Transforming a photo to artistic sketch for a non-artist.

headhead-edI can draw simple things, but I’m not really an artist, so, wanting to use “sketches” instead of photos for a project, I went looking for software that could transform photos into sketches.

I’ve used free online software in the past for this, but none seemed very versatile.  My photo-editing software, Paint Shop Pro, can create sketches, but it’s hit and miss getting good results and it’s not very intuitive for tweaking on the image.

4734292815I decided to try commercial software and the first one I came across seems to be perfect for what I want to do.

According to the product page for AKVIS Sketch, it “converts photos into pencil sketches and watercolor paintings. Now you do not need to handle a pencil to feel like an artist. All you need to create your original work of art is good taste and AKVIS Sketch.”

4734292815-2AKVIS has a number of artistic photo manipulation software tools.  A 10 day fully functional trial period is available for each.

My 10 day trial of Sketch has expired. I liked it well enough that I’ll be purchasing the AKVIS Sketch software. I would like to include some of the other software, but that’ll have to wait.  In the meantime, here’s some of the images I converted during the trial period.



One of the things that I noticed is that increasing the color saturation – more color –  of the photo resulted in better “sketches.”


5108705689 colored pencil high

After several hours of working with the program, I had saved 4 presets. I processed each photo with each preset and saved the result, with little additional adjustment. Later, I selected my final version from those that had been saved and deleted the rest.


3520432580 colorpen


2293135486 detailed

10909757506 bluepen

4734292815 image by FairbanksMike on Flickr under provisions of a Creative Commons License
3207444420 image by Bill Debevc on Flickr under provisions of a Creative Commons License.
5108705689 image by cloudchaser32000 on Flickr under provisions of a Creative Commons License
3520432580 image by craigfinlay on Flickr under provisions of a Creative Commons License
2293135486  image by Nicholas A. Tonelli on Flickr under provisions of a Creative Commons License
  image by Don Graham on Flickr under provisions of a Creative Commons License


Vintage Humor.

This is mah solushun fo' war - an' this is mah solushun  for peace ?? ot it may be vice-versey!!  Either way'll work.

Click on image to see larger version.



the don

“Destiny guides our fortunes more favorably than we could have expected. Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is nobel, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth.”

“What giants?” Asked Sancho Panza.

“The ones you can see over there,” answered his master, “with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long.”

“Now look, your grace,” said Sancho, “what you see over there aren’t giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone.”

“Obviously,” replied Don Quijote, “you don’t know much about adventures.”

― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote


Editing your Facebook comments

facebook-iconIt seems like a lot of people don’t realize that they can edit their Facebook comments.

It’s pretty simple.

Here’s a comment I left the other day:


When I hover the mouse cursor over on the right side of my comment, a pencil icon appears.


If I continue to hover there, a screen tip will appear that tells me I can edit or delete the comment.


When I click on the pencil the option menu appears.


Clicking on edit opens up the comment box for me to make changes.


After I make the changes, and hit enter, the changes appear with the comment. As well, the word “edited” appears on the line below the comment.




(Cross-posted from Haw Creek Reflections)

Of them all, Geronimo is the name most recognized today, over 100 years after his death – perhaps appropriate, given that his small band was the last of the independent  Indian1 warriors who had refused to accept the United States occupation of the American West.


Age 74, ©1June 2, 1903


Photo by Warren Mack Oliver, ©1907


Age 78, ©1906


Photo by H. H. Clark, between 1900 and 1909. Women describe variously as “two nieces” or “a daughter and a niece.”


1907 photo by A.B. Canady, Altoona, Kas.


Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, Omaha, Nebraska. Photo by Frank A. Rinehart or his assistant Adolph F. Muhr ©1898


With a well-known historical figure such as Geronimo, there is a wealth of information – and misinformation – available online.  Rather recreating any of that here, I will simply offer  Geronimo’s Story of His Life, published posthumously in 1915, opening on page 17, Chapter III, Early Life:

1According to a 1995 U.S. Census Bureau set of home interviews, most of the respondents with an expressed preference refer to themselves as “American Indians” or simply “Indians”; this term has been adopted by major newspapers and some academic groups, but does not traditionally include Native Hawaiians or certain Alaskan Natives, such as Aleut, Yup’ik, or Inuit peoples. (Wikipedia)

Haw Creek Reflections provides background information and links for images used for products in our Zazzle store.

geronimo5 geronimo4 geronimo3 geronimo6 geronimo2 geronimo1

Click on image to see related products.

