Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday

Wild Bird Wednesday 16

A Disclaimer :  I really do love my black birds and I really don't think they are spooky ... but, I couldn't resist:)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mandarin Orange Monday

Orange is the perfect color for celebrating Halloween.  I have a ton of Halloween pictures so the hard part was picking out which ones ... and some I just stumbled across and got creative with.  Love this meme :)

This is a picture of the Olympic fireworks that I took on my TV screen ... that little dark opening in the center was the perfect place for bats ... and bats are great Halloween characters.  The process here was simple ... I used the selection brush and magic extracter to single out the bats, then placed them in the pictures ... creepy, creepy ... :)

This is a mask that I saw at a sidewalk sale ... isn't she cool? I first used the selection brush on the background, darkened with PSE brightness/Contrast, then air brushed in some gray to mute distractions.  I then used the selection brush on the hat and scarf and used a fill color and then the mask to put it where I wanted it.  (her hat was blue and the scarf was yellow).  I used the selection brush again then turned her green eye orange.  Finally I used PSE light effects filter to finish her off.  Gruesome, right?
This is my lazy answer to Halloween pumpkins.  Buy a pumpkin and drop it into the spider frame and Voila!  I fixed this one up by using a texture of my own at 65% opacity. Next using the mask and brush, I brushed out the parts I wanted to be clear.  By using the texture at 65 % I was able to still have a little pattern on the pumpkin.  Then framed with lace ... old lace, all we need is the arsenic :0 ... I love Halloween. 

This is Izzi.   Izzi is not orange ...
But, her pumpkin is :)
Izzi says "Happy Halloween!"

Friday, October 26, 2012

Photo Art Friday

Photo Art Friday
My friend has an old tree farm behind her house.  It is all grown over with an irrigation pond and several pieces of old farm equipment hidden among the trees.  This has long been a favorite picture of mine and today I dressed it up for Bonnie's Derelict prompt.
I tweaked the picture a little with brightness/ contrast and hue/saturation.  I then used the Accented Edges filter and added the pdpa Jupiter Dust Texture at 45%.  As always (this is my current favorite technique) I used the mask and brush to bring out the highlighted areas. 
I pass this old boat on the Channel behind an empty house when I am out walking my dog.  It was just calling for me to take it's picture, so I did and now today if fits perfectly as my second Derelict photo.
The original was tweaked in PSE Enhance.  I then used the Dry Brush filter to mute it a little.  I added pdpa Age It Texture at 45% and the mask/brush for highlighting. 
Thanks again Bonnie ... I struggled with this prompt at first, but once I got the gist ... I was lovin' it:)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday

Wild Bird Wednesday 15

The Wattled Crane

The Wattled Crane is from Zambia, Africa.  There are only 8000 of them left and like most of the Cranes they face many threats to their existence.  In the large floodplain systems the breeding and feeding cycles of the Wattled Cranes are linked to the natural flood cycles of the rivers.  They are triggered to nest as flood waters begin receding after peak flooding.  Nesting in shallow open water ensures that nests will be protected from predators and wildfires but will not be drowned by further rising flood waters.  Their food source is also located in these floodplains ... the underground tubers of the Spike Rush.  Destruction, alteration and degradation of wetland habitats constitutes the most significant threat to these birds.  They raise only one chick and the chick is slow to gain independence.   Factors which also lend to the species vulnerability.  

The Wattled Crane is larger than other African Cranes with a high pitched squeaky call resembling a boy struggling through the voice changes of adolescence.  They get their name from the two partially feathered wattles on their necks that shrink when the bird is afraid.

I don't think we can appreciate the magnificence of these birds with pictures ... at least not my pictures.  You have to be standing next to them and feel their size and regal posture.  I wish all of you could visit the International Crane Foundation Center and though I know that is not possible, I hope I have been able to open your eyes to the urgency of man's need to protect these beautiful birds and it's connection to all life on earth.

"Only when the last tree has died
and the last river has been poisoned
and the last fish has been caught
will we realize
we cannot eat money."
                                          ... Unknown

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mandarin Orange Monday

An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language. ~Martin Buber

FYI ... Of all an Owl's features, perhaps the most striking is its eyes. Large and forward facing, they may account for one to five percent of the Owl's body weight, depending on species. The forward facing aspect of the eyes that give an Owl its "wise" appearance, also give it a wide range of "binocular" vision (seeing an object with both eyes at the same time). This means the owl can see objects in 3 dimensions (height, width, and depth), and can judge distances in a similar way to humans.

More FYI ... Cats' nocturnal vision is far superior to that of humans. They can see clearly with only one-sixth of the illumination we need to see.  The muscles of the iris surrounding the pupils are constructed in a fashion that allows the eye to narrow to a vertical slit in bright light and to open fully in very dim light, to allow a maximum of illumination.  In addition, a reflective layer behind the cat's retina called the tapetum lucidum reflects incoming light and bounces it back off the cones, making more use of the existing light. The tapetum is probably responsible for the fact that when a small amount of light hits a cat's eyes at night, you see shiny green orbs.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Your Sunday Best

I am not in the business of preaching a religion or implying that one is better than another.  I am a learner and I like to explore choices ... I don't choose to be told who I am or what I should believe. I do choose to find my way to that place of peace through my own experiences.  That is how, today, I am showing you one of my recent experiences and leaving it for you to ponder ...

The Baha'i House of Worship ... for the North American Continent

The Baha'i Faith is an independent world religion practiced throughout the world by more than 6 million people of nearly every nationality and ethnic background.  They are attracted to the Faith by the belief that we all belong to one human race, that all religions share a common source and aim and that the long-awaited era of peace promised by God in the world's sacred scriptures is now within reach. (Taken from The Baha'i pamphlet available at the House of Worship).

The House of Worship and Gardens  form a single , sacred space where all people are invited to pray and meditate in an atmosphere of beauty and light.  The area of gardens encircles a nine-sided structure covered by a single, majestic dome symbolizing the unity of all people and religions under God.  The Temple is visited by millions every year because of it's beauty and serenity ... because of it's hopeful message of peace.  Enjoy ...

Architect Louis Bourgeois's design celebrates light and unity.
The actual construction started in 1916 and the doors were finally opened in 1953.  Work continued on the Temple and surrounding gardens into the sixties.  It is now listed in The United States Register of Historic Places.

Photographs in the sanctuary are not allowed so these are scanned postcard pictures.
This was a "feel good" experience.  If you are ever in the Chicago area you should try to take the time to visit The Baha'i Temple.  I am guessing in the spring and summer the gardens are ravishing.  And one of the best parts of a summer visit is that in the dome there are hundreds of humming birds nesting.   Peace ...