Friday, June 19, 2009

Fort Macon State Park

My visit to Fort Macon State Park yielded several good photo opportunities.

An entrance heading down into the fort.

Further along...

Many of the rooms were empty, like this one. The architecture was beautiful!

The sign says, Please Do Not Climb on Cannon. That must be so tempting to the kids!

I loved the pile of cannon balls! Wonder if someone polishes them every day?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pickled Onions

Yesterday I visited Fort Macon State Park, with the idea of taking some pictures. Wandering through this Civil War fort, I found this replica of a storage room. To the right of the Vinegar cask is a keg for Pickled Onions. Now that brought back some memories!

I poked my camera through the bars and took another shot. I guess they got their pickled onions from New York.

We used to get ours from Heinz. I had trouble finding a picture of the bottle - I don't think Heinz makes them anymore. At least not in the United States.

Here's a view of the right-hand side of the storage room. Please note that there's another Pickled Onions keg in front of the table.
Today, June 18th, is/was my father's birthday. He was born in 1913, and died almost 20 years ago. His name was Jean Edward Marchesseault. "Jean" is French for "John" and I was named after him. And this Sunday will be Father's Day, so he's been on my mind. Now back to the Pickled Onions. My mom would buy jars of them, but neither she nor my sister would touch them. But my dad and I, boy, did we love our pickled onions! For us, they went with everything.....

A couple days ago, I received a CD of pictures from my cousin, Paul. He had been collecting old family pictures, scanning them, and he kindly sent me a CD. The CD included this picture of my dad, taken during World War II. Several things came together for me - the CD, the pictures at the fort, my dad's birthday, Father's Day - and the pickled onions. So my way of honoring my dad's special day is to put him in a place where he could eat all the pickled onions he wanted. I accomplished this using Photoshop. Here's looking at you, Dad!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lizard Love

This is a common lizard of the Southeast, called green anoles by some people and American chameleons by others. Male anoles use a throat fan, or dewlap, to challenge other males. The dewlap is typically bright red. The display of the dewlap is often accompanied by the male lizard doing push-ups and bobbing its head. It's a riot to watch! This fellow was walking around on the rail and in the bushes that frame our deck. I'm assuming he was looking for his lady love.

Here's another shot of him. I can just imagine what he's thinking - "What'cha lookin at, lady??"
The source of my information about the lizard came from this website at the University of Georgia.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Flying High

I've mentioned that I don't have much success taking pictures of gulls in flight. While this bird was flying around, I was snapping pictures like crazy with my digital camera, without even knowing if the bird was in the viewfinder. When I got home and put all my new photos into Photoshop, I was more that pleased to see that not only had I captured the gull, but that the moon was in the same picture. I cropped the above photo - there was LOTS of extra sky in the original picture. The images below are the results of my efforts in Photoshop. You can click on the pictures to see enlarged versions.

When I save a new image as a .jpeg, I try to add all the filter information in my image title. Some of the titles get pretty long! This image was mostly "texture/grain" and "stylize/diffuse."

The main filter for this image was "artistic/fresco." Wouldn't this picture make a cool art quilt?

For this picture, I started by adjusting "auto levels" and then played with Image-Adjust-Curves. I've only found out about Curves recently. You put your mouse on a line in a graph and drag it around while you watch really cool things, in terms of color and light/darkness, happen to your image.

For this last image, I used Image/Adjust/Equalize; then Image/Adjust/Posterize (set at 8); than Image/Adjust/Hue-Saturation (I set Hue to -160, Saturation to +20, and Lightness to -30.) And, yes, code for all that information is in the title of the .jpeg!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beach Art - Playing in the Sand

Here's a photo I took of a boring bit of beach grass. After applying some filters in Photoshop, I had a more colorful image:

The next two filters I used were "emboss" and "posterize." I was surprised at the amount of color that generated!

