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Break Check

Well folks, I have almost made it through the first semester in my new position at the school. While it’s still not the best thing ever, I am feeling way more positive at this point in the year than I was when I was a counselor there last year at this time – teachers are done once the last mid-term is administered and grades are finalized, but administrators still have jobs to do before they get to pack it in and head off for Christmas break. So, I’m really enjoying being a teacher right now, even if I do still feel a bit lost in the position.

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I tried to edit more of the photos I quickly took last weekend, but in the end they didn’t interest me much, so I stopped after processing the one above. I haven’t had time to take any more photos since then, but I’m hoping to squeeze in a few shoots over my extended break. In the meantime, I’ve been  playing around with older photos and my new Topaz software, which I really love. I’ve almost completely abandoned my Nik software since purchasing all the Topaz plug-ins, although I do still use my RadLab on everything. And I gave this next one an added Pixlr treatment too:

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SO much Topaz going on in this next one – I just edited the hell out of this shot. I cartooned my face but tried to keep it subtle, then used several glow filters which I applied only to the butterflies and the pink wig, then who knows what else, honestly. Spent hours on it, just for fun.

pinkwig1

More randomness: pretty much on a whim I got it into my head that instead of a new camera this Christmas I wanted a Louis Vuitton bag. I have always loved how the classic brown monogram bags look, but I have never liked their price tag and always considered them out of my range. But once I realized I could certainly get one for less than the $1700 Canon 7D Mark III I was planning to get – a purchase I can put off until later – I decided I could at least wander over to eBay and see if a decent used one could be acquired. Which it could. In fact, I ended up buying two (long story); they are both in mint condition, and I saved several hundred bucks in the process. I actually ended up spending less for two Vuittons than I would have spent on one camera, so that’s something.

Photo Dec 08, 5 16 16 PM

One other weird thing I took photos of this week: my husband always gets corporate gifts this time of year, and they are usually those foil-wrapped truffles you never see anywhere except at Christmastime, but this year some company went all out:

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That is one BIG book of chocolates, y’all. And with flavor descriptions such as “hickory smoked bacon and dark milk chocolate” and “coconut and curry,” they sure do live up to that title:

candy2

Twelve full-size bars in all, and at this point we’ve tasted all of them, but you can’t eat more than a bite of several before you’ve had enough so these may last awhile. I think my favorites so far are the aforementioned coconut and curry, the African red tea and tart, and one called “red fire” that has chipotle powder in it. The bacon one, I could do without though. It’s a bit too novelty for me.

One last photo before I go:

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Now this shot I actually have edited before, but when I went back through the set I was looking for one I could edit the legs out of, and for that to happen I needed the shirt to fall right and my hands to be in the right position (to make it easier to mask out). This one was the best for those two reasons, even though I know everyone’s seen the shot already, so I went with it anyway, and well, there it is. I don’t know if it’s actually interesting or not, but I do know it took me hours to work out. The background was plain old black in the original (see below), and as an experiment I decided to use a shot of smoke clouds I took at the air show this year as a background layer – once I played around with opacity of it, I stumbled across this black and blue effect, which I quite liked and decided to keep. By the way, you should not zoom in too close on this one, because the flaws are numerous. I still get really sloppy sometimes with layer masking and all that. Here’s the original edited shot, by the way:

FabPants2_Snapseed_pxr

In closing, I’ll mention here that my father-in-law is doing better; he has been at home for a few weeks now and has improved more than we even hoped he would. We still go see him every weekend, so my free time is still limited, but at least he is no longer in the hospital like he was for so long.

Hopefully I’ll have more to share soon. Three more days of work before I get two weeks off. So looking forward to it.

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