Linger Awhile Longer

The leaves are collecting in doorways and under abandoned cars; piles of raked leaves create "forts" for kids to jump into; rusty leaves snap and crinkle wherever you walk; single leaves dangle on bare branches like bats in the night....the last vestiges of autumn.

In Singapore there are no seasons like many of us experience.
But that is no excuse for the people of this charmed city to not experience the ambience of autumn.
A trip to Gardens by the Bay, a botanical garden of many delights, celebrate the seasons and holidays of many countries and cultures.
Who says you can't have autumn in 90 degree weather?

The last two photos are from home in Charlotte, NC.

The evidence is on her face: she raced from her picnic lunch when she spied this shiny red tractor. JUST HER SIZE.
It brought back memories of riding my grandfather's green tractor as a child....only it was full size.
Enjoy the "last moments" of autumn...maybe even ride a  RED tractor.

Posting to Kim Klassen, Tuesday Textures

Finding Your Way Through Art and Photos

A few posts ago I mentioned taking a workshop with Marie Otero. For two mornings our hearty group walked the streets of Charlotte.  We would reconvene in the afternoon and work on converting our photos into Black and White images.
Being a poser of questions,  on our return, I would smile and ask, "How many shots did ya'll (my "un-authentic" southern accent) take this morning?"
We were always up in the 300-400 range.  
Have you ever thought how many photographs you take in say six months?
Or if you are an artist, how many sketches and paintings you work on in six months?
The numbers can be staggering, especially in digital photography.

This afternoon I decided to FIND some blogs I really enjoyed a long time ago. (I have neglected some really lovely blogs.) Long story short: several blogs featured mosaics dedicated to color  or subject schemes. 
I haven't done mosaics for ages so decided to scoot through as many of my photos on my hard drive as I could and FIND my favorite color combination:

Oops, how did I put mosaics together many months ago? Next came FINDING my way to some old programs and stumbled across Pic Monkey.
So Monkey and I and a handful of blue and yellow themed photos and artwork had a super time.

It won't be long before I do this again. It is just too much fun.
Also Pic Monkey has improved 100% over the last time I used it.
Give it a try, when you have a few minutes....(click on name)

Posting to Kim Klassen's Friday Finds
The Little  Red House, Mosaic Monday

Reflections and Haze Over Looking the Mekong River

We recently had the privilege of flying into Bangkok, Thailand, then taking a second flight to a more remote northern area,
 Chaing Rai.
Gateway to the Greater Mekong
Chaing Rai is far north and has the distinction of being separated from Laos and Myanmar by the Mekong River. The Mekong River flows from the Tibetan Plateau to Vietnam. 
From our room we could look out over the beautiful reflection pool to Myanmar and Laos.  This remote area is rich in history and culture. 
I look forward to sharing more of this beautiful area, but today I wanted to concentrate on atmosphere, haze and reflections.
These four shots were taken as the sun had barely risen, the moisture laden air was dense and defused the light. Few people were about, it was serene, quiet and peaceful. This land wasn't always so.
Each of these photos have had some manipulation to see how far I could push the boundaries and retain the integrity of the event, and hopefully emit a different quality of essence and atmosphere.

This view of the reflection pool and a bit of the river confuse the it dawn or sunset? I changed my white balance to tungsten which gave this beautiful blue effect, then I notched up the saturation to pull out the greens in the foreground.  (dawn)

 Stepping down some steep steps this is a lower view and other than sharpening, is as I viewed the scene. The natural atmosphere is very yellow/sulphuric.   I love the sun burst peeking over the  foliage.

Near the pool's surface, the sun was flaming yellow in its reflection. 
Without this warm flare of yellow, the photo would be pretty nondescript.  The sun was low enough in the sky to capture the deep green reflections of the trees on the right side.
Elephant statuary was everywhere as this is a refuge for elephants and their mahouts and families.
Land has been preserved for them to live their lives caring for their beloved elephants. Our grandchild were able to spend a day with the mahouts, learning how to care for an elephant, ride and give commands. An experience they will never forget.

This semi-interior photo I converted to black and white. 
The over all focus was changed quite dramatically using color dodge at about 80%. Color Dodge gives the impression of snow and ice on the tips of the leaves and around the baskets.

Afterwards I used a texture from Kim Klassen, Texture Tuesdays to see how a softly colored texture would work on black and white. Though hard to see on a monitor, it gives a slightly mottled effect, furthering the idea of snow.  (Which of course is totally ridiculous...but that is the beauty of photography)
All are processed in CS6.

