This is spa girl part two. In this particular image Eurk (That’s her name) is standing at an outdoor shower. It was very hard to balance the background with the foreground – her. So again, I went to my plug-in bag of tricks. This reworked image is right on the edge. A little more post production work and her hair will plug up and turn into clumps. She almost has a raccoon look now, but with the highlight on her forehead, the “magic” software has done well by smoothing and flattening them.

I’ll post and not-so-good image to give you an idea of the software’s failings. But, in the effort of full disclosure, I should say the software user’s failings.

Here’s where those Sunday tests begin to pay off. The lessons learned become valuable when you are trying to make a good picture a little better or when you are just trying to clean the image up enough to meet submission and, hopefully licensing, standards. This image was made in Bangkok, Thailand of a young model who is using the spa. Light was a little too muddy for my taste. Using the tiniest touches of a couple of plug-ins, I worked the image. I think it works now.

If it’s Sunday, it must be test a new plug-in Sunday. First, though, this picture was made in Bangkok, Thailand from the balcony of a condo on Soi Asoke. The picture was taken around dusk to show the blueness in the sky and to get good motion in the never ending traffic.

I decide that I wanted to darken and improve the image slightly. After doing my usual adjustments in curves, I then used “Moonlight,” “Improver” and ” Clarity” produced by some folks who call themselves Xero. I’m not sure if it looks like the night scape I hoped that it would, but it does come close. The cool thing about Xero software is that as they adjust and improve the commercial version, they release older versions as shareware.

I’d like to think that I’m always learning. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe. I saw a picture that is very similar to this one hanging in a fine art gallery. That got my attention. I like to think of picture like this as just my quirky out takes. It’s a reflection. It’s shot into a large window. I was trying something which, to my mind, didn’t work. I’ll have to go back to that gallery and check on its status. If it sold, I’ll flood the market with images like this, make a lot of money and quit making pictures entirely. That is, if you can call this a picture.

I’ll get back to street food in my next blog. But, I’m truly amazed by this image. I know, I know. It’s not much. It’s a nicely pulled Macchiato on a polished silver table. It’s a little hot on the spoon. But, what makes this image memorable to me is that it is today’s picture a day and it is taken with my i-Phone. I know a lot of people post from their smart phones directly to Facebook, but it never it never occurred to me until today that I could run the image through Photoshop and do some of my normal enhancements. The real trick is to be very careful with improvements since the file is so tiny. One false move and BLAMMO, everything looks like hell.

This image was made in Bangkok, Thailand at the Huala – mphong (say that with a mouth full of coffee) main train station. While there are not as many vendors as one would think and they are licensed, they cook little meaty treats right on the platform. She is offering hot dogs on a stick, chicken bits on a stick (we would say chicken satay), beef bits on a stick and some wrappers and condiments . Very inexpensive. Also freshly cooked. No telling how the meat was stored. But, I’ve never gotten sick from it. Now the water. That’s a different story. A drop splashed into your mouth while you are taking a shower is worth a trip to the dispensary.

In Beijing, sometimes the street food is slightly more elegant, meaning that it is delivered to the diner by a waitress. In this image, the server is carrying four bowls of noodles, dumplings and sliced vegetables, likely Bok Choi. It is similar to having a big bowl of soup that you eat with chopsticks — yes, chopsticks and a small soup spoon. Some people are a little afraid of street because they wonder just how safe it could be. It’s cooked fresh, made to order and it is cooked in front of you. How many traditional restaurants can claim even one of those three things?

I’ve been working on images of street food. And, eating some of it too. This really isn’t street food since it is dried stuff — mushrooms, grains, rice, seeds. But, you can buy it on the street in most Chinese and Southeast Asian cities. The Chinese is character is the content. The dollar amount is in Hong Kong Dollars. Everything is weighed by hand. Very old fashion. Bless them for that.

One day I was driving along New Mexico State Highway 41 from Moriarity — where people wear cowboy boots and mean it — toward the little village of Galisteo when I decided to stop in order to make a picture. No cars were coming so I put the camera on the double yellow line and made this frame.