(NOT) JUST ANOTHER DAY

RITUAL OR ROUTINE?

Here’s a question for you folks “out there.”

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When does a routine morph into a ritual? Or a ritual degenerate into a routine? Because I don’t think we have any rituals, but we do have routines.

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Most of our routines are mandated by life itself.

I get up. Stagger into the kitchen and push the “on” button to start the coffee. Then I clean the floors — kitchen and living room — because the dogs track in an astonishing amount of dirt on their dainty little (and not so little) paws.

I sweep, I mop, and if necessary, polish (sort of). I give Bishop his meds. I give Bonnie her eye drops. I put away Bishop’s mattress. I wash refill both water dishes. I give them all a treat because they expect it.

Mr. Coffee and family

I put away the clean dishes sitting in the rack. I look around to see if I’m missing anything and if not …

I turn on my computer, go back to the kitchen and pour myself a huge cup of coffee. Grab a couple of low-fat, low-calorie biscuits. After which, with a happy sigh, I settle down to begin my day.

Is it a ritual? Seems to me it’s exactly what needs doing. It doesn’t vary because it’s not based on my choice but on the amount of dirt the dogs track in from outside. I do it because it needs to be done and if I don’t, the house degenerates into a pit.

Maybe the preparation and drinking of coffee has a hint of ritual to it. Millions of people all over the world drink coffee or tea as the start of the day. Does that mean that “hot, stimulating liquid drink” has some broader implications for humanity?

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I tend to think “it is what it is.” Something hot, tasty, and stimulating to jump-start whatever the day will hold.

You can call it whatever you want … as long as I get my coffee.

CROPPING FOR FUN AND PROFIT: CEE’S COMPOSE YOURSELF CHALLENGE

CEE’S COMPOSE YOURSELF PHOTO CHALLENGE: #15 CROPPING TIPS

From Cee:

For your weekly assignment I would like to see at least 4 cropped photos showing the before and after results. Please describe what you learned in this lesson too.

Each week I will select several features from everyone who submits an entry. And from those posts that I feature, I will grant one blogger the Gold Star Award. To find out who was awarded the Gold Star Award and Features for this week, please see CCY Features Week #14 Symmetry.

I want to start this by saying I don’t crop my own pictures as much as most people. I learned photography during the film era. Every shot cost money to develop. Every print either cost money — if you sent it to a lab — or time, effort, and materials if you did your own printing. This was not time spent with your laptop on the sofa. It was on your feet, in a smelly darkroom making shadow shows on paper.

Lots of caustic chemicals and expensive paper later, you might get what you wanted. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t quick.


This is a 3-shot sequence. 1. Original 2. Processed and cropped 3. More cropping, black & white.

(1) Original, uncropped, unprocessed
(1) Original, not cropped, unprocessed
(2) Cropped, sharpened, more contrast
(2) Cropped, sharpened, more contrast
(3) More cropping, black & white, even more contrast, selenium toning
(3) More cropping, black & white, even more contrast, selenium toning

I shoot tight. 90% of my cropping gets done in the viewfinder. Good because a high percentage of shots don’t need any significant post-processing. Bad because if I need to do anything, even just level the horizon, I have no room to work.

I am trying to retrain myself to shoot less tightly, to leave space for cropping, straightening, and so on. So far, my instinct to shoot tight has trumped my intentions, but I’m working on it.

Original, unprocessed, no cropping.
Original, unprocessed, no cropping.
Cropped, processed, done.
Cropped, processed, done.

The previous pair of (my) photographs are straightened, cropped, and processed. The cropping is across the top, bottom, and right edge.

The following two pair of photographs are Garry’s. I think you can easily see for yourself how I used cropping to show the picture to its best advantage.

The original. No post processing.
The original. No post processing.
Final result.
Final result.

In the above photo, I straightened the roof. I retained most of the width except for part of the right edge. I cropped off a piece of sky as well as the bottom of the picture including most of the SUV’s tires.

Original. No cropping or any post processing.
Original. No cropping or any post processing.
Finished picture.
Finished picture.

After straightening the shot, I removed most of the foreground and a chunk of sky. I kept most of the width, but removed a piece of the left edge to thin out the line of trees. The cropping made a big difference and it came out the way Garry says he saw it in his mind. I love this picture, by the way. I wish I’d taken it!

What did I learn? That I need to shoot a bit looser, to leave more working room around my images. And I need to stop dropping my left hand when I press the shutter so my horizons won’t always need straightening.

FUN FOTOS – FUCHSIA IN PINK & MAGENTA

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE: PINK OR MAGENTA FLOWERS

Lucky me. I have loads of pictures of the pinkest and most magenta flowers I can imagine. Fuchsia. Macros, background shots.macro fuchsia july 2015 - 012

Velvety flowers trailing long stems full of lush flowers.

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Of course fuchsia comes in other colors too, including blushing pink. The dark pink and magenta ones are my favorites. All beautiful, in every color!