Showing posts with label mbgphoto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mbgphoto. Show all posts

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thankfulness in 2020

 



In this crazy year we call 2020, it is easy to find lots to complain about, but I would like to take a few minutes to reflect on those things for which I am thankful.  Won't you join me?

Family and Friends

I am very thankful for my family and friends.  During times when we couldn't get together we have family and good friends who have stayed in touch by phone call, texts, and emails.  At the beginning of April my husband and I spent 12 days in the hospital and we never missed a day without hearing from so many people that are near and dear to us.

Now that we are home, and our health is good, these friends and family continue to contact us.  When the weather was good and we could sit out on our deck with masks and social distancing our friends would join us.  We had several small groups gather and it was wonderful to see people.

My next door neighbor is working from home and we are able to take daily walks in the fresh air.  We often go to a park near our house.  I am thankful for Teresa.  Sometimes we bring our cameras and take photos along the way.





Technology

I am very grateful for technology this year.  It has allowed us to connect in ways we otherwise couldn't.
  • We have live streamed our church services every Sunday on our TV and it has been a great comfort to worship in this manner.  




  • Our church has increased online opportunities for Bible study and for prayer services.  They are available on Zoom, Facebook, and You Tube.
  • Zoom allowed us to have visits with our doctor while we were safe in our own home.
  • Zoom also allowed my photography club to meet so we could share ideas and connect with each other.  I had never used Zoom before and it has certainly been a blessing this year.
  • We also did a Zoom call with our family for my husband's birthday.

Books

I have always enjoyed reading books, but this year I am particularly thankful for the opportunities that a book brings.  Here is a quote that I think is very fitting.

           Reading gives us someplace to go
           when we have to stay where we are.
                         Mason Cooley

Photography

Hobbies are a wonderful thing to occupy your time.  I am very thankful for my hobby of photography.  It has certainly helped to keep me grounded this year and also to help me appreciate all that is beautiful in nature.

I have had plenty of time to take online classes in photography and various software programs.  I have spent hours honing my skills and this has brought hours of enjoyment to me.  

I have then taken the skills I have learned and visited "safe places" like my yard, my neighborhood, and nearby parks.  I am so thankful for all the time I have had to devote to my hobby this year.

Here are a few of the photos that I have taken. 






Today is Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving.  May you take a few minutes to reflect on the things for which you are thankful.






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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Review of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Updates

 

Jupiter Lighthouse with Cloudy Sky

I really love the  new features of Lightroom and Photoshop that came with the updates in October of 2020.  Most of the time I have found that I have to practice several times and try to remember all of the steps for a new feature.  However, with these new features I read a summary of the changes once and right away I was able to use the new features.  They were that easy to  use.  In this post I will give you some examples of my three favorite new features.

Sky Replacement


One of the really fun new features in Photoshop is the sky replacement.  You could always replace skies on photos, but in the past it required you to remember several different steps in Photoshop and it was hard to select just the right amount of sky.  With the new sky replacement all you do is pull up "Sky Replacement" from the drop down menu and the sky is automatically selected.  You then have a wide variety of choices on sky replacements or you can create your own skies.  In the photo of the lighthouse above and the three shown below I replaced the skies with the selections already built into the system.  Each replacement only took seconds.  Which of these skies do you like best?
Jupiter Lighthouse with Blue Sky





Jupiter Lighthouse with Rainbow



Jupiter Lighthouse at Sunset








Color Adjustments in Lightroom

With the new updates in Lightroom, color adjustments have never been easier.  First there is a color grading panel that gives you opportunities to separately adjust colors for the midtones, shadows and highlights.  They are very easy to use, I suggest opening the color grading panel in the develop module and experiment with what each of the color wheels will do for your photograph.

In the  photos below I replaced the color of the flowers.  This was accomplished in just minutes using the adjustment brush.  I clicked on the brush, set the size of the brush I wanted and then adjusted the color in the hue slider.  Next I brushed over the parts of the photo that I wanted to change the color and just that easy I turned the pink flowers into a orange colored flower.


The photo above shows the original pink flower.  In the photo to the right, I easily changed the color of the flower with just a few simple brush strokes.




