Old Times Old Ways

As I said before, inspiration is a strange beast…

I am writing a story about Balto and Togo, two dogs who were a part of the 1925 Nome Serum Run, the famous dog sled relay, composed of 20 dog sled mushers and 150 dogs, which brought initial relief to the citizens of Nome, Alaska, who were being struck down by a diphtheria epidemic in late 1924 and early 1925. Doing the research, I came across some old photos of the sled dogs from 1920s. That gave me the idea to turn one of Berta’s photos into a vintage photo, reminiscent of those times.  Berta being a husky mix made it even more exciting.


The original was taken on one of our morning walks in December, was published on Instagram and featured here as the January Photo of the Month. Post processing was not very complicated, although it involved more than few steps. After converting it to b&w and adjusting the exposure, I softened the far background, which made her stand out more prominently. Playing with different textures actually gave me the idea of the vintage photo. So, I added some old paper texture via PixlrExpress and imported the image into FotoSketcher, where the final conversion step happened.

I like the final result, it does remind me of those old times. Here is an old photo of Togo, so you can make sense of my initial idea.


As I already said last week, our dear hostess Leanne Cole moved her post Monochrome Madness Challenge to Australia Thursday/Europe Wednesday, so I don’t have a direct link to her post. You can check her site Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY tomorrow, where you will find many other amazing entries.


The Observer

For two weeks in a row my Berta is the subject of ABFriday. And I love it, I think it is so much fun working on an image you feel passionate about.

This image was captured on one of our early morning walks at the end of December, few days before it started to snow. It was a string of exceptionally beautiful mornings where every sunrise offered spectacular colors.

Loré Dombaj ABF73 before

As in most cases, there is a difference of what we remember and what our camera captured. In editing process I tried to get closer to my memory. The editing was minimal, just a little bit of clean up and enhancing of colors. I had to deal with the upper left corner where the sky was blown up, so I used few filters and a partial vignette. Not the best job, but it got me where I wanted.

Loré Dombaj ABF73 after

Once again, be so kind and show support to other participants of AfterBeforeFriday on Ben’s blog Aperature64.

Follow the Cairns

Time for another entry in Friday Fictioneers challenge, courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-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….


You think I am gone. Chasing rainbows in the after, waiting for you so we can cross that bridge.

But you are mistaken. I am here, a permanent tenant in your heart, cuddling and  sleeping…and when I wake up, I run around, chasing my tail. That is why your chest hurt so much and you feel the need to cry. But don’t worry, I am just trying to say: Thank you for a place to sleep.

And when the time is right, I’ll run before you, placing little cairns along the way…so you don’t get lost.

Last Friday, we said goodbye to my best friend’s companion. I suspect she took a little bit of space in my heart, too. Sleep, my little friend. ♥



An Old Friend

Of all the dogs in the world, you could truly say that Rea was a human trapped in a dog’s body. Her eyes seemed to say – If only I could speak.

She was my best friend’s companion and it’s been years since she crossed The Rainbow Bridge. I remember when I first saw her, she was just a puppy with ears bigger than the rest of her body, soft fur, puppy breath…And she had a personality to match her cuteness. As years passed by, she lost that puppy playfulness, but kept that mild, sweet character.

Rea was many things…a cherished family member, a beloved friend, but I will always remember her as the greatest dog I ever met.


Monochrome Madness Challenge is hosted by Leanne Cole on her blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY, where every Tuesday people from all around the world show their monochrome images. Be sure to check it out and participate in all the fun.


The Princess and the Pea

It’s Friday and that can mean only one thing. Actually, it could mean countless other things, I really don’t know who came up with that saying. Anyhow, it is Friday and in my little blogging world it is a perfect time for another entry in AfterBeforeFriday forum, hosted by one and only Stacy Fischer on her blog Visual Venturing (again, it is entirely possible she is not the only Stacy Fischer in the world).

