Sunday, January 05, 2014



I was doodling with my Wacom stylus in Photoshop. What do you think?

When I did this, I was thinking about a logo for the new Haliburton Highlands Camera Club (this isn't it: it needs a camera or lens or shutter in it). But I started playing with a pressure sensitive brush and started by trying to draw a pine tree. I'm actually not that happy with the brush (can't seem to go from really big to really small) but anyway, this evolved.

Somehow I really like it, wish I had something i could do with it. If you know someone who owns a resort in the pine trees, this would make a great logo for them!

PS: it's 5 strokes of the pen and a filled circle. I so wish I could draw...

What got me started thinking in this direction was this image I took on the way home from Haliburton yesterday.

Winter Sunset. Straight out of the camera. Just a little crop and some Lightroom toning.
My new blog header banner until another one catches my fancy! 

2014 Resolution, Day 1

Asking people if I can take their picture. I stuck my toe in the water. I sort of asked someone in McKeck's restaurant if I could take his picture. Sort of... there was a guy there in a full snowmobile suit and helmet in the upstairs restaurant (you don't see that in the city much. Different story in Haliburton!). Anyway I didn't really ask, I chatted with him, told him how unusual that was, and TOLD him to go stand in the window light so I could get a shot. He didn't question it, just did what I said! The shot didn't come out as I would have liked but it was a first step!

Then Karen, the lady who served us, started talking about how they had REAL oyster crackers with their clam chowder and got all animated and excited about them (!). I didn't ask, I just picked up the camera and shot a burst. She didn't mind at all, just said "I hope you got my good side".

We don't just have crackers, we have OYSTER CRACKERS!
I got a nice smile in another shot but I like her expression here!
So I guess my resolution is about taking people's pictures when they know I am, not like a paparazzi with a telephoto lens.

So it begins

Ice fishing season is under way. With the recent cold spell, the ice on the lakes is nice and thick and the seasonal villages of ice huts is about to explode on the northern lakes. Frankly, I don't see the attraction, probably because I'm not a big fish eater or beer drinker, but it does provide some photo ops!

And so it begins. Kirk, from the Red Umbrella Inn, dragging an ice hut out onto 12-Mile Lake. Processed with Topaz Simplify, I also used Topaz Star Effects and a radial filter in Lightroom. My latest favourite tools! Because I get asked how I post-process images, here's what I did.

I used Topaz Simplify to add the painterly look then I masked it for his face, hat and jacket, the front of the ATV and the snowplow blade (and the bit of snow at the bottom). This was already low DOF because it was shot at f/2.8 (200mm) but I wanted to enhance that look. I also used the local adjustment brush in Simplify to burn in the wood on the shack a bit to give it more vibrance. The windshield was covered with a mass of duct tape where it was cracked and it's a white mess, so I used the healing brush and then the mixer brush to blend it out. Then I added stars to the headlights which were just a dull yellow since this was a daylight shot. To do that, I had to brush in a little white spot where I wanted the stars, then run the Plug-in. Back in Lightroom I darkened the image then I added a radial filter around his face and clicking 'invert mask' to adjust the inside of the filter, increased the exposure, clarity and sharpening on his face.

For me that's really light post-processing. Nothing I do any more is SOOC (straight out of the camera), that's just my style.

It's Sunday morning, 4:00 am

...and here I am typing on my blog. In case anyone is wondering why, it's the downside of living up North. I was lying in bed and heard my sump pump running. It should go off after a few minutes, but it didn't. That means my sump pump line under the driveway is frozen (I didn't think the heatline in it actually works...). I was going to wait until morning but then I thought about how my basement might be filling with water and wondered if the pump would fail. So I went out and attached a jury-rigged hose to the outlet and ran it across the driveway. I have to do that every winter. When that line gets frozen, I swap in another one, and bring the frozen one in to melt in the bathtub.

Then when I came inside and looked at the thermostat, the low-battery warning was flashing. I figured as long as I'm up... and I changed them. Then I went to the computer before going back to bed and here I am. PS, if it snows a lot today, I'm in trouble. My ATV is in the shop, the 4WD was only working when I curved to the left. They found the problem but didn't have it back together yet on Friday, so it'll be Monday before I get it back. Kirk, the guy on the ATV in the picture said he would plow out my driveway if we get a big snowfall before my ATV comes back. The joys of living in God's Country!

Now I'm going back to bed. Night-night!

Free Wallpaper

Remember this image from a couple of weeks ago? It makes a really nice background picture for your computer.

Free for use as wallpaper on your computer. This image is protected under Creative Commons Licensing BY-NC-ND. Attribution required if you distribute it, no commercial use, no modification in any way. Please do not print it: this version is not optimized for printing. If you want a print (large format art print available) or if you want to use it for commercial purposes, just ask.

Readers of my blog can download it for free as follows:

Go to one of the following links, then you can right-click/save-as to take a copy
You can of course stretch either version to fit your monitor but you may prefer the cropping of one or the other.

Haliburton Highlands Camera Club Meeting

We found a great location for our meetings: The Royal Canadian Legion in Minden! Seating for about 60 people, easy to get to and to park... next meeting is Wednesday, January 15 at 7pm. If you didn't get the invite via MailChimp, drop me a note and I'll get you on the list. Among other things, we're going to do a mini-tutorial on how to resize and upload pictures, and on the private Facebook group we have set up for the club. Here's the club's webpage. See you there!

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