NANCY MERRILL’S PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – ART EFFECTS

A Photo a Week Challenge: Artsy

I was delighted to see this challenge … until I realized that I often — okay, usually — don’t remember how I made a picture look “that way.” I wing it because, in Photoshop, I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time.

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I’ve never studied Photoshop. Never taken a course, or been tutored. I’ve doped out how to do the things with occasional kindly tips from other photographers. I know how to do the things I need to do often. And I’ve worked my way through a lot of years and many iterations of Adobe’s software.

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I can crop, sharpen, re-balance color. Now, thanks to Bob Mielke, I can adjust specific areas of a picture, zeroing in on a particular section I want to fix.

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It is a bit haphazard, I admit. The negative side is reproducing results sometimes impossible. The good news is I discover all kinds of nifty stuff. It’s a new set of toys every day!

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I’ve been messing around with art effects for a long time, even before I had Photoshop. Back when I used Corel (because Photoshop was out of my price range), it had good effects. I did a lot of experimenting. I called the results “artographs” because they have photographic roots, but are no longer true photographs.

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Personal taste is the overriding consideration in this sort of thing. I like painterly effects, poster effects, solarization. I like outlining, turning things into “drawings,” and toy camera effects. For me, art effects are playtime. I hope you like some of them too.

IN-CAMERA DIGITAL ART EFFECTS

These days, pretty much every camera you can buy has art effects built in. Surprisingly, some of them are remarkably good. Better than you will get using Photoshop. If you haven’t tried them, give it a shot or three. I had never used them until I recently tried them by accident. I liked the results very much.  The first two pictures in this post were done using the Art Effects Bracket on an Olympus PEN PL-5.

BLACK AND WHITE CHALLENGE: NUMBERS

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: NUMBERS

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I knew I had pictures with numbers somewhere. I just had to remember where.

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I need a better filing system.

72-BW-No-4-Pops-12-11-14_097Let me rephrase that. I need a filing system.

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FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES – DAY TWO

FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES CHALLENGE – DAY TWO

There is a new challenge called Five Photos, Five Stories.  I secretly hoped to be asked to participate in it. Looked like it was right up my alley.  Sure enough, Cee at  Cee’s Photography Blog asked me to join!

I have been following Cee and participating in her challenges for a while.  If you aren’t familiar with her and her beautiful work, I invite you to visit her.

The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive day

2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.

3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!


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On the first warm sunny Sunday of 2015, Garry and I were at the park with our cameras. We were not alone. Drawn from our warm hidey-holes by the lure of sunshine and shirtsleeve temperatures, the park, and the river was full of people.

Playing frisbee and just sitting in the warm sunlight. With small children and dogs in tow, hauling picnic lunches and fishing reels, the Blackstone Valley emerged from the darkness.

I like shooting from the bridge. It offers the best view of the river and the park. There isn’t a lot of traffic on Route 98. Although people tend to drive faster than is entirely safe, I’ve never seen more than two or three cars on the road at the same time.

“How’s the water?” I called down to the kayakers paddling past.

“The strut holding up the bridge has rusted through. I was afraid it was going to fall on our heads,” they answered.

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The little bridge in summer. You can see the struts under the bridge. The struts hold the road together. The one in the middle is broken.

It gave me pause. Maybe that is why a stop sign had mysteriously appeared at the bridge. It would force traffic to go slower over the bridge. It did feel shakier than it did a few weeks ago.

We waved at the paddlers as they continued down the river. Today, I was thinking about what the kayakers had said. I wondered if the engineers in Rhode Island know the support on the bridge is broken. Did the kayakers call anyone? I didn’t. How would they know?

Who to call? If it were Massachusetts, I’d call Town Hall. They’d send someone to inspect the bridge. It’s not our town, or in Massachusetts. I decided I’d try Rhode Island Department of Transportation, or whichever agency takes care of roads and bridges.

I looked it up. Found a contact number. A pleasant lady in customer service used Google Earth to find the bridge. I told her I had photographs and sent them to her. And in return, I got:

Good Afternoon Marilyn,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us and share this information with us; I have sent your comments and photos forward to our Bridge Engineering section. We do have work planned for this location in the near future and we are closely monitoring the condition of this location. I am sure they will find this information helpful.

Thank you again for taking the time to reach out to us.

Have a safe and lovely weekend.

Garry congratulated me on being a good citizen. I pointed out we drive over the bridge. It’s just down the road. I’m disinclined to go down with the bridge. He took my point.

I hope they fix it soon. It made me contemplate how battered our bridges are. They’ve been in rough shape for years. This past winter didn’t help the situation.

History has not shown the Commonwealth quick to repair damaged roads and bridges. I hope, right now, engineers all over New England are busy, busy, busy, fixing, fixing, fixing.


I’d like to invite Pat at CHRONICLES OF AN ANGLO SWISS to take up the torch. Pat, I think this is right up your alley! In fact, this is what you do and why I love your blog so much. You don’t have to, but I know you have been seeking inspiration. I hope this helps!

In view of all the negativity surround the Daily Prompt, one would hope that a new challenge might put a little life into our blogging. Anyone who would like to participate, you are cordially welcome. Feel free to jump in! It’s easy and fun. Most of us post pictures and write about them anyway, so it’s not out of line with our usual process.