It’s Our Birthday!!

Parrot Pals

Parrot Pals

Hi Folks:

Well, it’s now been 12 (!!) years since our blog took its first breath. It’s been a somewhat quiet year, but we currently have 662 blog posts and 150 pages on our site. The posts cover poetry, photography, our hugging adventures (88 countries and counting!) and various other musings; our pages include some of our stories and free Adventures of Rainbow Mouse colouring pages to download and enjoy. We’ve shared some wonderful adventures with you through these and are looking forward to sharing more in the future! This blog is our gift to you, our readers, and we very much appreciate having you here with us. Feel free to drop by any time, check out Marcia’s books, download our colouring pages, read our stories, leave a comment or reach out, relax and enjoy yourself. We don’t have any birthday cake that we can share (this is the best we can do: 🎂), but we send you love.

Remember to hug someone you love today, even if it’s just screen to screen. You’ll both feel better for it! 🙅‍♀️🙅‍♂️

M&M

P.S. Extra special thanks to our son Nick, who does all of the techie stuff that keeps us afloat!! 🙂

2022 Photo Calendars (part one)

Hi Folks:

This is the twelfth year now that we’ve made our photo calendar templates available, both for MS Word users (for those who don’t use graphics programs) and as .png files for those who do. As before we will be making our own calendar available in .pdf format for those who are interested, but this year we’re doing the post in two parts. For our calendar we use images made in that month (i.e. the image for May 2022 was made in May 2021). Since we haven’t yet gotten to December our calendar isn’t yet complete, but we wanted to make the templates available so others can work on their own calendars. Continue Reading →

Sharing Free Hugs… in Print!!

Free Hugs Illustration

Illustration by Sierra Lundy

Hi Folks:

Several months back the folks at Victoria’s Boulevard magazine added a note inviting any of their readers with the ability to tell a story to submit up to three thousand words for a column called Narrative. Each submission would be considered for publication in an upcoming issue. Since we’re both storytellers we agreed that sharing a bit about our hugging adventures would be the best topic for us!! 🫂

Mike cobbled together the bones of our story and Marcia refined and edited it. We came in at 2995 words. Satisfied, we sent it off … and in August we received an e-mail from the Managing Editor, Susan Lundy, letting us know that our article would be included in the October/November issue. Colour us excited!

The article appears on pages 110-112 of the October/November 2021 issue of Boulevard magazine (Victoria). If you live in Victoria you can find them at businesses and street boxes around the city. However, if that’s not possible for you, you can also read it online.

Many thanks to Susan and all of the staff at Boulevard for sharing our story. Remember to hug someone you love today!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. If we might be so bold, the rest of the magazine is worth reading too!! 🙂

Boulevard magazine, October/November 2021

Victoria’s Boulevard magazine, October/November, 2021

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)

Continue Reading →

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)

Continue Reading →

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)

Continue Reading →