Neural Filters

I find it fun to try out different filters on some of my photos.  With the latest update, Photoshop added a new section of filters.  They are found under the filter tab and then under Neural Filters.  They are very easy to try.  Just click on the filter you want to try and you will see a preview of what your photo will look like with that filter. There is also a button to select if you want to preserve the color and another if want to focus on the subject.  Along with those two choices there are several sliders that let you determine the amount of filter that you want to apply. In the photos below, I applied four different filters to the same fall scene.






Zazzle Products from my Photos

If you would like to see my photos on a wide variety of products, please stop by my Zazzle store at www.zazzle.com/mbgphoto





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Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Last Correspondent Book Review

The Last Correspondent is a work of historical fiction written by Soraya M Lane.  It takes place during World War II just prior, during and after the invasion of Normandy.  The scenes are set in London and France during the war.  

This story is about three woman who fight to use their careers to tell their story in a man's world.  They show a tremendous amount of courage, grit and determination in order to get the story told.  This then is the story of a war correspondent, a photographer and a model.

I found this book to be a real page turner.  In fact after I was about half way through the book, I couldn't put it down till I read the whole book.  It is one of those books where the author does such a good job of making the characters believable that I couldn't wait to see what happened next.

The Three Women

  • Danni-  Danni is a seasoned photographer, who has photographed the war on several different fronts.  As the days close in on the Normandy invasion she finds herself in London.   Only the  men are allowed to get passes to cover the war during the invasion, but Danni is determined to find a way to get to the action.  She has teamed up with a correspondent, Andy, who has been with her during her last several assignments.  They have become good friends and cover each others backs.  Danni enlists Andy to help her sneak aboard a medical ship that is sailing toward Normandy.
  • Ella-  Ella is a reporter who has written stories  under a man's pen name in order to get her works published.  When she is found out, her publisher fires her.  She finds a job with a magazine reporting on the war from a women's point of view.  She interviews women working on the war effort and the magazine is so pleased with her work that they send her to London to report on the war.  Like Danni, Ella also finds she is limited in her access because she is a woman.  Ella goes by herself to try to find a way to the action and find herself on the same medical ship as Dani and Andy.  After a rough night hiding on board they decide to team up as they make their way to shore.
  • Chloe-  Chloe is Andy's sister who was a Vogue model prior to the war.  When she was in Paris on a modeling job she met Gabriel, an editor, whom she fell in love.  At the beginning of the story Chloe is at her home in England, longing to find a way to be with Gabriel in Paris.  She says she is a showgirl in order to make her way into Nazi occupied Paris.


The Men in Their Lives

  • Cameron- Cameron is a Lieutenant that Danni first meets and has a conflict with when she is covering the war in Sicily.  She meets up with him again in a bar in London and then in Normandy.  They have a real love/hate relationship.
  • Andy- Andy is a war correspondent and best friend to Danni.  They have been together on several war zones and he always has her back when she is pushing the envelope.
  • Gabriel-  Gabriel is Chloe's lover and she sneaks in to Paris to be with him, only to find out the it is very pre-occupied working for the resistance.  
  • Michael - Michael is also a war correspondent and Ella first meets him at the bar at the Savoy in London.  This is a meeting place for many of the correspondents and photographers.  She next meets up with him in Normandy.

Recommendation

If you are a lover of historical fiction this is a wonderful  read.  It is full of history, women's fight to be treated as equals, and just a bit of romance.  A great read all around.  I highly recommend it.




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Thursday, October 8, 2020

Fall is in the Air - A Review of 2020 Fall Favorites

 

Fall 2020
Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the chilly nights, the cool and crisp days, and the wonderful array of colors in nature.  Fall is the time for apples and carmels, sausage and sauerkraut, colorful mums, and fall festivals.  Fall is also the time for candy corn, Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pie and of course Thanksgiving.  

Fall is also a wonderful time for photography.  The sun is not quite as intense and therefore the lighting is better for daytime photographs.  I love to wander in neighborhood parks and on trails and I always bring along my camera.  On this page I will review with you some of my favorite things from the fall of 2020.

