Challenges! Challenges! Challenges!

January 1, 2012 and the challenges have begun! So, here is a rundown of my day:

Today was rainy, cold, dark and forbidding. I gazed out the window wondering if the rain would ever stop. Rain saturates the ground here in Cleveland. Native Ohioans cannot remember when it rained this much for this long a period. Since moving here in September, the rain has been constant, the days dreary, the moods sullen. I had hoped to get out and photograph some today, but not in this rain. Around dusk, the rain turned to snow. No comment.

I could not get out to photograph today. Bummer. Good photographers though, photograph in all kinds of weather and see beauty in just about any circumstance. What could I do to create a beautiful image in this situation. Camera in hand, I stood at the window and shot off a few frames. Puddles of water, wind-blown trees, darkened sky. There is a beauty to it all and I wanted to capture it.

I am not savvy re technology. I am also a purist when it comes to photography. I will tamper with the photograph to enhance the picture somewhat, but none of that off-the-wall photoshop stuff. I am a purist.

But, if the truth be known, I am a purist because the many photo programs available for editing photographs intimidate me. I don’t have photoshop, and the real reason I don’t is because it scares me. I do have Aperture however, Apple’s photo editing program. Had it for years. Never used it. Afraid to try. Today, with lousy photos, I decided that it is time to step out of my comfort zone and see what I can do with a photograph. I played with Aperture, changing colors and brightness and moving things around and painting things in. I didn’t get quite as wild as this sounds, but for the first time I did play with the program and I had fun!

The part that really gets scary for me is the second part of pushing that boundary. Gulp. I decided that to show my sincere desire to stretch and grow and all that good stuff, I would publish my experiment. I have waited all day, and fiddled with the photograph a good part of the afternoon. But the time has come. Please be gentle with your criticism. Here is where my experimentation took me today.

Original photograph looking out my window at the courtyard below.
The Apertured photo.

Yes, I mainly played with the color and the exposure, but it is a start. AND, I had fun.

I am excited. Hope your first day of this brand new year was a good one. Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to leave a comment. (Just remember,ย be kind; I’m still trembling about publishing the photos.)

27 thoughts on “Challenges! Challenges! Challenges!

  1. Ooh . . . the end result is so much brighter and more “optimisitic.”
    Sometime surreal beats reality.

    Glad you had fun “playing” despite the dreary rain.

    1. Thanks P&K. I agree. I think I like the edited version better. It will be fun finding out what all I can do with this program. Thanks for stopping by, and happy blogging to you through 2012.

  2. one is entirely different to the other..the bottom one reminds me of autumn, it has lovely rich autumn colours..I am not sure which one I like best.
    I am like you ,.. I might tweak a bit but nothing on a big you did well, practise make s perfect..well maybe it won’t but you will have fun trying…experimenting is what is fun…

    love P

    1. Thanks, Patrecia. I agree with you, experimenting is the fun part, and I’m doing this to have fun. I’ll continue honing my skills with Aperture throughout the year and we’ll see where it leads. Thanks for stopping by. Much appreciated.


  3. I totally understand about the photographs. While I will ‘play’ to my hearts content with design material a photograph is a photograph is a photograph. I do have photoshop, but never use it for my photographs only for altering my design work.

    Maybe you will return to the photo later in the year and show us how much you have learnt? I’m looking forward to watching your progress.

    1. I like the idea of returning to the photo later in the year to see how much I’ve learned. Maybe that will be the last photo of the year, or something like that; sort of bringing these challenges full circle. GREAT idea. That makes me feel better! I now have my final post of the year decided. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks numofelt! GREAT idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Wow! I hear Aperture is a wonderful programme! I’ve never used a Mac, so I’ve never tried it, but I know many who uses it all the time, and I’ve seen the great results.

    Your second version of the photo is definitely more cheerful! ๐Ÿ™‚ Great for at first attempt with the programme!

    I have had Photoshop, not now, though. I’m a little bit of a purist too. With all the filters and effects that are out there, a picture can get totally altered from what I really saw. Is that what I want? I use the editing programme only to straighten horizons, perhaps add a little bit of saturation … minor stuff like that.

    1. I agree with you. The most I’ve ever done with a photo is straightening horizons, cropping or saturating a little if the photo is washed out. With this program I can change the whole look of the photo! However, I want to become proficient enough to use it like I would a darkroom (dodging or burning). I learned photography when I ordered bulk film, rolled it in my own canisters, developed and printed in the dark room. I truly miss the process. With digital one can do so much more, but there is something so elegant about the old black and whites, and even the older color photography, that I have not been able to capture. I’m hoping that as I learn how to use Aperture, I will be able to do some nice black and white photos. But whatever I do with this program, I think the first step is to play with it, even get a little bizarre, so that I learn what it can do. The goal is to enhance the photo, not to over process.

