3/52 – Light

Light is the topic for my project, this third week of the year. So I thought I’d shed a little light on my identity crisis. It’s what I think of when getting used to a new pair of frames.

So I picked up my new prescription and new frames today. I like that they are a tad larger, providing more room for my progressives. I’m sure I’ll adjust to the new me soon.

But the story on finding a pair that I like is a bit crazy.

I already know the style of frame I like. I like as near to rectangle as you can get. I shopped several places in the area and found something I really liked. Only they were a little snug on my temple and the guy (Optician) helping me said there was nothing he could do about it. So I continued to search.

The hubs got in on the search, as he wanted to drive me on up the road a little further to a place that had a rather large supply. That husband of mine rocks my world!

Turns out, I found a pair I liked. Tried them on. But to someone who needs a prescription to see, it’s hard to know if I really like them. So I took a selfie to decide if they were for me. I thought they fit the bill. So we made the purchase and brought them home.

However, I had to have another look at them on a larger screen. So I transferred the image to my computer. I was not a big fan as I found a couple of things that bothered me. I’m so happy they let me return them. Note: I just purchased the frame without the prescription.

Back to square one. This time, I called the place where I originally fell in love with the tight pair of frames. The place where the guy said he couldn’t help me. Yes, that place. Luckily for me, I spoke with a different optician and she told me that they could adjust the frames to meet my comfort needs.

That’s all it took. I got her name and made an appointment with her to nail the frames I really liked.

And just like that, she made the adjustments necessary for a comfort fit and sent them in to the lab to have my new prescription filled.

That was just over two weeks ago. And today was the day my new frames were ready for pick-up.

In keeping with my “Light” project this week, I decided to test the waters and shed a little light on the new me.

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I’m so happy I called that first place back. The place where the guy said he couldn’t help me.And thank you so much sweet lady for loving your job enough to help customers in need of a little extra help.

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As I see it, I give the comfort level 5 stars, the larger frame 5 stars and my new prescription 5 stars. As for the identity crisis, I should be adjusted to the new me soon.

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And there you have it.

Blessings – Debbie

A Day to Remember

What a lovely day…

It started this morning at Starbucks with my girlfriend + a beautiful morning country drive in the mountains in search for cool places to go shooting (photography) together.

Lunch was at the best Greek restaurant and we dined on the patio. Loved my salad!

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And for the afternoon, she brought me to her studio where she shot me for like 2 hours. I had fun learning about studio lighting and we both enjoyed talking shop (photography) all day.

And to think, my salad was the only shot I took. Sad…

But truly a great day to remember.

Blessings – Debbie

More Babies

Good afternoon. It’s Monday. The third week in January. Martin Luther King Day. And a day I planned to do a bit of gardening. And gardening I did bright and early this morning.

Then the thought crossed my mind to see if I could find a few shubunkins.

So I’ve called the local fish stores (for nearly a year) in search for shubunkins. And finally, today, I nailed a place that had a tank of about 30 or so. I don’t know how to express my feelings other than sheer excitement and joy with an exclamation!

I had a little visit with the hubs via text and he said to go pick out some for the pond. At that point, I think it took me all of about 5 minutes to hit the road.

Here’s the little batch of 7 that I hand-picked. They were transferred to this little tub prior to them going into the bag.

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Here’s a couple right after we got home. They (in the bag) floated in the pond for about 20 min to acclimate slowly to the temperature of the pond. Then I released them into their new home.

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I spent the majority of the day watching these guys make friends with all the other fish. And they enjoyed the first meal in their new home.

Momma thinks the babies are doing just swimmingly.

Blessings – Debbie

A Three Day Weekend

It’s the hubs Friday off work week. And this long weekend is just a little extra special. It’s the weekend after the long holiday, festivities and company. It’s a time we find ourselves getting back into the groove embracing our New Year. I love it!

The hubs had a few workers out to the house over the last couple of days. He’s getting a few bids on a job we would like to start this year.

We had the best date yesterday afternoon at the local plant nursery, followed with dinner and Cold-stone for our sweet tooth.

Fresh California avocados, cilantro, tomato, onion, lime juice and salt – it’s what the hubs asked if I would whip up on this glorious afternoon.

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His wish is my command and guacamole was served.

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So I got a poinsettia as a hostess gift this year. And the plant does not like me. No matter how much love I give, it’s obvious I’m doing it all wrong. I think I’ll stick with my roses that flourish.

