Goodbye France, Hello Camino de Santiago!

Friday, July 29, 2011  at 6:58 AM
Right now, Chris and I are starting our next adventure--hiking the Camino de Santiago (or at least part of it).  This pilgrimage has been established for over 1000 years and ends in Santiago, Spain.  There is no set trail; Instead, the pilgrimage is said to start from your front door and follows the path that you take.  There are, however, several common routes to take.  Chris and I are starting in France and will be walking along northern Spain.

Shadow Wall France Animation by Danalynn C
Our last few days at our Helpx in France grow to a close.

I am pretty excited to start this long distance hike--we only have a very rough outline of a pace to keep and we won't be bothered if we don't complete the entire pilgrimage, so it should be a fun couple of weeks spent out of doors!  Neither Chris nor I speak much Spanish (Hasta la vista is almost the extent of my knowledge, thank you Schwarzenegger!) so we are anticipating a lot of broken phrases and pantomiming, which should be funny.

Updates should still proceed fairly regularly during this hike, so keep an eye out for our progress! 
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Last French Days

Wednesday, July 27, 2011  at 6:58 AM
I have been thoroughly enjoying my slow weeks at the farmhouse in Southern France.  Every day is a gentle routine of work, food and relaxation, which has been very satisfying, especially as Chris and I start to prepare for our next adventure (details coming soon!).  Almost every morning I get up and immediately take care of the dogs, cats and chickens.  This morning I spent some time observing the chickens in their run.  They are always so active in the mornings--insects to find, wings to stretch, pecking order to maintain!

Chickens in the Morning Animation 1 by Danalynn C

I am playing around with longer GIF animations, especially for short clips that do not loop well.  I liked each of these three clips individually, but on their own they did not work as animations--too choppy and jolting.  I think they work much better together to give an overall snapshot of the chicken run!

Click here if you want to learn how to make your own GIF animations.
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Current Weather in the South of France

Monday, July 25, 2011  at 4:44 PM
raining barn animation by Danalynn C
The view, right now, from my bedroom window in the South of France.  Rainy? --emphatic check!

Click here if you want to learn how to make your own GIF animations.
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First Month as a Nomad

  at 6:58 AM
Vineyard by Danalynn C
Vineyard behind our Helpx house

Today marks my one month mark for living as a nomad.  First thought:

Traveling thus far feels like cheating. 

Normally, considering living like a nomad evoke thoughts of carrying all possessions in a backpack, spending lots of money and staying every night in a new place.  Now, while all of my possessions do fit into a backpack, I have not carried that backpack around with me everywhere I go--usually it stays behind at whatever place I am staying at.  Furthermore, I have spent less than half the amount of money I normally would for a month's living costs (finance breakdown for July coming soon).

As for spending every night in a new place?  Chris and I have been volunteering via Helpx at a French farmhouse for the past three and a half weeks, with our own room, which has been fantastic.  Even when we were in London, we spend most of the time staying with a friend and then Couchsurfed for one night.  That makes a total of three different locations for the past month--not too shabby, considering we don't have a home anymore!

My second thought about this month as a nomad:

This still feels like a trip instead of a lifestyle change.

I don't know if this will change as Chris and I are traveling for longer periods of time, but right now this still feels like a fun summer trip.  The main difference so far?  With no definite end-date, we are not worried about cramming the maximum number of experiences into a finite amount of time.  This welcome change from our usual hectic travel itineraries just lends to a more relaxed trip feeling, rather than signaling a new style of living for the next year(s).  Perhaps the feeling will sink in as we head into the fall and winter months, when we are usually working or at school...

Third thought as a nomad? 

I miss the most unusual things.

Rather than say how much I miss my family, friends, cat and home cooking, instead I have made a list of the unusual items that I find myself missing.

1. My bangs.  I grew out my bangs before my departure since I would not have a hair straightener when traveling, and without one my bangs turn into crazy Shirley Temple curls.  To avoid this, my bangs grew into long layers, but I miss having them!

2.  The local produce stand.  I used to visit this produce stand so often that most of the workers knew me, and I miss the fantastic fruits and veggies, the amazing deals and chatting with everyone there.

3. The free activities.  It seems like there were always free events going on in Seattle and I miss going to them!  Art lessons, festivals, concerts, and more.  There are free events and activities going on here as well, but I'm definitely not as in-the-know as I was in Seattle.

