Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the carpenters

Forty years after siblings Richard and Karen Carpenter signed with A&M Records, Richard Carpenter releases a 40th-anniversary compilation CD, Carpenters: 40/40. Listen to Terri Gross and Richard Carpenter on the Fresh Air podcast - Richard's take on the duo's rise to fame. Hats off to Burt Bacharoff and Herb Alpert, but the Carpenters were their own gig. If you like music, and how it is made, this is a must listen to. Learn about dubbing, four part harmonies and melodies.

Can you hear the difference?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

old barn redux

This is the same old barn where the hue and saturation have been increased. The brightness was kept the same. The effect is again done with the filters tool in fireworks or photoshop.

There is a good tutorial on hue and saturation at

Here is a second photograph of a railroad track heading east toward Emporia. Again, I used the filter tool to adjust the brightness and contrast of the whole image. The washed out sky is then selected with the magic wand and again with the filter select hue, saturation, and brightness. I took the brightness all the way down to zero to create a black sky.

an old barn west of emporia

While waiting for my son while he played in a soccer tournament, I shot this photo of an old barn just west of Emporia, off highway 50. The day was cool and overcast.

This is the change that takes place by adding filters to an image. In Fireworks or Photoshop select filter and then choose brightness and contrast. First, I applied the brightness and contrast to the entire image. I lowered the brightness and raised the contrast. The grass became greener, the barn and trees darker. I used the magic wand to select the sky and applied the filter to the selected area.

The second photograph is without life.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

off the beaten path

So, what is this photograph all about?

Well, if you live in the Flint Hills of Kansas, you will recognize the image as the Chase County Courthouse, built in 1873, which is located in Cottonwood Falls, south of Emporia, north of Wichita, on Highway 77, almost dead center in the Flint Hills and near nothing else.

I took the photograph Saturday, late afternoon, while returning from Emporia to Wichita with my son Will. The courthouse is the oldest courthouse in Kansas in continuous use. It is a great example of a French Renaissance style building. Coincidentally, it looks like my grandmother's house in Graffigny-Chemin.

But, I digress. The photograph is altered, just look at the trees on the right of the courthouse. Use the magic wand to delete the sky. Then, use the magic wand again in the tree branches of the top layer to delete additional pixels to improve the image. I have added in a new sky with a new layer which is below the courthouse using fireworks. Not perfect, but good enough.

To do this, you need to create a new layer in fireworks. The process is easier in photoshop, but I am working in fireworks, so deal with it. There are two images. The top layer is the courthouse and the second image and second layer is the sky background. In the top layer, the courthouse, use the use the magic wand tool to highlight the grey sky. Delete or clear the selected pixels. Now, go to the second image and copy this image into a second layer. If you have the courthouse as the top layer you are done.

I still need to work on the trees.

Friday, November 13, 2009

your're not sorry

Songs express our emotions more clearly than words. Here is Taylor Swift in You're Not Sorry.

I tried to extend a helping hand to someone and hired a young girl to work. This was her first real job out of college. I hired her because of her exuberance, curiosity, and intelligence. She was excited to work, she said, but never showed up. It was one excuse after another. And every excuse began with "sorry". Need I say more?

Lyrics to You're Not Sorry :
All this time I was wasting hoping you would come around
I’ve been giving out chances everytime and all you do is let me down
And its taking me this long but baby I figured you out
And you think it will be fine again but not this time around

You don’t have to call anymore
I won’t pick up the phone
This is the last straw
Don’t want to hurt anymore
And you can tell me that you’re sorry
But I won’t believe you baby like I did before
You’re not sorry no more, no more, no

Lookin’ so innocent
I might believe you if I didn’t know
Could’a loved you all my life
If you hadn’t left me waiting in the cold
And you got your share of secrets
And I’m tired of being last to know
And now you’re asking me to listen
Cuz its worked each time before

lyrics from lyricsmania

Three times and counting she had an excuse for not being at work. First, "Sorry, I was confused on the starting day." Second, "Sorry, my grandmother died." Third, "Sorry, I really need more time to sort things out." For my part, I have put in seven emails and two phone calls. She emails that she will be there, but never returns a phone call.

Often, I go back in thought to that sappy line from Love Story, the one where Ryan O'Neill says to Ali McGraw, "Love means never having to say you're sorry. "Love" is just another word for commitment, dedication, support - a willingness to be there for someone else.The true test of any relationship - be it family, friendship, or work - is the test of being there, of showing up.