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But the very tippy top of the poinsettia is still so bright and cheerful. After reading (online) the care that goes into keeping these beauties year after year, I think I’ll pass. Or perhaps I’ll just stick it in the ground around May and see what happens.

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As for the rest of our weekend, I think we’re booked to relax and enjoy the time together.

I hope you’re having a glorious day and weekend.

Blessings – Debbie

2/52 – Storytelling

Wow, we are already into the second week of the New Year. The project this week is “Storytelling”.

I snapped this image yesterday in keeping with storytelling. Doesn’t it look like they’re telling stories?

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This is potentially the last few shots of me with my favorite frames. I should be getting my new frames next week. The story regarding new frames has everything to do with me needing a little larger frame such that I have more room for the progressives.

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Roses in January and new polish today. The story behind the polish. While doing a bit of food shopping, I noticed a large section of nail polish 50% off. So I came home with three new bottles.

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I’m really excited about my 52 week project this year. It has a way of helping me to focus on photography while I tell my life story on the blog.

How fitting. Who knows, I may be back with a few more stories this week.

Blessings – Debbie

1/52 – Fresh

So I joined a project 52 group this year. Basically, we as a group take an image a week (based on the theme) and present our images.

I’m really excited to be a part of the group as I feel it will offer inspiration and the drive to get out there and shoot.

This past week, our theme was “Fresh”.

I was inspired to keep it simple and shoot something that had everything to do with the week.

“Fresh” flowers from the garden for family arriving from Alaska.

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The hubs sister and her husband from Alaska. Image shot in the rain this morning just before we said good-bye. We had a wonderful visit with them this week. Some of the highlights = Cheesecake Factory – Lunch date with the hubs (he had to work this week) – Visit to the local library – Strolls in the neighborhood – Evening visits – Farmers market – Japanese Garden – Oceanside dinner – Hike along the scenic lake and mountains – Afternoon tea at the local tea house…

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The hubs woke violently ill yesterday. And a drive to Urgent Care was necessary. After an IV laced with Zofran and 5 hours later, he was feeling much better. Fortunately, he is on the mend and not contagious at this stage.

Now I’m looking forward to a new week and a new photography project challenge. Should be fun.

Blessings – Debbie

Library

While visiting the library, (yesterday) I couldn’t help but capture the image of this rather large photo. Is this not the perfect image in a library or what?

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And I was pretty excited to get my very own library card. Goodness knows I haven’t had a library card since I was in high school. I know, I almost hate to record this bit of info on the blog. But I’m so excited to have my very own card!

I’m so in love with the e-book feature! I had no clue you could check out books, magazines and a plethora of things to read on the kindle. I’ve already read the January publication of Prevention, Better Homes and several other magazines. And I’m excited to report that I’m already reading some books on the Kindle! Where have I been and why didn’t I know these things?

Oh the joys of discovering new things available thru the library.

Blessings – Debbie

A Simple Day

I went to bed around 7:30 (with a splitting headache) last evening. And woke (headache free) to the aroma of this amazing goodness. Love My Love! He finished adding more spices and thickened it after this shot.

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Here it is, the first Saturday of the year and the sun has already set. Makes me wish time would stand still for just a moment longer.

As with the time, we just keep moving right along. We managed to get a few more things crossed off the list over the last couple of days. I had my eye Dr/exam this morning, found a new pair of frames (they’re a little bigger, providing a bit more room for the progressives YAY), and the hubs got a fresh haircut.

And we had the best beef stew for lunch and dinner. Boy was that yummy!

I don’t know about you, but I’m enjoying this brand new year.

Blessings – Debbie

Happy New Year

I’m still here!

Whew tho, I have a lot of catching up to do over the last couple of months. So I’ll try to make it as brief as possible.

November was pretty packed, as I was learning a lot (in school) about using the paintbrush and tools in Photoshop. That’s when things began to fall off my plate. Like the blog, unfortunately.

And things were added to my plate.

I joined the girls for a day trip up to Rogers Gardens. It was great way to step away from my school work. It was the best distraction and just what I needed to kick off the Christmas season.

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After my much needed day away, it was time to refocus on school work. The image below is one of the two paintings I finished in Photoshop.

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Then Thanksgiving rolled around. We dined at the Hotel Del.

The view from our table.

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Everything was cooked to perfection.

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After dinner, we watched some ice skating beneath the blue sky and palm trees.

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And we took a selfie to remember the day.

