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29
Jan

life’s a beach and other beauty secrets

Update:  Until now, I didn’t know the difference between a Florida Panther and a Bobcat.  As it turns out, what I’d been calling a Bobcat is really the endangered Florida Panther. Apologies to all the big cats for my error…. 🙂

In my earlier post, a Panther bobcat photo had made its way into every one of the pictures I’d exported from LightRoom 4 (LR 4).   Well, I figured out how it happened!  And, it was not at all the fault of an errant or stalking Panther Bobcat, either!  It was silly me.  Now I know how it works…

I’d inadvertently made the photo of the Panther Bobcat my “signature” when I was trying to create a photo-signature.  Each time a new photo was exported, the Panther bobcat photo appeared as a signature.

Here’s a whole new crop of pretties that have been to the beauty parlor of LR 4.  They’ve gotten manicures, pedicures, new hairdo’s and brighter smiles, too.

Click any picture to see a slide show of the enhancements.

Basically, what I’ve learned to do is sharpen, adjust the exposure, saturation, hue.  I’ve learned to change the “clarity” settings by playing with shadows, highlights, blacks and whites.  And so much more.  The hardest part for me was the export and import process, but I’m getting that down now.

It amazes me that up until now I have worked with my images completely untouched when all along I could have livened them up with a trip to an LR 4 Beauty School!

About the photos: 

The beach photos were captured from the balcony of a condo in Pompano Beach, Florida, in July 2010.  The other photos were captured at Flamingo Gardens, in Davie, Florida, where they take care of injured and endangered animals of every kind.  The two Muscovy duck pictures (babies and Mother duck) were captured from my (former) back yard, on the canal.  And, the lizard I captured at Butterfly World, in Coconut Creek, also in Florida.

I love visiting all these places.  I especially enjoy being at the beach and watching the waves roll in and out.  There’s nothing so restful.

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29
Jan

Not a bobcat in my clouds and lovin spoonbills – it’s a Florida Panther

I’m enjoying working with my photos and enhancing them with Photoshop Light-Room 4.  I’ve taught myself how to use it via trial and error and experimenting.  However, I have no idea how a picture of a Florida Panther bobcat that I’d been editing ended up being embedded in the bottom left corner of EVERY picture I work on?  All of these pics are in an export file, and every photo I export the Florida Panther bobcat on the left had corner of the of the photo is embedded….but how?  The Florida Panther Bobcat is not in the export file….so how does he end up in my cloud and Roseate Spoonbill pictures?

So, clearly I have not learned nearly enough about editing pictures when panthers bobcats mingle in my clouds and with my lovin spoonbills! Hah!

Anyway, click on the pics to see a bigger version of it while I go and figure out what the heck is going on!

If anyone has an idea how/why this is occurring, I’d sure appreciate it….

27
Jan

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

This week the theme of the weekly photo challenge is hope…. (which I’m full of).

The first thing I thought of?  Being hired at Microsoft!  Oh, how I am hoping.

I don’t want just any job, I want the best job.  I want a job that feels more like love than work. I want to love having my job and I want my employer to love my passion and creativity and hard work, too.

So far, the Microsoft opportunity feels like the best fit.  And so, when the interviews are over, I hope Microsoft hands me something that looks like this:

And, here’s another little reminder of hope.

It was spring and all the birdies were building their nests when I shot this picture, at Butterfly World, in Florida.  This little fellow was trying to bring that entire twig up to his nest in a nearby tree.

He tried and tried and tried….hoping to get it to the nest. It was amazing to see.

Ultimately, though, he turned to another twig more his size, leaving that one a much bigger bird.

26
Jan

colors

The process of transforming / experimenting with colors is great fun.  Here’s a very simple photo that I edited using both Adobe Lightroom 4 and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Here’s a darker version:

Below is the original:

22
Jan

happy monday in advance

Here’s a quick splash of color to brighten up our Monday – in advance!

Monday – tomorrow – 8:00 a.m., I have my second interview at Microsoft – the second of four.

I’m nervous.  So… well.  Here’s all I really want to happen:  When my mouth opens words come out.  In perfect order.  With colors as bright as this Passion Flower.

