Monday, May 11, 2009

April Showers bring May weeds

Did you ever hear gardeners say "just use your grass clippings for mulch"? I thought.... I've got a lot of grass clippings and it sure would be cheaper and besides it would give me someplace to put all those clippings after I mow. I gave it a lot of thought then decided that I would give it a try in an area that wasn't full of my most desired flowers. So I had this new area that had bad soil and figured the clippings could help. Every week I would use the sweeper on the mower to collect the clippings and spread them as evenly as possible in this new area. Seemed to be working great all summer. It keep the weeds down to a managable rate and keep the ground moist. In the fall even the leaves were added. Everything was working out fabulous and thoughts were taking hold about spreading the clippings into the main gardens.

Then....spring came,

Now I'm not too sure about ever spreading clippings again! With the new weeds and new grass appearing everywhere I have come to the conclusion that this is not going to work at all. It worked for a quick fix all last summer but in the long run, Forget it! Now I'll have to start all over again with clearing this garden area of all weeds. It might have worked for a lawn that had been chemically treated for weeds but not for just the ordinary lawn full of weeds, crabgrass and of course all those beautiful pesty dandilions.

There's a thought......I should just plant a dandilion garden?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Specialty Lighting

Light is the first and formost importance of a beautiful photo and getting it right holds the different in between a great image and an image that will just be OK. I've been working on a technigue that isn't as easy as it seems. It's all about adding that extra lighting when the lighting just wasn't there to begin with or maybe it was there but wasn't as dramatic as what I had hoped for.

I knew I wanted to work with candle light so I composed an image that I could visualize where the light was heading and what I wanted to stand out the most. At this point I wasn't too concerned with light. I need just enough to show detail and some shadowing. Then I imported the image and desaturated it. The next step was to get my base color on the image by giving the print and overall deep brown cast using the color adjustments. With a new layer above this one, change the blending mode to multiply and make it a smart layer. Now use the lighting effects to highlight the points of interest. I used two. One for the candle and one for the book adjusting the lighting effects for a soft yellow light. I then made another layer above this one and changed the blending mode to color dodge. Using a yellow and orange paint and the paint brush, the image started to come alive with every stoke of my brush. A little vignette on another layer and few extra things like highlighting the candle wick and the image was done.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ski Weekend

My husband, Jerry and I traveled up to Belair MI this past weekend to go skiing at Schuss Mountain. I figured out that I've been going there one weekend every year for about 20 years now. It started when the Tedrick lab, a few photographers and their staff started going up to just have a good time and ski. If it weren't for them I probably never would have started skiing.
Many years were spent with just the girls going up. We all stuck pretty close on the hill since none of us really knew what we were doing. I remember all of us being pretty embarrashed when a little boy about 5 years old keep passing us up on the hill. He would just schuss right on by like he was born with skies on his feet. The fifth time he past us, he stopped, looked at us funny, then asked, "Are you ladies OK?" We had been falling and laughing so hard on our first run down that this little guy just couldn't help himself. We were all shamed into watching a video on skiing. We did much better after that.
Years later I'm still just as much afraid of those slopes. Although it doesn't take me 2 hours to get down anymore the fear is still there. Jer learned just four years ago and he is the one who looks after me. I guess I better go watch that video again because it won't be long before we start taking the grandkids.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Photo Montage for my bio.

This past week I had to work on updating my bio. If you've ever had to write one, it really makes you stop and think about who you really are and what you have been doing with yourself. It makes you sum up all those crazy fly by weeks and months that make us say "where did all that time go anyway?"
After finishing mine I got to thinking about a picture that needed to go along with it. Do I even have one? Did I take the time to have a professional one taken..... no. (I know, I work with photographers every day, I have no excuse) then I got to thinking. Would they be able to capture who I really am? And then that lead in another thought and that thought brought me all the way around to creating my own photo montage of who I really am.
It didn't start out that hard. I've always wanted to use photoshop to improve the real me. The cartoon look is way out of my everyday world, so I started with that. Then came gathering all the images I wanted in it. Paint brushes, flowers, places Jer and I have traveled. One thing lead to another again and I ended up having to eliminate a few good ideas because my canvas was going to be big enough as it is. My kids will just have to wait till the next one.
Then came, taking out all the backgrounds. Lots of work but worth all the extra care. Arranging them was another four hours work. Then arriving at a pleasing color scheme was another few hours.
The bio is now done and the artwork was a rewarding experience. If you're thinking that your life is boring........stop and think of all your interest and try to write them down or create a photo montage to express it. I can guarentee you'll be amazed at your accomplishments.
It's time now to go play in the greenhouse.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Yellowstone Experience

Last September I traveled with my family to Yellowstone National Park. I have to say it was extrodinary! I never expected to see such beauty!
You stand there overlooking the endless beauty and then that voice starts creeping in. You know, that little voice that says.. " um..excuse me.....but you do realize you are standing on top of a LIVE volcano?" It's funny how sometimes danger is so enticing. Even knowing that soon after we left, it rumbled for a day, it doesn't stop me from planning another even longer stay at the park. At one point while capturing a coyote coming down a path at me, it wasn't until the lens stopped that I realized that I couldn't focus anymore because he was standing only 3 feet in front of me (hoping I would get off his path) that I was in reach of immediate danger. The coyote crouched down and I stepped out of his way with no hesitation. But I now can see how someone can get eaten or stampeded or whatever. The beauty and ahh of the whole experience kinda puts you in a trance of sorts.
If you get a chance, visit but take at least two or more days to see everything.
You can experience my visit at
I'll post the coyote under Curious Creatures sometime soon. As I'm not done with the whole PayPal thing yet.

Announcing PayPal addition

Last week I started out just tweeking the website. And you know how it thing leads to another and pretty soon you get all caught up in doing ten things you really had no intension of starting until later. Much later...
Well, now I'm in the middle of adding PayPal onto the site. It's not as easy as it would seem to be. Just copy and paste this button on your site.........yeah right! @##$.... It's a lot of tedious patience. There's that word again...patience. It seems to be a constant lesson in my life. Not one I really want to deal with. Anyway I've come to appreciate web design people at a new level thought this process.
Please be a little patient and I'll keep copy and pasteing along.
Thank you!

Hideaway Hilda

Hideaway Hilda