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Merry Christmas!!!

What I year!

On the last day of January I decided to finally start a blog. And let me tell you, it surpassed my expectations and hopes, what a journey this has been. I had no idea what I was doing at the beginning, posting images, poems, hoping someone would stumble upon my little corner of the blogosphere. And people noticed me – Little Miss Sunshine. There were likes, comments, followers…but my blog lacked a concept, an idea what to do. I was very lucky that Leanne Cole’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY got Freshly Pressed around that time.

So I started following her. Like a kid in a candy store. Oh my, everything was so beautiful, strange, out of my league. She started a challenge called Monochrome Madness, but I was too intimidated to join. I was an observer, staying on the sidelines. But after few weeks, my curiosity started to fight its way out and I jumped in. And never looked back.

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Here we are, my last Monochrome Madness entry for this year, another Christmas Card in my collection. I managed to publish only Christmas related images throughout this December. Crazy, I know.

At the end of the year people usually look back, taking inventory, finishing things, like it is really the end of something. Not me. I look ahead, planning my next posts, my next photographic adventure, a new poem, finally starting that SF novel I dream about, preparing for my travels to Prague and Milan, looking forward to spending time with my family and friends, taking more time to enjoy life.

I hope you do the same. Look ahead. Search the horizon. Be bold. Reach for the impossible. Share your world with the world. Do something to make this pale blue dot a better place. Live. I mean that. Don’t just wait for a life to pass you by. Live it.

Sinceriously,

Loré

😛

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December #One Four Challenge – Finale

The final step to this month’s One Four Challenge is here. It seems ages ago that I was picking an image to work on throughout December and now we are done.

In my last post I said the Week 3 image was not exactly what I was looking for, but I was stuck. I loved the colors and the vintage look, but the composition was lost to me. So, I decided to work some more on that image.
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Here it is, another Christmas Card from my workshop. I cropped the image, imitating the greeting card layout. After that it was a lot of playing around, adding a dark vignette, some snowflakes, borders and finally, the text.

I don’t know…it started so promising, I thought this image could give me gazillion options, but now I think I could have done it better. Maybe this holiday break is what we all need to refill our creative reservoirs.

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So, here we are, at the end. Let me know which image you like the most, both by voting in the poll and leaving a comment.

The One Four Challenge will be back on the 5th of January, for all the details you can check Robyn’s blog Captivate Me.

See you all in 2015. Happy Holidays!

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Loré’s Little Helpers

Hello all and welcome to the last ABF Forum in this year. We’ll be back January 9th, so prepare to be blown away. I am not going into details, cause it’s Christmas. You don’t want to read long boring posts (I know, almost impossible in my case 😛 ) and even if you read it, you’ll forget everything with that first piece of cake you eat. But remember I warned you to prepare. You will be blown away.

Do not panic, I didn’t mean that literally. 😉

This year had unusually high number of rainy days, I whined about that enough times. There were very few opportunities for me to go outside and take some fresh photos. And I was getting frustrated with recycling old images I took years ago.

Loré Dombaj ABF 30 beforeSo this Saturday, I gathered my little helpers and we had a photo session. I had so much fun, I’ll need to do that more often. There are many photos that I’ll probably publish before Christmas, this little red reindeer is a star in most of them.

My little friends didn’t really need much work, just a little bit of cropping and adjusting colors and temperature. I added a frosty vignette again, because I feel it can only work in December. 😛

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If you want more info about the ABF Forum and how to participate in all the fun, hop to Stacy’s blog Visual Venturing

That’s it folks. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with many happy returns to my blog. I hope I’ll continue to post interesting and funny things (ok, I am a bit delusional 🙂 ) and that you’ll enjoy following my journey.

Be fabulous, be unique, but most of all, don’t forget to smile! ♥

 

 

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Christmas Market

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We have the best Christmas Market this year, in a park region in the center of my hometown that is called The Green Horseshoe. For the first time ever we have an ice skate park.

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I was out and about this Saturday, taking photos and having fun with my best friend. Unfortunately, it was too crowded to take decent images of the park and the Christmas decorations, but I managed to take few funny images of booths with all kinds of candies and toys.

