31 May 2009


A new love inspires much...........
Picassa 3 is a neat program to experiment with. I don't normally use the "retouch" function (which allows for the removal of blemishes, etc). This lady's face did NOT need THAT! However, when I moved the brush width to maximum and disturbed the image slightly on the right portion of her face I noticed that the right side locks of her HAIR jogged to the left at a certain critical location. I'd restyled her hair electronically!

COOL! I said to myself, and saved the result. I cropped her face tight and applied sharpening, film grain and messed with virtually all the other effects to get what you see. Note that I definitely altered the color temperature... this allows a lot of surprising color effects to pop out when a picture has been sharpened (which increases contrast and depletes the number of discrete pixels... kind of an Andy Warhol effect.)

Every image is a combination of two things... shape (or form) and color. A photograph is not a single image but thousands of individual images (call these pixels if you want) arranged in some organized way. Our eye captures this organization and our brain compares it with previous experience stored in memory. That's seeing.

Is seeing believing? Maybe, maybe not... but when you see something that strikes a deep chord within you (in the case above: beauty, life, joy) it translates to emotion. You are either attracted or repelled by striking photowork. You are never bored!!

23 May 2009

Siri and Grover Make Friends

Siri made a visit to Gail's place (grandma Gail often looks after Gemma and Siri) and Gail took a couple shots to let me see with my own nearsighted half-retinal eyes how big a hit Sesame Street's Grover had been. "She wouldn't let go when she left," Gail informs me. "They're probably fighting over him right now."
I hadn't intended to cause a sibling battle, figuring there was also Elmo hanging around to even things out, but novelty does strange things to women. Of ANY age...
Photography: Gail Slaughter
Editing: Michael Serafin

21 May 2009

Little Things...

Fort Humboldt Steamer Ride

Gemma's Catta-Pillar

Be it Ever so Humboldt...

It hardly seems possible but it's been going on two years that my friend Gail moved out to California to be with her daughter Wendy at the birth of her twins Siri and Gemma. I get occasional photog evidence. Now I see the twins walking, talking, and enjoying life to the fullest. These pictures were taken at Fort Humboldt Park. Wendy is in the lower shot, right.
She's got Gemma, the caterpillar enthusiatist, on her lap.
Photography by Gail Slaughter
Editing and effects: Michael Serafin

18 May 2009

16 May 2009

Mermaid Manipulation

From time to time I post stuff both in E in P and in Nerd Shots, my site dedicated to Computer art which is to say, pictures that have been enhanced or altered or invented inside the electronical box.
This image was taken from a photo Gail Slaughter sent me from her garden in California. She is usually on the lookout for fairies and elves that paint leaves but here she caught a Mermaid sunning herself. Well, in the sea, they sort of have filtered sun, you know? In the area of California where Gail resides they have much more cloud than sun.
I used Microsoft Photo Editor to smudge and sharpen and then smudge again to create the weird sandy/watery texture and then used Picassa to progressively tint the picture, warmify, etc etc etc. I forget what all I did, but if you fool around with Picassa, you can too.
photo: Gail Slaughter
effects: Michael Serafin

Elphie the Eloquent

Gail Slaughter's two cats, Hybrow and Elphaba, are nearly alike, both being essentially black, but Hybrow has some white markings and therefore I can tell them apart. This picture is obviously Elphie, but something was perhaps amiss because I don't remember her so fierce when they all lived back here in Michigan. I can't say for sure but I think having the Terminator for your Governor may have some side effects...

Mermaid Manipulation

The "Dude" is at it again... the top image is a creation accomplished with the cropping and effects available in Picassa 3. Almost. It also required smudging and sharpening in Microsoft Photo Editor. I find that MPE is fairly crude but in some instances these crude effects can be used to your advantage.

No, I don't really appreciate the changes introduced when Picassa 2 became Picassa 3, but when you are getting stuff for free, you have to accept what is out there and just view it as a challenge.

Gail Slaughter of California sent me the photo from her back garden, by the way. She has a thing for elves and fairies and for wizards and witches, too, I suppose, except we all know that only elves have any sense.

14 May 2009

Taking a few shots at Pot

Once upon a time, not too awful far away except in terms of years, I had a thing for the evil weed. It doesn't matter now too much me admitting this, because to hear people talk EVERYBODY in my generation had a thing either for or against pot in those days.
But today I am nearly 58 years old, it's almost forty some odd years later, and I am now supposed to be one of the stable pillars of American society. There is no longer any place for "thrills" or anything anymore.
Ah, me.........................


Have a beautiful day!

13 May 2009

Going going gone

The rains first made the tulips lovely, then took away the petals.

12 May 2009

"Paint" Project... Elphaba the Eloquent Cat

Gail Slaughter is taking a figure-drawing course. (With real nude models... that is, they are real and they are also nude... I'm not saying they are "really nude" as in nuder than the usual nude, because nude is nude and that's about the most you can say... remember getting your clothes "whiter than white?" Oh, hell, I digress from my digression.)
Elphaba, the cat who lives with Gail (or one of the cats who share her abode, that is, there being another named Hybrow) came over to comment on Gail's artwork and how well it was progressing, and Gail said, "oh, thank you, dear, for your eloquent opinion, may I take your photo for posterity?"
TOP: "Finished" version with background reduced to essentials
BOTTOM: "Halfway" version taken from original photo

You, too can get away from it all... maybe!

Gail Slaughter's Eye on California

Gail and I are bestest friends (I remain hopeful!) and she sends photos from her new digs on the West Coast from time to time. I mess around with these, sometimes to her chagrin, trying to venture into some sort or other of wordy worldly philosophy.

04 May 2009

A New Adventure in Acting Goes Sour!!

This poor little dude ALMOST made the cut for a costume I was ALMOST roped into wearing for a new ice-cream store that ALMOST was set to open on May 1st.

It's "stolen" and modified from a crochet pattern I found on the net, with the coney-sorta hat added. I was going to make the striped suit more ice-creamy-colored, too, probably blueberry and strawberry and vanilla.

BUT... the store ran into opening-up permit difficulties, etc.

Sorry Kidz... That's Show Biz!


A Bit of Visual Thunda from Down Unda

Yes, yes, yes. I've mis-spelled bromeliad. Or have I?
I like MY way. (Blogger's spell-czech is no help.) Bromo as in seltzer? Iliad as in Homer? What DOES this name-word mean?

(Photo courtesy Kat's Cradle, Australia)

01 May 2009

EXOBIG...Earthlike planet found



Finding something earthlike out there in the universe has to be a thrill for whoever manages to do that. But this is merely a computer generated mockup drawing, since we cannot literally "eyeball" or even photograph anything so darn far away.

Even the Hubble "telescope" really cannot "see" so much as think. Why? The very faint photons of light the Hubble "sees" must be computer-enhanced (interpreted) to show colors in spectrum. Space colors are not possible without a little creativity. Space is really mostly black and bright white... colors such as "green" and "red" and "blue" and "yellow" are possible only with OUR eyes in OUR atmosphere, and that's it. To make Hubbles's photos palatible to our sensititive eyes we "doctor" them extensively.

Oh... without heavy filters on our space helmets' visors, space would blind us. No protective atmosphere.

Be thankful God made air!!!!!


Gail's Art Critic

This "final" version I created by selectively choosing portions of one of Gail's photographs in the Paint program, and copying cat parts. I could then "flip/rotate" and piece them back together symmetrically to make a whole cat!!

Moving the drawing into position was easy... just select and move. I used "color select" and "paintbrush" mode to make the grey areas uniform...