Talk To Me

I am reluctant to admit that I am still catching up with posting to the site. This fall has continued to be very busy at work and the moments I’ve managed steal away to create images have been fleeting, left me negligent in other things and without a sense of urgency to catch up here.  Now with the holidays upon us, things have slowed a bit so I’m trying to catch up this weekend.

It should go without saying by now that I am still learning my way around Photoshop and as I looked back to pull this .psd from my archive and look closely at it, I’m happy to be reminded of what I learned with this one.

There are many fixes in this image that was taken at the Isle of Miracles. Most of the fixes are in the ground cover because I found that some of the plants were floating above the surface. This isn’t noticeable until one is on his knees taking pictures of a sheep eating them. I had to selectively delete many of them for both of us to be visible.  Of course, that meant ‘fixing’ bits of the sheep and I hide to remove the straggling leaves in our hides in addition to adding shadows.

I was more creative with Field Blur for this image after having only learned about it in time to use it for the first time in the previous image. 

At the time this was taken, I was still struggling to find a decent hairbrush to thicken my beard.  Unfortunately, I think that is quite obvious here.

In the end though, I am happy with this image short of doing a better job at composition. Next time!


Take a Ride

Take a Ride Image
Aww...come on, I just wanna sit on it!

Even though I hadn’t updated the site here for a month, that doesn’t mean I stopped creating new images. It only means that November was very busy at RL work with lots of site moves going on and there was still some adjustment for me to make the change from illustrating a story and just wandering.

This was one of those wandering images. Sadly, I even failed to take note of where I was so looking back a month later now….I don’t remember!

As I pulled this from my folder of completed images – along with the originals and the photoshop document, one thing in particular struck me. This didn’t necessarily need to be a composite image. I was there, the lighting is from windlight using the firestorm browser. The only reason that I created it as a composite image – aside from my enjoyment of doing that – is for the blur or field of view effect.

I’ve not had much luck with FOV in the Firestorm viewer. No matter what I’ve tried, when I select FOV, though it may look good on screen, I notice a small amount of blurring to my subject also. So, in the interest of keeping sharp what I wanted sharp this is actually three images. Two are without Aedan in the photo ( I used a white screen behind him to pluck him out into a separate image) then took one photo of the scene without him and duplicated that.

One of those was then blurred as I felt needed. After that, they were recombined using a mask to permit the blurred image to come through for the background…including between the spokes of the wheel.  Finally, Aedan was placed back into the image along with his shadow.

Yes, it was actually several hours worth of work. Several hours of unmasking and fixing little bits.  Several hours of relaxing concentration.

This is why I am enjoying this so much.


Homeword Bound

Bring it on

Well, that was a long ‘spring break’!  I should also add that it was a very educational experience for me.  I learned a few things that work well or at least as expected and more instances that didn’t.  Though I am sure I will always stumble I’m determined to keep getting up and keep in mind that the goal here is the journey and not the destination.

Besides feeling more comfortable (though oh, so much to learn yet!) in Photoshop I have also come to the conclusion that publishing scenes or chapters of a story as soon as it and the image are ready is not something I am going to try to do going forward.  Working this way prompted me on several occasions to get something published because it had been a couple weeks since I had posted anything.  I feel this wasn’t guiding the story and reversing my priorities. Whether I wait until the story is done to publish images from it or not is yet to be determined.  In the interim, I’ll be working on images not directly related to the story.

Today’s image – actually from last week – is one of those – Aedan is headed home from his vacation but the prologue has been closed. This is incidental…as may be stops along the way while headed home.

Of course, other things learned over the summer is that I have so much to learn about writing.  Characters also need to be developed – which will certainly bring more pics.

Stay tuned!


All Things Must End

Aedan enjoys the last sunset before he leaves Cuba.
Aedan enjoys the last sunset before he leaves Cuba.

