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i ♥ faces – Jump For Joy

March 8, 2010


This week’s challenge theme for the community over at i ♥ faces is “Jump for Joy”… this is a picture that I just love, especially the desaturated color that came about when I was messing around with the post-processing.

UPDATE: This morning I realized my stupidity.  Um… hello…the i♥faces contests have to have actual faces in them.  Doofus.

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For more i ♥ faces fun, head over here to see the rest of the entries.


i ♥ faces – Fix-it Fridays

March 6, 2010

It’s another Fix-It Friday at i ♥ faces, so here is my submission..

The before shot:


The after:


How I got there:



The first thing I did was create a Levels adjustment layer, adjusting the blacks to 26 and the grays to 1.08.  This darkened up the contrast and made the purple and turquoise in the sweater deeper.


Next I used the Yin/Yang action from Totally Rad Actions.  On the Yin(Darker) mask, I painted over the left side of the face and all of the background with a soft-edged brush set to 36% opacity, going over it twice to deepen the color.  Then I used the Yang(Lighter) mask, painting with the same 36% opacity brush.


Next, to warm up the color of the face, I used the Warm It Up Kris action from Totally Rad Actions, and lowered the opacity 41%. 


Next I added a Lens Flare filter, with the Lens Type set to 50-300mm prime and the brightness set to 128%.  This makes it look more like the exposure was on purpose.


Then I added a Gradient Map adjustment layer, set to Black & White.  Then I lowered the opacity of the later to 60% to create a desaturated look.


I added a Solid Color adjustment layer in gray (C:67, M:63, Y:56, K:44) set to Overlay.  I then painted an oval on the mask with a soft-edged brush set to 75% opacity to create a burnt edge look.


The last step was to flatten the layers and run the Smart Sharpen filter.  I set the amount to 159% and the radius to 0.7 pixels.


Amy Wenzel Workshop Giveaway

March 3, 2010


Angie and Amy from i ♥ faces are giving away a free ticket to an Amy Wenzel workshop this week. 


 Just for the record, I have a completely incapacitating crush on Amy… from her effortless sense of style (I saw her from afar at a Jasmine Star seminar and she’s totally rad), to her immense amount of talent, to the brave fight she and her husband are fighting against his recently discovered brain cancer.  After I wiped away the drool, I realized I needed to get to work.  Amy is giving everyone a chance to plead their case, and the only way to enter the contest is to write a story about how I love, serve and inspire people in my life, and why I think the workshop would help me.  Explaining the potential impact of this session in 600 words is cutting it a little close, but here goes:


I have never wanted for much.  I’m healthy, I have a job, I drive a new car, I have a great family, and I have some exceptional friends.  I find bliss in a tub of Dean’s French Onion dip and a bag of potato chips.   I never wake up in the morning and wish I wasn’t me.

I have a marvelous conduit for inspiration and service.  My home church allows me to be actively involved in visionary leadership.  I volunteer with gifted artists.  I am inspired in my relationship with Christ, and I lead worship to inspire others.

I am so happy to serve… coming early, staying late, singing, teaching children, decorating the lobby, painting the bathroom, putting stickers on 2,500 tickets…   

But every situation has its exceptions, doesn’t it?  I am one of those people for whom there seems to be no definite place.  No direction.  No real fit. 

I recall the mother of one of my college friends saying, “You are going to be first one of the girls to get married!”  Every other girl in that group now has 2.5 children and a minivan.  Two of my best friends are celebrating their 4th child and 10-year anniversary.   I live with my parents. 

I might want kids more than I want marriage.  I know I can handle babies.  Men are another story altogether.  I am intricately involved in the lives of my friend’s children, and the “Auntie” thing is a great gig.  But helping raise someone else’s kids doesn’t cut it.  I’m not a peer.

A career should have been the easy part, but I thought I would be raising children as a full-time profession.  Even with a degree from a private university, I never seriously pursued a career.  Despite all that, I’m so blessed.  I’ve never struggled to find work.  I work at a job that I don’t hate… but I don’t love it, either.  I don’t even like it that much.  I have been content to use my job as a way to finance life, reserving passion for ministry. 

One curious day in August, 2008, I borrowed a Canon Rebel from my office to take pictures at a party.  Imagine a cinematic “Hallelujah” moment.  A single shaft of light spills through the clouds.  Puppies and marshmallows flood the streets.  A two-for-one sale on Dean’s dip at every market across the nation.    

It fit.

 I borrowed the camera whenever I could.  I blog-stalked Jasmine Star, Patti Schmidt, Amy Wenzel, Chenin Boutwell, Scott Kelby and Audrey Woulard.  I printed page upon page of inspiration.  I scoured the internet for lessons on lighting, aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.  I bought a Nikon D5000 and took a Photoshop class. 

It was all so sudden.   


I took some candid pictures of a friend’s kids one afternoon, put them on Facebook, and was instantly catapulted into 18 family sessions over the next 4 months.  I have a wedding booked in April.  I recently did a shoot with a local powerhouse athletic team.  

And I’ve learned so much, I’m embarrassed of the photos I took as little as 5 months ago.  Shoot, I’m embarrassed of photos I took 2 weeks ago.  I have pulled the rookie mistake of overworking and undercharging.    I have spent the little money I have on stupid things I don’t need.  It’s been a bit more costly than my childhood lemonade stand.  I’ve appreciated the lesson in every mistake.  I’ve taken every opportunity, no matter how trivial. 

I have so much more to learn.

