February 16, 2018: A Nuance in Time

Focusing on what's important in their world

Focusing on what’s important in their world

Yes, I know I’ve not been blogging since January.  In truth, it’s been a struggle coping with events, politics, school shootings, the shortsightedness of our professional politicians, the continued dismantling of social systems acquired through hard struggle since The Great Depression…bills passed by Congress to do “the right thing”, though at times, passage seemed dicey even when both sides of the aisle were working together to make society better for our citizens, and by inference, making life better for all countries.

So, how does “A Nuance in Time” come into play with the very somber opening state of mind I’ve painted in the opening paragraph.  Perhaps my morning’s Haiku describes it best, particularly in view of the violence my country seems so invested in:

The Moon and Spindle

The Moon and Spindle

    A nuance in time

     Subtle moments in my mind

     Opening New Worlds

These small moments of insight are what keep me going, lifts my spirits, allows me to envision a better future in spite of the systematic destruction of citizen’s rights, freedom of the press,

The Tree that always lifts our spirits

The Tree that always lifts our spirit

the right to free speech and the environment, the absolute insanity of gun rights over citizen’s safety and their right to have their children live in a world without fear of dying in our schools.  That one day, this horrible phase our country, our world, is going through, will come to an end as sanity, reason, and logic once again prevails over darkness as we begin the restoration of those social systems, justice, inequality, deportation of those who came to America in good faith and rights eroded ruing this bleak period.

Each of these images are those small “Nuances in my mind” that allow me to cope, to see, that, even when everything seemingly is awry, there are moments of clarity that allow me to envision a better future.

Balance between light and shadow

Balance between light and shadow

Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, that I could be viewing the world through rose-colored glasses instead of staring reality in the eye…perhaps, yet these “Nuances in Time” are what fuels me when I need to look reality in the eye when earlier this week, as part of our Tacoma group of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, we engaged our state Representatives and Senators at the local and national level that it is time to address gun control issues, that small steps are better than trying to “understand the big picture”  before I vote on gun control (fill in the blank) measures (actual quote by one of my Republican state representatives).

If we all do our part to in reversing the madness, the sooner we can welcome sanity back into our collective world!

Tommy

 

 

 

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January 21, 2018: Capture One Pro and Luminar 18 – The Work Flow and Look I’ve Been Long Searching For

(Note:  This is a post long brewing in my mind on the use of Phase One Capture One Pro and Luminar 2018 for my post processing.  Please click on each image for enlarged view.  All images copyrighted)

Mt. Rainier, Washington. Iphone 7 photo processed in Apple Photos and Luminar 2018

Since my early years working with digital photography, my post processing (PP) has been with the venerable Photoshop (PS) as, at the time, it was really the only game in town.  Yes, there were other platforms but PS seemed (at least to me) to be the best platform for the type of PP that worked for me.  Yet, at the same time, as each PS upgrade was issued, there were more and more  features provided in the update – ultimately, far more that I ever used.  I’m a basic PP photographer…I want a process that’s fast, gives me the look I want without being overwhelmed with features I never used, or will ever use.  That, plus the high cost of buying each PS upgrade was becoming cost prohibitive in many ways given my limited used of its features.  Granted, each upgrade had compelling reasons that made PP easier to swallow – a plus that made life easier in obtaining that “look” that defines your work.

Lighthouse, Heceta Beach, Oregon. Initially process in Capture One Pro then in Luminar 2018

Lighthouse, Heceta Beach, Oregon. Capture One Pro / Luminar 2018

Yet, the high cost of ownership was an issue for me and I decided to give their subscription a try.  At first I went with their “all for one price” subscription as I did occasionally us other Adobe platforms besides PS.  Eventually, the monthly fee for the “every platform for one price” hit that cost prohibitive marker again so I switched to their $10.00 a month plan for PS and Lightroom.  While much better on the pocket-book, I still wasn’t happy, especially given as I was essentially “leasing” their products and would be doing so for as long as I continued PP my digital (or scanned) photos.  Not a happy camper at this point.

 

Lighthouse, Heceta Beach, Oregon. Initially process in Capture One Pro then in Luminar 2018

Sunset, Cape Disappointment, Washington State. Capture One Pro / Luminar 2018

I tried other platforms on a trial basis but they weren’t what I was looking for and, quite honestly, weren’t working for my type of PP.

Ultimately I downloaded a trial version of Phase One’s Capture One Pro 8 (CP8) software program and was immediately hooked on its possibilities.  Granted, at the time, CP 8 didn’t meet all my requirements but I kept using it and soon realized this was my Adobe Photoshop replacement – especially in each subsequent Capture One Pro update

Heceta Beach Lighthouse, Oregon. Initially processed in Capture One Pro then in Luminar 2018

Sunset, Heceta Head Beach Lighthouse, Oregon. Capture One Pro / Luminar 2018

included more essential features that I was looking for with each upgrade (CP 9, CP 10, and the latest, CP 11), making Capture One Pro has more powerful, faster, overall improvements and providing more useful features that I use on a daily base.  It’s my daily “go-to” editor and my Photoshop usage has dropped to one or two times a month.  Yes, the initial cost of purchasing Capture One is steep (yet, 1/2 the price of Photoshop) but that was a one time cost and their upgrade fee for each major upgrade (e.g., CP 10 to 11) is modest compared to Photoshop upgrades of days past.

Boston Ivy on a Cedar wood Sauna. iPhone 7, processed first in Apple Photos then in Luminar 2018.

Boston Ivy on a Cedar wood Sauna. iPhone 7 Plus, processed first in Apple Photos / Luminar 2018.

