Fool’s Gambit

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….


 Copyright –  Melanie Greenwood

“Your Highness, one word and we can stop this.”

” Your naivety is sweet, my Lord.”

“This parley was supposed to be a formality.”

“Did no one tell you that our parts were chosen long ago. Yesterday you sought a comfort in my bed, but love has no place on a battlefield.”

“A Stone Cold Queen – the name suits you.”

“Today I am not a queen, but a warrior. Although I may not live to see another day, I would suffer a thousand deaths for my people.”

“That is such a foolish reason to die.”

“Ah, but that is a good reason to be remembered.”

This is an excerpt from the story I am working on, right now it is all over the place and mostly in my head, but I still hope it will break free one of these days.



Coat Of Arms

For this week’s Monochrome Madness I wanted something dreamy. Browsing through my old photos, I discovered this lost treasure and wanted to see where it will get me.

This is Drašković-Malatinski Coat of Arms dated back to the 18th century, placed on the outer wall of one of Croatia’s best preserved old castles, the Trakošćan Castle.

There were numerous steps in this post-processing, but it was done surprisingly quickly. I cropped the image, removed some bits, smoothed the wall texture and played with exposure and filters. It was not my first intention to get this smooth, almost metallic feel, but I ended up there and I liked it. As a last step, I added the vignette. There are some interesting preset overlays in PixlrExpress, so I played with a variety of those and this is the finished look. Quite polished, I would say, that silvery background.

If you are interested, check out my Friday ABF Forum post, where I’ll publish the before and the middle images, so you can see the process.

Be sure to check Leanne Cole’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY, for more great monochrome images. If you’d like to participate, you’ll find all the details at the bottom of her post.


This is my 200th post on this blog. In less then 10 months. I really talk too much. 😀

Right Behind You

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….


 Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“I am right behind you.” she said. Where once she stood, now there is only a patch of dry blood. I still can’t shake this buzzing in my ears. The doctor assures me it is temporary, caused by a grenade blast. It’s surreal standing in this intact room, when only few steps from here one life was erased.
Once we were kids playing in the same band, dreaming big dreams. Once we were best friends.
Today she is a casualty of war…And I am a stranger in my own life.
A new flag is raised above the city ruins. Nothing lasts forever.

I love Tears for Fears version, but this one suited my story more.


A Failed Experiment

After-Before Friday is a weekly challenge hosted by Stacy Fischer on her blog Visual Venturing:
“After-Before Friday posts provide an opportunity for photographers (amateur and seasoned, alike) to share their photos, and if they wish, their post-processing decisions. The photos will provide a fun “wow” factor; the post-processing descriptions, the “how.” The goal is to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at others’ work while picking up helpful ideas along the way that each of us can use as we work with our own photos.”
If you are interested in joining us, you can find all the details on her blog.

Peterskirche (English: St. Peter’s Church) is a Baroque Roman Catholic parish church in Vienna, Austria. The construction  begun around 1701. By 1722, most of the building was finished, and in 1733, the Peterskirche was finally consecrated to the Holy Trinity.



The turreted dome was mainly designed by Matthias Steinl, who was also responsible for the interior decoration and the pews with their fabulous cherubic heads. The frescoes were originally painted by the famous Italian Andra Pozzo, whose paintings were removed after his death. As a result, in 1713, Johann Michale Rottmayr was able to start a completely new set. The fresco in the cupola represents the Coronation of Our Lady.



In all my ventures into the world of post-processing, I realized I mostly enjoy working on low-quality images. As in most things in my life, I like the challenge. That’s why this week I picked another image from my folder “discarded”. As you can see in the original image, it is out of focus, details are not very clear. I was wondering what to do, in which direction to go. I started with exposure, decreasing brightness and increasing shadows. The shadows seemed to accentuate some details more than the others, giving it overall a much dramatic look. Post-processing was done in PicMonkey.

To be honest, I don’t think there is much improvement in the “after” image. It just has a different atmosphere, a darker, fiery tone.  In the end, you need to have a quality “before image” to get a quality “after” image. There is only so much you can do in the post-processing.

But to quote Richard Buckminster Fuller: “There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes.”


Porta Soprana

The Italian city of Genoa, chief town of Liguria and ancient capital of the Republic of Genoa, during its long history had been defended by walls. To this day, large portions of these walls remain, and Genoa has more and longer walls than any other city in Italy. The main city walls are known as “Ninth century walls”, “Barbarossa Walls” (12th century), “Fourteenth century walls”, “Sixteenth century walls” and “New Walls” (17th century).

Porta Soprana is the best known gate in the ancient Genova city walls, built in the 12th century as a part of the Mura Barbarossa. This is the spiral staircase in one of the towers.

