We have put a bird feeder up in front of the house. This means that in addition to stalking garbage trucks W now LOVES to watch for birds from the windows. He is only just now getting that one should not bang on the window and yell, “BIRD!!” when seeing birds.

It’s a process.

The great thing about standing by the window is that there is a ton of natural light. While most of the day has been stormy and dark there was a lovely pocket of sunshine moment and I followed W over to the window with my camera.

And of course he was annoyed, because he has learned to be annoyed when I have my camera. But then he got lost in the bird show in the front yard. So I set my camera in the window and pointed it at him and he looked right at it – and I clicked.

I gasped when I saw it on my computer screen for the first time. Literally gasped. That almost smile, that milk residue all over, that elbow, those eyes. That is 100% my everything right there.

Now clearly I have done some photo processing to it. It is very rare that I untouch a photo. The reason? Because I like control. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting a great shot from my camera and (brag!) often I do. It’s just when I see photos as I am taking them or as I am uploading them and I see something else, something more.

My Mother once bought these markers years and years ago that were for painting photographs. The idea was that you had a black and white photo and then you could colorize it like you were painting a water-color. I never could get the hang of the markers – it always looked like I was just doodling on a photo – but I have continued to resonate with the notion that photos do not need to be as-is.

The world of scrap-booking comes to mind – I am blown away by how creative people are with photographs and other materials in this medium.

My medium is post production of digital photography.

So let’s look at the original photo.


original photo


And here are the steps I went through to get the image above: (note this is all done via photoshop, but I am going to explain in loose specifics – um, if that makes sense.)

1. I cleaned up some scratches on W’s face
2. Lightened the image using a curve
3. sharpened image
4. Used Pioneer Woman’s Photoshop Action: Fresh & Colorful
5. Used Pioneer Woman’s Photoshop Action: Seventies
6. Used Pioneer Woman’s Photoshop Action: Bring on the eyes!

And I played around in between each layer, adjusting opacities.

So because I saw what the photo COULD be I loved it as soon as I saw the original version, even though the original version is a bit “meh” for me.

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