Sunday Post: Focused Attention

It’s been a while since I focussed attention on any photo challenge, and I miss them.

Jake says focused attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. Attention has also been referred to as the allocation of processing resources. Attention also has variations amongst cultures. Voluntary attention develops in specific cultural and institutional contexts through engagement in cultural activities with more competent community.

Photography has forced me to focus my attention of details and composition which is difficult for a scattery person like me.  Notice that I didn’t say scatter-brained, just scattery meaning not-too focused.

focused attention 3
It’s getting close to Valentine’s Day and Manny has focused his attention on Sweetie Pie. She’s obviously not too interested right now. What should Manny do?

It is relatively easy to force inanimate objects to focus.  Manny has no problem with it.  Sweetie Pie has a mind of her own, inanimate as she is.

What is this?  More importantly where would you find it?
What is this? More importantly where would you find it?

You can focus on a small area of an inanimate object to see if people can guess what it is.

What is this?
What is this?

You can crop a picture even closer to focus someone’s attention on an inanimate object and confound them even more.   These are ways that photographers have of forcing the viewers to look closely and focus their attention on something.

focused attention 7

Even during the chaos of a dinner meeting where there is so much on which to focus, teachers use strategies to draw people’s focused attention.

But what is it about “stuff” that naturally causes animals, including people to focus their attention?  Easier to answer, how do you know they are focused?

Puppy Girl, what is on the new quilt that is SO interesting???
Puppy Girl, what is on the new quilt that is SO interesting???

Obviously PG is interested in something here.  I can’t see it, but she is totally absorbed.  Her body moves toward the object of her focused attention.  Her weight is on her forelegs as indicated by the deep indentations in the bed, and her head is inclined toward the object of her gaze.  Usually a dog will use their most heightened sense of smell to help them as well when they are focusing their attention on something.  Her tongue is out slightly, too.  Hmmm  I hope there is nothing edible in my bed!!!

Focused Attention
What might be the focus of attention here?

People have many foci of attention in this picture.  They too tend to lean in and point, the more focused they become.  When I was teaching students to work in cooperative groups for the first time, I actually had students think about what real focus looked like when they were working with a group.  The experts at Kagen told us that four of five people to a group is a maximum size.  Judging from this picture would you agree that the same principle might hold true for adults as well?

As usual Jake challenges me to think.  What strategies do you use in your line of work or play to get people or animals to focus their attention?  Where is YOUR focused attention?

Here is a link to what 87 other folks thought.

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire

cees-fun-foto1

As I pushed the publish button the notice came up that this is my 300th post!  Thanks everyone for sticking with me for that long!!!!  🙂

 

This challenge is a bit of a stretch for me.  When I was about 4 or 5 I got into quite a bit of trouble when I set my doll bed on fire, then started to carry the flaming blanket to the bathroom to douse the flame in the sink because I knew that water put out fire.  I don’t know HOW my mom found out about it, but she ran in, saw me starting towards the bathroom, and threw everything out the window.  I think I also started a fire outside once, too.

But neither of those events could hold a candle to the time we came home from my friend, Wyla’s, wedding to find fire trucks at the end of our street.  We lived at the end of our street.  My friend Gary, a volunteer fireman, decided to pay us a visit that day, even though we were not home.  He climbed through a window to get in.  He was calmly sitting playing the piano when he smelled smoke.  It took him three misdials to finally reach the Portland Fire Department, but he saved our home.  I was finishing up the last of Wyla’s trousseau and we were almost late for the wedding.  In my haste to get to the wedding on time, I had left the iron plugged in my attic sewing room, and the faulty old wiring in either the iron or the house, sparked and caught the tons of patterns I had stored in the attic on fire.

With all that fascination with fire in my younger years, you would think that I could find ONE fire picture.  And I did.  ONE.  And it’s blurry.  I tried to sharpen it up, and it’s sort of pixellated.  Sorry!!!  This was a great place, though.  The owners of this place are members of the Tulare County Historical Society, and they had their own museum specializing in old cars and old slot machines, and clocks.  Of course old cars needed old gas.

Flames

Here’s one of his flaming hot cars!!!

Bill #6

I thought about getting V’s ghost flames on his Nova, but do you think they would show up for a picture?  No – they were ghost flames.  They didn’t even show up!!

I decided to display some HOT outfits that I found in Old Sacramento.  Would that count???

Sacramento HOT Costume shop

Or maybe this outfit?

Hot Outfit

So I know that’s pushing it to come up with fire, but honestly it was the best I could do!!!

Here is a link to see other hot shots!

Using the Creative Cloud by Adobe

As many of you know, the job of designing a brochure somehow dropped on my unartistic shoulders.  I created something using the Creative Cloud for our Board Meeting on Saturday, and received immediate feedback about what to change.  This was my first time ever to use Adobe Illustrator, and it represented about 8 or more hours of intensive effort.  I just LOOKS so easy a first grader could do it!  I would not call Illustrator an intuitive, user-friendly program.

My first attempt using Adobe Illustrator
My first attempt using Adobe Illustrator

Today I spent the entire day creating a new brochure with an artsy look rather than a blocky photography look.  My husband helped me on this one by brainstorming with me, then finding me a nice artsy print to get my creative dry mouth (there were not juices) started.  He also agreed with Cotton that the California Bear Flag was the primary symbol to use to anchor this brochure.