Parks and Sculptures

This year in my town of , O'Fallon Missouri, we have ten sculptures on loan and displayed around town in various parks.  On my first fall outing, I visited three of our parks to photograph the sculptures.  It was late September and a little early for full fall color in Missouri, but I was pleased to catch a glimpse of color as I took my photos.

     Westoff Park

In this park I photographed a sculpture called Zig  Zag Zugguret by Michael Quintero.  I was also able to capture some pretty colors on the hillside.



     Dames Park

In Dames Park I photographed my favorite sculpture Solitude of the Journey by Jeremy Colbert.  I felt that whole photograph had a fall feel to it from the beautiful fall grasses surrounding theFh sculpture to the expressive clouds in the fall sky.

     Civic Park

My last stop on this outing was to photograph Blue Rail by David Lobel.  It was an interesting sculpture and I also photographed some of the colorful purple mums that were nearby.



Fall  Foods



In the fall I seem to have a renewed interest in cooking and baking.  I love baking apple muffins and pumpkin bread.  I especially like making anything with apples.  I made an apple cake last week and apple pie is always a favorite with my husband.  One of my favorite apple delights is homemade applesauce.  I love the smell of apples cooking on the stove.  My recipe is quite simple.  I just peel, core and cut the apples in chunks and then add them to a pot and cover them about 2/3 of the way with water.  I add some cinnamon and put them on the stove to simmer.  It only takes about 15-20 minutes and they are so good.  Can't you just smell them cooking in the photo below?

Another favorite is microwave apple crisp.  It is delicious and so easy to make.  See the recipe on the Zazzle magnet below.

Fall Decorations

I love to decorate my home for fall.  I usually put up my decorations in the first week of September and take them down after Thanksgiving.  My decorations are fairly simple, just a few colorful leaves and some pumpkins that I purchased at the local craft store.   The two special items that I have are the mini quilt on the entrance table that a friend made for me and the photograph on the mantle.  It is a photo that I took of a lighthouse in Minnesota during the fall and I was able to capture the fall leaves in the framing of the photo.  I had it printed on canvas and it sits on my mantle in the fall.  Here are a few photos of my decorations.

Front Door Wreath



Fall Zazzle Products from my Photographs




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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Book Review of Honeysuckle Season

Greenhouse

In this book we are introduced to Libby a young women who has many recent struggles and an unknown future.


Summary of Book


Libby is a young woman who has just gone through several miscarriages, a painful divorce and the death of her father.  Since she is at a true crossroads in her life she decides to return to her roots in Bluestone, Virginia.  Here she moves into her father's home and begins a career as a wedding photographer.

She is asked to photograph a wedding at the historic Woodmont estates.  This is a place she remembers going to as a child with her mother.  The place brings back memories and after the wedding the owner Elaine Grant asks her help in getting the place ready for special events.  Elaine has also asked a young widower, Colton Reese to help in the restoration of a greenhouse on the estate.

The greenhouse was once the scene of many community gatherings.  It was built as a wedding gift for Elaine's grandmother and was at one time a beautiful and magical place.  The years have not been kind to the place and it is overgrown with honeysuckle vines and lots of weeds.  The greenhouse is said to be haunted and it hides secrets from years gone by.

It has been months since her father's death and Libby is now ready to start going through some of his things.  When she does, a letter she finds in his desk will bring to light long buried secrets with ties to the Woodmont estate.  

The author, Mary Ellen Taylor, weaves a wonderful story of love and loss, secrets and forgiveness, and a wonderful hope for the future.  Along the way you meet interesting characters and become caught up in their lives.

My Thoughts on the Book


I liked this book from the very beginning and was delighted with the way the author introduced the characters.  There was a hint of the secret throughout the book but I really didn't catch on till near the end.  This made it a real page turner.  The characters were lifelike and I took a real interest in their lives.  This would be a great book for book club discussions.

Other Books by This Author


Mary Ellen Taylor is an award winning author of Winters Cottage and Spring House and several other women's literature books.  She also writes under the name Mary Burton as a New York Times best selling suspense novelist.




