Some new images

I have a new wide angle lens that I love, but I put my camera vertically to get the water tower and the image was so crooked I had to crop massively to straighten it, so now it looks like I had a very narrow lens indeed, LOL! Still, I love the image.

Campbell water tower (1 of 1)
Campbell water tower with new moon

I worked on it for a while in Lightroom, then redid the image using the Sleeklens Landscape Adventure actions that Leanne Cole demonstrated on her blog. I don’t remember what I did. I think I went through HDR before I did any actions. I like being able to see the houses and HDR processing allowed that. The homes are so cozy, but I really wish they had their lights on. I guess no one was home yet because it was a week day. Although it was getting late…since the sun sets around 8:30 PM right now, here.

This next one I redid on my own, after watching the Sleeklens action demo but before I bought the package.

Culvert at Tahoe (1 of 1)

Culvert over Tahoe

Here’s the original of the culvert that I showed last week.Squaw Valley July 2016-30

This is one I processed with Sleeklens Photoshop actions that I’m really happy with. I think. Let’s see how it looks on the blog…

Golden Gate Bridge-1
Golden Gate Bridge

I find it pretty yummy looking, much better than the original.

Then I played with this one. The sky color is a little purple, but I still kind of like this one.

Yellowstone Falls-1
Yellowstone Falls

I feel that the actions are helping me work with images in new ways. They have some freebies for Lightroom that I’m also playing with. I think that my goal as an artist is beauty. I like emotion and meaning too, but I need people or animals in the shots to get that. Maybe I’ll revisit my church in Reno and see what I can do with that with my new tools.

Well, I have to go outside and work on the garden now. My birthday is this week. I saved up two birthdays and Christmases for my new lens. We bought the lens last week because it was on sale. It’s a Sigma 10 – 20 mm. I’m really glad we bought it early because it gave me a chance to go out and practice. Now I know not to tip the camera to portrait on the tripod because I can’t level it that way. I’m really glad to know that because on my birthday we are going to San Francisco for an early dinner followed by a photo shoot. I can’t wait. I want to take pictures of buildings and I’ll probably do some night shots of the Bay Bridge. Oh, I also discovered either big splotches on one side of the lens, the filter, or (hopefully not) the sensor. I think it’s the new lens, so wish me luck on getting that cleaned up. I find it difficult to get rid of the spots even with the spot removal feature of Lightroom.

I’m so regaining my enthusiasm for photography, and that makes me happy.

Have a great week!

Free stuff and links Monday, gut instincts and black and white photography

Happy Monday! Or Tuesday, as the case may be. Time for links to things online that I enjoyed this week.

I was intrigued by this article, which I found while looking for something else. I was looking for info on weird feelings in the stomach after food poisoning, another bout of which I just endured. This article is not about that at all but is much more interesting! I’m always writing about my characters’ gut clenching (male) or butterflies (female). It’s hard to come up with other ways to describe characters’ physical reactions to situations, so I’m always looking for other ways to do so and then going back and revising my manuscripts so they don’t say these things the same way all the time.

I recommend this article for writers, especially the list of physical reactions at the end, but this article is of general interest as well.

5 Gut Instincts You Shouldn’t Ignore.

The author (Courtney Helgoe) talks about the enteric nervous system, also referred to as “the second brain,” which is an interesting and new-to-me phenomenon.

In addition to warning you about danger and helping you recognize when someone needs sympathy, your instincts can help your achieve peak performance once you have mastered a skill. Here is the quote for you:

“Once you’ve developed expertise in a particular area — once you’ve made the requisite mistakes — it’s important to trust your emotions when making decisions in that domain,” [Jonah] Lehrer insists. If you know you can do it, trust your gut — not your head.

Next time you’re tempted to think too much about something you know how to do, try a little therapeutic distraction. Say the alphabet backward when your yoga teacher orders you into the dreaded handstand, or sing a favorite song to yourself at the free-throw line. Briefly engaging your conscious mind with something other than the task at hand can leave your instincts free to do their job — and free you to enjoy the satisfaction all that practice has made possible.

I’ve been trying this a bit with my writing, by closing my eyes and just writing what I’m seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and tasting in the scene.

I also like what the article said about your first impressions of meeting a new person. I have tried to override negative first impressions, and I’m not talking about danger here, just incompatibility for a friendship, and it never really works out. It’s best just to go with gut feel, I think.

The article also talks about inner conflict versus knowing when something is right.

When your intuition signals that you’ve found something or someone truly right for you, the choice often becomes strangely easy. “It feels healthy; it feels good; it doesn’t feel like you’re forcing it, there’s not a lot of conflict,” [Judith Orloff PhD] says.

Lehrer agrees that when you’re poised to make a big decision with lasting repercussions, like choosing your life partner, you’re best off deciding from the gut. Based on the bulk of his research into the cognitive mechanisms of decision-making, he actually recommends that you “think less about those choices that you care a lot about.”

