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

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Using Lightrooms AI and Preset Features

Forest Park Bandstand
Forest Park Bandstand

 I thought I was pretty good at keeping up with the changes in Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom, but it seems like there is always something I missed.  At our last photo club meeting the speaker introduced me to some features that have been there for months, and I was unaware of all the advantages they had.  

Presets

The subject was on making your own presets in lightroom and while that was a great topic, while I was listening to the speaker, he mentioned a few features that I had overlooked.  Lightroom, through the powers of AI, now gives you the ability to edit one section of a photo at a time with a single click.  In the masking feature you can select sky, background or subject and then edit just that portion of the photo.  In addition to this when you find a look that you like you can turn it into a preset and use the same editing for future photos.

One of the things that I had overlooked was the Lightroom in their latest update had added three groups of presets for you to use.  They are for portraits, sky, and subject. This is a real time saver when one of the presets works for the photo you are editing.

Adaptive Presets-Sky

Here are the presets that are available for your use in Lightroom.
  • Blue Drama
  • Dark Drama
  • Neon Tropics 
  • Storm Clouds
  • Sunrise
  • Sunset
The photo at the beginning of the review is one that I took while on a visit to Forest Park in St. Louis.  It is of a historic bandstand, that has been a favorite of people visiting the park since the 1920's.  In this photo I used the 'Blue Drama' preset to add a bit of drama to a rather dreary sky.

Another tip I learned from the speaker at photo club, is that there is a slider above all the presets and when you use this slider you can alter the amount of the preset that can be used on the photo, anywhere from 0 percent to 200 percent.  Here are two examples using the same photo and using the 'Neon Tropics' preset.  This first example uses the preset at 200 %.
Bandstand with tropic sky

This version is interesting, but I think it is a bit too dramatic, so here it is using only 50% 'Neon Tropics' preset.


I do think I like the 50% use a bit better.

Adaptive Presets-Subject

For subjects Lightroom has six different presets added in and in addition you can always make and safe your own presets.  
  • Pop
  • Warm Pop
  • Soft
  • Cool Soft
  • Vibrant
  • Glow
To demonstrate the subject presets built into Lightroom I will give you a few examples below.  You will first need to select your subject in the photo using the masking feature and then select your preset and add the percentage of preset that work for your photo.  In my examples I will again use the Forest Park Bandstand photo.

The first one is using the Glow setting.  It is very subtle, but I like the look it portrays.

Bandstand


The preset used int the photo below is the Pop setting at 200%
Bandstand

Like I learned at my last photo club session, there is always something new to be learned in Lightroom, even for those of us who are seasoned users.  Here is a book that is sure to teach you a few tricks.    Lightroom for Beginners and Seniors  It can be purchased on Amazon.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, May 9, 2024

Book Review-Stiletto to the Pedal

 

Book Title - Stiletto to the Pedal
Stiletto to the Pedal
Karen Whalen's newest book will be published on May 15, 2024.  It is book 5 of the tow truck series but also works as a stand-alone book.  If you love mysteries, but you are also looking for something light and humorous, these fascinating novels by Ms Whalen are for you.

Brief Summary of Book

In the newest cozy mystery by Karen Whalen, Delaney Morran, has a visit from the IRS collections with an ultimatum to pay up or loose her assets.  Delaney is sure this must be a mistake, but in the time it takes to retrieve her records from her accountant the accountant ends up dead.  

As in the previous mysteries, Delaney is once again involved in finding the killer.  This time in her accountant's murder.  Along the way she has the help of Tanner, another tow truck driver and her ex-boyfriend and her current love Sheriff Ephraim Lopez.  

Delaney is known for her love of shoes and even has a stiletto design on her tow truck.  She inherited the tow truck from her Dad and is doing her best to have a successful career in a business she knew nothing about.

The Tow Truck series of mysteries are light-hearted and fun, but are sure to keep you guessing about the mystery involved.


Reviews from other Books in the Tow Truck Series






Purchase the Books on Amazon

The Tow Truck Series is available on Amazon.  Here is a link to the latest book Stiletto to the Pedal




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, April 25, 2024

M&M Gifts

 Are you looking for a gift for a special occasion?  Is the recipient someone who is hard to buy for?  Try a special M&M gift.

