Saturday, April 23, 2011


was the kitties half birthday. I normally do not note the day but I did this year because I started the blog on their birthday last year- now six months ago.   so I have been blogging for six months and I am fairly happy with the way things have gone.  there are still a number of things I would like to learn.  like I would like to know how to make those composite photos like Peter's Paris uses.  this may be something unrelated to blogging and more related to the photo software he uses but it is on my list. 

my old reliable photo software has finally reached (after well more than a decade) its point of no return - it is incompatible with Windows 7.  boo hoo. I really liked this simple simple software which was user friendly for cropping, straightening and gamma (glare) correction.

my first foray into photo editing - as I mentioned before- were Phyllis' China photos but the first photo book I made was to commemorate the Russia trip we took for Jeremy's high school graduation.  in it i made every effort at getting the photos perfect - after all they were going to be published.  I spent hours taking out extraneous television antennae from roof tops and cigarette butts from gutters on the street.  things that only would be noticed at an extreme magnification.

LOL- I found this so time consuming that I quickly left it behind.

now my editing consists 90% of cropping to get the focus of the picture on the thing I really intended it to be.  the other 10% is divided into a bit of straightening and some reduction of glare/brightness.  I think I can figure out how to do some of that on my new camera if I ever take the time to read any of the manual.  for a pocket camera it is supposed to be really versatile.

but the least frequent use of the software is the most important when it comes to saving that singular photograph of something I will most likely never see again.  the clone tool.  with it I am able to clean up things I really really really don't want in that once in a lifetime shot.

here is an example of the before and after of the work of the clone tool.   we were stopping at this overlook point in Sidi Bou Said for less than five minutes and this was a shot I really wanted but it was also a shot that included some dude's fancy car being parked in the way of this lovely building overlooking the sea.  so I erased the annoying car and while I was at it cleaned up the roof a bit and some of the background.



this is time consuming and I pride myself on not having to do tons of editing of my photos.  so of 2500+ photos from Tunisia I only worked this way on about six of them.  and that number included a deliberate misrepresentation of the distance to Libya- we were 38 km from the BORDER but 235 to Tripoli - so I just erased the 2 from the sign... for dramatic effect.  I think they call it poetic license.  LOL

any way here are the "fixed" photos just so I have fully disclosed the manipulation. "fixed" first then the "originals"-

Just my small part at trying to make the world a more beautiful place- LOL

Friday, April 22, 2011

the not so wonderful

part of being in Tunisia recently was hearing about how tourism is down 90% and how so many people who depend upon tourists are suffering from bad economic times.  Tunisia is a lovely country to visit and has much to offer both tourists and travelers.  tourists come for beaches and package deals and generally never leave the resort areas they visit for some time in the sun.  but now would be the very best time for travelers to visit. 

think of it.  UNESCO world heritage sites pretty much to yourself.  how frequently can you say that is the case? Jennifer and I went to Cambodia and Vietnam in 2003 during the SARS epidemic and found that all the sites were virtually deserted.  Ta Prohm the "Laura Croft" filming location was ours alone.  I think we saw less than a handful of tourists there.   at My Son in central Vietnam not far from Hoi An we encountered exactly two other travelers - two guys from Australia.  I mentioned before that when we visited Petra in January of 2001 there were less than 200 tickets sold that day when usually there would have been over a thousand. 

I can't begin to describe how much easier it is to imagine these places in their heyday when the tourists aren't lining up for the perfect shot to have themselves inserted into, which is the scene my husband I had to deal with upon my return and his first visit to Ta Prohm in Cambodia.  not only are we needed in places that might appear to be off limits- it is positive for us and for the country so in need of support. 

so take this as my plea to keep an open mind- now might be just the time to not only see Tunisia but also Egypt's wonders.  I imagine that the deals won't be better for a long time and it could be a win/win for all.

My Son in Central Vietnam

Ta Prohm in Siem Reap Cambodia  

Entrance to Angkor Thom in Siem Reap Cambodia

This site (Banteay Srei)  is out of the way and as you can see, only the guards were there the day we visited.

the world is flat and now everyone can go everywhere.  there are so few places left where you can feel like a discoverer - why not take advantage of the opportunities we have right now in north Africa?  LOL I may have just convinced myself to go back to Egypt...LOL


hope you enjoy this abbreviated version of my Tunisia photos.  unfortunately a lot of things got left behind in the attempt to get it all into a one hundred page book.  watch this blog for entries on things that were left behind.

Monday, April 18, 2011

OMG! SNOW again

this morning we awoke to snow on the ground and on the roofs and on the cars in the street!  how much more will we have to suffer of this?  the forecast is for 50s all week--- YUCK maybe I should get back on a plane...

I definitely need some warm looking photos for today!  Here are a few from various Hawaii trips over the years:

enough of the cold weather already!