Mrs Baine

Welcome to my world

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    Welcome to my new blog, I decided that I would change to Posts dated before March 27, 2008 are imported from my old blogger site. I was looking for a blog that is easily navigated around, and simple to update, I love the layout I can have here, with 2 side bars and tabs at the top for different subjects. I currently have an about me tab and a photography tab, Ill be looking to add recipes, and craft ideas shortly, so check back in to see what’s new regularly!
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playing with photoshop filters…

Posted by MWPA on June 16, 2009

Using photoshop elements and a self portrait, I came up with this ‘art’ I think the overall effect was made better, by the lighting I used fo rthe selfportrait, giving the picture good shaddow and depth.



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An old photo.

Posted by MWPA on May 27, 2009

I have so many things I should be doing, but instead of doing them I am looking back through the last yar at the photo’s I have taken. Its great to see how I have improved, I cant belive how many pictures that I thought were great at the time actually are terrible and not focussed corrrectly due to me using the wrong settings, I am reeditting a few pictues too, just to see if any are savable, here is one that a little bit of editing changed completely, this is my new desktop background!


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The Madison, Washington DC. Hotel Review.

Posted by MWPA on May 13, 2009


This past weekend Will and I took a weekend break to Washington DC. We wanted to do three things while we were in the city, visit the Spy Museum, the Smithsonian Zoo and relax.

We didn’t want to spend a lot on our hotel, but we still wanted a little bit of luxury so we looked on for hotels in the middle of Washington DC. is a website that allows hotels that have rooms sitting empty and not making money to be sold at extremely low prices, to help the hotel keep their bookings up. The website does not advertise the hotels names, just the price, star rating and facilities at the hotel. To find a hotel all you have to do is type in the name of the city and select the dates you would like to visit, and a list of hotels will appear. gives the star rating and the facilities inside the hotel, also the area where the hotel is located, so if you do a  bit of searching on the Internet you an get a rough idea of which hotel you are looking at. we used to help us locate which hotel we would be staying in before making our booking.

We chose a hotel in DuPont Circle, it was a four and a half star hotel and it was said to be The Madison. So we took the plunge and booked the room, once the booking was complete confirms your hotel name and where it is located, ours was as we had hoped-The Madison.

HotelOur journey to the hotel was mainly hassle free, we had a little bit of a problem with the Tom Tom once we actually got to into Washington DC city center, it was getting muddled with the distances between streets so we missed a couple of turnings, which was irritating. The hotel was easy to spot, it was right on the corner of 15th street, we pulled into the parking garage and were greeted by the valet parking men, who told us to get out and they would park the car. There was no option for us to park the car, which I am assuming is because the parking lot was small and and cars were double parked . The car was taken down under the hotel, and we were shown into the hotel to the reception desk, with our bags carried for us. I have no problem with valet parking, it makes things easier we just called down to the front desk when we wanted our car and it would be waiting for us by the time we made our way down to the elevator. The cost of using the hotels parking was a little excessive at $40 a day but I think in the end for the ease of having your car right near you it was worth it.

After getting to the reception desk we had a very nice lady help us, she asked us how our day was going, and Will told her it was stressful with the last part of the drive, and she replied she was sorry to hear that and that she would upgrade us to a luxury room for free, she made a point of saying it would be on the 12th floor away from the elevator so it would be nice and quiet…which it was! The upgraded room even had a massage chair in it. The hotel normally charges $339 for this room per night. By booking through Hotwire we were able to stay in the room for $109 a night. The receptionist was able to recommend a couple of places to eat and she gave us a couple of maps of Washington DC maps so we could find our way around the city.

Hotel-002The Madison is an older hotel, and could do with a little bit of fine tuning, I am glad we did not pay the full Madison advertised price for our room, as we would have been disappointed. The carpets were old and worn in places, there were marks on the wall and the light switches were discolored, which I was quite surprised about considering this is a 4.5 star hotel. The bathroom was also a little bit disappointing, it was extremely small, which I put down to it being an older hotel. The bathroom had poor ventilation and became heavily steamed up. It did have a shower and and a tub, the shower was powerful although positioned in a slightly awkward off center way. One of the nice things about the bathroom was the heated towel rack, which gave us snugly warm big towels once we were done with the shower.

We had a 32 inch LCD tv with a good selection of channels, although no DVD player. The bed was positioned opposite the tv and it was one of the most comfortable beds I have ever lay down upon, the bedding was soft and the bed was big and comfortable The hotel also provided robes which were soft and snugly too. Having digital thermostat was great, we were able to keep the air conditioning nice and cold.

There was a nice selection of complimentary coffee with a coffee maker, but that was the only ‘free’ thing in our room, even the bottle of water they had placed next to the coffee was $6.50! we found a small CVS pharmacy around the corner from the hotel and bought our drinks from there and kept them next to the air vent so they would stay cool. we had a mini bar in our room, which had a nice selection of drinks and snacks, but we chose not to spend our money on those.  There was a gym and business center on the second floor along with a spar, the gym was nicely equipped and had a sauna and steam room. the business center looked good, the first 30 minutes of Internet usage was free, after the 30 minutes was up you had to pay extra.

The hotel was in a great location, were were a 15minute walk from the white house, a five minute walk from the metro and small shopping and dining area. I would recommend this hotel to others so long as you were not paying the full Madison price for your rooms. Every person who worked at The Madison that we encountered was very friendly and helpful.

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Work today…

Posted by MWPA on April 15, 2009

When I am at work I enjoy what I do, but as I have had four days off in a row, I have very little motivation to go to work this evening, especially as it is only a 5 and half hour shift. At least today the weather is dull so I dont feel like I am missing out on a beautiful day!

I did get up on time (10.30am) and walk my neigbours dog, I then set up a photography blog that will be linked to my website Rachel Clare Photography, The Blog so that i can update potential clients and show them what I am about. I am really trying to think of ways to market my self so I can get more clients which will inturn allow me to build my portfolio.

I cant wait for my business cards to arrive, I ordered them from Moo using my photographs for the image on the card, I also ordered some post cards to see how they turned out, I will be reviewing them once they arrive, and I will add pictures to show you what they look like.

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A New Lens…

Posted by MWPA on April 14, 2009

003So I have been saving and saving and saving my pennies so that I could buy a new camera lens. The lens I chose was the 17-40L, it is a wider lens, so I can fit more in my photograph with out backing all the way up.  My first day of testing it came up showed this lens is of very nice quality and between me my camera and the lens we produced some awesome photographs that were vibrant and sharp. (click the photo to see the album with more photos from this day out!)

Rachel Clare Photography the website is also growing so be sure to check it out:

Posted in Photography, Places Ive Been | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

How I Removed Yellow Tack / Blue Tack / Wall Tack Residue From My Walls

Posted by MWPA on April 9, 2009

Being that I live in a rented apartment, I did not want to stick lots of holes in my walls to display the photos of my friends and family that I like to have on display, so armed with some yellow tacky stuff a blank wall and a whole bunch of photos I decorated the office wall.  Today I decided I wanted to re arrange the photos and put them into 5×7 frames that I just purchased from walmart for $1.50 each, So I took down all the photos, carefully took the tack off the wall with out removing the paint only to find greasy yellow stains on the wall where the tack had been.

So after a quick Google search to see what other people use to remove the residue I found that most people had used an oil based paint to paint over it-that was something I did not want to do so after some more searching I found someone suggesting nail varnish or paint thinner. So I decided I may as well try the nail varnish to see how that works and if it messes up the wall I have to repaint it anyway to remove all the grease marks.

Using a ball of cotton wool dampened with the nail varnish remove I dabbed it on to the dirty mark, nothing happened, so then I tried rubbing a little bit, and I saw the paint start to come off the wall. So all I actually needed to do was dab the spot then using light pressure rub over the spot in different directions and the paint removed from the spot removed the grease mark.  I would imagine it is easy to over do this and end up with a streaky wall, so you have to be careful doing this!

If you tried this method or know of a better way to remove the greasy marks leave me a comment to let me know what you did!

