Monday, May 26, 2014


Have you ever played GeoGuessr? About a year ago a friend mentioned it, and I got hooked on it that weekend. I was recently reminded of it and thought I'd talk about it here.

You can play it by clicking here: GeoGuessr

Each game has five turns/rounds. You are shown the street view of somewhere in the world, and you can wander around like you would on Google Streetview--with the arrows and zoom tools provided on the screen. In doing so you can look for clues as to where you've "landed." When you're ready to make a guess, use the Google map on the right. Drag it around and zoom in (use your mouse wheel) so you can make your guess as specific as you like. Click the spot that you choose as your guess, and then click the "Make Guess" button.

Sometimes you are able to get extremely close to the actual location because there are signs giving away specifics like the city name. But I count myself successful if I'm able to guess the correct country or state! It's harder than it sounds.

Here's how I did on the location I was given at the top of this post. I moved around until I found some signs with city names that were somewhat familiar, so when I zoomed in on England I was able to find what I was looking for and get a very close guess. I was kind of lucky that I vaguely recognized the style of the city names.

Playing is fascinating because you get to see a lot of random places in the world. The scenes are sometimes mundane, which makes it all the more interesting to get a glimpse of what people far away see in their day-to-day lives. Playing the games makes me want to travel, and I have learned a lot by exploring.

Then they put you somewhere you had no idea Google "street"view went. Like in the ocean! What the heck?

It's funny what you start noticing in order to determine the location. Usually the first thing I check is whether the cars are driving on the right or left side (usually both :P). I try to read the signs, but not all of them are very informative, especially when they're in a language I don't recognize. Sometimes I end up making a random guess because I'm in a really dull location and don't feel like inspecting it further.

TIP: You'll find you're often placed in the western side of Australia. If you're ever in a dry, boonie-ish area outside of the US, that's usually a good guess. Brazil also comes up a lot. Some countries don't have very extensive streetview coverage yet, so they don't show up as often in the game. Since Australia and Brazil are both large countries and have a lot of coverage, they are good guesses if you're feeling stumped.

You get a score based on how close your guess is with the actual location, and after five turns they give your total and a summary of your guesses versus the correct ones. The scoring is just for fun and comparisons. Sometimes I do terribly and will guess a location that is basically on the other side of the world from the actual place. Mostly I play for the virtual exploring.

Let me know how you like it if you play! (No, I'm not making any money from them, I just like to share the fun!)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Yuba City knows how to party

Goodness, could I take any longer to show you the photos I took while in California? Every time I think of editing them, I want to do something else instead. But I did start on them the other day, so I might as well post a few that I have ready. I've narrowed them down a lot, because it turns out I wasn't very thrilled with many of them. Don't be sad at me, though! I feel like any time I make a less-than-positive comment about my photos I have people disapproving of me. :P

I really loved how this particular flower worked with the droplets, so I'm going to show you a few. I need to do more with flowers with this sort of pattern.

I also much prefer doing droplet photos with grass, because it feels a little more natural.

Droplets are adorable!

Here's a secret: I've been experimenting more with focus stacking, which is where you take several photos of a subject with a different focus in each photo, and then have a program (like Photoshop) smoosh them all together into one picture with many parts in focus. So this is built of several photos because, with the macro lens, it's about impossible to get everything in focus. I can talk about it a little more in depth sometime, if you want. Or at least link you up to someone who explains it better.

Okay, more to come. Someday. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Portraits: Liane

This past weekend I got the opportunity to photograph the lovely Liane. The weather was perfect, she's a natural in front of the camera (not to mention gorgeous), and I had studied up on some new poses and techniques I wanted to try, so I feel pretty good about the resulting images. I'm also experimenting with different editing styles, which you may notice as you go through these.

Be sure to read more about Liane in between the photos. :D I've also written a few of own behind-the-scenes notes. Thanks for looking.

How would your friends describe you? Crazy cat lover... But they love me despite my weird quirks! They would also say I love everyone, love to cuddle, am very hopeful about life and all that God is doing.

One of the techniques I tried on several photos during this session was using a little Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on the lens filter to soften the edges of the photo. I LOVED the effect and will definitely be doing this again. I had purchased a second lens filter so I could use it exclusively for this purpose and not have to clean up and reapply the Vaseline. You can see that it does something funny to one of the bubbles in this photo, but mostly the effect is to diffuse the light and give a soft glow to the pictures. A little goes a long way, and it does put a bit of haze over the photo that I had to adjust (in Photoshop) as needed.

What's your favorite season? Summer!!!

What do you watch on TV lately? I don't ever watch TV anymore - college life made me forget about it... the last time I watched TV was with a group of friends and The Bachelor was on... You can judge me. (No judgment here! I love to bash that show.)

Liane was the one to suggest she go behind the ivy instead of in front of it, and I love how these turned out! You wouldn't know she was standing, in heels, on a small ledge over a creek. I kept worrying she'd slip!

What's your favorite color? I like them all.

Where did you go on your last vacation? I went to Hawaii in June 2013 with a group of friends from Corban and stayed with a friend who went to school with us. We did all sorts of things from hiking to paddle boarding! It was everything you would expect a Hawaiian vacation to be!

Liane played softball (middle infield and outfield) in college and did awesomely, according to all the stats and records where I saw her name.

What is your favorite sort of outfit to wear? I love dressing up and wearing cute dresses. However, my favorite outfit to wear is comfy sweats (it's the athlete in me)!

What was your major in college? Accounting.

Liane brought her roommate's flowers to use for the shoot, and I thought they looked pretty with this dress.

What do you like to order at Starbucks? White chocolate mocha with raspberry. so sweet--so good!

What's your favorite website(s) to check up on regularly? I will be honest--YES I DO CHECK FACEBOOK.. I also read a lot of blog posts on and

What's your favorite song of the moment? "Oceans" -- Hillsong United (this has been my song for the past year)

Thanks again, Liane, for a really fun session! We're definitely going to have to do it again.


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