Hello Friends and Family,

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Sports Weekend

Wow, this was a big sports weekend. No matter what sport you follow, it seemed like something was happening. For basketball fans, “March Madness” has begun. Every college in the country is now entered (or so it seems) into the tournament and it plays down until two teams play for the NCAA National Championship. So between now and then, if you are not a college basketball fan you will find it difficult to communicate with those who are. They may not answer their phones — they may not even be at their desks at work. Please be patient with them.

And there was baseball being played. The World Baseball Classic is a tournament where teams from around the world compete in America’s game. Of course, some of the players from the U.S. Major League are playing for their home countries. And the finals will be between Japan and Cuba — Team USA was eliminated. Interesting — the world is beating America at its own game. At the same time, preseason baseball is in full swing. Of course, it doesn’t count so, as Mizuki says, “not interesting”.

And for the football fans who are still in withdrawal after the Super Bowl, there was the annual game of musical chairs — as players who are free agents or who have been released by their team quickly try to find a new team to pay their exorbitant salaries. For instance, Edgerrin James jumped from the Indianapolis Colts to the Arizona Cardinals. Perhaps he has not studied the recent history of the Cardinals before he signed his mega-million dollar contract. Most stars who come to the Cardinals quickly are lost in mediocrity that breeds obscurity. Conversely, most good players who leave the Cardinals go to other teams and become All-Stars.

There was one person who seemed quite happy with this latest game of musical chairs — Donavan McNabb. For non-football fans, he is the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. During the off-season, he is living in the Phoenix area and works out at the same Lifetime Fitness facility that I work out at. Last week, he had a big grin on his face which I assume was related to the fact that his nemesis, Terrell Owens (T.O. to his friends, as if he had any left in Philadelphia) was formally released from the team. Meanwhile, T.O. has joined the Dallas Stupid Cowboys as the next team to put up with this spoiled brat (San Francisco was first, followed by Philadelphia).

And for those of us who are golf fans, we had the Safeway International LPGA tournament. I decided to go on Sunday but as I was getting ready, it began to rain (Phoenix, rain?) — and it rained steadily, not just some lousy drizzle. Yes folks, I admit it — I am a fair-weather golfer and fair-weather golf tournament watcher. They had to carry on without me. And I was honestly looking forward to going — I can identify with the women players more easily than the men. Some of the male pros are hitting their drives 375 yards or more — the best women just over 300 yards. My best drives are closer to the latter (I confess they can out-drive me).

So I decided to work on my photography. Taking close-up pictures in a studio setting is new to me, so I experimented with lighting to see if I could improve on my efforts for Mizuki’s eBay business. As I saw the results, I decided I needed a model — but she needed to be small — even Roomba is too big. So our daughter, Muffy, volunteered as long as I would pay her modeling fee. Fortunately, she works for M&Ms — peanut M&Ms.

The first photo shows a raw image that I took (I confess that I doctored it to make it worse just to show the effect of how I work with images). The color balance is bad — too orange (or is it too red or perhaps too purple) — and the exposure is off — dim and poor contrast. However, my little cheater white balance card set is displayed in front of Muffy.

When I tell Photoshop that the white card represents white, the black card represents black and the left gray card represents gray,

Photoshop instantly corrects all those defects. Well, to be honest, it does a very good first approximation. I then make manual adjustments to please my eye producing the second photo (without the white balance cards). Muffy liked the results and her modeling fee. BTW — the colors of the M&Ms are accurate — they are the special Easter M&Ms.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com