Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The view from here

What's this?

This is the view from the airport in Bismarck, North Dakota as I waited for my flight earlier today.

I like this photo because this is what I think of when I think of my home state of North Dakota. Blue skies. Open land. Clean air. No matter how you slice it, I have never been to another airport with a view like this.

Rob and I jumped on a plane Sunday afternoon, last minute, for a family emergency.

No, things are not OK.
But it's going to be alright.

More reflection and thoughts to come. Right now, I'm too tired.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Just Embree

Playing with some black & white conversions on a Sunday morning.

I believe there's an art to good black & white conversions. If you simply use your photo editing software's "grayscale" or "convert to black and white" function, you're likely going to end up with a muddy gray image lacking in tonality, clarity, and contrast. Like this:

Here's what NOT to do:

In that photo, I did no other editing than selecting Photoshop's Image > Mode > Grayscale. It looks terrible.

There are much better ways to do it. Here's a few.

Super contrast, sharpened, bold b&w:

A somewhat softer version of above:

Faded with a slight brown tint. Sorta vintage:

In the last photo, I used the "Cappuccino" action from Paint the Moon's Coffee House set.

Do you have a favorite black and white Photoshop action, Lightroom preset, or technique? Spill 'em.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rob's birthday gift

Rob picked out his own birthday gift this year (a hunting rifle or something like that), but I decided to surprise him with a bonus gift. I made him a cookbook of recipes submitted by people who know him.

I called in a favor to all of Rob's contacts, asking them to contribute. I ended up with a book of around 75 recipes from 30+ contributors (including aunts, cousins, grandparents, coworkers, high school friends, and so on). I have to admit, it was pretty sweet to see the recipes come rolling in from Rob's loved ones. It only took each person a few minutes of effort, but once all of the recipes were compiled, it made a great statement about how many people care about Rob and wanted to help make his birthday special.

I made it clear that the recipes didn't have to be extravagant and didn't have to be invented by the submitter. The only criteria is that each recipe had to be something that Rob's friends and family made and enjoyed themselves.

I wound up with a really nice variety. We had Midwest classics like tater tot hot dish and Sloppy Joes alongside Pho, naan, and ginger steak salad.

I used a combination of my own photography and some images found online. I also sprinkled in some quotes about food and food relating to culture and heritage as well as some images of recipes from friends' cookbooks. Then finally I used Blurb.com to design the book and have it printed. I am really happy with how it came out. I also used Blurb to make our wedding album.

Rob seemed really touched by the idea and by the variety of people who participated. He's looking forward to trying everything in the book.

So to our family and friends who helped out - thank you!

And if you'd like to view the book in its entirety, it's online and available for viewing. Just click here and then click on the photo where it says "Preview Book." I recommend clicking on the little icon to view full screen.

someone else's words

"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others." - Buddha

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