What’s New Pussycat?

We are back in the world of AfterBeforeFriday Forum and I have a special treat for this week.

There is a colony of stray cats living in my street. A nice lady is taking care of them, feeding them daily, taking them to the vet when needed. My Berta doesn’t like cats…ok, she likes to chase them, but I never let her. In retaliation, some of the cats climb at my windows and tap at the glass, teasing her.

This is one of the local rascals. I was walking around my neighborhood with 70-300 mm lens and when I stumbled upon her, I took few photos. I was afraid she would run away if I came closer, because Berta was with me. So, this is the closest I could get.
Loré Dombaj ABF68 before

With a little help from the editing program, I managed to crop it closely and extract the details of her fur and whiskers. Softening the background and increasing contrast and sharpness proved to be a good combination. I warmed it a little bit, just to get that nice, autumny feel.
Loré Dombaj ABF68 after

So, that would be all from me for this week. Please, be so kind and check other participants and all the information about the ABFriday Forum on Ben’s blog Aperature64.


July #One Four Challenge – Finale

Here we are, at the end of July One Four Challenge and it is time to present our final edits for this month.

From the start I had all intentions to do one monochrome edit, but it just didn’t look interesting enough. Another idea was to do totally crazy edit in this last week. That didn’t work either.

So, I went back to Week 1, which I liked the best and played around to see what else was there. My Week 1 crop was accidental, but this week I carefully applied the rule of thirds. If you compare week 1 and week 4, I think you can see the difference, it is a small adjustment, but it makes a significant improvement.
JulyOneFour4After that, my focus shifted on colors. I really wanted to make her/him bursting with colors, but as I increased temperature and saturation, the image started to look too loud. That’s when I imported the image into FotoSketcher and started playing with different settings. My heart settled on this soft “oil-painting” version, where I reined in my wild imagination and applied the softest touch. By adding the texture, somehow the entire image just settled down.

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So, tell me…which version is your favorite? Would you do something different?

August is our “summer break” month, there will be no new OFC posts. Some people will revisit some of their old edits, some will take a break. We’ll be back in full force in September. In the mean time, you are welcome to check the tag “onefourchallenge” in your WP Reader and Robyn’s blog Captivate Me.

Have a nice time for the rest of the summer!


July #One Four Challenge – Week 3

It seems this month’s One Four Challenge is all about compositions. It became obvious how I really don’t think too much when I look through the lens. I concentrate on finding the subject, but then I just don’t take that one step back and let myself find the right composition.

Post-processing can in small measure help fixing that problem and I am trying to demonstrate that this month. Take this week…I stumbled upon this version after five or six different tries, quite accidentally. And I was surprised how good it looked (compositionally it looks good, but the quality of the image up close is not to my liking). This  is not something I would do when taking an image. That is one of my biggest problems, front central subjects without much consideration about the composition.


I am still too self-aware, not able to lose myself completely. I remember the day I took this image, I was surrounded by too many people, Castello Sforzesco being a main tourist attraction. I wish I just set down in front of that cat and took my time. But I rushed because she was ready to leave any second, too many people made her uncomfortable. That cost me the quality of the image and that is something post-processing can’t really fix. Another lesson learned.

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As always, be so kind and check other OFC participants by checking the tag “onefourchallenge” in your WP Reader and Robyn’s blog Captivate Me.


July #One Four Challenge – Week 2

Last week my focus was the cat. Hence the tight crop and adjusting the colors and exposure. This week the exercise was the overall placement of the main object in the frame. I wanted to explore how to connect the background with the object, trying to build the composition that would serve the purpose to the story I have in my mind. I know this all sounds too complicated, but it is quite simple.

The image was taken in the courtyard of Castello Sforzeco, one of the most beautiful and important historical landmarks of Milan. My first edit was just about the cat and she could be anywhere in the world, the background is just that…the background. In this edit I wanted to make the background an actual stage…looking at the image, you see the cat sitting on the steps and you are wondering where that is.


If I was seeing it for the first time, I would guess it was taken in some historical place, probably Mediterranean, on a lazy summer afternoon. I am curious to know if my exercise worked for you? I think there are many elements of the image we forget to look for, concentrating on improving the obvious things. And I think I did that in my first edit, so I was looking for those other elements, little things that actually tell the story. And you know me, it is all about the story. And flipping the image. 😉

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As always, be so kind and check other OFC participants by checking the tag “onefourchallenge” in your WP Reader and Robyn’s blog Captivate Me.


July #One Four Challenge – Week 1

Last month was almost too easy, I knew which image I would choose and I had an easy job editing it. This month I presented myself with another challenge, but I always try to offer something new. Hence the cat.

I took this image on my trip to Milan, in the inner court of Castello Sforzesco. She was claiming her spot in the sun, ignoring me…and giving me a side way glance now and then, like she was trying to say: Disappear, you puny human.


This was a very basic edit, just a bit of cropping and adjusting the exposure and temperature. I am curious to see where I will end up by week 4.

I have few more images of the same cat, I was following her around. Or she was following me, who knows. I really need to find some time to go through all my images from that trip.

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So, this is my first week of this month’s One Four Challenge. As always, be so kind and check other OFC participants by checking the tag “onefourchallenge” in your WP Reader and Robyn’s blog Captivate Me.