30 November 2011

La vuelta al mundo :: Diptychs

This month I won't miss the deadline! Here I am to share my work for La vuelta al mundo, the Flickr group created by the talented Jackie Rueda. The theme for November was diptychs:

"Mi propuesta es que hagan dipticos de sus propias fotos durante este mes y que (si pueden y les apetece) se conecten con alguien (...) y le propongan tambien hacer una colaboracion."

"My proposal is for you to make diptychs of your own photos this month and (if you can and feel like) to connect with someone (...) and propose also a collaboration."

I had too much fun with this theme, experimenting combinations, looking at long forgotten photos on my folders and putting them together... looking at pictures from a different point of view, as being part of a story. I found that you can say so much more by combining two pictures, and it's curious how the way you combine them can make a picture pass out a completely different message.

So, here they are, I hope you enjoy them!

Oh, and I even experimented a collaboration between me and my husband, following Jackie's suggestion. This last diptych is our two pictures join together. Now I can only look forward for December's prompt!

photos by me

29 November 2011

Making a house a home

Last weekend we made a trip to that swedish store, that shall not be named, to get a few things I've been planning to give the house some extra touches. But oh, the weekend was so full of things to do... we did not manage to get the time I wanted to get everything in place. As disappointed as I might be, off I went to a work week away (a shorter one, as thursday will be a public holiday!) leaving behind a messy home and lots to do.

But now, look! I've been receiving mails from the hub with photos like this. Those little yellow roses and succulents we've been growing for some time are now standing beautifully on our tiny balcony! So, what do you think, does he deserves a kiss?

all photos by Francisco

24 November 2011

A pause to play... John Mayer

Before you ask, we were not drunk. Liquor was too darn expensive over there! And we don't do any other weird substances either. Going to a concert is the best trip if you ask me!

This was taken at the end of an exhausting/crazy/fabulous night at Rock in Rio Lisboa with a cool group of siblings and cousins. After jumping and doing crazy (read awkward) choreographed dances to Ivete Sangalo, enjoying John Mayer amazing guitar skills and voice, and trying to see a bit of Shakira, we looked like this. Just for the record: 1) that last part was just for satisfying curiosity purposes, we were there anyway, and, truth to be told, we didn't last half of it (who knew that a long long long time ago I used to kind of like her musics?); 2) we were not the only ones looking like this, I should know better not to ruin other people's reputation other than myself, for my safety, but I can't resist! Oh...

See?? Now, I'm going to run and hide!! Oh, and about John Mayer, the gig was amazing, but I will never forgive him not playing this song. John, you owe me one!

photos by Margarida

Artist: John Mayer
Song: Neon
Check out the whole series of thursday's pause to play

23 November 2011


Being aware of it, allow us to appreciate every moment,
embrace what we've accomplished every step of the way,
and live a fully life.
And, for that I am immensely grateful.

For all of you getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, I wish you a beautiful happy day.

photo by me with the cellphone
for the 52 Photos Project

22 November 2011

The end is near

So, have you decided what you'll be doing on new year's eve?

We haven't. We actually have no idea of what we want to be doing. We love the whole thing of a little cottage in the middle of the woods, a fireplace... toasted bread and cheese, and a nice bottle of wine. But... then, we do have fireplace at home (I know, it's not the same), and we do nights like this every now and then (again not the same thing, I recon, but it's close), and, we'll be starting a family somewhere in a future not that far, or so says my biological clock, so I'm sure we'll have plenty of time for quiet, relaxed, family celebrations. Right?

There's something kind of magical about starting the year in the streets, surrounded by hundreds of strangers, watching the fireworks... Then, looking at this pictures, I start dreaming of watching the sun go down on the sea for the last time in the year, and starting the new one with my feet on the sand... the fireworks reflecting on the waves... Wouldn't that be great? I thought so.

