Don’t spill a drop–retouch the whole glass!


Last June the fellow in front of me at the Grand Canyon inadvertently provided me a great photo op by placing his wineglass where I wanted to photograph the setting sun. I loved the shot, but it always bothered me that the glass was tilted. (Yes, I am the person who straightens the pictures in the doctor’s office.)




I raised the shadows slightly in Lightroom first. In Photoshop, I used the pen tool to make a selection of the wine glass, placed it on its own layer and hid the layer until later, used content-aware fill to fill in the now blank spot on the original (copy of the original). This took several attempts; I’m not great at the pen tool. I touched up the background where content-aware fill tried its best but went a little wonky. Two suns? Only in Star Wars. Then I revealed the isolated wineglass layer, adjusted the angle, blended the edges, and copied a little faux rock foreground to obscure the base so the wineglass did not appear to be floating in space. Oops! The glass was now straight but the liquid inside was still at an angle. That darned gravity! Used the liquify filter to even that out, and also to touch up the rim of the (inexpensive) wineglass. I touched up some but not all of the smudgy fingermarks; this was a real moment and a real person, not a staged commercial shoot. I added an oh-so-suble lens flare because, believe it or not, I thought the sun rays almost looked fake without it, even though it isn’t in the original photo.

So there you have it. With Photoshop, you won’t spill a drop!

(Thank you, Friend, whoever you are, for having the foresight to bring a glass of wine with you to enjoy a spectacular sight.)



How To Have a Good Time

Grab some paints and a canvas, a glass of wine or a soft drink, crank up the music, and you will have some idea of what when down at Pinot’s Palette at 100 W. Higgins Road in South Barrington last weekend. There was crazy-infectious energy and laughter on both nights of the soft opening as I documented the fun. This is a great location, too–right by the movie theatre and surrounded by all sorts of dinner options. Stop in for some fun with your besties and tell them I said hi!

(And can I just say it was cool to see so many people interacting with other humans with their heads UP and not constantly peering slack-jawed at their cell phones?)

Backblaze Saved My Butt

When my 21″ iMac went belly-up and I had to get a new computer in a hurry (hello,  super-speedy 15″MacBook Pro!), the backup migration from my external HD went pretty well. BUT…and it’s a big but…I had turned Time Machine OFF while Ol’ Mac was in the last stages of dying because I needed to finish a project and the Time Machine backup (which is not frequency or time customizable*) was slowing things down waaaaay too much. Well, the unimaginable happened. I forgot to  turn it back on, and when I returned a few days later, the hard drive in the iMac had followed the Light. Dead. Dead as a doornail.

Once I got the new unit, like I said, transfer went well. I did it myself and saved the $99. But that last work I did of course wasn’t there. Thank you, Backblaze! I was able to find the Lightroom and Photoshop files I needed to load on Lil’ Mac. The Lightroom adjustments were still there. I don’t remember on which blog I first read about BB, but so glad I checked it out last March and signed up for a year. Seriously, people! $5 a  month for UNLIMITED cloud backup. DO IT. Simple, easy, cheap, works, saves your butt.

You’re welcome. Tell ’em I sent ya, and we both get a month free.

*Apple Folks: please let us decide when and how often we schedule the automatic backups in Time Machine. Pretty please?

A Day Gone To The Dogs (in a good way)

One of the coolest things about being a photographer is the opportunity to share your gift and provide people with photos. On Sunday, my guy participated in a 5K to benefit Wright-Way Rescue Run for Rescue and Wag Fest in Morton Grove, IL. I went along for the ride and to take some pictures (with permission from the organizers, of course). I got some shots of my guy (who came in first in his age category–yay!) and some of the table exhibitors and sponsors, DJ, volunteers, and of course the 2 and 4-legged runners. It was a great day for a run, and lots of fun!



This is my favorite shot!






A little too young to be a runner, but definitely looking for a new home!


Augh! I forgot the DJ’s name, but he played some great music and was super-friendly.

IMG_0460IMG_0506IMG_0530IMG_0542 IMG_0543

Being Distracted at Work. It’s as American as…well, you know.

Made pie the other day. Started with these…

pieapplesAnd ended up with this…

applepieThis is the America’s Test Kitchen Deep Dish Apple Pie Recipe, by the way. I didn’t trim the all-butter crust enough (‘cuz you just can’t get enough crust!), and I probably should have stuck the assembled pie back in the fridge to firm up more before baking. The fluted edge morphed into a Hello, Dali mushroom-like thing, but it is delicious nonetheless! Next time I am getting that old school device that clamps onto the table and peels and slices the apples all in one shot.



I’ve gotten two of these requests that I suspect were scams in the last week. The language they used is almost identical to what is written in the following article. The first one offered to pay travel to a location 2 hours from me and wanted 6 portraits after the event. Did not first ask for my availability for a certain day. Huh? Would a family reunion really revolve around the availability of an untried photographer? I said no to that one.  The second one sent an email from a completely different name, proposed the same thing (what is my availability, only 5 hours work, did I take credit cards, etc.). No mention of where he got my name. We communicated a little via text last night but I was about to eat dinner, so I called the number today. It was a Google Voice number but I could not understand anything being said as it sounded like it was in an underwater factory, and the person on the other end had such a thick foreign accent. He kept asking how I was doing–I got that part. Again, asked if I took credit cards. I said I could only take a cc through Paypal. He also provided me with an address where the event would take place. It is a 1 bedroom apartment! 40-50 people, portraits after, 5 hours of work (“only” 5 hours!). This is where I got suspicious (duh–finally) and Googled “scam seeking photographer for family reunion” and found this: