Photoshop Sky – So easy!

Of course we want reality in our lives.

Leslie came out looking stunning with just the touch of an artist's hand to bring out her natural beauty with some more color.
Leslie came out looking stunning with just the touch of an artist’s hand to bring out her natural beauty with some more color.

That’s why we put on make-up, and fake nails, hair, clothing that slims, clothing that builds up, paint our fences, and I could go on.  So the reality was that the sky was beautiful on Friday.  But the truth was that my picture didn’t show it right.  Here is your proof – Paul Bunyan standing around in Three Rivers.   This picture shows perfectly blue sky with no filter necessary.

See how blue the sky is.  This photo is untouched by Photoshopic hands.
See how blue the sky is? This photo is untouched by Photoshopic hands.

And right across the parking lot the sky was this color.

See how washed out the sky was.  Got out without her make-up!  :)
See how washed out the sky was? She got out without her make-up!  You can see between the trees , the sky is blue on the right side.  Splotchy sky – no good!

A warning to future photographers:  neither spit nor shoot pictures into the sun.  Or is that wind?

Anyway. shooting into the sun washes out the sky, and I don’t like the color of bleach it uses.  However, there are times that you either shoot into the sun, or you don’t get the picture, and this was one of them.  I didn’t want a backwards sign, and I wasn’t coming back in the morning.  So stuck between a rock and the sun, I chose the rock, and got rid of the sun’s damaging effect to my perfect sign and rock.

Like putting on make-up I want the effect to look natural.  What do you think?
Like putting on make-up I want the effect to look natural. What do you think?

I fixed it.  And it was so easy.  I simply picked a color I liked from the many palates of color.  Then I used my paintbrush tool and colored in the lines.  I got fairly close to the trees, then I zoomed in by pressing command 1, and made the size of the paintbrush tip small.  I dotted between the leaves – click, click, click.  Now  close to the tree line with a little blue like a Monet – click, click, click.   Next, I went to the spray tip, and painted in a few white clouds.  Finally I blended them with the mixer brush until I was happy that they looked natural.  And voilá – a perfectly made-up sky, ready to face the day.

Do you like the look?

Dam 50th Anniversary

What would you do with an unruly river that tumbles 12,000 feet from the Sierra Nevada Mountains starting in the Sequoia National Park?  No other North American river, including the Colorado River, drops so far in such a short distance.

South Fork Bridge in Three Rivers, National Park Service, Tulare County Library.

 

What would you do if its unruliness built up one the most fertile deltas in the West?

What would you do if it emptied into the largest body of fresh water in the lower 48 states west of the Lake Superior?  (That shallow lake, Tulare Lake, has long since been drained by a series of irrigation canals.)  Like a ghost it infrequently reappears flooding Highway 43, the road to my favorite beach.

What would you do with the unruly, three-forked river?

You would dam that river!  And 50 years ago, that’s just what the U.S. Corps of Engineers did.

Inside were all kinds of treasures including this wonderful 50th Anniversary Edition Book
Inside this small treasure of a museum were all kinds of treasures including this wonderful 50th Anniversary Edition Book

Mary restrains the clouds from ushering in the next flood at  the Kaweah Heritage Visitor Center.

Grapes of Wrath

Though these were not the only flood years, large floods caused by warm winter rains melting the snowpack occurred in 1937 (Remember the Grapes of Wrath?  Steinbeck wrote his famous book after he visited Visalia, and saw the destruction of the flood that year.)  Additionally warm weather floods also took place in 1955, 1966, and 1986.

Smaller floods caused by warm weather snowmelt only without lots of extra watery input deluged the valley in 1969, 1978, 1983, and 1997.  The once every 50 years or so a flash flood type storm, caused by a tropical storm dropping 3-5 inches overnight during a dry season, last happened in September, 1978.  Finally, the rarest destructive flood initiated by a landslide that created a natural dam. Like a chain of dominos when the dam broke it caused a 40 foot deep river to plunge down the mountain side and flow into Visalia, still 5 feet deep when it created the temporary Venice in CA.  This disaster happened only once in December, 1867. (Facts thanks to Sequoia Natural History Association, author Mark Tilchen.  Floods of the Kaweah.)  Mary bought it for me at half price, $5.99, compared to the next museum we visited.  Amazon price is $10.95.  It’s a great book with many pictures of famous floods.

Here are the pictures I took of the old photos from the Kaweah Heritage Visitor Center at Kaweah Lake.

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If you teach 3rd grade in Tulare County I would recommend visiting Terminus Dam on the Kaweah River as a mini-field trip for your students or your own family, and the book would certainly interest you. Although the reading level is too difficult for third graders, the pictures might draw them into challenging the descriptions.   Earl Mann, who took many of the pictures in the book, still lives in the area, might be a great primary source witness to the flood of 1955.  Tilchen recorded Earl Mann’s account of the 1955 flood on page 36 of the book.

Hope you enjoyed this short history lesson about fascinating Tulare County.

A Drive to Sequoia National Park

I thoroughly prepared myself for a day of work. I was going to  work on my quilt.  but Mary called, and off we went to the Sequoia National Park.

These WW ! and Civil Rights pictures will become several quilts to auction off at next year's convention in LA.
These WW ! and Civil Rights pictures will become several quilts to auction off at next year’s convention in LA.

We started at Bravo Lake in Woodlake, admiring the Botanical Gardens.  You have to climb to get to the lake as you walk through the gardens to the walking path around the lake.  Bravo Lake, fed by the Kaweah River, Indian word, eah, meaning river, filled with the raucous caw, cawing of many crows.

Race for Hunger, and Berry-eating festival coming up soon!
Race for Hunger, and Berry-eating festival coming up soon!

Bravo Lake, originally boasting a Spanish was renamed after an old-fashioned pioneer fist fight.  As today, all fights have plenty of onlookers and well-wishers.  This one was no different.  When one of the fighting Irish, Tom Fowler, won, the spectators cheered him with “Bravo, bravo, Tom.  Bravo.”  The Indians living in the area promptly renamed the lake, Bravo Lake.

Botanical Gardens at the foot of Bravo Lake
Botanical Gardens at the foot of Bravo Lake

After hiking a few feet up to the brim of the lake, we took a quick look then got back in the car, and went east towards the mountains.  The beauty of the snow on the mountains almost took my breath away, and  I wanted to stop in the middle of the road, but Mary wouldn’t let me!

Bravo Lake adjusted with layers reducing the saturation of blue.
Bravo Lake adjusted with layers reducing the saturation of blue.

Mary snapped a few pictures along the way, but I was driving, but you have seen this trip before.  When we got to the first stop for Kaweah Lake, we found the Natural History museum open.

Welcome to the Natural History Museum at Kaweah Lake  Kaw, kaw, snap.
Welcome to the Natural History Museum at Kaweah Lake Kaw, kaw, snap.

It was closed when Vince, Kalev, and I visited the last time.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the museum purchasing books, and chatting with the volunteer about the dam built on the river in the 1950s to alleviate the flooding problems that had plagued the valley since 1852, when it was first settled by white settlers.  I took pictures of the notebook of old photos.  You can see the lake in the background of some of them.  I’m only including one picture in this overview post.

Can you see the reflection of Kaweah Lake off the photo?
Can you see the reflection of Kaweah Lake off the photo?

Back on the road to Three Rivers we stopped at another POI, point of interest, that Mary found on an iPhone app, a giant cow.  I thought this bull/cow was rather vulgar looking given the pipes coming and going from him/her.  I found the exhaust pipe especially humorous since cows are especially huge methane producers here in the valley, causing more air pollution than automobiles.  Apparently this bovine used to be a hamburger stand, which explains some of his/her extraneous appendages.

This place will whet your appetite!
This place will whet your appetite!

Mary, you wanted a what?

He's a catch, Mary!  :)
He’s a catch, Mary! 🙂

Then we traveled on to the next museum where they were setting up for a Veteran’s appreciation program at 7:00 p.m. tonight.

Isn't' this a cool sign.  Unfortunately the sky wasn't as pretty as Paul's just a few feet away because I was shooting into the sun.  Lucky for me Photoshop came to the rescue.  I'l show you the before and after in a different post.
Isn’t’ this a cool sign?  Unfortunately the sky wasn’t as pretty as Paul’s just a few feet away because I was shooting into the sun. Lucky for me, Photoshop came to the rescue. I’l show you the before and after in a different post.

The outside attraction here was a giant statue of Paul Bunyan.

Paul is cracking up a bit, but he was carved in 1941 from one log!  He weighs tons.  I guess I'm skinny in comparison.
This sky is natural.  Paul is cracking up a bit, but he was carved in 1941 from one log! He weighs tons. I guess I’m skinny in comparison.

