Quote of the Month:

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." - Walt Disney
{Past Quotes}

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Magic of Photoshop

It's amazing what one can do to a photograph using a computer nowadays. Photo-manipulation has come so far since the days of film. Take this photo for example. This is the original, a picture of the bride of the wedding I was shooting last week. It was taken in relatively low light right before sunset. It's not that bad of a picture, but just look at what it can look like with minimal editing:

Before/Original
After/"Enhanced"
As Chris would say, I "enhanced" the photo using curves and the channel mixer, changing the levels, and the brightness/contrast. Just minimal changes and it already looks that much better. Not only can Photoshop "enhance" photos, but you can also add filters and use actions. Here are a two different options for this photo:

Black and White
"Sun Kissed"

In the first, I took away the color. In the second, I boosted it. Which is your favorite? There is also the other version featured in yesterday's Wordless Wednesday. That one has more "fantastical" colors- obviously she doesn't have purple skin, but it makes the picture pretty anyway. It's really easy to find actions for Photoshop. Just Google "Free Photoshop Actions" and tada! You can get lists of them! I got the "Sun Kissed" action from this website and the action used on yesterday's WW can be found here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

P.S.

I was thinking about this before I went to bed last night, but I was too tired to open my computer back up and type it out... I wanted to thank everyone for reading my blog in the past year.
Thank you, even if you only look at the pictures.
Thank you, even if you've only read one post.
Thank you, even if you only skim through the posts.
Thank you, even if you only accidentally clicked on my blog link.
Thank you, even if you deny that you read my blog.
Thank you, even if you lie about reading my blog.
I've really appreciated all the support from all my friends and family... and even some people I've never even met. This has been an interesting journey and I'm glad I could share it with all of you. Trust me, whenever I see one new page view I totally get excited. Do me a favor, let me know if you read this one (or skimmed it, whatever :P). Leave me a comment here, in the chat box to the left, or even on facebook!

Much love to everyone,

A

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Blog

Wow, so it's officially been a year since my first post on this blog. I remember when I first started going out with Chris he kept telling me I should start a blog, and I kept telling him no, my life is not exciting enough to write about, but here, I've been writing for a year. I'm not saying my life has been interesting enough to write about, but at least I stuck to it! :P I never thought it would last this long... Funny how one bored day can lead to a year of memories recorded online.

A lot has happened in a year. I've had multiple jobs, I've moved out (okay, so I've moved back in, but it's only for while until I get a job!) and in with my boyfriend over the summer, I've had my heart broken and repaired, I've made new friends, and I've just had my first "professional, professional" photography gig. I had two first yesterday: I photographed a wedding. Not only a wedding, a Sikh wedding! It was so much fun!... and I got paid for it! Thank you God for having me put an ad on Craigslist. It was just a random idea; I put it up Tuesday afternoon, and Tuesday night, right before dinner I got a phone call!


It was such a great experience for me and I'm still working on the photos (taking a break to write this of course). I feel like I've finally got my foot in the door to the job I love. I'm not saying I could make a living off of photography- though how great would that be?- but it has always been one of my passions. I've always loved taking photographs of everything. And, as you can probably tell from this blog, writing is also one of my passions. Writing, like photography, is a way of expressing yourself. This blog has been a great tool for me to express my feelings and vent when I'm annoyed or overly stressed (sorry if you had to suffer through those :P).

But anyway. Happy birthday In The Ash Grove, and here's to another year full of stories and photos.

A

Friday, August 10, 2012

Coming Home to the Frying Pan

Yes, I'm back in Bakersfield. Yes, I know the plan was to stay in Santa Barbara till the end of August. Yes, I miss being able to go outside without melting...

I have been sooooo spoiled this summer! No heat, the beach, a pool, a jacuzzi... It's been so nice! Then I came back to Bakersfield. The first thing that greeted me was the heat. I miss being able to drive around with my windows down and not be drenched in sweat. On the drive home I resorted to rolling both windows down, opening the vents, tilting the sunroof open and taking my shirt off (sorry guys, I still had my bra on), and I was still hot and sweating. Yuck! I guess I forgot just how hot Bakersfield can be! It's a pain in the butt to drive anywhere here. At least for me it is- the AC in my car doesn't work.

So far it's been okay. I haven't had to be outside for much, but it really sucks! I want to be outside with the animals I missed, but it's too hot to even stand outside in the shade. I really feel bad for them. When I got home Wednesday, Champ didn't even run up to the gate. He waited for me to park the car by the house before coming over to say hi real quickly then run back to his shady spot.

Last night there was a concert of sorts at The Market Place. My parents were there with some friends and they invited me over. I was at Chris' cool house so it only took me 10 minutes to get there, but it's like my car radiates heat or something, lol. It's actually hotter in my car than it is outside. It was uncomfortably warm when I got there, so I got some ice cream from Baskin Robins. That was the only way it was tolerable. Once the ice cream was gone, so was I! Just a short 25 minute drive in the oven and I was back home in my air conditioned house.

In my last post I believe I wrote something about missing the hot summer... I lied! I've only been back a few days and I want to go back to Santa Barbara already! Haha, this is worse than I remember. I miss be spoiled...

A

Friday, August 3, 2012

Feeling Homesick

Don't get me wrong, I have been loving my summer in Santa Barbara. I love the cool 70 degree weather, the living (basically) on my own, the people, the beach, and not having anyone telling me what to do. This is the first time I've moved out of my parent's home, and I am greatly enjoying it... but I miss Bakersfield.

