Friday, November 27, 2009

Florida Thanksgiving and Photoshop

Still working on that consolidation thing (see previous post)... but as I have a day off of work, and a tiny bit of time on my hands I thought I'd go ahead and post a little of what I've been playing with using Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home after spending the previous weekend in the Orlando area with visiting family from Ohio... So Mrs. Muse and I headed out to one of our favorite hiking trails at the Julington-Durbin Preserve at the southern end of Duval County.

It was late afternoon, so the sun was heading down in the western sky, casting beams at sharp angles on the golden fall foliage on the sand hill ecology at the trail head, and piercing through the dense, damp sub-tropical flora of the wetlands section that begins about a half-mile in.

The water in the swamp was high because of the previous days rain -- on this trail, moving from sand hill uplands to cypress swamp wetlands you can literally feel, see, and smell the abrupt change of eco-systems.

At one point over a swampy pool of black water, a shaft of late day light turned the fan leaves of a scrub palmetto into a glowing holiday decoration of neon green. I took several shots at a variety of exposure settings, settling ultimately in the half-frond original shot up at the top left of the page. Working in PSE, I lightened the green and yellows to the second version, and used a gaussian blur filter on much of the background, which added to the contrast of dark and light.

Next, (immediately left) I used the water color artistic filter to add a painterly effect, and a bit of additional mystery to the image. The, last, I used the black and white conversion "infra-red" option to take the color out, but maintain an extreme level of contrast.

Fun and games, but good practice, and a good way to learn to find your way around the more than adequate capabilities of PSE (the limited -- and WAY less expensive version of Photoshop)...

So happy holiday season to all - hope you survived Black Friday (we stayed away from the stores as two of my least favorite things in the world are shopping and crowds. Off to some leftovers for dinner...........

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Yellow leaves on the North Delaware Greenway

So, this business of managing a 50 hour+ per week job, performing both solo and with the Ashley Gang, photo shoots, juggling a blog and two photography sites and two music sites... a home life... holy smoke, Batman! At my age something's gotta give! I'll be doing some consolidation of my cyber-life over the next few weeks (between performing in Barberville, Florida this weekend, business in Nashville next week, performing in Ormond Beach the next weekend, and in Jacksonville and Orlando the last weekend of the month)... YIKES! Will be making it easier on myself, and hopefully easier on you all to stay in touch with the music, photography and philosophical ramblings... news soon.

The photos above are from our trip to the Brandywine Valley last week. The weather was damp and dank, but we did get so see some fall color and some new work by Jamie Wyeth, Andrew's in-your-face artist son (great stuff at the Brandywine River Museum). From the tropical Saint Johns to the mid-Atlantic Brandywine and Delaware rivers in a week. Not bad for a tired old guy....