140 posts categorized "Gwen"

May 06, 2010

Before & After: Bliss

Gwen florabella drop shadow

This is one of my favorite photos.  I took it on a warm day last Spring using my Canon 5D and my favorite portrait lens (EF85mm f/1.8).  I didn't know very much about editing photos so I was happy that this one looked pretty nice SOTC (strait out of the camera). 

Over the last few months, I've learned a lot about how to edit my photos and I've been eager to test my new skills on this photo.  I use Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom2.    One of the things I like best about photo editing is that I can fix most of the problems I encounter because of bad camera settings.  For some reason, I can't seem to totally figure out what all of those buttons on my camera mean.  I can fly a 3 million dollar helicopter but I can't figure out my camera.  Go figure.

Anyway, I took an online class from Lisa and she taught me a dozen simple tricks and even though the individual changes were very subtle, the final results were impressive.

Then I went a step further by layering on a texture from my sweet friend Shana. This time, it was "Florabella Champagne (warm)" and I used a blending mode of "soft light".  Lisa taught me how to do all of this and I tried many different styles and blending modes until I got just the right effect.  When I saw it, I knew it was perfect.  Really, it took my breath away!

Finally, I added a little bit of vignette and a drop shadow and was finished and pretty darn happy with the result.

Here's the original photo:

20090907gwen pose004

Check out the other Before & After photos on Pixel Perfect (click the button below)

February 10, 2010

B&W Wednesday: Fedora


Gwen loves hats and if her future career as a professional Knight doesn't work out, she could probably fall back on modeling headwear.

Would you believe that this fabulous felt fedora is BRIGHT red!  I used to think that black and white photography was just photography without color (duh!) but I'm finally starting to understand it.  Without the distraction of colors, the viewer can better appreciate the contrasts and textures.  The black and white photo tells a completely different story compared to its color counterpart.  I took this photo because the theme on Mamarazzi this month is "red" and I had nothing to contribute.  But I think I actually prefer this one in black and white.  And don't you just love that sweet little heart bokeh in the background?

(see the color photo <here>)

For more Black & White Wednesday fun, check out The Long Road to China.

January 28, 2010

Silly Little Gwen (video)

Gwenny was sitting on my lap telling me about her day and "purring". She has a real knack for this and I was surprised she was still able to do it with all of those missing bottom teeth. So I grabbed the video camera to record it. That's when the silly stuff started. What is it about a camera that makes kids act so goofy? Hee hee... check out the video:

November 29, 2009

"Let Go!"

The bike tires are always flat and two bikes take up too much space in the back of our van so we hardly ever ride them.  Most of the time, we use our Razor Scooters and since the girls mastered those long ago, we suspected they were more than ready to ride a bike without training wheels.  Today, we tested that theory.

Maddy's bike is the smallest so that's the one we took the training wheels off of first.  She cried and cried when we removed them!  Security is so hard to give up!  Maddy did a pretty good job riding without them but she insisted that Daddy run next to her and never let go of the bike even though she was balancing really well and could have survived a solo ride if she was just a teensy bit more brave.   She'll probably do it next time.  She's closer than she thinks!

Meanwhile, Gwen (our fearless one) mastered it almost immediately.  Daddy ran around with her for a few minutes then she started insisting that he let go.  She did great!  Here's a short video of the highlights (only about 1 minute long): 

September 07, 2009

Gwens 4th Gotchaversary

This weekend marked the 4th anniversary of the day Gwenny stole our heart.  We call this our Gotchaversary because it's the anniversary of the day all of us "got" one another.  Not the most poetic name for such a special day but it is what it is and I'm fond of the warm tradition in the adoption community of calling it this so this is what we'll, affectionately, call it.

Wanna see our Gotcha video?  I'm so glad that I posted this on YouTube because, during the course of several computer upgrades over the years, this video seemed to disappear.  Does anyone know if you can download your uploaded videos from youtube?  Anyway, it's not the best resolution but it's sweet and charming and I promise it'll make you smile. 

Here's the face I can look at for hours.  I took this one just before nap today. 

Gwen seems oblivious to stress.  She just drifts happily through life with the same relaxed expression on her face.  I have SO much to learn from her!

Be sure to click on the photo to see the larger size because, thanks to a spectacular portrait lens and some of Mother Nature's most wonderful natural lighting, I think this particular photo is truly amazing. 

Gwen portrait lens outside 004

Our new jacuzzi has a cover that leans against the fence for most of the summer.  Today, it served as the perfect backdrop for this photo shoot.

Gwen portrait lens outside 075

I found a pretty flower for Gwen's hair and she was happy to pose with it and even performed a little hula dance!  Too bad this fancy camera doesn't have a video mode!

Gwen portrait lens outside 102


We have so many friends who have waited all these years to add a much wanted child to their family and I'm always surprised at (and saddened by) how slowly the days pass during their wait.  But I look back at the same four years in our life and see nothing but blur of flying days.   Not sure how that can be possible!

Anyway, tonight, I'm making a favorite family meal and spending the evening snuggling with my girls and watching movies on the "big tv" in the family room.   It might sound weird but this weird recipe has been in our family for many years and it's really good.  It's our comfort food:  Betty Crocker Au Gratin Potatos with Del Monte canned sweet peas and chunk light tuna.  I never mess with the brands and make it the same way every time.  Oh man, it's good!  I like mine with fresh ground pepper.

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