The ride to the airport seemed to take forever. Thankfully, the driver wasn’t particularly talkative which was fine by Aedan because his mind was busy considering why Noel might have left without saying a word when she seemed full of excitement about going out sailing with him and the Carlson’s the evening before. Never letting his guard down, he had been holding some internal reservations about their chance meetings among all the extraordinary events since leaving Seattle for this trip. However, those concerns were washed away in the many hours they had spent together yesterday. Now he found himself wondering if she had possibly become a target because of the secondary reason he was in Havana – to collect information about the case he was trying.

It seemed the taxi every red light during the 15 minute trip to the airport but each time the driver looked into the rear view mirror to check on his passenger, Aedan was looking out the window, deep in thought. When the taxi pulled up to the curb, before the driver could say a word, Aedan had already stuck his hand over the seat back to hand him the money for the fare while simultaneously opening the door.

Aedan jumped out of the car and headed immediately through the glass doors. Once inside he stopped and scanned left to right looking for a flight information board. He quickly spotted one down the hallway in front of him. He was looking for flights that had departed early in the morning since Noel had checked out so early. He saw nothing. Nothing on the boards went back that far.

On his way to read the board, he had passed a counter for the airline that he had arrived by earlier that week. Knowing that the attendants there spoke english very well, he approached the counter and asked the young attendant if she could tell him any flights that left between 5 and 8am. The attendant looked curious but without going into details he told her enough that she typed onto her keyboard and within seconds had a list of five flights that had departed during that window. Four were to various locations in Central and South America. One was to Miami.

Aedan stopped the attendant when she mentioned Miami. “Which airline was the flight to Miami on?”

“Oh, that was our flight, Senor” she quickly responded. “It left at 5:25 this morning and was right on time.”

“Can you tell me if there was a Noel Jensen on that flight?” Aedan took a long shot. He figured he knew the answer but had to ask, anyway.

“No Senor, I’m not allowed to give that information to you.”

Aedan was putting together his angle of attack, family…emergency…call for a manager. There must be a way to find out if she was on that flight. As he sifted through the possibilities his phone rang.

He pulled the phone from his pocket and saw Noel’s number. Thanking the attendant, he stepped away from the counter even as he was pushing the button to accept the call.

“Noel, where are you?” The concern was evident in his voice.

“Aedan, I’m sorry. I tried to call but…”

“Are you OK? Where are you?” He didn’t realize he didn’t let her finish her sentence.

“I’m at the airport in Phoenix, waiting for my mother to pick me up.”

Knowing she was safe, Aedan felt a weight lift from his shoulders. He made his way to the door to find a quieter spot to continue the conversation.

Noel had tried to call several times after she got a call from her mother telling her that her sister wasn’t expected to make it through the day, but the calls went straight to voicemail which told her his inbox was full. She hadn’t considered texting. Even while she waited to transfer planes in Miami there was no answer.

Aedan nodded as he listened to her. He was probably just waking by the time she reached Miami. He would look into his inbox being full after they talked. He hadn’t received any calls at all today.

Noel didn’t know the full extent of her sister’s condition yet. She had been ill for several months now but everyone thought she was doing well with the treatment. Noel promised that once she knew more she would call again.

The next two days were full of relaxation and exploration. Aedan enjoyed another relaxing evening with Ms. Romero, her family and others that came to relax and play games. The following day, he made it out sailing with the Carlson’s. The relative silence and power of using the wind to propel a sailing vessel through the water is mesmerizing and once again whetted his appetite for finding his own boat

On his last day in Cuba, Aedan found himself on the beach taking inventory of all that had happened since he left on vacation which felt like months ago. He had all but forgotten the huge change in his physical appearance. Or perhaps he hadn’t. Somewhere along the way he had decided to let his beard grow out as a possible way to distract attention from looking 20 years longer than when he left. He knew it wouldn’t be that easy but it was all he could do for now. Then there was the matter of the key and cryptic message from the theater and what that could possibly mean for the case he was trying.

He had come to Cuba to get an answer. Whether he found that answer or not he couldn’t know yet but he knew that he was possibly returning with more questions than answers.


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