Just Photoshop it.

Photoshop.  It’s not just a noun, my friends.  It’s also verb.

And oh, what an action-packed part of speech it is.

This nine-letter, digital gem can erase zits, turn a mountain into a mole hill and even make Kathy Griffin look like Gisele Bundchen. Metaphorically speaking, of course.  The Brazilian supermodel isn’t exactly a shining pillar of beauty after her Super Bowl outburst.

But I digress.

Tonight, I took the Photoshop powerhouse for a test drive on some of my images from Christmas and a recent trip to New York City.  I haven’t even skimmed the surface of what this hot rod program can do, but I’m hoping this is the start of wonderful things to come.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to photoshop myself out of that bolo tie I wore to senior homecoming.


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Sir Searay, the hippy dictator

When I was a kid, we owned a breathing carpet named Bear.

He crowned himself benevolent dictator of the family and, oh, did he rule us with an iron paw.

Even after his passing, all honor and glory belonged to a furry, 150-pound New Foundland with a penchant for shredding dish towels and sucking the thumb of  his right paw when he slept.  All infamous kings must have an infantile quirk, you know.

No family pet could dethrone The Great Bear-on Von Bossy as ruler of our hearts.

Until this past spring.

On a delightfully fateful afternoon in May, Sir Searay marched in to our lives with the happiest of feet.  With one lick, he took hold of our thumping tickers.

Our little man makes for the most jovial, enlightened, hippy leader a family could ask for.  He’s Richard Simmons meets the Dali Lama meets Woody Harrelson.  Searay orders us to shake our groove thing until we’re out of breath.  He pulls us to love everyone we meet regardless of appearance.  Mostly though, he demands, “Chill out.  Kick back and take a nap, dude.”  Of course, his drug of choice is an ear rub and not the reefer.

In our family’s time of high stress and transition, we like to think Bear handpicked Searay as his predecessor because he knew what his people needed.   Because, as any dog lover knows, one buddy never replaces another.  They simply usher in a new era.

So, on Christmas day, Searay ushered his people to his favorite corner of the kingdom for a post-present jaunt.  It’s a little piece of heaven we call Rheinstrom Park.  Searay just knows it as “park!”

We sprinted around wide open fields, greeted perfect strangers with genuinely friendly conversation and then promptly dragged our mud-splattered legs back home for a repose.

Please enjoy the photos of our most adored, regal and very polite king as he frolics through park! and naps on his shimmery, blue disco blanket.

An Unconventional Christmas

Cutting down a christmas tree conjures images of snow-filled fields, homespun mittens, hot cocoa and a strong man with an axe to chop the holiday cheer out of the ground and drag it into your home.

All those prerequisites went out the window with the air conditioning this weekend.  My family picked out a tree in unseasonable 62 degree heat – and my petite sister sawed down the perfect douglas fir like a true mountain woman.  Sticky with sap and dripping with sweat, we tied the tree to the roof and headed to the farm’s Christmas village to soak in the spirit with iced cider and melting chocolate chip cookies.

It was a beautiful, picture imperfect afternoon…and I loved every minute.

Days like this remind me that we can’t control soo much.  The world is hellbent on wreaking havoc on traditions and plans.   Despite all this, we can carry on – with laughter, family and friends.

Enjoy the photos from our very merry tree hunt!

Magic Martha

Over Labor Day, I packed my chic backpack and five dollar flip flops for an adventure to Martha’s Vineyard.

Everyone told me it would be beautiful.  Everyone was wrong.  It’s pure magic.

 The light hits everything perfectly, any time of day.  The dunes undulate with the same power and softness as the waves.  Most of all, the island seems wonderfully stuck in a time when people built homes, fences and gardens with imperfect hands and improvised plans.  It has that subtle, subdued wildness I love.

I spent most of the weekend tethered to my camera, attempting to snatch little glimpses of the island’s spirit.  These are just a few shots.  I posterized the last one just for a little artsy fun.

A splash of color

Often times, when I take a photo, it’s just the foundation of a larger image I see in my head.  When I get back to my computer, I tinker with highlight, color, contrast and exposure to reach the final product.  I can play for hours before I settle and save.  Here are a few pieces of my “art”.  These all revolve around my love of water, and I played with the concept of traditional black and white photography.

This is the life

I learned how to ski before I learned how to spell. Well…I still stuggle with the latter skill, but you get my point.  I immediately took the sport.  My parents recount a day in which I refused to come off the mountain despite a heavy rainstorm and a completely soaked, and consequently 75 pound, snow suit.

There are few things I love more than the sound of my boots click, clicking into the bindings at the base of the mountain.  I live for the anticipation that climbs right along with the elevation as I ride to ten thousand feet. That initial shove off the edge of a peak and into a whir of wind and white renders me completely cut off from the rest of the world.  This is my bliss.

The experience only gets better when you toss in old friends and hot chocolate.  Lucky for me, I enjoyed both this weekend in Vail.  Eight of my college buddies and I strapped sticks to our feet, helmets to our heads and gloves to our hands for three gorgeous days. I feel soo lucky.

Inevitably, friends of friends end up joining any ski outing.  We love adding to the crew!  This weekend, my friend Ali’s buddy Andy joined us.  I caught a reflection of all my friends in his goggles just before we took off down the mountain on Day 2.

 

My friends are total hams.  This was an impromptu photo shoot while waiting for others to catch up. 

The quiet on a ski lift never loses its effect.  It’s the best treatment for long-term city living.

Skiing makes us jump for joy!

 

There’s no crying in this sport.  All falls result in laughs. Usually at your expense.  

They have volcanoes in the Midwest?

This past weekend, my friend Dave and I took a road trip to Wisconsin.  I had heard about these mysterious ice volcanoes along the lake in Milwaukee, and he had a craving for lunch at the Weary Traveler in Madison.  So, we packed up at 7 AM and hit the highway for a day of adventure.  Twelve hours and 300 miles later, we returned home a touch hoarse from life altering radio sing alongs.  No musical genre went unturned…and Queen made an auditory appearance no fewer than six times. This could go down as one of the most fun, spur-of-the-moment trips this year.  Of course, I always welcome the chance to knock it into second place!  Below are the resulting photos from our Wisconsin romp.

I started the trip with a little self-portrait in the car mirror.  PSYCHED!

 

Dave was lookin’ fly…he may become the first Jewish country singer.  It’s possible!

 

And then we arrived on another planet.  The volcanoes are formed from waves on the lake pushing ice into mounds. There are holes in the middle of each mound, and when it’s warm enough and waves go under them, water shoots out the top!

Dave and I also climbed a giant tower to catch a view of the entire lake front.  The Music Man whistled a tune and sent it into the world for all to enjoy.

Even the sunset on the way home was gorgeous.  A little blurry, because we were moving fast, but it gives the photo a nice swirling feeling which reflects the whirlwind day we had.