Displayed on the east side of the building were both summer and winter Native American huts.  So in which one would you rather spend the winter?  You can read more about Yokuts housing on TC History Gal Productions.

Tule reeds and bark huts.
Tule reeds and bark huts.

We finally made it to my favorite stop, the Gateway Restaurant at the mouth of the Kaweah River.  Mary tried to dutifully check us in and post our food on Facebook, but wifi there didn’t work with iPhone.

The noise here is the sound of rushing water.
The noise here is the sound of rushing water.

You can see that when the water levels are up to normal – the white line on the rocks, that this would be an exciting ride in a raft.  OK, I couldn’t actually SEE the line, but the waitress assured us that it was there.  The stack of rocks piled on the boulders are for wishing.  So make a wish, but don’t tell anyone what it is.  Let me know if it comes true, though!

Can you find the stack of wishing rocks?
Can you find the stack of wishing rocks?

While we ate our fish lunch at 3:00 p.m., we read about the famous Utopian Socialist Colony founded in Three Rivers called the Kaweah Commonwealth in 1896.  They wanted to earn money for themselves cutting down the huge trees, and thus they motivated John Muir, and eventually Teddy Roosevelt to protect the gentle giants from eternal destruction by declaring the colony’s purchased property a National Park.  (The U.S. Government could do that.)  Six years after they started their colony, it ended with only a minor internal bickering.  Utopia didn’t make it here around Three Rivers.  I personally thought they were much too capitalistic. – cutting down our fine trees for profit.  Apparently not everyone wanted to labor at all, another cause of internal irritation.

A bargain shopping spree for seniors over age 62.  $10 for a lifetime pass to the National Parks.  I'm coming back when I'm older!  :)
A bargain shopping spree for seniors over age 62. $10 for a lifetime pass to the National Parks. I’m coming back when I’m older! 🙂

We could have gone back, but chose to go the 1/4 mile east from the restaurant to the entrance of the National Park.  That was the most expensive short date I’ve had – ever!  Mary paid $80 for an annual pass to get in.  We went to the station, stayed 10 minutes until it closed, then turned around and headed for the chocolate candy store before it closed.  Had I been a mere 6 months older, I could have bought a LIFETIME pass to ALL the National Parks for $10.  The only bad part of that was that the man asked me if I wanted to purchase one.  He didn’t even ask Mary who is just about my age, 30 something.  Why would he think I look 62, anyway?  I’m going on a diet as soon as I finish my chocolate candy.

Agree/Disagree?
Agree/Disagree?

You can tell that all these great times have taken their toll on my tummy.  I’m almost as big as Paul Bunyan!  Diet, diet, diet.  (tomorrow).

OK, kids don't see the humor in this sign.  Go figure!
OK, kids don’t see the humor in this sign. Go figure!  Looking at chocolate makes me shake with excitement.  Sorry for the blurry picture.  Couldn’t be helped!  🙂

“Unattended children will be given candy and a free puppy!”  Do I look 10?  What about a second childhood?  After a long wait in line to buy chocolates for Vince (hahaha), we headed back home.  What a fun surprise.  Did you enjoy the trip with me?  I hope so!  🙂

Happy Easter from Three Rivers, California, and me, Marsha Lee :)
Happy Easter from Three Rivers, California, and me, Marsha Lee 🙂 (not pictured here)

WordPress Anniversary – New Experiments

I just passed my one year anniversary with WordPress.  Granted, I think all I did in March was turn on the computer and look at the Dashboard, and try to figure out the vocabulary, symbols, and mechanics of having a blog.  At that time I had no idea that I would ever have enough to write to keep a blog going, but it was an experiment.

Blogging Tools
Blogging Tools before I retired.

When I started, I didn’t know how to use Photoshop, insert a watermark using any program, add tags.  I didn’t even know what a tag was.  The first night, I experimented with templates, and names.  One of our tech guys suggested that I make my header fit the name of my blog.  That’s still a nice idea, but I’ve long messed that up because now I know how to use a tablet, and combine more than one picture into a collage, and I’ve learned how to draw on a tablet.  I have experimented many times since then with headers.