Are we late for booking something that won't eat out our bank account? And you, what are your plans?

all photos by me

21 November 2011

Einstein's fashion advices

"Once you can accept the universe 
as being something expanding into an infinite nothing which is something, 
wearing stripes with plaid is easy" 

Albert Einstein

photo by me
When I read this quote I smiled and immediately thought of this picture. I need to have a chat with mister Einstein!

18 November 2011

A pause to play... Dave Matthews Band

Last night's events at home:

Hub passing buy with a laundry basket - Any news? New comments on the blog?

Me on the computer - The usual. Oh, you should come and see the pictures I posted.

Hub talking from the back - So, what song did you post today, uh?

Demon on my right hear - Shit!! Is it thursday??

Demon on my left hear - Let's see... you just arrived home, from a two hour train trip, today was your last working day of the week... Yep. I'ts thursday alright.

Me out loud - Oh, stupid me, I completely forgot! It's blogger's fault! I was supposed to post this yesterday and he just decided (again) we would not work!

Demon on my left hear - Let me get this strait, one hour ago you were making fun at your sister because she thought today was saturday? Are you for real, woman?

Demon on my right hear - SHUT UP!!

Hub passing buy with an empty laundry basket and a naughty smile on his face - So, are you done or what?

Me - But... ain't you got something to do for work tomorrow?

Hub - Nop.

The rest you can guess. We went strait to bed, with me cursing all the way. So, this is how this goes this week. A thursday pause on friday. Oh well... What can I do?

Skipping to that now, without further ado, today I'm sharing one of my favorite bands, and this one might as well be one of my all time favorite songs. So, stop what you're doing, this is a big thing! Two years ago we went see them live at a summer festival. It was a hot july day and we sure appreciated the orange things some company was distributing to wrap our heads with, still I can not help smiling when I see the pictures we took with the cellphone. Happy moments, happy pictures!

Seeing them play live was one of the best experiences I can remember, and this song, wow... everyone singing along word by word. Amazing. They really are extraordinary musicians. So, now that I shared a bit more of the soundtrack of my life, go ahead and make a pause to play it!

Band: Dave Matthews Band
Song: #41
Check out the whole series of thursday's pause to play

17 November 2011

Just a car?

Our dear and faithful Astra, companion of so many trips, is getting old, maybe too old. He gets so tired when the ride is long that he keeps asking for gas. All the time.

We try not to push him more than he can and, whenever we feel like going to faraway places, we borrow one of dad's cars.

And, I must be honest, we dream with a new car. So, now he just started to show a new problem every week, whether is the exhaust pipe that needs replacement or the wipers that stop working out of nowhere...

I wonder, is he trying to get our attention? Did we hurt his feelings?

photo by me
for the 52 Photos Project

11 November 2011

Photography editing tips :: diptychs with Pixlr

Blogger has been acting crazy erasing my posts. Am I the only one having this? Crazy stuff... Let's see if it works this time.

I told you I was going to post another tutorial on making diptychs, so here I am! I named it Diptychs with Pixlr but you can as well do it on Photoshop, because the steps are pretty much the same.

If you're looking for a good (free) tool to edit your photos I would say Pixlr, also known as the cloud based Photoshop alternative, is the best you can find*. While not being a Photoshop, it looks really like it, and it works pretty much the same way, so if later you decide to 'upgrade' and became a Photoshop user you'll be feeling at home. In resume, I think it pays of start with a tool like this that gives you the bases to develop further. It also works the opposite way, in my case I'm a Photoshop user since college, but sometimes I need to process a photo to post when not being on my computer, so this was the best find for me. I could do everything in a run without the need to test the waters nor feeling lost looking for the tools. Honestly, I think that, for most web users, a graphic editor like this will be more than enough, plus: no need for spending absurd amounts of money, and no use of hacked software.

Tutorial 2
Diptychs with Pixlr
or Photoshop

You can do this tutorial with your own photos but, for an easier comprehension, I advise you to download pic 1 and pic 2 and follow my steps. It might look long but it is actually very easy. Feel free to ask any question, I will gladly try to help you.

