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RiaRia Dec 3, 2006 12:38 AM

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This dude was definitely not happy about me sticking my lens into his face! :) Ria

nickphoto123 Dec 3, 2006 6:31 AM


A great shot, details please, including distance, crop.


mtclimber Dec 3, 2006 8:50 AM

That is a very impressive photo, Ria-Ria-

Like, Nick, I would love to hear the details, please.


RiaRia Dec 3, 2006 3:45 PM

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Hi, Nicholas ... thank you so much for the feedback! A wow from you means a great deal , since it was your perfect handheld behind-the-glass macros that cemented my own decision to buy the R-1. I know I'm not the only one your photography has persuaded to go out and buy this great camera. Sony should have you on commisssion ...

Sarah - a nod coming from a pro like you is most flattering. (I've seen the work on your website - another "Wow."

In case you can't tell, guys, I'm very pleased y'all liked the turtle, but truthfully, I'm a little shocked. In fact, I almost didn't post it ... but I wanted to show Greg a macro, and it was the only one I had. Found this little guy smack in the center of Little Creek road ... the school bus ran right over him but he was so absorbed in what he was doing he didn't even blink. Kinda reminded me of myself, always stopping in the middle of the road and shooting out the window. (Maybe he has a R-1 stashed inside that shell?)

Here's the full frame. At first I couldn't find the original, but finally thought about my thinking the shot wasn't that great and checked the trash can on my Powerbook. There it was ... shows you what my true opinion of the shot was, I guess. Luckily I hadn't squashed the layers, so I can tell you what I did to (hopefully) improve it. I used PS 7 since my copy of CS2 is still on the old hard drive. Below is the final order of the layers from top to bottom, but not the order in which I created them.

1) Apple or Control-J - Duplicated background.
2) Burned in road at bottom.
3) New adj. layer - Hue/Saturation.
4) Duplicate layer - Named it "Blur" - Slight gaussian blur on layer.
5) Added new layer mask to Blur layer - painted Black w/soft brush on turtle only
6) New adj. layer - Levels.
7) New adj. layer - Curves
8) New adj. layer - Color Balance
9) New adj. layer - Brightness/Contrast

Then, opened in Elements 3 - (no shadows/highlights in PS 7?)

10) Duplicated background - Named it "shadows" - adj. shadows around turtle a bit with Shadows/Highlights
11) Flattened layers
12) Sharpened just the turtles' head
13) Cropped & saved for Web.

Good thing I hadn't dumped the trash ... (or maybe not; may have been way more detail than you wanted! LOL) : ) Ria

EDIT: Oh, forgot to answer the distance question. Hmmm ... I think I was laying down on the road, as close as I could get and still focus in macro (about 13 "?)

nickphoto123 Dec 3, 2006 5:31 PM


That is very informative but your statement 'laying down on the road' is scary to me. You must always be aware of your surroundings when looking through a viewfinder.


RiaRia Dec 3, 2006 7:36 PM

Awww, Nicholas ... I must admit I had a pretty good idea that would get your goat! But it was OK ... really. You are a sweetheart to care enough to nag me, though.

I know it's hard to picture, but when I said I live in a very rural area, I meant a VERY rural area. My tiny town has less than 500 people; only one school (until a few years ago, we had one of the last one-building schoolhouses in Texas), one grocery store, one gas station, and seven (yes, SEVEN) churches. It is an hour and a half from the nearest city. The nearest town, "the cowboy capital of the world" is a 35 minutes away. To borrow a phrase from my son's college essay, there are "about a billiion stars, and no stop lights to slow me down." My little ranch is surrounded by nothing but acres and acres of empty space. That part of the road has maybe 10 cars down it a day ... at the most. I would hear and/or see any vehicles when they were still miles away ... long, long before they would be able to run me over. So even though it might seem as I was risking my life to photograph the grumpy turtle; the biggest risk to my health came from the very real possibility of stubbing my toe on the road. (Yep. I was barefooted, too!)

I know it might sound like I am poking fun at my little town - after all, I'm not only not a native Texan ... I'm something even worse .... a Yankee! But I love it here. It might sound like a cliche - but there is no other place like it in the world. We have a unique synergy, fostered by the fact that unlike most small towns, people aren't "stuck" here. If you're here, you choose to be, there are no jobs anywhere close. It's not perfect - it's bit like Mayberry mixed with, oh I don't know ... Twin Peaks? ... there's a varied mix of cultures, ages and incomes; on my road, the couple across the street is from Germany and the Ukraine, my neighbor on the left is from Yorkshire, and on the right; another half-English immigrant. A Scotsman round the circle until very recently. Then there's me ... who's been a little bit of everywhere all around the world and somehow, ended up in Utopia. But despite our radically different backgrounds, we are bonded by a great deal of love.

I realize it's kinda difficult to believe, and you may think I'm making this stuff up ... but I'm not. Please don't worry; I assure you, I was in absolutely no danger whatsover. Our little paradise was the cover story on Entertainment Weekly back in September. I'll bet your wonderful library has a copy. (That is, if my Manhattan sister in law didn't buy up all the copies in the city!) If not, you can read the text here:,6115,1333721_1_0_,00.html

Thanks, as always, for your comments; and even more, for your kind concern. :) Ria

wyomingwiseman Dec 4, 2006 7:20 AM

Wow!!! Thank you Ria for showing that macro with the R1 is a doable thing. It really shows that even though you were over a foot away from your subject that you can get the close up details after cropping. Now it needs to be said that even though I own PS7 I do not have the knowledge to do the editing that you did. I need to learn a thing or two. I really don't shoot macro that much unless I am in the mountains and come across a wonderful Indian Paintbrush or Forget me Not but it is nice to know that those moments will not be gone forever with my new R1.

