January 2015 was a tough month. Our daughter’s family was in a car accident (no one hurt), my father turned out to be buried in a veterans’ cemetery, and my husband got shingles- and then had a heart attack. Everything had a happy ending. Everyone is fine. Life was getting back to normal.
And then my camera broke.
After all that had happened last month, it is pretty easy to see this as a small bump in the road. Funny how health scares put everything else into perspective. My camera is at a camera store (well, THE camera store) in Phoenix for an estimate on repair. It may have to be sent to Nikon, which could mean weeks without a camera (this is why serious photographers always have at least two camera bodies). I hope to hear from the repair guys today.
How did I break it? My friend, Stephanie and I were just starting our presentation on posing for our little photo group. The idea was to pose people and then take photos of each pose. My camera was on a tripod, tethered to my laptop, so that we could compare the poses. I tested this out before the meeting. All worked fine. When I went to take the first photo, the shutter kind of went kerplink instead of kerplunk- and no picture was recorded. The camera showed ERR- camera malfunction. I tried several times- untethered, tethered, SD cards switched out, battery replaced, lens removed and replaced- nothing. Stephanie had brought her camera, so we continued as if nothing had happened, and the presentation was successful. I met my husband for lunch after the meeting and told him I probably had just hit some strange unknown button and that I would figure it out when I got home. I googled the problem, tried everything I could think of- and then we drove it to Phoenix the next day. Long story short- yes, the shutter is not working.
After taking photos with my Nikon almost every day for the last 4 1/2 years, it feels strange to be without it. But I’m planning to use the opportunity to become a better iPhoneographer. My goal is to learn more about the apps I have- especially VSCO, Hipstamatic, and Stackables. And then I want to practice with my husband’s Canon Powershot sx50, so I’m more comfortable with that as well.
I’m not sure what this means for my blog. I will definitely be posting the best of the photos I take with the iPhone or the little Canon. I’ll try to do some of my BeStill and Studio assignments with my iPhone. And I think I will look for some older photos to post as well.
Today’s photo was taken with my phone and edited in Snapseed and Stackables.
We had an unexpected snowstorm yesterday morning! We woke up to snow falling and snow on the ground. It continued to snow until 9:00 or so, while we were at my husband’s eye appointment, but by the time we got home the sun was out and the melt had begun. I raced outside with my Lensbaby Edge 80 with macro converters and managed to capture sunshine on the melting snow on trees and plants before it was all gone.
I’m also posting another snow shot from a week or so ago, before the New Year’s snow melted away. This is one of our more quaint downtown establishments- I’ve never been inside, but it looks cute. It was shot with my iPhone and edited with Snapseed (an HDR treatment) and Mextures.
Linking up with Barb’s app-happy Wednesday at Keeping With the Times.
As we drove west across Kansas, heading to Colorado after visiting my husband’s father, I found myself entranced by the minimalism of the flat horizon, unbroken except for occasional barn or silo. I think I could spend days exploring that landscape. All the photos were taken with my iPhone and edited in Snapseed. The last image was taken using the Slow Shutter app.
Texas scenes shot from the car window with my iPhone.
Edited in the phone with the Snapseed app and textured with Kim Klassen’s kk_chill for Texture Tuesday. Snapseed’s HDR filter was used on the truck photo.
We’re at Yellowstone taking care of the grandboys, who have grown SO much since we saw them in May (photos to be posted soon)!
I’m sharing a few iPhone photos from our travels. All were edited with Snapseed, and some of the plane photos also have a gradient added to the sky in Lightroom.
We flew over the Grand Canyon!
On the drive from Montana to Yellowstone, we stopped in Livingston for dinner. It’s an old town with great old buildings; someday I want to explore it with my camera. The sky was dark, and the light was golden, and as we walked into the Mexican restaurant, we spotted a rainbow.
I finally got back to some still life last week, inspired by my new mug that I picked up at the grocery store.