Additional Information

Apache (Just a sample of what’s available on a Google search on “Apache tribe”)

American Indians


Customer Service I recently ordered replacement parts for our kitchen stove online from RepairClinic.

The main problem was that one of the large heating elements on the stove top, after intermittent problems, had stopped working.  I ordered the burner, the associated wiring and some other pieces primarily for cosmetic improvement.

The order arrived with the right number of parts.  However, instead of the surface heating element, there was a small cylindrically shaped object, a pressure relief device for a pressure washer.

It turned out that RepairClinic has online chat.

3:54:13 PM – Hi, my name is Erik. How can I assist you today?

3:56:06 PM – We just got our shipment, but it didn’t include Item #: 911361 Description: Coil Surface Element. Instead it included item 1955152 (UPC code), which we didn’t order.

3:56:40 PM – Ok let me take a look at your order and see what happened. One moment please

3:58:09 PM – The part we got is a thermal release valve for a homelite pressure washer, which we don’t have.

4:00:16 PM – Ok I am going to set up a replacement for the surface element. I will make sure that the warehouse grabs the correct part this time. I am not sure if someone back there just grabbed the wrong number or something else happened. I apologize for that regardless. I can upgrade the replacement to fedex ground and that will get to you this Tuesday

4:00:42 PM – Thanks, Erik!!!!!

4:00:58 PM – You’re welcome. We don’t need to get that valve back. You can throw that out.

4:01:15 PM – OKAY.

4:01:45 PM – Can I help you with anything else?

4:02:09 PM – No, that’s it. Thanks much for your fast help.

4:02:18 PM – You’re welcome Mike. Have a great day.

The part arrived as scheduled.

There’s nothing special about this customer service experience other than this is the way that it’s supposed to go – resolution achieved in just a few minutes.

How often do you hear good customer service stories?  How about bad ones?


D Day Rescue, Omaha Beach.


D Day Rescue, Omaha Beach

American soldiers on Omaha Beach recovering the fallen after the D Day invasion of France.

Photographer Walter Rosenblum, Army Pictorial Service.

The threats of today pale in comparison to the realities of the 20th century.



Patient Toil

Here’s another image where online searching yielded some interesting information.  I didn’t find anything on who she was or what the “toil” was.  I suspect she was sowing seeds, but that’s conjecture, at best.  (Cross-posted from Haw Creek Reflections)

Patient Toil - Moki pueblos, Arizona (between 1898 and 1905)Moki pueblos, Arizona (between 1898 and 1905)
Detroit Publishing Co. no. “51208″;
photomechanical print : photochrom, color.
Library of Congress image

Launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s, The Detroit Photographic Company, later the Detroit Publishing Company, obtained exclusive right for use of the Swiss “Photochrom” process. This process permitted the mass production of color postcards, prints, and albums for sale to the American market. In 1897, landscape photographer, William Henry Jackson, joined the firm, adding Jackson’s thousands of negatives to the photographic inventory.

While looking for more information on this image, I found a larger digital version, from which the image above was cropped and colorized. The image background is also altered on the photochrom version, making it more dramatic.

The title inked on the glass plate and penciled on the negative envelope reads:

Moki pueblo, patient toil

Patient Toil - Moki pueblos, Arizona (between 1898 and 1905) b&w

Image is from an 8 x 10 in. glass negative archived at the Denver Public Library.  It’s attributed to William Henry Jackson.

Description: “View of a Native American (Hopi) woman and a boy on the Hopi Indian Reservation, Arizona. The woman wears a dress and a shawl and has a fabric strap balanced on her head to support a fabric bundle with probably a baby inside. She holds a cup in her hands. A boy wears a shirt and pants with suspenders. Rocky mesas are in the distance.”

It turns out that both images were in the Detroit Photographic inventory as early as 1899.

An 1899 Detroit Photographic catalog lists Moki Pueblo. Patient Toil with the number 05710, the same title and number inked on the black and white glass plate.  It is included in Part II which includes plain photographs and hand colored photographs.  The other photo, with the catalog number 51208, is included in Part I under Aäc Color Photography. Describing it, the catalog says, “The Aäc Process of Color Photography is the only successful means yet known of producing directly without the aid of hand color work, a photograph in the colors of nature.” Aäc is another term for photochrom.