But I have direction.  I’m carving a place.  I’m starting to fit.

i ♥ faces – We Heart Kisses!

February 8, 2010

The girls over at i ♥ faces have a new competition this week – “We Heart Kisses” – in honor of Valentine’s Day.  I thought I’d post one of my favorite candid moments from my friends Jenny & Aaron.  Aaron was totally anti-“formal” pictures for the whole shoot, which was okay by me because I tend towards the candid shots anyway.  But sometimes you just need a guy to smile without having to trick him into it!  By the way, this is completely genetic when you consider that their 5-year-old son flat out refused to wear his shirt until I was poised to press the shutter button! 

Jenny was relentless, and just messed with him until she could get a smile out of him.   I happened to catch this while she was trying to convince him.. and it ended up working 🙂  Thanks, Jenny!

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February 4, 2010

Thursday, a day usually reserved for nothing but thoughts of Burn Notice and The Office (with a special space reserved for Community) has become a day of thought.  Well, not lots of thought… just more thought than usual. 

I’m already bored.  You still here? 

First, I harbor extreme amounts of jealousy over people with amazing creative talents.  Yeah, I can sing alright and play a couple of instruments (at least in rhythm).  I take about 425 pictures to get 25 good ones.  I can finish 29 out of 33 of these word puzzles before resorting to Google.

But I can’t do this.  What?!  Seriously, my favorite is X, which stands for “X-ray Wolf”.  (Be sure you’re checking out the flash version for all the best fun.)

Or this.  I mean, shut up.

Or this.  I am going home immediately to collaborate with the brothers. We’ll make a list of quotes and put one together for our family!  ‘Cause I know HOW to do this stuff, just don’t come up with it myself.

Or this.  Because it would involve patience.  Ahem…moving on.

Second, I’ve been thinking about how much I like music.  I mean, really really really like music.  So I thought up today’s list of can’t-stop-listening-to ditties:

“Everywhere That I Go” by Israel Houghton
“Need You Now” & “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum
“Fugitive” by David Gray
“Typical” by Mutemath
“Smoke of a Distant Fire” by Sanford Townsend Band
“Breathe” by Taylor Swift & Colbie Caillat
“Uprising” by Mutemath
“Highway 20 Ride” by Zac Brown Band
“Hold Me Now” by Hillsong United
“New York State of Mind” by Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
“TiK ToK” by Ke$ha  (oh, I’m ashamed enough for the both of us)
“Only Love” by Wynona Judd
“Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” by Bob Seger
“Never Be Shaken” by Jared Anderson
“Death and All His Friends” by Coldplay

Third, aviator sunglasses are particularly rad.

Fourth, why doesn’t everyone work out? Oh, yes. That would be because of the searing pain that accompanies every action from stretching to breathing.  And typing.  And moving.

I’ve been working out on a fairly regular schedule for about a month (for the first time since 2003… seriously). My friend Sarah and her husband Mike have been meeting me at the gym every morning at 5:30 am (balls!) and we were all content to just do cardio and call it a day. Well, General Mike decided that we would all be going through bootcamp and he’s been kicking the crap out of us every day this week. I literally couldn’t straighten my legs on Tuesday. 

Sarah and I have been pushing through, aided by our newfound joy at changing Mike’s nickname from General Mike to General Tso (Sarah’s) and Spicy Chicken (mine). 

My ultimate goal is to come out lookin’ more fresh-to-death than a Jersey Shore cast member. 

Gym. Tanning. Laundry.

Last, I’ve been thinking about my budding photography business a lot lately.  How to grow, where to spend money, the pratfalls & lessons learned (website, blog, online proofing, etc.), and the realizations I’ve had about myself and my expectations.  There are LOTS of them.  Most involve taxes. 

So I think I am going to try and post a few things about my experience and maybe help someone else just getting started not fall into the same traps I did.  Trust me, I am a business simpleton, but if I can keep you from a couple of the things I did wrong, you might have a chance!

Every party has a pooper… – i ♥ face “Places I Love” contest

February 1, 2010

You know what, I’m single. 

I’m habitually single, in fact. 

Does that mean I should be excluded from entering contests that ask about your most favorite romantic places?  I submit that I should not.  

Ok, then.  Moving on. 

On to the i ♥ faces weekly contest, which I’ve decided to party crash even though I’m not technically invited.  Um, hello… the story of the perpetual 5th wheel!  Being out of place is like home turf for me, so move over married nerds and dating geeks ’cause I’m about to shut this mother down.

Sorry about all that… I get feisty when I talk smack to married people. Back to the task at hand.

Seattle is romantic. I can only assume. I spent my last trip there with my brother, so…

However, I’ve often dreamed of spending my honeymoon there, soaking up the sights and eating at wonderful places, hiking, going to shows. There are an infinite number of excursions to be had there, a few of which I posted about here, here, here, here and here.  I told you!

But anyway, here’s my submission. The view from the Duck Tour Boat on Lake Union.  I love this place!

i ♥ faces – “Best Face Photo” contest

January 12, 2010

The girls over at i ♥ faces celebrated their blog birthday, and as a way of saying thanks to their readers they are giving away a slew of great stuff!  They are also starting the year off with great contests, the first of which celebrates their very favorite thing… faces (obvs!) 

Here is my entry, the face of my handsome little friend Tino.  This beautiful boy has Autism, and he is the reason behind the non-profit organization “Santino’s Voice”, which I blogged about here.  His family has a beautiful and tragic story, but can’t you just imagine the joy this little face brings when they are feeling sad?! He is such a sweet little monkey and I love him!

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