The next month will be a very different experience compared to this relaxed first month.  We will be hiking, camping and Couchsurfing our way through Spain for the 40 days.

I am looking forward to this change--I'm not used to staying in one spot for so long when I'm traveling and I'm excited to see new places!  I have only been to Spain briefly, so it will be very exciting to travel through it for a good chunk of time.  Ironically, this new leg of our adventure will result in a more stereotypical nomadic existence: we will be carrying our backpacks with us for the majority of time and we will be sleeping in a new place almost every night.  I'm still optimistic that our costs will be low, though!

Has anyone else had experiences with long-term travel?  When did the shiny-new exciting feeling wear off for you (or did it never go away)?
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Follow NomadicVignette on Twitter

Sunday, July 24, 2011  at 2:48 PM
Yes, I have set up a Twitter account!  You can find me on Twitter or you can just click the Follow @NomadicVignette button in the right sidebar. 

On my Twitter account I plan to include small bits and pieces that won't make it to a full blog post, previews of upcoming features, comments on my current location, and more. 

If you have any advice for a new Twitterer, please leave it in the comments below (or Tweet it to me!). 

Chicken Blackboard by Danalynn C
One of the countless chicken details throughout the farmhouse in Southern France--I loved seeing the chicken motif throughout the house!
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Recipe: Elderflower Cordial

Friday, July 22, 2011  at 6:58 AM
Elderflower Cordial is a sweet syrup, made from the flowers of an Elder tree, that can be mixed with water for a refreshing drink.  As a child, I often read about Elderflower Cordial in books but I never thought it was a real drink, much less one so easy to make!

Elderflower Cordial by Danalynn C
Bottle your cordial in an old glass bottle for added charm.

To make this cordial, you need about 25 heads of flowers from an Elder tree.  Elder trees flower in the Spring, often between April and June.  When you pick the flowers, shake them to remove any bugs and let them sit, laying down, on a counter for a period of time to allow any hidden bugs time to crawl out.  Avoid rinsing the flowers, as you will rinse off the natural yeast that gives the cordial a bit of fizz.  If you are not sure how to identify an Elder tree, read this useful article.

Ingredients
25 heads of Elder flowers
3L water
900g granulated sugar
50g citric acid
2 lemons

Steps
1. Boil the water and pour over the sugar.  Stir well to dissolve, then leave to cool.
2. Add the citric acid if you intend on storing the cordial instead of drinking it all immediately.
3. Slice the lemons and add them into the syrup.
4. Add the Elder flower heads, stir.
5. Stir the syrup occasionally over the next 24 hours.
6. Strain the syrup and place into sterilized glass bottles.  Glass bottles can be sterilized easily by running them through the dishwasher with no pre-wash setting and no detergent.
7. Store in the refrigerator.  To drink, mix one part syrup with five parts water.  Play around with the ratio--I tend to like more water with less syrup, but you might like it sweeter!
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Early Mornings in the French Countryside

Wednesday, July 20, 2011  at 6:58 AM
French Lavender by Danalynn C
Enthusiastic lavender bushes crowd around the outside of the house.

I love getting up early in the mornings here in France--the light is so pretty and the air is so clean! 

Side of Barn by Danalynn C
The side of the large barn next to the house in the early morning.

Faded Clock by Danalynn C
My early mornings actually start earlier than this clock--this was taken at breakfast time, after taking photos!
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Snapshots of a French Farmhouse

Monday, July 18, 2011  at 6:58 AM
 I love the repetition of the French farmhouse feeling throughout the entire house that Chris and I are volunteering at.  Here are a few snapshots of the weathered country-style farmhouse.

Spices and Mugs by Danalynn C
Where the mugs and some spices are stored in the kitchen.

Spice Jars by Danalynn C
Old spice jars in the kitchen.

Rustic Door Frame by Danalynn C
The door handle to my and Chris's room. 

Rose on Lattice by Danalynn C
Climbing roses on the side of the pigbarn, which currently functions as the dog shed.

Flower Bowl by Danalynn C
An old, chipped bowl on a bedside table.
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Watercolor Sketches of Chickens

Friday, July 15, 2011  at 6:58 AM
Chicken Watercolor by Danalynn C

There is a large chicken coop here and I have been inspired to sketch a variety of chickens.  These sketches were done in my Hand-Book sketchbook with watercolor, a waterbrush and my Pentel Pocketbrush.

