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Far Out iPhoneography

The more I use Instagram the more I am inspired to do crazy, wacked-out things. That’s the beauty of the immediate, streaming social photography movement. As a result, I’ve gone back to a few apps that I haven’t used in awhile, like Percolator, and am learning how to use them more effectively.

This is my friend Don’s drum, which he wrapped in a beautiful paisley fabric. I took it the other night as he and his band Sweet Leda were setting up for a gig. It’s a cool picture alone, but run through Percolator, it exudes a freaky, whimsical vibe befitting it’s looks. This shot of a bunch of colorful bracelets was also processed in Percolator. Again, the original was cool, but I love how the shapes are enhanced by the app.

It’s tough to sometimes capture a mood when taking pictures, especially if you’re a participant. Two weeks ago, I participated in a fundraiser put on by my local Cross Fit gym, called “Share the Pain” (and boy was I in pain the next few days). My friend Ally and I shared a WOD (Workout Of the Day) then, being the Cross Fit gym member, she had to do a second WOD. I got some shots of her preparing for her second workout, then added some TTV effects in TtV Camera, which I think give the shots a gritty, tough look.

Then there was this shot of Ally’s socks. No real post-processing needed for this shot!

HDR is another effect I’ve been using. It’s not appropriate for all subjects and, much like bokeh, can be easily overused, so I try to use it judiciously. For example, it’s completely ineffective to use it on metal objects. It may enhance the color or give it a weird look, but I really don’t think it’s worth using. HDR looks best to me in shots with lots of natural elements (trees, sky, water, people). That said, here are a few HDR shots from a recent night out at the Dirt Track races in Georgetown, DE.

While these are not my best HDR shots, I love how the inclusion of all levels of exposure brings out each individual person, along with details in the fence, bleachers and track.

The next two shots are collages I made with Frametastic. I was killing some time at work when this box of medicine vials caught my eye.

I liked the original, but took it up a notch in Frametastic.

The next collage was inspired by my fingernail polish. I took the kids to the boardwalk for an afternoon out and we all noticed how many things matched the color. I turned it into a photo game and this is the end result.

Here are a few random shots that I really like. They were processed in Camera+ and Vintique.

You never know what inspiration you’ll find when you look up. Here are two stand-outs.

These last two shots are macros of ordinary things. When it gets slow at work (which isn’t very often) I try to look around and get inspired, which can be tough at a hospital. Last night I just couldn’t find ANYTHING, until I started looking at my surroundings with a graphic, abstract frame of mind. Here’s a stack of stapled papers taken and processed in Camera+.

When I got home last night, I found tiny little pencils on the kitchen counter. My daughter Zoe had made them for her dolls to use by coloring toothpicks with markers. They were so realistic looking! This is how I captured them this morning with Camera+.

Kind of fitting considering it’s almost time for everyone to go back to school. Speaking of which, you’ll notice my posts have gotten a little sporadic. Unfortunately, that trend will probably continue as I go back to school next week to pursue a master’s degree in nursing. My family nurse practitioner program is a 3 1/2 year endeavor that will take a lot of my time and energy, which will leave me with less time to devote to my passions of photography and music. I will still be blogging but it may be on a less regular basis. Stick with me, though, because I’m never going to stop taking pictures. Thanks for your patience and understanding as well as all your feedback.


2011 in Review

Happy 2012! Hope your holidays were fun and full of great food, drink, friends and family.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite iPhone shots from the holidays.

These were iPhone shots in Hipstamatic taken with my iPhone Holga lens turret on the ‘Quad’ setting. It was fun to goof around with the different effects while the lights were flashing.

One of my personal favorites, my son Elias was disguising Stewie with a ‘stache. I ran this one through Lo-Mob for the blown out color and sprocket effects.

I’ve been a little food-obsessed lately, probably because the scale told me to stop eating garbage and drinking so much beer. Damn scale! The top two shots are of Trix cereal as seen through the macro iPhone Holga lens turret. I saw one of these brightly colored nuggets sitting on the counter by itself and thought it was a button. When I looked closer, I realized it was cereal….wow.

I’m not much of a baker, but my two daughters love to make cookies and cupcakes, especially at Christmas (no wonder the scale is mean to me). The Hershey’s Kiss peanut butter cookies are one of my absolute favorites. We make them totally from scratch. After I set them on this napkin I saw how neat the patterns looked. The original picture was nice, but running it through Percolator took the picture to a whole new level.

