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Implied Spaces: Fog in the Branches

Fog in the Branches MTtr



I am like fog between the branches

searching for implied spaces






Note: As a consequence of the Friday 13th effect, my attempt to archive another blog resulted in starting a new one.

It is called Implied Spaces. The content and approach will fall in a space somewhere between this blog and the Dark Pines Media Literacy.

Since my original plan was to devote more time to the media literacy blog, this is going to be a challenge. In an effort to be less erratic in posting, I may alternate between the three blogs on a regular cycle. I will no doubt fall off that tri-cycle pretty quickly. Lets All enjoy the ride while I(t) lasts.


House Cleaning

House cleaning Grid 1

House Cleaning – Organizational Grid

I am in the process of House Cleaning the  blog and have made some modifications. There is a new page added –

Photography & Media Resources

– it has all the links to texture resources and the free plugins that I have come across. It also has links to alternative photography processes and other Media Literacy resources, including those from my (old) teacher’s web-pages.


You will notice that the arrangement on the main blog page has been modified with different elements moved to footers or the sidebar. I do have some concerns with the set-up, so any suggestions would be appreciated.


One of the problems I have is I tend to think like a teacher. I want to share and organize lots of resources. As a consequence, I created an extended set of (blog roll) links covering a range of categories.   My frustration comes from not being able to split up these links into separate footers. It is either just one category or all of them.  That is why I created the extra page to reduce categories of links.  



Now wearing my Media Literacy hat, and keeping in mind I am a polite older Canadian, I have some blogging etiquette question and a small (sorry) rant. Some of the blogs in my list are no longer being updated with new posts.  There is no indication if or when they may become active again. What is a reasonable time to keep the link ? Should the links be kept on a separate page ?  I know that some bloggers’ posting becomes more infrequent over time; I am now slowly getting my Media Literacy blog into a more active state.  So much of social media depends on immediacy, interactive response and the exchange of ideas/information, that anything that become static or sporadically active gets lost in the ocean of ever-growing data.


We all like followers and getting likes & comments. It is part of the feedback in this form Social media that re-enforces community, community and self-esteem.  However, my  Media Literacy analysis-radar has noticed the appearance of an old ghost in a new form, the dreaded Phantom Referrers ( See: Doc WordPress vs. The Phantom Referrers! ). I have noticed I have gotten a number of likes and a few followers who are not, really people/fellow bloggers.  When you check their profile or their blog what you find is a marketing page of some form. A few go as far as to actually do posts on their services or products. Others just re-direct you to commercial sites.  

phantom Referrer-two


It is a clever marketing ploy, in that they get free links on your blog  through the likes and the My Community list. It also extends their presence for search engines.  The likes are not checked for spam so they are safe. They are Phantoms who hide in plain sight. I do not see a method of removing them without going to WordPress support and notifying them of the situation. Technically, they are not really breaking the rules, just taking advantage of the set-up to spread themselves across the internet . I am tempted to do another Phantom Referrer Pulp/Gothic Tale incorporating some of these blogs, but that would just give them more free advertising.

"Rosie the Riveter" "We Can Do It" 179-WP-1563 WWII Poster

Note: No actual physical housework was done in the creation of this post. Perhaps tomorrow.


House cleaning Grid  2

House cleaning Grid – Time Schedule

Antique Impressions: Shared Textures

This Antique Impressions post came about a bit differently. Ashley of the Syncopated Eye, graciously allowed me to make use of her The Base of a Fallen Palm Frond image. Meanwhile,over at Aberrant Art, Sheila was sharing Textured Thursday: Jaguar Texture.

I combined the two with to create two new textures. I then used each texture with a different image. Both images were taken in the Fall.

What follows is the first texture, jaguar-palm-frond-texture, and the Antique Impression, Brush Cut.



The second texture, aged photo paper10trd, blended the two textures with an aged cracked photo paper texture that I had devised earlier. The Antique Impression, Just An Old Fashion Day, was the final result.


Just An Old Fashion Day

If there are questions about the process please ask.

In accordance with Ashley & Sheila’s open willingness to share and the fact that here in Canada today is National Sweater Day & my birthday, you are welcome to make use of the textures. Make sure to share the results with us.

Remember to visit Ashley & Sheila . They have fascinating & unique pieces on display.

Post 600: Thoughts on Blogging, Education & Life

This is post 600 of the Dark Pines Photo Blog. Time has passed. What was “Will be” has turned into “Now“. What was “Now” has become “Then”. There has been some growth. There has definitely been loss. And it can be summed up in the word, Change.