Passion Flower, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida By Andrea O'Connell

21
Jan

Loving Jazz Photography’s photostream

little pink bud3 treeswater gazebobird water treeround the riverblue gazebo
on the winding green riverboat house on river as jpgred on blue and greennew purplepurple flowersmore red
deeper purplered on bluecloser red on bluered on bluemerry perry'smerry perry's
merry perry'sred on bluehummer in wintertwins or mirror imagesorange plant orange winged butterflylittle hand has butterfly
21
Jan

magic, passion, madness

The writer, Henry James wrote:

We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have.  Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task.  The rest is the madness of art.

Although spoken by one of Henry James’s characters, these words were also his personal credo.  James truly feared his work would forever stay in the dark, forgotten.

After the release of a few of his novels, namely Portrait of a Lady (1881), he released many more short and full-length novels, but few were popular.  He knew criticism more than he knew acceptance of his writing.   Of course, after his death, in 1916, at age 72, he is now revered as the master he always was.

This Henry James quote reminds me of the theatre – working in the theatre.  It’s all passion and madness and love, it is not always a normal life when one lives it.  But, it is love and passion.  And so is the brilliant musical I saw last night. 

Next to Normal is one of those experiences that, if it grabs you, as it did me, it’s bound to hold you for a lifetime. 

The show was chilling and lovely and scary and electric and I couldn’t speak when it ended.

Tears dripped on my blouse down to my lap, wetting my theatre program.  I wasn’t the only one crying.  Maybe I was the only one with out a tissue, though, but a kind woman gave me one of the cocktail napkins she held on to.

I don’t want to give away any part of the story – if you have a chance to see it, you’ll want to be surprised.  It’s best to see it without any preconceptions.  It will add to the magic for you, like it did for me.

I grew up in the theatre and love the magic and the passion and the madness and the love that is beyond words when a great play hits you in the gut.

There are a few musicals that will never leave me.   I’ve seen many, but cling to a few; Next to Normal is one of those – probably the best among all the greats I’ve seen.

It’s like the musical Rent, edgy, amazing and now.  It’s rock and roll and light opera and psychology and slice of life – all in one incredibly structured and fluid and dynamic powerful package.

Next to Normal, is playing for four weeks at the Miracle Theatre, in Coral Gables, Florida.  (By the way, I was in the inaugural show, A Thousand Clowns, which opened the Miracle Theatre!  picture below!)

Next to Normal is also touring across the Unites States.  Catch it if you can – you’ll be so glad you dd.

There’s a reason why it won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award in 2009.

That's Me in the play "A Thousand Clowns" at the Miracle Theatre!

20
Jan

Weekly Photo Challenge: Simple

This week’s photo challenge is to find a photo that says “simple.”

I know some kid, not too tall though, put this on the tree in his front yard one Halloween and there it stayed for a very long time.  Simple. Unadorned.  Sweet but kind of spooky in a weird Halloween kind of way.

I took this picture in late December, 2011, in Winterpark, Florida.

 

18
Jan

Go with God?

Brian Scheuble’s Port St. Lucie, Florida travel agency, hypocritically called “Go With God,” would like a little publicity, thank you very much, but not in a very “Godly” fashion.

Let me back up a moment.

We recently learned that Casey Anthony, acquitted of murder for the 2008 death of her daughter Caylee, is living in Port Saint Lucie.  A city south of Orlando.  Because of death-threats from maniacal haters, Anthony had moved to that previously undisclosed area of Florida, upon her release from jail.

That previously undisclosed Anthony hide-away, is no secret anymore.

And, Brian Scheuble would rather Casey Anthony not live in Port St. Lucie.  You see, Brian Scheuble, co-owner of “Go with God” would like to have Casey Anthony Giddy-Up with God and git right out-of-town. Amen. 

And, as a gift from “Go With God,” Scheuble has made a public offering to hand Anthony a one-way ticket out-of-town.

And, a Strip Bar in Port St. Lucie, although not claiming any alliance with God, would like to have Anthony dance in their strip club, “Body Talk.”

The strip club also got their 15 seconds of fame when they said to a West Palm Beach television station, “Hey Casey, we’re hiring.” Actually it sounded like this:  “Well, (guffaw-guffaw) hey there Casey (guffaw-guffaw) Anthony, (guffaw-guffaw), why don’t you git on down here and (guffaw-guffaw) dance (guffaw-guffaw-guffaw-guffaw-guffaw) with us here?