Now, onto New Year’s Eve! I’ve never gone out on NYE and normally fall asleep before midnight but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to hang with some very close friends and go see one of my favorite bands at a local bar. There were lots of photo bombs that night… friend James is a great photo bomber/creeper, as seen in this shot.

I decided to bomb his photo next….it ruined a classy shot, but it was a helluva good time!

Even the kids got in on the action. Here’s my friend Loretta’s daughter photo bombing a shot of my son Elias and her other daughter Emme. She just ran right into the picture. It’s one of the funniest shots of the evening.

At the bar I took some low-light pictures of one of my favorite local bands, Sweet Leda.

All shots taken through Hipstamatic except for the next-to-last one. I used Fusioncam for a wicked-cool double exposure of the stage lights and the band.

Finally, I got a little message from WordPress, the lovely folks who host my blog. In 2011 I participated in the Post-A-Week challenge and I think I only missed two weeks of postings (because of vacation). My stats were staggering! I’m going to continue posting once a week this year as well. It was a bit of a challenge at first, but I’m glad I participated. Many, many thanks go out to you, the reader! I’m glad you all find my thoughts mildly entertaining enough to check in once in a while.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Only ‘Play!’ Book You’ll Ever Need

Looking for something to give the analogue film photographer in your life for, or maybe just a little treat for yourself? Check out Play!, a new book recently assembled by Composing With Images Press (CWIP) of photos made using toy, lo-fi and handmade cameras. It contains images from around the world that evoke playful thoughts and smiles and more importantly, 100% of the proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to benefit children in areas ravaged by tornadoes in 2011.

The call went out this summer for images that “explore, complicate, and represent in compelling ways the concept of Play.  These might include, but are certainly not limited to, photographs that deal with imaginary play, word play, adult play, children’s play, animal play, games, or the various kinds of materials and/or spaces associated with play. Similarly, photographs might represent play from the perspective of a child’s imagination, or from a toy’s perspective, or they might take up questions about what it means to play or explore the matter of who is allowed (or disallowed) to play”. Artists from 63 countries answered the call and along with their photos, each wrote a short essay on how their photos reflected the theme of the book. Edited by Jody Shipka and Nic Nichols, the book is getting some fabulous reviews from those in the toy camera community. Here are just a few of their thoughts:

“Play! is a fabulous book . . . the images really blew me away. The artists and the editor have created Play! with the best of intentions and it reminds us all to remember what’s truly important in this world: film. Play! makes me excited about toy cameras again.”
Amanda Moore, Juror, The Holga Show 2008

“Play! is reminiscent of childhood, full of blurred moments. Toy cameras lend themselves so well to these youthful subjects. They’re long ago memories of times & places we hold dear. Play! takes you right back, but in a dream.”
Steph Parke (, former Editor, Light Leaks Magazine

“Play! is an amazingly diverse collection of photos by very talented photographers.. By using toy cameras, the photographers convey the memory and dream of play that lives inside all of us.”
Mark Olwick (, acclaimed Holga photographer

You can buy play on Blurb.

I am proud to say that I am a part of this wonderful project and will have these two photos printed in the book. I took them with my cheap $5 underwater Snap Sights camera.

Holga Lens Filter for iPhone

Using my iPhone for pictures just got 100 times more fun with the addition of the Holga Special Lens & Turret Filter for iPhone 4.

As you can see, it fits on the back of your iPhone just like a case. It offers no protection whatsoever, so you must be very careful while using it, but the array of special effects lenses is worth the danger. You can choose from these filters:

Red Heart


Yellow with a hole in the middle

Green (makes you look like a ghost hunter!)

Blue with a hole in the middle

Double lens

Triple lens

Quad Lens

Macro lens

…and the last hole on the dial is so you can take regular pictures.

This thing is so much fun. I spent a lot of Thanksgiving taking funky pictures of all the happenings around my house. I think it’s especially fun to use the filters with an app, like Hipstamatic. Check these out…

At only $30 USD from the Four Corners Store, it’s a great (and affordable) tool to add to your iPhoneography kit.

Lomo Steampunk

Lomo Steampunk

Victorian jacket
£7.99 –

$90 –

Gothic shoes
$50 –

Eyes In Silver Sand
$14 –

Tesla-107, Steampunk boots Demonia
$55 –

Thank God for the Arts

It’s been one hell of a week, but yesterday really set me over the edge. I’m going to give you the dirty details and it might be TMI so be warned.

