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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau


A neighbor has a lot of zinnias in her yard and recently posted a picture of a bowl of them that she had cut to bring into her house. I mentioned that I, too, love zinnias and admired her picture of them. She responded that she loved zinnias because they are "such happy flowers." I have thought about that description a lot. While it would not have been the first thing I would have thought about them, I do agree. From the time they open until the blooms fade, they remain beautiful. There is not much in life about which that is true. You can dry them and still enjoy a lovely bouquet even in the midst of the dark days of winter. While they come in many colors ranging from white, to various shades of pink, reds, and yellows, I think I especially like the orange ones. This one caught my eye as I was walking one evening. What especially struck me was its gorgeous shading from almost a golden yellow on the lower petals to a deep and vibrant orange center. I knew immediately that I needed to take a picture of it. This morning I decided that I wanted to work with that picture and see how I might enhance it. Originally there was too much of the concrete driveway showing, and the stem was heading off at one angle. I wanted to have my final image just about the flower. This was a great opportunity to try my hand at a couple of new things I have learned this week in the new post processing software I have been working with. I was able to isolate and mask out just the flower and then place it on a black background. This was a iPhone picture, so it wasn't as totally sharp as I would have been able to make it had I been using my camera and tripod. So I tweaked the bloom just a bit to soften some of the outer petals to blend in a bit with those that were not tack sharp in the original. That helped, but the stark contrast of the orange against the black was a bit much. So I finally added a bokeh texture layer and lowered its opacity a bit. It's not perfect. But it is the first totally original composite that I have was able to create using the new software. And, for now, I am happy with it...for now. I hope it brings some happiness and sunshine into your day.

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