      Now I’m rambling. Time to stop! Have a wonderful new year.

  5. Good for you,C. I, too, am intimidated by technology. I have Photo Shop, but have yet to successfully edit a photo. I, however, know nothing about photography. I try, but that’s as good as it gets. I give you lots of credit for trying.

    1. Thanks Kathy. I’m still a purist and not so fond of over-processed photos, but having “cut my teeth” in a darkroom with both black and white photography and color, I want to learn how to enhance digital photos. So, I’m taking the plunge. Who knows what will show up on this blog in the future! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Cecelia, you are inspiring me, too. I don’t know anything about them fancy photo-editing programs. Smile. Except Picasa, and then all I do is tweak things like color and contrast and such (nothing as fancy as you just did here!) You were very brave to try something new. That is a GOOD start to 2012~~just think what you’ll be able to do by 2013 if you keep this up!

    1. Thanks Kathy. I’m rather excited about this whole process. This week I will concentrate on taking bold new steps with photography. Next week I’ll push the boundaries in another area (but continue with the photo stuff.) 2012 is getting off to a great start!

      Hope you are staying warm in the north country! We are getting our first real snow storm now, and it is brutal outside! Brrrrrr.

  7. I love what you did with it! Can’t wait to see what else you’ll come up with now that you jumped in.

    I used to be a purist too, for the same reason. Finally, like you, I sat down one day and started to play. I’ve been playing ever since. ๐Ÿ™‚

    There is a a free online photo editing program ( that you might want to play with as it doesn’t require a college course to learn how to use it. The free program has quite a few different effects you can use as well as basic edits that help you tinker with color, saturation, contrast, exposure, and clarity.

    1. Thanks Robin. I will check out tonight! This could be a lot of fun! At any rate, I appreciate your comments and passing on info. I look forward to more experimentation.

  8. I think you’ve done a wonderful job, Ms. F… especially for a ‘first try’ (you sure cold have fooled me)! I hope you stick with it! Believe me, there’s nothing to be afraid of (it just takes time to learn where everything is).
    I get a bit carried away with my processing (I defiantly respect your philosophy). Usually I have a specific process / outcome in mind that I’m trying to replicate, though (I’m not big on filters other than some blurs/sharpening). One of the biggest problems I have is that with SO many choices available, it can be difficult to find the best direction to take.
    I’m so with you about the dark room. I never processed color, but in school I did lots of b/w and a few alternative processes (vandyke, cyanotype, etc.). Digital definitely has its advantages, but there’s something very special about a handmade print. I miss it a lot. What I wouldn’t give to smell that hint of photo chemistry again…

    1. I love your work, SIG. What you do is art. Some of the overprocessed stuff is not the kind of art you do. You are right about there being so many choices available. For someone like me who is a complete novice re photo editing applications, I just get overwhelmed and walk away. But as a MAC user, I did have Aperture so that is what I started with. Just decided to jump in and experiment to see how things worked. For this I only played with the color and exposure. I didn’t even open up any of the other pages. BUT, now that I feel a little bolder, WATCH OUT! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      And, yes, I am with you re the dark room days — the photo chemistry was intoxicating to me. Loved it!

      Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Some people can use photo editing tools with such ease and grace and for others, like me – I usually do the same thing over and over and fail to see the extent of the product. And that’s ok too! Great to see your before and after photos and so happy to hear you had fun!

  10. you really created the mood in words of a rainy, sullen day. love the end — No Comment. And I really like what you did with the photograph. I’m new at this since the summer and I love seeing what other people do with their photographs with editing programgs. “a year of stretching and growing and pushing the boundaries!” What a great start to 2012. You inspire me to take my own journey back out beyond the boundaries. you’re off to a great start!

  11. Dear Cecelia! You did a great job… โ™ฅHappy โ™ฅNew โ™ฅYear โ™ฅ & TY for the blog love! ๐Ÿ™‚ I want to thank you for your support and patience. Getting sick threw me for a loop and I fell behind on comments. I’ve been catching up; I appreciate your support. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. No apology necessary. I go through periods, too, when things converge beyond my control and as a result I get behind in the blogging. I’m glad you are feeling better. It sounds like you had quite a rough time of it! Thank you, too, for supporting me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Way to go Cecelia! Congratulations on stepping out of your comfort zone. I totally agree with you on photo editing… the goal is to enhance the photo, not over manipulate it. I wish I had access to Photoshop and Lightroom though.

    1. Yes, it is about enhancing, bringing out the best of the photo. Having said that however, I’m going to be experimenting with the bizarre, strange, fun stuff! I figure that is the best way to get to know what my program(s) can do, AND possibly take the photo into other artistic realms. I follow bloggers who do that with great results. It will be fun. Thanks for stopping by, Theresa. I always appreciate it.

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