1. Go to Pixlr.com and open the editor. Chose the option Open image from computer and chose one of the pictures you want to use in your diptych.

2. In the menu click File and Open Image and chose the second photo you want to add to your diptych. You will now have two pictures opened and ready to start working, as you can see from the image above, pic1 and pic 2.

3. We will make a horizontal diptych. For the two images to be perfectly aligned side by side they must have the exact same height. One image at a time, click on the window to select it, go to the menu Image and click Image size... Take note of the height of the image (grab paper and pencil and write it down, or just type it on a text document), and exit clicking Cancel. You don't want to change any definitions at this stage. Height of pic 1 is 1368px.

4. Repeat the previous step for the other image. Height of pic 2 is 1612px.

5. Comparing the numbers we can conclude that pic 2 is bigger on height, so we need to reduce the height of pic 2 to match the height of pic 1. Select pic 2, open the Image size box again on menu Image. Change the height to 1368 px. Make sure you have the Constrain proportions box selected. You'll notice the width value change automatically. Hit ok.

Note: you should always reduce the size of the bigger image, and not the opposite, increasing the size of an image will result in the lost of pixel quality. 

6. Now that both images are the same height size we can proceed to create the diptych. To do this we will increase the canvas of one of the images to fit them both. Select pic 2 and repeat step 3, this time take note of the image width: 1787 px.

7. Select pic 2, go to menu Image and click on Canvas size... You'll see pic 2 width is 1029 px. With a calculator, make the sum of the width values of both images: 1787 + 1029 = 2816 px. As I like to have a thin white separation line between pictures, we'll add extra 10 pixels to the width making it 2826 px. Change the width value (if you're working with Photoshop, make sure you use the drop-down on the right to make sure you're working in pixels). You notice underneath you have a grid of squares where you can read Anchor. This is where you define the place you want your original image to stay anchored. By default it will be selected the top left square (the middle, in Photoshop, change it to top left), that's the position where your original image will stay after you expand the canvas, meaning that, depending on the values you attribute to width and height, the canvas will grow to the right and/or to the bottom. Since we're not changing the height this will work for us. Click ok.

Note: To understand more about the canvas size feature I suggest you to open a random image and play with values and anchor positions. Also try to reduce the size to see how it will crop your image. 

8. Now you can see that pic 1 as enough blank space to the right to fit pic 2. On pic 2, go to menu Edit and click Select all.

Note: You can enlarge the window to see the whole image by dragging the bottom right corner and/or use you mouse wheel (or ctrl + - on your keyboard) to reduce the size of the visualization.

9. Go to menu Edit and Copy. Then, select pic 1, go to Edit and Paste.

10. Using the Move tool, the second of the right column on the Tools window, drag pic 2 to the right to properly fit you diptych. For more precision you can also use the keyboard arrows, but make sure you have the Move tool selected.

11. Your diptych is done! Now all you have to do is save your work. Go to File and Save it. Good job!

all photos by me

*hey, this is based on my experience, obviously!
No one is paying me to to say good things about this stuff!

10 November 2011

A pause to play... The Beatles

Ok, I know I said I would be posting another photo editing tutorial yesterday... Sorry! I got all messed up with things to do at work, but it's coming, I promise!

First things first, today is the day of the week when I unveil a bit of the soundtrack of my life and invite you to make a pause and play it. On to that now!

