Tuesday, April 28, 2009

a parade of pets

Look, the parade is coming!!

I see Timmy and Polly and sweet Sam. Who else will there be?

yep, yep here it comes. i'm ready, i'm ready!!

daisy, amber and penny, mudpie and emily
Hey girls, we need to dress up for a parade but we have nothing to wear. What shall we do? Let's ride in a wagon pulled by Emerson. This will be fun.

Look Evee, let's join us in the pet parade hosted by Gayle and Elk

(The chicks and Emerson are my brothers pets joining in from B'ham )

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Shutter Sisters Challenge – Before and After

These are just a couple of the images T and I shot last year driving home from spring break. We pulled off the highway to drive the back roads for a while and found this incredible location to shoot some portraits. Right in the back seat of the car, T changed into the bridesmaid dress that we had bought for $5 at the Hilton Head salvation army (when we bought the wedding dress) and we took a bunch of photos.

Before – the sky was a little washed out in this photo and T was in shadow so I decided to play around with it. First I duplicated the image, masked the sky and went to adjustments/exposure/gamma correction to fix the sky on one layer and then the bottom layer I worked with the 'selective color' adjustment to fix the dark shadows in her dress and brighten her up a bit.

After - a little brighter image is the result. Better? I'd like to know what you think.


If I play around with an image in photoshop, the first thing I usually do is go to 'selective color' to make adjustments. If it's an image of a person, I select red and I take down the percentage of black. This clears up skin nicely – T was a little sunburned and this process toned that down a little.

...and Beyond
Here I added a texture just for fun. I like the warm color but I'm not sure I like the texture – cracks on skin don't look very pretty. I needed to take the time to remove them from her skin.

I guess I was tired tonight and didn't do these to the best of my abilities. I do this sort of thing every day with my job. But it's strange, sometimes I don't take the time with my own work. I did these hurriedly, realizing I had to submit tonight and now I'm embarrassed at submitting them at all. I think I prefer the original SOOC shots.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

6 little chicks

I promised to tell you about the Easter chicks but I this week has been sort of unusual in that 2 nights this week I have had to work til almost midnight and on top of that we were without power for a day and a half because of a freak wind storm that had trees down on power lines all over the city. Today should be a lighter day but I am at work and really shouldn't be doing this here. However, I just had to post this photo that my brother sent me last night.
Here is Emerson (his dog) with Penny. My brother is the one who came from B'ham to Atlanta to get these chickens and apparently they are adapting real well to their new home. Little Penny looks like she's setting things straight with Emerson - "I'm here to lay eggs NOT to eat you hear? Give me time - by autumn I'll be laying some nice eggs for you and your master". I think they established a friendship that night.

Here's are a few from a little photo shoot we did that night.

The whole gang. The little black chicks still don't have names. Any ideas?
Mom probably would have been horrified had she seen us photographing these chicks on her dining room table.

This is the photogenic Daisy. Taylor named her first. She's light yellow right now but will grow into a pure white chicken.

The event that had my brother egg-cited was the so-called Chicken Stimulus Package organized by a backyard poultry advocate who calls himself the Chicken Whisperer. 650 chicks were given away that day. The Chicken Whisperer was there to promote raising urban chickens as pets and for their eggs, and to raise awareness for a fella who was in hot water with the city of Roswell for having backyard chickens. I feel certain the city will have to re-write the laws to allow backyard poultry or they'll really have their hands full! :-) He's the man who had this bumper sticker on his truck.

I just went a long for the ride that morning. They were to begin giving chicks away at 8am on Saturday so we thought we had to get there real early to be sure we were in line to receive our allotted 2. We got there at 7 and no one was anywhere to be seen. Gradually people started showing up, but still not anything like the crowd we had anticipated.

It was interesting to me to see the different types of people there to get chicks. There were old and young couples, families with little children, country folk and city folk. They brought everything from fancy baskets, shoe boxes, to plastic strawberries cartons to carry their chicks home in.

I met a really nice photo journalist that morning. One of the highlights of my morning. She was a young girl who graduated from UGA (where my daughter attends) and has been working for the AJC for 4 years. She was very friendly and we had time to talk before they started bringing in the chicks. Of course then she had to do her job. I was surprised the next morning when I saw her photos in the paper and there was one so similar to a photo I took that my mom thought it was mine. I guess we both saw the story here - a young girl who was handing out the chicks with a I love "chickens" button on her hoodie and a heart ring on her hand.

It turned out that my brother got 4 chicks and my dad got 2. We took them home and put a heat lamp on them. The next morning there was a bad storm in Atlanta and my dad's house was one that lost power at 9am. His main concern all day and into the next day was how to keep the chicks warm. So he lit a coleman lantern and put foil over it to direct the heat to the chicks and then stayed up most of the night making sure they were ok. The power was out for over 30 hours but the chicks survived. I hope the others that got chicks that day, and were without power, were able to keep their little girls alive as well.

With these 6 chickens (my dad decided to give his 2 to him), my brother should be getting close to 2 dozen eggs per week. He'll have some very happy neighbors. There's no comparison between a store bought and farm fresh egg. One could compare this to a vine fresh tomato versus a hot house tomato from the store.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Monday Memories - 4

Bunnies at Easter

I didn't take T to have her photo taken in a studio setting very often - maybe 3 or 4 times because I really don't like the studio shots, but at Easter there was always a special deal AND they had live bunnies, plus grandparents like those cheesy studio portraits. T loved animals of all kinds and bunnies were no different so she enjoyed these photo shoots and posed nicely for the man behind the camera.

With Easter just around the corner, this Monday Memories has me remembering the year I gave T a live bunny in her Easter basket. What a surprise it was for her on that 3rd Easter celebration. I put the little lop eared bunny right in her basket along with the stuffed chick. Aren't baby bunnies the cutest thing ever? She didn't realize it was real until it jumped - she squealed with delight. Aw so cute.

She named him Brambles and she loved that bunny. As he got older, and fatter, we put him in a cage outside. She would feed him carrots and let him jump around in the grass, attached to a leash.

Brambles lived for about a year and it was because of me that he died. As the temperatures dipped in the winter months we would cover the cage with a warm blanket to keep him warm, but one night it got extremely cold - in the teens I think - and I had not thought about the bunny or the fact that it was going to be much too cold for him to stay outside. Not until early in the morning that is - I jumped up and ran outside to check on him. I was relieved to find him breathing, but he was very lifeless. I picked him up to bring him in and as I was walking back inside he had some sort of seizure and I think he stopped breathing. I rushed inside frantically calling my dad (we were living at their house at the time) and he calmly gave that little bunny CPR and pumped his heart back to life. We put him on top of the clothes dryer with it running - Dad said the motion would stimulate his heart and the heat would help him thaw out. I thought Brambles was doing a little better but then he went into cardiac arrest again and Dad couldn't bring him back. I let T's bunny freeze to death while she was away. T had been at her dad's for the weekend and was coming home soon. I didn't know how I would tell her - she was only 4. We talked to her together and she cried and cried but she wanted to see him. We thought that it was a good idea for her to see him just looking like he was sleeping peacefully and had died in his sleep (not that I froze him to death). Sitting there on the floor in the laundry room, she held him, tears running down her little cheeks. We told her we had to put him to rest in the ground - this made her confused really, we tried to explain and finally she said, sobbing, "well, if you have to bury him, can you at least leave his head out so he can breathe?!!" aw poor thing. I felt so terrible and it broke my heart to see her so sad.
Next time I let her Dad be the one to get her a bunny. I think it lived longer.