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“The night before I left Las Vegas I walked out in the desert to look at the moon.  There was a jeweled city on the horizon, spires rising in the night, but the jewels were diadems of electric and the spires were the neon of signs ten stories high.”  ~Norman Mailer

We drove back to the Valley of Fire this afternoon to catch the sunset.  We then drove back through the northern edge of Lake Mead and found this amazing spot where the lights from Vegas were just stunning.  We set up the tripod and I attempted to do star trails, but didn’t really succeed.  Not dark enough.  However, I did capture the stars, the moon, and light trails from all the airplanes in the sky over the city.  We were here for over an hour and a half . . . mesmerized.  Only a few cars passed by on the road while we were there.  This shot is my attempt at doing sync flash – something MTM taught us when we shot on the Strip a few nights ago.  Not sure I was 100% successful as it seems the background is out of focus.  The first shot is the original with just a bit of LR4 editing.  

D800e, 70-200mm VRII lens @ 70mm, 2 sec @ f6.3, 800ISO, and SB800 flash mounted on camera set at zero.  

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I ended up not really liking that the background was out of focus, so took it in to LR4 and reworked it . . . adding in the starry moonlit sky from another photo I took just a bit earlier in the evening.  I think I like the reworked version best.

This is my edited/reworked version.

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312-365 reworked

 

“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”  Oscar Wilde

Today’s 365 photo is quite a switch for me.  I don’t usually go to the “dark side” . . . but I couldn’t resist this when I was fiddling around with different presets and editing in both Photoshop and Lightroom.  One of the guys in my 365 group does some pretty far out and amazing things so I’m just channeling my inner “DigiMax” on this one.  

I liked today’s quote when I read it because I really do believe that to be true.  I make choices every day that create my experience of life.  That experience can be pretty darned wonderful, pretty darned awful, or somewhere in between those two extremes.  Bad things happen in life . . .they just do.  However, I have choice in every moment in how I am going to act or react in any given situation.  That choice impacts everyone within my sphere of influence – be it intimate or casual.  I strive to wake up every morning thinking with a positive mind, looking for the good things in my life and the lives of others . . . I am so very grateful for every moment of my life leading up to today because each of those moments add up to the person I am now.  Some of those moments aren’t so great – I’m not proud of every decision or action I’ve taken . . . but I strive to move forward and learn from each and every one . . . to be better and to be a positive example and influence for those whose lives I do touch.  I’m no saint and I’m far from perfect, but I am happy and ever so grateful for all the love and abundance I have in my life.  

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“The rain began again.  It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfillment of it’s own nature, which was to fall and fall.”  Helen Garner

And the rain continues . . . I had this vision for a photograph in my mind when I woke up this morning.  I had my camera on the tripod and covered in plastic – it was a bit of a challenge to get the shot.  

I didn’t like it in color because of the color cast from the red umbrella on my face.  So I converted to B&W and tweaked a bit in LR4, then took it in to Photoshop CS6 where I ran a High Pass Filter to bring out a bit more detail.  I’m learning so much about how to process my photographs without going overboard.  (It’s so easy to do!)  I think I’ll run a couple of different filters on this just to see what happens . . . so much fun!

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“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”  Christopher Reeve 

Yeah, well – so I’ve been back to working out lately after about an eight month hiatus.  How impressive is this!!!  I know, pretty crazy.  What’s a 60 year old Grandma to do??  

OK, truth is . . . Photoshop is amazing!  

It all started with one of the guys in the 365 taking his picture with the Rocky statue in front of the Museum of Art in Philadelphia.  The next day, he posted a shot of himself standing in the imprint of Sylvester Stallone’s shoes in the sidewalk.  Soon, there appeared a photo of another one of the 365 guys (our resident Photoshop Guru) with super pumped up triceps.  Not long after that photo was posted, one of my fellow female 365’ers posted a shot of HER super uber pumped triceps.  So I just had to get in on the action.  The other’s weren’t wielding a weight so I grabbed a 15lb’er, set up my tri-pod, set aperture, focus and timer and captured this shot.  

Well, maybe not exactly this shot.

I  processed it using Nik Software Silver Efex Pro in LR4.  I then exported it to Photoshop CS6 where I used the Liquify Filter to “enhance” my triceps, and added a photo mask by Liv.eDesigns.  

Not much . . . just a bit . . . I mean . . . a girl can dream right?? 

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“Boys are found everywhere—on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older sisters and brothers tolerate them, adults ignore them and Heaven protects them. A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Beauty with a cut on its finger, Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket.” Author: Alan Beck

I had the opportunity to spend the day with my little 2.5 year old Grandson today.  What a little sweetie he is.  Such a joy.  So full of energy, and love.  I took many pictures of him today but this one seemed to epitomize his energy, as he climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed!  So fun! I love my Grandchildren so much . . . and feel so incredibly blessed to be able to spend the time with them that I do.

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“The world is a playground and life is pushing my swing.”Natalie Kocsis

 

  I was trying to get a “panning” shot here – but didn’t have my monopod so it didn’t turn out so great.  Didn’t have anything else to use today – so this is my pic for the day.  It kind of epitomizes how the week here has gone . . . kind of a blur.  
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“In the eyes of a child…there is joy, there is laughter… there is hope, there is trust, a chance to shape the future…” Author: Air Supply

  Couldn’t be said better than that!  I look in her eyes and see such wonder, such possibility . . . I can’t wait to see where she leads us!  I took this photo while she was eating lunch – trying to catch myself in the reflections in her eyes.  If you look hard, I’m there!

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“Being grandparents sufficiently removes us from the responsibilities so that we can be friends.” 
Allan Frome

We had a beautiful day here in the Bay Area today, after a week of cold, wind, and rain.  So off to the park went baby girl and Grandma.   There is just nothing like the innocence of a small child, the beauty of seeing the world thru her eyes.  I love being able to provide her with the stability and security she needs during this time of upheaval with her Daddy in Hospital.  She’s pretty oblivious to what’s going on, until we see Mommy and then she’s very clingy.  Understandably so.   I’m going to take her home with me for a couple of weeks so that Mommy can focus on recovering Daddy from his Quintuple Bypass.  

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“You will find more happiness growing down than up.”  ~Author Unknown

Another day with the baby girl while Mommy is at hospital with Daddy.  Here we are having play time before morning nap.  She is such a sweet girl, and plays very well on her own.  It was a bit of a challenge to get her to sit with me for this picture!  She kept wanting to explore the camera . . . far more interesting! She’s very curious and very happy.  

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“What feeling is so nice as a child’s hand in yours? So small, so soft and warm, like a kitten huddling in the shelter of your clasp” Marjorie Holmes

Baby’s Daddy had Quintuple Heart Bypass surgery today.  OMG!  We’re all quite shocked that it was that bad.  I’m focusing my energies on Baby Girl as she really doesn’t understand any of what is going on, and just needs some consistency and routine to her day.  Our theme for the week in our 365 Challenge is “hand” – this is my contribution.  I love these tender moments . . . 

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68-365

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