Haw Creek Reflections provides background information and links for images used for products in our Zazzle store.


Products with this image at Zazzle

Additional Information


American Indians


Ben Long Ear

Sometimes, the search for additional information for an old photo yields little.  Sometimes it yields a bit more, but poses more questions.  Sometimes, some of the questions are answered.

For this search, I started with an image, the first one below, and a name, Ben Long Ear.  The image is one that I am using for Zazzle products.  For each image, I try to locate additional information beyond what is readily available at the original source, usually Library of Congress.  (This post has been crossposted from Haw Creek Reflections.)

A pair of old pictures, rather than being worth the proverbial thousand words each, leave more questions than answers.

Who was this man? What tribe? Who was his family?  Where did they live? Why was he imprisoned? How long was he in? to mention just a few.

Ben Long Ear

Half-length portrait, facing front;
Photo created about 1905 by Edward S. Curtis.
Library of Congress image.

Ben Long Ear was born about 1875.  On December 16, 1886, age 13, he arrived at the famed Carlisle Indian Industrial School where he was supposed stay 5 years, until he was 18.  He was sent home, departing Carlisle September 17, 1890, according to his Carlisle Descriptive and Historical Record of Student. Follow-up information shows that he was a farmer in 1910 and 1913.

In the 1893, Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, Benjamin Long Ears is recorded as a cooper’s apprentice.

A Spokane Daily Chronicle article, January 10, 1906, relates an “elopement” of Ben Long Ear, son of Chief Big Medicine, with Mrs. Crooked Arm, both married to others. In related articles in other papers, United States authorities are said to be looking for the runaways. (Other sources indicate that he was Big Medicine’s son-in-law, husband of Grace Big Medicine.)

washingtom times

Indians Who Eloped Charged With Bigamy

Cody, Wyo. April 2 – Ben Long Ear and Mrs. Crooked Arm, the Crow buck and squaw who eloped from the Crow agency in January, have been returned to the reservation by officers.

When they left the agency, Mrs. Crooked Arm took her little papoose and $300 of her husband’s money.  Crooked Arm said he didn’t care for the money, but wanted his papoose back.  Mrs. Long Ear, who was deserted, says she still loves her husband and will gladly take him back.

The couple will be tried on the charge of bigamy.  Long Ear is ill from exposure in evading arrest.

In trouble with federal authorities in 1906 and a farmer in 1910 and 1913. What happened after that?

Ben Long Ear at McNeil Island Penitentiary

Ben Long Ear,  Inmate #2454, 1914
McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary, Washington
National Archives image.

Did this man commit crimes that actually harmed others?  Were his offenses a result of indigenous people running up against the morality of the newcomers to the land?  Was he railroaded so that others could take some advantage?

It appears that the answer may be murder.

Joseph discusses how Indian policeman, including Fire Bearer, were expected to control alcohol during prohibition cattle rustlers, such as Garvin, convicted murderers, such as Ben Long Ears, and horse thieves, such as Cherokee Cherry Adams. (Summary of oral interview of Joseph Medicine Crow)

Haw Creek Reflections provides background information and links for images used for products in our Zazzle store.

Ben Long Ear

Products with this image on Zazzle.

Additional Information

Crow People

American Indians


Log Planters from Dead Tree–wherein Mike gets whacked in the head.

One of our big pines lost its top on June 12, 2011.

2009 06 12 071ed for blog post

It was either snapped off by wind or hit by lightning.  Whatever caused it, it left a mess on the ground to clean up.

The next year, 2012, was the dry year where, to conserve water, water system customers were told not to do any outside watering.  We lost several trees from the drought. The big pine, already stressed from the damage in 2001, probably succumbed due to the drought conditions.  From its rings, the tree was well over 60 years old.

After the old pine was cut down, portions of the trunk were used to create several log planters.

2014-05-11 001ed

I created a short video of felling the tree.  I used a bit of a different technique this time and the tree fell very close to where I planned, even if I did get a whack on the head.

It looks like we may be in for some heavy rain over the next couple of days.  The ground is still saturated from the rain from the 9th.  We’re in a flash flood watch.

rain gage

Is your recent weather, compared to normal, drier, wetter, or just right?