It has been awhile since I submitted texturized photographs to Kim's website. Drop by, as there are some amazing photographers who regularly add their work.
Looking forward to sharing more of this beautiful, small piece of the world with you. Computers give us such a wonderful opportunity for Arm Chair Traveling. 
smiles: sharon

Popping back to Charlotte, North Carolina

Fresh on the heels of a 22 hour flight, I POPPED back to Charlotte,  excited to  take a workshop with  Lost Aussie on the Loose, Marie Otero. Marie is a warm, soft spoken, friendly, talented artist, photographer and photoshop guru.  Be sure and check out her website to see some GORGEOUS photography, her online classes, workshops and digital artwork.  

It felt a bit like a time warp returning to the US where everything seems sooooo easy: we write and speak English, can count change all by ourself and not always be asking for directions. The time had come to change cultural perspectives and rethink photography choices.
As a side note: I returned to a kaleidoscope of color after all of the soothing greens in Asia; so I just had to share this beautiful autumn photo of a tree in our front yard.

 Fine Art Creative Black and White Photography Workshop was a two day, one evening class held in Charlotte. Mornings were devoted to exploring the wealth of photographic possibilities, in the city then returning to a hotel conference room where we learned various ways to convert our color photos to black and white.  

Marie worked her way between  "students" helping us get correct camera settings, points of view to consider and sundry tips just right to maximize our photographs.  

through the lens of my camera.

I have been delighted to live in the Charlotte area these past three years, but with this workshop my eyes were re-opened to its vibrant, elegant, sophisticated architecture; the cohesiveness of the city by the planning gurus; the varied, interesting, and stellar monuments and sculptural pieces; quiet streams, ponds, and waterfalls softened by the fall of autumn leaves; green metal benches lined up along roads beckoning  the walker to sit awhile and  LOOK and SEE what was before them. Ah, so much to see and take in...and a lens truly clarifies just that.

A moment of tranquility in a park.

Queen Charlotte of 4th Street.  I chatted with a few men who were sunning in the warmth of the sun on a green metal bench. This kind soul rescued his dog when it was tossed out of a car on that street in front of him.  He nursed him back to health.  I so appreciated him allowing me to take their photo.  
Capturing the "humanity" in others is the ultimate joy for me.

 To end this little photo-log, I loved this photograph I am calling "reflection upon reflection" the  touch of color.

I will share more views of Charlotte...perhaps you will fall in love with the Queen's City, as I have, just remember to bring your camera. 

The world looks different through a camera's lens.

Also posting to another wonderful photographer, Kim Klassen's, Friday Finds.

Poppin' around with Houdini

I was a bit worried so I checked my genealogy and found that I am
not related to Houdini!  Whew that was a relief. Putting that little tidbit aside, I do seem to disappear every now and then, without a trace of information of where I am going. 
At times I feel like Popper's Penguins, popping up here, there, everywhere..... 
So to get me back into the groove, I will randomly choose a place to POP into and see what adventure awaits.
(But first think of your own public library and what it looks like on a Saturday morning.)

Are you ready, let's POP over to Choa Chu Kang Public Library

Choa Chu Kang Library is found on an upper level of an Asian mall in Singapore. It is an hour before opening and there are throngs of eager young and old folks waiting to enter. This is normal for a library in Singapore.

Now where is this ant trail of little shoes leading us:

Well that is an invitation worth checking out.
Whoa, isn't she a little young?

Without reservation, LuLu got into the thick of it!! 
After all it was a room full of BLANK-WHITE paper wrapped on walls, floor and boxes; rainbow tins of crayons, pencils and markers; bright lights casting deep dark shadows from projectors; and a total "create what you want" atmosphere. 

A gift from two women who understand how important art, without restrictions and rules, are for young and old alike; they set up art camps all over it was the library. 

Bright projector lights makes it an "other worldly" atmosphere.

A covered box with white paper makes a super child size easel. 

A cast of shadows wiggle amongst the drawings.

With great concentration, every inch of paper is soon covered with art created by little hands with big imaginations. 

I loved this Leaning Tower of critters. 

So eager to put down his story, this artist decided to use BOTH hands!

Running barefoot in the crayons, on crinkly paper, brings out the artist in everyone.

Is this a cool library, or what?

All photos taken with a smart phone
 under rather challenging circumstances.
Capturing the moment is all that counts.

Looking forward to sharing other places I have been "popping"into....until then cover a box with paper and go for it!!  Hopefully inviting a child to come along with you.  smiles: sharon