March is just around the corner and so is the new theme for the Monochrome Madness Challenge. This time the challenge was a shadow. Or shadows. Or something along those lines. I went for that last one, something along those lines. A statue in the shadows with the shadow.

This marble sculpture, Theseus Defeats the Centaur by Antonio Canova from 1875, is located on the grand staircase in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum. The museum is one of my favorite places to visit when I am in Vienna. It was opened around 1891 at the same time as the Naturhistorisches Museum, by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. The two museums have similar exteriors and face each other across Maria-Theresien-Platz. Both buildings were built between 1871 and 1891 according to plans drawn up by Gottfried Semper and Karl Freiherr von Hasenauer.


The museum’s primary collections are those of the Habsburgs, particularly from the portrait and armour collections of Ferdinand of Tirol, the collections of Emperor Rudolph II (the largest part of which is, however, scattered), and the collection of paintings of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm.

For more interesting monochrome images, I recommend a visit to Leanne Cole’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY, where every Wednesday she hosts The Monochrome Madness Challenge.


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.

                  Week 3

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.


‘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. :/

Loré Dombaj ABF 29 After

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


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”.


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.


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.

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.


Freak Factor

First Friday of the month. This is the last Friday we are doing a regular AfterBeforeFriday Forum. Starting January, every first Friday of the month we will be featuring a single image edited by all participants.

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

I was looking through the images for this weeks’ entry and stumbled upon this one. It just screamed at me: “Pick me! Pick me!” I don’t know why I always pick a challenging image of a poor quality, I swear I am not into all that S&M stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 😀


Anyhow, I started with no idea what to do and somehow ended with this Freaky Christmas Card. I mean, look at them. That is one freaky family. Mother with alien eyes, a slightly tipsy Father, that kid is on some bad weed and don’t even let me started on two Grandpas with their sicko faces. The only normal person is that poor little girl, which just accentuates the freaky factor of others.
Loré Dombaj ABF29 after2

This image was taken years ago on Vienna’s Christmas Market, in a children’s part of the market. Freaky, right? I don’t know about you, but I think they are awesome. 😀

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Have a nice weekend, go out and enjoy Christmas decorations and seasonal festivities. And don’t spend too much money on gifts, it’s all about love and family and friendship.


Christmas Lights

This is week 40 of Monochrome Madness, I’ve been doing this for 33 weeks. 33 different monochrome images, my experiments in the world of post-processing and general taste. Some turned out to be success, some were not. I learned a lot and still, I know nothing.

This week I tried to get the old photo look once more. But this time, I wanted it to really look old and worn, like it was found discarded in a bottom drawer of an old desk. After my usual adjustments (cropping, exposure, effects, a light vignette), I ended the post-processing in PhotoSketcher and used a “vintage photo” effect.


I am not really sure about this one, so I am sending it out into the world, maybe someone will like it more than I do.

If you want to see some great and inspiring monochrome images, be sure to hop over to Leanne Cole’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY.


December #One Four Challenge – Step I

Welcome, welcome!!!

First day of the last month of the year, first Monday, first week in a new One Four Challenge, courtesy of Robyn from Captivate Me. The idea is to take one of our own images and process it four different ways – sharing it over four weeks on our own blogs – one image per week. If you would like to join in the fun, please hop to her blog and read some more info.

Last month I revealed the original from the beginning. This month I will take a different approach, because my idea is to really make every step unique and as far removed from original as possible. I don’t know if I’ll succeed in my intentions, but it will certainly not be for lack of trying.


I don’t know if you get yourselves in trouble too often, but it seems I just look to make things harder for myself. I was bent to have a Christmas image as this month’s subject of my crazy experiments, but I don’t have a lot of “christmasy” images in my collection. I was playing with few and decided on this one from my trip to Vienna in 2007. I was so fascinated by the variety of decorations, I spent my time going around their famous Christmas Market and snapping pictures.

I could beat myself with a stick for the lack of quality. But if I did that for every poor image I ever took, I would end up in hospital. 😛 As my grandma and all grandmas around the world used to say – No crying over the spilt milk.

My post-processing choices are by now well-known and too boring to repeat over and over again. I am really trying to stay away from Orton, but every time I use it, I just can’t go back. One thing I used for the first time was adding the snow. There is a section in PicMonkey with different Themes, one of those is Winterland. There I found some snow just lying around and thought to myself: Why not?

Please, shower me with your love and admiration and I will smoother you with tons of “christmasy” stuff. 😀

My best friend just called me and demanded I remove the snow: “I don’t like it! Remove it, it looks so fake.” Oh my, she nearly gave me a heart-attack, but I am sticking with it.


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.”