What Is Orange?

So what is orange?

Orange is warmth and sunlight, whether on my face or basking in a smile from my daughter.

My daughter in downtown Bar Harbor, Maine.  Post processed with Topaz Effects "Exposure Correction" and on1 frame "Platinum Brush".
My daughter in downtown Bar Harbor, Maine.

Orange is the glory of flowers, showing off their brilliance for all to see and enjoy.

Marigolds taken in the gardens at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  Processed with Topaz Impressions "Abstract 2" and on1 border "Dano".
Marigolds taken in the gardens at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

It is delicate sunrises and spectacular sunsets.

Sunset in Richmond, Virginia.  Post processed with Topaz Effects "Warm Tone 2" and on1 border "Sloppy Border 8".
Sunset in Richmond, Virginia.

It is fruits and vegetables, lined up gaily, whether for eating or decorations.

20111031 (170) Blog
Pumpkins taken in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.


Orange is the first beauty of fall, the beginning of the long slide into winter (of which I’ve had enough, thank you).

Gazebo at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia.  Processed in Lightroom with on1 border "Ghost Effect Black".
Gazebo at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia.

It’s the color of a beagle’s head, waiting to be petted.

Beagle in the backyard.  Post processed with Topaz Impressions "Oil Painting by Jim LaSala" and on1 border "Russell".
Beagle in the backyard.

To see how others interpreted this week’s photo challenge for orange, click here.

Inspiration and A Funny Story

I’d like to thank Robin at Reflections For My Soul. The flowers she posted reminded me of warmth and sunlight. The day I viewed them, we had just had sleet and snow and then the temperatures went below freezing and stayed there.

Funny story there – I have two Robin’s who follow my blog and regularly leave comments. Yep, two of them. So when Robin at Reflections For My Soul started following me, I was initially confused, thinking that Robin at Breezes at Dawn had changed her avatar from the pictures of her crossed feet to that of a western style hat. It took me a few days to realize that no, I actually had two blogging friends named Robin and they were not the same person.

Before and After

Interested in the before and after of these photos? The sunset was truly that spectacular, being caused by a fire in the Great Dismal Swamp (yes, that’s really it’s name), causing a high level of air pollution due to the particulates it was throwing up.  The best camera is the one you have with and that night it was my old Canon point and shoot, the Pro1. It didn’t have a lot of megapixels, but I got the shot! I posted another version of this several years ago, here.

In the last few weeks, I’ve had some discussions with Stacy Fisher at Visual Venturing and Dee & Gee at Dee Gee’s Photograph Australia about camera gear and post processing our pictures. The reason I bring it up is to encourage you to look closer at these pictures. It is wonderful to have good gear, which is why I upgraded last year from the Canon Rebel 3Ti to a Canon 6D.  It’s also wonderful to use camera raw to get some extra help when post processing your photos.

But we can take the pictures from the old point and shoots, the pictures we took in jpg instead of camera raw, and the pictures that are just marginal, and make them better. They’re still usable! Yes, they might be better with a better camera, but at least for me, it was an evolution. My husband about sat on me to get to me upgrade my old point and shoot to a DSLR, the Rebel (I wouldn’t spend more than that). Even then, I wouldn’t shoot raw nor was I using Lightroom yet. Finally – FINALLY – I started using Lightroom. Cee Neuner and Steve Schwartzman in the blogging community encouraged me to shoot raw when I asked how they were shooting reds without the colors looking muddy.  My husband was happy for someone else to convince me to do it since he was unable to do so.

So here are the before and after shots, with the camera and type of shot used. Remember that with a jpg, the camera is making post processing decisions for you. That is why, straight out of the camera, a jpg looks pretty good. With camera raw, the camera makes no or minimal decisions, depending on your settings. You have to tell it everything, which is why the raw pictures below look so poor. The upside is there is a great more data available, so a picture can be really pushed with processing before it develops problems.

Taken with the Canon EOS 6D, using camera raw:

Taken with the Canon Rebel 3Ti, using camera raw:

Taken with the Canon Powershot Pro1, using jpg:

Taken with the Canon Rebel 3Ti, using jpg:

Taken with the Canon Rebel 3Ti, using jpg:

Taken with the Canon EOS 6D, using camera raw:

So stay encouraged. Keep taking pictures. Keep improving. And keep using the old pictures as well as the new. You’ve worked hard for your inventory and even if you can’t use them now, who knows what future software will make them usable?

For those who read this all the way to the bottom (thank you!), here is a final thought:

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness; touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments and life itself is grace.
– Frederick Buechner, American writer and theologian

Have a good week!