I actually miss the hot summer! I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss all my animals. I didn't realize how homesick I was feeling until I went home to Bakersfield last weekend. I was talking to friends and I realized that I didn't know a lot about what has been going on in their lives. My friend Ashley (#2 ;P) is officially engaged. I expressed my surprise, to which she responded, "well you've been in Santa Barbara." My cat was crying the entire time I was home and wanting me to pet her. Every time she heard my bedroom door open she came running down the hallway. My dog ran up to me with his tail wagging and stayed by me the entire time I was outside. And there are so many new animals on the farm- there are goats I haven't met, and a cute new german shepherd mix pup. I miss living out on the farm. Yeah, it's nice to be able to dress up and wear my cute shoes, but I miss dressing down and getting dirty once in a while.

Last week I helped Chris' dad do some yard work and I enjoyed it. I hadn't realized how much I missed doing manual labor. Yeah, I'm sure I complained when I had to do it at home, but it's nice to do something with your hands once in a while.

I'm excited because I get to go back next week. I have an interview on Thursday at Stockdale Veterinary Hospital. The plan is to leave Wednesday and to stay until Friday. I wish I could stay through the weekend, but I've got work on Saturday. No complaints though! Money is money! I am definitely going to spend more time at home this trip though because I do miss my animals. Yes, family, I miss you too of course, but my furries need me :P I'm really hoping I get this job (or an even better one) because the sooner I start working, the sooner I move back to Bakersfield to all my friends, family, and furries. I'll still miss them, because the goal is to not move back into my parent's home, but I'll be able to drive to see them whenever I want! I'll probably have to move back in with them when I first get back, but as soon as I have enough money from my new job I will be out and about!

It will be like having a new beginning all over again. 2012 has held so many new things for me, and it just keeps getting better.

With <3
A

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

click for larger

A Day of Firsts

For me, it's not hard to find something new to experience... because I actually haven't experience a whole lot. Chris and I went to Los Angeles the other day, and we did a bunch of new things (for me). We went to Hollywood and I got to see the star walk, and all the other neat things there. We also went to the Santa Monica pier and I got to ride the ferris wheel! And while, yes, that day was full of firsts, it is not the main story today. While we were on our way to the pier, we saw a bike rental place and I told Chris that I've always wanted to rent a two person tandem bike. I asked him if he'd ride one with me and he said yes, but not here because it was too busy with people. So I asked him where and his mistake was answering Santa Barbara (:

We were only in LA for the day and we drove back to SB that night. The next morning when we woke up, Chris asked me, "what do you want to do today." At first I didn't have any good ideas- I was tired from the events of the day before. I got up and took a shower, brushed me teeth- all the normal things one does in the morning and then it hit me! Chris agreed to rent a bike with me in SB... and we're in SB...! While he was in the shower, I started doing research on bike rental places. I found only one place that rented tandem bikes: Wheel Fun Rentals. When Chris got out of the shower, I showed him what I was scheming and he immediately wished he'd never opened his mouth lol. There were two things I've always wanted to do: ride a tandem bike with my boyfriend, or ride a surrey. Chris convinced me to get the surrey. I've always wanted to rent a bike/surrey when I was younger, but my parents have always said they're too expensive ):

Anyway, we ended up renting the surrey so that I could have a place to put my camera, and so that it would be easier to talk with him (as opposed to yelling towards him, because you know he's gonna wanna be in the front :P) Also, the second hour was free, can't beat that! I had a blast! We went up and down the bike path by the beach and stopped to take pictures every now and then. We saw a couple on the side of the road taking pictures of themselves on their bike so we stopped and exchanged cameras :P Here's what we got out of it:

click for larger (:
Chris had told me that we were going to go somewhere that was a surprise after our surrey ride. I was so excited-out from the ride I actually forgot. I thought we were walking back to the car, but we ended up going to the Kalyra wine tasting room. This would be First #2. I have never been wine tasting before! I am not an expert on wine, but it was fun sitting there and trying to make out the different tastes they say you're supposed to be able to taste haha. Chris actually ended up buying like 5 bottles of wine, and sweet ones too. He's always said he doesn't like sweet wine, but I guess yesterday changed his opinion :P The bartender was really nice, and he wasn't at all annoyed at our novice-ness to wine tasting. I actually got a buzz out of it too. We tasted maybe around 10 different wines. Tasted, meaning the glasses weren't full. I guess I shouldn't be surprised though. A couple of weeks ago I got buzzed off of one beer at a bowling alley...

The third first of the day happened at lunch afterwards.We went to Enterprise Fish Co. I was still feeling sophisticated after the wine tasting, so I ordered us two glasses of wine to go with our lunch. I have never before ordered wine at a restaurant. Third number three. What I loved about this whole day, is that everything was within walking distance. We drove to Santa Barbara, but we walked to the bike rental shop, the winery, and the restaurant. The fourth and final first of the day was muscles. And no, i'm not saying this was the first day I've ever seen a big hunky guy, I'm saying it's the first day I ate a muscle. You know, those things that come out of the ocean. So weird! Haha. Not bad tasting, but weird. They came in a delicious pasta with calamari and shrimp (:


The rest of the day was spent doing things I've already done before, but it was still really great. We hung out with Bryan for a little while, and then with Amanda. We ended the day with Archer and a kiss goodnight (:

A



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