Special Candy Gift

My husband has always been a challenge to find just the right gift for special occasions.  Last year on Father's Day my daughter and family sent him a "Dad" candy dispenser full of St. Louis Cardinal logo M&M's.  The Cardinals are his favorite baseball team and who doesn't love M&M's?  This was a perfect gift for him.  We have used it all year long.  During the holiday's we put in holiday colored M&M's.  For his birthday in April he received another pack of Cardinal logo M&M's so now we're ready for baseball season.  The photo below shows one of the Cardinal logo candies.

Special Order M&M

You can buy refill bags of the candies on the M&M website.  Here is one that my husband got for Christmas.  
St Louis Cardinal M&M's

M&M's Special Candies

Click here to go to the website M&Ms.  On this site you can find M&M's for every occasion, and you can even customize your own candies.  Some of the many possibilities include:
  • Graduation M&M's with the year of your graduation imprinted and made in your school colors.
  • Weddings and Showers (think favors for the guests.
  • Mother's Day and Father's Day.  See the dispenser at the top of this page.  This is only one of many available.
  • Birthdays- both as gifts for the birthday celebrant and favors for the guests.
  • Team parties- designed in your favorite teams' colors and logos.
  • MLB-all 30 teams' logos and colors are in the store.

M&M Containers and Dispensers

To make your gift extra special pick a special container to hold the M&M's.  For favors you can choose a special bag or perhaps a plastic see through containe, available in a variety of shapes.  Check out the website to see all of the choices.

For a big gift you might choose a wine type bottle filled with M&M's, a mug, a animal shaped container or a dispenser like the one my husband received.

M&M's on Amazon

In checking out what was all available I checked out Amazon and found they had a variety of  M&M's gifts listed.  Check out this one for Mother's Day, https://amzn.to/4d8L4ti and this one for weddings https://amzn.to/447ErDs.  Amazon carries a large variety of M&M toys and other containers.


I hope you have enjoyed this look at the many possibilities of gifts with M&M's!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, April 11, 2024

Review of Cozy Mystery Genre

Bar Harbor Maine
Bar Harbor Maine 
Photo by mbgphoto

 The "Cozy Mystery" Genre for stories has become very popular.  I thought this was a newer genre until I did a bit of research.  Actually, it has been around for a while.  Think about the TV program "Murder She Wrote" with Angela Lansbury and you find the perfect ingredients for a cozy mystery.  Like so many cozy mysteries this program features a woman who finds herself falling into the role of amateur sleuth.  She is an intelligent woman who also has main career.  The program takes place in a small, coastal town, where everyone knows each other.  She also has a good friend in law enforcement.  As I read more cozy mysteries, I find that these features are common to many of the books.

Why I Like Cozy Mysteries

I like cozy mysteries because they are fairly short, they feature a mystery that keeps my interest throughout the entire book, and many times there is a romantic interest in the story.  Often, they take place in places I have visited and really enjoyed.  In the past year I have read cozy mysteries that took place on the coast of South Carolina, in a small Irish village, small Colorado town, and along the coast of Maine.  I find this genre of books to be a wonderful way to relax and I often pick one up after I've been doing heavier reading.  They are great reads for a day at the beach or to bring along on a vacation.  Many cozy mysteries are part of a series of books with the same characters.

Cozy Mystery I am Currently Reading

Currently I am reading a book by Carlene O'Connor.  It is called "Murder in an Irish Churchyard".  It has an amateur sleuth named, Siobh'an who also runs a bistro.   It takes place in a small Irish village where everyone seems to know everyone and is willing to talk about it.  The book begins with a body being found in the local churchyard among the gravestones.  Siobh'an finds the body and the mystery begins.   All of these are common traits of the cozy mystery. Oh, and yes, there is a love interest with one of the local garda's (police).

As the story progresses, we meet a group of American's who are in Ireland researching their ancestors.  Do they have anything to do with the dead body? I will leave you to read the book and solve the mystery.  You can purchase the book on Amazon at the following link.  https://amzn.to/3TPHOKA


Review This Writers Review Cozy Mystery Books

Many of the writers for Review This have reviewed cozy mystery  books.  Here are a few that are in the RT archives.


