Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31

One month down.....eleven more to go (or 334 more days)! I can't believe it's already the end of January. Thank you to everyone who has been following and for the comments and encouragement!

I ride the train every day, but I spend all my time on either the train itself or on the platform. Today on a walk with the husband and dogs I tried to capture the train in a different way than I'm used to seeing it. I like the way the sun is shining through the tracks although I wish I would have been able to capture the rays of sun actually coming down. I think I needed to shoot from a slightly different angle.

In PS I adjusted the colors to make them more bold.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30

I actually shot this mid day and used the gray skies and sunny glare to my advantage in PS. First I added an exposure layer to tone down the glare. Next I used the selective color tool to turn the neutral and white colors in the sky into the orange-ish color. Lastly I added some contrast. I like the silhouette of the bridge and trees.

Clybourn Bridge:

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29

A very relaxing weekend ahead.

Took this while Troy and I were at the grocery store tonight picking up some things for dinner. I like the bright colors.

In PS I played around with the exposure/saturation/contrast to make the colors more dramatic. I also used the clone stamp tool (my favorite tool of the week) and removed all the little annoying stickers from the apples.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28

I'm probably breaking 20 different photography rules here, but I liked this shot.
My favorite part is how the ropes on the net get lost among the vines. This basketball hoop is located in an alley behind our place and looks to be long ago forgotten. I feel like the vines taking over the hoop tell the whole story. Some may disagree and just call it busy. I may have to try this one again in the summer when the vines are filled in.

In PS I added an exposure layer to lighten the photo some. I took it at night and didn't want to drown everything out by using the flash (when I was taking the shot I raised my ISO up to almost 2000 to compensate). Second, I added a contrast to bring out some of the vines' shadows. Lastly I lowered the saturation down so that the yellowness from the street light wasn't as pronounced.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27

Happy Wednesday! C'mon Friday!
I'm watching the State of the Union Address so this will be short. I'm excited to see where the next few years take us.

I love chocolate! Milk, dark, with peanuts, in a cookie, or in/on my ice cream. Pretty much any type you can imagine. To my knowledge the only chocolates I don't like are chocolate covered cherries. Yuck.
So, you can imagine how awful it is to walk by both the Hershey's and Ghirardelli stores twice each day. Fortunately my will power has held up thus far.

Just played around with the coloring some tonight. Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26

I was digging around the house tonight for our once-cherished-now-forgotten point and shoot camera charger. Having looked everywhere else I decided to check the end table drawer. Not there. Maybe it's in the other end table drawer. Nope. Hmmmm.....maybe the coffee table drawer? Nada.

I did however find not one, not two, but FIVE wireless mice in one drawer. How is that possible you ask? No idea. But, because it made me laugh I'm posting a picture. I tried making the mice look more interesting than they were (let's face it, that may not even be possible) by shooting from an angle that we rarely look at them. Normally we view them from above and I thought this would add a little "something" to the photo.


In PS I sharpened, adjusted the saturation levels, and played around with a selective color layer. The biggest change was adjusting the contrast levels to bring out the red and blue colors.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25

Monday. Ughhh. Ever have one of those days that you wake up and decide that THIS is the day you're going to cross all of those things off of your "to-do" list? Today was mine. Except, I didn't get even one. ONE. Unbelievable. I did however spend hours researching issues that didn't even pertain to my list. So like I said...Ughhh. But tomorrow is a new day (albeit, full of meetings and inevitable un-productiveness).

Tonight's post was snapped on my way home from work. Remember all of those tourists that choose to visit Chicago in sub-zero weather? Well, carriage rides are one of those things that they seem to enjoy. During the colder months and into Spring horse carriages line the square around the water tower.


I adjusted the exposure and added a black and white layer focusing on red and yellow hues. I also added a yellow/brown tint when I was done.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24

Today's post was taken on my way home from picking up dinner. The husband wasn't feeling well and I wasn't about to interrupt my lazy day with something like cooking. :)
We have an awesome soup place called Soup Box a short walk from us (I highly advise checking it out if you're ever in the area). Seeing as I hadn't taken a photo today I took my camera along.