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Then it was time to plan for our annual Christmas party. Hors d’Oeuvres, dinner, white elephant gift exchange, and a bonfire with s’mores – those were the highlights of the party. But it was our friends that made the party so special. If I remember correctly, we had 14 guests in all.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t take that many  pictures. But the Starbucks mug with gift card was a big hit.

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By this time, the month of December was in full swing. And the churn of my busy schedule kept right on churning.

We had a lot of rain and I found that to calm my nerves as I planned my next and final school project. I had to give a speech. There was a lot of planning and the hubs helped out so much with my powerpoint presentation. He’s the BEST! Then I rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed some more. Finally the day came (mid December) and I was ready to present to the class my evolution and passion for art From Crayons to Photography.

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And then, as time marched on, we only had one weekend to do our annual Christmas newsletter. I was inspired after all the rain to take an image of our ornament in a puddle. Turns out, we liked it so much that we made it our 2014 Christmas card. The only regret, we did not have a lot of time to review our newsletter and we found some type o’s. For shame!

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Finally, we got to relax while the December dust settled. And I found the time to put my nose in a book called Delicious by Ruth Reichl. What a great read!

Our dear neighbors brought the most delectable plate of homemade yumminess over on Christmas Eve. What a treat!

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Soon it was time to celebrate Christmas.

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The hubs and I, along with our friend went back to the Hotel Del for Christmas dinner.

The image below was taken on our stroll along the pacific after dinner.

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I kicked my shoes off to enjoy the soft sand between my toes.

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And to check out this sandcastle.

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A close up – it truly was a marvelous work of art, all the way around.

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Our friend came back to the house to spend the late afternoon and early evening visiting.  And we watched The Christmas Story together.

Then, the hubs and I found ourselves alone and made a mad dash for jammies!

Our Christmas picture later that evening.

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On the day after Christmas, we decided it was time to put all the decorations away for another year. It actually took 1.5 days to get everything put away, cleaned up and back to normal.

The only thing resembling Christmas, are the candy-canes tucked in the bud vase.

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I’m ready for the New Year. And ready to add more things to my plate. Like family/company coming from Alaska this weekend and the blog and other things of importance.

Until next time – Happy New Year and many blessings to you this year…

Blessings – Debbie

Playing Hooky

Wow, this has to be a first.

But it feels so good. Not something I would normally feel good about. But I do! And I’m oh so happy.

So the week started with this scene on campus when I arrived. The power on campus went out approx. 8 min before I arrived. Then we heard the campus was closed for afternoon classes. What did our cool photog class do? Carry on with class in the dark. Cause that’s how we roll.

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Painting in Photoshop – So, my next and last assignment for the semester is learning to paint in Photoshop.

We have two images to paint and one has to be a face. Hmmm… AND he does not want it looking like a photo. He wants to see where the brush has been. I have a lot to learn.

Currently, I’m studying brushes and angles, how to hold the Wacom tool for great technique and a whole bunch of other goodies. I’ll just say this “There is no possible way to achieve this with a mouse, impossible.”

I say all that to say, our professor signed our class up and paid for us to take 5 online classes in the next four weeks. Just one of the lessons is 8 hours. In the last two days I have devoted 16 hours learning how to paint and I’m not even two hours into the first of 5 online lessons. *Sigh* But, I’m  having so much fun!

I’ll say it takes me a while to follow the leader…When the instructor (online class) makes a stroke with a certain brush – I hit the pause, hop into Photoshop, reach for the Wacom tool, grab that brush (in Photoshop) and give it a try too… For me, That’s the way I learn, I can’t just sit thru a lecture and recall those steps at the end. If I follow along, I’m likely to remember when I’m off painting on my own.

I learned how to start the underpainting process this week.

The image on the left is the original image I took with my camera. The image on the right is my first spin for this lesson. I’m not so sure this is going to be one of my final images, as for now, it’s all about learning the ropes.

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That being said, I told the hubs last evening that I’m playing hooky “in school” for the rest of the week. While I love what I’m learning, I’m one of those people who can juggle so much, before something has to fall off the plate and the hubs comes first (I was on the computer ’til 9:45 last evening). Then I promised the hubs that there will be no more Photoshop going on in the evenings. Not that he complained – But he did ask in a chipper voice “where’s my wife?” – He’s the best!

And this morning as we were getting around for the day. I gleefully announced “I’m going on a field-trip with the girls (our neighbors) this week and playing hooky! The hubs said “why don’t you come meet me for lunch?” Now I have a lunch date this week and a field trip. Priorities people – I feel so guilty, but oh so good. Don’t judge.

