Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Shades of Gray

The calendar says November, the temps say winter. We're in the thick of it, having weathered several blustery storms these past few days. We're actually on target for getting our average rainfall and then some. November is the month where our eyes begin to notice and discern varying shades of gray, looking for the play of filtered sunlight behind the darkened clouds.

Roger has been spending most of his free indoor time working on a Microsoft Access database project, trying to create something that will streamline the data entry for his Habitat for Humanity volunteer work. He loves this kind of project. In the recent past, he created databases for clients in Santa Cruz, once creating a very large one designed to keep track of student infractions and misconduct for the local university. What fun. He was using Filemaker Pro at the time, which he thinks is really an easier application to work with and much more intuitive than Access. But you build database programs with the applications you have, not the applications you want. Gosh, that may be one of the best things dear old Rummy ever gave to us.
I, on the other hand, am much more frivolous with my time. When I stay inside I tend to play with Photoshop. I do run outside to see if the digital camera can actually capture the shades of gray and even hints of yellow in the late fall sky. I don't think it can. I find it so hard to adequately convey the varying shades of sky colors. I took the top photo Tuesday afternoon. It was not so dark out, but in order for the camera to photograph the sky, it blackens the trees. So, I manipulated the photos with Photoshop to tease out what is really there. This would be done in a darkroom with burning and dodging techniques. In this digital process, I selected the blackened trees, or as much of them as I could, with the magic wand and did a simple auto curve correction. Wow. I was shocked. The amber needles on the western larch showed up just as they looked when I took the picture. I was really surprised to see them. I recommend enlarging each photo to see the differences. There are a few glitches where the selection wasn't perfect, and some of the tree tops look dark and splindly against the sky, or conversely lightly dusted with snow. It's an effect that I actually don't mind, so I left it in.
Another look at shades of gray in the afternoon sky
These are a few of the things we do to stay out of trouble when the weather turns cold and we're inside most of the day. There's always music on, and sometimes we just stop what we're doing and get up and dance.

No comments:

Post a Comment