In PS I added an exposure layer and a b&w layer. I also cropped it at the top to cut out some empty space that made the picture look unbalanced.

Puddle Reflection:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23

OK. Late night post.
Had our post-holiday party tonight and we're just now getting home.
My intention was to post before we went out, but that didn't happen.

Tonight's post makes me laugh. It was a photo I shot this afternoon while walking down a random street. It's an apartment above a restaurant in the city. Looks like someone began painting but never followed through with the plan. I just love how the change in paint colors is so drastic. And why would someone quit halfway through?


Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22

Met the husband downtown for lunch today. He was doing "work" which entailed walking around Macy's so I tagged you can imagine he had to drag me there kicking and screaming.

Tonight's post is dedicated to the "me time" in all of us. I have a weakness....or maybe a couple. Mainly it boils down to jeans and shoes and I don't feel the least bit bad about it. I just chalk it up to "therapy".

In PS I added an exposure layer and lowered the offset. In addition I also added contrast and saturation. I also adjusted the hue.

"Me Time" spent with a Girl's Best Friend:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21

January has been helpful with the blog. Because I do a post each day, my "Day" titles line up with the day of the month. Unfortunately in a little over a week this will no longer be the case. I will however be that person full of useless knowledge who can tell you what day of the year it is!

Today's photo was taken on my way home from work. I couldn't get out at lunch and had to rush home for a conference call so I was getting desperate. The headlights of an old Jeep caught my eye. You don't see round headlights very often any more. I used PS to make this have an almost "cartoon" effect. This was done with multiple layers of exposure, contrast and saturation. I like the way the street light is reflecting off of the small water puddles on the body of the jeep.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20

This week is FLYING by. Normally this would be a good thing, but I've got so much to get done that it only leaves me wishing for more hours in the day.

Round 2 of Kettlebell tonight - hopefully my muscles are prepared. I've been giving them prep talks all day.

I didn't have time to get out during lunch today so I took this on my way home. Unfortunately I didn't have my tripod with me so I didn't even come close to getting the effect I was after. I had to leave my shutter speed open for one second so naturally everything in the frame also became blurry, not just the cars. I'll have to try the shot again when I have my tripod with me.

In PS I added an exposure layer to bring the lights out more (my original was a little overexposed). I also added some contrast.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19

In this city there are thousands of hotels, but rarely do you see one of the most well known with no cabs, town cars, people mingling or valet attendants out front. It seems so serene without all the hustle.

In PS I saturated the photo to focus more on what I was trying to bring out (letters, lit pillars, etc) and also added a black and white layer. Lastly I added some yellow tint to the the b&w layer.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18

What a great day!! I've had an itch to go snowboarding lately so I loaded up my board and set out for the mountain.....or mole hill. There's a ski area about an hour north of the city in Wisconsin. I knew the runs would be short and the snow would be more ice than snow. What I didn't anticipate however were the 5 busloads of kids that showed up. (Damn, I thought it was only a holiday for me). But, it was still fun, and although it was nothing like Colorado or Tahoe it fulfilled my need.

On the way back I took the "scenic" route (Yes, mom, it was intentional) and snapped some shots along the way.

Rehab (yes I realize how wrong this is):

For the "Rehab" photo I wish that the sky would have been a bit more blue. Maybe I could have used the quick selection tool to select that area and modify the colors within it to bring out the sky a bit more. Might have to play around with it a again. :)


I really ended up liking the yellow pic. I love bright colors in the dead of winter. Just such a wake up for the eyes when all you've seen for months are shades of grey.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17

Sundays are great. Only one thing makes them better....having Monday off! Happy MLK day to all. What a great day for our nation to celebrate how far we have come!