Review This Writers Review Cozy Mystery Movies

Cozy mysteries are also very big in movies.  Here are several that Cynthia reviewed for Review This.
Enjoy a Cozy Mystery!!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, March 28, 2024

Book Review of Flawless by Jan Moran

 Flawless is an exciting book by Jan Moran.  It is part of her Love, California series.
Book Review heading

If you like to read books about strong career women with a bit of light romance on the side, this is a book for you.

The Author

Jan Moran is a best-selling author of women's fictions series, beach books, family sagas, and twentieth century historical novels.

Flawless

This book features Verena Valent who is the heiress to her family's skincare empire.  When Verena was 18 her parents both die in an automobile accident and her grandmother is undergoing cancer treatments.  This leaves Verena to both care for her younger twin sisters and take over leadership of the family business.

The book begins several years later when Verena is leading an expansion of the business into Asia.  Everything is set to begin when a banking crisis leaves the company short of the funds needed for the expansion.  Along with this, unethical business associates and an ex-fiancĂ© are giving Verena bad advice which could lead her to lose the family business.

Verena is sour on romance after a bad time with the unethical ex-fiancĂ©, and for the time being is content with running the business and leaving romance for when things are more settled.  Could this all change when she meets Lance Martel a celebrity chef?  Then when Verena is on a business trip to Paris, she runs into Lance again.

I will leave you to discover "the rest of the story" when you read this real page turner of a book.

Other Books in this Series

There are six books in this series.  Each book can be read alone, or you may want to read the entire series, as I will.  The books each feature a different main character, and all are strong women in the beauty field.  Here are the books in order.
  • Flawless
  • Beauty Mark
  • Runway
  • Essence
  • Style
  • Sparkle
The books are available on Amazon in paperback, electronic versions and audible versions.  Here is the link to Flawless

HAPPY READING!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, March 14, 2024

Book Review -The Beach House

The Beach House

 I enjoy reading many different types of books.  There are times I get stuck on reading mysteries one after another and other times I'll read several historical fiction books in a row.  After going on my reading binges, I find myself longing for something light, that will take me away to a beautiful place.  

Rachel Hanna is the perfect author to satisfy my need for a book to take me away to a beautiful place with an interesting story.  I would categorize her books as light romances, but they also include some valuable life lessons along the way. 

The Beach House is the first book in the South Carolina sunset series.  You can find the book on Amazon at The Beach House.

A Look at the Main Characters

  • Julie--the main character has been married for 20 years and her two daughters are both out on their own.  Julie is looking forward to moving to her dream house on the beach.  The house has been sold and they are ready to embrace on their new life, when her husband comes home from a business trip and announces he wants a divorce.
  • Michael--the ex-husband (i.e. the Jerk) who has been living a second life when he goes on his trips and now not only has a fiance but a young son.
  • Dawson- the contractor that Julie hires to renovate the house she has purchased, sight unseen, in the small island of Seagrove off the South Carolina coast.
  • Dixie--the eccentric book store owner who befriends Julie.
  • SuAnn--Julie's bossy mother.
  • Janine--Julie's sister who she has not seen in many years.
  • Willam--Dixie's estranged son who she has not seen in 10 years.  William appears at the end of Book 1.

Books in the Series

I was so enchanted with The Beach House that as soon as I finished, I downloaded the second book in the series.  The Beach House has a definite beginning, middle, and end so it could be read alone but I'm sure once you read it you will want to read more of the series.  For the rest of the series, it is recommended that you read them in order as the characters are further developed with each new book.  Here are the books in the South Carolina Sunset series in order.
  1. The Beach House
  2. Sunsets and Second Chances
  3. Fireflies & Family Ties
  4. The Inn at Seagrove
  5. The Wedding at Seagrove
  6. A Seagrove Christmas
  7. Lighthouse Cove
  8. Beneath the Willow Tree
  9. Matts & Magnolias
  10. Chasing Sunset
I hope you enjoy this series.  I find it is a wonderful book to curl up with in a comfortable chair and escape for a few hours.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Book Review of The Dry

AI rendering of Truck

 I love a good crime novel with a mystery that is just waiting to be solved.  I find it particularly interesting when the author keeps you guessing till near the end of the book on who the guilty party is. Jane Harper accomplishes this in her book The Dry. In The Dry there is not just the current crime (a possible murder/suicide) but also a death from twenty years ago that is still unexplained.

