Cee’s Compose Yourself Lesson: #24 Black and White: Post Editing

Prompts and Challenges

I love post processing. Almost as much as getting out and searching for that one shot that will make me rich and famous. Now, I’m not saying I want to be rich and famous, only that I love the search! Anyway, Cee’s challenge this week is to convert your photo into b & w using any post processing technique you have but to not rely on just letting the camera or your app change your photo into a simple gray scale. Because b & w relies on light and contrast even more so than color, I tend to add highlights with sliders and filters.

Here’s my original color image straight out of camera:

Straight Out Of Camera

Straight Out Of Camera

So, before converting, I cropped and removed the tree limb and metal in the lower right with the spot removal tool:


Crop and spot removal

The conversion to a gray scale:


Gray scale conversion

Playing with the blue, yellow, and orange sliders darkened the sky, lightened the grass and the house:


Blue, yellow, orange sliders

I used the graduated filters top and bottom to close the photo in and then used the radial filter to add highlights on the house and parts of the grass. At this point the effects are pretty subtle:


Graduated and radial filters

I then added overall contrast, clarity, and a post crop vignette:


Contrast, Clarity, and a post crop vignette

With the final image I used a large radial filter to darken, and reduce the sharpness and clarity all around the house to focus your eye. I also removed some bright spots on the tree limbs on the left with the spot removal tool:


Large radial filter and spot removal tool

I hope I didn’t get too long winded. The entire transformation took maybe 30 minutes.

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Gallery, Prompts and Challenges


The first Cadillac Elvis Presley ever bought was a 1954 Pink Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 Special Sedan. I’m not sure this is a ’54, a Special Sedan, a Series 60, or a Fleetwood. That would be for my friend Joe Giordano to tell us. What I can say with all certainty is that it is a Cadillac, and it is pink. Actually I remember it as being white, but the sunset made it look pink. Therefore, this is my pink submission to The Girl That Dreams Awake’s 52 Weeks Photo Challenge!

Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons – September 2016

Prompts and Challenges


Each month I take one photo at Calico Basin for Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons. Actually, I take several photos but choose only one to post. Since Tuesday, September 20, it has been overcast in Las Vegas. Shortly after I took this photo, at 3:43 in the afternoon, it started to drizzle. Just enough to make my car look dirtier than it actually was. The next day, September 21, it rained for about 5 minutes and we had an actual rainbow off in the southeast. This year the Fall Equinox was yesterday, September 22. Meaning summer was officially over. We are currently blessed with daytime temperatures in the 80’s and nighttime lows in the 50’s.


And now for your viewing pleasure, a retrospective of the year to date from Calico Basin.

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What’s this “Changing Seasons” blogging challenge?

«The Changing Seasons 2016» is a blogging challenge with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the new version (V2) where you can allow yourself to be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month. Anyone with a blog can join this challenge and it’ll run throughout 2016. It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcomed. These are the rules, but they’re not written in stone – you can always improvise, mix & match to suit your own liking:

These are the rules for Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

These are the rules for Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

Cee’s Share Your World – 2016 Week 38

Prompts and Challenges


On her Share Your World challenge, Cee states: “With your answers, please remember we are in the SYW world which may not always match our reality.” I’m not sure what, exactly, that means, except that my own personal reality has never quite matched up with anyone else’s. So read my responses with a hefty dose of what is called a willing suspension of disbelief!

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger? OK, ok, I admit it. I’m a tree hugger. I never met a tree I didn’t like. I’m not as free-spirited with people, though. Lynn’s family is, and I’ve had to suppress my natural aversion to the unnatural habit they have of hugging when they see you, and when you leave. Can’t we just wave and say “hi”? And “goodbye”?

What is your least favorite Candy? That should read “What WAS your least favorite candy” as I no longer eat candy. Basically because I’ve cut out sugar in my diet. Or, at least, as much sugar as possible. But when I was growing up I hated hard candy. Chocolate was my favorite. A Butterfinger candy bar. If none were available, I would reluctantly eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “fun”? I would normally say “Wife” but I think people might begin to get nauseous if I keep mentioning her. Same goes for photography, I think. So fun for me? Hmmm. That would have to be…, wait…, I think…, no. Can’t do it without mentioning at least one of those two!

List of Favorite Smells: What smells do you love? Whether it’s vanilla scented candles or the smell of coffee in the morning or the smell of a fresh spring rain…make a list of all the things you love for a little aromatherapy. Can you bottle ‘clean’? You know, the smell of a woman or child when they just come from a bath (or shower). Can’t beat that. Then there’s fresh baked bread. New car interior. A good St. Emilion wine. (This list is not necessarily in order of preference.) And, yes. Freshly brewed morning coffee.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I’m grateful Lynn did not get mauled while breaking up a fight between a pit bull and a chihuahua. I’m looking forward to the pit bull’s owner coming back from vacation so Lynn no longer has to pet sit.


Prompts and Challenges

The word prompt for this week’s 52 Weeks Photo Challenge hosted by The Girl That Dreams Awake is “Time”.

Whenever we used to have family gatherings, the older folk would reminisce about how little everything used to cost in “the good old days”. Well, I guess they weren’t lying as the gas pump above only has room for single digits. It seems no one could foresee filling up your tank would ever cost more than $9.99.

Truly, the good old days.

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 37

Gallery, Prompts and Challenges
Illegal Aliens

Rachel NV

From the official town website:

Located on the world’s only Extraterrestrial Highway

Population: Humans 98, Aliens ??