Chicken Sketches by Danalynn C

In some of these sketches the black ink is getting rather scratchy, since it was time to change the cartridge.  I rather enjoy the additional texture, but it was a relief to have the smooth flow of ink with the new cartridge.

Chicken Sketch by Danalynn C

At this point, Chris made fun of my never-ending stream of chickens and told me that the sketchbook would end up filled only with chickens.  I was rather tickled by the idea, although my attention span is far too short to only draw chickens for 140 pages while surrounded with such a great variety of other subjects--French architecture, pretty flowers, perhaps some rocks? 

Rooster Watercolor by Danalynn C
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How to Photo Edit with GIMP: The Complete Series

Thursday, July 14, 2011  at 11:23 PM
Here you can find the complete series of articles I wrote on how to photo-edit with the free photo-editing program GIMP.  I am not being paid to endorse GIMP--I just really like it!

These tutorials take you from the basic skills (such as how to crop images) to more advanced techniques (such as how to use layer masks) and include several unusual photo-editing techniques (including how to create GIF animations).  These tutorials do build on one another, so keep that in mind if you skip immediately to an advanced tutorial.

Frog Animation by Danalynn C
A GIF animation of a frog I found in London.

Article 1: Easy Photography Editing in GIMP
Article 2: How to Crop in GIMP
Article 3:  How to Control Saturation in GIMP
Article 4: How to Control Contrast and Lightness in GIMP
Article 5: How to Change Color Photos into Black and White in GIMP
Article 6: How to Level a Horizon in GIMP
Article 7: How to Correct a Skewed Perspective in GIMP
Article 8: How to Square All of Your Corners in GIMP
Article 9: How to Adjust Curves in GIMP
Article 10: How to Adjust Color-Specific Saturation in GIMP
Article 11: How to Blur a Background in GIMP
Article 12: How to Create Stunning Landscape Photos in GIMP
Article 13: How to Control Layer Masks in GIMP 
Article 14: How to Create GIF Animations in GIMP
Bonus Article: A Review of UFRAW (a plug-in for GIMP for photo-editing RAW photos)
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A Broken Camera in France

  at 11:23 AM
Hammock Watercolor by Danalynn C
A sketch of Chris reading.  Without a camera, I resorted to massive amounts of sketching over the past two weeks.

Two weeks ago, our Canon S90 camera displayed the dreaded "Lens Error, Restart Camera" error.  Not having been dropped, this was probably caused by dust or sand particles jamming up the internal gears.  The repair process went something like this:

Day 1: Google like mad, try the basic self-help repairs, which yielded absolutely no change.

Day 4: Call Canon (was previously closed over Independence Day weekend), only to find that the wait time would be over 40 minutes.  Sent in an email explaining the problem in great detail.

Day 5: Receive stock email back from Canon with general information about my problem.  Realize that the camera is two weeks past the warranty period.

Day 7: After much searching about, find that there is no camera repair shop remotely close to where Chris and I are currently located.  We decide to fix it ourselves but realize that we do not have a small enough screwdriver.

Day 8: We manage to get almost all of the outer screws out using a combination of Exacto Knife Blades, needles, and force of will.  One screw remains and will not budge.  In this process, part of the camera has broken.  We hope it's not vital.

Day 11: We go in to town, but the construction store does not have a small enough screwdriver.

Day 13: We go into town again to run errands and see a possible shop as we are driving past it.  After ducking in, we find a set of micro-screwdrivers!  Success!

Day 14:  The smallest micro-screwdriver works.  The next layer of screws, however, have become stripped.  In exasperation, Chris busts out a power drill to remove these screws.

Day 15: The camera is completely reassembled and works!  The broken part of the camera only affected one function and it was NOT vital to the overall camera health.

Look forward to plenty of photos in the upcoming week as I celebrate the return of the camera!  Just in time, too, as I had just ran out of stockpiled photos from the days right before the camera broke. 
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Wild Plum Trees

Monday, July 11, 2011  at 10:54 PM
Near to our Helpx farm, there is an empty old farmhouse with an orchard of plum trees behind it.  The house has been abandoned for several years now and as a result, the trees have expanded their territory to take over the empty land.  I have been making daily expeditions to pick bags of plums and I now have my favorite trees.  The branches are all heavy with fruit and I can fill my bag within minutes of starting to pick. 

Yellow Plums by Danalynn C
There is a huge variety of plums and even each tree tastes different!  These yellow ones have a distinct apricot taste, despite there being no apricots in the area.

