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Remeber How I Hate Snow?

Published April 5th, 2013

As God as my witness we have snow from Mid September 2012, to the end of March 2013. Warm rain on April 3-4 has washed away all but the most stubborn of ice blocs. You want a photo?? Hold up a blank sheet of white paper and look at that, there is your photo of my crappy winter, you make keep it, enjoy. :-)

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Another Before and After Shot

Published November 12th, 2012

Before and After Again - Someone's Front Door

While participating in the Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk on October 13, 2012, I took a shot as did one of my walk mates, Tanya Barinskaya, of almost the exact same spot.

It is fair to say it was a pretty dull photo taken on a dull day. It is also fair to say that Tanya and I had processed the shot quite differently. For me I always see a shot in three ways, 1) Original 3) Black & White and 3) How I want to really see it.

Thanks to many years of actually processing my own photos in the darkroom and using mostly Black and White, it is fun and often I take a photo in color and already know the outcome. I do have the capability of shooting in monochrome, but just enjoy Nik Silver Efx Pro 2 so much I don’t bother.

Well, any way here is a before and after shot. I used Adobe Light Room 4, Nik Color Efx Pro 4, Photoshop CS6 and the final sizing was done in Capture NX2.

Primary work was done in LR4 with NIk, I ran it through Photoshop but i ...

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The Fall of Autumn

Published October 21st, 2012

No photos! Look this is supposed to be a story, and truth be known everyone here tells their "stories" with photos and do a damn crappy job at it. So I will write and hope that it is somewhat better. Because every picture does NOT tell a story, and sometimes a series of photos doesn't cut it.

Well, that's me.

Hey it's Fall or Autumn or what ever you call it in your native language. It is the beginning of the year for me, not a prelude to the end of the year with old man winter nipping hard on your ass. (Jay might appreciate that).

I think Fall is the beginning of the year for me, though I was born in the spring, spring is just another time of the year and I only look forward to it because as you know SNOW is for other people. Clearly not for me.

Anyway, I like Fall because it is a more dramatic change for me visually, what was green now becomes a riot of yellow, orange, red mixed with evergreen-greens. Flowers die and let off spectacular "different" colors. Viewers of my //fraucha. ...

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Photography and the art of history .....

Published September 12th, 2012

Though I am totally aware that few people will see this I will put it down anyway.

Earlier on I asked, why am I a photographer? Rather why do we take photos? Well, the why of why we take photos falls into several categories. I don’t even know what those categories are truth be known. I suppose I can sit down and make a matrix, but then it might be different from what you come up with, so I will leave that to people with more brains.

I wanted to address a certain style of photography that some of us deem unworthy. We have many names for this type of photography, “crap snapshots of city streets” or “failed street photography” comes to mind.

Oh, we want to call ourselves artists, professionals, super advanced enthusiast … that list goes on and on. BUT whatever we decide to call ourselves, we are one thing, a thing that we all share, from amateur to seasoned super famous professional to anal workaholic. We are secondly historians.

In the early days of photography, few people had a cam ...

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My BEFORE/AFTER Photo Rescue

Published July 12th, 2012

Here is a Before and After shot...

All processing was done in LR4 with Nik Color Efx Pro 4, using Indian Summer & Glamor Glow, then back to LR4 for a few tweaks.

So saving you old photos is good, come back later for a fresh look!

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Photo Rescue

Published July 11th, 2012

Ok, I guess I am a mail order groom. I met Lora on a Russian dating store and I came to Ukraine and I stayed. I can't make it any simpler than that, even if there were a million other things to take into consideration. The up shot is ... I very much love it here, except for the stupid snow thing, which as you know is for other people.

Anyway, I wanna get back to that software thing I started last time I poked the keys here. Just briefly. I have combined Photoshop CS6 Extended with Lightroom 4 as my work flow. To the mix I added to both programs, though NOT necessary because only one program needs it ... Nik Software's Entire Plugin Suite:

and Topaz's: Adjust 5, Simplify 3 and Star Effects at

Now, I save every photo I take, for years until I am absolutely positively sure I don't need it or it has no redeeming value, to me. While I was going through my 20,000+ photos I accidentally asked LR to Import In Place and would up which a hug ...

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New Software

Published June 23rd, 2012

Most of you have been using Adobe Lightroom 3 or earlier. I on the other hand, have been in Aperture. I abandoned the entire Adobe software bloc, I had been using Adobe products since Pagemaker 1. I was by the time CS4 came out, totally tired. Not even a good candy bar could have drug me back in.

HOWEVER, that being said, Adobe had a great deal on LR4 ($149) so I thought I would give it a spin. It took some getting used to, not much mind you, but just a little. Within a week I could not even imagine not using LR4. A slam dunk if I ever saw one. Then ... along came the Creative Cloud ... you know where for a modest subscription fee you can download all or some of Adobe's desktop software FULL VERSIONS ON TO YOUR COMPUTER. It's like Master Suite only way better. Because I had CS% Premium Edition, I got a discount on my first 12 months for Creative Cloud, from $49. a month to $29.95 a month for the first 12 months, of course after that it is $49. a month.

Doing the math seems like a bet ...

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Well, it's my birthday too yeah...

Published March 3rd, 2012

Ok, nothing earth shaking, yet, or ever ....March 2nd was my 60th birthday....sadly my son's birthday is(was) March 5. Why is that sad? Because Kevin would have been 30 on March 5th, he died on January 29, 2007. After that, birthday's just aren't the same.

