Panoramas: Making Waves

Hi Folks:

I’ve been making digital panoramas since I owned my first digital camera, and some time before that with prints (although we called them photomosaics back then). Just to be clear, there’s a difference (at least to me) between a panoramic image – one that’s been cropped to a wide-aspect format – and a digital panorama. A digital panorama is one where 2+ images of the same scene are combined in post-processing software to create one image that captures more of the scene than could be contained in a single frame. There are several advantages to creating panoramas; three of the most prominent are:

  • the aforementioned ability to capture more of a scene
  • the ability to use a longer focal length lens to avoid wide-angle lens distortions and vignetting
  • the ability to create higher resolution images than can be captured in a single image

We’re not going to get into the technical details of making panoramas in this post, but those who are interested are welcome to review our other posts on panoramas, here. This is an example of a digital panorama:

Tofino, BC – 60 images (click on any image to see it larger)

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Don’t Call People Out – Call Them In

Hi Folks:

We came across this video the other day (presented at TEDMonterey 2021) and had to pass it along. This is the best forum for us to do just that! If you’ve read other of our posts this goes without saying, but we love this woman!

Loretta J. Ross - TED Monterey 2021

Don’t Call People Out – Call Them In (click on the image to see the video)

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Working With Capture One’s Exposure Warnings Feature

Hi Folks:

Before I get started I wanted to add a shout out to two people: David Grover (Capture One) and Paul Reiffer, both of whom know much more about Capture One than I do, and from whom I’ve learned most of what I do know. Thanks!

Okay. This post is going to assume two things. The first is that you know what a photographic histogram is, and the second is that you’re familiar with Capture One’s editing software. If you need help with the first, we have a (very old) post here on the Essentials of Digital Photography. If you need help learning Capture One, check out the links above or leave a comment here.

I’m using Capture One 21 (14.2) but if I remember correctly this should work back to at least version 12 if not before. Continue Reading →

Four health benefits of hugs – and why they feel so good

Hi Folks:

We came across this article recently and had to share it with you. We’ve known the truth of this for some time (of course) but now you do too!

Four health benefits of hugs – and why they feel so good

Hugs,
M&M

Remember, if you can’t hug the ones you love, hug the ones you’re with!

Happy International Free Hugs Day!!

Hi Folks:

As you all know, the first Saturday in July (today!) is International Free Hugs Day!! Normally (what does that even mean anymore?) that would mean we’d be downtown, by our Hugging Tree, sharing hugs, smiles, waves, handshakes, fist bumps and conversations with locals and tourists alike. Not last year, however, and not today… but soon! The world is starting to re-open, slowly. In the meantime, to paraphrase the song:

If you can’t share hugs with the ones you love, hug the ones you’re with!!

Hugging a Chinese lion, 2019

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. We have a late entry in this year’s Creampuff Derby: our granddaughter, who was born this morning. A most auspicious day!!

Ladybugs and FREE HUGS!

Hi Folks:

A very special day for us, for several reasons. It’s World Ocean Day, and since we’re lucky enough to live within 300m of the ocean, we’re privileged to see her in all of her moods. Nineteen years ago today Marcia asked Mike a very important question; we say YES!! to each other every day. And today is also the anniversary of our very first Free Hugs campaign: June 8, 2010. Below is a re-post of our adventures that day.

image © Aaron Licht, 2010It’s been more than a year since we’ve had to (temporarily) suspend our Free Hugs campaigns; we miss it every day. In 11 years we’ve shared hugs, smiles, waves, handshakes, high fives, conversations and more with tens of thousands of people from at least 88 countries. When it’s safe for you and for us we’ll welcome you to join us once again. In the meantime, wherever you are today, we offer you (two – at least!) virtual hugs. We wish you peace.

Hugs,
M&M
_____

Hello Dear Ones!

It’s been my hands meandering today – over poster board with glue and markers, 3″ diameter paper ladybugs and brightly coloured flowers.

Tomorrow, June 8th, 2010, Mike and I celebrate the eighth anniversary of the day I proposed to him. Yes, I did! Down on one knee, rocks and all, by our favourite river. June 8th, 2002.

In honour of the day, Mike and I shall be down at what is referred to as the Inner Harbour here in Victoria, British Columbia at 4pm …. the same approximate time that I popped the question and Mike responded with a resounding YES!

Mike and I are both dolling up these placards to say, simply, FREE HUGS. Yet they are decorated by each of us individually – so each is unique – as are we! Mike’s has a butterfly, hearts and bright colours. Mine has ladybugs and huge flowers.

We’ll be giving out free hugs to any willing participants and we certainly hope there may be a few daring souls. Should you happen to be in the neighbourhood, come join us – even if it’s just to watch two mature adults make absolute fools of themselves – enjoying and savouring every single moment of it! There’ll be ample supply of laughter, hugs, smiles and yes, even free hug certificates as giveaways.

