It's been awhile, huh? We're all a bit pooped around here, please forgive us:


Same old, same old up here. It's cold [in the 40s-50s] and raining non-stop. I'm having a hard time believing it's actually JUNE, Mother Nature, but the promise of warmer weather is near. You see, the peonies are finally blooming! Little round buds are appearing and I couldn't be happier:
bubble gum pink peonies to come
I realize that you southerners have probably seen your peonies bloom and die already, maybe even weeks ago. But up here in this alternate universe we are just acclimating ourselves to signs of life. And with the rain I will admit it makes for some pretty pictures. Here is one of the pale pink buds:
closed buds after rain

And one of the red raspberry buds:
red version

And lookie! One bud has opened into an actual flower already! Sigh, so pretty. Have I mentioned my love for pink peonies before? They remind me of my wedding bouquet of course:)
peony in pink

So I thought I'd take this opportunity to show a couple editing tricks, since I rarely mention the process. I use Photoshop CS on all of my images and usually I'll just tweak the contrast, sharpness, or definition. For instance, here is the image straight out of the camera:
Not bad, but a little fuzzy and boring for my tastes.

So here it is again after using the 'Define and Sharpen' action from PW, then 'Boost' afterward. I'll mess with the opacity on each function so it's not TOO corrected.
define, sharpen, boost

Or here's my version after manually correcting the color and sharpening the image just a touch. I've gotten better with PS lately, and don't have to rely on actions all the time. I like how the raindrops are crystal clear here, and how the pink pops a bit more:
sharpened, color adjusted

After a little cropping to fit the 'rule of 1/3', here's what you get:
crop to rule of 1/3's
Just a subtle difference from the original, but enough editing to make it a little better.

Sometimes I like to edit the images for more drama, a little extra artsy flair, depending on the picture. For instance, here is an image after playing with the color balance and the contrast:
subtle adjustment

And here it is after "boosting" a bit more:
clearer definition

And if you want to get really crazy, you could use PW's Colorized to make it seem more dreamy:

But really, isn't editing all about personal preference anyway? I know I'm not a big fan of heavily Photoshopped images but there are plenty of people out there who appreciate that kind of 'perfection' in an image. The thing about PS is that just when I think I master a technique, I realize that there is even more to learn. It's such an intimidating program with endless possibilities. The more you use it, the more you learn. But sometimes I like the original just as much as the finished product---go figure.

Now if only I could convince myself to splurge on a macro lens....then my raindrop images would be even better. See? It's a never-ending, addicting process.

Hope everyone is staying dry and enjoying the weekend! What's the weather like where YOU live? June is such a weird month...


  1. If you don't want to splurge on the full on macro lens, there is a macro/fish eye attachment lens that you can get. It's <$50 and I love mine!

  2. You are really impressing me with your photography! I need to get on this bandwagon. Our camera is ancient, but not in a cool vintage way :)

  3. Im over in Scotland and June can be funny here (we hardly ever get a proper summer!) so this weekend while we have had some sun we have also had a couple of cold spells and some torrential rain!

    p.s. photos look great!

  4. The weather here ... it stormed for something like 23 days straight or something in May. I moved here 2.5 weeks ago and all I want is a big boomer thunderstorm. Nada. Sun and wind. Beautiful, but not what I want!

  5. Long question: I have Photoshop/know how to use it to a reasonable extent. But I'm lazy.

    I think I remember that you also use a Mac. Do you import your photos to iPhoto? That's what I do and it seems like the only solution from there is to then export to a separate folder to edit using Photoshop and reimport to iPhoto. Which seems like a pain to me, so I just do simple editing in iPhoto for the sake of saving time.

    Any suggestions on making the process easier?

  6. Lacey~oooooh, an inexpensive attachment? I'm intrigued!

    Kimmie~yes, I have a Mac and use iPhoto to hold my photos at first. Then I pull them onto my desktop and edit through PS. I swear it's so much better than the iPhoto editing tools. After that I put them in Flickr to save them online--which is where I pull them for my blog. I will also drop the edited images back in iPhoto when I'm done, too...so yes, it's a process but since PS is just editing, not storage, you kind of have to do it that way, I think.

    Sharon~get a new camera and you won't be sorry, just addicted!

    Gaynor~I've always wanted to visit Scotland, proper summer or not. How cool!

    Jane~I bet you'll get a thunderstorm or two, but in the meantime live it up in the sun. So jealous!

  7. Your photos just keet getting better! Here in Alabama ...it rained nearly everyday last month. And since June has begun....80 or 90 everyday. SO hot and HUMID! So..50s aren't sounding too bad right now :)

  8. Colorado is COLD, too! It's not doing a very good job convincing me that it's spring. Question: do you know anything about the difference between PS and Aperture? I can't decide between the two.

  9. Just before I read the last part of your post I turned my computer around and said to my husband, "look how awesome these pictures are! do you think she uses photoshop?" So I'm glad you shared your process! I don't know anything about photography or photoshop, except that you are awesome!

  10. Julia, Thank you so much for sharing your process. Your photography is very inspiring and you have pushed me to get out there and use my camera. I also live in Milwaukee and I swear my peony's are at exactly the same stage :) If you ever need a buddy to go on a photo walk let me know! -Kelly

  11. That's amazing, I didn't know you could do that much in PS! I have been wanting a "good" camera for years, and have started looking back into it because of you!

  12. LOL -- the joke is on me -- I did view source on your webpage to see if you had made a picture for your header and saw the template that you used. I NEVER thought to check your FAQ! haha ha!

    But, thanks for the template idea anyway! :)

  13. Gorgeous, as usual. I seriously need to get photo editing software; iphoto sucks.
    What's the weather like here.....freakin' hot. That's what the weather is like here. How many weeks until January?


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