Setting

The story takes place in a small fictional Australian town called Kiewarra.  It is located about five hours north of Melbourne and the story takes place when the town and the area is suffering from a drought that is the worst in recent history.  The drought is so severe that it is placing a real burden on the farmers and the livelihood of the locals.  It has become so bad that suicide is on the minds of many of the residents.

The Book on Amazon

The book can be purchased on Amazon as an ebook, paperback, hardcover or audio book.  Here is a link The Dry

Summary

The book begins when Aaron Falk, a law enforcement officer in the big city of Melbourne, receives a letter from the father of his best friend from childhood.  In this letter the father requests /demands that Aaron attend his son's funeral.  The son (Luke Hadler), son's wife and young son were all found shot to death and the town consensus is that the son shot his family and then turned the gun on himself.  

Aaron Falk had left the town 20 years ago when another close friend, Ellie Deacon, drowned and again the town jumped to the conclusion that either Aaron or his Dad had something to do with Ellie's death.  They left town, never to return again, until Aaron returns for Luke's funeral.

This is a small town where everyone knows or at least thinks they know everyone else's business. It is full of secrets, gossip and people jumping to the wrong conclusions. 

Aaron Falk teams up with the local law enforcement official, Raco, and unofficial investigate the Hadler murders/suicide.  There are many unanswered questions and as they look into the current murders they find the sins of the past coming in to play.  

My Thoughts

This was one of those books where I guessed at the outcome throughout and yet was completely surprised at the ending.  I don't want to give anything away but want you to know you won't be disappointed in the endings.  The sins of the past are brought to task in the heroism of the present.  I found this to be an excellent book.  In fact, after reading it, I immediately downloaded the second book in the Aaron Falk series.  It is called Force of Nature and can be found on Amazon at this link Force of Nature



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, February 8, 2024

Review of Candle Warmer Lamps

Lamp  with Candle

 I love the wonderful scents that candles provide in my home, but I was always leery of having a burning flame.  I tend to forget about them and then they burn down too far.  Well for Christmas I received a wonderful candle warming lamp.  I had never seen one before and wasn't sure how they worked, but I can tell you now they are wonderful.  They are a great way to get light and the wonderful smell from a scented candle without having to worry about a flame and any fire hazard.

Features of my Candle Warmer Light

  • Dimmable
  • No Smoke
  • No Flame
  • Timer
My lamp is also very attractive and makes a wonderful addition to our decor.  It has a square wood base and a metal light stand.  The base will hold candles of many sizes.  I currently have one of the larger round candles in it as you can see pictured above, but I have also put other smaller candles in glass jars.  The base is a non-skid and non-scratch bottom that works well on any furniture.

I love the timer feature.  I can turn on the lamp and set the timer for 2,4,or 8 hours and then not worry about it again.

The light is dimmable, and the brightness will determine how soon the scent begins to flow through your home.

The lamp came with two 50-watt GU10 halogen bulbs, so there is no need to buy extra bulbs.

Another great feature is that the melting of the candle occurs from the light source and thus does not leave a hole like flames, this will double the life of the candles.

Great for Gifts

These candle warmer lamps come in a variety of styles and would make great gifts.  I can see them as a wonderful idea for Valentines Day, Birthdays and Mothers Day.

My lamp came from Amazon and I found that they have many different options.  Here are links to a couple of different Candle Warmer Lamps.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, January 25, 2024

Review of Smart Bird Feeder Camera

Sparrow sitting on Camera Bird FeederFor Christmas this year, I received a Smart Bird Feeder Camera.  This feeder has provided my husband and I with hours of fun, watching birds up close.  Every time a bird lands on this feeder the camera takes a ten second video and then sends it to my phone. 

