Friday, October 30, 2015

A Collection of Photos of People in Costume

Among my colleagues are some young women. The rest are very young-at-heart. In addition to typical entertainment the group of them, individually and together, enjoy the little simplicities that some might view as a tad corny.  Among these is dressing up  for Halloween.

That particular ritual I can take or leave. Once I reached my 30s, the idea of paying for or putting together some kind of costume really didn't seem like that much fun any more. That said, I also acknowledge that it didn't hurt to do it if someone asked me to participate.

With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year though,  I had hoped I was off the hook. Not the case, however, as the eager beavers at the desks around me made the decision  we would just shift the celebration a day ahead for the office.

Unlike my co-workers, my vivid imagination doesn't translate well in trying to come up with the ideal outfit.  With a house now devoid of all the sundry junk there when the kids lived with us,  the makings of a costume, especially when my mind just can't seem to reach the necessary creative heights,  are slim.  So I called on friends, scrounged my house for the appropriate accessories and caked on the makeup to achieve my transformation.

It will do.

The costumes around me are fun and we are certainly an extraordinary assortment of characters in this office on this day.  Just like all of the dressed-up adults in this collection of photos, perfect for the day before Halloween:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2 Photo Collections to Take You Out in the Country

"Whenever I need to leave it all behind
Or feel the need to get away.
I find a quiet place, far from the human race
Out in the country." 
— Roger S. Nichols, Paul H Williams

It was one of those days — far too many demands, far too little time to deal with them all.  When it all finally got to be too much,  it became imperative that a few minutes to step away and breathe were necessary.  Finding a quiet corner, taking a few deep gulps and visualizing a happy place went a long way to putting life back in order.

My happy place, of course, had nothing to do with bricks and mortar. It certainly didn't take me into the heart of the city; I wasn't thinking about towering skyscrapers, or hearing the busy sounds of traffic.  Nor was I sitting in the relative quiet of my backyard, where neighbours are mowing their lawns and raising their hands in greeting.

No, when I needed to get away it was into the pastoral countryside, where woodlots rise up beside wide, open spaces, where the quiet babble of a brook competes only with the gentle rustle of trees or the sweet trill of songbirds.

Whether I head to the beautiful north country of French River or take a walk on the trail that runs through my daughter's rural property, the life I'm living changes. My head clears, my lungs fill; my pace slows, my heart quickens. I actually look and see, listen and hear.

But you can't always be where you need to be. Thankfully, even visualizing or seeing a picture of a peaceful rural landscape can be as calming as  a deep breath.  Here then are some lovely photo collections to take you out in the country:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Charming Country Clipart Collection

When it comes to home decor I'm really not much for the country kitsch style of design. My desire and need for order and openness,  precludes the type of cosy clutter that exemplifies this trend.

It is with some irony then, that I acknowledge how much I like it in someone else's house. My sister-in-law's place, for example, is full of folksy charm and I find every homey corner aesthetically pleasing.

What can I say? I'm a complicated gal.

I know it's strange,  given my desire for a more traditional home interior that I find the country look so appealing. But I really do.  The rustic plaques and adorable objects scattered throughout a room have an undefined allure for me. Perhaps it's the reflection of simpler lifestyles that pulls me in. Maybe it's the innocence of the images. Or possibly it's because they are, quite frankly, darn cute.

The look goes beyond (other people's)  home interior too.  I am often drawn to artwork that has a pastoral quality — the quiet snowy landscape, the softly-lit Victorian,  a sweet log cabin at the edge of the woods.

And, if darling is the requirement when looking for an image for a project, my eye is typically drawn to those with adorable animals, sunflowers and wooden fences.

Much like those in this favourite clipart collection:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

5 Collections of Clipart Favourites

"Age is not important unless you're a cheese."

This view on ageing from the "First Lady of American Theatre" — the incomparable Helen Hayes,  sums up the topic nicely and succinctly.  Age is only what we let it be. And I, having begun the trek down the hill,  am letting it be no big deal.

I  look around me and see a lot of young people who are in worse physical shape than I am.  I know 'youngsters' who dodder around like  stereotypical old ladies.   I, on the other hand,  still like my music loud, my nights late and my wine plentiful.

Certainly there are times when I feel every one of my several decades. For the most part though I refuse to accept that what my mind feels isn't what my body might be able to handle. I'm not ready to settle in to a rocker just yet.

Keeping this perspective can be interesting working in the  environment I do.  There are five women in our office, our birth years representing five different decades. For the most part, the traits of our gender bring the disparity of experience closer. But, the fact that I remember Trudeaumania, the Kennedys and Camelot, Vietnam, Charles Manson and the British Invasion, that I could care less about electronic music,  Game of Thrones,  and a bunch of other things I don't listen to when discussed here,  imposes a gap I can't ignore.

It got me wondering one day how far apart our tastes might be. Since we work in the business of images, I thought it might be fun for each of us to come up with a few of our favourites to see how they might differ. Here are the results:

Born 1992

Born 1980

Born 1974

Born 1964

Born 1954

Monday, October 26, 2015

Create Ghostly Photos in Photoshop

Do you believe in ghosts?

It's a question I've been asked several times. And to be perfectly honest I really don't know what to answer.

I know there was an experience several years ago that had me thinking with a certainty that spirits are with us. Though I still waffle, time and the wisdom of age, however, have me second guessing what I was so sure I'd seen then.

But then there are the friends and family members,  intelligent, logical people,  with stories of their own. For example, my brother-in-law, a retired police inspector and one of the most literal guys I know,  tells a tale of murder and a chilling experience. Literally. At the home of a victim, while standing in the hallway where the body had been found, he felt a drastic, sudden drop in temperature, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. 

A little spooked so to speak, he returned to the detachment where he started to tell another officer about the experience.  Before he got too far, though, his colleague described in detail what my brother-in-law had felt, adding that it had happened to him earlier in the day in the same spot. Two jaded cops believing they shared an experience with, if not the supernatural, then something unexplained.

Halloween is the perfect time for these stories and for eerie pictures of apparitions. Let's face it, though. Ghosts don't appear just because we want them to. If it's a spooky picture you're looking for you just can't count on a spectre showing up, even if you are visiting a house that's apparently haunted.

Even those who say they succeeded in capturing a phantom on film are suspect as double exposure photography can create the illusion.  And today with image editing software you can really create mystery.  Here are some tutorials explaining how:

Design a Spectral Photo Manipulation

Create a Ghost Effect in Photoshop

Create a Ghost in Photos

Add a Ghost to Photos

Ghosting an Image in Photoshop

Create Ghostly Photo

Adding a Ghostly Image to a Photo

Create Ghostly Composites

Haunting Family Ghost Photos