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All that is missing is some snow. So, I leave you with few of my images and one of my favorite Christmas songs.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

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Almost Magic

I’ve been out and about last Saturday, wandering through the streets of my home town, snapping pictures of Christmas decorations, people rushing, children having fun. It is a beautiful time of the year, although slightly crowded for my taste. It was hard to take photos, with people constantly pushing you, squeezing past you, rushing to your side to see what was so interesting that made you stop.

Does it ever happen to you? When you stop and look at the window shop or something interesting, in 30 seconds you are surrounded by other people, looking what you are looking…Human nature, crazy thing. 🙂

For this week’s Monochrome Madness I picked this image of trees decorated with lights. To be technically correct, I turned it into monochrome sepia, but the result looked almost the same as the original. So, I guess that means I managed to take a true monochrome image.

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The post-processing was done in my old friend PicMonkey. I played with various effects and decided to try Focal Zoom, to see where it would get me. I set radius to minimum, with very soft edges. Wow, what a nice surprise that turned out to be. I am in love with the result, it looks almost magical.

I read a comment by someone on the latest Stacy Fischer’s ABF post that we should focus on learning photography theory and not wasting our time trying to rescue poor images through Photoshop. Well, as I replied there, I’ll say it here, too – it is interlinked for me, because by trying to improve poor quality images, I learned what I’ve done wrong and how I can improve my photography technique. This image is a good example, because there was no cropping, tinkering with the exposure or going through gazillion filters and effects. By learning from my mistakes and other’s feedback, I managed to capture a decent image and by applying  minimum efforts, I ended up with the very pleasing result.

Be sure to check out our next week’s edition of Monochrome Madness – a Christmas edition, where we’ll be showcasing our monochrome images with the splash of color. For additional information and many more interesting monochrome entries, check out Leanne Cole’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY.

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December #One Four Challenge – Step III

Hello, you wonderful people. Just one more week and the Christmas will be at our doorstep. A well-deserved break from all the stress and craziness.

Week 3 in December One Four Challenge feels like a half-step towards Week 4. I wanted to achieve an old, vintage look, a departure from the festive and vibrant colors in my first two weeks.

For this week’s post-processing I used only FotoSketcher. Few weeks ago I turned one of my images into a vintage photo and it worked so nicely. The only problem was that it turned into a monochrome and I wanted to have some color in this image, it looked rather bland in b&w.

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Week 3

I was looking around the FotoSketcher and spotted a feature – merge the original image with the result. There are scales to be adjusted, a lot of hit and miss was going on, but I finally got what I wanted.

This is my image for Week 3. I love the colors and the vintage look, I just couldn’t figure out the composition. This image doesn’t speak to me, there is no story lurking from the dark corner. I worked for too long and realized I was stuck. So, I decided to leave it like this and try to work on all my ideas next week.

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So, onward to the next week. Right now I am thinking of using Week 3 as a starting point, but will probably change my mind 735 times. 😀

For all the details on this One Four Challenge be kind and visit Robyn’s blog Captivate Me.

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‘Tis the Season

The 2014. is coming to its end and all I can wish for the next year is to be just as good as this one was to me. Nice and easy, slow and steady…unless I decide to be wild and reckless. 🙂 Otherwise, just leave me be.

Here it is, my second to last 2014 After Before Friday, with my little snowman. This is my Christmas Wreath, hanging on my front doors.

Funny story: I had an old Christmas Wreath that I made by myself years ago. Last year I thought it was a time to change it, so I bought a beautiful, big wreath with frost and little red berries all over it. What I realized too late was that it was too heavy, so it ended up to be a centerpiece for my dinning table. And the centerpiece with the addition of one little snowman ended up hanging on my front doors. Ok, maybe this is not a very funny story. :/

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The only interesting thing I did was using Focal B&W effect, which gave me nice fadeout from the center of the image. I hoped this would work well with the frosty vignette, achieving a soft transition from a very colorful little snowman to that frosty edge. Nothing spectacular, but it was a helpful experiment for future ideas. In past I had trouble with that frosty vignette, it just didn’t look good on any image, I am glad I figured out how it can work.

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So, one more AfterBeforeFriday left. Then it is time for a little holiday hiatus. Prepare yourselves to be dazzled by our 2015 edition, full of new surprises, names, challenges and most of all, lots of fun.

