Patiently They Wait


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ColorSkyComposite Finally making myself go back and learn Photoshop feels like taking about 10 giant steps backward.  I’ve gotten so good at using the apps on my iPhone that I can usually edit an image in just a few minutes. But Photoshop – that monster is eating my lunch.  I feel like a college kid cramming and studying for hours.  I feel like one of those kids learning to play guitar who sits in his room for hours and hours playing his scales over and over again.

The payoff for me will be the ability to work in high resolution photos taken with my Nikon and the ability to manipulate these images with much more ability and technique. I often imported those 5 meg pictures into my iPhone, edited them and came out with a file size of less than a meg.  Seems kinda funny, but that’s what I did.  As long as the image was viewed on a small display like an iPhone or iPad, it was more than adequate. But doing any printing or larger displays yielded poor results.  So, I put myself in school, watching YouTube videos over and over until I got the hang of it.

I have to report too, that Photoshop has a Pro version and another lesser version called Elements. As I’m watching these videos, they often use the more current versions, which means I have to keep searching for older versions to learn from….or try to apply a patch to do what the new stuff does.  Very frustrating.  However, I rarely give up until I’ve mastered it.  I have a long way to go but in the meantime, I’m taking one step at a time.

This image was originally shot in color with a stone wall in the background.  I masked off the background and added the sky with clouds instead.  I converted Alfiya’s face to Black and White then lightly added the lip color back in.  I touched up the skin, blurred the mask edges and….. 18 hours later…I got an image that I was happy with.  Well, maybe not 18 hours…but it sure felt like it.

My study time is made so much more pleasing when I get to work with such lovely images like the one above. Alfiya provided me with lots of great pictures to work with.

Time for another cup of coffee and back to my self-assigned Photoshop clinic.

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I met Alfiya dancing Tango one night about a year ago.  We’ve crossed paths several times since then at tango lessons and at various milongas.  Originally from Kazakhstan, she was working in Houston after graduating from college as a chemical engineer.  She’s such a happy soul. She’s intelligent, curious and kind with an infectious personality that makes her so pleasant to be around.  Plus, she’s as cute as can be.   I asked her if I could take her portrait. I hoped to capture some of her charm.  And those dimples, too.

She said she’d never posed for a picture before.  I’m very happy with the results.

She was too!

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Holding You Holding Me

Tango night at The Continental Club. Houston, Texas

Tango night at The Continental Club. Houston, Texas. iPhone5.

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Welding Class Selfee


IMG_4838I have been wanting to learn to weld for a long time. I’d like to learn to make sculptures, metal art and functional art pieces.

Lucky me! A fella here in Houston, John Barber, offers instruction in exactly that.  I signed up through the Leisure Learning Center and took my first class yesterday.  We learned about arc welding, MIG and TIG welding, acetylene torch welding and did some cutting with a plasma metal cutter.  Lots of other pretty cool stuff too.

We start on our art project next week.  In order to learn how to weld, assemble, hammer, texture and paint, we’ll be making a big fish – complete with scales, fins and eyes.

There were three women and two men in the class.  While one of the gals was practicing her weld, I grabbed a vanity selfee.


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The Exodus of Marcos


Marcos, a most pleasant man, an accomplished Tango dancer and my friend, had to leave us and return to his homeland. I wanted to send him off with a little bit more than a routine group shot so….I decided to make him famous.  He will be missed.  We look forward to a speedy return!

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Monkey Shoulder


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