A week or so ago, I entered 6 photos in the county fair. I haven’t done anything like this since high school, when I entered my crocheting. And the big news is that I earned 4 first place ribbons and one second place! Here is one of the winners, Sunflower Mystery (you might recognize it):
The other 3 first place winners were Feathered Gold (the owl feather), Point Arena Lighthouse (from a couple years ago), and Rodeo Dreams (a photo of Henry standing on the fence watching a rodeo). Dusty Jeans got a second place. A photo I took of prairie sunflowers did not place. And. . . I came home with 14 bucks for my efforts! We won’t mention that the printing and matting cost more than that. But I will re-use the mats.
It was raining cats and dogs- and, evidently, hawks while we were out at the fair on Saturday. We drove back through flooded streets while thunder crashed around us- and found this guy in the backyard.
I’ve learned two important lessons about photography in the last four years (and I’m not talking f-stops here. . .):
1. Light is everything.
2. Beauty is everywhere.
I know I used to know about the second one when I was a child; I’m sure all children do. I noticed everything and took note. Then I grew up and got busy. Now that I am retired I notice again. And take note. And appreciate!
The other day I was walking through my bedroom and noticed the vertical blinds-probably the least appreciated item in our home. I don’t like vertical blinds and plan to replace them someday. But that day, I noticed. And took note. And appreciated.
The next day was the day of the beginning of the Mother of all Monsoons- torrential rains and flooding fed by Hurricane Norbert pushing inland. I stayed inside (when I wasn’t running outside to make sure the hill wasn’t sliding away. . .) and set up a still life for Be Still 52 (the one I posted yesterday). I was proud of myself for remembering to take some iPhone shots as I was getting things ready. This one had a basic edit in Snapseed, with some adjustments in tone. Then I added a texture in Mextures.
I couldn’t resist taking a photo with my Lensbaby Mobile. Edited in Snapseed. Love that blur!
The other morning, I was reading the paper and drinking coffee, when I noticed that the coffee cup and newspaper made a pleasing composition. I started to pick up my iPhone, but then thought- Hmmm, if I pull the plant over a bit and get some strawberries it will look even better. I quickly made an arrangement, snapped ONE photo, edited it in Snapseed, uploaded it to instagram, and then continued to drink my coffee and read the newspaper (and ate the strawberries . . .). If only I could have still life composition ideas come to me that easily all the time!
I was about halfway through my coffee, when I thought of getting out my Nikon and taking the photo again. After all, one of the BeStill 52 prompts was cuppa. I got out more strawberries and tried to duplicate my iPhone photo- trickier than it sounds, considering focal length, depth of field etc.
So here are some Sunday morning stills, quickly taken. All have two layers of Kim’s grunge texture added.
And here is the original iPhone photo.
My friend, Joan, is staying with us, and we are having so much fun introducing her to Arizona. Saturday was spent touring Prescott- and shopping- and Sunday was the anticipated trip to Sedona and Jerome. I packed my camera bag with three lenses and an extra battery and planned to try some detail shots of the area, as I had photographed the places we were visiting several times. I had picked up a free Sedona guide at the airport, so was planning to bring that as well as the Arizona Highways photography guide I had recently purchased. I was READY!
As we drove into Sedona, I looked down at my feet and saw that yes indeed I had brought the guidebooks- but where was my camera? The answer became clear that I had left my camera bag on the kitchen counter. Oh. My. God.
So it became obvious that any pictures I might take would have to be shot with my iPhone. I relaxed, because I already have photos of Sedona. But when we pulled into our first stop, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, I noticed something that had been missing on our previous trips to Sedona- CLOUDS! Big billowy CLOUDS! And there was a moon- kind of taunting me up there. Darn.
So today’s post is all iPhone photos- including some Lensbaby shots, because at least I had that in my purse.
Here’s the view of Cathedral Rock from outside the chapel (notice the clouds. . .).
The chapel is awe-inspiring. After sitting quietly for awhile, I put the Lensbaby on the iPhone and tried some creative photography inside.
Afterward, I snapped another view of Cathedral Rock, before we went into town for lunch and some shopping.
My iPhone Lensbaby came at last! I participated in the Kickstarter program and was able to get it before it goes on the market (and at a reduced price).