Went to a fantastic brunch today complete with mimosas and bloody mary's and followed it up with an afternoon movie. We saw Crazy Heart based on all of the great reviews we had heard. It was good and definitely worth seeing.

Today's shot was taken while we were walking back from brunch. No idea why there was a random police sign on the ground, especially outside of a hospital, but I tried to take advantage of it. Thank you Troy for being my foot model. :) I liked the bold colors of the sign and jeans against the dull winter ground.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16

Tonight's post is a two-fer.
The first is a "guest blog" of sorts. My husband Troy took a few pictures of our dog Brinker this afternoon and I thought they were too good not to post. So, below is the first pic of today. I did the editing in PS and just ended up adding some contrast and cropping it just a bit. I really liked the way he only had half of his face in the frame. I thought it turned out great!


The second is more of a fun photo. Since my mom's birthday vacation last year to Napa our family has adopted a new member. Javier is a hot dog....with legs....and arms. He tends to make random appearances in photos. So here is his first introduction to the Internet. Please give Javier a warm welcome.

The husband and I were particularly bored today so we staged a Javier cook off outside in the snow using a random sculpture we brought back from Mexico a few years ago.

Wiener Roast:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15

Ahhh, the start to another three day weekend!
Having some problems with PS tonight so I didn't get to edit much. I used a few simple tools out of Picasa, but for the most part what you see is straight out of the camera.

I really like trying to find an interesting shot out of the simple things. In this case a fire escape against a baby blue building gave some great contrast.

Early morning tomorrow so I'm signing off! Happy Friday!

Fire Escape:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14

I hate Kettlebells!!! I can barely take my shoes off. I wonder if they sell whole body wraps of those heat pads that you stick on your back? If not, they should seriously consider developing them. And, they should sell them at Costco so that I can buy them in bulk. Okay, so it's maybe not THAT bad, but I am much more aware of some muscle groups that I didn't know I had. Being the fool I am I've already made plans to go again next week!

Today's shot was taken outside the Capital Grille downtown. Normally statues don't arouse my interest but this one had so much character I had to attempt to capture it.
I really like the facial expression here. There was almost a grumpy-sad feeling to it. Normally statues are so stoic and expressionless.

For this shot I actually put the lion half out of the frame (no cropping). It was completely symmetrical so I thought having the whole lion in the frame was too much. I really wanted to focus on what I found interesting and thought this was the best way to do it.

I used PS to fade out the background so that the focus was on the statue. I also used some coloring/hue/saturation tools to help bring out the red beneath the peeling paint.


Also, thought it would be fun to show where I found this guy and how big they are(I used the one on the right). This is from the Capital Grille website:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13

Another late post tonight. My friend Nicole and I went to a kettlebell class tonight for the first time. We had NO idea what we were getting into. Possibly the most grueling yet rewarding workout I've ever had. I think we'll make it a weekly thing! I'm sure tomorrow when I can't walk I'll feel differently. :)

Tonight's photo didn't turn out as well as I would have liked.
I wanted to capture the movement of the train, but I think I should have slowed my shutter speed a little more - to me it just ended up looking out of focus. In PS I played around with the hue and saturation.

Night Train:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12

Chicago is a city of underground tunnels. Some are used more than others, and some have been completely abandoned (evident in the highway collapse last year). The one in the photo below is an underground passageway that connects the city to the lakeside path used by millions of Chicago residents during the warmer months (myself included). But, during the winter the walkway is quite. A weird feeling when you're so used to fighting your way down the stairs and trying to dodge bicyclers and rollerbladers as you make your way to the path.

In PS I changed the hue to green to give it the "eerie" feel that I was after. I also added some contrast to bring out the puddles on the ground and the graffiti on the wall.

The black backround doesn't really help much but it's late and I've got an early call in the morning.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11

Chicago is such a great city!!
I escaped from work today over lunch and walked over to an area I don't often get a chance to visit. There's always something new to see or discover just around the corner....literally.
This billboard was amazing. It was one of those things that you can't take your eyes off of. Talk about good advertising!