And oh so happy I have the Christmas tree project behind me. Cause I have a feeling this is going to be one crazy fun ride in school this month. HOLD ON!

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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy – Thank You doesn’t seem enough for our heroes and she-roes…Happy “Belated” Veterans Day!

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And a Very Happy Wednesday to you!

Blessings – Debbie

Christmas is in the Air and I’m Jet Lagged

WHAT?

Hey Peeps! It’s worse than jet lag – that’s how this time change is hitting me.

How are you doing with the new time? Truly, I hope you are doing better than me.

Honestly? I feel so jet lagged and we haven’t gone anywhere. I was wide awake last Sunday (Time change day) at 4:30am. You know, this sleeping another hour bit is not working. I think 5:30 is the latest I’ve been able to sleep in all week. What time do I go to bed? Before the chickens! Last evening I could feel my body begin to shut down at 7 o’clock. My head was on the pillow by 7:45 and out like a light before 8 o’clock. Just like clock work, I was wide-eyed with a happy little jingle in my step at 4:45 this morning. I guess I’ll just snub the time change and let my body do its thing.

So it’s Thursday and it feels like Friday. That could have something to do with   catching up on Friday chores. I have the last load of laundry in – the ironing should be done soon. Since tomorrow is the hubs Friday off, I much prefer having the household caught up such that I can play and work with the hubs over the weekend.

On another note, Christmas is taking over!

Seriously? Yup! The stockings were hung today. Mantel # 1

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Mantel #2

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It was 5 years ago when I opened the Christmas decorations and found this little church. We still don’t recall how we acquired it, but it’s been a fun little piece for the mantel ever since.

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This is as close as we get to snowflakes in So Cal. Although, we can see snow (in the winter) on the distant mountains from home.

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From the inside – I’ll refrain from hanging the wreaths outdoors. We wouldn’t want the ‘hood to think we’re crazy or anything.

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I’m starting on the Christmas tree in the family room tomorrow and hope to have all the finishing touches done over the weekend.

Wishing a happy weekend to all of you who stopped by.

Blessings – Debbie

Montage Conclusion and then some…

Blue struck in more ways than one over the last few weeks. This was me fretting over numerous areas of concern with my montage project.

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My montage assignment went in several directions early on.

While I was excited about the grape leaves, I was torn on which way to go – Blue or Autumn?

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Then a magical moment came and the blue completely won my heart.

This is the part I jumped all in.

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Many leaves made their way to the canvas/Photoshop. They were scattered and layered with bits of overlay in areas. In the end, the image below made my heart sing.

I’ll be presenting the image below for critique this week. Would you believe 30 (Fun and Enjoyable) + hours went into the image below? Knowing when to stop, is when I look at the image without seeing areas that beg for attention.

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Now that I had one concept under my belt, I still had to come up with another, as two images are due. That alone may have caused another dose of anxiety and doubt blended with thoughts that I would not be able to come up with another concept.

Then I came up with the idea of creating flowers with bits and pieces (mainly parts with bokeh) of different photos I’ve taken.

I got this far along when I fell completely out of love with this idea. Yuck is my honest feeling. This is where I let go.

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Then I thought – How would it be if I used the images I took at the Wild Animal Park? Surely I would be able to come up with something cool. Excitement returned!

So I put thoughts and ideas into Photoshop. Then, after working on this image a good portion of a day or two, I fell out of love with this too – “it looks TOO cut and paste ish, I don’t like it“. And this is the place I abandoned it.

I was searching, searching for something. I didn’t know what, but something that would make my heart sing in the end. And this is not that, that’s all I know.

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And then I put another thought to paper. I went into my next idea with a great deal of joy. But I also had my doubts.

The thought was to take images of our pond and blend them with a sailboat. I started with a simple pond image and boat. But I still needed at least 3 more images to complete this assignment. While working and searchings for ideas, thoughts came to mind. And the waterfall and other images (in time) fell into place.

The five images blended together (below) consist of – The upper portion of the pond with lilies is image #1 – Image #2 is the waterfall and rocks (upper right)- Image #3 the sailboat – Image #4 the lower pond with the long reflections – Image #5 the rock in the foreground.

In the end, I’m happy with the way the image flows and appears to come together seamlessly. I’m happy to say I will be presenting this as my second montage image.

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I’m thankful that just because we let go, doesn’t mean we give up. Rather, letting go gives the freedom to express ourselves as we find our way to the place our hearts sing. That’s what it’s all about.  While I don’t feel I’m the best, I do believe in giving my best effort.