Thursday evening, as I was in the middle of my second twelve-hour shift in two days, my husband calls to inform me our middle daughter has lice for the second time in one year. Last summer after horse camp, a funky riding helmet was the source of our first experience and I really wasn’t looking forward to all the laundry, hair-washings and comb outs we were going to have to endure over the next few days.

After my irate husband called me to inform me that our doctor’s office had given us the run around (the front office there is more inefficient than the MVA, I swear to God), I had to go to my sources in the Emergency Room to get a prescription for the ‘nuclear option’ of lice shampoo (big fat thanks to my girl Kerri in the ED!!!!!). After treating both of my daughters with this stuff (that smells like Pine-Sol on acid) we stripped their beds and threw anything soft and cozy into the dryer to kill the bugs & eggs.

Yesterday—I went to get more prescription stuff and it’s OUT of STOCK. May have to wait until Monday to get what we need to get the job done. Meanwhile, I spent four, count ’em FOUR hours (240 minutes) inspecting two heads of very thick and long hair. My shoulders are sore and my patience is very thin.

I decided the girls needed their hair cut before the next medicinal bomb; no dice. No one will (understandably) touch them because of the lice. Screw that dude, I took matters into my own hands and cut their hair by my own damn self, something I haven’t done since my children were less than a year old. I have to say, my hair styling skills aren’t the best, but they’re not half bad.

Now I KNOW we’ve all had similar unmentionable things happen to us and I’m going to mention them now because it’s about time someone said them out loud (maybe it’ll break the curse, you know?) Here comes the TMI part…. in the past two years we’ve dealt with bed bugs (Thanks, NYC for the gift that kept on giving!), fleas (courtesy of the ‘cat that came with the house’) ants, which never really go away but just kind of hibernate in the winter (Terro Ant traps work really well) and lice. I’m sick and effin’ tired of critters. Really. We never had to deal with this crap in Baltimore. Sure there were the occasional alley cats, punk-ass kids and my favorite, Mr. Glass-Pack Motorcycle who LOVED to rev his louder-than-Fenway-Park-during-the- 2004-Series bike at 2:30 am, but they didn’t require any real investment of personal time to get rid of. No, they just were.

We finally get to the crux of this post. I am tired and stressed out. The house is a fucking mess. There’s crap everywhere, dishes in the sink, laundry on the sofa and to top it off I wasted a phenomenally gorgeous day inside. That really pisses me off. I wanted to run outside. I wanted to go to the beach. I wanted to take some photos. I did NOT want to spend the day inside. So, how does a girl bust this stress? The arts.

If you’ve read my bio you’ll know I’m a musician. It’s been something that’s been an important part of my life since I was itty-bitty. I remember going to sleep to classical music when I was just a wee girl. I started playing the flute when I was nine and have always dealt with stressful things by listening to a great piece of music, really loudly, over and over and over again, or going to the practice studio and pouring myself into the latest piece I’ve been trying to master. I was able to play the piano last night to get the stress out and it felt great. My hands are a little sore this morning (I always seem to play much more than my muscles will allow) but mentally, I am more balanced.

I love to improvise. It takes me to another place, just like finding a beautiful object to photograph or meditating on the ocean can get me out of myself. I really needed that last night and I am thankful to all the other musicians and artists who came before me. Thank you musical cosmos, thank you photographic cosmos. My day is better and my life is better because of you.

I promise a more photo-centric post next week 🙂

The Best Intentions

I started off the year with the intention of marketing myself and making some money off my photography. It was a lofty goal for sure, and one that I think might be a little over my head.

I’m not a quitter, but when my hobby makes me feel like my head has come unscrewed and is rolling down the road…well…it’s time to examine priorities.

I will still sell on Etsy (and hope to make a little money in the process) but I’m going to concentrate my energy into my blog, which is good news for you, dear reader!  After feeling like I was torn in 12 different directions and almost missing work twice, I sat down and did some thinking. As nice as it would be to make a little money, that’s not what I’m in this (clearly, or I wouldn’t be using toy and iPhone cameras). I’m in it for the fun and creativity. This blog has been one of the most useful tools in that mission by allowing me to reflect and share my experiences. The process of thinking, typing and taking pictures for a blog post has really helped me to get my ideas together and out of my head, not to mention it’s interesting to look back on what I’ve done over the past couple years.

This year should be pretty exciting. So far I’m trying to convert an old digital point and shoot into an infrared camera (if I could just find the right size screwdriver) and have been playing around with emulsion lifts using The Impossible Project’s instant films.

Here’s to a productive and verbose (but scintillating, entertaining and knowledgable) 2011! If you have any ideas for posts or projects, please drop me a line.

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