In PS I cropped this shot so I could focus more on the billboard. I also sharpened the photo as well as adding some contrast and saturation to bring out the green a little more. I wanted it to be (more) dramatic.

Green Girl:

On a side note, what's the deal with the Bachelor? I don't watch the show but happened to see a preview where one of the girls had to leave the house because she had had "inappropriate relations" with one of the staff members. Seriously? I'm pretty sure the whole show is scripted.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10

Wow, the weekends just seem to fly by! I can't believe it's already Sunday evening. Time to settle down with the husband for a movie, dinner, and glass of wine.

Sunday's are normally our time to relax. Be couch potatoes, catch up on movies, shows, etc. Time to do those things that we can't find time to do during the week. Unfortunately for us today didn't go as planned meaning that we actually had to be semi-productive.

But one of our "boys" took one for the team and did some relaxing for us. I can guarantee this won't be the last you see of dog pictures...


For this shot I didn't do much editing, just some sharpening and added some contrast. I think maybe I would have liked it a little more had all of his paws been in focus. I was using my 1.8 55mm lens which is hard to bring multiple things into focus especially under the lighting conditions I had.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9

We went out to dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant (outside of Italy) to celebrate our good friend Eric's birthday tonight. I honestly can't think of anything better than an evening spent with good food and great friends!
If you're ever in the city you have to check out Rose Angelis. Great Italian food with even better service. If you go, ask for Sergio and get the bread pudding!

Took the below photo today with "vintage" in mind. We have a fan we bought a while back that is modeled after the old vintage fans. But, because it's new of course it looks like it's trying to hard. Yes, our fan is trying to be something it's not. A shame.

So, I turned up my ISO intentionally to cause more "noise" and saturated it some. Finally I put a black and white layer on it. After all, in vintage photos you rarely see color. :)

Vintage Fan:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8

I thought Friday would never get here! What a long week. I need another three day weekend!

Today's post is an effort to remind myself of warmer times. Specifically margaritas, a patio and good friends. It's really all one needs to feel content.

In PS I experimented with the quick selection tool - which I LOVE! I selected just the one lime and changed the hue/saturation/brightness to easily change it from lime to lemon. When the lens gives you limes.....make lemons. Or something like that.

The lemon ended up looking a little bit fake, but it's 10:30 on Friday night and I'm done for today.

I like the reflection and think that it added depth to the photo.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7

Happy one week anniversary to the 2010 In Photos Blog!
Late post tonight. Went out for drinks and dinner for some much needed girl time (thanks Becca and Nicole!).
I walk by this corner everyday and have never noticed the graffiti. I love how this project has forced me to open my eyes. I'm seeing things and looking for shots in a way that I never did before....and it's only the first week!
I know that many people are adamantly against "street art" as it's often referred to, but I'm not yet sure how I feel. I of course disagree with the defacing of personal property, etc., but after reading Mole People I feel I understand (to an extent) the other side of the story. I'm in no way condoning the act, I simply think that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I slowed my shutter speed to 60 to capture the cars moving in the background and focused in on my point of interest. I also shot at an agle to create more visual interest.In PS I sharpened and added some contrast.

Street "art":

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6

To all of those servers, bartenders, table runners, hostesses, and line cooks out there: Thank You!!! After having worked in many of the roles above I can honestly say the restaurant business is one of the most thankless, cruel, stressful, alcoholic, drug abusing, insane and completely rewarding places that one can call home. It's a whole different world and until you've been a part of it you can't possibly understand.

I owe a ton to the restaurant world. For starters I met a lot of really great people, my husband topping that list. You also learn a lot about yourself. I learned I could tell a little white lie pretty well ("The chef messed up your order, I'm really sorry. It should be out shortly" was code for "I forgot to put your order in"). I learned that everyone dates each other and no one has secrets. I learned that it's ok to get mad (more specifically it's ok to tell off the one top "library lady" who comes in every week, requests to sit in your section and then stiffs you after you refill her diet Pepsi 18 times - hypothetically speaking of course). Most importantly though, I learned what it felt like to have a group of friends that would do anything for you and will always be there for you.