                  Genoa, Italy  May 2013.

In 1155, the Barbarossa defensive walls were extended to give more protection of Genoa, and it was at this time, at the top of St. Andrew hill, the Porta Soprana was built. The pair of medieval towers are said to be the most well known landmark of Genoa.


Regnum Caelorum

You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. … I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.


This is the breathtakingly beautiful Dome of St.Peter’s Basilica in Vatican. It is a sight to behold and as I was standing there, I couldn’t help but wonder about countless people who stood there before me. From the times of the ancient Rome, through dark Medieval days and blazing Renaissance times, to this day…nameless pilgrims, artists, popes, queens and king…No matter what the history tells us, I believe we are all equal under the sun.

This stunning piece of architecture and art rises to a total height of 136.57 meters from the floor of the basilica to the top of the external cross, making it the tallest dome in the world. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains the largest church in the world.

For more information you can check St.Peter’s Basilica.

Another week, another Monochrome Madness, hosted by Leanne Cole. Be sure to check other amazing photos on her blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY. If you want to participate, head over there and read instructions at the bottom of the post.


The Place Beyond the Trees

I believe there are different kinds of photos. And I don’t mean the obvious difference. Most of the photos are just the result of your eye trying to relay something to your brain and vice versa, but it gets lost in translation and we get ordinary images. But sometimes magic happiness and you get the image that time and time again can evoke a peculiar feel, a certain emotion. The birds singing, the shadows dancing, the sun touching your skin…happines, tranquility, nostalgia. This is one of those images – I remember every detail of that moment in time.


This was taken in Parco Sempione, Milan’s biggest park. It is one of the entrances to Arena Civica, a multi-purpose stadium, which hosts football and rugby union games, concerts and cultural events. The Arena Civica opened on 18 August 1807. In the early years of the twentieth century became the center of football activity. This stadium was used by Inter, initially only for the biggest matches and afterwards on a stable basis, from 1930 until December 10, 1958, when the nerazzurri were faced Lyon for the Fairs Cup. During its history it has been used for many kinds of events, including the reconstruction of naval battles; William Frederick Cody (“Buffalo Bill”) twice brought his “Wild West Show” here.

Leanne Cole, a wonderful photographer from Australia, is hosting a weekly challenge on her blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY called Monochrome Madness Challenge, where she features some monochrome photos from other photographers.

Be sure to check other amazing photos on her blog. If you want to participate, head over there and read instructions at the bottom of the post. I would like to recommend her blog to any aspiring amateur photographer, you’ll find many helpful posts and tutorials, but above all she is very open and friendly person.

Fille du Roi

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….


 Copyright – Claire Fuller

King’s daughter, they call me.
We landed in this strange place a fortnight ago, long line of husbands waiting on the wharf. I wonder who was on display? Husbands longing for soft breasts and strong thighs, or wives looking for a full purse and absence of heavy hand.
A fortnight later, my constant companion misfortune reared its ugly head. Husband sprawled across our bed, my wedding gown shredded to pieces…Wiping my bloody nose and nursing a broken arm, I shiver in the corner, trying to make myself invisible.
King’s daughter, they call me. I would laugh, but I am choking on my blood.


 Arrival of the Brides - Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

Learn something new every day – this is one of the principles of my life journey. This week’s photo challenged my inspiration in a most unusual way – a statue, a king, King Lear, his daughters, king’s daughters —> King’s Daughters or Fille du Roi, 800 young French women who immigrated to New France between 1663 and 1673 as part of a program sponsored by Louis XIV.
The program was designed to boost Canada’s population both by encouraging male immigrants to settle there, and by promoting marriage, family formation and the birth of children. While women and girls certainly immigrated to New France both before and after this time period, they were not considered to be filles du roi, as the term refers to women and girls who were actively recruited by the government and whose travel to the colony was paid for by the king.

Imagine the stories, the lives, happy endings and tragedies.

Memento Mori

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….


 Copyright – Laura Helms

Standing in the shadow of a tree, Marcus Crassus looked at the man before him: “Would it be we were standing on the same side.”
“I bless the fates we are not.”
“They ask me if I fear you… I don’t fear the man standing before me. Every man can be beaten.”  His gaze shifted to the skull melted into the fractured bark. “But I fear your shadow .”
“Do not fear my shadow, but those walking in it. For they will seek justice.”
“There is no justice in this world, Spartacus.”
“That is not my name.” he whispered.


I went back in time this week. The myth, the legend, the man who despised his gladiator name given to him by his captors, masters, enemies. Weather he was a rebel or a thief, that is a mystery hidden in the past times. Today, we still remember him and call him by that forced upon name – Spartacus. And it represents a cry for freedom that echoes across centuries.