old maple tree at Gettysburg Military park in a snow storm

maple tree in a winter snow storm, February, , Gettysburg National Military Park, PA

I have been working for over a week now on images to post to Flicker that would reflect the 9 years of traveling to South Central Pennsylvania and photographing the various barns there. I am amazed at how time continues to slip by me and unfortunately I have other things to attend to. So, instead, I though I would post a general comment on the various news and happenings.

Luminosity Mask Versions 6

Tony Kuyper has announced Version 6 of his Luminosity Masks: It is amazing how Tony does it, but each time he releases an upgrade the panels become even better with easier steps. For anyone who does some serious Photoshop work, these are a must. Along with each release is an updated tutorial by Sean Bagshaw. Sean is a master at using Luminosity Masks and his tutorials are a must.

A kind of a new feature to Tony’s Luminosity Masks is the ability to use the masks to create black and white images, like the one produced above. Like many others, I have long been a fan of Nik Software’s Silver EFX Pro for producing black and whites and I have been struggling with how to replace them now that Google has given up on this product. I know that at sometime in the future DXO is suppose to support it but who knows when that will be. Well, I have been working with Tony’s black and white conversion process and, when combined with the other features within the luminosity mask panel, I think it is a real winner.

Instagram:

Thanks to our daughter, Kim and son-in-law Bruce, I am now on Instagram. After some considerable harassment and some work figuring out how to post from a desktop computer I started making posts there. It turns out that I rather like the forum, far better than Facebook. Here were just posting images and it is an easy method of providing a little commentary on the image, how it was created, etc. I think photographers are are more interested in just displaying their creativity and rather than using it as a forum for the expressing their latest outrage. One should check out is Marsel Van Oosten’s account and some of his posts

One of the things that I like about Instagram is that it is a really good method of discovering to very talented artists. Through Instagram I discovered the works of Pierre Pellegrini. I just really like his creativity and the simplicity of his work.

Running ones own web site:

When I created this web site a bunch of years ago, I figures I could create my own look very easily and not rely on the limits of a hosting service. The cost of a WordPress template was minimal and one did not have to use a program like Dreamweaver to configure it. Way back In March, 2010, I posted a blog entry on the cost of creating a WordPress web site. Well that was then and this is now. After having my web site compromised a couple of times, I took serious defensive measures and I now have a very good firewall from Wordfence that specifically provides security to WordPress web sites along with CloudFlare (which distributed the traffic as a way to mitigate a deny of service attack). Over the weekend my site was one of many targeted and I must have had over 1,000 attempts to penetrate it on Sunday. Below is the Wordfence report for this last week and it represents only the top offenders of the almost 3,800 attempt on my little web site. This is a window of what the internet is like these days. It may be wonderful with all the access to various information it provides, but it has also become a dangerous and hostile place as well.

I thought it would be fun to post another of the same image. Also from Luminosity Masks and using the smart Orton Effect

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