I absolutely love it! My iPhone is fun again- thanks to this tiny little lens. This is the first and only lens I’ve had for my phone, and it has taken some time for me to get used to it. Although I loved it from the start, focusing it has been a challenge for me. The first step in using this little guy is to attach it to the magnet ring (supplied) on the phone (with the Lensbaby app open )- then adjust the position of the lens to get the best focus with a centered “sweet spot.” Since I almost always prefer an off-center area of focus, I then switch to the “movable sweet spot” mode and compose my picture. I’m not sure why focusing was so difficult for me, but since I’ve relaxed about it a bit, I’ve been happier with my results.
Here are some of my favorite shots.
The soft blur created by the lensbaby just seems to go with flowers!
Since this is app-happy Wednesday, I will mention the apps I used to edit these images. I generally open in Snapseed first to crop and make any exposure adjustments. I often go into Pixlr Express afterward if I want to make an adjustment to just one area of the image. I used to do this in Snapseed, but I find the history brush in Pixlr Express easier to use. To do this, I make the adjustment I want to the ENTIRE image, and then use the history brush to erase it from the areas where I don’t want that particular adjustment. It’s kind of counterintuitive, but I’m getting used to it.
Now I NEED to get a Lensbaby for my Nikon- I could start with a Composer Pro with a double glass optic. Are you reading this, Santa???
I’m linking up with App Happy Wednesday today with a couple iPhone photos, both edited in Snapseed. I didn’t do much to the first one, but the second one has the tilt shift filter applied to give it a bit of a lensbaby look. My actual iPhone lensbaby should be arriving this week- I’m excited!
I somewhat impulsively joined the 21 Day Juice Challenge on instagram a few weeks ago. It was a good idea for me, because I was getting bored with my phone photos and needed a reason to practice. I drink smoothies several times a week normally- how hard would it be to do it every day and take a photo?
Well, I actually enjoyed the project and was inspired to try new combinations of ingredients so that my photos wouldn’t all be the same. I also tried to use different apps and styles most days- although at the end I was pretty dry creatively. There was only one day where I didn’t like the smoothie I made- Day 15- but at least I got a good photo!
I wish I could say that I created the layout on my phone, but I didn’t- I used Lightroom. The two apps that I used the most were Snapseed for a basic edit- and Pixlr Express. I also used Mextures, PicStitch, and Rhonna.
And here is a bonus shot I took at our Courthouse Square over the weekend.
I used Snapseed (basic edit), Mextures, and Pixlr Express for this shot of these wonderful musicians. I used one of the stylize filters in Pixlr Express to create a painted effect- I think I did it twice- and then blurred the whole image, brushing it off the main subjects. I finished it off with a texture from Mextures- and then back into PixlrExpress for the frame. All completed while binge-watching Damages (with Glenn Close) on Netflix!
Linking up with App-Happy Wednesday today!
Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
I have quite a few flag photos I’ve taken this week, but I think my favorite is this one I snapped with my phone last night as we drove home from the store just before sunset. Storm clouds were building, and I loved the flag set against the gray clouds. I added a texture with the Mextures app in my phone.
Here’s one from last month’s rodeo in Montana. The young boy on the horse raced around and around the ring while the national anthem played and everyone stood at attention- hats off. A beautiful sight!
After we got home from the store last night, we sat on the porch as the sky darkened, the wind picked up, thunder crashed in the distance, and the sky lit up with a a lightning display that went on for hours. At first I tried to take photos, but it was so windy that it was impossible to keep the camera still- so I sat down and just enjoyed the show. If we had any rain it came during the night and wasn’t enough to make puddles. It’s dry out there now. But the monsoon season has begun- bring on the rain!
My husband and I took a walk at Willow Lake yesterday and discovered that our favorite trail was now surrounded by beautiful golden weeds, waving and billowing in the breeze. I took a couple iPhone shots and brought home a handful to photograph with my macro lens. One of my current Flickr challenges is STARS, which I’m seeing everywhere in nature this week. The iPhone photo below was edited in Snapseed and PixlrExpress.
This might be my favorite star photo of the day, edited in Snapseed only.
At home, I noticed stars within stars within stars in this flower (Queen Anne’s lace?) that I’ve been using in still life compositions (you’ll see them later this week). I took the photos below with my macro lens on my Nikon.
Linking up with App Happy Wednesday!