Letters from long ago

This time of year, there’s a lot of Valentine stuff going ’round.
We’re not really into that exaggerated, commercial pooha, for the simple reason that any day can be – and should be – Valentine’s day.  I much rather get a lovely flower or just a precious thought any time of the year, than on February 14.
Maybe there is a selfish thought behind that too… this way, I can get lovely presents every day :)

But photography wise, if it wasn’t for prompts or so, I probably would not be inspired by this “event” to make photos having hearts, or red, or the word “love” in them. Kim Klassen prompted her Texture Tuesday adepts to work around “heart(s)” for this week.  So, if it wasn’t for this prompt, the picture below would probably not exist.
I thought for a week about a “heart” picture, but inspiration came just this morning when I went looking for an old book.
Amidst all kinds of old things, I noticed a box I remembered very well.  Not that I think about it every day, but, when I see it, I immediately know what’s in it, and it always makes me smile.

Now for a little history…
My husband and I are married for 33 years, and we knew each other even a long time before that. 1 Year before our marriage he had to fulfill his duty to the country and was in the army for 9 months.
At that time, army service was obligatory.  Nowadays guys join the army on a voluntary basis only and most of them are professionals.

Another thing you should know, is that my husband is not the “letter writing type”.  Him being in the army in Germany (which seemed the other end of the world to me) I wrote him every single day.  And…. he wrote back… a card, a letter or just a note…. Isn’t that sweet?
Lucky for us postal services were free for mail to and from soldiers.
And thus it became a whole pile of letters, dating 1979.  I kept every single one of the ones he sent me.  What happened to those I wrote, I don’t know…. should ask him ;)
Anyway, finding the box, gave me the idea to use some of them for my Texture Tuesday heart picture.

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How it was made?

– Lowered saturation in Lightroom
– Brought it into photoshop and edited it with Kim Klassen’s SubtlyYours texture at soft light, 54 %. I applied a little gaussian blur to it to diminish the details. This texture – soft in itself already – set completely the tone I was looking for. Plus, it added that bit of lightness I like so much in a picture.
– resized it and that’s it.
I kinda like the result.

Happy ♥ to all of you – and to Kim: thanks for the memory
Marleen

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Looking up in Paris

I guess we all take pictures that could be good, if only…
This shot of Paris lampposts is such a capture. For starters, I couldn’t get it “straight” in the camera and the sky was very shallow and undefined. Not blue, not grey, not cloudy… nothing actually, empty, as if someone had put a backdrop behind the lamps (see below for the original photo)

Maybe a texture could do the trick, cause I really like the lampposts. Photographed a million times probably… ah well… to a million and one then.
Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday assignment of last week to use at least one layer of her “minus 43” seemed like a good occasion to try it on this Paris picture.
I normally like using light and pastel-ish textures, this one is rather “strong” for me (check it out in Kim’s café ), but it was worth giving it a try and I rather like the result.

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This is what I did to it.
– straightening and some minor exposure adjustment in Lightroom before bringing it into Photoshop
– as I wanted a bit more “color” to the colorless background, I added Kim’s “Now” texture and lowered the opacity to 56%, blend mode: multiply
– softened the details of the texture with the Gausian Blur filter.
– then added a layer of KK’s “Minus 43” – also multiply – with lowered opacity 86%
– added a soft light ocre fill layer at 50% opacity
–  a gradient layer to lower the greenish hue at the bottom, but not take it away totally

That was it. The texture brought out some nice detail in the lamps itself and certainly added some color and structure to the background. 

The original picture looks like this:

IMG_1246-1 

 

The opposite of the teacher’s pet…

WordPress’ Daily prompt : Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

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When I read this daily prompt there was one name that immediately came to my mind, Mrs Verhulst, my elementary school teacher at the age of 10.  And although most of my teachers were the anonymous or inspiring kind, this one, well…
I still see her in front of me.  Beautiful but arrogant woman, impeccable make-up and dress, high heels… get the picture?

I was a “good” student, both behaviour wise as grade wise.  Suddenly, in Mrs Verhulst’s class, my grades dropped like a rock.  Nothing seemed good enough anymore, be it math, language, creative… you name it.
My mom and dad were quite upset about it, especially because, when they asked me if something was wrong, I just shrugged and said “not that I know of, I do my best as I always do, but somehow, it’s not good enough”.
So, next parent’s contact evening, my mom and dad inquired the vain Mrs Verhulst… Without blinking an eye, this would-be-queen-of-Sheba answered: “Well, I just can’t stand her – that’s it – period.  She can do whatever she wants the rest of the year, her grades won’t go up”
Can you imagine how my mom and dad felt?  And there was so little they could do.  If they would talk about it to the head teacher, she would discuss it with Mrs Verhulst, and it probably would have gotten worse.
Changing school was not an option either as the year was already 3 months gone.
So, I stayed, feeling demotivated, disappointed, left down and…. not good enough.   Next year, I left my beloved school and went to a neighboring city.

I’m not saying that this… this… woman… is the sole reason of my terrible perfectionism nor of the fact that I never feel good enough, but I am sure she didn’t help either.

Nowadays there are school councils who would tell that teacher that this is not the way you handle a 10-year old, but we’re talking 45 years ago and the spirit was totally different back then.
Lucky that attitude has changed, although it might well be that the bullying was taken over by some fellow students…