So forgive me my not writing, it is and will always be a difficult time for me :-(

Although I do have a head full of stuff I want to write, I have been getting it organized! And finally the worst of the snow is over. Yeah, I am still a Russian photographers are laughing at me I am sure :-)


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Defender of the Fatherland Day

Published February 23rd, 2012

Today, February 23rd is Defender of The Fatherland Day in the FSU (Former Soviet union). url here:

A little strange for me, to celebrate this day for the former Red Army, when I served in the U.S. Army.

Old ideology aside, soldiers are soldiers no matter where we served or even why. We all had asshole Drill Instructors, we all cleaned toilets, ate crappy food, slogged through mud, wore ill-fitting uniforms, cut our hair, field stripped our weapons. Some went to war and killed people some did not, millions did not survive. We served at our government's whim and did as we were told.

Like Veteran's Day in the U.S.A., Defender of the Fatherland day honors those who served. Sometimes here it is called Men's Day ... but for those of us who served, we know men were not the only ones, millions of Women served also and even on this "Men's Day" we can not forget our Sisters.

Thank you to everyone who served, in all countries aro ...

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Snow .... it's what's for OTHER PEOPLE

Published February 22nd, 2012

Snow People, you know who you are.

I can hear you now gushing over frozen water that falls from the sky:

"Oh I just love the winter! I love the snow! Everything is so beautiful! I love the white blanket! I love to ski! I love ... yada yada yada.."

I love pizza. But I don't want to walk through it for three months, or have it fall on my head when I walk out the door. Well, unless I am hungry. Hey, I'm not the only person who doesn't like snow: Napoleon -- not a fan of snow. Hitler -- definitely not a fan of snow. I'm not sayin' I'm in good company, I'm just sayin', even famous people have an aversion to the puffy white stuff from the sky.

I was a bit concerned when on December 25th there wasn't a flake of snow to be had here in Bila Tserkov. Yeah that White Christmas thing always sounds cool. Especially to someone who treated snow as a convenience. When I wanted snow, I drove to it. Snow was about an hour and a half away, well, I lived in Central California, Modesto/Merced area to b ...

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Football(Soccer) ???

Published February 9th, 2012

I was excited on many levels when I moved to Ukraine. One of the things I looked forward to was to see how Ukrainians (Europeans/Russians) handled Organized Youth Soccer (Football).

Well after all this is Europe and Football is the biggest sport in the world!!!

Well, after all, this is Ukraine and they don't have Jack when it comes to Organized Youth Football. As a matter of fact, when I try to explain this concept to them all I get from anyone is the deer in the headlights look, the same look, I get when I try to talk electronics to a 5 year old non-English speaking Ukrainian wild street dog.

For you Americans who might, I say might, be reading this, you know what I mean about Organized Soccer Leagues. Hell, we got 'me in spades. I don't know any kid that hasn't served time in some sort of Soccer, excuse me, Football League. What? Are we the only country with "Soccer Moms" ??? It might just be so if Ukraine is any indication of what's going on outside of the USA.

I was prepared ...

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Are we photographers or artists?

Published January 31st, 2012

That may be an easier answer then we think.

We are BOTH. And pretty much we have always been both.

People here on 500 are mostly masters (excluding myself), probably mostly professionals (excluding myself, I work for pizza and beer) and 100% doing our own post processing (including me). Look at my friends list, well, heck, they aren't friends, I have never met them (except Belinda), but I surely admire their work. These people have inspired me and educated me via the internet, e-books, training video's, live chats or blogs. But I will gladly follow them because each one contributes to a whole experience. And each one brings to the table a different view and method.

here are just a few;

Look at Kevin-Wang, he has a unique vision and has kindly added some video of how he processed one of my favorite shots here is the link to the video:

Tegnh Santosa does macros, I stand in awe of each and every shot, he is a god. Hands down.

Trey Ra ...

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OK, here's the deal...

Published January 26th, 2012

This blog like most I am sure, works from the top down, (latest post first) so to start at the beginning you have to go all the way to the bottom and read the first post. I will remember this in the future when I refer to something I have written before.

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Soup ... is soup

Published January 26th, 2012

Borscht, either red or green, though Ukrainians LOVE it, is simply soup. Here they call soup soup except for the beloved borscht. So when traveling to Ukraine (or Russia) just go with the words and make them happy, even though in your mind you know what it really is ... soup. Red uses beets, green uses sorrel. Green could be called Sorrel and Pork Soup ... but make no mistake traditional Green has sorrel in it, NOT spinach. Period.

Traditional red, uses beets, nice RED BEETS. Period. often there is a small amount of tomato paste added. Anything else is just a variant of some sort of tomato soup.

Most Americans I know dread beets, though I am not entirely sure why. Could it be they have almost no taste? Stain your hands red? I don't know, as I have always loved beets.

These "soups" are served with a dollop of sour cream.

So, do I have photos? hell no, and I should, since I either have one or the other 4 or 5 days a week and the other days some sort of "other soup". My family loves b ...

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It's a town ...

Published January 21st, 2012

It's a city.

To me 200,000 people make a city. But here it is a village, simply because of village mentality. Bila Tserkov is like most central California cities, like Modesto or Merced, along a major highway surrounded by flat farmlands. So coming to Bila Tserkov (White Church) was a little like coming home ... well, except the languages were different, no Mexicans (hence no Mexican food; this is a hard thing for me), actually no minorities at all, this is white bread land. I have seen 5 black people in 2 years. FIVE.

The Civil Service and Municipal Utilities are different from what I am used to, public transportation is abundant, though not set up for someone 6'5" tall. And most of all, no quick access to the Ocean.

But there is something here that I have missed for a very long time and that is "a quiet life". Situated about 80km south of Kiev, we are a small island. What makes us an island is the lack of mobility for most people heading outside of the city on anything other than ...

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