In the time since my first post, What to do with all these photographs, May 8, 2010, the world, my personal circumstances, and this blog has changed. The biggest change for myself has been going from active teacher to retired teacher. Some might not realize how fundamental a shift to retirement can be, especially for a teacher.


The occupation of teaching does not stop when you leave the building. It does not stop when you finish the marking. It does not stop when all the marks and comments are done. It does not end when the lesson plans are finished. You see, the lesson plans are never finished.

Reflections at Sherif Creek

It is a common observation of teachers, both active & retired, that you can not look at something, read, watch, listen to, or try it, without considering how it might be used in context of a lesson/assignment. How do you bring something fresh to the activity of learning ? After 30 plus years of thinking that way, it is difficult to turn it off.

The World

The World

For both myself and my wife, also a newly retired teacher, being a teacher means, communicating, sharing, and creating. You might see how that kind of thinking would lead to the blog-o-sphere and Social Media. The road here was, in my case, a bit longer than you might imagine.

Caught on camera Stealing Away

My areas of teaching includes Specialist Certificates in English, Special Education, & Developental Reading-Literacy ( BTW being a Specialist in a subject area does not get you big bucks the way it does in medicine or business). Along the way, I picked up an assignment teaching Mass Media (Media Literacy). There is no specific certification for that, so I had to teach myself.


When I started the Mass Media grade 11classes, there were 3 levels, Academic, General, & Basic. Most students would take the course as one of their required English credits ( by time I retired, the Ontario government had turned the course into an Open Level and made it totally optional – with our school’s shrinking population, it resulted in it being cancelled, welcome to a teacher’s life). Initially, with the technology available at the time, pre-internet & no word processing computers, much time was spent with television & movies (video tape).

golden age of tv_baboon

Eventually, Mass Media technology, by way of computers, changed the world and education. I was now on the road to digital production, graphics in advertising, and digital photography. To teach you have to walk the talk, art teachers can create art, construction teachers build/ make things, music teachers play musical instruments, English teachers compose poetry/prose. Mass Media teachers must produce Mass Media.

To Be or Not

My first faltering steps into what was to be know as online education & Social media were educational web pages for my students. It eventually evolved into ART & MEDIA LITERACY, a site for students in my classes and Liz’s Art classes ( with lots of resources for others as well).

Eventually, I saw the potential for blogging as an educational tool, both for students & professionals. This resulted ina Media literacy blog, Dark Pines Media. The Dark Pines title originated with a creative writing web site that was originally set up to be shared with students, Dark Pines Fantasy .

Phantom Refererrs Beware! Doc WordPress will bring You Woe !


Read Doc WordPress vs. The Phantom Referrers of Spam

It is quite remarkable the amount of street cred you gain with students when they find out you have web pages & blogs. Some of that Social Media veneer may be dissipating as Twitter and Facebook become so commonplace. Teachers are partaking of Social media, at least on a personal level and some schools & school boards have started web-pages that are interactive, instead of static virtual newsletters & brochures.

Whale Pods

As I came to understand the codes & conventions of the blog, I wanted to explore the creative expression & community that it could unlock. This was both for personal need and as a means of how students could use it. This gave birth to the blog you are presently reading ( if you haven’t dozed off yet).

Computer Cate has Completed the Job

Over the last year I was acknowledged by my fellow bloggers with a number of awards. I will dispense with the personal bric-a-brac, there has been enough of that already, and now acknowledge and reciprocate.


Sonnet XXIX

                                                             Read Media literacy & Shakespeare’s Sonnets III & XXIX


Somekrytya nominated me for this award last year. I had mentioned loss at the being of this post. We seem to have lost Soma Mukherjee to our blogging community. Her blog is beautiful. Soma’s last post & commenting had occurred Nov. 30th. Hopefully, she isjust taking a needed rest and will return to our community soon.

The HUG Award© is for people with an expectant desire for the world, for which they: Hope for Love; Hope for Freedom; Hope for Peace; Hope for Equality; Hope for Unity; Hope for Joy and Happiness; Hope for Compassion and Mercy; Hope for Faith; Hope for Wholeness and Wellness; Hope for Prosperity; Hope for Ecological Preservation; Hope for Oneness

People do not have to give up or compromise their own religious, spiritual, or political beliefs to qualify for the Hope Unites Globally HUG Award©. They qualify for the HUG Award© when, without bias or prejudice, they use their resources and gifts to make the world a better place for everyone.”

