Monday, May 31, 2010

It Takes Two to Tango

This pair of turtles enjoy the early morning sunshine in the Horicon Marsh.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pelicans in Wisconsin?

I think of Pelicans as being Florida birds, but we saw a 5-pack of these white ones soaring overhead at the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Refuge in southern Wisconsin.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night

Well, not really. Over my house, the sky was blue, but the soaring humidity and these clouds building in the west suggest a front is moving in.

Processed in Topaz Adjust, and converted to black & white.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Back in the day

What day? The day when gas stations had all these cools signs, advertising their wares. This shot was taken under a bridge in downtown Chicago. Perhaps Ellen and Mary Lou will recognize it?

Cropped out some excess bridge deck and applied a little Topaz Adjust (Highlights recovery) to try to tone down the reflection over the upper right edge of the sign.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Land of the Free...

and the home of the Bears....

Historic Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, named to honor the men and women who serve our country, is home to the National Football League Chicago Bears.

 The stadium served as the start and end point of the ABTA walk.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In the harbor

Chicago is a great city - amazing skyscrapers, world-class restaurants, museums and theater productions, and a fabulous lake front. I took this photo during the ABTA walk, in one of the many lake-front marinas the city has to offer.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

To serve and protect

These two Chicago Police Officers pose for a photo at the close of the American Brain Tumor Association's "Path to Progress" walk, held May 22 in Chicago. I walked to support a good friend who is 2.5 years post-diagnosis and going strong.

Friday, May 21, 2010

From the not-so-distant past...

OK, so this is a few months old (taken near Page, Arizona over the New Year's holiday), but I was playing around in Topaz tonight and decided to post my results.

The original of this was a JPEG image. Not as many tools in RAW to play with, but I did manage to bring back the most distant mountains, which were originally obscured by the clouds.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So many droplets, so little time

A fine mist leaves a tiny trail of droplets on this tulip.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another Fair Lady

Strolling through St. James Park in London, we passed a small children's play area. This little girl was very absorbed in smoothing the sand.

Processing: Topaz Adjust 4 - HDR sketch. I masked out the effect on her face and hands; it was too detailed and too pink. Added a subtle vignette in Photoshop.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Fair Lady?

Portrait of a street performer along the promenade on the River Thames in London. Very little processing; this is pretty much straight out of the camera, after converting from RAW to JPEG.

Monday, May 17, 2010


What would a BMX bike racer thing about this?

Apparently, not all who participate in the sporting life actually go anywhere. This street performer shows his stuff on the promenade along the River Thames in London.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


No particular mysterious meaning...just some cool brushed aluminum numbers on a Chicago side street. Very busy image, but it started to rain and I didn't want to keep my camera out, so I only took the one shot. Played around with Topaz - Ghostly Night (think that's its name?). I'm still not really happy with it, but, here you go...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Canterbury Cathedral...looking up

I would have needed a wide-angle lens to capture this gorgeous entryway from the ground to the tops of the spires.

Added a new sky, processing done in Topaz Adjust - small details. (LOVE Adjust 4 - it's so much faster than version 3!)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Trailing off into the distant distance

There are innumerable sets of repeating arches inside Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England. This place was amazing....stained glass, soaring ceilings, crypts of past Bishops of Canterbury everywhere. A choir was singing for the early part of our visit, really adding to the ambiance. We were transported into the distant past...the 1200s. I'm really glad we got a chance to visit this special place. Processed with Topaz Adjust 4 - Detailed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Still crowded, only this time in black and white

I had a couple of people ask to see my "crowded" post in Black and White. A simple conversion was too dark, so I created a new layer, used Topaz Adjust Neutralizer, desaturated, and here's the results.
I wish the large, white "Sports Direct" shopping bag weren't in the sure snags your eye.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Go on...I dare you...

I am a long-time fan of the Kinsey Millhone books, authored by Sue Grafton. One of Kinsey's favorite quick meals is a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. Each time I read of her sampling one, I shudder.

For some reason, however, today, I decided to try one. I took these shots before I went the extra step of grilling this. It was surprisingly tasty!

So...I challenge you to try this. Post back if you sample this little tasty treat. I used smooth peanut butter and kosher dill slices, but I imagine bread & butter pickles would be just as good.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Looking up...

Back to England. This is a shot of the Abbey in the lovely town of Bath. The surfaces of most of the buildings in Bath are made up of the native limestone, giving the entire village a warm, honey-colored feel.

Monday, May 10, 2010

These boots were made for walking...

Playing around with some street shots on crowded Carnaby Street in London

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another take on the passage of time

Long-time Villagers may recognize this moose from the very first EZ challenge. Wandering around Chicago with Ellen and Mary Lou, we came upon this guy and promptly lined up to snap a few images. We are currently on EZ #105 (2 years plus, and going strong), so this guy, as the original EZ mascot, has definitely withstood the passage of time. Thanks, Ellen, for keeping it going!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Some things can stand the test of time...

The musical "Hair" premiered off-Broadway in 1967. 42 years later, it's thrilling new audiences. The passage of time seems to have affected it little.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pair - redux

These two-of-a-kind black swans were caught preening in Regent's Park in London. A touch of Topaz brought out some of the detail in their feathers.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A little looney...

Loons are generally found in quiet, remote, northern US and Canadian lakes. What a surprise, then, to spot this loon hanging out in the 20-acre fishing lake in a busy suburban park. The recreation path around the water is routinely busy with runners, cyclists, roller bladers, little kids and pets. This loon seemed oblivious to it all. We spotted it several times over a two week period. Who know what lurks in the mind of wildlife?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Walking through a nearby forest preserve after dinner last night, we came upon this bed of interesting plants. Each leafy green, umbrella-shaped plant carefully protected a single white blossom. It was quite windy, and I had to sit patiently until the plant was still enough to take this photo. Processed using Topaz Adjust, added a vignette in Photoshop, and dodged the flower somewhat to brighten it up. Does anyone know what this is?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

An unusual blogger occurrence

While commenting on Michelle's blog, the word verify was an actual word!


Wonder how often THAT happens??

The dynamic duo

This pair of cardinals decided to have a late lunch at our pair of bird feeders.

Shot through the window on Sports mode. Lazy, but it got the job done!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tweet tweet

I'm pretty sure this little guy is a Pine Warbler. What I am sure of is that he's yellow, and has a pretty song.

This is a much more fun shot than last year's entry for yellow, which was of some lame-o plywood in our local big-box home improvement store.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Armor for young and old

In the White Tower, within the grounds of the Tower of London, was a fascinating display of armor. It seems there were sizes for young and old. Imagine a small child, having to wear this...

Shutter speed: 1/20, f/3.5 (it was dark in there!) ISO 800, focal length, 18mm

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Looking cool...

Three of the high school students on our London trip, stylin' in their 3-d glasses, waiting for the pre-ride video on the London Eye. Very cool!!