Flowers Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens Nature Pets Photography Photoshop & Lightroom Richmond Topaz Labs Virginia Weekly Photo Challenge Williamsburg

dogear6 View All →

I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com.

46 Comments Leave a comment

  1. You’re photography is just glowing. You are doing really well with both the camera and the computer. I got an Olympus 4/3 OMD Em-1 last year when I was looking for a lighter camera to lug around. I love it. I also have been learning Lightroom, as you probably already know, and recently started learning Elements. It’s a challenge, but wow can you fix a picture. I do better with Elements. I don’t always know what I need to change to get my photo to look how I want it to in Lightroom, but Elements has some Guided editing you can use to help you learn where you need to go with things. It’s fun. What did you use for your special effects?

    • I use Topaz Labs. I own the full suite, although I don’t use all of it enough. Every few weeks though I learn a few more tricks with it. You can use Topaz without having Photoshop. I’m not sure if it works in Elements. They do have a 30 day trial and you don’t have to buy the full suite either. It usually goes on sale after Thanksgiving if you wanted to upgrade to the full suite later.

    • The pixels aren’t a whole lot more than my Rebel, but that full frame sensor takes care of a lot of problems with noise and higher ISO. My husband would have loved if I went from the point & shoot straight to the 6D, but it was a growing process for me. Still, the Rebel took good pictures.

  2. Great post. Love the before and after. I am still intimated by raw. I need to just jump in and do it.

    And I thought Robin was a fairly rare name these days. WordPress surely brings us closer.

    • I thought Robin was a pretty uncommon name too, which added to the confusion (and you were so very gracious at my mistake – thanks again!).

      As for raw, it would work better if you used Lightroom. Most of them time, it needs processing to look good. If you don’t want to post-process, jpg is better. But there’s less you can do to recover a picture if something went wrong in jpg.

  3. Wonderful quote! Your pics are so great Nancy, the difference in the B&A are great! This post reminded me of a class I took way back in the day, and the teacher asked us – how would you describe color to a blind person? Blue is touching something cold, pink is the taste of cotton candy on your tongue (even if it is blue), red is feeling the heat being thrown off of something hot, yellow is the warmth of the sun on your face, the flavor or scent of a lemon. The teacher said – I can tell you have thought of this before. I was surprised people didn’t think like that. I stopped telling anyone about how I thought in terms of color after that. hehe ugh. I don’t think I do as much any more.

    • I’ve always been fascinated by people who have synesthesia, where people see things in colors (like emotions or numbers). I don’t think I’d want it, but I think we can all be much more observant than we are.

      When I do the weekly challenges, I like to put more out there than just pictures. I truly got my idea from Robin at Reflections For My Soul and thought, how would I describe orange? I know how she did, but how would I? So as I ate breakfast yesterday, I jotted notes in my journal. I did a little more research when I got home on what the colors mean and my post just flowed!

      Thanks for sharing that story. That really made sense to me and it a great addition to this post.

      • Synesthesia hmm? You mean it’s not called “youreaweirdo” I remember one other time explaining to one of my co -workers at the time how my letters and months all had their own color. She just said full of snark “oh-kay Maxine…” and I kicked myself – hadn’t I said I wasn’t going to mention this again? And after that, I really didn’t. I wish I’d valued it more then, rather than being embarrassed by it! I think not being able to read visually as much as I used to, helped with the quelling of my colors so I wonder if the MS affects it too, I also think disdain helped. No one else seemed to experience what I did, it seemed safer to shut up about it. I still sometimes see/taste in color, but not nearly as much as I used to and yet I listen to just as many books if not more. I wonder if my colors will become vivid again once they know they are welcomed. I don’t know if it works like that, especially if MS really is one of the culprits. You don’t know how happy/relieved I am to know that I’m actually not crazy!! Other people experience this. Thank you for your post Nancy! I probably wouldn’t have thought back on these experiences.

        • Unfortunately, “youreaweirdo” is one of the other names for it. I didn’t realize you had this – I was responding to the story of how you describe a color to a blind person. I’m not sure the MS is why you have it nor have I seen any correlation between brain problems and the synesthesia in the reading I’ve done (I don’t it, but find it fascinating). Disdain undoubtedly helps diminish its capabilities.

          Here’s an excellent youth book to read – I really urge you to get it. It’s called “A Mango Shaped Space” by Wendy Maas and it’s about a young girl (I think pre-teen, but maybe teenager) who has synesthesia and the social issues around being so different.

