This blog captures my journey to take a break from jewelry designing to learn something new. Join me as I learn the art of photography and Photoshop Elements and watch me create through my lens. ~ Dee

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas in Virginia....

This past weekend marked the official Christmas season here in my town. There were several celebrations begining with the illumination of downtown, followed by the Christmas Parade, and many other events in and around the areas.

I was lucky enough to get VIP seating at the parade and below are a few snapshots from the grand event:

Lesson Learned:
I was reminded this weekend of how much I just love the Christmas Holiday Season!

Unveiling in Joy,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One Last Glimpse of Fall...

Fall and Spring are my favorite Seasons, but this Fall  just did not cooperate with me for picture taking outside of one weekend, and that happened to be the one weekend I was terribly ill; however, I made myself go out to enjoy a beautiful afternoon, walking around a local college campus trying to catch a glimpse of the beautiful leaves before it was too late. 

Lesson Learned:
Make lemonade out of lemons.  I wasn't feeling well the weekend I went out to take these photos, but instead of staying for a 2-3 hour walk, I timed myself to find the best shots possible in an hour.  I still went home sick, but I was able to capture a few photos that will remind me of Fall until next year, and that alone, made me feel a whole lot better mentally. 

Unveiling and feeling better,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Color vs. Black and White Dilemma....

After I finally decided on a title for tonight's post, I realized that I didn't have all the "before" pictures needed to show contrast to the "after"; however, I did save one and that one, will hopefully help you to see how I solved the delimma of color vs. black and white when I really really need to. 

There is a two step process in Photoshop Elements that is a savior when I've needed it, and that two stop process goes something like this: (1)Enhance....(2)Convert to Black and White!!  LOVE IT!  Okay, so there may be a few other options once you get to step two, but it's all elementary from there, I promise. 

Converting to black and white can be a savior when you've taken what I'll call "opportunity photos"; or, maybe your trying to create a special memory, or bring out contrast or create history or for any reason that is personal to and white photos can be beautiful!  This post isn't about the Art of black and white, it's about how it saves me during challenging times.   

I recently took some photos at a local event, that was chock-full of people.  Just about every shot I looked back on had people, people everywhere.  If there weren't people, there was someone's arm holding a camera in my shot, or a head, or a leg, and the list of distractions go on an on.  What started out as a transfer of over 100 photos, was quickly reduced to about 15! Next year, I'll have a better plan, but for now, I'm stuck with the magic 15.  

Unless your goal is to truly capture the beauty of color in a special event or photo, your goal should be to try to limit the number of colors to about three hues and no distractions as in the example below where you have the water, the white chairs and the green grass....can you see the harmony? 

as opposed to this picture, where you have the colors of the bird, the purple backpack, the red tent the multitude of  clothing colors and lets not overlook all the other distractions! 

As you can clearly see, this photo is a "hot mess", and all the distractions take away from the main subject the bird! I certainly could have used a larger depth of field, but I didn't have the right lense with me on this day as my goal was to travel light.  What to do, what to do....Enhance, Convert to black and white and now you have...

I don't know about you, but I personally think this is a much better memory of the day than the first photo.  Sure, i've lost all the colors of the bird, but I've captured a memory that reminds me of the day and not necessarily my "challenges of the moment". 

Below are a few other picturs I captured that day and converted to black and white, that reminds me that this is one of the most enjoyed events of the year and people all over the city were there just having fun.

Lesson Learned:
I have a year to figure out how to get a photographers's pass to get up close and personal to the musicians or learn how to push and shove! 

Unveiling without color,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Color Makes Everything Fun....

Every year in September, I take my annual end of the Summer "me" vacation at Virginia Beach to celebrate the Neptune Festival.  It's one of my favorites, for several reasons, but at the top of my list is.....more adults than children!  Yes, I am a mom, and yes, I do love kids..but after summer break and school starts back up...I have to take some "me" time. 

This festival goes for 4 weekends straight, but the last weekend is the one I enjoy the most.  There's a Wine Festival, parades, Sand Sculpture Competition, Surfing Competition, vendors for miles, food for miles, bands all day and into the night... up and down the beach, and photo opportunities galore!  I must admit, I do also enjoy "people watching" from my balcony, it's amazing what people do when they think noone is looking!  This year while there, Gabby Douglas was home being celebrated by her home town, and let me tell you, they showed MAD love for this Gold proud!! 

So, I'm sharing today, some of the more colorful photos taken that weekend.  For this post, I was playing around with enhancing my colors and adding a filter.  I think they came out pretty cool, as color always makes things more fun! 

Hopefully soon, I'll get around to posting a few of the sand sculptures...INCREDIBLE!! First, I would like to get rid of the "mess" in the photos before posting.  Below is one that I cleaned up, I have many more to go!
So, until I'm finished playing in the sand...what's the lesson?

Lesson Learned: 
Enjoy life, have fun sometimes and take a "me" break away from work, life and the kids every once in a while, you'll be a happier camper!  Oh....Photoshop Elements make playing with color fun!

Unveiling at the Beach,

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Strangling too Quiet to Hear...

"Even then, more than a year earlier, there were neurons in her head, not far from her ears, that were being strangled to death, too quiet for her to hear them"
 - Lisa Genova (excerpt from Still Alice)
According to the Alzheimers Association's latest statistics, "there are 5.4 million americans living with alzheimers, 1 in 8 older american's has alzheimers and it is the sixth leading cause of death".   

"Alzheimers is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks nerve cells in neurons, that results in loss of memory, thinking and language skills and behavior changes" (facts from  More than half of all amercians know someone with alzheimers, and my family is a part of this statistic.  
My 74 year old mother recently participated in a Walk to End Alzheimers and I could not be more proud of her.  She and three of her siblings are sharing the responsibility of caring for their younger sister, so the walk was very personal to her. While we know now, that there were signs of the disorder earlier on, she was around 64 when diagnosed.   Actively employed with the Government for well over 30 years, it's been very heartbreaking to watch this disease take over her life. 
I did not participate in the walk, but I was there to capture the moment.  What stuck with me the most during the morning were the vibrant colors that represent the Alzheimers disease, a stark contrast to the reality of one dealing with the disorder, as well as the personal experience of family care givers. 

To find out more information about Alzheimers visit Also, Still Alice written by, Neuroscientist, Lisa Genova is also an excellent fiction book that captures a realistic portrait of the early onset of the disease. I was so engrossed in the pages of this book, that I read it in one day!   
Lesson Learned:
Giving back feels good.  There are many ways to be a part of something special.  On this day, while I did not participate in the walk, I contributed through my monetary donation, as well as captured some memorable moments for our local organization. 
Unveiling and giving,


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