The Magic of Photo Crops

I liked this image right out of the camera first time I saw it. There was just something about the light and the depth that appealed to me. But the longer I looked at it, the more I got thinking, “Gee. I wish that I could see more of the Nuthatch.” If I blew up the image full size on my monitor, I could see how cute the expression was and the fact that I had eye contact. I almost shrugged my shoulders and said “Oh well.”

But then it hit me. Why not crop it. Not only did I crop it, I also did a Topaz treatment that simulates the look of a painting or watercolour. I can’t help it! It’s like an addiction I have to turn everything into a painting these days. Maybe after the novelty wears off I’ll leave well enough alone. But in the meantime, I just love the effect and this little cutie is no different.

The thing to remember about crops is that your image has to be sharp to begin with. If you have ghosts or too much noise, you’re better off to leave the image larger. I know that new software can “sharpen” images these days. (It’s amazing how far the digital manipulations have come in only a year!) And if the image is only slightly blurred, then the software does a fairly good job. But serious over sharpening can cause a myriad of other issues to “crop” up.
Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
Over sharpening leads to attenuated noise in the photo and there’s no amount of treatment that will get rid of it. You would spend less time in trying to redo the shot than squinting at the monitor trying to clone out or brush out the problems. Of course, there are some instances where the shot is a “one time only” deal. In which case, I suggest cropping in only so far and stopping before the noise issues and sharpening become glaringly obvious. As a hobbyist, we have to learn to get brutally honest with ourselves about what constitutes a “keeper” and what is an, “Oh I can fix that in PS”. I’m speaking from personal experience. I saved all my images even though there was no way in heck I could “crop” anything off them. Yes, they were that bad. But they looked “cool” so I saved them. 3 years later, I’ve learned. If they can’t hold up to the old 1:1 view, then they better have some other redeeming quality in order to make the grade. For instance, a shot of a UFO …. kidding.

But that would be SO cool!

Anyway. Give the idea of cropping your photos another thought if you haven’t already. Sometimes, what we thought was just an OK picture, with a slight crop can suddenly become the money shot for you. Also, take into consideration, if you had a landscape layout – there’s no reason you can’t crop portrait style:
. Yeah. I had to play with this one too. There’s just so many opportunities with photo editing software these days! And what else am I going to do with this bad back but play with pictures? :-)


Posted in Animals, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Photo Exhibition Update

So, the Chaleur Camera Club photo exhibition Grand Opening was last night in Bathurst. There’s a story here.

Negative Ned would be groaning about this time. In his opinion – I ALWAYS have a story. And in my opinion, having stories is a good thing. It keeps life interesting and gives me something to blog about ….


Back to the story. I didn’t go to the Grand Opening.
The End.
green umbrella

And it would be the end too, if Ned had anything to say.
Which he doesn’t. It’s my blog.
I ordered 3 new images and mats. I paid extra to have the mats cut and shipped because I was on a tight schedule. I bought several new exhibition frames too.
Now for the story. I have to admit something here. I really goofed in organizing this show. Admittedly, it’s my FIRST time putting one of these things together. What I did was, I asked someone who lived in Bathurst to scout out free venues to host a show for the club. He came back with 2 possible locations, a library and a gallery. I chose the one that had “Gallery” in the title. Hey! In my defence, wouldn’t you rather have an exhibition at a Gallery?
Anyway, I went ahead and booked the venue and let all the members in the club know we had a 3 week showing at a gallery. OOoooo.
So for 6 months, I sat on this information and not once did I get off my backside and actually go to SEE the venue for myself. Shame on me.
My second really big mistake was not asking the right questions of the host.
FYI, a really important thing to know when planning a photo exhibition is, “How many photos can we fit in your gallery?”
That’s right.
In addition to not scouting, I assumed that a Gallery would be a larger space and that we would be able to fit 50 images with no sweat.

Can you picture my embarrassment, when two days before the Grand Opening, I finally get photo titles and sale pricing from everyone and submit the details to the Gallery management. They send back telling me that they can’t host them all. It was at that point that I called and asked just how many photos we COULD show. Suddenly, we were all limited to 2 photos each. The Gallery is a 12×12 room with 2 walls of display space and 2 walls of window.

Thank goodness the Club members are so understanding. We had a lot of people show up the day before the exhibit to put up the display and then most showed for the Grand Opening too.
Except for me.
Turns out, I physically couldn’t go. All that organizing and trying to get boxes of frames moved etc etc was too much for my back and once again, I am a twisted mess.
There was no way I was going to be able to stand around at all, let alone socialize.

However, there are several plus sides to all this. The Gallery people were/are really, really nice and they were super happy to have us there. They contacted the media and prepared crudites and refreshment for the social aspect of the grand opening. They made a lovely speech thanking us for choosing them. Also on the plus side is that I made every mistake that could be made and learned from them all. The Exhibition went ahead regardless. Hopefully, the participating members will get good feedback from the exhibition and perhaps make a sale or two.

