It was a good last day here in Fort Myers although it was overcast and gloomy most of the day. Connie did some work in the morning while Neil worked on site maintenance. He reorganized the links on the right side a bit, updated our 2012 Travel Map with the last stop, and created our 2013 Travel Map. Yesterday he also created a working map for use in planning our travels up in the Northwest; Google lets you put a bunch of pins on the map and save it so he added all the waterfalls, state parks, mountains, national parks, and other potential sites to visit. This will give us a better visualization for what is where and allow us to choose where and how long to stay at various places in order to see things in the most efficient manner.
Connie finished up working about lunchtime and after eating we headed out for a grocery run to Walmart and Sweet Bay for the stuff Walmart doesn’t have. We also stopped by Home Depot and got some S hooks to hand the new signs Neil got for our flagpole; it’s dark now but I will take a shot of them for tomorrow’s post.
A couple of our readers have commented on our picture posts and also wondered how they can get their pictures to look great too. I would like to take credit for having a great skill at it…but in reality it’s just a matter of having a decent (but not necessarily great) camera, being in the right place at the right time, and doing a little judicious post shot picture editing.
Now I know what you’re thinking…if I’m not a professional photographer than I can’t get results like they can…but I gotta tell you it’s really not that hard. If there’s any interest in a how to of getting better pictures for publication let me know and I’ll put something together for posting. Bottom line though is that you really need a basic recipe to follow along with some reasonably priced computer software to do the work for. Apple’s Aperture 3 for Macintosh users or Adobe’s Lightroom 4 for Windows users both do the truck for relatively little money. Add in a basic recipe for fixing up a photo and voila…your photos will look better.
Almost any digital photograph (and we’re pretty much all taking digital these days, film is almost extinct) can benefit from a little fixer-upper work. I posted a cardinal picture we took the other day; but just for comparison purposes here is the shot directly out of the camera
and here is the same shot with about 2 or 3 minutes of post production processing.
A little judicious cropping and shifting to a 16 by 9 HD aspect ration, using the Auto Smart Fix correction mode which does about 80 percent of the fixing…then Neil did a little sharpening since almost all digital photos need a little sharpening. After that he increased the saturation a little and painted in some dodging with a brush tool directly on the bird itself to really bring out the red in his feathers. While this photo is far from perfect…for example the beak runs into the foreground branch and Neil didn’t see that when he took the photo and he should have had a little more depth of field to being the background branches a little more into focus…the bottom photo is clearly superior for publication than the top one is. Neil really likes the way the red pops out in the processed photo.
We got home from our Tacos and beer dinner at the Elks and Connie headed off to bingo at the park. Neil ordered a sun shade for our awning to be delivered to the New Horizons factory and we’ll pick it up in a couple of months when we pass through Kansas. After that he called his cousin Kathy in Birmingham; she’s the secretary of the Laubenthal Land and Timber Company and he had a couple of questions about some stock transactions to get cleared up. Ended up talking to her for over 2 hours…we’re thinking that maybe Neil’s mom passed her talk-your-ear-off genes along to Kathy when she passed; although Neil was probably just as guilty for the length of the conversation as she is. They haven’t really talked extensively for probably 15 years.
We’re tired now…looking forward to Swamp People on Discovery Channel where Troy and his bunch are hunting alligatahs and then off to bed before our travel day tomorrow.