My other favorite article of the week comes with beautiful pictures. This is a very richly contented blog post about black and white photography with contributions from several experts. This article is on Leanne Cole’s site. I’ve met Leanne, and gone on photo shoots with her. It was interesting to me to see how natural she is at taking great photos. She definitely has that muscle memory, or in the case of art, the eye, for composing beautiful photographs.

Up for Discussion: Images in Monochrome 


Monochrome madness from Beijing

Hello blog followers! Sorry for the long silence. For the part of the trip in Townsville Australia, I was very busy with my co-author’s family…the kids were on school holidays, and we had a lot of playing to do.

Today we are in Queenstown New Zealand. I wish I had my camera out when we flew in, also when we arrived. I was tired as we hadn’t had much sleep, but I did take a phone photo, fortunately, because now it  is raining and you can’t see as much.

Today’s photos are 3 monochrome shots I took in Beijing, some of which will show up in Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness series.

The Forbidden City
The Temple of Heaven
Silver bird outside the hotel
Silver bird outside the hotel
The Beijing TV station
The Beijing TV station


Butterfly bush and look what the Panasonic DMC-ZS40 does

I was telling my husband how pretty I think the butterfly bush is now, but it doesn’t seem to attract butterflies. I was so wrong!

Yesterday I was outside trying to get good shots of the butterfly bush with my DLSR, when my husband came trotting out with the Panasonic DMC-ZS40, which we had just received in the mail. I decided to try it. Look with it can do.



Great zoom, great autofocus and auto functionality, very quick to use. Also it’s light. We bought it for travel.

Here is a shot using the Sony-A300 digital SLR:


I love the gorgeous color saturation in the Sony photos. I won’t be giving it up anytime soon, but I think I will be very happy with the Panasonic for travel.

I’m going to want to get a camera to convert for infrared photography after seeing the post on Leanne Cole’s blog by Infrared Robert. To me, that is really beautiful art. Check out this beautiful house and amazing river.


Christmas from around the world, Santa Monica California, Leanne Cole Photography

I need to do two posts today because I took some new Christmas photos for Leanne Cole’s Christmas from around the World series and the deadline is today. Actually, I’m a little late. There are already some gorgeous photos on her site so perhaps mine will go up next week. But do click on the above link because the photos have so much heart they brought a tear to my eye.

These were taken at


To put it in context, this is the beach scene in California during the holiday season:



De Oude Kerk (The Old Church), Amsterdam

First, here’s some info about the church, from their website:

The Old Church

The Old Church is in the heart of Amsterdam right on the ramparts. It is the oldest building in the city and was founded by fishermen on the river Amstel. Around 1300 there was erected a stone church, dedicated to St. Nicholas. This church would become the imposing medieval monument that exists today.

The Old Church not only serves as a place of worship but also as a concert hall, wedding venue and exhibition and reception area. It is the living room of Amsterdam. That’s always been the case: Fishermen repaired their nets here, played the organ, and Sweelinck and Rembrandt went here to marry. Generations of Amsterdam residents, including the naval hero Van Heemskerck, are buried in this European monument.

De Oude Kerk interior
De Oude Kerk interior

Our experience in May 2013

We were walking, of course, as we walked so much in Amsterdam (afraid of getting in a bike crash) that I ended up with tendinitis in my hip at the end. On this sightseeing adventure, I was in front, picking my way around some construction work being done on the paving stones outside the church, and behind me, my husband was being propositioned by a “lady of the night.” Does that moniker still apply during the day? Well, you know what I mean. Now, this is a man who takes pretty much everything in stride, but he was startled enough to catch up and tell me what happened. His eyes were pretty huge! The lady in question managed to do this without me catching on. Pretty clever.

The church is right next to the red light district, we discovered.

The World Press Photo laureates from Russia and the Soviet Union were on display. These photos were fascinating and some of them were disturbing, as photojournalism can and should be, bringing to light experiences of people around the world, both positive and negative.

The church itself is amazing. You look at these tombstones on the floor and know that beneath them are people who lived in Amsterdam hundreds of years ago. And you think about their lives.

the tombstone from 1813
The tombstone from 1613
tombstone 1621
Tombstone from 1621, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam

That was a lot of death, so here are some thrilling photos of life at its best from the Photo Laureates, Wei Zheng and Yongzhi Chu:

Wei Zheng, China, 3rd Prize Sports Action Singles, A member of the Australian synchronized swimming team competes at the Olympic Games in London, on  10 August.
Wei Zheng, China, 3rd Prize Sports Action Singles, A member of the Australian synchronized swimming team competes at the Olympic Games in London, on 10 August.
Yongzhi Chu, China, 2nd Prize Sports Action Singles, Young gymnasts warm up at a juvenile sports school in Jiaxing, Zhejiang, China.

Looking at these photojournalism masterpieces reminds me of Leanne Cole’s post yesterday in which she discusses art and photography. I highly recommend it: What is Art?