For more information on this award, please visit:

Hug Award

Here are Hugs for: 1. George – Fuzzy Foto & She Kept A Parrot

2. Do You See What I See ?

3. One Wild and Precious Life

4. Life in the Bogs

5. Life Just Is

6. Silkpurseproductions’s Blog

John (The Daily Graff ) presented me with the KREATIV BLOGGER AWARD


Here is my list:

1. Aberrant Art by Sheila Moore

2. Lilly Photography Scenes from West Virginia and Beyond

3.Life Through a Lens

4. Jolene’s Life in Focus

5. Ashmoto

I was nominated for Blog of the Year 2012 by Sandy.

At this point I will thank Soma, Sandy, and John for their support and recognition of my effeorts. NanaDoll presented me with 3 awards in one post ! I will need another post just to complete my list of nominations.

Drum roll please ………… my nominations for Blog of the Year 2012 are:

1. barbarelka

2. Lemony Shots

3. Refridgerator Magnate

4. Syncopated Eyeball

5. The Lantern Room

Final observations: The blogging community is warm & welcoming. It can display the best of the global community that is evolving out of Social Media. For those starting out, many of my early posts never received likes or comments. Visits, but no interaction. It took awhile for that to change. Visiting & interacting with others helped create lines of communication that were sustained.

For those with older eyes, I have been composing my written pieces on Open-Office using a larger text & different fonts. When I copy the text into Word Press it seems to make things easier on the eyes. Let me know if you have noticed a difference.  – Many of the images can be seen in larger formats when clicked. –

Antique Impressions:George’s Rail

George’s Original Shot

George Weaver posted on her blog about some assistance she received in fixing up a photograph she had taken, Bloggers Helping Bloggers.  She graciously gave me permission to see what I would do with it.  The beauty of a photographic composition is that, be it in a real darkroom or a digital one,  the strengths and weaknesses of the piece can be interpreted differently by ech individual. The final media  product is after all a constructed reality. I approached the piece quite differently from Leanne Cole ( Leanne Cole’s Photography Field Trips ).

I used the Smart PhotoFix application that comes with PaintShop Pro 4. I did not need to play with the suggested settings on PhotoFix, George’s overall composition did not require selective tweaking. I then used the straighten tool to adjust the image.

My next choice was to consider what I wanted to emphasize and the overall tone I wished to create. For me, George’s use of perspective and line was the dominant element.  While Leanne used the colour and soft light to create a dreaming atmosphere, I considered the composition in terms of B&W.  I suspect that part of this is how I associate rail tracks & trains with history – the age of steam and early photography.  Also, George’s choice of subject & setting  has a timeless quality. That is probably why Leanne went with a dreamy soft atmosphere.

I used  OptikVerve’s VirtualPhotographer Plug-in to modify the image. I chose two different possibilities. The first was a traditional 1950’s  B&W style. I did not need to tweak  the auto settings very much.

I made a slight alteration to the image after the conversion. You will notice a blur/smudge in the upper right quadrant, along the tree line, in both the original shot and my PhotoFix  image. Once the image was converted to B&W, it was much easier ( than in colour) to use the clone tool to borrow bits of the tree line from another segment of the image and replace the flawed  element.

My fondness for antique/alternative processes  led me to try a different interpretation of the shot.  In this case I used an adjusted setting on VirtualPhotographer to create a tonal colour that suggests a much older time period.  I also used a Flaming Pear application, ISO Cube Tile.  This created an interesting  vignette effect.

Note that I did not  have to worry about cloning the tree line. The  blur now played into overall effect of the image.  I then added a texture layer that I created to stress & age the image.

If  there is an interest I will post  guided sequence of how to create this type of effect.

My last step was to add an aged antique edging. PhotoShop Pro offers a variety of edges. Once selected i modify them using textures that I have created. I noticed that I needed to further modify the aging layer on the image after I completed modifying the frame edge. Mostly it involved some erasing & thinning out of segments of the layer.

Final Note: Clicking the first image will take you to George’s original post. You can read George’s account & see Leanne’s interpretation of the image there.  Click the other images to see larger versions.

Once again I would like to thank George for letting me play with one of her photos. BTW George’s insights on my Vision Quest1 post seeded ideas for Vision Quest2 ( the previous post). George is a very clever lady and her blog is fascinating.