Black & White Glow

This rose is surprisingly hard to photograph because it so rarely ever comes out looking like it does in real life. Part of this is because of the lighter, near white core and the deep, dark, vivid pinkish red outer petals. The stark contrast between the two often blows out the white and makes the pink do weird things in photograph form.

It does make for some amazing transitions to black and white because of that natural high contrast. I don’t have to work too hard to push it to emphasize that contrast, especially when the flowers start to get speckled like they tend to do.

This one is still pretty solid in color (no speckles), but as soon as I turned it to black and white, it looked like it was glowing from within, giving it almost a photo negative kind of quality.

For a tiny, miniature rose, this one packs a wallop of personality.

Cold, Rainy, And Dreary

I could really do without this nasty cold snap. Pretty sure this entire week is breaking records on the low temps. Mother Nature really doesn’t need to take those records as challenges to break them. She definitely doesn’t need to work so hard to break so many at once. It really isn’t helping me stay out of cranky pants mode.

Between the cold, the rain and the general time of year, I’m struggling to find good photo subjects or the motivation to go find them.

Black & White Daylily Stamen

Yesterday was probably the most bizarre first day of school I’ve ever seen. It was weird enough having BG at home, but the weather felt like a cold Halloween night, making everything feel completely out of sync.

We shattered previous records by something like 10 degrees. No, 56 isn’t exactly cold, but for a high temp during the first part of September and the day after hitting near 90, it felt frigid. I threatened to turn the heat on last night (didn’t, but came damn close.) I don’t know that I’ve ever turned the heat on this close to the beginning of September. The very end of the month, maybe, but not anywhere near the beginning.

Today isn’t going to be any warmer and it is rainy and dreary on top of it. That isn’t very conducive to motivating me to do anything other than snuggle down with a book and a pot of coffee.

Peony’s End Series #8

This is probably going to be the last of this series and also just so happens to be one of my favorites.

One of the things I love about this one is that there are three separate flowers, all in very different stages of life. It just almost has that maiden/mother/crone kind of thing going on, but narrowly misses that symbology.

When I first pulled this one up on my computer, it gave me the feeling of the kind of image you’d see in the background of a rustic wedding theme. Like something you’d see on a wedding web page or even in the background of an invitation, especially if it were to be softened and faded out a bit. Of course, that made me want to play a bit.

Peony Cluster In Various Stages - Soft Version
Peony Cluster In Various Stages – Soft Version

Some photos just really work with that softer focus kind of look. I really like both versions and couldn’t decide which I’d rather post, so I’m doing both since this is the end of the series.

And just because… I have the soft one in a pretty black and white as well.

Peony Cluster In Various Stages - Soft Black And White Version
Peony Cluster In Various Stages – Soft Black And White Version

Black and White Drops and Ruffles

I had such a hard time deciding if I wanted to post this version or the color version because they are both amazing. So…

Peach Iris Coated In Rain
Peach Iris Coated In Rain

Yesterday went well for BG. She feels so much better about everything now that she knows how the new normal looks and runs at dance.

The masks were an absolute hit and cracked me up to no end. BG hadn’t been in the studio with them for 5 minutes when I see the owner walk out with one on. Less than a minute later the teacher for that class also walks out with hers on (all the students were greeted with hand sanitizer outside the doors of the studio before they were allowed in). It was funny and sweet and I’m over the moon thrilled that they are enjoying them.

Another upside was that all the kids going into the studio had their masks. The parents standing around socializing outside weren’t as good about keeping theirs on or keeping their distance, but it could have been so much worse.

The sad thing, and we don’t know yet what it means going forward, was that probably half or less of the class showed up. It is going to be interesting to see how the rest of the week pans out as this was the very first of all the classes back. I’m especially concerned about how many older girls will show and how that will impact routines and recital.

BG was absolutely stunned to find out that her assistant friends from last night had either not practiced AT ALL or only a tiny bit. My girl has been dancing nearly every single day. As soon as a video for one of her routines was posted, she added it to her schedule and started working on it.

It is going to make an already chaotic and different recital even more so.

In some non-dance news, I’m working on making some changes for me. I’m sure it has already been noticed that the book reviews have dwindled down to almost nothing. There are lots of parts to this and I may still work up a post about that, but for now, I’m stepping back from most of that, including writing them for Envie!

This blog has been and always will be a space for me to share the things that bring me joy with the occasional rant or emotional outpouring thrown in. When things start to feel like that isn’t the focus anymore, I’m going to make changes. It seems like now is one of those times. I’m still not 100% sure what all will be changing or how much. It may not even be all that noticeable because the photos will absolutely still be coming.

Life is so full of stress and frustration and uncertainty right now, the last thing I need is for my blog to add to that so I’m going to make sure it isn’t.

Reds In Black & White

This is the same one I posted yesterday, just in black and white. Of all the things I’ve played with in the new Photoshop, the ability to tweak color levels to effect the tones when going to black and white is one of my favorites (along with the HDR toning). It allows a little more control over what works and what doesn’t and gives a phenomenal level of control over contrast, but in subtle ways.