The town of Rachel is located in Sand Spring Valley, in the southern Nevada high desert, along the world’s only Extraterrestrial Highway, aka. Hwy 375. It is located about 115 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

In its heyday Rachel had over 500 residents, today the population is down to less than 100. Most of the people living in Rachel are retired, work at the alfalfa farms or in one of the three local businesses. A few people work at the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) or in Area 51, but of course those who really do can not talk about it.

The only remaining local businesses in Rachel is the Little A’Le’Inn Restaurant and Bar. There is a public phone outside the Little A’Le’Inn, but you need a calling card to use it.

In August 2002 Rachel got its own Fire Truck, as the result of an initiative by some of the residents.

Ever since the late 1980’s Rachel has been a popular destination among UFO fans, attracted by the nearby Area 51, and by hundreds of UFO sightings in the area. Rachel has been dubbed the “UFO Capital of the World”, and people from all around the world come to visit Rachel and the Little A’Le’Inn, and to get information to plan their personal expedition to that mysterious base in the desert.

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge runs weekly on Fridays.


Cee’s Share Your World – 2016 Week 37

Gallery, Prompts and Challenges


Have you ever owned a rock, pet rock, or gem that is not jewelry? I always wanted to own a pet rock when I was growing up. But my mother was afraid I wouldn’t walk it and she would end up having to clean up after it.

What is your greatest strength or weakness? I do not have a greatest strength. I do have a greatest weakness though. That would be television commercials. I always cry at them and it is very embarrassing. Almost as bad as standing in front of the classroom in your underwear, which is a dream I often have.

What makes you feel grounded? The ground makes me feel grounded. I mean really. If I’m flying, like in an airplane, how can I feel grounded? I’m up in the air. I could feel airy, I suppose. If that was a word.

Would you rather never be able to eat warm food or never be able to eat cold food? If one is to classify ice cream as a food, then I would hate to never be able to eat cold food. Or beer. Beer is a food. It’s made from grain, just like bread. So I’d probably give up warm food over cold. Ice cream and beer. Who needs anything more than that?

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I’m grateful we made it home safely last week after our 15 hour round trip drive to Los Angeles International Airport and back. Google does not take traffic into account when it says the one way trip is only four and a half hours. This week I’m heading off alone, just me and my camera, as my trusty and loyal companion (my wife) will be otherwise detained babysitting. (She called it babysitting. I hate to tell her it’s actually a dog.) I have no idea where I’ll end up!

(The questions above are a product of Cee’s Share Your World, which comes out every Monday. The answers above are a product of my overactive imagination. If you click on the logo below, you can check out Cee’s post and join in, or link to others.)

Please check out Cee's Share Your World for more answers to these earth shattering questions.

Please check out Cee’s Share Your World for more answers to these earth shattering questions.


Gallery, Prompts and Challenges


I have it on good authority that this used to be a little red schoolhouse. OK, if truth be told, there was no one around to ask. But then again, there was no one around to dispute my claim, either. So, to me, this was, and is, a little red schoolhouse. Just off old Route 66 at Valentine AZ, on the way to Seligman.

(This is a weekly photo challenge run by The Girl That Dreams Awake that anyone can join. How do I know? They let me in, didn’t they? So go take a look. Join in this week, or next.)

Cee’s Share Your World – 2016 Week 36

Prompts and Challenges
My Yacht Converted into a home in Encinitas CA

My Yacht
Converted into a home in Encinitas CA

If you were given a boat or yacht today, what would you name it?  (You can always sell the yacht later) Well, if I were to receive a yacht I don’t think I would name it as I wouldn’t want to get overly attached to it. I would definitely sell it and donate the proceeds to charity. Then again, maybe not. I hate organized charities since they seem to have this need to pay themselves first. I might drive downtown and give the proceeds of the sale personally to those I find living on the streets.

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best?  (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey) Plus what would the 8th dwarf’s name be? An interesting question since my father used to be known as Doc. He had a company that sold animation artwork and statues and had a cel of Doc on his office wall. So I couldn’t be Doc. Maybe Sneezy because, when I get started I usually sneeze about ten times before stopping. Then again, any of their names would fit depending on what time of day or circumstance. Happy most of the time; Bashful when I have to get up in front of a gathering of any kind; Sleepy around 10:30, 11 at night; Grumpy before coffee in the mornings, and Dopey anytime after 11 at night! The eighth dwarf? Melvin.

Name a song or two which are included on the soundtrack to your life? They’re going to make a soundtrack of my life? WOW!

Complete this sentence:  I like watching… That reminds me of the line from the movie Being There when the simple-minded Chance (played by Peter Sellars) tells the character (played by Shirley MacLaine) “I like to watch”. He means watch television but she misunderstands and starts to do a burlesque to turn him on. OK, I have no answer for this except to just get out in nature and observe the sun rising or setting, the stars at night, the moon in all its phases….

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? Last week was a very lazy Labor Day weekend, for which I am thankful. Tomorrow we are driving into California to pick up Lynn’s sister at the L.A. airport. I wish we had time to make stops along the way and take photos but it will be nice to see her sister again. She’s been in Thailand for a month. Wish it had been me.

And I am thankful for Cee who always seems to have a challenge going on. This one happens every Monday and I am usually always late in submitting to it. I hope she doesn’t mind.


Prompts and Challenges
Nelson NV October 29, 2011

Nelson NV
October 29, 2011

My favorite place any time, day or night, for photos is Nelson NV, a ghost town in El Dorado Canyon, less than one and a half hours from the Las Vegas strip. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 37. This shot was taken way back in October 2011 at about 4:30 in the afternoon. It had been an overcast day and we were there with family when the sun broke through and I wandered off on my own. With my camera!

The Girl That Dreams Awake hosts this challenge with a particular prompt each Monday. Please check out her site to see how to join in or to find the links to other contributors.