A few weeks ago the husband came to me saying that lately I was posting music that he doesn't see me hearing. I think he was talking about Mike and the Mechanics or Smashing Pumpkins, anyway, he was right. That's because those are songs that are attached to my memories, and therefor take part on the soundtrack of my life, but I don't necessarily hear them at this stage of my life. I'm in a different mood, I suppose. Anyways... This is fun because it means he is getting to know things about me he didn't knew before, so, here goes another one to surprise him:

I was about ten years or so when I started to learn how to play the guitar. Me, my sister, my cousin and a bunch of other kids, made quite a mess on saturday morning's at the house of the guy that was trying to teach us. Trying is the proper term. Truth to be told, he was not much older than us, I would say about five years,  but we saw him as the big guy. The boys, on the other hand, couldn't care less and gave him quite a hard time always running around. (Well, my sister being a tomboy always fighting them certainly did not helped.) Looking back now, I don't know how I ended up learning how to play the guitar. I think it must have been some kind of a miracle!

The memories from those fun times are always full with songs that, at the time, we saw as music for grown-ups. The Beatles, Genesis, Pink Floyd... those were the songs he gave us to play, and he even recorded us tapes that we would listen at home and take to school to impress our friends.

I never learned how to play this song, but it has always been one of my favorites from the Beatles. Back then I still believed that nothing was gonna change my world. Now, I know that my world can easily change, but I will always be myself.

Band: The Beatles
Song: Across The Universe
Check out the whole series of thursday's pause to play

09 November 2011

Living on the wilderness

One day I will abandon the wild seas and dock in dry land. And I won't feel blue, for there's a time to be wild and a time to find a harbor and grow old. Peacefully.

photo by me
for the 52 Photos Project

08 November 2011

Photography editing tips :: diptychs

This month Jackie Rueda is challenging us to create diptychs for La vuelta al mundo. This something I absolutely love to do but I've notice a lot of you are struggling with it, so I though I could give some easy tips on creating dips.

There are great editing tools online, so you don't need to have Photoshop to do any of this. If you're not used to editing, the first thing I would advise you to do is play around with your images till you know what look you want, and what works or not. Put them side by side, on top of each other, cut them... Imagine you are scrapbooking. Remember, what we picture in our head doesn't always work visually, so it's worth playing a bit.

I find that an easy way to do this is use Powerpoint. Office aplications are something everyone is used to deal with, and as access to, but why Powerpoint? Well, this is an application that allows you to make compositions on screen, so you can easily move objects, resize them, cut them... I could as well recommend Publisher, but for what matters you can do just the same with Powerpoint, with the advantage of using a much more comfortable tool that you're used to. Once you've mastered it you can skip this and use photo editing tools, but, whenever possible, play with the composition first. It is very useful for you to visualize the end result quickly, and try different things, where photo editing tools will take you longer.

Tutorial 1 - for beginners
Diptychs with MS Powerpoint

If your diptychs are meant to display on web you can get away with making them on Powerpoint. Just be aware that you'll loose photo quality in this process. If you're new to this photo editing thing, this is a good way to start. (I am assuming you have some basic knowledge. Click the images to magnify them)

1. Open Powerpoint and create a new blank presentation.

2. Insert your pictures on a blank slide and start playing with them.

3. For some editing features, select the picture you want to edit and click the 'Format' tab to access all the features. You can crop them for some different compositions and you can also add some effects like lightning and color. Try them out to see what pleases you (I used 'sepia').

4. At this point you can also add text, by inserting a text box and placing it where you please. You can add a nice quote to complete your composition, or just your copywrite mark to protect your work.

5. Make sure your images are perfectly aligned and that the sizes are matching (if you cropped them). Use the align button on the 'Format' tab while having both images selected to align them.

6. When you're done, drag your composition and place it on the top left corner of the slide, then click the tab 'File' and 'save as', and save the current slide as a JPG.

7. Now your diptych is almost done, you just need to get rid of that white border from the powerpoint slide. Open your image with 'Paint' and remove the extra white by clicking in the bottom right corner of the image and drag (you can do this with any other image editing tool). Save it and your done. You created a diptych!

I suppose you can do just the same with OpenOffice, but I never used that, so I cannot tell. Feel free to ask any question if you need any kind of help. I'll b be back tomorrow with another Tutorial for diptychs with Pixlr and Photoshop.

all photos by me
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