Thursday, 22 July 2010

In which I find a new way of having a perfectly lovely time

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Feeling human again, albeit a human after two too many cups of coffee. (Coffee is rather like martinis; one too many is fine, it's when you hit two over the limit that you are in trouble.) 1633 words today, not all of them bad ones. I do notice that my adverb habit is getting a little out of control. It's all very well going up against Mr Strunk and Mr White, but there is the edge, and then there is the abyss.

Sarah called and we shouted and laughed at each other for ten minutes. This is what passes for normality with us; much better than yesterday, anyway.

As you may be able to tell, my brain is addled. I was going to give you an entire disquisition about Shirley Sherrod and race in America and the whole crazed media machine, but I fear my cerebellum would find that a bridge too far. The always enchanting Michael Tomasky has written about it well here, if you are interested. (I think it is interesting, and sad, and baffling, and, in the end, instructive.)

Instead, I have some pictures for you, so as not to torment you with fragmentary sentences and incoherent thought. Along with the new camera, I have a newish bit of software called Picasa. You can download it free from the internets. It is sort of maddening, because it does not always do what I want it to do when I want it to do it. I become a bit of a little dictator when it comes to technology. But it is also wonderful because, as I discovered today, you can do all kinds of special effects. I have no end of searingly dull pictures on my computer (hopeless at deleting things), and I find that instead of looking at them in boredom, I can take them, and jazz them up, and suddenly they are - POP ART:


Well, not quite, but you see what I mean. This was a rather pointless shot of my tumbling honeysuckle, and now it is a homage to Andy Warhol.

Not all the effects are so extreme. One can do tweaking:


This tiny viola is a tinted version of this:


A little more saturation and some highlighting, and you get this:


An overlay of blue gives you this:


A bleaching out of light and colour produces this:


A little intensity and some shadows turn a blah salvia into this:


With some extra colour, a view of the garden on a cloudy day becomes this:


A rather inconsequential head of marjoram takes on an air of glamour and mystery:


An utterly failed shot of a tree suddenly looks like a painting:


The dogs look like they are in their very own movie (although I do admit they are so chic that they look like film stars even without airbrushing):


An ordinary chive takes on a whole new lease of life:


As you can see, it becomes rather addictive. It is giving me absurd amounts of pleasure. Only two days ago I was uncertain I could see the meaning of life (low grade viral load always does that to me); now I can be made happy by fiddling about with a picture of a chive flower. Sometimes it really is the little things.


  1. you know what? - I love this blog. I also keep sending it to my sister to read, as she is thinking about starting to write and I am trying to give her confidence to start.

    Have fun with Picasa but your usual photographs are lovely too - don't gild the lily too much!(something I am always reminding myself not to do with my illustration work)

  2. Jill - what an incredibly lovely thing to say. Thank you.

    Did you see I did a whole series of writing workshop posts a couple of weeks ago? They might be of use to your sister.

    Excellent advice about the lily gilding. I shall keep it in mind before I get too carried away.


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