One of the things that I have discovered about Life with Rua is I can never take too many pictures of her.  I started out with a Canon PowerShot 5 megapixel digital camera, which was great, if she was sleeping.  I soon discovered I was taking lots of pictures of Rua’s cute little puppy butt because the camera just wasn’t fast enough.

So, for Christmas, I bought a Canon digital SLR with a couple of lenses, an external flash,a tripod and a large format printer.  The difference in the quality of the pictures was quite amazing and I loved the fact that when I pressed the button, a picture was taken without the long delay of my old camera.  I quickly realized I needed an external hard drive to back up all of those important pictures, so I got a 1 Terabyte drive, which is a good thing because so far, I have 10.1GB of pictures of Rua (2691 in 116 folders)!

With the new camera, out went the days of just point-and-shoot.  Add in Modes – Auto to Portrait to Landscape to Sports – and partial to fully manual.  Then start throwing in things like Shutter Speed, Lens Aperture (F-Stops), ISO, White Balance, Image Quality (RAW & JPEG), Exposure Level, Histogram and it really starts getting complicated.  Oh my!

I had to get a card reader, of course, so I didn’t have to use the camera’s battery power while I transferred photos to my computer.  I also realized I couldn’t just keep downloading into the same folder, so after I took a batch of pictures, I had to save them into their own folder (Rua – Halloween 2010, Rua in Camo, Rua & her new dress, etc.).  There are many duplicates, of course, because after I download them using Zoom Browser EX, I would use Digital Photo Professional to save a copy in a smaller file size ( 4752 x 3168 to 600 x 400) for easier picture sharing, and at the same time renaming them from IMG_XXXX to Rua in Camo 01.

It just doesn’t stop there because then post-process editing comes into play.  After doing a bit of research, I downloaded a free program called GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) which is somewhat comparable to Adobe Photoshop (quite pricey).  It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was in way over my head.  About that time I finally decided to set up my large format printer and it was then I discovered it came with Adobe Photoshop Elements version 8.  After playing around with it a bit, I discovered this was much more my speed.

Of course, Photoshop Elements 9 had to come out, and after seeing what it could do, I had to upgrade to version 9.  It used to be I would just take a picture and that would be that.  Now, it has really gotten complicated, because after I take a picture and get it stored on my computer, I have the opportunity to edit that picture.  If the colors are off or it is too bright or dark, no problem.

Sometimes I have discovered that it can be much more complicated that it really needs to be.  Take the picture below, for example:

I just loved this picture of Rua but the outlet really bothered me.

During a recent lesson in using Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, we focused on the “clone stamp”.  I knew right away I wanted to try and use the clone tool to remove the outlet.

It took a few attempts to get the hang of it, but, it turned out pretty good:

Once I really started looking at the picture, I realized that I had made it way to difficult because all I needed to do was just crop it:

So, I learned two lessons.  The first, how to use a few cool tools from Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 and second, it doesn’t always need to be complicated.

I just love Life with Rua!

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