Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Welcome to Shangri-La

Today dawned cold and damp in Maryland. Later this afternoon, however, the sun came out and by the time I got home from work, the sky had become a beautiful blue with puffy clouds and the grass had turned a luscious green from all the rain we've had for the past several days.
So I grabbed the camera and George and I headed out.
As I walked, I remembered what a reader said to me recently in a comment. She said that it looked like a live in a Shangri-La of sorts. And today, when I looked in the viewfinder of my camera, I thought the same thing. George is way up this fenceline, almost to the barn.
You see, I see these fields and this driveway, and the horses, and the whole picture every single day. It doesn't always look wonderful, but some days it's downright picturesque. And when you look through the viewfinder at the little bits and pieces that I've captured today, it truly does look like heaven on earth. To me, it does.
That's George standing on the loading berm on the main farm driveway. Horse vans pull up to this little loading dock of sorts and it makes it easier to load and unload the horses. This is right in front of the breeding shed. George probably likes the view the added height affords him. Don't the trees look almost ethereal?
And here's what it looks like to stand under one of the ornamental cherry trees. This is someone's front lawn, and when we used to live along this driveway, years ago, we had these same cherry trees in our yard. My youngest son loved the 'pink snow'.
I used Pioneer Woman's actions on a few of these pictures, either Lovely & Ethereal or Boost. But what I was most excited about was the cloud trick I learned in this month's Popular Photography magazine. It looked a little complicated at first, but after practicing it several times, it's actually a breeze. Oh, get it? A breeze!
I used the cloud trick on the 1st and 2nd photos of this post. The trick involves a total of about 8 different steps with a layer mask and use of the multiply blending mode and so on and so on and blah blah blah. Like you really want to hear all about that!
Well, that's my walk with George. I know that when I get home, the house will smell really good and it will feel wonderful to be there. And it's not that I really really hate to cook. It's, well, it's one thing that my husband really seems to enjoy doing and providing for me. And I think it's really nice of me (don't you?) to let him do it. Um, yeah. That's it.

UPDATE: About that cloud trick, I need to tell you that these are REAL clouds. All I did was boost them to make them look what they looked like to me. I did NOT put fake clouds in there! Thanks to those who contacted me to ask.

27 comments:

Laura said...

I am really enjoying your photos!!!

Country Girl said...

Thanks, Laura! Makes it worth it.

~ C.G.

Christine said...

The cherry tree picture literally took my breath away. Literally!!! (Maybe you should use THAT one for the new blog!!!)

And of course, thank you for the George picture! I needed to see him again!!

TSannie said...

The cherry tree picture. You need to enter that in Kacey's (wineonthekeyboard.com) photo of the month contest. You will win HANDS DOWN! What a beautiful photo! Just incredible.

Girl said...

So very beautiful. I am so so ready for some color.

Shimmy Mom said...

It looks like heaven on earth to me! The "pink snow" is breath taking. (That's the one you should enter in the picture of the month- I'd definitely lose big time if you do, but it is absolutely stunning!!)
Can you use photoshop with a mac? I really need to learn how to use it.

Country Girl said...

Shimmy, the MAC was made to Photoshop. If you've got the money to shell out for it, you should do it. Academic Superstore has big discounts for those who work in education. I don't know how it works with homeschooling, though. You could check them out!

Thanks, Christine, Annie & Girl. I didn't think it was that great, but THANKS!

~ C.G.

Meg said...

You kill me with all these beautiful pictures sweetie...makes me want to come see you!

Keep up the good work! Someday I hope to be 1/2 as good as you are!

Hugs!

tj said...

...Wow - as always, beautiful photos! And those cherry trees are just incredible too! I don't think I could've of chosen a fav' photo out of that line-up because they are are favorites! :o)

...I don't have Photoshop yet but I do have GIMP and I'm learning about layers and such right now, it's hard! I often wonder if Photoshop is set up to be more user friendly and maybe that's the reason that I should go and buy it now...whaddya think? I should, shouldn't I? I think so. ;o) lol...

...Great post!

...Blessings... :o)

tj said...

"because they ALL are favorites!" Geez, I can't type... :o)

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Gorgeous photos! I have to agree with an earlier comment -- the cherry tree photo took my breath away! Lovely, lovely, lovely!

Josie said...

The photo of the cherry tree is absolutely exquisite. Where you live looks a lot like where I live - very green.

George has to be the world's best dog.

"JEANNELLE" said...

These scenes just take my breath away, they are so beautiful.....and they make me realize I can't wait for summer!

Wow!.....those cherry blossoms! Not something we have around here.

Karen said...

Oh wow! Your photos are so crisp and clear, there's nothing I like more than a blue sky and bright colours. And that cherry tree! I could just lie under it all day. Beautiful.

Treasia said...

That cherry tree pic is stunning.

Russell said...

I agree - the cherry tree photo is incredible. But I like the last one of George the best! I love the mix of colors in that image - IT is the one I would frame!!

I agree. You do live in Shangri-La. Take care.

Mental P Mama said...

All beautiful. Those cherry trees are magnificent.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

I could so liveu live!! :-)

Mary said...

OK, I'm thinking the cherry tree photo is a WINNER!!!! You DO live in Shangri-La, kiddo...
xoxo,
Mary

olivia said...

Lovely, lovely photos -- esp. the bottom one. Love that! Ahhhhhhhhhh ... :)

Kacey said...

wow, those photos are breath taking! It looks like such a lovely place to live. You are so lucky! All that view, and George too. Sigh.

Jamie said...

The "pink snow" is very pretty!

Donna Boucher said...

I will try this. I do not know what the magic wand tool is?
And do you have to do anything other than just clicking on the sky?

Country Girl said...

Donna, the tool is over on the left in the tool box on the rh side of the tool box, around the 3rd or 4th item down. Just follow the instructions and click on the sky until the black matte disappears completely. It's like magic and gives the sky quite a boost.

I'll try the one you posted today on PW's site to see if they're similar.

Thanks so much, everyone.

~ C.G.

Kara said...

Your photos are stunning!! Absolutely breathtaking, every one.

Country Girl said...

Welcome to Kara. Thanks so much for stopping by today. I want you to know that you have the distinction of being my very first "25", which is my first-ever 25th comment. So, thank you!

It's a milestone for me. I used to only have zero. So it's a big deal.


~ C.G.

Anonymous said...

That last picture makes George look like a movie star (or model at least). My favorite is the second one. I want so badly to lie down and watch those beautiful clouds. I love "keeping up" with you this way, by looking at your pictures, cause Mom never tells me squat. ~Sam-o