Monday, June 21, 2010

Going Where Life Leads Me

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog you’ve probably noticed a gap in the postings. Last week didn’t have the normal Monday, Wednesday, Friday sequence of posts. Will, we were on vacation and didn’t have access (or the inclination) to get online. We were foot loose and fancy free vagabonds zipping along the roads of the east coast. The ultimate destination was Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, but taking the easy route wasn’t going to be much fun. We could have been there in one fairly long day, but decided to go “the scenic route”. We wound go traveling through places that were past their prime, but Americana none the less. The next couple of posts will be about the places we saw and stayed. The first night was in Cape May, New Jersey. The town has a great heritage as a resort. Victorian homes can be seen with their “gingerbread” restored and painted in the fashion of the “Vics” as they would have been while first built, will reasonably gaudy colors mixed and matched. Many of the old Victorians along the east coast have had their gingerbread removed, porches taken down and painted blah white. It’s pretty sad to see the faded glory. In Cape May many have been restored, but the town is winding down. It may be the recession or general decline of people’s interest in sun, sand and surf, but it was evident. The town appears to be fighting, but the theater is closed, along with some of the stores. It’s not a ghost town by any means, but it is showing its age. We stayed at a place called the Beach Shack. It’s a hotel right along the strip, across the street from the beach. For the most part there are no buildings on the beach side of the street, so we were as close as possible. With the name “Beach Shack” we were a tad worried about what we had agreed to, but ended up pleasantly surprised with a very clean, freshly painted room, complete with a flat screen TV. The beds were comfortable, the shower warm and the staff was very friendly. Travelocity gives it a two star rating, but compared with some of the other places we stayed I think it may have deserved three. Today’s image is from the “boardwalk” just across the street from the Beach Shack. The fellow was cranking down the beach as if going somewhere special. It was about seven in the morning and there were probably a total of six people on the sand. I thought his determination made for a Norman Rockwell type slice of nostalgia. I remember a Rockwell scene where a guy’s hat was flying out in the breeze and this image brought that to mind. I may try Adobe Photoshop CS5’s new “Puppetwarp” on this a see about bending the fellow a little forward to give him a little more drama. To find out what was done to today’s image, hit the “read more”.

As usual, I cropped too tightly in the camera as he whizzed by, leaving no room for him to drive into. I added a couple of inches to the canvas to the left. Using “Content Aware Fill” brought up, what looks like, a trash can. Okay, beaches have trash cans, so why not. Rather than looking like the front of the cart was cut off, it now looked like he was driving past something.

The shutter speed, in Aperture Priority mode was too high and froze everything in the image. That made it look as though he was stopped rather than speeding. After making a Selection and right clicking I chose Save Selection to create an Alpha Channel. On a copy of the Background Layer I converted it to a Smart Object (Filter/Convert for Smart Filters) and threw on a Motion Blur (Blur/Motion Blur) at a zero angle to give the fence and grasses some movement.

The sky was nothing but haze, but it was also too dark to just use a Darker Color (or Lighter Color) Blending Mode change. I wound up using an Overlay Blending Mode. That just popped the clouds over top of the have and worked out very well.