Features of the Smart Bird Feeder Camera

  • HD Image Quality
  • Two-way Audio
  • Waterproof and Dustproof
  • Infrared Night Vision
  • 145 degree Wide Angle View
  • Ai Bird Recognition
  • WiFi
  • Cloud Storage

Features I Particularly Enjoy

One of the features I really enjoy is the ability to share my photos with family and friends.  When the camera sends the video to my phone, I then have the ability to share that photo with family and friends.  There are numerous ways to share the video but two of the ways I use most often are by posting the video on my Facebook page or for a smaller audience I can message or email the video to the person of my choosing. The video below is one that I emailed to myself and then downloaded it on my computer.  It shows the camera captured a Tufted titmouse.  These little birds are quite quick, and I am not often able to capture them on camera, so I was really excited to see them on the feeder camera.  You will also notice at the end of the video a little chickadee approach.


Here is a photo that I was able to take of the Tufted titmouse sitting on the feeder.  I had a camera set up inside my house to take this photo, but it gives you another view of the bird feeder.
Camera Bird Feeder
Another great feature of the camera is that the bird feeder has solar panels on the top so there is no need to plug it in or continually recharge batteries.  I have now had it for a month, and it is running great.

Easy Set Up

I found the bird feeder camera easy to set up.  It came with easy-to-follow instructions and after unpacking everything from the box and making sure I had everything, I proceeded to download and install the Vicohome Ap on my phone.   Next, I followed the instructions to sync the camera with my WiFi.  I then had to determine where to place the camera to receive good connections and my deck post worked great so that is where the bird feeder is hanging.  In less than 30 minutes that feeder was ready to photograph the first bird.

Birds Find Feeder

It did take a couple of days for the birds to find the feeder but once they did, they kept coming.  I am surprised by the wide variety of birds that have found the feeder, so far, I have had the following birds posing for the camera.
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  • House Finch
  • Tufted titmouse
  • Chickadee
  • Northern Bluebird
  • Carolina Wren

Bird Feeder Camera's on Amazon

Amazon has several varieties of feeder cameras for sale.  Here are a couple that are similar to mine.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, January 11, 2024

Book Review-Daughters of Green Mountain Gap

 

Book Cover



I love reading historical fiction and time period novels and I also love reading books that are real page turners.  Teri M Brown fits the bill in both of these areas.  Last year I reviewed her book An Enemy Like Me and I loved it, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to review her latest book, Daughters of Green Mountain Gap. In this book we meet three generations of women living in North Carolina at the turn of the twentieth century.

The Book on Amazon

The book will be released on January 23, 2024.  You can order it at the following link on Amazon. Daughters of Green Mountain Gap

Daughters of Green Mountain Gap

Three Generations-Three Exceptional Women

    Maggie

Maggie is the granny, who is known throughout the small Appalachian town and surrounding area as a healer.  She believes and relies on traditional methods for her healing.  She has learned her skills through family tradition, folklore and also from visits she makes to the healer in the local Cherokee tribe. 

    Carrie Ann

Carrie Ann is Maggie's daughter.  She has graduated from nursing school and feels strongly that modern medicine should prevail and that her mother's methods are not only outdated but could be harmful.  Carrie Ann works for the local doctor and feels that all should see him for their medical needs and not her mother.

    Josie Mae

Josie Mae is Carrie Ann's daughter and because of her mother's job she stays much of the time with her grandmother, Maggie.  While she is there Maggie teaches her all about her traditional healing methods.  Josie loves her grandmother and believes that her methods are important, however she is caught between the vastly different methods of Maggie and Carrie Ann.

My Thoughts on Book

I was engrossed in the book from the first chapter.  The author, Teri M Brown, does a wonderful job of bringing you into the lives of these three women.  You find yourself smiling at their victories and feeling sad as they deal with sickness and death.  The family dynamics are a great way to show the spirit of the times with the struggles between folk medicine and science, old and new methods, and dealing with the change in society.  I highly recommend this fascinating book.

Reviews of other Teri M Brown Books

Two of Teri M Brown's previous books have been reviewed on Review This.  Our reviewer Olivia reviewed Sunflowers Beneath the Snow, and I reviewed An Enemy Like Me.  Here are links to those reviews.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, December 28, 2023

Reviewing my 2023 Photography Journey

 

Split Rock Lighthouse surrounded by fall foliage

I consider every year to be part of my photography journey, where I learn some new techniques, enjoy new photographic opportunities, and hopefully increase my knowledge and skills.  2023 was no exception.  During the past year, I got out of my comfort zone and photographed four big events, I attended a photoshop summit where I learned a lot of new techniques and I even went back and reedited some old photos using what I have learned in the past 17 years since I started this journey.  The photo above is one of my past photos taken in 2010 and reedited this year.