So thank you to all of you out there for doing such a great job. It's not easy. I know. (and to those of you who suck - please stop working in the business)

Closing Time:
I wasn't horribly happy with the picture. I liked the colors, but it just didn't capture my interest. Looked better through the lens than it did as a final product.

Sooo......I played around in PS a little......

Closing Time (2):

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5

Over lunch today I went over to the Museum of Contemporary Art. It's a great place to escape and worth a visit if you're ever in the area. (Free admission on Tuesdays for any fellow Chicagoans).

Today's shot was my first attempt to capture a random stranger. I felt a little bit like I was stalking people, but I think I came away undetected, almost stealth like. (At least that's what I'm telling myself so that I'm not "that creepy chic with the camera".)

Museum Girl:

I tried my luck at PS tonight with saturation, color balance, and a grey scale gradient. In addition I edited out the straps of the bag - I thought they were just busy. The original shot is below - unedited.

Museum Girl (original):

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4

Working 8-5 (on a good day) does not allow for much time to be chumming around the city taking pictures, especially when day light savings time is in effect. So today I hauled my camera along with me to work. What did I learn? I learned that I need a new camera bag. The current arrangement is not working. Luckily we ordered one on Saturday and it should be here within the week!

One of the great things about my job is the location. I'm right downtown on Michigan avenue where there is a plethora of history and amazing architecture all within a few square blocks. The downfall is that no matter the time of day or time of year you are bound to be mobbed by giant groups of tourists. Because of the latter this shot was difficult to get today due to all of the foot traffic. Why people visit Chicago in January will never cease to be a mystery to me.

I shot the below in auto (for some reason I just couldn't get my shutter speed/aperture right). I sharpened the image in PS and saturated it some. Enjoy


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3

It's Sunday, and the end to a very relaxing weekend. I'm curing the "Sunday Sadies" with a glass of wine and a very past due season of Dexter via Netflix with the husband. Already looking forward to next Friday!

Over the last few years I have begun to collect match books from everywhere we go. It's a convenient reminder of restaurants, bars, etc. that we have been and those that we would like to go back to. This has become increasingly more difficult however with more and more places moving toward non-smoking (don't get me wrong, I think this is great). In some cases toothpicks are substituted for matches which actually just serve to irritate me more....seems like a cheap cover up. But I digress. For this photo I arranged the matchbooks against a black back drop and used a lower aperture (4.8) to blur the background. I boosted the contrast in PS and sharpened the image just a bit.

Match Lesson:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 2

I love 3 day weekends! Only Saturday and a whole day to look forward to still!
We went downtown to a movie this afternoon and I snapped a couple of shots while we were out. (By the way, the movie I drug my manly-man husband to was It's Complicated. 1 for Deidra, 0 for Troy.)


As you'll see from the picture it's still horribly cold here. I liked the berries in this picture that were still visible under the ice. I also took it from a different angle (below) but think that the blue sky takes away from what I was trying to capture. The only PS edit I used was sharpening and cropping to enforce the Rule of Thirds (thanks Wayne!!).

Iceberries (blue):

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 1

Happy New Year!
Well, I attempted to go out and snap a few pictures today but 18 degrees and snowy don't make for ideal conditions. It was time to head home when I couldn't feel my toes and couldn't tell if my finger was actually pressing the shutter button. (I realize it's only day 1 and I'm already making excuses, but I made it out there!)

This was taken in a park a few blocks away. I liked the bright blue posts of the swing set. I sharpened the image in PS and added some contrast. The snow seems over exposed, maybe a filter of some kind would help, or maybe a PS trick that I haven't yet discovered. Enjoy.