There’s something strangely soothing about cleaning clouds. I suppose it also has to do with being a perfectionist. I can (and do) spend hours cleaning clouds, removing every little speck of dust, every tiny hair, every little irregularity. I just enlarge a piece of cloud as much as I want, hover over it with a circle, and click–gone, like it was never even there.
I’m talking, of course, about Photoshop editing. My father, who was an avid photographer, swore by slides, and so, being an independent thinker, when I got into photography, I swore by slides, too. A few months ago, I scanned about a thousand of my slides, but I didn’t dust them properly beforehand. I would have saved myself an awful lot of time if I had cleaned them first, but then where would the fun have been?
Now I have a seemingly endless supply of photos with dramatic skies over Lake District, Cairngorms, and Snowdonia landscapes that need my tender loving click. Whenever I have to hang around somewhere, killing time while one or both of my children have some activity, I can take out my computer, pick a photo and spend the waiting time with my head in the clouds.
I remember when the first video game came out. No, it wasn’t Pac-Man, you wippersnappers. It was Pong, a very simple tennis-against-the-wall kind of thing where you moved a little brick left and right, to hit a ball that bounced off the edge of the screen and back to your brick, if it was in the right position. I was in college, and my boyfriend at the time, who was always into the latest gadgets (no doubt he’s in the IT field now), had set it up on the TV in the basement of our student house.
It was extremely addictive, and I spent many an afternoon moving that little brick back and forth on the screen instead of studying. After doing it for a few hours, I would get back to reading, and find that–as I was reading–I was imagining the words being like that little brick. I’ve heard that the younger crowd, who wasted their student years on Tetris, had something similar, with the words falling down to a nice tight fit.
Well, Photoshop editing is like that, too. After a session of cloud-cleaning, I find myself looking at the spots in the carpet (with two cats, a big dog and two kids, we have plenty of spots), and then imagining placing an appropriately sized circle over one of them, and clicking. Click, click, click . . . Or I’ll be driving, and you know how there are these random lines of newer, darker asphalt that has been used to patch up cracks in the road? Clickclickclick. A dent in the car in front of me at the traffic light: click.
And best of all, I imagine placing a circle over the age spots on my arms, clicking them away one at a time. Wouldn’t that be nice? And those ever returning black hairs on my chin? Click. Pimples (yep, I still get those): click, click. Hell, I could even work away some of those inches that are hiding my waist. It might make me a little blurry around the edges, but hey, metaphorically speaking I’m there already, anyway.
Ah, I can only dream. I think I’ll do just one more photo.