Picking Plums by Danalynn C
I'm not kidding about picking bags full of plums--I have been taking full advantage of this free snack!
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Sunflower Fields in Southern France

Friday, July 8, 2011  at 1:51 PM
I never really thought of the production process for sunflower seeds--in my mind, sunflowers that people grew in their backyards transformed magically into the packages of sunflower seeds I could buy in the grocery store.  Here in France, I am surrounded by fields of sunflowers.  Just like any other crop, patchwork squares of sunflowers alternate with crops of grapes and grains, and just like the other crops, the sunflowers will soon be harvested by a large combine.

Sunflower Close Up by Danalynn C
Soon they will be ready to eat!

Sunflower field by Danalynn C
I love how far the fields seem to extend.

Looking Up at Sunflower by Danalynn C
You can venture into the fields and, if you sit down, you will be completely invisible.  Looking up, all you can see is a variety of green vegetation and an edge of a flower peeking out from behind the leaves.
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How to Create GIF Animations in GIMP

Thursday, July 7, 2011  at 6:58 AM
Learn to create stop-motion GIF animations, frame by frame, using GIMP.  Personally, I love inserting GIFs into my blog posts (just a few out of my many examples!).  I think they add a touch of whimsy and they remind me so much of the moving paintings at Hogwarts.  I love how they add a bit of motion without being in-your-face, how they can convey more of a feeling of a place or event, but how they do not require the commitment of a video clip to watch.  They are also very easy to make!

Welcome to the fourteenth article in my Photography Editing in GIMP series!

Previous articles:

Article 1: Easy Photography Editing in GIMP
Article 2: How to Crop in GIMP
Article 3:  How to Control Saturation in GIMP
Article 4: How to Control Contrast and Lightness
Article 5: How to Change Color Photos into Black and White
Article 6: How to Level a Horizon
Article 7: How to Correct a Skewed Perspective in GIMP
Article 8: How to Square All of Your Corners in GIMP
Article 9: How to Adjust Curves in GIMP
Article 10: How to Adjust Color-Specific Saturation in GIMP
Article 11: How to Blur a Background in GIMP
Article 12: How to Create Stunning Landscape Photos in GIMP
Article 13: How to Control Layer Masks in GIMP

This tutorial will show you how to turn a series of boring old photos into a GIF animation like this one:

sailboat GIF animation

Step 1: Take at least four photos.  What I do is set my camera up on a tripod, then set it to take multiple photos in a row.  The minimum for a decent GIF is four photos, here I used six and sometimes I use as many as thirty!  However, most of the time I use five to eight photos.  You want the photos to line up so the GIF isn't jerky--this is why I set it up on a tripod and then set it to take multiple shots in a row, without me having to press the button each time.  Even if it is only a small shift in the camera, it will be jarring when two not-aligned photos are put in a GIF together.

Make a GIF Animation with GIMP tutorial by Danalynn C

Step 2: Open all of your photos in GIMP.  If I am making a GIF with more than eight frames, I will start by only opening the first eight and then open the rest later.

Make a GIF Animation with GIMP tutorial by Danalynn C

Step 3: Make sure your Layers Dialogue box is on.  Select the first photo in the series--this will be the Background, or first, layer in your animation.

Make a GIF Animation with GIMP tutorial by Danalynn C

Step 4: Select the second photo in the series and copy it.  I hit Control+A, then Control+C to make sure I have copied the entire photo.

Make a GIF Animation with GIMP tutorial by Danalynn C

Step 5: Go back to the first image in your series, the one that will be the background (first frame) for your animation.  Select Edit ->Paste As ->New Layer.

Make a GIF Animation with GIMP tutorial by Danalynn C

Step 6: Repeat for all of your frames.  You will see them stacking up in the Layers Dialogue box.

Make a GIF Animation with GIMP tutorial by Danalynn C

Step 7: After all of your frames have been inserted as layers, scale the image to the correct size via Image -> Scale Image.

Make a GIF Animation with GIMP tutorial by Danalynn C

Step 8: THIS IS IMPORTANT. Select File -> Save As.  Change the extension of the file to .gif

YOU DO NOT WANT TO SAVE IT AS ANYTHING OTHER THAN .GIF

Make a GIF Animation with GIMP tutorial by Danalynn C

Step 9: A box will pop up.  Select "Save as Animation." Do NOT select "Flatten Image," otherwise all of the work you just put in will be flattened!  After you have selected "Save as Animation," select Export.