Oh yes, when you got a gimmick and you can attach a Casey Anthony story to it, you got yourself some free publicity.  (Guffaw-guffaw-guffaw-guffaw-guffaw.)

To both these neanderthal-men, Brian Scheuble of “Go With God” travel agency, and to the nameless goon who would offer to hire Casey Anthony as a stripper, I would say: You are no better than Casey Anthony.  Kicking a person who is already down is a low and horrible thing to do.

Some people are so hateful, and stupid.  It’s mind-boggling that this “Go With God” travel agency could be twisted enough to publicize their hate while maintaining “God” as Captain of their ship.  Maybe the God in the title of the “Go with God” travel agency, would prefer a public stoning if running Anthony out-of-town doesn’t work?

Amen?

16
Jan

Dr. King’s Dream – Let it Ring Some More!

English: Dr. Martin Luther King giving his &qu...

Image via Wikipedia

If collectively we didn’t have a group to hate, we’d have to invent one (to hate).

I can’t remember who said that, but sadly, I believe it’s true.

When I was born, in 1957, segregation still prevailed. There were “colored” bathrooms, beaches, water fountains and many other indignities.

Through the years, and again today, my mother said that, when I was two, I could read and I knew what the “colored only” sign over the water fountain meant, but not what it stood for.

She told me that I thought the “colored” fountain had pretty colored water, like Kool-Aid.   (Children will see things as they are, without filters or ugly meanings.)

“Did you allow me to drink from that fountain?” I asked my mom, today.  “You couldn’t have reached it. You were only two,” she explained.  “Well,” I asked her, “Could you have held me up to drink from it?”

As she thought about it, I pressed on, “Was it because of the times?”

“No, you were too little and didn’t know how to drink from a fountain,” she told me.

It was a different time; and my parents were not the type to rock the boat.

I don’t remember being told I could not drink that colored water.  I wonder if my two-year old self would have felt let-down, or maybe kind of deprived?

Little did I know that an entire population of Black Americans were deprived of much more than colored water.

We have come a long way since then, but not far enough.  I think that either we haven’t come far enough, or we’re regressing.  Personally, I think we are regressing.

We have a long way to go in regards to Human Rights, Equal Rights, and certainly with the right to marry, and Gender/Transgender Equality.

People who today will deny immigrants a place in our country have forgotten that Dr. King’s dream was for ALL rights.  Human rights, Equal rights, Equal treatment, and basic human decency towards all people.

The leaders here in Florida, in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and elsewhere, need to abolish their bigotry towards immigrants and towards anyone who happens to be different.  If the inhumane treatment of immigrants (and the torture of our enemies), continues, it will destroy the rich history of “for and by the people democracy” that continues to make this country appealing to people from other countries who simply want to come here for a better life.

We have to have compassion all people or hate will prevail in earnest across the other States in this united land of ours, destroying the fabric that keeps our country good and strong.

The Dalai Lama talks about compassion a lot.  In his book, “Ethics for the New Millennium,” he says that without compassion for the sufferings of others, a person will not be truly happy.  He talks about how we must continue to cultivate our inner goodness.  If we do, our actions become conducive to the creation of continuous compassion for others  Things like patience, tolerance, forgiveness, humility, and so on, are the building blocks of compassion, says the Dali Lama.

The inability to have inner restraint will deny the ability to know compassion, thus happiness, he says.

With the bankruptcy of America, which was put into motion by the wealthy one percent, and by the banks who are not taking responsibility for their actions, we need Dr. King’s words now more than ever:

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”   ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I think it’s good that a dialogue about living Dr. King’s dream by engaging in service to others, is happening in my community.

If we lead by Dr. King’s example, our children will grow into people who are world’s better than the people of the 20th century.  Better than those who would erect signs to keep fellow human beings off of “white” beaches, out of “white” bathrooms, and unable to use “white” drinking fountains.

If Dr. King were alive, don’t you think he would tell the haters that the only way to heaven is to have compassion for all people, regardless of race, religion, gender?

Wouldn’t Dr. King tell us that God doesn’t care what your religion is, or how pretty your church is?  I think so.  I also think Dr. King would say something like this:  It doesn’t matter who you pray to, what matters to God is, did you do the right thing?    I think what matters is to have compassion for others; to stand for something, and to deny the haters an audience.

