Trellis Bay on Beef Island in the BVI is famous for its Full Moon Festival.  This monthly event which is a gathering of locals, sailing ship inhabitants and other fun finders out for an evening of dancing, drinking and festivities.   Locals in colorful garb balance way up high on stilts while dancing in the streets with anyone crazy enough to join them.  Of course, I was right there with them in the midst of the craze.

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The main theme is the Fireball Party which is the cultural event not to miss.  I was still using the Minolta DiMage Z1 so the images are not a crisp as I would like but still show the spectacular setting of fire on the water.  The Fireball rests on the water fully ablaze and was mesmerizing as flames flickered in the breeze.

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Still searching for the perfect sea plane picture and these are okay but not exactly what I’ve been striving to achieve.  The ocean color is nice and plane itself has a good contrast but the water spray could have been better.  They have not been altered with Photoshop and that might help to deepen the blues.  The problem is in taking action pictures.  Still, they could be worse, too so I guess I shouldn’t beat myself up.    It’s more difficult to get the exact composition while trying to follow the object in motion.   If I’m recalling right this was in St. Thomas, USVI, but recall exactly.   Hint for the future, tag your pictures if you want to remember where they were taken with my first digital Minolta.  The picture quality would have been much improved had I been using the Nikon D60 but that was still a few years off.

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Bisbee Arizona is an artistic community nestled in the Mule Mountains of Southern Arizona.  It’s an once was copper mining town that still holds the old world charm of Victorian and European influenced architecture.  As we strolled along its quaint streets with rustic bars, art galleries and historic hotels there was much to take in. I was on a photo-shoot mini vacation with family.  David, my brother-in-law, is also a photography buff and we had planned this trip just for the photography.  He and I were in direct competition to see who could find the best photo ops and I’m still not sure who won. Probably both of us! He’s taught me a lot about composition and used to teach photography.  We were just talking a short while ago that it’s time to go on another photo-shoot.

When I came along this old patched fence of rusted galvanized tin siding it hit the mark.  This section looked just as though someone had taken a paint brush to it and created a fine abstract.  The strips of tans, galvanized grays and splashes of dark red and blue paint were a perfect combination.
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Another special find was what I coined curb art. I’m not sure if I’m the first to used the phrase but it fits perfectly for this find.  The image is of a street curb painted for caution to stop someone from falling down the steps.  I loved the combination of red, yellow and aqua green.  Again, another example of real world abstract.
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This weekend vacation was spent exploring all through Southern Arizona where we also visited Tucson,  Ramsey Canyon Preserve and the Tucson Air & Space Museums.  All offered fine photo opportunities and those will be shared with you this NaBloPoMo month.

From a high ground patio up on a hill overlooking St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, we saw this strange little character who was shedding his coat.  We were amazed to see a lizard who was midway in the process of the change.  I never knew they did that and it was a nice surprise to see it in action.  The link at the end of the story is a uTube video on the process and it’s quite interesting how the Leopard Gecko goes about the entire shedding.   I don’t think the gecko we found was a Leopard Gecko based on the shape of his face and body but they did look similar in color though the one in the picture is darker in color.  I tried to find this one on the internet but couldn’t find a match.  If you happen to know what he is, please let me know!

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First the Gecko finds a humid area to begin the shedding and soften the skin.  They lick their own face to loosen the skin and then rub their face and body against a surface of any type.  Supposedly they grab against their skin, pull it off  and then eat it but we didn’t see this in real life.

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Our Gecko looks like he is basking in the sun and letting the heat dry away the skin instead of how it’s described in the video.  He found a wonderful place to rest as the wooden fencing was bright and colorful; offering a perfect background for the pictures.

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Hope you enjoy the video, too.  It really is a cute little creature up close in the video.  He looked like he knew he was being filmed and seemed to have a big smile on his face.

Italy is a romantic eye opening country to visit and I love it, especially Venice.  Gus and I first saw Venice through the eyes of another after seeing a picture of a Venice Canal Scene in 2007 while visiting Las Vegas.  Since then we had wanted to see Italy in person.  In 2012 during the spring our wish came true and we spent 3 weeks exploring Italy.  While there we were able to spend 4 days in Venice looking for the canal from the picture.  Of course, with my Nikon D60 in hand I took numerous pictures while in Venice, Rome and Florence.

The first Venice Canal Scene all began with a thumbnail image of a picture that Gus fell in love while we were visiting Las Vegas. When the thumbnail was enlarged to a 24×36 inch size it completely lost all the definition of the original buildings, water, bridge and well almost everything.  The new picture was quite blurry in most areas and at full size in Photoshop was difficult to view.

Venice Canal Before Photoshop
Venice Canal Before Photoshop

Any railings in the picture such as along the footbridge, the top of the building in the background and water drain in the forward building had to be completely redrawn.  Since this was my first real attempt to do anything using Photoshop I stumbled along like a first grader doing finger paints.  I had no idea what I was doing or what any of the functions in Photoshop were supposed to achieve.  When there was an effect that I wanted, a Photoshop book was referenced to try to find the solution.   There was probably as much time in research on how to use Photoshop as was done in actually improving the picture.  As I worked into the late evenings, layers upon layers of digital painting and after about 30 hours of drawing, colorizing and adding new definition to the image it was finally finished. It was printed up using an online service and arrived home just in time for Gus’ Christmas present that year.