If you want more info about the ABF Forum and how to participate in all the fun, hop to Stacy’s blog Visual Venturing

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My Way

I had a revelation last night. An epiphany. A divine intervention of a kind. Ok, nothing that dramatic. But I like how it sounds, serious and deep.

In fact, the opposite occurred. For the last few days I was searching my very modest folder “My Pictures” for this week’s entry in Monochrome Madness. Isn’t it funny,  how many rainy days we had this years, the year I finally started to learn and explore the world of photography. So, instead of walking out and about and taking images, I am forced to recycle my old images.

On top of that, for unknown reasons even to me, I decided to post Christmas-related images this month. Why would things be easy when they can be oh so complicated? I have maybe 10-15 Christmas images in my collection and from those 10 not one is of a good quality. But things like that can’t stop me, hence the title “My Way”.

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So, here is my image from 2007, the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. I took this image as we were leaving, my last glimpse of this beautiful place, rich in history and art. If you ever visit Vienna, don’t miss this place, its interior is vastly superior to Versailles.

I don’t really know if anyone is interested in my post-processing choices, cause there is nothing much to learn. Ok, maybe one interesting thing is how I cropped the image to panorama and I think it works great with the layout of the building. I implemented so many different things, textures, effects, vignettes, layers…but I just couldn’t get what I wanted. As a last resort, I used FotoSketcher and played with textures, giving it a harsh canvas look. It seems that worked, because somehow it tamed that slightly overblown sky and accentuated the focal point of the Palace.

When I finished, I stepped back and observed for a minute. Doubts swirled around, my little imaginary companions argued, I asked myself: Isn’t this a little too close to what I did the last week? Am I using too many tricks to hide the poor quality of my images? Are my images boring? Same old, same old?

That’s where that epiphany from the intro came into  play. I don’t care!!! I like it and I think it looks great. I enjoyed the process and managed to turn a bland image into a story. I always look for the story in my images. There is a ball in this one…and I am in a horse-drawn carriage, wearing a beautiful gown…and I am going to dance till the morning…I’ll seduce the secretary of state and steal some top secrets, me being a spy.

So, that is my story. I am leaving you now, chasing my next adventure. Hope you will find your own.

Be sure to check other fabulous entries on Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY.

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December #One Four Challenge – Step II

Here we are , Step II of December OneFourChallenge. My Week 2 is looking very different from my Week 1, but I promise you both came from the same image. That’s why I chose it, I hoped it would give me the chance to really step out and away from the usual stuff.

My first step was to crop the image and it took me some time to come up with the composition that works. I needed one special ornament that I would make stand out and that Santa was just what I was looking for. Then I clicked on that pesky Orton effect. I don’t know if my infatuation with Orton will ever end, but it seems every time I use it, works perfectly for that image.

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I used Focal Soften and adjusted the radius to cover only that ornament, so everything else would be a little bit blurred. After adjusting exposure and saturation, I applied a soft vignette, just enough to add a little bit of magic and bring those glowing ornaments step closer.

The post-processing was done in PicMonkey and a little bit of healing in PixlrExpress. I like how this image turned out, all the steps I took gave me that soft glowing feeling, like the ornaments were lighted from the inside. I really can’t wait to show you the original, it will be interesting to read your comments.

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I hope you’ll continue to follow the adventures of all participants in this fun challenge. All you have to do is search for the tag – OneFourChallenge. And if you’d like to join the crazy ride, just check all the details on Robyn’s blog Captivate Me.

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Time for another entry in Friday Fictioneers challenge, courtesy of Rochelle Wissof-Fields. If you want to give it a try, check the info on her blog. 100 words more or less, inspired by a photo, here we go….

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 Copyright –  Janet Webb

There is a price to be paid when you fall for the illusion that the grass is greener on the other side. A casual glance, a not so casual touch, a foolishly insignificant affair…
Rose left her husband one late summer afternoon, seeking her long gone youth between her gardener’s thighs. Four months later, with both her wallet and her heart broken, the walls of a cheap hotel room started closing in.
“The winter is coming.” she said.
“Come home.” her husband said.
Once beautiful, now withered, the flowers were still there.
She said: “I don’t deserve you.”
He said: “It’s Christmas.”