I think he’d say something like that.  I know we’d listen.  But, would the haters listen?

We can dream, right?

15
Jan

a writer’s journal with photography

I just published a book!   Well, “Blurb” is doing all the work….I just supplied the photos!

<—- That’s the cover of the book.  It’s a photography journal that I titled “Journal of Dreams.”

There are about twenty of my nature photos (birds, butterflies and flowers), throughout the 100 page journal.

It is very easy to create a book and it’s totally free!   It’s really fun to create.  If you want to make a book, go to the Blurb website:  http://www.blurb.com

You have to download some of their software to create your book, which is really no big deal and they (Blurb) make the rest easy.  And, there are many other types of books that you can create.  I started out making a date book, but switched to a journal midstream, and it was easy!

Click below to flip through my book.  The entire book is there.  You can purchase a copy via the link and I think I make about $5.00 (I’m not sure), on sales.  I need to look into how that works.

They say they print every book with high-quality paper and binding.  I just ordered a copy as a gift to my Mom; so I’ll let you know how it turns out.  From what I’ve read, they do a really good job and there are Blurb authors who are publishing and selling their own books like crazy!

I love the idea!

My book is below – Let me know what you think!

Hope you’re having a GREAT weekend!

14
Jan

Weekly Photo Challenge: Peaceful

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to post a photo that speaks “peaceful,” and this one works for me.

This is Pompano Beach, Florida, which is my home.  Well, I don’t live on the ocean and this is not my view, unfortunately (or fortunately, during hurricane season!).

Although yesterday was an incredible day, it was hardly peaceful for me!

Yesterday began with a 7:30 am breakfast-tribute to the memory of Martin Luther King, Stand for Something.

The Broward County YMCA puts on this Martin Luther King Inspirational  Breakfast program each year.  This year J.R. Martinez – Iraq war Veteran, and more recently, winner of the Dancing with the Stars show, was the Keynote Speaker.

And, former Dancing with the Stars contestant and newly retired Miami Dolphins football great, Jason Taylor was honored with the Spirit Award, from the YMCA.

I’ll write about the event tomorrow – it was very special.

Then, I had a phone interview with Microsoft.  Yes, THE Microsoft!!

The other day I wrote something about all the applications and jobs that I have on the burner and how I didn’t want to accept anything from Acme Computers if Microsoft called…. And…

Well….,

They called!

Who would have thunk it?  They saw my resume online and called ME?  OMG!

Well, I don’t have the job – yet.  And, although I want to keep really positive about getting it….well, I’m realistic, too.

And I had another great interview with a firm that I like very much…

Then, last night, I saw a wonderful play about, of all things, wrestling!  I am hardly anyone who enjoys wrestling – but I have a new-found respect for the show-business side of it now.

If you happen to be in the South Florida area, GO SEE this play.  You will love it!

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity

Playing at the Caldwell Theatre, Boca Raton, FL

 

12
Jan

Moving Rosie’s shark picture down….

ImageHad to get the picture of the poor shark away from the top of the page.  Photo credit: Andrea O’Connell 1/10/2012

12
Jan

why rosie?

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a gross display – such a horrible, horrible sight.  I don’t understand how, rather than smiling at the dead carcass of that incredible shark, they are not puking off the side of the boat.

I don’t understand.  Rosie Rosie Rosie?  Why?

( Courtesy Mark Quartiano ) Rosie O'Donnell has taken her children on several fishing trips off Miami Beach with the well-known shark fishing guide Mark "The Shark" Quartiano

I don’t understand how anyone could do this to such a magnificent creature.  Imagine the pain that shark endured? and now the ocean is absent another of its most mighty creatures.

I’m amazed that Rosie O’Donnell would celebrate such a thing.   Sure, people have a thing against sharks.  But, to kill one like that?  Why?  It makes no sense!

Granted, there are poachers in the seas all over the globe raping the waters of its treasures.  Clearly Rosie isn’t doing that.  It’s just that…. looking at that image – celebrating the death of that shark – it’s so wrong.

It is enough to make me cry.

This is not a little Snapper or Salmon.

So, what happens now?

Do you need this shark to feed your family, Rosie?

What will happen to the carcass?  Will some local Miami Taxidermist get a new project?  Or, God forbid, was the parading of the carcass only for the sake a picture?

I’m sick to my stomach.

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