Friday, July 22, 2011

Before and After Photo Fun

So my love affair with my camera came to an abrupt halt a couple of weeks ago when one of the knobs started sticking. We sadly parted ways for awhile. I should be getting the camera back as soon as repairs are finished and the store says that I can come to pick him up. But in the meantime, what to do? I am working on a Project Life album and I am trying to take a picture a day. Without my camera I thought it would be difficult. I would again have to rely on my cell phone to capture my treasured memories...

I have to admit, I didn't like this idea at all. My phone takes pretty decent pics for a phone but problems with lighting and shutter speed aren't easily resolved with the phone. It's pretty much a one trick pony and often I'm left with an underexposed/overexposed, shadowy,and/or blurry image. BUT I have to make enter Picnik! I <3 this application so much! Thanks to my friend, Janene for introducing us! I use the free version and although I am tempted to upgrade, I find with some tweaking I can get some really satisfying results with the free version!

I thought it would be fun to show some before and after pics! Now, I am by NO means great at it! I just know what I find aesthetically pleasing and I try my best to see it in my mind's eye and then make it happen. I really know very little about composing a shot and I am just wrapping my head around fstops, aperture and all the other stuff that real photographers know a lot about.

Who knows if you will even find the pictures greatly improved after my editing in Picnik! I guess I just want to show the big differences between the before and afters so you can see for yourself that you can make a not so wonderful picture (even one taken with the camera on your phone) into something more interesting to look at...

Here's the first one:

This is a cute picture as is, in my humble opinion.  That smile is perfect! It's a little dark though.

Here's the after: I wanted to brighten it up a bit and give it a "glowy" look. I cropped it a bit and put the focus on Chloe's face. I also drained some of the color because I wanted the focus of the picture to really be her expression and didn't want any distraction from that.

And here we are side by side.

HA! This is fun! Here's the next one:
Here we have the morning sun blaring in from the window in the background, tragically overexposing the one corner of the pic and casting the baby into darkness. And look...she is so happy and giving that fake baby a kiss. It's so adorable and you can't really make it out so well.

Here's the after! I like it so much better.  Now the sun looks "glorious" and you can see Chloe just loving her baby so much. I messed around with the exposure to lighten up the baby and then used the "cross process" effect to give the pic some more definition.

Here they are side by side:
Better, right?

Okay, NEXT!
Here she is looking pretty.

Here's the slightly funky after. I wanted her to look like a china doll in this pic. So I went black and white and then let the pic fade through a little. Then I used focal B&W and focused on her cheek to give her a little color on face and lips.

Here they are side by side:

She does look like a baby doll in the after shot, doesn't she?

All right, here is the last one:
Aren't they cute? I love it when everyone is in a good mood in the morning!

Here's the after. I cropped it a bit, then I used the "Holga-ish" effect in Picnik which focused us on the girls a little better. Then I cross processed and added a 60's effect on top of that (minus the rounded corners).

And so you may compare:

So much fun...for me anyway (I'm a huge fan of the "before and after" in all it's forms!) Sorry if I bored everyone else!! :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Huh? Blog? What's That?

Dedicated to: Jody, Thanks for reminding me that I have a blog!

This morning I decided to visit my discarded blog and things have certainly changed around the blogger site.  I hardly knew what to do because the "look" of my landing page had changed.  After a moment's pause I figured out how to create a new post and here I am with a bullet list of summer events to get everyone caught up:

  •  Chloe turned 1!  She wasn't walking on her first birthday or within a couple of weeks of it like the other girls had, but I'm happy to report that just yesterday she took three steps in a row! Yippee for milestones.  She is like a little parrot repeating lots of new words every day! On her vocab list are: Ma-ma, Mummee, Dada, Daddee, King-ton, puppy, doggy, "woof", Baby, Dor-dan (Jordan), Li-Li (Livi), Eye-Uh (Ava), Bubba, wha dis (What's this) and more. Her favorites are eating anything set before her, babies, the dog, dancing, scribbling on the floor with discarded crayons and markers, and jabbering
  • The girls had their dance recital and did wonderfully. Olivia's first time on the stage and she did great--even remembered a good bit of her routine. Super proud of her, and of the older girls too. Jordan and Ava did tumbling camp and all three are looking forward to "princess camp" later this summer.
  • The garden is doing really well this year.  We are anxiously awaiting more red tomatoes. We've had a few small ones. I know in a few weeks we will have more than we know what to do with! Looking forward to that. I've discovered some pretty good zucchini recipes...we've eaten it grilled, frittered, Parmesan-ed, and in bread form so far.  I am happy with the garden and am anxious to try a few new veggies next year!
  • We enjoyed some fireworks early this month and then headed to camp to celebrate Olivia's 4th birthday. I can't believe how much she has grown this year! Gone is my baby livi-tivi.  She has been replaced with a little girl who loves to snuggle and smooch, dance, sing, and play with her sisters.  She loves to put on lip glops (lip gloss) and jewelry (TONS of jewelry)... She is a girly girl for sure.  She is looking forward to starting preschool in the fall!
  • Started running on the treadmill again.  Happy to say I am about 12lbs lighter than I was last year at this time. I used Couch to 5k for the treadmill and now I am running about 3.5 miles a day in a little over 30 minutes. I'm hoping to run my first road race toward the end of summer--hopefully!
  • Trying to come to grips with the lack of a beach vacation this year. We knew when we bought the house that we would most likely have to forgo it for this summer.  Even though I knew and accepted that I wouldn't be sinking my feet in the sand, I still have a longing for ocean waves and sea breezes. I love my family at the beach! (I love them at home too)
  • Jordan and Ava will be starting public school in the fall. With very mixed emotions! However, I am determined to face this new chapter with optimism.  There are good things ahead for sure.
That's the summer in a nutshell.  Hoping to add blogging back on to my summer schedule!  See you soon!


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