Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Finds -- Peonies, a Bottle and Classes to Take

With the summer heat already upon us, getting out and shooting becomes more and more of an effort. It is like winter in the rest of the country -- the weather just keeps you indoors. So I thought that Kim Klassen's Be Still 52 class would be perfect for me. I have always admired her still life photography and the chance to learn from the master was impossible to resist. The photo above was my first week's submission and I have to admit I really enjoyed playing with just a bottle that I picked up at Ross and one of my peonies from Trader Joe's.  I set up a couple of pieces of white foam core on a chair (I don't have any cute little peeling-paint chairs like Kim does!) and I played. This shot was actually taken and processed with my iPhone.

This week's assignment in Kim's class was all about breathing, taking the time to just be still and breathe. My peonies came to the rescue again as a photographic subject and I played with this shot (again taken on the white foam core) using Kim's True Grit LR preset and her Rainy Day texture. I felt it needed more so I then applied Kim's Daisy texture at soft light as well as her Silence texture at multiply. The quote is one I have always loved from Oprah Winfrey. As far as applying textures and editing, I don't know how you ever know when you're done! So many fun things to try. But this exercise accomplished the desired effect -- making me slow down, focus, breathe and be totally in the moment of capturing beauty.

I am also taking Kim Manley Ort's class called Keeping it Simple which I thought would be a good complement to the Be Still class.  This is another peony shot taken at the same time but with no processing. We are learning about the difference between "simplicity" and "minimalism" this week. See how it is dovetailing the Be Still class?

Then, of course, I had to give it a try with my iPhone camera. I mean, you have to take advantage  of having peonies while they last!

No processing on this, just the addition of the text.

So there you have it -- my Friday finds were a bunch of peonies from Trader Joe's, a great (and cheap!) bottle from Ross, and two classes that are making me very happy!

Kim Klassen dot Com

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Virtual Blog Tour

Recently my friend Dotti Rinehart, who contributes to the Focusing on Life blog along with me, told me about a Virtual Blog Tour that she was doing and thought I might be interested in playing along.  She knew that I had recently begun posting to my blog again and thought this might be a way to jumpstart my blog and connect with other bloggers.  That sounded like just what I needed to get moving and gladly accepted her invitation. First of all, pop over to Dotti’s blog Camper and read her answers to these questions and see who else she invited to play and then come back here to read mine. See how this works?

All those who are participating are answering the same four questions, so here are mine: 

1. What am I working on?

I am always working on my photography skills – taking classes/workshops, talking to other photographers and shooting, shooting, shooting. The one thing that seems to improve my photography the most is shooting every day. If I let any amount of time go by without picking up my camera, then I tend to let it sit and then more time passes. You get the picture! I NEED to be shooting all the time. Sometimes it is just my morning cup of coffee, but how can I pose it, light it, frame it? I am currently enrolled in Kim Klassen’s new class Be Still 52 which just started last week and Kim Manley Ort’s class called Keeping it Simple which will start this week. Don’t those sound like the perfect combination? Taking classes is always something that gets me excited about getting my camera out and shooting. With the heat of the Arizona summer about to hit, classes about still life and keeping things simple sounded like the perfect antidote. 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have always wished I had a “style”, one recognizable as mine to the people who view my work.  I’m still not convinced I have it but other people tell me they can pick my photos out of a group so I guess I am developing one whether I can really see it or not. I love color. I gravitate toward color and I love flowers and nature. Most of all, I love macro, getting up close and personal as possible with my subject. I love that I see things that a lot of other people will walk right past. Sometimes I tend to miss the big picture because of it (grin) but I love the tiny details of things. 

And as you can tell from the photos in this post, I love introducing people to the beauty of the Arizona desert.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I didn’t start out to be a blogger. In fact, I am an on again, off again blogger. I first started blogging so my mother, who moved out of town, could read what was going on in my life. But then she lost computer access and I quit blogging. I would try to pick it up again from time to time, but after a few posts I would stall, and if you’re here reading this, that will be readily evident. I’m not saying that won’t happen again but over the last few years since starting the collaborative blog Focusing on Life, I have been following more and more blogs of other people and I want to be in that circle, sharing my photography, my thoughts and my life with others and sharing theirs.

4. How does your writing/creative process work?

I am usually inspired to post to my blog by the photos I take and want to share. I don’t think ahead of time about exactly what I want to say but just let the words flow as I look at the photos. But as I get into the writing part, sometimes things go in a totally different direction and I end up writing about something other than the photos!  I guess the words were there all along and just needed me to sit down at my computer and start writing for them to come out. 

And so, with all that said, I would like to introduce you to these two wonderful bloggers so that they can continue the Virtual Blog Tour next Monday on their blogs.

I recently met Melinda Anderson after she moved to a nearby Arizona town. After she retired from 30 some years of teaching first grade in the San Francisco Bay Area, Melinda bought her first DSLR to capture photos of her grandson, who was still a toddler.  Four years later, she finds that her photography hobby has grown into a passion she never anticipated! She and her husband have recently moved to Arizona and are the proud grandparents of two adorable grandsons, who are her favorite photography subjects. Her blog, Melissa Anderson Photography, can be found here.

Jeanne Stone has been a follower of Focusing on Life for quite some time. She is an author and photographer for and her blog Butterfly Tales which she has enjoyed for the past three years. She is a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother and a Nurse Practitioner. Photography is a long loved and serious hobby, with her goal being to see and appreciate the little but miraculous things all around us. Also as a Nurse Practitioner who has worked for many  years with women, one of her major goals in her photography is to empower others by helping them to see all of the beauty surrounding them and to find ways for this beauty to help them grow into the women they want to be. She loves natural light for her photography, shoots entirely in manual and loves seeing all of the beauty of this light. Photography is definitely her favorite hobby ever and she has loved sharing this on her blog.

Many thanks to these two ladies for participating and I hope you’ll join me in reading their posts next Monday, May 26 to learn more about them and to see who they have invited to continue the Virtual Blog Tour. 

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. I always appreciate your visits.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

App Happy Wednesday

Just a quickie today but I didn't want to miss Barb's App Happy Wednesday! These are a few of  my favorite apps right now. The above photo was textured with DistressedFX and the word art is from some great stuff in the Over app.

One of my favorite text apps right now is WordSwag. You input the words you want and then have many different options for fonts and stacking. Lots of fun!

Of course, there is always so much to love about Waterlogue! This shot of Chicago was edited in Waterlogue to look like an old postcard. When I have a photo that I want to make look like it's jumping off the page, I take the edited photo into Squareready where you can apply a shadow behind it. Love this look!

And finally, this beach shot where I used Waterlogue and Squareready and then added some wordart using LetterGlow (discussed in my last post).

That's it for today! Why not hop over to Barb's blog and join in?

Keeping With The Times

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rediscovering an Old Friend

Playing along with Barb Brookbank's App Happy Wednesday over on her blog Keeping with the Times. It is always so much fun and so inspirational to see what apps everyone is using and how they are using them.

This past month I've pretty much been focusing on using the Waterlogue app for an Instagram challenge of doing a photo a day using that app.  However, when we rolled  over to May, I was ready to play with some other apps. I haven't been using Tooncamera for quite awhile and then my friend Barb Hurst used it on one of her cactus bloom images and I am now in love with Tooncamera again! It is so easy and there are so many options to play with.

You can see how different this one looks from the one at the top -- almost like a completely different app! And finally, there's this one, which I think is my favorite:

Loving the great definition and texture this app brings to this shot. So if you haven't tried Tooncamera, or haven't used it in awhile, give it a whirl!

Keeping With The Times