Last night we all bundled into the car, two cars really, me from home with Dane, Dave from post with Tess, and headed out to celebrate our friends sons enlistment in the US Army! Keith has been a paramedic for years and is ready to serve as a combat medic. I am in awe of his strength, courage and determination.

Keith and his sister Sarah flew out to Germany this weekend so he could have his enlistment ceremony here, with his parents. It was meant to be a very short trip, mostly for this solemn occasion, and some fun & happiness with their family. But. There is always a but with the Army. There were some paperwork issues and Monday & Tuesday were stress-filled scrambling to get one more document. And another. And another.

Finally at 18:00 Tuesday we got the call:

“We’re good to go! Ceremony at 19:00!” We hopped in our cars and met them on post. Not just to support and show our love for our friends, but also for Keith for taking this big step. I was also Official Photographer, a great opportunity to not only give my friends a gift, but also to work with the wonderful lighting in military offices before our own big ceremony… Dave’s retirement!

By 19:00 the recruiters office was filled with two families, and six additional friends. We were ready, excited and honored to be there on Keiths’ big day. And suddenly there was more paperwork needed.

We raced to the house to get more papers. Dug through emails. Begged. Pleaded. And finally, at almost 22:00, it was a no go.聽 With castdown faces and heavy hearts we all walked out. In silence. We’d had such high hopes. Dave took the kids home, it was well past bedtime, and I joined them at the local beer & burger joint (btw, I had no idea there was a beer & burger joint in Germany!).

Beer & burgers makes everything better. Our hearts are filled with hope that tonight, or tomorrow night, Keith will get to enlist. Fingers & toes are crossed.

The good news is I got to practice taking photo’s in terrible light. Even better? I finally wrote up how I do my basic edits AND created a little action that will do it for you.

First, my photo from last night, Keiths sister Sarah, before & after:

Sarah before and after basic edit

And how I did it:

Dane original (from when Boo was here!)

Add Adjustment Layer: Curves

Curves setting:

  • Output = 123
  • Input = 154

Add Adjustment Layer: Channel Mixer

Channel Mixer settings:

  • Red = +125
  • Green = -12
  • Blue = -12
  • Layer Opacity = 62%

Run Filter High Pass

How to run the High Pass Filter:

  • Duplicate the background layer
  • Important: run filter on background layer
  • Click on Filter –>Other–>High Pass (radius: 10 pixels)
  • Set layer to: Soft Light

Add Adjustment Layer: Levels

Levels Settings:

  • Top 3 boxes: 0; 1.50; 255
  • Output: 15; 255
  • Change layer to Screen
  • Change Opacity to 25%
  • Move this layer to the front (top) of all your layers!

The final step is the included Facebook Size action (or Print Sharpening for full-size images):

Ready to share!