If you’ve not yet checked out our Hugs Certificates page, take a moment to do so here. Mike and I carry a stock of these business card-sized certificates which we delightedly give out to: cashiers; people we see sharing hugs with a friend; as bookmarks in magazines and books in the stores we frequent; on the seats of buses; anywhere we happen to go and someone either gives us a reason to smile or really needs one of their own – which we happily oblige by giving them one of ours. What a joyous adventure this has become – such fun!

An exceptionally BIG thank you to Mike for this marvellous idea, for providing the materials and for the inspiration to make this a play day! A lifetime supply of HUGS, just for him and him alone …

In Light and Laughter,

Marcia

BTW: we’re not the first to do this and hopefully not the last! Check out the Free Hugs Campaign that inspired us to do the same.

Update:

We had a great time, and we gave/ received over 200 hugs in 3 hours.  Our friend Aaron came by as well and made some photographs.  Here are a couple of the best of them (more are available here):

Anticipation Group Hug

P.S. Be sure to check out our International Free Hugs Day 2012 and International Free Hugs Day 2011 posts!

Creating a Ragged Edge Frame with Affinity Photo

Hi Folks:

Depending on the software you have, there are a myriad of ways to add a border effect to your images. On some of our images I like to add a white border with a ragged edge that allows a little bit of the image to bleed through into the frame. In Capture One (and, previously, Lightroom) I’ve used four graduated filters of the same width and parameters to create such borders, but I’ve just discovered a much easier way to do this using Affinity Photo.† (click on any image to see it larger)

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Happy Mother’s Day!!

Hi Folks:

Today we celebrate all those who are mothers, all who have been and are no longer with us, and all those who have served in that capacity – fathers, aunts, grandparents, foster parents, siblings… anyone and everyone with an abundance of love to share. Today we honour You. (but Marcia’s still my favourite – Mike 💗👨🏻‍🦳👩🏻‍🦳💗)

Happy Mother's DayIn 2010 Marcia wrote a tribute to her father: Remember Father for Mother’s Day. Since then, Marcia’s mother and father have left us. Mike’s mother, dad and sister (herself a mother) are also gone, and Mike’s father passed away yesterday. We remember them in our hearts. However, we are blessed with an abundance of other family and we’ll be welcoming a new granddaughter this summer!!

Sending love and hugs your way!
M&M

P.S. Let’s not forget the Mother of us All…

Daydream Believer…

Hello Dear Ones!

      “Worry and daydreaming are different aspects of the same thing:
        your creative imagination.
       Worrying creates blueprints of what you do not want…
        unintentional creation of your future.
       Daydreaming creates blueprints of what you do want…
        intentional creation of your future.”
    ~ Gordana Biernat: #Know the Truth… inspiration #80…

Friday mid-afternoon, my husband and I helped out our son & daughter-in-law by babysitting our precious soon-to-be 3-year-old grandson. We took him outside so Mommy & Daddy could finish up their respective workdays from home. It was the first time we were with him outside without his parents. He eagerly agreed to hold hands crossing the street as we headed over to the now-vacant school yard. Having his 3-wheeled scooter with us… and his helmet… we got him properly attired and set him free.

My goodness were we ever thrilled to see how far he had come in his scootering skills. Having expected to be running after him routinely, we were in awe at the proficiency of his acquired abilities! An hour later he had finally tired of this activity and was drawn to the playground. Taking gymnastics classes, he has developed a body awareness that allows him the confidence to take wise risks with foot placement. No security of foot? No forward motion. He shifts until he finds the support he now knows to recognize as being safe. Keep in mind he had both grandparents bracing him surreptitiously on either side… just in case.

Until… and here comes the reason for today’s post… he decided to sit on a raised platform and wiggle himself backwards. The motion caused giggles and faster movements, and by the time we realized what was happening, he had scooted over to the edge of the platform and took a graceful roll backwards, his head leading the way down the 1 foot drop. I got to him first, as I was closest… but his tumble had caused a major bang to the back of his head. Needless to say, the pain and the shock of the fall had him confused, scared and hurting. My ears can attest to the fact that the boy has a healthy set of lungs!

Wisdom took over. I quietly checked him out to ensure nothing was broken. Nothing was. That his eyes were responding as they should. They were. And I held him close to my heart and soothingly spoke to him. Letting him know I was aware he was hurting, that it was okay to cry it through, and somehow got him to deep breathe in time to my slower, deeper breaths.

Once he was calm, we asked him if he wanted to go back home to Mommy & Daddy, and all 3 of us walked slowly back to his house. By the time we got there, the fall was an adventure in our grandson’s mind that he had to share with his folks, proudly showing them the boo boo he had on the back of his head. He asked for something to drink and a snack as though nothing had ever happened.

But me? I was a basket case. Most definitely feeling guilty, responsible, like a bad grandparent. Had he landed a mere few inches to his right he’d have hit his head on what I remembered as being a cement support. Blessings be that hadn’t occurred, but I was still feeling guilty. What if he had a concussion? We might not know for sure till morning. So, as you can imagine, I didn’t sleep well at all that night.