How did I learn to do these things?  My WordPress friends mostly.  Oh sure, I read what the WordPress people had to say about things, but when I couldn’t do something, someone like TOM – the other Marcia, Ralph, Dianne Gray, Leanne Cole, Carol, Russel Ray, Eunice, Ute, Amy, Paula, Naomi, Darla, Rommel, Jim,Cotton, JG,  and MANY others would comment me through something.  I’ve made great friends who email me on a regular basis, and even call me sister.  The list of what I’ve learned this year about blogging, photography, writing, editing, spam, and life is HUGE!

I remember when I didn’t have a single comment on my posts.  Then Lesley and Cristain started visiting me, but not leaving comments.  Soon, I got so wrapped up in blogging that my husband thought I had fallen into a pit, and would never come back out.  I couldn’t wait for comments to roll in, so I put a WordPress ap on my iPhone.  I quit my job and retired so I could stay up all night and blog.  – Oh there were other reasons to retire, too, but I was getting pretty tired blogging AND working full time.  Oh – you do that???  Just be careful – is my only advice.  You know your limitations.

Eunice got me started in Fine Art America trying to sell some of my photography.  Vince and I spent one evening trying to pick out what we thought were the best five pictures of thousands of pictures we had taken.  Laura and Paula at work helped me with photography, learning Adobe Illustrator so I could create brochures, and Marcia got me started with the tablet, and showed me her amazing pictures.  Marcia got me seriously started writing my first novel, and dusting off two previously started stories.  Those are on a private WordPress site so a few people can give me feedback on my writing.

See Piggles nestled in the Cosmos?  This is my other WordPress site.
See Piggles nestled in the Cosmos? This is my other WordPress site.

I could meander through the last year of bubbling memories, falling over boulders with Autty Jade and her dad, Sir, or finding an ap to find my way home with ShareChair. I love you all.  On the day of my anniversary I started a Blogger site to see how the two programs compare.  Let me tell you, I can’t compare them fairly because I have learned too much.  Blogger seems SO easy, but it is similar to WordPress, and I know how to blog now.  When I learn it a little better I will do a more accurate comparison of the two programs.

The theme of my Blogspot blog.
The theme of my Blogspot blog.  Do you recognize this shady lady from the Sacramento costume shop.  I Photoshopped out all her unlady-like joints so she looked sexier.

I am going to use my Blogger site to write very short articles that will point people to my Fine Art America site to sell photographs.  This site will remain my main site until I use up all my space, which will happen within the next few months.  Then I’ll have to pay up.  Frankly, if I do, it will be worth it because this site is a record of my year of learning.  This is where I do all my experiments and have you help me. It is my random, rambling site.  Any more sites will be more specialized, and I plan to try other platforms as well.  You know me, I love to experiment.

Because I know you, and trust that you are going to be forgiving of my rambling I’m going to press publish on my Anniversary Publication.  I am starting to fall asleep as I write, so I had better quit while you are still with me.

How far along are you in your blogging journey?

Planting Strawberries

Rows and rows of strawberries.
Rows and rows of strawberries.

Last year a friend of mine gave me  81 strawberry plants. Fortunately, I have a big yard. I planted all 81 plants. Most of them lived. Some of them had babies. This year I had to transplant babies.

How many babies can you count?
How many babies can you count?

It’s hard to know how many holes to dig until you start digging up the babies. What looks like one big plant may end up being five little plants. Five little plants may end up being 10 little plants. Yesterday, most of the day I spent digging up weeds, and preparing the soil. By the time I finished I had to take off my coat, and I had a big pile of weeds. But I didn’t have many strawberry plants.

Weeds and grass grew where the strawberries didn't make it!
Weeds and grass grew where the strawberries didn’t make it!

Today, I dug up babies. I planted about 30 babies. Many of them only had two or three leaves. But I gave them a spot, and hopefully they will grow.

You know why strawberries are always so good?  They live in holy places.
You know why strawberries are always so good? They live in holy places.  It looks like the devil is out to get them, though!  Watch out!  Strawbabies!

What is your favorite plant to grow?

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By the way I am using Dragon Naturally to do this post. I still have a lot to learn. Especially about editing, but it does type faster than I do. It just can’t think for me!

I decided on my anniversary of one year with WordPress that I would start another blog on blogger. My other address is  TChistorygal.blogspot.com. I want to write an article to compare the different kinds of website builders. On blogspot I’m just going to have pictures with a little bit of explanation. Nothing complicated! 🙂