Education

I always try to take a class each year either in person or online.  There are so many available, along with many You- tube instructional videos.  This year I listened to many free videos I found online and this fall I attended a Photoshop Summit online that had five days full of speakers all instructing us on various aspects of Photoshop.  They were very interesting and informative.  One of the subjects I found most interesting was about the new "generative fill" feature in Photoshop.  By just circling an area in a photo, you can remove an item or add something new.  Here is an example of a Halloween photo where I used this feature.  The first photo is my original photo.
Yard full of Halloween Decorations

In the next photo you will see that I first used generative fill to remove the mailbox and then added several additional items to the photo.  See if you can find all the additions.
Busy Yard with Halloween decor


I also used what I learned in the seminars to redo some older photos.  In this one the original photo had lots of people on the sidewalk leading to the lighthouse.  I used generative fill to remove them.
White lighthouse with leading path


Special Events

Sometimes I find I learn more when I take myself out of my comfort zone.  This year I was asked to photograph four major events.  Two of them were weddings of family members and two were events at church.

Both of the weddings were casual.  The first was held completely outdoors at my brother's home and the second was held at a small historic chapel with the reception being an outdoor event.  I was a little apprehensive at first, but the casual settings helped to put me at ease.  I carried two different cameras each with a different type of lens and settings and I was pretty pleased with the results.  Here is a photo from each of the weddings.
Outdoor wedding ceremony

Little White Chapel


The church events included the ordination of our newest pastor and a 20 year celebration of our senior pastor.  For these occasions I sat in the balcony and was able to photograph the ceremonies from above.  I used my camera that is a Sony mirrorless one that does great with lower light and inside photos without using a flash.  Here are two photos from those events.
Chapel of the Cross Lutheran

Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church

 

Group Support

I find photography groups to be a great way to meet people with similar interests and share ideas.  I belong to two different groups; one Create 52 is an online Facebook group and the second is an in-person photography club in our town.  

    Create 52

This online group challenges us to be creative in both our photography and in our post processing.  We are given a topic each week and then we create a photograph to match the topic.  An example of this is during the week before Christmas our topic was Christmas card.  For this topic, I took a photo of our Christmas tree and then took it into Photoshop.  In Photoshop, I added an artist filter and placed it on a textured background.  I then added lettering and finally used generative fill to add stars around the lettering.  Here is my result.
Card with Christmas Tree and Stars

    O'Fallon Photo Club

Our in-person photography club meets once a month.  In this group we share ideas with other photographers, and we also bring photo files to get constructive criticism.  We share ideas for places to go for photography and we take a few field trips each year.  At the end of each meeting, we are given a topic for the month, and we post photos of that topic in the clubs Facebook page.  This fall several of the club members met at our local botanical gardens on an evening photographer's night, where we were able to bring in our tripods and capture some low light photography. There was a Chihuly exhibit going on at the gardens so there were lots of great opportunities for nighttime photography.  Here are a couple of photos I took.

Nighttime shot of Chihuly work

Framed Chihuly Art


Mentoring

I volunteer with a group called Willows Way that provides support for challenged adults.  This group has a photography club and I serve as one of the mentors for the group.  Each month we take several of the participants and their aids to a different locale to photograph.  We have gone to local parks, museums, and farmers markets.  I love to work with these wonderful people and find I get as much from them as I give.  It is a wonderful opportunity.  This summer we went to a farmers market that also had a sunflower field.  We talked about unique ways to capture the sunflowers.  Here are two of my photos.
Back of Sunflowers

Closeup on Middle of Sunflower

As I close, I Wish You and Yours a Very Happy New Year.  May your year be filled with joy and peace and lots of new things to learn.

Here are a couple of my favorite photos this past year.
Bluebird on Heated Water Bowl

Changing Sky

Sunflower with Blurred Background





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

Sunflower and Pumpkin patch
Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the Review This Blog over the past year.  We, the writers of Review This, truly appreciate you and wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving Day.

My Photography

One of the things I am very thankful for is my hobby of photography, so today I thought I would share with you some of the photographs I have taken over the past year.
Robin on Birdbath

This photo was taken at my backyard birdbath where a Robin stopped for a drink on a cool November morning.  Birds are one of my favorite things to photograph.

