Weekly Photo Challenge: Now


For more from this challenge, visit Weekly Photo Challenge: Now..


One Photo Focus: December

It’s been a while since I have been able to participate in Stacy Fischer’s One Photo Focus Challenge. It’s good to be back!

Here’s the original photo by Julie Powell Photography:


The first thing I did was open the RAW version in Photoshop and use these settings in the RAW converter:


Which produced this image:


Next, I cropped the image:


Then I made it black and white using these settings:


For this image:


My last step was to go to the preset Gallery filters. I wanted to find a look that softened the edges of the image. I used the Rough Pastels filter with these settings:


For this final image:


Stacy, thanks, as always, for a fun challenge. For more from this challenge, visit One Photo Focus: December.

After-Before logo

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A Photo a Week Challenge: Uncategorized

An cup of ice and water

Have you ever taken a picture that you really like but haven’t found a way to categorize it? When my nephew got married in March, my sister asked me to take pictures at the dinner the evening before. As I was snapping shots of the set up, I found I really liked the way this little plastic glass of ice and water looked. It’s a little odd, but it captured my fancy, so I captured it with my lens. I especially like how the water bends the blue ribbon behind it. Now is the time to pull out any photos you’ve been saving for a random and open photography challenge. The sky is the limit on this one, folks.


Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ and “Photo a Week” tags.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.

After Before Week 48

After a couple of week’s missing this challenge, I’m glad I was able to enter again. Unfortunately, life is crazy, so I can only show the beginning and final images, but I will tell you what I did to get to the after.

In the spirit of the name of the challenge, here’s the after:

Nancy Merrill After 48

And now the before:

Nancy Merrill Before 48

To get from the before to the after, my process was a little different than usual. The original image started as a jpg, so no RAW conversion this time. First, I increased the exposure. Then I bumped the contrast. I also adjusted the highlights to reduce the brightness around the steam puff from the train. Finally, I cropped it in much tighter to remove the uninspiring sky and to draw focus more to the really cool train sign.

To see more examples from this challenge, visit After-Before Week 48 Challenge.

After-Before logo

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After Before Week 45 Challenge

For this week’s challenge, I picked a photo from a shoot last weekend. We were very lucky because this young lady was only available at what should have been an awful time of day for lighting (2:00-3:00 pm), but the day was sunny with a thin layer of clouds almost across the whole sky. It helped to mock the golden hour better than I could have imagined. Anyway, back to this particular image. I recently purchased some Photoshop actions from Little Lusker, and I was excited to try a few out for this shoot.

First, here’s the original image:

Nancy Merrill Before 45

I opened it in PhotoShop and used these settings on the RAW converter:


And here’s the image with those settings:


Really, super close to what I wanted. The first action I used is called Eye Enhance from the Envision set. After adding the mask layer, I set my brush to this:


And carefully brushed just her eyes.


Subtle change, but worth it when you blow it up big and up close. Next, from the same set, I used Vivid and reduced the opacity to 43%:


And finally used Peppy Backlight with an opacity of 55% for the final image:

Nancy Merrill After 45

To see more examples from this challenge, visit After-Before Week 45 Challenge.

After-Before logo

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Sunday Stills: Creepy Things

London Underground night visionNo photoshoping on this one, except for my moniker. To make it even creepier, this was the underground station we waited at after taking the evening “Jack, the Ripper” London Walking Tour. It was a great tour.


A Word a Week Challenge: Square

London and it’s boroughs abound with squares. We stayed in a lovely bed & breakfast in Norfolk Square (easy walking distance from Paddington Station).

Norfolk Square B&B window

The window to our room at the B&B from the outside (in Norfolk Square).

Norfolk Square from our b&b roomOur view on Norfolk Square from the window in the first picture.

Trafalgar Square and St. Martins in the FieldTrafalgar Square, looking at the fountain in the direction of St. Martin’s-In-The-Field (which has a great basement cafe called Cafe-In-The-Crypt.)