If you are wondering what we are doing over there, don’t rack your pretty little brains anymore, the mystery shall be revealed. Other people are showcasing their exceptional work in the world of post-processing by publishing their before and after images, with very detailed and interesting explanations on the entire process.

I, on the other hand, am winging it week after week, pretending I know what I am doing. Half the time I forget what I do or in what order I do things, so I just say something smart, mentioning exposure, highlights, POW, DOF…You know, like a pro. Don’t tell anyone, but it seems they are buying it. 😀

But enough about me, let’s talk about my wonderful work. I discovered something amazing this week, a little free program called FotoSketcher and used it to convert a regular photo into an oil painting look-a-like.

ABF12 after

This is Berta. Lying on my sofa. On my favorite blanket. Using and abusing my soft heart. I snapped this image with my old HTC phone. It seems I am mentioning that old phone much lately, maybe I should go and fish it out of one of the drawers it got lost in. My point is, no fancy work here, no post-processing…nada…ziltch. I mean, look at her. She’s a princess. Hence the title. Hans Christian Andersen connection.

ABF12 before

So, I uploaded the image into FotoSketcher. As you can see in the screenshot below, it is a very simple program, where you get side by side before/after image and you can observe all the changes you are doing. I chose “painting – oil”, “hard texture” and added a frame. I also adjusted strength of effect, image simplification and brushstrokes intensity. There are no rules (at least I couldn’t find any), you play with it until you get what you want.


I adore this program so much, it may happen that in the future all my photos are converted into “paintings”. Jokes aside, I really think that this experiment worked on this particular image. That rich red color and in particularly those blanket folds make it look like a real painting.

So, what do you think…am I amazing or what? 😀 I even posted some screenshots this week, so there may be hope for me.



Some of you might have noticed I participate in a weekly photo challenge called Monochrome Madness, hosted by wonderful Leanne Cole. All I have to say is – if I can do it, so can you.

I usually browse through hundreds of photos I took over the years, trying to find THE one, that single photo that would look decent in monochrome. Sometimes, I go out to take a fresh photo in b&w, which proves to be a challenge, especially on a bright sunny day when colours are bursting all around me. Then there are times when I snap a silly photo with my phone camera, and I instantly fall in love with that image.

This is a selfie my dog took this weekend, so I decided to photobomb her. 😀


 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, there are many helpful posts and tutorials and she is very open and friendly person.



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, here we go….


 Copyright – Erin Leary

I am screaming, trying to get back to the house, but they wont let us take her.

“Ma’am, we are just doing our jobs here. You need to evacuate, the water is rising fast.”

“I can’t leave her.”, I whisper to my dad, “You take care of them.”

He knows me, I am my father’s daughter. “I’ll come back for you, as soon as I get them to dry land.”

I turn around and make my way to the house. She is wagging her tail, jumping around.

A soldier yells after me: “It’s only a dog.”


Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia are hit with the worst flood in recent history. Cities and villages are under water, people are being evacuated, leaving everything behind…The priority is human life, so most of the animals are left behind. It is a hard choice, some left their animals behind, some refused to leave. There is no right or wrong, we must live with our choices.
There are stories….an old man refusing to leave his dog and 5 puppies until they agreed to take them all. Volunteers coming back and rescuing dogs and cats, pigs, sheep, cows…Many soldiers and policemen helping out, others refusing to let people go back…All people are safe for now, why can’t we give our best and try to save every life.
Great tragedies give birth to great compassion, the outpour of help is tremendous. The entire region is working together, and that says a lot. We were fighting in a bloody war not long ago, today we are helping each other. That is a great news for humanity.

I wish we could extend that courtesy to our animal friends.


Berta kolaž

I saw you standing there
Observing the world backstage
Your confused sad eyes
Prisoner in your own cage

Waiting for the world to call
For a gentle soul to come your way
Destiny is sometimes kind
Our paths crossed that day

Lying on a cold ground
In hope that dreams come true
You saved me then and there
When I thought I was saving you

Walking side by side
You’ll never be on your own
We can make it if we try
You will never be alone