observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

  • Welcome to my photo journal

    Living on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada Diane loves the scent of forests and rain, the rhythms of the sea, and holds discoveries and stories in high regard.

    Where mornings begin with a drum roll! --Diane M Schuller

    Updated each Monday ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    Take a Risk

    Take a risk. Fly out of your comfort zone.

    “Don’t refuse to go on an occasional wild goose chase — that’s what wild geese are for.” ~Author Unknown

    dsc_3832r{Photo taken April 21, 2008 here in Alberta Canada. Canada Geese, Trumpeter Swans, a variety of ducks, plus Northern Pintails in flight.}


    Don’t forget to enter my giveaway — draw being made on March 17! Have a weekend full of exploration.

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    A Memory

    Chookoloonks (Karen Walrond), a fellow Shutter Sister, ages ago began Love Thursday. The idea is to post an image of love and tell a brief story about it, if you like. Most people always post images of hearts. I’m participating today but my image, instead of being one of hearts, is born of the heart.

    bird ornaments from mom

    My mom bought me a pair of mini birds that she discovered at a garage sale. Knowing I love birds, I can picture her and how pleased she must have been when she came across these. She always loved giving me special things. This is just one of those two little tweety darlings. My mother is gone now but the birds sit beside the sink where I see them and love them every day. A wonderful memory of my mom.

    Oh, and I’m having a giveaway — draw being made on March 17!

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    A Comfort Drawer

    The other day while looking at some of the photos at Shutter Sisters I came across a lovely image and was immediately smitten when I read the description explaining the image. It was a comfort drawer. Apparently it’s actually an idea from the book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joyin which the author suggests creating a comfort drawer to “stockpile small indulgences” for when comfort is needed. It should include items to pamper yourself, however you view pampering. I love that idea!


    There was a fantastic old train case (about 12″ x 12″) that my mom had and now I wish I would have kept it. I would have put all my comfort items in that. Instead I’m going to create one in the drawer in my bedside headboard. I haven’t entirely decided upon everything that will go in there but I do know it will include items such as: a favourite book or two; something my mom gave me; a photograph of her; photos of my son & his young family; a chubby, smooth writing pen plus a pretty journal; my favourite handmade body lotion; maybe a piece of free trade chocolate; and I’m sure I’ll come up with other things certain to give me comfort.

    So now I come to the part about the giveaway. Several weeks ago I was one of the lucky winners in a pay-it-forward by this lovely Canadian lady from her new blog. She mailed me a beautiful triptych she had photographed (below) and created, so now it’s my turn to pay-it-forward. Here’s how I’m going to do it:


    a lovely and very unique triptych by Suvarna Mollerup

    a lovely and very unique triptych by Suvarna Mollerup

    • Leave a message with this post telling me what you would put in your comfort drawer. Or, write a post about it at your own blog but leave a link to it here in the comments.
    • For anyone who makes a comfort drawer (put it in a basket or decorative box) and gives one to their mother (or other really deserving person), you get your name entered three times for my giveaway. So that I know you’ve created one to give away, please take a photo of it and leave the link to your photo here in this post.
    • Easy peasy right?
    • Right now, I’m thinking I’ll draw on St Patrick’s Day (March 17). That’s less than a week away. If I don’t get enough entries, I may move the date up a bit. Feel free to let others know about the giveaway (you do have to tell me what you would put in your comfort drawer — that’s the whole idea!) and don’t forget about tripling your chances by making a comfort box/drawer for someone really deserving, like your Mom.

    If you’re wondering what the giveaway is, I’m keeping it a surprise the way Suvarna did. Hint: the giveaway will likely be an 8×10 of one of my images but I bet there will be something else too. We all love surprises don’t we?

    Okay, so tell me what you would put in your comfort drawer and, better yet, go make one for your Mom (or other really deserving person). I can hardly wait to read the responses!

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    What’s my play?

    If any of you have played the post processing game by Laura at Dolce Pics, you’ll recognize that right away. If you aren’t familiar with “What’s Your Play?” it is a weekly photo challenge in which Laura posts one of her straight out of the camera (SOOC) shots and challenges others to play with it. The idea is to play with the post processing to come up with something other than the original. This is my first time playing What’s Your Play.

    It was 42 degrees below zero this morning and, although it has warmed up, is still 27 degrees below zero. Instead of being productive doing other things, I felt this would be a good day to play with some post processing.



    Laura's original sooc

    Using Lightroom 2: for this first one I cut back the Exposure, increased the Blacks, lightly tapped up the Clarity, increased the Brightness, reduced the Saturation, warmed the Temp, played with the Hue in highlights, and added a strong Vignette. The result is a bit of an antique feel.

    My first

    My first 'play'


    My second play

    My second play

    Using Lightroom 2: for this second play I changed the White Balance, tapped back the Exposure, increased the Contrast & Blacks, really increased Clarity, touched up the Vibrance & Saturation a bit, went back and increased Brightness somewhat but then needed to again increase Contrast. Played with the Tone Curve, then just ever so slightly with the Shadows, and to finish I added a hint of Vignette so it’s barely detectable. This was intended to be more enhancement rather than a different type of effect as the first one I did.

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    After the Storm

    Once again I’m responding to today’s post over at Shutter Sisters. Stephanie Roberts wrote a post about an exciting experience she had then ended it with this statement, “Show us something extraordinary today.”


    snowdrift after the storm (that

    snowdrift after the storm (that's a 6 ft high gate) behind the drift

    Well do I have something most of you will find extraordinary. Living in such a remote and isolated area, I haven’t had as great an opportunity as Stephanie shared. But this weekend we experienced a raging snow storm with blizzard conditions producing a windchill factor of minus 50C (fifty degrees below zero). On the weekend I mistakenly told someone I thought the approximate windchill factor was about minus 40 but when I watched the news last night that’s when I learned the windchill factor had been minus 50 up here. This morning it is 37C below zero before any windchill factor — my weather facts and perhaps these images may well be something extraordinary to most of you!


    top: during the storm; bottom: after

    top: during the storm; bottom: after

    With these two during / after photos, note that in the top image, that bar is the top of our 6 ft. high chainlink fence! Yes, that’s how high the drifts were.

    My apologies for the poor quality of these photos: my fingers were getting frostbitten and it was bitterly cold trying to steady myself in the wind and cold, not to mention trying to focus.

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    The Right Light

    This is a response to Shutter Sister’s Superhero photo challenge for this week.

    “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” ~Elliott Erwitt

    barbed hair



    “Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” ~George Eastman


    Diane is a lifestyle photographer serving Grande Prairie & Northern Alberta. Visit Diane Schuller Photography.

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