Then Halloween rolled around – And the hubs invited me to join him for a lunch date last Friday. And then we went to pick up some chocolates for the ghosts and goblins that evening.

I could not help but capture this image of our bag-boy in costume. I have no words. But, the chocolate was GOOD!

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Ahhh – November 1st, what a special day. The hubs brought all the Christmas stuff in. I know, we have such an early start. But in my defense…

  • We’ve celebrated autumn the last two months
  • Christmas should be celebrated just as much as autumn – No?
  • My classes have hit a little breather where I just finished up one project and it seemed the perfect timing to get some things done before diving into another huge assignment. Makes sense to me.
  • The time change was Sunday. It made sense to brighten the place a bit more during these early dark evenings.
  • And I have the Christmas spirit. I’m ready!
  • AND the hubs and I wished each other Merry Christmas over the weekend. Double love that the hubs enjoys these days as much as me.

And we enjoyed a lovely Saturday evening dinner with friends Jer Bear and Julie.

This is the tree I worked on, it’s our dining room tree. First I had to take the “pre-lit” lights off, as the old cord and lights were bad. Then I fluffed the branches and applied new lights. This is where I left off over the weekend. It’s coming right along as I have a little more time to dote this week.

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Another thing, today is the day to vote! We normally vote by mail, but we didn’t get them filled out in time. However, we were able to fill out the form and vote from the comforts of home. I dropped mine off at the polls this morning. No lines no waiting.

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Back to work on Christmas decorating, with the sounds of the season filling the air.

Blessings – Debbie

Inspiration Meets Concept

We made it to the next photography assignment this week. It’s an assignment that has frazzled  me for days.

Digital Montage – That’s what we’re creating with the images we take.

Montage – the technique of combining in a single composition pictorial elements from other  sources, and bringing them together to make one image.

I spent hours trying to grasp some sort of inspiration that would lead me to a concept.

I had self doubt for a good portion of the week. And wondered If I would come up with something.

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During class this week, I was so overcome with passion and emotion from all of the inspiration tossed my way, that a tear or two pooled. I’m such a sap and I’m ok with that.

Then I woke this morning with a concept! I can’t tell you how excited I was to start shooting.

Grape leaves – How would it be if I took images of the leaves and layered them? I would like to add transparency  to some of the areas layered beneath. And change the color too.

It took no time to grab the camera for a little test.

Below is one of the first images I took (without the tripod) Not quite the focus I would like.

But for fun, the color of the leaf was changed. Made me happy!

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Then I went back out with the tripod and remote. And shot ’til my heart was content.

And then went to work in photoshop for a bit to see how I felt about it. The below image is just a little test drive, nothing earth-shattering.

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To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie

Lately

Cardinals fans are in the house!

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I had my critique last week – One of the two images printed and matted for the assignment.

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The babies continue to change color. It truly has been a joy watching them turn from dark brown into these colorful pretty guys and girls.

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The hubs and I spent a couple of days in LA to help the daughter get her things ready for the movers. Yup, she moved to IL last night.

She is so pumped to be close to friends and to be in the place she’s wanted to live for years. We’re happy for her.

View from our room – yesterday morning.

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The power plant in LA captures my attention.

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Mainly the painting on the side of this building. Finally captured it on this visit. Images in LA were shot with the cell (didn’t want to be responsible for my camera with everything going on this weekend.)

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The last dinner (last night) with the daughter was spent here. And she was off on a midnight flight to Illinois last night.

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I feel like I’ve been thru a whirlwind the last couple of days.

And I’m thrilled the hubs brought us home sweet home, safe and sound last night. I slept pretty much all the way home.

It’s good to be home.

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It rained last night – And I took advantage of free diamonds glistening on spiderwebs this morning.

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Beauty after the rain.

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And leaves beneath the web blanket.

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And rest, much needed rest for me and the hubs today. Have I mentioned how good it is to be home?

Blessings – Debbie

Inspiration in the Backyard

Inspiration comes in many forms while visiting the garden. It was this rose-bush, in dire need of deadheading, that caught my attention.

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And this faucet, in the line of water as it gathered drops on the web. Surely I should capture this too.

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Life around the pond, is a constant inspiration. This image (below) was printed on 11 x 17 and matted for my upcoming critique this week.

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The more I learn, the more I learn that there is still so much to learn. Cheers to being stretched mentally this semester.

Blessings – Debbie