtistTexture1 darken100 / ShadowHouse Bokeh1darken100)

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2011.11.15 Operation Christmas Child . . .

. . . it's not too late to pack a box!

Last Saturday, I went to a packing party

The shoeboxes are sent all over the world to needy children
to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way.
Approximately 130 countries . . . isn't that amazing?

My kids and I had packed shoeboxes in previous years,
but always on our own.
Are packing parties new???
I heard about this one which was held at a local church
on the radio, K-LOVE.

So . . . it's not too late to pack a box!
Go here: Operation Christmas Child to find a local drop-off location
and other information about Operation Christmas Child.


2011.11.13 Sodalis Nature Park

Last week,
my grandson and I
visited a local nature area.

We walked one of the trails which loops around several picnic areas . . .

We watched the ducks and ducklings feed . . .

I photographed seed pods and leaves . . .

My grandson would "help" the leaves not blow away while I was taking their pictures . . .

The following leaf photos all have CoffeeShop's Orton action . . .


2011.11.11 Trying new concepts in PSE

Bonnie at Pixel Dust Photo Art keeps encouraging
all her followers to try something new.
So, I have.

A gladiolus from last July . . .
 (PSE filter ArtisticCutout / Kim Klassen PaperStainedLight texture)

And, this . . .
hmmmm . . .
is an attempt at Bonnie's collage prompting.
There are 5 photos here,
two from last week's challenge.
I can't say I like this result, but I will probably attempt doing a collage again.
 (original processing from last week / ShadowHouse Bokeh1 texture)

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2011.11.10 One oak leaf

. . . backlit by the sun . . .

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2011.11.10 Bees, lot of them . . .

When walking around the garden with my granddaughter,
the mums were covered with bees . . . lots of different ones.

Usually when I try to photograph a bee,
I end up with a picture of a flower . . . and no bee.

The weather was cool,
so they were moving more slowly than usual . . .

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2011.11.10 Finding joy in . . .

healthful and tasty food . . .

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2011.11.09 Vintage typewriters

Anne and I were browsing in an antique store
and there were two typewriters . . .
(CoffeeShop UrbanGrit action / ShadowHouse NF0 / ShadowHouse UberGrunge1)

(CoffeeShop UrbanGrit action / ShadowHouse Whatadifference7)

(CoffeeShop UrbanGrit action / PixelDustPhotoArt AbstractElementsDropsOfJupiter)

(CoffeeShop UrbanGrit action / ShadowHouse Bokeh3)

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2011.11.03 Autumn getaway

On the lamp in my room at the inn . . .
 (Pixel Dust FrenchBoudoirBlue texture /  Pixel Dust HappyDay texture / PSE vignette)

From the park grounds . . .
(Pixel Dust HappyDay texture / PSE levels)

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2011.11.03 Finding joy in . . .

indoor plumbing
with hot and cold running water . . .

This JOY was triggered by (great!) memories
of my Montana mission trip this past summer
where the bathhouse was under construction.

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2011.11.02 Quote

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

Robert Brault