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A Year Long Deployment

Posted by MWPA on April 4, 2009

Last week we found out that Will is going to be sent away for a year, most people who serve in the military are expected to do a short tour at some point of thier career, we decided that it is better to volunteer and get Will’s short tour done with before we have a family so that he has no excuses (apart from regular deployments) to escape family life! A year with out Will, is not a nice thought, but I can deal with it, and I intend to keep my self busy.  Will doesnt leave for a while, so we plan on having lots of fun before he goes!!

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How To Create a High Contrast Muted Color Photograph

Posted by MWPA on March 17, 2009

One of the photograph magazines that I subscribe to is Rangefinder. Rangefinder features personal stories from excellent photographer’s. This months issue was a special edition as it features all black and white photographs, and many of the article had sets of photographs taken from the same place or using the same theme. This inspired me this morning to get out my camera-the Canon 30d with the 18-55mm lens and start taking photographs around the house. Photographs from the set that I called ‘Randomness’ can be found HERE. With these photos I tried to look at regular house hold items with a different light, experimenting with my angles and post processing editing too.

With the ‘Meat’ shot I decided to make a tutorial so that you can replicate the post processing. I use Photoshop Elements version 6. The tutorial covers how to sharpen, how to correct a color cast,and how to convert to black and white.

This is the original photograph, as you can see it is bland and boring, It is very flat and almost a little soft looking and has a yellow tint.


Open your photograph in Photoshop Elements 6 and duplicate the layer, to do this look to the right side of your screen at the pallet bin and right click the visible image. From the menu select duplicate layer. you will now see that there are two images in the area now. Always make sure you work on the top image. Layers are great to use when doing lots of editing, each time I start on a different part of the editing I open a new layer so If I make a mistake on one of them I just delete or re edit that layer instead of having to start all my editing from the beginning.


Sharpen the photograph using the unsharp mask or the USM


You can see the settings I chose for the USM bellow, I don’t normally go over 85% for the amount and I try to keep the radius below a two-anything above that creates a funny highlighting around outlines.


Next I did a levels adjustment, I do this on every photo, it helps bring the image alive and adds pop, it also keeps colours true and gets rid of strange tints and color casts.


I find the best way to make an adjustment is to use the eye dropper tools. There are three under the auto button, click the first one and select the darkest black on your image, you will see a change in your image when you do this, for fun now click on a different color and watch the way it effects your photo. Once you have used the eye dropper to select the correct black click on the right eyedropper-the one that is colored white. Use this eye dropper to select a portion of white from your image. This may brighten your image and make your whites whiter. I used mine to the extreme for this photograph as I select some of the white that was shadowed, so the photograph ended up being almost over exposed.


This is the photograph after having applied the levels adjustment.


Next you need to duplicate the layer that you have edited. Use the top duplicated layer for the next steps, This is the part where you convert the photograph to black and white.


In the new window there are a few different versions of black and white to choose from, you can experiment or choose Urban/Snapshots like I did, I then used the moved the contrast slider to more to the right until I was happy with the way the photograph looked.


This is how the black and white layer looks, the photograph is nearly completed.


Still working on that top black and white layer in the pallet bin reduce the opacity so some of the color shows through to produce a muted effect.


Now you have your finished photograph.


This effect works great on all different kinds of images, from portraits to abstract, the key is to experiment with how much of the levels to adjust and how much to adjust the contrast once converted into black and white.

Posted in Photography | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How to waste time:

Posted by MWPA on March 9, 2009

Today I found a new website called Wonder How To I think this website could keep me amused for hours. This is a video archive of how to videos, learn how to build 3D Origami, grill baby back ribs, or back up purchases on I tunes, everything and anything that you might need to know in the form of video. This is a nicer place than you tube for finding interesting information.

I also discovered a site called Pandora which is a web site that plays advertisement free radio through the internet, all you have to do is type in your favorite song or artist and similar music is streamed directly to your computer. I really quite liked this, much better than the Yahoo radio that I had been listening too.

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Posted by MWPA on March 6, 2009

Well my very own website is up and running, the web address is and I am pleased with everything so far. the site is simple and has options for customers to buy prints online, right now I am using the zenfolio pricing, although late on I may customize that. The prints are made by I am happy with using them as have used them plenty of times in the past. I just need a few more volunteers so I can get more pictures up on the site so I can demonstrate what I can do.

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