Make a GIF Animation with GIMP tutorial by Danalynn C

Step 10: At this point, you can add a comment (a meta tag for the animation) or you can change the frame rate.  I usually use a frame rate of 200 milliseconds, but feel free to play around and see what works best for you.  The best way to do this is to save the file with a specific frame rate, then open up the saved file to see how it looks.  If you don't like it, open it with GIMP and re-save with a new frame rate. 

Make a GIF Animation with GIMP tutorial by Danalynn C

Step 11: Enjoy your awesome new GIF animation!

sailboat GIF animation by Danalynn C
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Traveling to Our Helpx in France

Wednesday, July 6, 2011  at 6:58 AM
When Chris and I change locations from one place to another when traveling, it is usually a long adventure coupled with a hearty dose of uncomfortableness.  Our low priority for general comfort is added to our need to be as cheap as possible and we end up with our crazy travel plans.  Let's review how we arrived at our current Helpx location in rural Southern France. 

Church Lattice by Danalynn C
Inside of the closest church--it is very lovely!

Thursday
10:30pm: Got out of the show Much Ado About Nothing in London, which was fantastic!

11:30pm: Arrived at our Couchsurf in London after walking back from the show.  We meandered back, it wasn't quite an hours walk.

12:00am: Left our Couchsurf location with all of our bags in tow after saying goodbye to our very nice host.

3:00am: Made it to our Easybus (cheap airport shuttle bus) stop in another part of London about 10 minutes before the bus arrived--we walked to the stop and it took about 3 full hours to do so.

4:00am: Easybus arrives at Gatwick Airport.

9:00am: Land in Toulouse, France, however the airport check-in, security and loading process has ensured that we were only able to sleep for about an hour on the plane.

9:30am: Bus drops us off at the train station in Toulouse.

12:30pm: Train arrives at a smaller town.

3:00pm: We took a small local bus from that town to another, smaller town with no train service, where we are getting picked up by our host.

3:30pm: We arrive at our Helpx location.

The very first thing I did was take a proper shower!

The Helpx location that Chris and I are at right now is quite lovely--we are surrounded by sunflower fields, beautiful old French farmhouses, plenty of greenery and a variety of animals.  This is the perfect change from London and many of the other big (or at least somewhat large) cities we find ourselves in.

France Church Outside by Danalynn C
The outside of the closest church.  Almost all of the buildings are made of this light, sandy stone and they are very pretty!
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How to Control Layer Masks in GIMP

Tuesday, July 5, 2011  at 6:58 AM
Learn what Layer Masks are and how to control them in GIMP.  You can also call this: Photo-editing like a ninja with GIMP--make everything do what you want!

The cool thing about using Layer Masks is that you can control what effect you see in different parts of the picture.  Want one area lightened without washing out a patch right next to it?  You can do it.  Want to increase saturation for one object but for nothing else?  You can do it.  Want to highlight a few areas without looking like you cut and pasted them on top of the background?  YOU CAN DO IT.  Obviously, I'm pretty excited about Layer Masks.  This tutorial follows naturally from the one before, How to Create Stunning Landscape Photos in GIMP, which was basically Introduction to Multi-Raw Processing and Layer Masks, only with a less-scary sounding name (I know, I'm so sneaky).

Welcome to the thirteenth article in my Photography Editing in GIMP series!

Previous articles:


Article 1: Easy Photography Editing in GIMP
Article 2: How to Crop in GIMP
Article 3:  How to Control Saturation in GIMP
Article 4: How to Control Contrast and Lightness
Article 5: How to Change Color Photos into Black and White
Article 6: How to Level a Horizon
Article 7: How to Correct a Skewed Perspective in GIMP
Article 8: How to Square All of Your Corners in GIMP
Article 9: How to Adjust Curves in GIMP
Article 10: How to Adjust Color-Specific Saturation in GIMP
Article 11: How to Blur a Background in GIMP
Article 12: How to Create Stunning Landscape Photos in GIMP

These tutorials use the free photo-editing program GIMP.  I am not being paid to endorse GIMP--I just really like it!

This tutorial will show you how to take your photos from this:

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

to this:

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

There is another before/after example at the end of this article.

Notice that I cannot use the method in the previous article, where I have a Layer Mask with a gradient from transparent to opaque, because most of the buildings are behind Chris and me.  If I adjust the contrast, saturation and curves for the buildings, Chris and I will be too saturated, and the reverse is true as well.  This is why this method of using Layer Masks (like a ninja!) must be used to edit this photo.

