The groomed Shih Tzu

Our pet Shih Tzu, Oscar, has been suffering under the unusual August weather. It’s actually quite warm, and his long coat is more useful for colder weather. So this morning we had him groomed and doesn’t he look cute?

BBQ at the Waterloo Inn

Jimmy and Paul served the bbq to hungry parents, kids and everyone else at the charity bbq in the Waterloo Inn today. They spent over an hour dealing with flames and hot food at the end of a blisteringly hot day and really deserved the round of applause afterwards.
Well done guys, and thanks to everyone who helped out! It was a great day!

Beware the giant duck!

If you come down to Blarney today you should watch out for the giant ducks, and if you sit on a bench look behind you, there’s a good chance a tree is reading over your shoulder.

Don’t get me started on the dastardly Parking signs!

Yes, walking around Blarney can be quite dangerous especially if you meet some of the little people. The leprechauns are out and about these days. If you go to kiss the Blarney Stone, you’re almost guaranteed to see them in the grounds of the castle. Unfortunately due to the high cost of living and the price of property, their crock of gold has been sadly depleted to the extent that they are forced to entertain tourists. ’tis a sad day!

Just remember, always look out for the giant ducks!

PS. on a more serious note, the August issue of Digital Journalist is out now!

PPS. Alex Shiels, who I work with at Automattic, has a photoblog called Flight Path hosted on WordPress.com. He’s done a nice job of making a photoblog theme out of the Sandbox css theme! He’s already posting photos from San Francisco. His latest shot, street level 2 is a dark foreboding image taken over there. I’ll have to start working on some of mine, but the last few days have been hectic. I don’t know how Alex managed it!

Eye of the Shih Tzu

This is Oscar, our Shih Tzu. He has been a part of our family for just over a year now and he’s very devoted to my wife Jacinta. He loves playing with me too, but I know who he’d save from a sinking ship!

We were worried what would happen when the baby came along, but Oscar has been great. For the most part he has ignored Adam, but if a stranger should lean over Adam and his mom then Oscar will be out to growl and sometimes bark! That would be great if there was any danger but it’s almost always a friend or family so it’s become an annoyance we need to look out for.
Poor Oscar doesn’t get the same amount of attention as he did before baby but in general he behaves better, so that’s a good thing! I think he got a little cocky and just a little too confident of his place in the family hierarchy.

Adam and his baby soother

Adam is 5 weeks old today! Last Wednesday we saw his first smile, or perhaps it was trapped wind because he was just after feeding but it was a beautiful sight to behold. He has smiled since too, and was especially cheerful this morning!

Adam loves his baby soother though. He sucks on it like Maggie out of the Simpsons does. Non-stop and with feeling!
If a soother or dummy isn’t nearby and it’s available, a hair dryer works wonders for relaxing him. The sound soothes him and he can go from screaming the house down to docile and a gurgling baby in seconds when the hair dryer is switched on. It’s magic.

Technique: This is a high key portrait created using two layers.
1. Original image is the bottom layer.
2. Duplicate that layer.
3. Convert top layer to b/w using channel mixer.
4. Apply Gaussian blur to the top layer. I used a 75 pixel wide blur.
5. Change mode of top layer to screen.
6. Add white layer mask to top layer and reveal eyes from original image by painting over them with a black brush. Use an opacity of 10%.
7. Merge layers and save. Layers should be separate when resizing so you can unsharp mask the bottom layer.

Hope that is of use!

Caution Children

A sign at the entrance to my estate warns motorists to watch out for children playing on the street.

Just to prove that you don’t need a big digital SLR to take interesting photos, this was taken with my Panasonic FZ5. I saw the great cloudscape in the sky and illuminated the sign with the onboard flash.