Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fun with Photography

Some of you may know, but probably most reading this don't know, that I've recently been asked by my friend Amy to take photos for her wedding. Her Dad has a Nikon D50 that he's letting me use, which is way fun!!! (I found a new toy I want)

But I digress.

When Amy first asked me I was a bit hesitant. I mean lets face it as women we can become nuts when it comes to planning important events such as a wedding. The details that we worry about can be maddening, and in the desire to not permanently ruin a friendship with my own ego I had to take the time to think about it. Well I thought, and most importantly prayed about the decision, and finally concluded that I would like to be a blessing for my financially prudent friends.

Well anyone who has looked at the professional portfolios of photographers can see all the fun colors and effects that they offer, which is usually part of the reason that they are so pricey, and that is what we females fall in love with. Imagining the fun and whimsy of the day and wanting to capture the soft light to match the inside of our heart. Ahhh, I can only imagine at this point....

However, ladies for those of you that are willing to brave the unknown, and test the goodness of your friends generosity, I think that you too can partake in the fun that professional photographers offer. Why do I say this? Because recently I have come across a slew of free photo editing programs that will be able to do just that. Here are the ones that I plan on using to help make Amy's photos just as special as the $1500+ packages offer:

Most of them have the same features, however, there are naturally some they don't have, which is why I've decided to work with them all. There's one feature that I haven't been able to find yet, but that's what google's for after all.

So in an effort to test them out I took some photos, old and new alike, to test them out and see what kind of magic I could work out and here's what I came up with. I chose pink because that's Amy's color.

Graduated Tint
Focal softening w/pink tint Everyone loves Sepia Clear Tile effectFocal Zoom
(I think it gives the affect of actual motion)
Matte finish w/pink frameFrosted Glass This is Amy & Kali our first year in St. Louis
at the Science center. B&W w/a touch of color
After seeing all these fun tools I'm really starting to look forward this task. It's right around the corner.

I just figured it out!!!! Remember how I said up top that I still had one last effect to figure out. Well, I just did:) It is the coveted B&W with a bit of color to it. Amy...if you're reading this you lucked out big time, now I just need to make sure I get some good shots.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pretty Windows

It's been many months since I first griped about my windows and the lack of progress made with the promise of new ones. Well this summer they finally got working on them. There will be many new changes in my apt complex, but the windows are so pretty that it satisfies me to see them every time I come home. I leave them open all the time now, so I can see the woods behind my place. Hopefully this will also cut down on my heating bill this winter. Here are some pictures of the before and after.

Front window

Repair from water damage
Back window (view from below)
Back window without framing

The back window complete
Window with framing
I love my pretty windows:) They make me happy. Isn't the view from by back window amazing! For whatever future gripes I may have about my apartment, the privacy that the woods offers can't be beat! It's very peaceful on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Washington Weekends

Lately, or at least prior to Saturday's thunderstorm, we have been getting beautiful weather over the past few weekends, I mean into the 80's on some days. While most of you may think my excitement a bit odd I assure you that it is not. See while everywhere else the typical summer weather seems to start at the appropriate time. By at least mid june, most people are well into breaking out the sprinklers and slip-n-slides for the kiddos to run through and praying that their A/C doesn't break, meanwhile us that live up here on the island are breathless with anticipation for July/August when we might get a solid week or two of steady sun and warmth, true Washingtonians, however, are excluded from they seem to thrive under the hover of gray clouds while the rest of us want to stay cocooned in our comforters. Maybe they just do a better job of hiding their disdain. With me being a native Californian, though, I get restless for the sun. I've lived here for nearly 7 years and have just started to feel like I'm becoming acclimated to the weather, so I guess it happens, but I relish in the few warm days that we do get out of the year.

In all fairness without the frequent precipitation we would loose our status as the ever green state (the firs are beautiful all year round), and though it may sound like a complaint I'm very thankful to not live in a constant state of paralysis due to warm humid air gluing me to the sofa. With the onslaught of nice weather I've made a point to try and get out ant enjoy it with some friends.

The nice weather started back in June, right in time for Amber's wedding. That was a fun Saturday, and a blessed time to see Him finally bring Dave and Amber's relationship full circle with them joining their lives in marriage. Besides our Faith Missions month, I've been calling it the social event of BBC calendar.

The Blushing Bride
Pink heels...Amber's so stylish
The Arbor
Pastor & Dave
Getting Ready to say "I Do"
Me & Mandy...ol' friends & good times
I visited the zoo (Woodland Park is a very nice zoo) this past weekend also, and on the 4th of July I went to a Knot in Thyme for my friends picnic. Below are some pics. The picnic photos were taken with my friend Ken's camera, which I'll be using to take the photos for Amy's wedding this September (one of these days I'd love to have a digital SLR myself, super fun to play with).

The Grizzly Bear was my favorite
Pet me...I dare you
He was a gentle giant
Sleeping Leopard
Silver Back...guess who's the king of his castle?
Komodo Dragon

A visitor at lunch

A Knot in Time offers free Draft Horse wagon rides. The path is shaded by ferns and trees with much growth being cut back and being used to make improvements to the farm. Mr. Rawls offers a good tour that is filled with history about the farm and horses, people usually confuse them for Clydsdales (I know I did at first). He also offers funny antectodes along the way.
The wagon path
Mr. Rawls telling stories & joking around with us
Trees above us

At the end we were treated to a song
by the Irish Quartet

The ride & song were enjoyed by all
& ATV's make for a good time
The Mosquito was hungry too
Horse shoes
Jeff & Jim against Chris & Solomon
Chris & Solomon ended up winning
& Volleyball were also part of the festivities

Ummm...I think I'll pass
The Watermelon looks good though
I've also found the motivation to start experimenting in the kitchen again. Which led me to make Salisbury steaks a few weeks ago, before my ground beef went bad. I got the recipe from one of my favorite GF blogs, Hey that tastes good (she's also where I got my wedding pie recipe from). I'd never made it before. so I guess this can go on my list of meals I can now make. It's super easy, maybe a half an hour to make from start to finish, and it was really good too. I put the link up in case you want to check out the blog, but I'm also posting her recipe as well in case that's all you want. I'm sure greatful for a new easy recipe to add to my catalog.
Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak
1 lb ground beef
2 onions
salt and pepper
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 cloved minced garlic
1 T olive oil
2 c sliced mushrooms
2 T butter
1 T sweet rice flour (heaped), I didn't have any rice flour so I used corn starch to thicken the worked just as well
1 c stock, water, or wine

Finely dice half of one onion, set the other one and a half aside. Put the beef into a bowl, add the onion, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce (wooster-sheer), and garlic and mix with your hands. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pan, form the beef into egg-shaped balls, and flatten a bit. Cook the beef on each side until well browned. While the beef is cooking, slice the onions. Remove meat to a plate and cover with foil, and cook the onions in the same pan over low heat, until softened and starting to caramelize. Push the onions to the side and add the mushrooms and cook until they're lightly browned. Scoop the mushrooms and onions into a bowl, and add the butter to the pan. When it's melted, stir in the sweet rice flour, let it cook for a minute, then whisk in the stock and let cook for a few minutes, whisking occasionally, until thickened. Stir in the mushrooms and onions, then nestle the beef into the gravy and let the meat heat through. Serve with rice, noodles, or maybe even on a sandwich (woah!).

Washington weekends have been really great lately. I love the summer!


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