Venice Canal After Photoshop
Venice Canal After Photoshop

Last year we were able to take a trip to Italy and searched Venice looking for the place where the picture was originally taken.  I think it was this scene below or another that was very similar.  Maybe when I have time, I will do another using one of my own images.

Venice in the Spring 2012
Venice in the Spring 2012 taken with my trusty Nikon D60

This colorful Pack Mule was found noshing on a few blades of grass along a well travelled road in Jamaica.  Of course, the first words out of my mouth were that famous… stop.. stop… I have to take this picture.  The owner of the mule was close standing by with his hand out for a few dollars right after I snapped the picture.  I’m sure it was his way of earning a living and very smart of him at that.  The image was take with my new Nikon D60 camera and I was still getting used to it so used the auto shoot and auto focus.  Still, the quality of the picture turned out quite good.  There were a few minor flaws to the picture but I was able to fix them again with Photoshop.  You can probably see a few specks of dirt or otherwise on his nose and right cheek.  I was able to Photoshop those out.   There wasn’t much more that needed to be done.  I keep finding more of my favorite images.  Day 3 NaBloPoMo.

Jamaican Pack Mule
Jamaican Pack Mule – Original
Jamaican Pack Mule
Jamaican Pack Mule – Photoshop Modified
NaBloPoMo November 2013
NaBloPoMo November 2013

This little knobby kneed fawn just stood their looking at me as I took a number of pictures of him. This is by far one of my favorites of all those taken. It looked like he had just started walking and wasn’t quite sure footed yet. The little knees were twisted inward and he had his little tongue hanging out like he was say na..na.. just try and get me.

Here are the before and after images. By using Photoshop the fawn color was brightened and the grass was also modified so that there was more depth to both. Before I got so involved with cooking and KCinAZ Cooks blogging my passion was photography. I still love photography but find that lugging around a larger camera can be a little difficult. Getting involved with the 30 day challenge from NaBloPoMo has inspired me to take up the photography again. You can probably take a Photoshop course at your local community college just like I did. It’s amazing how much you can learn.  This picture was taken with my first digital SLR camera a Minolta.  I know work with a Nikon D60 but would like to take that one to another level too. Day 2 NaBloPoMo Challenge.

Original Image of the little fawn
Original Image of the little fawn taken with a Minolta Digital Camera. This was my first digital SLR camera.
Knobby Kneed Fawn enhanced Image
Knobby Kneed Fawn enhanced Image
NaBloPoMo November 2013
NaBloPoMo November 2013

This image was one of my first attempts at creating what is called a compilation using Photoshop. It’s done by combining multiple images with layers and masking.  It took many hours and is of at least 5 separate photos taken during the early fall season as we drove along an Idaho highway or while visiting with friends in the Idaho Panhandle.

The sky is an image that probably did not occur in Idaho but I liked the heavy clouds and deep blue sky.  I think it’s probably from the Caribbean. When altering the sky, it was important to keep in mind that there would be shadowing based on the cloud coverage that had to be added to the landscape. This was done by using a method called burning.

The hay field was another image that was adjusted in size to fit the compilation.  I was amazed as we drove along the highway from northern Idaho to west central Idaho that all of the hay fields showed distinct patterns of where they had cut the hay.  The evening sun made the hay glitter in a shimmering golden color. The hay field in the base image was so dull and boring that it had to go. It was replaced with the another hay field that had the effect I wanted to show.

The two little fawns in the foreground were from different shots that were taken right in the front yard of a friends home just north of Coure d’ Alene, Idaho.  They have a cabin (home) that is in a golf community where the deer roam free and are so tame that I was able to get within 15 feet of the little critters.  Momma deer was not too far away but didn’t seem concerned.

The smaller barn to the upper right came from a different image and was added just for fun and to give some additional movement to the final picture.


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The primary image that made up the base was a dull field of hay, a bland skyline but the white farm house and the bigger red barn were what was wanted to build upon.  The big red barn was not nearly as colorful as shown in the compilation and the hay field was too boring and didn’t show what I had seen along the highway at sunset.  The barn was colorized to make it more vibrant.  The barn color was enhanced with a deeper red, the window frames were redrawn to make them more distinct and the window frames colors were changed, too.  The field was changed out with a new shape of field that had more color scale and brightness of pre-sunset.

Along the front fenced field in the final image where the deer are eating, extra vegetation was added and the foreground grass was enhanced by using the burn tool in Photoshop.

Many years ago, I dabbled in art; drawing and painting, but now use Photoshop to satisfy that old craving.  The advantage to Photo-Art is that you can correct your errors several times over.  Well it does take some training and learned skill but I still find it easier than painting with a brush.

Here are the images that were used to create the compilation.  The first is the primary image and the others were layered in. The primary image was masked in certain areas to allow the other layers to show through. Take a Photoshop class at your local community college to learn how to manipulate your pictures. It’s a lot of fun.

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