Today’s posting is an unusual one for me I guess, as I don’t typically post images that have been so heavily processed.  But I only have a few days to go to the end of the year and I thought why not. (Plus Lisa really liked this image).

This was taken in Mount Vernon at the Tulip festival up in Skagit Valley.  The tulips were really that red and the sky was pretty blue and I was lying on the floor (on a black bin bag) taking shots.  I was getting loads of funny looks from people there but that’s really not that uncommon.

This is going to be a big surprise but I processed this image in Lightroom and Photoshop, I increased the saturation and clarity (that makes the image shaper) and added a dark vignette. The end result looked pretty cool and is my picture for today.  Hope you like it too.

I swear I can’t bring anything nice into the house without these two little dudes getting their hands on it.  Today they “found” some dark chocolate Truffles!

For a while now I’ve been meaning to go to the Japanese Gardens in Seattle to take some pictures.  But lately it’s been totally manic at work and I’ve even had things on over the weekend so I really have had no free time.  The gardens actually close next week for the Winter so I had to go now or wait till next year.  So today I headed over to check it out.

Luckily it wasn’t raining when I got there but it was cold enough that the gardens weren’t full.  That said there were a few people there so there was some waiting around required.  Unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take tripods into the gardens and a lot of the gardens are in shade but I still got some great shots.  I’ll be posting pictures from the gardens throughout the week but I thought I’d start with something different.

There was this really big Japanese Maple and it was loosing leaves.  Below the tree there were a load of rocks covered in moss and the leaves were falling onto the moss.  The red leaves against the green moss looked fantastic and I thought it would make an interesting image.

I got down low and really close to the leaves to get the shot and I had a pretty narrow depth of field so the leaves at the back of the picture were out of focus.  I really liked the colors in this image, nice and bright.

Master Chief had a bad back tonight so he got a warmer to help ease the pain.  Not sure it worked though.

Fall is definitely here, it was freezing outside today and the trees at work are starting to lose their leaves.  Last year I spent ages trying to get that perfect image of fall.  I drove everywhere shooting trees in all states of leaf loss and at the end of the day I had some pretty trees with red and yellow leaves (just like everyone else)!

This year I wanted to do something different, try and capture fall in a different way, and this is my first attempt.  I was in Redmond Town Center and came across loads of fallen dead leaves. At first I was just looking for that “dead leaves on the floor” look, but then I saw this little yellow lonely flower (or weed) poking through.  I loved the simplicity of the image, the fact that this little weed was trying to push through to survive seemed really cool.

So I captured a few shots.  I had a massive focal length and big aperture so got a really narrow depth of field (that’s camera talk for “I made it blurry”).  This was shot in shade with natural light and I think the image camer out really well.

I was with Abi when I shot this and right after I stood up she jumped on the flower – with both feet!  I think she called it a “bunny hop”.  So this poor little thing fought it’s way through the leaves to survive was crushed by a cartwheeling 9 year old 62 lb girl.  Life sucks if you’re a weed.

Play-Doh rocks!  Carter was making interesting animals, and Master Chief was trying to suffocate himself.

I don’t know if you have been to Pike Place Market on a Saturday afternoon, if you haven’t let me tell you it’s rather crowded.  The market itself is pretty large and mostly under cover with stores on both sides of the walkway.  Trying to walk down the walkway is pretty difficult, you spend a lot of time bumping into people, getting stepped on or being pushed. So imagine what it’s like trying to take some pictures in that kind of environment!  It’s pretty difficult.

We were in there trying to shoot some flowers and fruit.  The market sellers don’t really mind photographers there, I guess it kind of goes with the territory, I mean when your store is in a major tourist attraction you gotta expect pictures.  As long as you don’t get in the way of purchasing customers they are fine.

Anyway, we saw these sunflowers that were just under some tungsten lights and were totally of back lit – so the petals looked almost orange.  So I “eased” my way forward and shot off some frames and got the image below.  Now those of you who visit my blog know I don’t shy away from photoshop.  But this image is directly out of the camera.  I didn’t do a thing.  Check out the petals across the top of the flower, you can see that they’re back lit as the middle at the front is slightly darker than the outer (thinner) edges.

I loved the narrow depth of field in the image, the way the background is out of focus keeps you looking the foreground flower.

Master Chief and Carter had a bet tonight to see if a small flashlight would power a solar powered flower toy.  It did.  Master Chief won.

The other day I visited Bellevue’s Botanical Gardens and got some really nice pictures.  On the way out I found these stacked stones in a grass garden.  I wasn’t sure how this image would come out as everything is so green.  But after post processing I think it looks cool.  The little bit of blue sky helps but for some reason the grass and stones just grab my attention.

When I got home I showed Abi the picture and told her I stacked them myself.  She was blown away, super impressed I managed to do it and kept asking how long it took and how I stopped them from falling down.  Eventually I had to tell here the rocks are just an exhibit

I tried several different compositions, some from really low, some at standing head height and a some vertical but this is the one I liked best.

Carter and Master Chief got excited today as they packed a suitcase ready for our trip to Las Vegas and Photoshop World.