It was a BEAUTIFUL Fall day!

And I have the photos to prove it. Check out my set on flickr here.

Free from Diversions: Christmas Owl Ornament Pattern

Hello everyone! As the holidays approach, I start feeling crafty! I get some extra time off near the holidays and always want to pull my sewing bags out! Over the weekend, I was working on a few felt ornaments in the style that I made last year and decided to try something new. I just cut this cute little owl out of felt and began stitching! Afterwards, I was really pleased, so I scanned in the piece of felt that I cut his body out of and created a pattern to share. There are so many styles of owls you could create. I really love the little snowy owl! I hope you enjoy making these little guys - Christmas ornaments are a hoot! ;) Click here to download the PDF!

Photoshop Tutorial : The HDR Effect in Photoshop

I'm not sure why, but I've always assumed that a lot of the high contrast, high detail photography was straight from the camera. But, I've learned that a lot of these fashion magazine style photos are enhanced by shooting a series of images with various rages of shadow/highlight. Those are merged into one High Dynamic Range Photo. Typically these HDR images are shot using the RAW file format on professional cameras, but I found a tutorial that gives you the run-down on getting that effect with just one JPEG image.

My camera will shoot RAW format, but they do take up quite a bit of space and are usually a waste of space and time for my needs. It is nice to have the option to shoot in that format because you can capture a lot of information that can be good for subtle and intricate ehancements.

I took one JPEG from my recent vacation photos and applied the HDR techniques from

This original image of Belize City was taken with my Nikon D40 from the rainy window of a bus. The rain on the window already gave it a vingetted blur effect naturally, and the colors were so vibrant, I thought I would use this photo as a test.

After the effects of the fake HDR enhancements, you see a higher contrast image, but without the loss of detail that you get with just adjusting the levels. The tutorials use of blending modes and transparency really helps create a nice surreal and dreamy effect.

For this image, I'm not sure which version I prefer but, the results of this effect can really change a photo's mood.