Autumn Trees Gone Swirly

I’ve been working with a newer version of my old graphics program, getting used to how they’ve changed some of the old functions and playing with the new ones. I had a nice photo of autumn trees as the sample I was playing with, and when I played with the ‘oil painting’ function, I really liked how it looked! I won’t be using this filter on everything, but the result here was colorful and swirly, and you can’t say no to that.

Click the image to see the larger zoom image (can see a lot more swirly details) at my gallery at Imagekind – prints are available framed, unframed, and on canvas, if you’re looking for a little unusual rainbow nature color for your wall. *grin*

Interesting tidbit – some of these trees aren’t there anymore. A few got broken in half and blown over by the winds of Hurricane Sandy.

A Hurricane Sandy Report from Upstate New York

Hurricane Sandy came through Monday here in the Mid-Hudson Valley of Upstate NY. I know we got off so very easy compared to some of our friends that we know down in New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, people who were flooded up to 8 ft., and pretty much lost everything.  We are keeping them all in our thoughts and in our hearts.

Our experience here was one of intense gusty winds that howled all day and night, shook the house and made it creak like crazy.  At one point in the afternoon we heard a giant CRACK sound, and saw through a window that one of the maple trees across the yard by the road had snapped in half, each half barely connected by shreds of trunk.

Then, as I went to a different front window to get a better look, I was in for a surprise.  One of the 70ft. pine trees in the front yard was now horizontal on the ground, when it wasn’t just a few seconds ago. There was no CRACK this time, as the whole thing was simple uprooted (pines have notoriously shallow root systems for some reason). It was like it just layed down and  peacefully stretched across the yard – we didn’t hear a thing.  And we looked at each other knowing that it could have slammed down on the house had the wind taken a slightly different track.

This first photo has the downed tree from the root perspective, also showing its closeness to the house. I know that others experienced trees falling on their houses and cars, but we were still freaked out and relieved with the same intensity at this ‘near hit’. The silence of the fall was even scarier, as there was no warning at all.

This next photo shows the height of the two remaining trees next to the fallen one, to give you an idea of how tall it was.

Another picture, taken near our front porch. Had the pine gone down the other way, it could have blocked the driveway, or landed on John’s car.

And just another closeup of the roots, etc. The top of the fallen tree extends a lot farther than the image shows, but still fell a few yards short of landing on our Cable/Internet/Phone wire way in the back of the photo (can’t see it). Something else for which we were thankful.

We were without power for 2 days and a few hours. Luckily, I had decided that I was going to pre-fill some of the plastic bins we’d put outside to catch rain water, so that they didn’t blow away in the wind, because we hardly got ANY rain (and we needed stored water to flush toilets since we have well water and no power to the well pump.) Some sprinkles maybe. But had it rained, it would have softened up the ground and we would have definitely lost more trees than we did.  (You can see in the photos how surrounded by trees we are – one reason we love this area!)

So we’re mostly back to normal here, except for the horizontal tree in the front yard, the broken maple, and a lot of branches to clean up.  And still feeling the shock of the devastation to friends and strangers all along the coast, just a few hours away.

Yellow Tiger Lily Photographs

Tiger lilies pop up everywhere here in the spring and early summer. 75% of them are bright orange (did you know that 90% of all statistics are made up?), but there are lovely yellow tiger lilies too! Here are a few of them that smiled for the camera:

Tiger Lilies Photograph - Prints Available - Just click!

Tiger Lilies Photograph - Prints Available - Just click!

Prints are available if you need some bright yellow cheerfulness for your wall – LOL – just click on an image.

Learning Lightroom, Orange Daisy, Watermarks

Orange Daisy  ©Kristen N. Fox, www.foxvox.orgI recently acquired a copy of Adobe Lightroom 3 at a really great price, and am just now starting to learn how to use it. Cropping, color adjustments, effects, even where some of the functions are in the program itself, since I’m used to thinking in Photoshop terms instead of Lightroom. I’ve been playing with it when I get a few minutes between my other projects, which hasn’t been much time at all.

As a sample photograph to play with, I had taken a bunch of photos of a bouquet of dyed daisies and thought this orange one was really interesting. Not perfectly dyed, not perfectly formed, with little curls and growths hanging out at odd points, etc.

I added the copyright in Photoshop, since I don’t think Lightroom can do that (if I’m wrong, I’ll eventually figure it out.) Yes, it’s an obvious copyright, and I’m not sure how I feel about that sort of thing yet. The whole issue with Pinterest has brought the ideas of copyright and image ‘sharing’ to a fine point, so I’m trying some things. I think a bold copyright may be fine for a weblog, and to make sure people can find out who owns the original image as it potentially gets passed around the web, but I don’t put anything so obvious on my actual prints. It might be fun to create a different copyright/watermark for each image, depending on how it looks. *shrug*

So, here… enjoy an orange daisy today. It’s Wednesday!