Freedom Reigns

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If you know me, or have followed me at all… you know that it has been a dream of mine since I was 15 years old, to be a photographer.. and have dreamed of being published in AZ Highways.   Tears are welling up in me, as I share this amazing news to the world….

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I am now published with a full page in the August 2017 AZ Highways with my bobcat photo.  I am beyond ecstatic.  Words cannot even convey my excitement.  I LOVE LIFE!

Happy 4th of July.  Celebrate your FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE, and the Beauty of LIFE.

 

Hart of AZ Gallery

Somewhere I wrote about ‘my’ gallery in Cottonwood.  It’s a small little space that I rent to sell my photographs.  It sells all sorts of fun and creative art like jewelry, woodworking, cards, purses, etc.

The Gallery just published a new video on YouTube.  While I’m not featured in it, my photographs can be seen over Viki’s right shoulder.

It’s a fabulous video.  Check it out…. here.

Picture in Picture

I learned this cool technique.  I learned it as ‘Picture in Picture’ which reminds me of that feature I never use on my tv.  Apparently it’s all the rage with Snapchat and such.  Being behind the times (where I pretty much live), I had never heard of or seen it.

The idea is you take a photograph of your hands holding your phone, and put them on a blank layer (transparency) in Photoshop.  Then you take a photograph and fit it to the background.  Cut and paste the same photography INTO (Paste Special) your picture of your phone. (Use the polygonal lasso tool to make the selection of your phone screen.) Don’t forget to blur background layer for best effect.

And wa-la…

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Cool, hunh?!

 

 

 

Best of 2016

I was recently talking to my friend, Maureen, about Best Photos of 2016.  It’s an interesting topic and one worth taking pause to think about.   We are fortunate and active enough to take quite a few trips per year, and with them lots of photos.  So I have lots to choose from for a Best of collection.  The hard part, if not impossible, is trying to pick which ones make the cut.  Nonetheless, I think it is an important and relevant task that should be part of my annual objectives… pick your best of the year.  It does two things, allows one to reflect on the year past… all the special moments, great experiences, and cool things we did… and identify my best photos.

So I decided to take on the task.  Looking at my 2016 photos, I was delighted to see how many I really liked and that indeed I did come away with some great shots on the many awesome trips we took.  In fact, I got so many I liked, I am able to break this blog into two .. and share my TOP 10 here… and another TOP Honorable Mentions on my sister blog, here.

So without further ado… here are my Best of 2016 (Top 10), in no particular order.  What do you think?

Alstrom Sunrise Pano PEPSi.jpg1. Alstrom Point, Lake Powell

Mesa Arch Pano_PEi.jpg2.  Mesa Arch, Canyonlands  Utah

reflctnpondPSi.JPG3. Mogollon Rim, Northern Arizona

treesaddlePSi.JPG4. Mogollon Rim, Northern Arizona

boatrekPSi.JPG5. Peggy’s Cove,  Nova Scotia

mossfingersPSi.JPG6. Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

iredaleshinePSi.JPG7. Peter Iredale wreck, Ft Stevens  Oregon

leafsplash2PSi.JPG8. Leaf splash, Northern California

golfbayPSi.JPG9. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

qfalls mistPSi.JPG10.  Quinault Rain Forest, Washington

So that’s it.. my selected 2016 Top 10.  To see the honorable mentions, check it out here.

The coolest part about this exercise, were the number and amount of great photos I left behind that I could have chosen.  Love it when that happens.

So what do you think.. weigh in… what are your favorites?

Journey goes on a Journey

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The life of a dog named Journey…

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We recently took a long road trip up through the WA and OR coasts.  Our dog, Journey went along for the ride.  Along the way she had lots of firsts.  She rode her first elevator – and wasn’t so sure about it when her feet went out from under her.

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She ran on the beach and collected sticks.  She loved the feel of the sand beneath her toes… but wasn’t crazy when the waves chased her back and got her feet wet.

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She saw waterfalls and rainforests for the first time.

She did wineries and lighthouses, hikes and trails.

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She met friends everywhere she went… and introduced us to them.

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Peter Iredale Wreck

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In the northwestern part of Oregon, lies the Fort Stevens State Park.  It has a military heritage and historical past.  But between the old abandoned bunkers and many walking trails lie this relic of time, the Peter Iredale.  It’s the rusted out remnants of a 1909 cargo ship wrecked on shore leaving it’s hull as a treasured gift of the past.

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For me it’s a photographic destination.  While our country is full of National Parks and State Parks with landscape attractions like waterfalls, mountains and peaks the likes of El Capitan (Yosemite), there are few historic ‘castaways’.

This is a treasure of history meets landscape, literally and a photographically interesting subject.

Blurring the Background

If you are a student of Photoshop you will love this technique as I did.

Bryan Peterson is doing some Photo Critique videos, and some are interesting, and some, like this one – down right enlightening.  George Crudo gives a critique that is FULL of awesome tips and techniques to enhance your photos.  Check it out…  George Crudo critique

Not only does he talk about multiple techniques we can learn from, like color range – ability to enhance the color of specific areas like sky, subject, foreground – he also shares a cool technique for blurring the background.

Now I get that the best way to blur the background is to do it in camera.  But sometimes that is just not possible.  Not all my lenses can give me a wide aperture (and shallow depth of field) like f2.8.  Moreover, sometimes in the daylight with bright sun, I may not be able to have a large aperture, instead I have to use a small aperture like f/11 or f/16, which doesn’t help me blur the background.  Unless I want to use an ND filter to cut the light, I am forced to compose and take a photo that pretty much is what it is.

With George’s technique though, I can blur the background in post process.

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Take this photo for instance.  I love the gesture / expression on the baby elk, but the background, while a little blurred is just too busy and takes away from my subject.

Using George’s technique, I can create a new layer in Photoshop (Command J), and quick select my subject (the elk), select the inverse (Command I) to select the background (all but the elk).  I then blur the background (Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur).  Then using a brush paint back in the foreground.

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Fantastic!  Now my elk stands out more.

I must admit, I’m not one to Photoshop my photos much… a little tweak here, exposure adjustment there… but having useful tools in my toolbox is always appreciated.  Awesome tip.  Thanks, George.