Step 1: Open the photo in GIMP and make sure the Layers, Dialogues, Paths Dialogue Box is open.  Right click on the layer in the Dialogue Box (it will be named Background) and select Duplicate Layer.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 2: Right click on the new layer, click on Edit Layer Attributes, and rename it something descriptive.  I named mine People, so I would know what I would be focusing on editing for that layer.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 3: Click on the eye symbol for the People layer in the Layer Dialogue Box, so you do not see it.  You only want to see the Background layer at this point.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 4: Edit so the background looks fantastic!  I increased saturation, especially red and blue saturation, then adjusted curves.  Pay no attention to how terrible this is making the subject of your next layer(s) look--here, the saturation has made the coloring of the faces completely wonky, but it doesn't matter.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 5: After you are happy with how the background looks, select the other layer.  You want to make sure that the eye symbol for the People layer is turned on, and the eye symbol for the Background layer is turned off.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 6: Edit this layer for the people (or whatever you want to focus this editing on), paying no attention to what your edits do to the background.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 7: After all of your edits are done to this layer, click on the People layer in the Layers Dialogue Box and select Add Layer Mask.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 8: When the menu box pops up, select Black (full transparency) and click OK.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 9: At this point, the transparent Layer Mask is now attached to our People layer.  This means that currently our entire People layer is transparent (as specified by the Layer Mask).  Every pixel in the Layer Mask corresponds to the same location pixel in the layer, and the layer mask pixel tells the layer pixel how it will behave.  If the Layer Mask is black in an area, that means that the corresponding area of the layer will be transparent and we will see 'through' it to the background layer.  If the Layer Mask is white in an area, that means that the corresponding area of the layer will be opaque, and therefore that we will see it.

Right now, we are going to 'paint in' the opaque areas of our layer mask.  First, in the Toolbox, select the paintbrush (I like to use a 'fuzzy' paintbrush so my opaque edges aren't so obvious).  Select the proper scale (size) and to start, put the opacity at 20%.  Sometimes I will increase opacity to 40% if I have a very defined area that I am 'painting,' sometimes I will decrease opacity to 10% if I want a very subtle effect.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 10: Because we want to paint in the opacity, we want to paint in white (remember, white means opaque) and not in black.  Therefore, click the little arrow to switch the black and white colors in the Toolbox.  White should now be on top and black should be the bottom square.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 11: Make sure that the layer mask is selected in the Layer Dialogue Box (a white box will surround the image of the black layer mask).  Paint where you want the top layer to show up!  For me, since my top layer was People, I painted where the people were.  As I painted, I could see the 'proper' coloring from the top People layer slowing showing up, layering on top of the Background layer.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 12: If you click off the eye symbol for the background then you will be able to see exactly what you are painting.  Sometimes I like to paint the opacity while looking directly at the layer mask because then I can see if an area is patchy, if my opacity is strong enough (or too strong), and what exactly is showing through.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 13: Once you are happy with this effect, you can either flatten the image and save it, or do another layer with a layer mask.  I usually like to do several layers with layer masks for a stacked effect.  For example, in this image I will have one more layer with a layer mask on top.  This layer will have light highlights and saturated colors so I can bring out some bright points in the photo.  To do this, duplicate the background layer, rename the new layer (I named mine 'Lightest layer') and drag this new layer to the very top of your layer pile in the Layer Dialogue Box.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 14: Turn off the eye symbols for the People and Background layers and edit the Lightest Layer so it is bright and has some nice saturated colors.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 15: Right click on this layer and add a transparent layer mask.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 16: Select the proper paintbrush to deal with this layer.  Generally, I will decrease my paintbrush size as well as the opacity for this highlight stage--in all of these layers you should be working from most general to most specific.  Select the Lightest Layer layer mask (it will be outlined in white) and paint in your opaque areas.  You will not be painting much in this layer mask.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 17: Turn on the eye symbols for all the layers.  Do you like the overall look?  If so, flatten all of the layers under Image -> Flatten Image.

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Step 18: Save and enjoy your new edited image!

Chris and me in Eastern Europe by Danalynn C

Here is another image that I edited using this same method.

Before:

In Budapest by Danalynn C

During:

In Budapest by Danalynn C

After:

In Budapest by Danalynn C
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