          Hugs & kisses. Glad to know I’m the only weird one out there :)


          • Nancy, I didn’t even know something like this existed (outside of my head) because if ever I spoke of it – I was met with skepticism or the you’re crazy looks. So I stopped talking about it, and just tried to ignore it. When you mentioned synesthesia, I looked it up and spent the next few minutes in happy amazement – it was actually something. And something that other people experienced too! I’m not crazy. The colors that I see are in my thoughts – my mind’s eye- mostly. Like if I picture a letter or a number – there’s a color with it. When I was younger (before the disdain) sometimes tastes and scents had colors too, which is why I think the describe a color question was so easy to answer. I never realized that there was a word for it or that it was even something true. I was reading that some people can actually see the colors outside of their minds. That must be – I don’t even know…wonderful, and tiring at the same time. I will definitely get that book – as they have it on both kindle and audible. Thank you for the recommendation!

            • I hope this helps you embrace who you are without shame and helps you make further peace with yourself! I’m happy to see your comment and know that what I sent helped you. From what you describe though, you clearly have it. It takes many forms and doesn’t work the same way for everyone. Gee, we’re all made differently? What woulda thunk that?

  4. Your daughter is darling! Hope she is doing well with the new baby. Hey, I read down to the end, Nancy, and got the pay-off of that excellent quote. Now….I have a follower named Robin too, maybe I’ll send her over here to really confuse everyone. Bahahaha!!

    • She’s doing good. The nursing is finally settling done and the baby is gaining weight. Two of the women in her birthing class came by and they swapped stories about the babies and she felt much better about the things she was struggling with.

      Tell your Robin to come on over – the more the merrier! Robin at Breezes at Dawn left a comment that she was confused too the first time she saw “Robin” liked her post. Robin from Reflections For My Soul hasn’t been by yet to laugh at all of us, so I imagine she’ll have something funny to contribute to it too.

  5. Another funny story — the first time I saw “Robin liked your post” in my email, I wondered if I had liked my own post. lol! Beautiful series of orange images, and I love how you processed them. Great advice to go with them, too. :)

    • That’s too funny! The other Robin was very gracious when I apologized for not checking out her blog sooner as she was commenting pretty regularly before I realized it wasn’t you. And thanks also for the compliments!

  6. “Listen to your life” What a great phrase. Things would probably go better if we all were aware and did that.
    Always adored that swamp’s name – seemed so fitting for the region/people who settled there. No mincing words! (Great sunset – they are burning coastal preserve prairies here…when not raining – does add accents to the sunsets)

    • When we first heard the term, “The Great Dismal Swamp”, we thought it was a joke! We didn’t realize it was a real place and only about an hour away from us too, which was why the air pollutants became such a problem. I’d taken some sunrise pictures that morning (unfortunately, I had nothing good behind them) and when the sunset was just as spectacular, started investigating why the sky was suddenly so different than usual. Unfortunately, it petered out pretty quickly and went back to the same boring sunrises and sunsets that we usually get here.

      I agree too – if we listened actively to our lives, a lot of things would go better!

      I’d love to do something pithy like you do to thank you for stopping by, but my brain so does not work like that!

      Thanks for the comment.

  7. What a wonderful post, Nancy! Lovely photos, all, but I especially love the one of your beautiful daughter :) And apart from the photos, your message to evolve but keep the old photos is well taken (glad I played a little part in shedding light on the delights of post-processing old jpegs). Thanks for that. 😊

    • You’re welcome! It was so funny us discussing that right after I’d talked with Dee & Gee about camera gear (I’m not sure which one of them was responding to me). And thanks for the compliments on the post.

  8. Great post, and yes I read to the bottom, so I loved that part too. In the last year I have ventured into the land of a good camera, and RAW shooting. I have used LR for several years, but what it can do to a RAW file is wonderful. Such magic we have at our disposal these days for great photos.

    • Thanks Mary for the comment! Yes, it does seems like magic all the great things we can do with photo processing these days. I’ve been using raw for 3 years now and have really liked it. But the older jpg photos still have some magic in them after some help in LR or PS.

    • Thanks Steve! I switched to raw partway through 2012. Your encouragement helped (and as I mentioned, my husband was so glad someone else talked me into it so we didn’t fight). What also helped was getting Lightroom. Up until then I was using camera raw and while it functionally does the same thing as Lightroom, the Lightroom interfaces are so much easier to understand. I think if I was still using camera raw in Photoshop, I’d still be using jpg!

  9. This post makes me so happy! And you’re daughter is lovely. Cameras seem to capture only fraction and yet seemingly all the beauty that is required to relive vivid memories.

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