Thursday, September 9, 2010


This is exactly what I was writing about in my last post... (If you haven't read that one, this one will seem very random...)

Someone wrote (somewhere out there on the WWW) that while they have no problem with heavily edited photos, they request that you explain what you did-- how you edited it.  (Fine.  Seems a little picky to me if it's nothing extreme-- just adjusting the colors-- but whatever.)  It's the reason behind the request that I find irritating:

While some of prefer to get most of it right in camera others are using their digital editing skills and taking their images to another level. On the most part there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, however we believe that in today’s digital age one should at least be honest. If you have edited an image - put in a rainbow, a moon, intensified the colour - whatever you have done, just be honest. Don’t allow others to feel incompetent just because you can work an image editing program.
Did you catch that?

"Don't allow others to feel incompetent just because you can work an image editing program."

~insane satirical laughter omitted~

So, let me see if I've got this right... It's perfectly fine (I assume) for Sally Snapshot to feel "incompetent" if your straight-out-of-the-camera photograph is miles better than hers... But if your photo turns out better than hers "just because you can work an image editing program", that's no reason for the poor thing to feel "incompetent".

...Written like someone who doesn't him/herself know how to "work" those image editing programs, don't you think?

Sheesh, people.  Since when is it top priority that no-one ever feel incompetent?  Feeling inferior is just an occasional part of life for most people.  Every now and then, you may feel incompetent-- especially if you're constantly comparing yourself to others.  People have different levels of skill in the various areas of life.  Some people will take better photos than you, but you're going to have to learn to deal with it.  (It helps to remind yourself that you take better photos than someone else. (g))  Hey, a feeling of incompetency can sometimes even help you in the long-term by spurring you to better yourself.  (See?  You should be thanking those people who make you feel bad about yourself.)

...I sure hope I didn't just make anyone feel incompetent in the face of my superior ability to grump...

(Somewhat Grumpy) Letter on Photo-Editing

Dear Bossy-Britches People Who Write Disparagingly About Photo-Editing:

Who made you the Boss(es) of the World?  ;o)
Please not to lecture the rest of us about "honesty" or imply that "heavy" digital editing of photos is almost a sin.

I agree that editing can't fix everything.  However, if skillful editing takes a poor photo to the level of a presentable photo, where's the problem with that?  Who, exactly, is it hurting?  (Of course it's best-- and nicest-- to get a near-perfect photo right out of the camera, but I fail to see the problem if someone devotes the time, effort, and skill [yes, skill] it takes to improve a mediocre photo.)

Certainly there is such a thing as over-editing.  (I do it on purpose sometimes, myself, just for the fun of it.  ...And possibly I sometimes do it not on purpose.)  But seriously, who's to say what is over-edited?  Isn't that in the eye of the beholder?  Unless you're entering your photo in a contest or submitting it for critique to an instructor or a group of peers, chances are that no-one's going to come out and berate you for your obvious Photoshop addiction. ;o)

I think what really irks me about the way some people write about post-processing is the implication that editing is somehow inherently evil.  It's not.  I'm not a professional photographer, and I don't spend much any time hanging out on photography message boards, but I'm convinced that (by far) most professional photographers do post-process their work.  (Some more than others, of course.)  There's nothing deceitful about it.  It's merely part of the process of capturing and presenting an image.  Unless you're submitting work to a contest that specifically prohibits it-- or you're presenting a photo as "untouched"-- or in cases where extreme editing might damage its value (as in journalistic photos-- one of the few times I think "honesty" is an issue at all)-- I say you should go right ahead and do whatever you want.

It's not dishonest to clone something out of the photo.  It's not "bad form" to lighten, darken, cross-process-- whatever.  Go ahead and add filters-- all day long, if you like.  Layer multiple photos!  Stitch things together!  Put your mother as a baby into the crib beside your newborn son!  Who says the lines between "photography" and "digital art" have to be crisp, firm, and unwavering?  Photographers have been manipulating / post-processing / editing photos for almost as long as photos have been around--  long before Photoshop came along.  It's nothing new-- nothing scary-- and (usually) nothing nefarious.

I do hope you will at least consider my position before penning your next diatribe against so-called "heavy" photo editing.

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tiny Text & BINGO! Fun for the Whole Family!

(Ok.  I know I said that my next post wouldn't be grumping.  Well... Technically this isn't grumping...)

A link this morning sent me to an article on a website I rarely visit.  The story quickly lost my interest.  Their logo, however, did catch my eye:

Just look at that subtitle.  It's tiny.  You almost need a magnifying glass to read it.  It's not "elder-friendly".  Putting a subtitle in such minuscule type suggest that, A) you're ashamed of the subtitle*, or B) the subtitle is not necessary (and should probably be done away with altogether).

Anyway, it just struck me as odd...

*After all, someone I know (who shall remain nameless) commented that the subtitle is an oxymoron.

P.S.  Some of you might be interested in this:  It's an Obama Speech Bingo card.  Might be the only way to get many people to watch/listen...  I know I tend to avoid the TV when I hear a presidential speech is scheduled.  (For medical reasons only, of course.  They're not good for my blood pressure. ;o))

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reason #45 Why I Am an Awful Person

Not really, of course.  I mean, I know there's plenty of room for improvement, but somehow I manage to look myself in the mirror (on occasion).