As for my extra photos and mats? Well, I have another 2 week exhibition planned for May. This one will be for fun with some friends who also love photography and we’ll be planning it together. We’re going to submit about 5 images each. I have about 10 images printed now and I’m going to get more. I really love the way they look on metallic paper. Some of you may be wondering which images I put in the Exhibition this week. Well Green Umbrella above – it’s different enough that it should attract attention. It’s one of those you either love it or hate it kind of things. And I submitted my Sunflower ….
As for which images did I rush order thinking I was going to display them ..
Winter water
From my garden to yours

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Yummy Jam Filled Cookies Recipe

Jam-Filled Cookies

½ cup shortening
½ cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Strawberry jam – or whichever flavoured jam you want to use

Cream shortening, margarine and both sugars together in a large bowl.
Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla; mix until smooth
Add ALL dry ingredients and stir.
Cover and chill batter for approximately 1 hour

Preheat over to 350 degrees
On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
Cut into 1 ½ inch rounds with cookie cutter.
Place ½ to 1 tsp of jam on half of the rounds; top with remaining rounds.

Lightly seal edges with fork.
Cut X in tops of cookies.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

These cookies really gain in size as they cook so give ample spacing.
Approx 5 doz.

Posted in Activity, Baking, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dental Visits

I have a confession .. It has been 2 1/2 years since my last dental visit.
I’m not fond of going to the dentist. My sincere apologies to all the wonderful people out there who strive daily to perfect our oral hygiene and health. However, there are many reasons why the average person such as myself, avoids going in. Here’s my list:

1. I am a grown woman. I have given birth. I have worked most of my current life and been all over the world. I have seen things you couldn’t begin to imagine. I don’t need a complete stranger given me heck because I haven’t flossed according to the rules of the Dental Association or the Health Advisories. I KNOW I should do a better job and that I should do this more often. However, I don’t.
Get over it.
2. Do you think you could put a silencer on that drill?
3. With the advances in technology and medicine, couldn’t we make a smaller needle? OR, perhaps come up with some other way to freeze the mouth before conducting any dental work?
4. What is up with those hard shelled mouth x-rays? My mouth feels fine until I get one of those shoved in and it scores the soft tissue …
5. WHY do dental professionals conduct conversation with you while they have their two fists shoved in your mouth?

I’m sure if I think more about this, I’ll come up with more excuses – not the least of which is the financial cost .. it’s cheaper in the long run to extract all your teeth and go with false teeth .. :-) No more worries about the Flossing police and never again will you be subjected to that drill or the dreaded scaler … shudder

Yes, I’ve been paying (in more ways than one) for the fact that I have neglected my oral health for 2 and a half years. I noticed about 2 months ago that my mouth was feeling the painful effects of hot and cold. That certain of my teeth were bleeding during flossing. Ergo, I knew I could delay the inevitable no longer and made an appointment to see the Dentist. Here’s what they found:
1 broken molar; 2 small cavities AND 1 badly infected and subsequently loose tooth

The broken molar and the 2 fillings fixed the problem with hot and cold sensitivity.
Today I had my first extraction since having wisdom teeth pulled 27 years ago. Sigh
The infection was so bad that she had to freeze the area three times before she could pull the tooth and spoon the infection.
The extraction was one of the lower front teeth and causes a speech issue. Thankfully it will be filled in using a Marilyn Bridge on Friday morning. If the bone loss repairs itself in 3 years, I’ll be able to have an implant done – but it’s not an option for me at present because I apparently let this infection go on for 2 years too long.

The moral to the story is – regardless of my / your feelings about going to a dentist – if you aren’t willing to have all your teeth pulled and get false ones, then you SHOULD make an annual visit.

So, what does todays photo upload have to do with going to the dentist?
Absolutely nothing – which is why I

    really really

like it.

Posted in Activity, General, health | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Behind the Scenes of a Photo Exhibition

Well it’s time to start worrying about an upcoming Photo Exhibition. I participated in my first Club Exhibition in October 2010. It went very well and my Sunflower in Garden Light won 1st Place in its category (Macro / Close Ups). I was absolutely thrilled to say the least.
Sunflowers and garden light
And now, we’re preparing to do a 3 week exhibition at the New Brunswick Community College Gallery, Bathurst Campus. I am planning to place my sunflower photo in this exhibition too. But I’m wondering about which other images I should enter.. Here are the one’s I placed in the last Exhibit:
green umbrella Green Umbrella
Standing guard Enjoyed by All
the artistry of mother nature Natures Artistry

I sold a print of “Enjoyed by All” as a result of that Exhibit. I am thinking of adding my newest photo titled Winter Water:
Winter water
But that is something I’m sure people won’t want to look at all year because it’s so cold.. so then I was thinking I’ll use this image of the Coneflower instead:

what you see
without the quote of course.. Anyone have suggestions on which images I should use? A visit to my Flickr Stream will give you more choices.

I have to make a selection quickly since I have to order the print and get the mats cut to size as well as choose the colours of the mats.
In addition to getting my own images ready for the Exhibition, I have to find out how many others from the club plan to participate, get all the exhibitors on file with how many images they plan to showcase, their selling prices, and then I have to get the framed images to the gallery on March 2nd to hang. The Grand Opening is March 3rd.

I have 23 confirmed images – I should have another 20 within 24 hours.
There’s a lot of logistics to organizing an exhibit and I certainly don’t think I’ll do it again. The worst part is waiting for the exhibitors to get back to me with their information and knowing that if it doesn’t go off well, that it will reflect on me. I guess that means I’ll have to make a pest of myself and hound them until they hate me and then even if the exhibit succeeds, they’ll still look on me poorly because I was a pain in their backsides.

Maybe I worry too much about what others think of me.
I get like that when pressure starts to build – time to go meditate.

Posted in Activity, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments