Monday, April 28, 2014

Magnolia Discovery

I love magnolias! They are so stately and beautiful. The first time I photographed them was when I was in Virginia for my son's graduation from the University of Virginia Law School. We were driving through campus and I yelled, "Stop!" There was tree after tree covered in huge magnolia blossoms! And I do mean HUGE!  They were the size of dinner plates!  I spent a good hour capturing them in all their glory.

The next time I was able capture some with my camera was in Dallas last May. I had been looking forward to going to Dallas again this year and definitely planned to visit the magnolias again. However, my husband's schedule isn't going to allow us to go and I was disappointed about missing the magnolias.

Today I stopped at a new nursery, mainly looking for cactus in bloom, and right outside the front door was a magnolia in bloom!  The flowers were only about the size of saucers (only!) so not as huge as the southern ones, but I was so glad I had my camera with me so I could snap a few shots.  And then this happened:

While I was focusing, in the corner of the lens I saw a bee approaching. I just kept shooting and was able to catch this shot of him wallowing in the pollen:

I think he may have been even  happier than I was to discover this magnolia in bloom! I thought about bringing it home but it was almost $100.  But at least now I know where I can go to find some magnolia blooms to photograph!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

App Happy and Word Art Happy

My friend Barb Brookbank at Keeping with the Times is doing a series on her blog called App Happy Wednesday where you link up your edited phone images with the app of your choice. Well, being a pretty app happy girl myself, I was happy to take part! The above image was edited with the Waterlogue app and I have to say that using this app makes me feel like an artist!  So easy and so rewarding!  However, I have found that on some images too much detail is lost in the waterlogue process and so to recapture some of that detail I take the original image and the waterlogued image into Blender and bring back just enough of the original until I'm happy.  This process has made me love Waterlogue even more!

Then a note about the word art (which is from Ali Edwards).  I am a word art fanatic and love to use it on my photos.  Yesterday I read about how you can take your word art that you currently have on your computer and make it available to you on your mobile devices! I didn't waste a minute until I checked this out! Here's how it's done:

1. First of all, head to the App Store and purchase the LetterGlow app. I think I remember that it's $1.99 but trust me, you won't be disappointed!

2. Make sure you have Dropbox installed on your computer. If you don't, go to and install it. It's free.  When you open Dropbox on your computer, you will see a new folder called Apps. Copy the word art files you want to use into that folder.

3. Make sure you have installed the Dropbox app on your phone or tablet.

4. Open LetterGlow on your phone or tablet and click on the gear icon at the bottom (gray circle). Then click on Install Overlays and then Add Overlay and then Dropbox. This will take you to your Dropbox folder on your computer where you will click on the Apps folder where you have stored your word art. This will bring that word art into a folder called My Set in LetterGlow.  Once a particular word art image is in your set, you won't  have to go back to Dropbox to retrieve it.

5. Back up in LetterGlow until you get back to the main screen. Choose your photo and click "Use".

6. At the bottom, click on the box with the dotted line around it and then click on the plus sign that appears above it.

7. Click on My Set which will take you to the word art that you have saved in LetterGlow. Tap the word art you want to use and it will place it over your photo.

8. From there you can resize and recolor your word art as desired. When you are happy with the result, click on the tiny triangle in the white bar at the bottom of the screen and click on Done. The next screen will give you the option of saving it to your Camera Roll or importing it into Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, etc.

I hope all this makes sense. I had to play a bit and have added more to the instructions I found to help make it more understandable.  So if you're a word art "junkie" like I am, give this a try. Let me know if you have any problems or questions. I'll be glad to see if I can help.

Keeping With The Times

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pretty in Pink

Two things I want to get back to doing: 1. Posting regularly to my blog. I don't know how it happens but I let posting here fall to the bottom of my "to do" list and it just never happens. I say, "I'm back!" and then one or two posts later, I'm gone again.  I want to change that.  2. I have fallen so far behind in Kim Klassen's Beyond Beyond class and I want to go back and try to catch up on the lessons there. I also want to get back to participating in her Texture Tuesday.  I have signed up for her new class Be Still 52 and all of the rest of the contributors to my collaborative blog Focusing on Life have signed up too so maybe we can keep each other accountable and not fall behind.

The photo above is of a bunch of pink ranunculus I picked up from Trader Joe's yesterday in a new Ball jar that I got on a trip to Prescott. Next to peonies, I think these might just be my favorite flower. I used Kim's free textures this week, KK Simple Set, and I like the softness they give this shot. The word art is from Sue Cummings.

Well, I'm not making any promises but I'm hoping that you will be seeing a lot more of me from here on out!