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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Review of Across the Winding River

Across the Winding River was another one of those books I couldn't put down once I started reading it.  The author did a wonderful job of intertwining a story from World War II Germany and present day San Diego.  When Beth is helping her father go through his WWII mementos she discovers a photo of him and a mysterious women in Germany who is obviously pregnant. Who is this woman and what if any part did she play in her father's life. 

Link to Book through Amazon


                                                                    

Main Characters

  • Max-  Max is a dentist, who served as a medic in World War II.  He met several German resistance members whom he helped whenever he could.
  • Beth-  Max's daughter.  We meet her in the present day after her mother has died and she is taking care of her invalid father.  She wants to spend as much time as she can with him and engages him in talking about his time in the war.
  • Johanna- We first meet Johanna just before the war when Hitler is just starting to rise to power.  Johanna and her family have been able to hide the fact that she is one quarter Jewish through a grandfather who has since passed away.
  • Harald- Harald is a professor who marries Johanna.  During the war he is  pressed into service for a cause he does not believe in.
  • Margarethe (Metta) - Metta is a younger sister who marries a strict Nazi, before she realizes his true character.  She sneaks away whenever she can to work for the resistance.
  • Ansel- Ansel is Metta's husband and a very cruel person who is loyal to the Nazi cause.
  • Jonas and Heide- They belong to the German resistance.  When Jonas is wounded, Metta meets an American medic in the forest and brings him to help Jonas.

My Thought on the Book

I really loved the book.  It was easy to read and clearly marked whether you were in the present day or the World War II era.  Each chapter completed a section on one of the times.  There were several side stories on Beth, that endeared her to me.  She was a very likable character as was her father Max.  I found myself really routing for them and hoping they could solve the mystery that had lasted for over 50 years.



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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Visit Missouri- Review of Frontier Park-St. Charles


Located on the Missouri Riverfront in St. Charles you will find a wonderful park, the Lewis and Clark Boathouse Museum and a delightful nature center.


Lewis and Clark Boathouse Museum



The Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum is a wonderful way to spend time reviewing the history that took place in this area.  There is a wonderful display on the Lewis and Clark Expedition with maps for you to follow the paths taken.  There is a replica of a keel boat used during the expedition times and many other artifacts from the era.  

The  museum also gives a lot of information on the Missouri River ecosystem.  

Outside the museum you will find a wonderful nature center.  It is a small area but packed with informational signs and lots of beautiful flowers.  I particularly like to photograph the sunflowers.  

Here are some photos from a late July visit to the area.


 




I was delighted by all of the colorful cone flowers that were in bloom on this visit.






Frontier Park

Just east of the museum area on the riverfront you will find Frontier Park.


The park covers 16 acres and is a wonderful way to spend a leisurely time watching the boats on the riverfront, watching events on the stage, visiting the old railroad depot, or taking a walk along the Katy trail. Here are the features of the park according to the St. Charles Parks website.

  • 16 Acres
  • 15 Foot Lewis & Clark Statue
  • MKT Depot
  • MO Dept. of Natural Resources Katy Trail runs through Frontier Park
  • Outdoor Jaycee Stage
  • 2 Picnic Shelters
  • Paved Hike/Bike Trail
  • Rest Area (Benches)
  • Restrooms are open year round.


From <http://www.stcharlesparks.com/park/frontier-park/



At Christmas time the city celebrates a "St. Charles Christmas Traditions".  One of the traditions includes a parade featuring Santa's from various countries.  At the end Santa Claus stops at the railroad depot above for children to visit and have their photos taken with Santa Claus  A couple of years ago my two youngest granddaughters were visiting before the holidays and I took them to see Santa.  The depot was a wonderful spot for this tradition.  



The St. Charles area features a lot of festivals held in the area and the stage seen above is often the place where entertainment is featured. People can bring their lawn chairs and sit in the grassy areas surrounding the stage.  Some of the festivals include an Independance Day Celebration, Festival of the Little Hills, Craft Fairs and much more.

This area along the Missouri riverfront in St. Charles is a real treasure of the city and an area I never tire of visiting.

Zazzle Products from my Photographs





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The Review This Contributors

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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

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