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About a month too early, the Azaleas are blooming again. A cold front pushed a decent rain through last night (we needed the rain!), followed by a 20 degree drop in Fahrenheit temperature. Dropping another 10 degrees F tonight and then another 5 degrees the following night. I'm hoping the Azalea buds can make it through without freezing tomorrow night!
This post is a photo of a few Azaleas on the ground next to an old stump....modified using Stoik software (effect filter) to get a 'hand drawn' look. Since that filter diminishes the color quite a bit, I boosted the color afterwards using Picasa3, which is the photo editing software I use to crop my photos, frame them and whatever else I can get away with and still maintain a resemblance of a photo! I give credit to Barbara for getting me hooked on frames and Sylvia for introducing me to Stoik.
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Comments on this photo:

Jan 31 2013 17:31 GMT peterpinhole
Wish I could ship the clouds your way....we have too much here.
Nice effect.
Jan 31 2013 18:32 GMT senna3
Fantastic result!
Jan 31 2013 18:36 GMT bandsix
Lovely effect Larry:) All credit to you for the lovely frames (and Picasa of course) ....
Jan 31 2013 21:26 GMT ForestSpirit PRO
The hand drawing effect is ideal for this photo, showing the textures of the flowers, the leaves and the cut tree so well!
Feb 01 2013 00:08 GMT larrybenedict
Peter, you guys over there seem to be right in the path of clouds and rain. On the up side of that; the light on cloudy and rainy days is great for photography and.....without the rain, there would be no RAINBOWS. Clouds also make sunsets much more dramatic and beautiful.
Feb 01 2013 00:11 GMT larrybenedict
Thank you Peter. I've been thinking some of your fungus photos would be great candidates for the "hand drawn" look. Certainly some of your architectural photos would. It's fun to play with.
Feb 01 2013 00:19 GMT larrybenedict
Thank you Barbara, I joined this site hoping to learn about photography. I certainly have learned a few 'tricks' from my FT friends. And....what fun I have had meeting people and sharing ideas and techniques.
Feb 01 2013 00:30 GMT larrybenedict
Sylvia, I confess that I spent a lot of time on this one. The log looked great from the start and I really liked the outline of the leaves right off the bat. The flowers, in actuality, are very rich in color, but there was so much glare from the bright sunshine, the color was washed out using the hand drawn effect filter. After boosting the color, I had to also boost the shadows and the color temperature.
I'm just throwing out these 'hints' in case someone else can use the ideas. I have found that not every photo will be easy to turn into something artful.
Feb 01 2013 00:37 GMT potterjo
Nice work... suppose to be 16°F tonight, but don't have anything in bloom.
Feb 01 2013 00:59 GMT larrybenedict
That's pretty cold Jo. I don't think it will hurt your Kale plants though...just make the leaves sweeter!
Those temps would threaten my citrus trees and just about everything else I grow for food.
Feb 01 2013 10:22 GMT ForestSpirit PRO
Larry - yes, it's true that not many photos suit this technique, but fun searching for ones that do! As for boosting the colour, you can stay on Stoik to do that. Try clicking on Adjust, then Auto Exposure, then "Daylight bright" or "Faded".
Feb 01 2013 15:00 GMT wijnie58
Wonderful result, Larry...Lovely colours too..:-))
Feb 01 2013 16:45 GMT larrybenedict
Thanks for that hint Sylvia. It might save me from jumping around software packages.