Sunday, April 15, 2012

Magnolia skies

Good Sunday morning all! It's set to be a beautiful day here in the Northeast and I am so looking forward to it!

Yesterday I was out and about trying to find some pretty pictures to shoot for you. Right now that's not to difficult considering so many trees are in full bloom. Flowers are everywhere and I love it!

Magnolia's are so mag-nificent.

I find it odd that as soon as they bloom the petals start turning brown. Is that a New England thing because we have cold nights? Not to mention they have the oddest smell. A bit repulsive and yet rather intoxicating at the same time. 

Yesterday afternoon was such a delightful surprise to see that the Bluebird eggs have hatched! There's a bunch of little black, fuzzy, brand new babies in the nest. Although I'd love to take a picture I don't think its possible. She built the nest so tall in the bird box that it's hard to even see the babies! 

Last week when I checked there were 6 perfect little blue eggs all lined up in two rows. Counting down the days I knew they were due to hatch by this past Friday or Saturday. Mom and dad seem quite busy now foraging for bugs. I've provided mealworms but their interest in them has suddenly dropped off. As the babies get larger I imagine it will pick back up again.

I wanted to let you know how I processed these images. Just for fun I used PicMonkey on all of them! 

In order, here is what I did:

Sepia, faded to somewhere around 50% (I washed it off the pink flowers on my bottom image)
Tranquil, faded to around 50% (or so)
Added a little Focal Soften where I thought it was needed, and adjusted to my taste
Under Exposure I upped the highlights to brighten the photos
Burned the Magnolia flower a bit to make it stand out
And finally added Rounded Corners

Usually I use PSE10 on my photos but I really wanted to try out PicMonkey and I have to say I'm very pleased with the results. It's such a fun program to play around with for everyday photos. After Picnik went under, people were scrambling to find something else. PicMonkey is developed by the same people who made Picnik, only I think it's better. More modern, organized, and with better options. Once its up and running 100% I'm sure it will be amazing. It's also a very easy program for my teenage daughter to use. She of course loves the Touch Up/Make Up options.

Isn't this the prettiest archway

Time to get started on my day. Much to do like make the bed, pick up the morning dishes, take a shower, and finish hanging the valances in the kitchen. Hopefully work in the garden a bit too. Oh I just love saying I'm going to work in the garden : )

Have a great day!

*Thank you all for the kind and helpful words, and personal emails concerning my back. It's hard to believe so many people have bulging discs!
 Two days before I had my MRI I started wearing a back brace. Every day, all day I wear it and I will tell you nothing has helped the pain like the brace has. My back is not 100% but the difference is dramatic! Tomorrow morning I go for the results of my MRI and fortunately I don't feel the dread I felt a week ago when I went in for the tests. Phew!


Cait O'Connor said...

Just heard a radio programme and a question - What (garden) plant would you save in a fire? - I would have said my magnolia and so did one of the panel.

I have been saying all day I am going to work in the garden but although it is sunny there is an icy wind.

Buttercup said...

Love the photos. Thanks for sharing how you did them.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Gorgeous photos and good news about your back pain. I know how difficult day to day living is with back pain.

barbara l. hale said...

Gorgeous photos! Lovely magnolia. I am so sad that our magnolia was badly damaged in the October storm. So it is a shadow of its former self.

Chrissykat said...

Beautiful pictures & love the processing you used. Really makes me want to learn photoshop...then I open the program & within seconds, I'm completely overwhelmed!

Good luck with your back. Hope you get more good news!

Carole said...

So sorry to hear about your back. You are brave to be doing some gardening. Don't over do. Like you need me to nag you:)
I'm thinking of trying that new photo editing but lately haven't even been taking many photos. I do love the vintage look you achieved. Of course I love all your photography.


Country Girl said...

I can't wait to see these photos. Only about half of one showed up, but it's because our internet on the hill here has been terribly wonky the past couple of weeks. Right now the speed is super low. Am surprised I can even read your post. xo

Glenda/MidSouth said...

First - Glad to hear you are getting some relief with the brace.
Enjoyed these pics. The magnolia tulip trees are so pretty - wished the blooms lasted longer.
Thanks for the info on PicMonkey - I bookmarked the site a while back, but have not taken the time to check it out.
Have a great week.

Susan said...

Hi Sharon...Oh, isn't New England just bursting with beauty in the spring? Loved all your photos. Beautiful!

Sorry to hear about your back. Good luck. Hope you get good news.
Right now I have a bum knee. Going to an orthopedic guy next week. (Wish it were tomorrow.) Take care. Susan

Jan's camera said...

Gorgeous photos. The flowering trees in my area (Mass.) just aren't very spectacular this year. A lot of the trees have not even flowered, just gone straight to green leaves.

Jan's camera said...

Thanks for the info on PicMonkey. I just tried it and it is very similar to Picnik. Thanks and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Ann B. Kennedy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Your photo's are stunning. Hope your back feels better soon. There's nothing worse than back pain.

Unknown said...

/these are all lovely images - but I like the second one the best. :) The contrast of the crisp sky against the creamy soft blossoms - wonderful!

Donna said...

We have two small magnolia trees in our yard here in Iowa and they were in bloom for about a week-and-a-half last month. The leaves stayed pink for almost the whole time, so maybe it is a Northeast thing that they get brown.
It's good to hear that you like PicMonkey. I heard about that recently and I definitely want to try it out!
I'm glad the back brace is helping your back feel better! Best of luck with everything concerning that!

The Retired One said...

so so glad your back feels better with the brace! I love the pastel effects of the photos, I will have to check out that site. I am just getting used to PSE 9 and bought Lightroom, which I must learn too. LOL

Stephanie said...

Such beautiful photos! Sorry to hear about your back. What a pain - literally! And it's something you don't thing about, how often we move our backs, until it starts to hurt. Hope you're soon on the mend!

Anne said...

Oh, these are so beautiful! Love the way you removed the sepia-tine from the pink blossoms ~ I will have to check that out ~ I didn't know you could do that! Yes, that must have to do with your cooler in southeast Missouri, "Tulip Trees" as we call them, stay pink and pretty as long as we don't have a cold snap...cold can turn them brown overnight!