Then I moved on to a picture of sand.
I used a Photoshop filter called Fresco, and got the following:
Last Friday I had done a blog called "What's Wrong with this Picture??" and one of the comments I had made in that post was: I never know when I might need an interesting image, like maybe a metal cover that says "Water." Well, I didn't think it would be this soon! Here's the cover:
And here's how I used it:

Fresh water at the beach? Hmm....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Beach Art

Late one evening I headed out to a beach near Ft. Macon in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. I took several pictures with my digital camera, and then played with them in Photoshop when I got home. I like to get a "painterly" look, so I use a variety of Photoshop filters.
One of my goals in life is to get a decent picture of a gull in flight. Usually when one flies overhead, my camera is in my pocket. When I have my camera in hand, it's still a major challenge because it's not like the gulls glide slowly by to have their picture taken. When a gull is flying around, I snap as many pictures as I can. I figure that the law of averages dictates that I will occasionally get a bird in one of my pictures. This bird was in the distance, but still, I take what I can get!

I guess I could call this photo "Casting a Long Shadow." Very cliche, but it was my first time trying this. Happily, I think it made me look thinner....

Right after I took this picture, the young man caught a fish. It was one of those ugly-looking flat fish - don't know what they're called, but it was about a foot long, and he was well pleased with his catch.

Unlike the gulls, the surf is always happy to put on a good show for the camera! I took several other pictures on this evening, and plan to post them in my next couple blogs. They're a bit more "far-out" and I'll be including the original shots so that you can see where they're coming from.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Black and White

I'm nuts about color, but sometimes the simplicity of black and white makes a pleasant change. Here's a sampling of six photographs that I've worked with in Photoshop, removing the color, and using a variety of filters on some of them. The image above is from a photograph I took on one of my walks. (Morehead City, North Carolina)

Shrimp trawlers at a dock in Beaufort, North Carolina. One of my friends wants me to put a wreath on the bow of the front boat and make Christmas cards for her. That would be fun!

A rocker on a front porch in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Bottom side of a fishing pier, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.

A beach on Peter Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was playing with texture filters, and also a technique for adding the cool black border.

This last is my favorite shot of a magnolia blossom from this spring's pictures. (my back yard, Morehead City, North Carolina)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Campus Reflections

I worked at Carteret Community College from 1996 through this past January, when I retired. It's a beautiful campus, right on the water, and I still enjoy going there for evening walks. As the sun sets in the west, the light is often reflected in the windows of some of the buildings. The building in the picture above is the Wayne West Building. Please note the windows at this end of the building. This next photo was the one I took, at sunset, right before the battery in my camera died, and picture came out so dark, I figured it was a loss.
But when I worked with it in Photoshop, and applied "auto levels" I was surprised to see this color pop out:
I cropped the image and played with it a bit more and here's the final result:

While that looks like a moon or sun in the picture, it's actually a light in the stairwell that shows from the inside of the building! (You can see the light in the picture of the building at the top of this post.)
What had originally gotten me going in this direction was the following picture I took on one of my walks of a rather spectacular sunset:

The building is the Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, and the windows are located on the right in the picture:

I took the sunset window and cropped and widened the image.

I loved the way this came out! And do you think I could resist popping Antares into this picture?? Not a chance! Here she be:

If you're new to my blog and to Antares, and would like to see the earlier posts, here they are: first, second, and third post. Happy sailing!

Friday, June 5, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture??

What's wrong with this picture?
I was waiting on a street corner (don't ask...) and had my camera with me. Being into mixed media, I never know when I might need an interesting image, like maybe a metal cover that says "Water." I found one at my feet.

Or a picture of a fire hydrant. I love the blue and white ones because they remind me of Smurfs. This one was sharing the corner with me.

Or maybe I might need a sign that says "Dead End." That phrase can apply in so many different situations....

The problem with the first picture is that the horizon is at a rather precarious angle. Was that a Photoshop trick? No. The Dead End sign was listing to the right, and I wanted it to be straight up-and-down, so I moved the camera until the sign was straight on my camera screen. Then I took the photo. Here's the reality of the situation:

And then I moved on....