Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Learning Is Good

I've always said that I like my photos straight-out-of-the-camera (SOOC). It seemed that If I were a good photographer I could get a picture and not have to post process it.  In reality, I just didn't want to admit I didn't know how to post process! Stubborn resistance and lack of knowledge kept me from experimenting. Then, I discovered Picasa's free editing software at Picnik. There were some techniques I could try, but it was limited. Recently I upgraded to their premium service, which is better, you can add textures. It will never be as great as Photoshop, RadLab or those types of editing software, but this will do for me. I will probably only use it occasionally.

I needed this picture to look stark, barren, and desolate for a winter's prompt. I looked up the definition of "stark". For some reason I like to look up words! One of the definitions is  severe or bare in appearance or outline: "a stark silhouette against the sky".  This branch didn't look very stark with all that beautiful blue sky. It was 60 degrees; not wintry at all.

First, I changed the image to black and white and upped the contrast. That helped, it looks stormy.

This one I used what is called gritty effect and washed out the background. I does look more stark, in fact I really like this one.

I showed all these pictures to my four year old twin grandsons, Drew and Josh, and had them pick their favorite. Both of the them chose the one below. I inverted the colors on this one. Josh said "It looks like it's snowing on the tree when it's dark." This is the image I posted in the class gallery. Here's one of the comments I received, "Wow! This is stunning! Your grandson's have a great artistic eye." Thank you very much!!  I think they're pretty special guys to take the time out of their very busy morning to help me!!!

Drew picked his favorite and then had better things to do than look at pictures! Josh wanted to know about every one!  He was pretty fascinated that I could change a picture! He also liked the one below.

The rest of these have different textures added. 

I wish I knew the name of the textures, but so far I have never found that information on Picnik.

This one was another of my favorites. I couldn't decided which to post so that's why I asked the boys for their help!

Pretty amazing, what you can do with a photo!! Just a few clicks and you can change something! Makes me wish I could just "click" and change a few things in my life. You know like that red "easy" button on the Staple's commercial!

eat healthier - click
spend my time wisely - click
enjoy every moment - click
house needs cleaned - click

How many times have you wished there really was an "easy" button. That reminds me of the old saying, "good things never come easy."

If it were that easy I would miss the joys that come when I accomplish something I wished to change. There is even joy at the end of a day spent cleaning the house!! The house looks good and smells!!

Wow, this got pretty rambly didn't it!  One things just let to another this morning!!

I hope your day is extra special!!


  1. These are all wonderful, I will have to check out the process. I usually just go to picnic when I want to get something out of my photo, I didn't know they had textures and all - thank you for the education.

    You boys do have a good eye.

  2. Cathy - glad to see you experimenting with the joys of post-processing. It just opens up a whole new realm of options - as you obviously found out from your processing on just this one image. The hard part is choosing!

  3. I loved your musings, Cathy! I actually have one of those red buttons that my Staples sales rep here at work gave me, and I've often wished it magically worked for other things, especially that "house needs cleaned - click."

    It was really fun to see your experiments with different process settings and textures. I've been playing around a little with some of the black and white options in Lightroom. It's fascinating how you can completely change the character of a photograph with one little click.

  4. I agree with the grandsons. That reverse image is very dramatic!
    And you are totally right. the things that we feel best about in life are the ones where we put the most effort. For now, I think I'll take your reminder as my own and "enjoy every moment." Thank you!

  5. I loved seeing all of these Cathy, isn't it just fun to play? I got an email today that Picnik is closing in April - so sad! I guess you'll have to make a jump to a new program. Maybe Lightroom??

  6. worth the rambling///lots of good info!

  7. Cathy,
    I really like how you demonstrated all the possibilities that can be done with Picasa. I have used it a lot, though now I use Lightroom...I should say I'm Learning to use Lightroom.
    How fun that your grandsons contribute their opinions!

  8. Drew and Josh definitely picked the best one. It reminds me of a dark stormy night with a pop of lightening. It's amazing how each photo can be so different! I can think of several things I would like to "click" - #1 being laundry!! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Great post, Cathy! Your processing is wonderful -- loved seeing all the variations. You are so right about the satisfaction of getting a job done. Now I'm off to wash the kitchen floor.


Thanks so much for stopping by!!