This is not an Abode Photoshop or Lightroom bashing post.  They both have their strengths and weaknesses.  My son uses only Photoshop and Lightroom as both platforms fit his style.  He tried Capture One Pro for a while and went back to PS as they offer what he wants in PP.  My son’s style is completely different in look and style than mine and I thoroughly enjoy his work and the way he sees photo opportunities.

 

My photo forte is landscape and flora photography.  While I shoot other subjects, these two genres are what I search for, thrive on, and strive to portray on-screen and in print that image as realistic as I can with a minimum of PP work and time.  The magical combination of Capture One Pro and Luminar 2018 has finally allowed me to portray on-screen or in print, the image I saw in my mind when I pushed the shutter.

For a far better, more detailed review of using Capture One Pro with Luminar, please see this link.

For a feature rich overview of Luminar 2018, please see this link.

In full disclosure…I do not receive any reimbursement, services, or perks from Capture One Pro, or Luminar 2018 – these tools have become my essential post processing platforms that allows me that “look” I strive for with a minimum of time and effort.

More images for your review:

Heceta Beach, Oregon. Capture One Pro / Luminar 2018

 

Sunrise, Graham, WA. Capture One Pro and Luminar 2018

Sunrise, Graham, Washington State. Capture One Pro / Luminar 2018

Sunrise, Graham, Washington. Capture One Pro and Luminar 2018

Sunrise, Graham, Washington State. Capture One Pro / Luminar 2018

 

Sunset, Coast Guard Station, Cape Disappointment, Washington State. Capture One Pro / Luminar 2018

Sunset, Coast Guard Station, Cape Disappointment, Washington State. Capture One Pro / Luminar 2018

Thistle in Bloom, Graham, Washington State. Capture One Pro / Luminar 2018

Thistle in Bloom, Graham, Washington State. Capture One Pro / Luminar 2018

 

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December 21, 2017: Merry Solstice to All – The Eckbank Table of Solstice Baking

Over the years one of our Solstice traditions my wife has always kept to  is the Solstice baking schedule to bake cookies, cakes, making peanut brittle, pecan fudge, sugar cookies, Fudge Delice (my favorite and made with dark chocolate), pizzella, shortbread, ginger pies, “Elsa” cookies, Red Velvet cookies, and so much more…21 tins in all.  As each day’s baking cooled, whatever was baked was  placed in one of our many holiday tins collected over the years and placed on a table dedicated for Solstice Baking.  The magical aroma of the day’s baking wafted though the house and when I came home each December evening, it was like walking into a bakery.

The urge to “sample” was overpowering at times but the rule was no sneaking, tasting, or even opening a can once it was placed on the Solstice table until after dinner on Solstice Eve.  As each day neared Solstice Eve  the holiday tins grew and grew and grew until finally Solstice dinner was enjoyed by all and the tins could be opened and sampled to each heart’s delight.

This year, the Solstice Table was our recently acquired German Eckbank in the den,

Without further adieu, today’s image is the “Eckbank Table of Solstice Baking”.  (I’ve also included an index of what each can contains.)

The Eckbank Of Solstice Baking

The Eckbank Of Solstice Baking

Eckbank Table of Baking index

Eckbank Table of Baking index

From each of us to each of you…Merry Solstice and may the New Year usher in a better world for all of us!

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

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December 20, 2017: Solstice Challenge – Solstice Eve Flyby

My wife’s favorite ornament for the Solstice Eve celebration…

Solstice Eve Visitor

Solstice Eve Visitor

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December 19th, 2017: Homemade Solstice Decorations

Over the years my wife has handmade a number of our decorations and this year she made a number of craft faux porcelain decorations to put on our trees.  Once dried in the oven, they can be hand painted and have a porcelain-like appearance.  Once fully cured, they don’t break easy and can be placed outside without worry about getting damp.

Homemade "faux" Porcelain Solstice Stars

Homemade “faux” Porcelain Solstice Stars

 

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December 18, 2017: Solstice Challenge – The Gingerbread Mountain Of Gold Hoard

My wife had an inspiration a short while ago when contemplating which Gingerbread house to make for the grandkids.  As we were talking she thought of making a Gingerbread “Mountain” with gold coins inside that would tumble out when the grandkids began to take the sides off.  The idea originally came from an Ikea gift bag that provided an idea for window covers but morphed into the Gingerbread “mountain of gold” idea.

Soon the Gingerbread dough was made, cut into appropriate shapes, baked, cooled, icing applied in appropriate colors, and Royal icing used to “glue” to hold the mountain together.  Once the mountain was constructed and dried, gold chocolate coins were dropped down the top until the inside of the mountain was chock full of luscious chocolate gold coins.  Final touch ups with the royal icing, allowed to dry completely and then placed under a glass dome.  Here’s a link to my wife’s post where she is much more eloquent than I about the Gingerbread Mountain.

It’s magnificent to say the least!  The grandkids saw it for the first time this weekend and immediately called it “Elsa’s Castle”.  We can’t wait to “open” Elsa’s Castle on Solstice eve (after dinner on Wednesday).  And, the grandkids will be completely surprised when they pull a triangle off and the chocolate coins come tumbling out!

When you lift the glass dome you’re absolutely entranced by the gingerbread aroma…it’s simple a fantastic aroma.

The image is a crazy diorama of sorts with Matryoshka dolls on either side and our old German coffee grinder looking down.  The Matryoshka dolls in the background were featured in a previous post a short while ago and the two in the front are the “self-righting” types when tilted over.

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December 17, 2017: Solstice Challenge – Espresso, Anyone?

Yes, we live in the Pacific Northwest…espresso is everywhere, even on our tree!

Espresso, Anyone?

Espresso, Anyone?

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