It’s a really good bet that no matter where we live, how much money we have, or how old we are, nearly all of us women over 40 have two things in common:

  1. We all have at least some photographs in shopping bags or similar containers.
  2. We all know people for whom Valentine’s Day is a not-so-great reminder of what (or who) isn’t in their life, no matter what is there.

You just might be able to use the first statement to brighten February 14 for someone  in the second category.

Take one of your old color photos of a great time you’ve shared with a friend, convert it to black and white, put it into a red leather frame, and you can truly warm a friend’s heart. (We saw some red frames online for $7.99—just Google “leather picture frames.”)

This photo was taken in color in 1972. One of the women pictured had it in a shopping bag for just about 40 years.  One day she put some lightweight photo paper into a copier and pressed “Black Copy.” She fiddled with the “Lighter and Darker” settings and got something that was totally acceptable.

Then, when she remembered that she had a friend who was a Photoshop whiz, she was off to the races. The transformed picture was just what she wanted.

There are many ways to achieve Black and White results from a color photo original, and many Web entries devoted to the process. If you are starting with a digital image, the transformation is even easier when you use the pre-set filters in iPhoto, Picasa, and/or Photoshop Elements.

None of us thinks Valentine’s Day is the end-all and be-all of defining love or devotion, but it’s a given, and there’s no better way to deal with it than by giving to someone who isn’t expecting the day to offer much at all.


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