I couldn't figure how to color this one blue.
I couldn’t figure how to color this one blue.  I still thought it was cool.  Do you recognize anyone here?

I couldn’t find the same picture he did, and I thought I would be so clever and Photoshop of our own meetings.  It didn’t transfer well into Illustrator, so he emailed me the picture he found.  I made major changes on it before I used it.

This was the best I could do in Illustrator.
This was the best I could do in Illustrator.  Oops a flag pole in the middle of the sky.  Weird.  The colors don’t really go here, but I hat to take a break.

The hardest part after he found the anchor artwork for the meeting was to create a seamless look between the artwork and the background.  I’m not sure I could do any of it again at this point.  I found that it was easier to merge the pictures and the background in Photoshop than in Illustrator.  I couldn’t even get the paintbrush tool to activate on the layer I wanted in Illustrator, and I couldn’t flatten the layers.  So back to what I knew.  I got a little paint on the photos, but I’m hoping it gives that artsy-dreamy look.  I need to brush up my coloring skills.

I tried using the select tools, but forgot how to use them correctly, and so I just colored around the map – that took forever!!!  I also had to do it more than once.  The first time I thought I coud just place it into Illustrator.  Place is how you get your photographs to stick on the background in both Illustrator and Photoshop.  That is in the file drop down menu.

I found out that Photoshop CS6 is different enough from Elements 10 that I had a bit of a learning curve, but I was able to McIver my way through the project.

After I was as pleased as I could be in the amount of time that I wanted to devote to my 4th makeover, I saved the project as a jpeg and then placed it over the first page white blank sheet in Adobe Illustrator.  Then I just added the words.  V helped me with the words, too.  He used to be in advertising, and he focused me on what was really the reason for the brochure – to GET PEOPLE TO JOIN THE ORGANIZATION!  So that went in the top right hand corner.  DUH!

This was my third attempt.
This was my third attempt.  Here it looked like I scribbled around the map because I was dodging the words.  Has any one ever been to the state of Califronia?

I got it all done, and sent out to our Exec. Board, and realized I had misspelled California.  Believe it or not I had to start back in Photoshop and get my three pictures together again on the background.

This was the most time- intensive part.  this was my fourth attempt.
This was the most time-intensive part, and it was my fourth attempt at creating the brochure.

I finally got the words back on  using Illustrator because the words are sharper if you use Illustrator rather than Photoshop.

This is my final draft - SO FAR!!!
This is my final draft – SO FAR!!!

I had a few changes to do to the inside, but those were simple.  So this is the journey I’ve been on for the last few days since our start long ago with the simple cover you all voted on.

You overwhelmingly picked this design for the front of the brochure.
You overwhelmingly picked this design for the front of the brochure.

Thanks so much for all your input.  I appreciate when YOU offer suggestions.  Thanks also to V for all the help you gave me this morning, and the patience to see me through my tears without trying to SOLVE all my problems.  I knew I could do this if I just put my mind to it.  I was not going to be overcome by a computer program!!!!  🙂

John Muir Visits the Tulare County Historical Society During the 2013 Annual Meeting

Yesterday at the Tulare County Historical Society Annual Meeting Frank Helling, a 30-year veteran as John Muir, with his hand carved cane in his Scottish accent told the crowd  “Everywhere we step is holy land.”  Of course he never hiked around the world,  he “san-tared” (sauntered) about because hiking is too much like work.

Frank Helling as John Muir
Frank Helling as John Muir

At one point Muir had to find employment.  Although he wasn’t a shepherd, he was hired to keep tabs on Shepherd Billy, a lazy bloke.   Billy rarely never bathed so  his clothes became a natural walking history museum, growing thicker by the day with new additions such as pine needles, tree sap, or whatever else he wiped on them.  Another employer wanted him to run a saw mill, but Muir had vowed never to cut a living tree again, but didn’t mind taking the already fallen trees to the saw mill.

Muir recounted the many famous people his path had crossed except for Louise Jackson’s mother who was 13 when she met him.  Sixty-eight year old Ralph Waldo Emerson came to see him in 1871 and remarked about the Sequoia Redwoods, “These trees have a talent for being tall.”  Muir quipped back,   “You’re a Sequoia yourself, get acquainted with the brethren.”

Muir, the Big Tree Advocate, upon returning to  Yosemite after one of his many travels,  found the trees being cut down, and cried out “Repent the Kingdom of Sequoia is at hand!”  He got lost in the “artificial canyons” (hallways) of a San Francisco hotel when he met with his editor, Johnson.  His friend changed his writing , and removed many repetitions of the word, glorious, telling Muir, “That’s called editing.”

Muir kept his audience humorously spell-bound for probably close to an hour.  I don’t know I lost track of time.

We will soon have a new TCHS website.  We meet with the designer, Louise Jackson’s daughter, Laile on Wednesday.  I’ve been honored to serve on that committee for the past year, so I can’t wait to see what she has to show us.  🙂  Websites, websites, websites!!!  🙂

Valentine’s Day Is Almost Here

I get lots of xox’s from all of you, and V commented that he wanted some xox’s, too.  So I bought some cookie cutters with built in xox’s, but I haven’t made them yet.  But last night when I got home from my meeting, look what I found on my plate!!!

xoxox cookie

The 18th anniversary of our first date is Feb. 11.  I love how my husband is such a romantic.  He’s already gearing up.  xoxoxo to you V  🙂  Marsha Lee 🙂