Here us a hummingbird that I photographed at a feeder in my backyard.
Hummingbird at Feeder



Yellow Flower against Blue Sky

I love to visit local parks and photograph all of the beautiful wildflowers that are growing there.
Colorful Boats along the Shore


The photo above was taken at a local park where I went for an outing.  The colorful boats on the shoreline caught my eye.

The bandstand in the photo below stands in Forest Park in St. Louis where I took my granddaughters to see a musical at the Muny Opera.
Bandstand reflected in Water


Sometimes I only need to go into my own yard to capture the beauty in nature.  The raindrops on these Pink Primrose make a pretty photo.
Pink Primrose with Raindrops


 Sunflowers are always a favorite photograph of mine.  I visited a local sunflower field several times this summer.
Bright Yellow Sunflowers in a Field

I will leave you with several fall photos from my neighborhood.  Fall is my favorite time of the year.
Colorful Fall Leaves

Yellow Leaves

Colorful Fall Leaves

May You and Your Family Enjoy the Beauty this Season has to Offer.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.




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Thursday, November 9, 2023

National Bird Holidays and Awareness Days- 4thQuarter

 

Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird


 When I decided to write a review on bird holidays, I was surprised to find out that there are many different bird holidays.  So, I changed my thinking and decided to do four different reviews, one for each quarter of the year, and in each review, I would pick out a sampling of the holidays for that quarter.  This is now my review for the last quarter of the year.  You can find links to my first three reviews at the end of this review. This quarter I have picked a bird holiday or awareness day for each month.

October 3- Butterfly and Hummingbird Day

Two Butterflies on Flower
Butterflies on a Pink Flower

Although a butterfly is not a bird, it certainly has a lot in common with the hummingbird.  Here is a list of similarities I found on the site Bird Tipper.Com   Here is the link : National Butterfly and Hummingbird Day - BirdTipper

Hummingbird and Butterfly Similarities
  • Both have nectar from flowers as a food source
  • Both are attracted to certain colorful flowers   (I find in my garden that bright red or pink flowers really attract both of butterflies and hummingbirds)
  • Both are very important for pollination
  • Both help to provide a safe environment for local plant life
  • Both  are necessary parts of our everyday life
In addition to these points I would say that both are fascinating to watch and to learn about.  As a photographer, I also find them both to be wonderful photographic subjects, although they both require patience to catch them at their best.  Here are a couple of photographs I have taken in addition to the ones above.
hummingbird

hummingbird

Choose your favorite way to celebrate Butterfly and Hummingbird day by checking out the suggestions at the bird tipper link listed above.

November is Adopt a Turkey Month

Turkey has long been the staple for the American Thanksgiving feast.  Because of this the turkey population is greatly depleted during the month.  To try to offset this and save some of the loss of the turkey population, certain groups have banded together to try to save some of the turkeys by championing an adoption process for turkeys.  The website for the Adopt a Turkey is   https://nationaltoday.com/adopt-a-turkey-month/
They suggest the following three activities to choose from in celebrating adopt-a-turkey month.
  • Adopt a turkey as a pet
  • Donate a turkey to an animal sanctuary
  • Go meatless for Thanksgiving
For more information on the process and the history of the holiday check out the website above.

December 14 through January 5-Christmas Bird Count Week

The bird count week is celebrated annually and is a tradition that is over 100 years old.  It honors bird lovers from around the world who head out to count and record millions of bird siting's each year.

The bird count is sponsored by the National Audubon Society.  You may go to this link  https://nationaltoday.com/christmas-bird-count-week/  to find out more about the history of this count.

Three things you can do to celebrate bird count week are :
  • Participate in the Bird Count
  • Take up bird-watching
  • Discourage hunting for pleasure
I encourage you to go to www.audubon.org to sign up to receive more information and find out how you can help.  I have just signed up and I found out from their map there is a location near me where the Christmas-bird-count will be taking place this year.  I'm looking forward to getting more information.

More of my Bird Photography from this Year



Red Winged Blackbird on Bush

Blackbird on Sunflowers

Goldfinch on Feeder

Links to Bird Holiday from the First Three Quarters







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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