My thoughts and sporadic dreams were worrisome fears of potentially negative outcomes. I was scared for the child and the parents. There was nothing I could do that I hadn’t done, yet I worried and stressed through most of the night.

Then I remembered the above quote from Gordana Biernat’s book! When I regrouped my thoughts, I realized that I had wasted the past several hours in envisioning ~ creating, if you will ~ negative scenarios… none of which I wanted to unfold. I was worrying about an outcome I didn’t want. What a waste of energy!

It took me a while, and some imaginative creativity, but I was able to envision a healthy, happy boy bouncing out of bed in the morning, laughing as he always does, nothing at all wrong. I began daydreaming. I could eventually see this special child with us, his grandfather & I, sharing many more fun-filled days in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Like the deep breaths I taught our grandson after his fall, I began deep breathing, and daydreaming the reality I wanted as an outcome. And I eventually, and more peacefully, fell into a restful sleep.

It took a few hours to get through to my son the next morning to learn that there had been absolutely no repercussions from the fall or the experience… no concussion, no visible marks, no nightmares… all was good! Of course it was!

Hard as they are, I appreciate such valuable lessons that help teach me ~ yes, even in my ripe old age ~ how to shift my energies from fear and worry to those of loving, calm, trusting experiences. I obviously still re-act to scary situations with old, previously-learned responses, yet I am more quickly opening to ways of seeing and being that bring an ease and a joy to my life.

As Gordana would say: “… knowing who you are changes everything!”

In Light and Laughter,

Marcia

PS: Thanks to the Monkees for the title of today’s post!

 

 

If …

Hello Dear Ones!

This week’s blog post was inspired by my Morning Pages writings of March 15th. Here’s what I wrote:

The word if … how often in my life do I plan this or that… if it’s possible, if I can, if it’s allowed, if it’s available? It’s a word dependent upon all things outside of myself. I’ve found myself using it at least once almost every day since.The recognition of this simple word in my daily plans and activities tells me how frequently I actually rely on people and situations outside of my control before making plans for a wide variety of aspects in my life.

If it doesn’t rain, I’ll go for a walk. If I do go for a walk, I can stop at my fave spot and sit awhile with my latest book, if that spot is available. I didn’t sleep well last night, so if it does rain, I’ll have a nap this afternoon. Me, always compromising.

Get the drift? Does any of this sound familiar?

So, what have I gleaned from my query into this behavioural pattern? Well, it seems I’m dealing with what appears to be compromises that suggest a lack of trust and faith in myself and yet also in things outside of myself. It seems that during these pandemic times I have gone from a strong, wise, powerful woman ~ a woman who knew what she wanted in life and was well on her way to the unfolding of a vision ~ to a woman who has become afraid of life.

My vision was to take Mike’s and my Free Hugs activities across Canada. All the puzzle pieces to make this dream a reality were falling beautifully in place! That was as of January 2020. As you might imagine, that dream collapsed as of March of that year. After having hugged close to 40,000 people over an 11-year span of time and with folks from over 89 countries around the world, hugs had now become a taboo activity. For many people, hugs had become taboo even between family members, let alone for folks from around the world. Our last Free Hugs session was on March 1st, 2020 and most of the folks we had been privileged to interact with in this fashion that day were from places outside of Canada! When we caught the news later that evening, we realized we would be wise to self-isolate for 14 days, which we did. Blessings be, nothing came of it. But that was the last hug session we did. And, as of this writing one full year later, there is no time in sight as to when, if ever, that precious activity might possibly start up again.

The loss of a dream, the destruction of a vision… it broke my heart and my spirit. Can any of you relate? What dreams did you have to put on hold?

And it seems that loss affected me in more far reaching ways than I had realized. Yet… now that I have recognized the impact this past year has had on my well-being, where do I go from here?

I did some more indepth writing on the subject. Here’s what unfolded in my writings yesterday:

There has to be an answer, something I can do to shift from where I am to where I was. What if… and that’s where my AHA moment grabbed me! What if??? Absolutely! What if? I had added one word to what has been holding me back: from if? to what if? What if I shift my thoughts from dependency on outside sources to my own inner inspirations and strengths? So what if it rains? What if I grab my umbrella and go for a walk because I want to walk? What if my special spot by the ocean isn’t available for a sit? I’ll have my book with me; what if I choose in that moment to nestle onto that new bench the city installed that’s away from the walking path with a lovely view of its own!

So I’ve started to let go of the negatives and the limitations and flip them to positives and potentials! That sounds like the me I remember from the beginning of last year! That’s the positive note I wish to relay to you, Dear Reader! I’ve let the Pollyanna in me return to her prime place of importance and value in my life. It may take some work. There may be a few failures or setbacks, but I know it’s well worth the pursuit!

Are you playing a role of prime importance in your own life? I hope so! If not, however, hopefully something I’ve shared here today gives you the impetus and/or the courage to step toward valuing yourself more highly. Wishing you happy journeys, even if (or perhaps especially if), those journeys take you within yourself.

In Light and Laughter,

Marcia