Already Gone

Prompts and Challenges
Queen Mary--14

Please click on image to see a high res version

Janna T writes. That’s not my opinion. My opinion is that Janna T writes unbelievably well. Her stories stray from the predictable to often times the eerie! A sometimes journey to Hitchcockian or Serlingesque territory. I think I just made up those two categories but go read her story inspired by my photo, above, and come up with your own category!

Already Gone

by

Janna T.

ABFriday – Week 46

Prompts and Challenges
AFTER

AFTER

The Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort was the first structure built by people of European blood fifty years before Las Vegas became what Las Vegas is today. Interesting that the Old Mormons pitched their tents or parked their buggies just down the block from what is now known as The Strip, a mecca that provides fun and variety to all you sinners!
BEFORE

BEFORE

So listen close. I’m only going to say this once. Maybe my wife was right. Yes, I know. I use that qualifier “maybe” because then again maybe she wasn’t. All I know is that she’ll never hear me say it.
I had been working on this Before image in Lightroom; adjusting the lens profile and upright perspective, removing chromatic aberration, cropping, and removing the hose that whips around the bottom of the tree. Then I adjusted the highlights, shadows, white and black clipping. This is what I got:
Wagon-0627-2
OK, so not so bad. But what I wanted was to show the effect of the desert heat on anything left out in the sun year after year! After year! So I exported the image into Perfect Effects 9 and added 8 separate filters- among them, Dynamic Contrast, HDR, and Sharpening, all at 50%. Then I imported back to Lightroom, reducing and adjusting the color. This took me a good hour but I was pleased as punch at the outcome:

AFTER

So I asked my wife to take a look, expecting her to stroke my ego and tell me how perfectly I had captured the feeling I was after. You fool! Her only explanation was, “you lost the golden hour color”! I tried to explain my intent but to no avail. So, in order to please her, I went back into PE 9 and, after only adding 6 filters this time- among them color and tone enhancers- I came out with:Wagon-2
Now, the tree was too dark for her. I tried explaining that the tree was not the focus of the picture (you don’t get away with calling it an image with her. It’s a picture. Maybe a photo. But never an image!). She was having none of it. So back in I go. My final attempt to please her was:
Wagon-3And then I went to bed!
They say two heads are better than one. I’m not quite sure under what circumstance that would be. Certainly not when trying to create Art (notice the capital ‘A’). But at least I did not have to sleep alone!
Please visit Stacy’s Visual Venturing for more post processing fun! This is a weekly photo challenge that anyone is invited to attempt no matter your skill or level of competence (or ego)! And it’s fun. Most times. Next week, the first Friday of each month, we all get to play with the same photo submitted by one of us. No holds barred!

One Word Photo Challenge: Eigengrau

Prompts and Challenges

Lake Las VegasEigengrau is an intrinsic gray, the color seen by the eye in perfect darkness. The problem with this definition is that, if the darkness is perfect, there is no light. And all you would see is an intrinsic black. But what a boring photo that would be.

This is a weekly challenge which begins anew every Tuesday, hosted by Jennifer Nichole Wells at OWPC!

Gold Pocket Watch

Prompts and Challenges

Watch-“I’m very proud of my gold pocket watch. My grandfather, on his deathbed, sold me this watch.” ~ Woody Allen

My two week self-imposed period of mourning has made me realize several things. One, I miss my grandfather. Two, posting to my blog is something I can stop at a moment’s notice. Three, I missed posting. And four, I missed being a 13 year old trapped in an adult’s body. Death is serious business, I understand. But who, really, wants to be serious? Or an adult? I have had to deal with nursing homes and creditors and banks and morticians and real estate agents and the Salvation Army and the VA and social workers and lawyers and I’m sure there are several other groups of people I am forgetting. I wish I could forget them all. Did I use the past tense? Sorry. I am still dealing with them. And getting stressed out. Good thing my wife has been helpful in dealing with more than half of them or I would have pulled my hair out long before this.

I wanted everyone who sent their condolences to me and my family to understand how much that meant. When I was a child I had an imaginary friend who was the kindest, warmest, most caring pal I could conceive of. But he never could equal what I have felt here, in this strange community of friends. Imaginary or otherwise. Later in life, my imaginary friend somehow morphed into a young, scantily clad woman who was …, well, best not to go into that here. This was to be a remembrance, an appreciation, of a life. And I did appreciate my grandfather. Through my father and him, I acquired my own twisted sense of humor that, even now, I can not suppress. There have been tears aplenty in the last few months and weeks and days of my grandfather’s life. But there has been laughter, too. And I will always remember the nurse who stood at his bed with me and stroked his arm as if he had been her life long friend.

He was not a great man. How many really are? But he fought in World War II and received a purple heart (for which he received $133 in VA benefits per month for the last 70 or so years). He was a man of few words who loved his wife so dearly that he had little time for his son and daughter. But, truth be told, he was also busy with giving all 3 of them as large a portion he could manage of the American dream. He told me stories of how, when he was younger, he would smoke, and drink, and gamble. Sometimes all at once. But he quit the cigars, the cigarettes, the beers and the Four Roses whiskey, all cold turkey. He never did give up the gambling, though, and I used to drive him to his local casino once or twice a month to play Keno (a variation of  Bingo, as far as I could tell). After my grandmother, his wife, died in 2001, he sold their 3 bedroom home and moved into a single wide trailer in a senior’s mobile home park. He became very misanthropic, hating everyone. When it was time to give up his driver’s license (at the age of 90) he never ventured out of his house except for when I would come by twice a week to take him shopping or to his doctor’s appointments.

This is not turning out to be quite the celebration I thought it would be. But I do miss him. He worked until the age of 89 as a crossing guard and gave a jacket to a young kid one day when the kid came to school shivering because the family couldn’t afford a winter coat. Another time, he suffered a black eye and cut lip when, with one swift fist to the side of his face, he was knocked to the ground by an angry bicyclist who was berating a woman driver.

He was the kindest, warmest, most caring person I will ever have the good fortune to know. He was also irascible, cantankerous, judgmental, and sometimes very frustrating.

But he was my grandfather!

Heart-Please visit MightWar and read her post A Farewell to The Giant which has nothing to do with the death of my grandfather except that it is a very well written and heartfelt post that made me wish I had known her father!