No, this is just one of those things that some people might think you shouldn't think... or admit to thinking... or... waste time writing about...  

- - - - -

The other day, we got something in the mail-- something from a charity.  (Even though it claimed in the accompanying letter not to be a charity, that is still how I think of it.  Sorry.)  The envelope bore no mark identifying it as being from that charity.  Instead, they decorated it with a goofy-looking illustration of a frog and a couple of "enticing" remarks:  "Greeting Card Collection Enclosed" and "You'll love these cheery cards!"

Open it up and there are five small, simple cards (for a variety of occasions), complete with envelopes and return address stickers.  (Never mind that the address stickers were printed so poorly-- with the type off the edge-- as to be unreadable and therefore useless.  Even though I take the time to mention it, that's not the point.) 

Also in the envelope is information from the organization explaining what they do and asking for a donation.  Though the author of the letter insists that the cards are merely "a reminder of the wonderful changes that are being made" by the organization, it's impossible not to feel that you're being guilted into making a donation.

I don't appreciate being guilted into anything-- even donating to what is probably a worthy cause.

Maybe there aren't many better ways to seek donations, but you have to wonder how much money is wasted on this type of solicitation. 

...The total lack of the charity's logo on the outer envelope (even though it appears repeatedly throughout the enclosures) just adds to the feeling of ambush.  No question why they decided to leave it off.  Just ask the person who tried to call us over the weekend.  When the caller I.D. displays "Jehovah's Witness", we just let it ring... (Hey, I'm saving them time.  There's no way I'm interested in that.)

P.S.  Oh, and while I'm at it (grumping, I mean), it's really irritating that practically every time I go to the only real grocery store in the nearest town there's a kid (teenager) bagging groceries, with a tip jar.  If it were only once every now and then, it wouldn't be so bad, but it really does seem like there's always someone (various sports/extra-curricular teams from the local high school, mainly) there, expecting a donation. 

...Ok, I think I'm done now.  I'll try not to be grumpy, next time.  (Try, I said.)

Tale of a Dewy September Morning

We had a bit of excitement here this morning.  On her morning walk (which, fortunately, usually comes before Molly's*), Trixie found Something in the yard.

I was watching from the door, because generally she only takes a minute or two and then is ready to come back inside.  This time, however, she seemed more than normally interested in one spot a couple yards from the bay window.  I couldn't see exactly what she was looking at, but she was clearly a little on edge-- stretching out her whole body toward something rather than just taking a step or two and sniffing at leisure.

Concerned that she may have found a snake, I tapped on the door and called her-- just as she gingerly nipped into the Something and pulled.  Greyish-brown fur, about the size of a wild rabbit.

Good Trixie came in when called, leaving her new-found prize behind.  (And for her efforts, she was promptly put back into the crate, poor girl, because ew, dead rabbit germs!)

We went out-- found a headless rabbit (as in, everything was there, perfect, except the head... which was gone without a trace)-- and disposed of it.  Donald found a couple of downy feathers near the crime scene, so we assume some type of bird did it.  I'm surprised that it ate only the head and left the rest behind, but maybe that's common behavior.

Anyway, gross.  Now I need to decontaminate Trixie...

*I say "fortunately" because I doubt Molly would've obeyed as easily under these circumstances. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Genealogy Freebie

It's been a while since I spent any time looking into genealogy, but it's something that still interests me.  Maybe someday I'll get into it again-- try to sort through what I've already gathered-- prove or disprove some of it.  Or just see if I can find any new holes in some of the brick walls. What I'd really like is to find more personal information than the usual dry lists of names and dates. 

I'm really only here to mention that is allowing free access to their immigration records-- this weekend only.  It might be worth a look.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beginning to Feel Like Autumn

Ok, not really.  It's about six o'clock and it's still 90 outside, so (in my opinion) it still feels decidedly summery (though not as H-O-T as it was for a while).  Still, the calendar assures me it's September.  Every week I see more and more comments from people elsewhere in the world referring to the changing seasons (often regretfully).  Kids have started a new school year.  I even see people wearing sweaters and jackets on TV (not the local news, it should be noted).   It's enough to give me hope that cooler weather is truly on its way.  It's enough to help me at least pretend that there's already a taste of autumn in the air. 

I am so looking forward to fall this year (as every year). 

I want crisp, clear air!   Windows open!  Breezes teasing the curtains!  Long, slanting, honey-hued rays of late-afternoon sunshine!  Red and gold and orange and brown everywhere!  I want to go on comfortable walks around the pond!  Goodbye mosquitoes!  Go to sleep, snakes!  I want evenings cool enough that the warmth thrown from a little bonfire is pleasant!  Let's hear the crunch of dry leaves underfoot!  Let's go on a photo "expedition" around the yard and see what we turn up!  I want to take out and wear my favorite jeans and sweaters!  Give me an excuse to use my crocheted scarves!  Make the evenings just cool enough that we'll want to cuddle up under our afghans to read a good book!  Bring on the new season of my favorite TV programs!  (I've been waiting months to see how those cliff-hanger endings turn out!) 

Sweet autumn, there's no need to be shy.  Come on down!