In the world of bloggers, I think I fall into the category of the faux-blogger. Nonetheless, I am back at it for my very occasional entry.

Every year the Morse Family indulges itself in what we refer to as “our annual effort to embarrass ourselves,” namely our annual holiday card. Most years, the image speaks for itself. Some years are “straight shots” – no photoshop required, and other years are photoshop intensive – such as the restaurant photos where we four filled the place (Cheers 2006!) Curiously, two of the past three years Cheers cards have been winners in the deception department.

Cheers 2009! ,the prism photo, involved no photoshop at all (save the insertion of the text – see last year’s blog on the subject).

Cheers 2011! ,while employing photoshop to create the overlays of images, involved no photoshopping of us into water. Instead, it involved a lovely lunch with the Howe family at their pool in Carlisle, dressing up for the occasion and strolling into their pool, fully clothed, for the annual portrait. It is one of only three times when we have employed the services of another photographer for the photo. (All three report that many months in seclusion after the shoot – so as not to spill the beans – is not worth the artistic satisfaction.)

So here’s how it went.

Step 1: I asked a colleague who shoots lots of under water photographs if he could loan us his under water gear and his expertise for this year’s shoot. Unfortunately, his equipment was out of commission and he was out of the country. Not to be deterred by lack of professional equipment and a professional shooter, instead I bought an Olympus Stylus “air-and-sea” point and shoot camera.

Step 2: We asked Parkman and Melinda Howe if we could use their pool and confirmed the date with them; they promised (and delivered) a bright, sunny day.


Step 3: We arrived and ate a wonderful lunch in our bathing suits.

Step 4: We got dressed

Step 5: A test shot with Tim as the subject


Step 6: We walked into the pool, where Emily Howe (our photographer) captured us underwater.


Parkman documented the process by shooting all the above water photos.




Step 7: Dessert with the Howe’s

Step 8: Dry off and go home.

Step 9: Begin the debate on photo choice.


Step 10: Search for fish tank

Step 11: Secure permission for using tank and its inhabitants

Thanks to Dr. Kirk Johnson (Karen’s knee surgeon) for the use of the fish tank in his office, and for Gill, the very large orange fish for doing his part.

Step 12: Arrive at office before doctor’s office hours to shoot the tank . (We hung a black background on the back side of the tank to prevent reflections.)


Step 13: All photos converted to black and white


Step 14: Insert and resize family holding breath image; erase body parts so that it would appear that we were behind fish, plants and rocks.


Step. 15: Insert Cheers 11! text


Step 16: Request and receive final approval from other three family members

Step 17: Print and cut 440 prints


Happy New Year and Cheers ‘11 !


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