It’s fun to go in and see what you can push and the kinds of results you can get playing with that feature. I’ve only done a couple so far, but I love the results.

Black & White Hyacinth

It isn’t quite as pretty of a day today as yesterday, but at least we are seeing the sun more consistently.

I have another busy day today and it feels like even the days I don’t have a ton of stuff scheduled, something still comes up that needs to get done. While it looks like I have a couple of “free” days that are open this week, I know that by the time they get here, there will be something that decides to fill that space up. And I haven’t even hit the busy point of my year yet. April and May might just get ugly.

I’m realizing that with this new position as a reviewer for Envie!, I’m going to have to make some modifications to how I work my review posts here. Or at least when I write and post them. I’m not sure what will work best yet, but for now, I’ll be writing up the reviews for any books that would be potentials and leaving them as drafts until I’ve decided which one will be submitted for the next issue. Any reviews that wouldn’t work for the magazine will still be posted as I write them, I just have to make sure the one for the magazine gets published there first. This might make things interesting as I work out the kinks for that.

I have yet to cross any of my many upcoming projects off my list yet. I have started on one, but it is taking way longer than I expected to really nail down what I’m doing. I’ll probably have to spend at least a part of my day in my studio trying to finish that up tomorrow.

I’d say I’m looking forward to summer so I could already be done with the chaos, but I really don’t want to miss out on everything tied to that chaos. There is just too many fun and exciting events that come with it.

Snowy Tree In Black & White

I really need to get off my butt and get some new photos, but I just haven’t had much time. I’m not sure when I will, either, so… there might be a few repeats that I use to see what I can do with all the fun new features in Photoshop.

Switching to black and white isn’t all that hard. Even getting the higher contrast isn’t a big deal. What I like about this one is the fact that it really brings out and highlights all the tiny details. If that was ever a feature or ability in the old version, I never tripped across it.

I didn’t use it here, but this also allows you to to go to the other end and lower the amount of detail to get a much softer look without really blurring out a photo, something I was never able to quite pull off with the old version.

So far, I’m really loving what I’ve found. That said, it does allow a less skilled photographer to end up with a great photo if they know enough to use the software. Not a bad thing exactly, but I wonder if knowing I have the ability to fix a lot more mistakes will lead to me being a bit lazier. I really hope not.

Functioning Technology

I’d had my doubts that all my issues with my computer would be solved simply by replacing the power cord. I never knew that a laptop with a bad power cord could impact the speed of your internet connection to the point it was worse than trying to connect through dial up. Apparently that is absolutely what happens if your laptop recognizes that your power cord is bad and attempts to preserve battery through lowering performance. Now I know and I’ve given you a little tech tip for the day.

Thankfully, I’m now back up and running and I no longer feel like I’ve been banished from the world. The short time away did give me some time to think (not always a good thing) and I’ve decided that since I don’t have any review obligations (no open requests or NetGalley books due) through the end of the year, I’m going to just read to read until after the new year. If I manage to pick up something that strikes me as something I just really need to talk about, then I’ll post a review. For now, I’m going to take a reviewing break.

Part of the reason for this is all of the stuff that will be going on around the holidays. I really don’t want to go into the season already stressed with the pressure of trying to get too much done. It wouldn’t take much for me to just not want to put in the effort to do the fun stuff right now and I really don’t want that. I’ve still not been able to completely shake the crankies lately. The last thing I want is to make it worse.

We are also in full on “focus on college” mode with MC. He has been invited to interview for the top scholarship at his #1 school choice (and most likely where he is going to go even if he doesn’t get the scholarship), which I am crazy proud of, by the way. That means I have to take him to get a suit in the next week, something he has never even come close to wearing, so that is going to be so much fun. The kid that has spent his life in jeans and t-shirts with video game characters on them is going to have to wear a suit. He is probably more nervous about that than the interview itself.

I was a little frustrated with the information in the invitation as it also specifies it is a day for the parents to come, but doesn’t give any kind of timing or agenda, only the day. You have to RSVP that you are going to the interview and how many parents will be coming. Since it is a Saturday, it means that I’ve got to balance BG’s dance schedule with the interview schedule, but I don’t have a schedule for the interview day. It is also her last rehearsal before her Christmas program and she can’t miss it. There were too many unknowns for me to figure out if I could drop her off and still make it to MC’s thing (yes, the school is that close), we opted to just have Hubby go with him. I really hate it because I want to be there with him as well.

We don’t see too many conflicts with the kids activities and events often. The times we do, it stresses me the hell out and makes me feel like crap because I feel like I’m having to choose between my kids. When OC first started high school and we started paying attention to when graduation was held, I nearly had a panic attack over what would end up happening a few years down the road because, for a while there, graduation always fell the same day as recital. Thankfully, our district has pushed graduation from Saturdays to Sundays, so we will not have that as a problem this year. We will just have an extremely FULL weekend with Friday rehearsal, Saturday Recital and Sunday graduation.

Yes, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself and starting to already stress over it a bit, but when I’m having to think about all the college stuff now and MC hasn’t even graduated yet, my brain is just going to go there.

Can you tell I’m going to be kind of a mess through all of this?