Also what a fun story about your town in Texas. I enjoyed visiting the official site of Utopia. I would love to come watch the Sunset Bat Flight at Frio Cave. How many times have you done that? I have lived in many small towns over the years and it really is a good place to raise kids. Do you know where Liberty Texas is? We lived there for 3 years back in the early 90's. I too am a Yankee and the locals did not let me forget it. They were always nice to me but I would be talking to someone and they would listen for a minute and then say " Your'e not from around here, are ya boy?" Good times. Glad to be in small town Wyoming now. Here is a little story about our town that CBS did last year.

Read the story and then click on the video to the right. A little sappy but it gives you a flavor of small town living. Nick - I wonder how you would do moving from the big city to a town like Ria's and mine. Anyway thanks again Ria for taking the time to post that great shot . I appreciate you guys.

God Bless Greg

RiaRia Dec 4, 2006 10:07 AM

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Howdy, Greg, Nicholas, Sarah and All:

Greg, I LOOOOOOOOOOOVVVE Wyoming! I have been there many times, so I know you definitely understand "wide open spaces," though being a military brat, I can definitely relate to Nicholas' horror about me laying in the road. LOL! My ex and I almost setled in Laramie, but ended up in Texas instead. I used to live near Grand Lake , CO - we would take the road up over Rabbit Ears pass when the weather would allow, through the eagle preserve and into southern Wyoming many a weekend. In fact, my son was up there in the spring, and we are planning another long trip to Yellowstone in May.

I really enjoyed reading about your little town, (of course, compared to Utopia it is a thriving metropolis ... ) I didn't find it at all sappy. When the 80 year old gentleman got choked up over thinking of what his town had done in saving the store, I have to admit to you that I am so far away from my big-city girl way of seeing things that I cried along with him. Something very similar happened to me in Utopia. Yes, I am definitely a stranger here, and they love to poke fun at my city ways (in the Entertainment Weekly story, the woman driving the hybrid that the rancher was referring to was me ... "she's not from around here" even after 15 years!) they have accepted all of my eccentricities, as well as those of my friends from other continents, and taken us into their hearts with open arms. Never, never did I think I would end up in a tiny town ... now I never want to leave. And yes, like many I moved here to raise my children. Although I have spent a lot of wasted time feeling sorry for myself over lost income and missing out on all the city ammenities ( libraries, music, musuems, jobs, LOL) looking back I am certain I made the right decision.

Below is a pic of a typcial small town act of love. To me, it seems a miracle, but these are actually everyday occurences all over small towns. (I expect they happen in big cities, too - it's just that they are not as obvious because here, we know everybody's name.) Last summer, my son attended Harvard summer school. I had been able to get together the $8000.00 for the minimum tuition, but could only afford one class. His math class had a bake sale to help raise money for his books, which was a bit humiliating to me. (It felt like charity ... I had forgotten the original meanng of the word was "love.") I remember thinking "this is a nice gesture, but with graduation coming and everyone out of work due to the drought, there is no way they will raise the $300.00 he needed. Boy, was I wrong. In a little over one hour, they raised $2,125. That might not sound like a lot compared to what was raised for your store, but you must understand that that is a great deal of money for S. Texas. What is even more wonderful, it turned out that $2125.00 was the EXACT cost of an astronomy class at Harvard, 'tho no one had known this beforehand. It was not planned - the donation jar was not salted - all the donations came in from different sources ... but when the quarters, pennies, and dollars were added up - it came to the exact cost, to the penny.

Now, that's a bit freaky, isn't it?

Thanks for letting us have a look at your town, Greg. It is such a blast (and an honor) when forum members give us a peek into other worlds. It has been so much fun to see the life around Nicholas's Queen's and Glyn's West London, for example. Hope you'll post more after you've had a chance to take your new R-1 out for a spin. :) Ria

wyomingwiseman Dec 4, 2006 11:48 AM

RiaRia wrote:

Greg, I LOOOOOOOOOOOVVVE Wyoming!......... In fact, my son was up there in the spring, and we are planning another long trip to Yellowstone in May.

Hi Ria - I am so glad you love Wyoming - so do I of course. We live in NW Wyoming just south of the Montana border and a short trip to Yellowstone in one direction and an even shorter trip to the Bighorn and Pryor Mts to the east of us. We love the mountains and get into them as often as we can. Check out a few of the albums on my Fototime site to see how beautiful they can be. We really haven't taken the time to explore southern Wyoming as there is so much up here and of course up into Montana.

What a cool story about the bake sale for your son's expenses at college. That is so typical of a small town's concern for it's citizens but it was a very unique way to come together for your family.And to raise the exactamount you need for the tuition well - it was a God thing for sure. We love it here and will only consider leaving when the kids are gone and not coming back and we get tired of the cold winters.

Can't wait until the R1 arrives later this week. Hope I can come close to learning the basics of what I need to know to capture some good pictures. Thanks again Ria.

God Bless - Greg

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