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I ♥ Picasa

Yup, I'm in love with Picasa. It's free, it's easy, and it's a dang good lil' tool. I'm not saying it can compare to PhotoShop - which I've never tried but I understand is a "MUST" for photographers - but for a free photo editor, it's my #1. It does the easy stuff, like turning an image to black & white, for example. Nothing to write home about. But, in addition to that, you can also fine tune your balance - fill light, highlights, shadows, and color temperature. Pretty slick.

Then, it'll do color saturation and "warmify" type stuff. Again, any photo editor should give you the option of "colorification", i.e., super-coloring your images. Of course, I touched up this pink flower (no clue, so sue me for not being a green thumb) because the day was overcast, so I punched 'er up a little. Then, just 'cause I had to say I'd used it, I used the "warmify" tool and it actually did the trick. It was a bit "blue" beforehand; now I think it's truly a warmer color.

Ok. So sometimes what you think something should look like and what the camera thinks are different - it's just another item to play with on Picasa.

Then, it has the power to make the image sepia or to sharpen it - I'm assuming this is the "resolution" modification magic button (try to say THAT quickly even once) because obviously it takes a photo and makes it clearer. Beware, tho', this could uber-enhance an image and make it TOO clear. That's right, it can look "digitally" if you add it to an already-clear picture. This is best for those shots where you're just a TITCH off or if you want a different effect.

Along with all the other normal tools it has - crop, straighten (a horizon, for example, which is what I NEED it for), redeye reduction, etc - Picasa also has other "fun" tools which make it somewhat of a drug. It was hard to leave the computer and stop messing around with wedding photos, when there are so many cool features to add/change. (I have NO CLUE what PhotoShop does, but I'm pretty sure it takes the cake - and doesn't eat it the next year on its anniversary - so I'm not sure how my photo buddies ever get anything BUT photography done!)

Anyway, I digress...the things of which I speak are "film grain", "soft focus", "filtered B&W", "glow" and "focal B&W". It also boasts tint and graduated tint, but I've not found use for these yet.

I do know - as alluded to previously - it's hard to step away from roughly 1,400 wedding images when you can do fun stuff like softly-focus the image on a guy with arm around his girl amidst a sea of people in a congregation or have just the bridesmaid's flowers in technicolor...needless to say, it took quite awhile to get the images back to the bride & groom.

Well, I could go on and on (but not like Celine Dion) about Picasa and how I've fallen head over heels...but I have a feeling that with my pending copy of PhotoShop looming I might soon leave this free little tool as a thing of the past.

That being said, I have to stand by my opinion that as a FREE TOOL, this little guy holds his own! I highly recommend it for anyone not able to shell out the obscene amounts of money it taks to get the "good stuff".

Way to go, Google :)

Princess Sophia

As promised, I must needs highlight Princess Sophia, since her new baby sister just got web-time.

This was back before said sister was born, and the parental units were gone for a couple hours so I got to watch Sophia Michelle. As you can see, she was modeling her princess dresses for me - one pink, one blue, just like in Sleeping Beauty! - and twirling.

Twirling soon gave way to somersaulting, so we had to exchange the dressier attire for more appropriate tumbling wear.

...Tho' I didn't get any shots of that.

So far, she's liking her little sister, although Amy said she's taking advantage of Mom being preoccupied to be somewhat naughty of late. Ah, a girl after my own heart :)

I think that phase went by the wayside when she spent a week up at Bernier Boot Camp with Nana. Dogs, horses, kids...if you've got 'em and you want 'em whipped into shape, send 'em on up to Mom's.

Cute lil' devil, isn't she???

La Sobrina Nueva

On June 6th, Charlotte Penn was born. What's neat is Sophia's birthday is 4/5/05, so double numbers must be "in". My sister was hoping for a baby and a Triple Crown winner on the same day, but Big Brown let her down. (PS: that would've been a birthdate of 6/7/08, but hey, obviously the shoe didn't fit...)

Anyway, I don't know how much she weighed (a little over 8 lbs is as close as I can come) or how long she was, but she's healthy and CHUBBY. (I fear this'll be the one that inherits the "Bernier Saddle Bags". )

The pictures here are the 3rd time I'd seen her, and only the first time I knew she had eyeballs tucked away behind those lids.

Evidently she's very calm and spends the majority of her time sleeping and eating, much like a cat.

I even held her - I mean, I had to. We were hanging out on the patio, and Amy went into the house to get something, tossed her to me and said, "Can you hold her while I....?"

Ok, she didn't throw her like a football, but I'm sort of like a guy in that I don't quite know how to hold babies, and when I'm coerced into it, we sort of just stare at each other, both of us in alien territory, until the mother figure reappears and rescues me.

Here's the proof. Not bad photography for my sister! She tried to commandeer my SLR and a CF Card to go into business for herself, with me as the silent partner, but then she got distracted by the baby.

Well, so here she is! I'll have to post about Sophia, too, because of course with two of them what happens to one...happens to the other.

My European Working Line German Shepherd

Zada (formal name Mallory vom Kozies, obviously from the '06 summer "M" litter) is almost 2 years old. Finally, the last couple of weeks, I have trusted her enough to let her run around - free - with kids. 2 weeks ago, while "chucking it" for Tucker & Zada at Clint's, some neighbor kids came running out to see the 'wolves'. There were about 6 kids, around 10 years old, and I did have them get acquainted with the dogs (while I talked to them, the dogs were there, then I let the kids come in closer so the dogs could smell, etc) and finally those kids were running after the ball along with both shepherds, and neither of them (of course I trust Tucker) could've cared.

Then, my friend, Dani (Tucker's owner) had Zada for 10 days while I was out on vacation; she took both dogs to her grandparents' lake place and took them out for walks, threw the stick in the lake, etc, and all while her 2 nephews (younger than 10, I believe) were running around as well. She said Z was good and though she kept an eye on her nothing ever happened.


It's a start. I stand by my previous opinion - I'll never completely trust her around children again - but this is a breakthrough. Part of me wishes it was her getting used to being around running kids and NOT chasing them; part of me merely thinks it was Tucker's influence. a) He's excellent with kids and doesn't have the prey drive like she does; b) every time she starts after another dog at the dog park and he's there, he makes her stop. Now, he just growls or barks at her, before, he'd tower over her, menacing, and she'd just crumple to the ground. It was great to see him do that - hey, at least when he's around, she doesn't act like an idiot!

Anyway, I don't know that's enough to encourage her to be invited back to the Wisconsin farm this fall (where this all started last September), but like I said, it's a start. I'll take it!

I don't have any new pictures of her (uploaded to Shutterfly, that is), but I'll insert a couple of when 'Uncle Tucker' was here sometime...