Tag Archives: ocean

You Took Your iPhone Kayaking?

I can’t begin to express how nice it is to write without the constraints of rules! Following APA format is exhausting and it really cramps my writing style, so I am happy to be blogging again.

It’s been very busy for me, as you can imagine. I’ve started graduate school…

Finished my first triathlon with a smile on my face…

…plus, I’ve been experimenting with my iPhone.

This week, I’ll share pictures from a recent kayaking trip. I’m fortunate enough to live less than five miles from the Atlantic Ocean, which means there are little creeks, bays and tributaries everywhere. To record our little adventure, I brought along an underwater camera and my iPhone.

The underwater camera shots were underwhelming, to say the least. There’s a stupid blue camera strap on the body and, try as I might, I could not keep it out of the pictures. Every last shot I took had the camera strap in it. Blech!!!! Next time I use that particular model of underwater cam, I am cutting off the strap.

So thank goodness I brought along my iPhone. Encased in a plastic bag, it survived the expedition and the captured some really beautiful pictures.

It was a bit of a challenge to compose pictures through a plastic bag. Composition was difficult because of glare from the sun. Drops of water near the camera lens distorted the image and made the camera lose it’s little computer-chip mind while it was trying to focus. To combat these issues, I wiped the bag and pulled it very taut over the lens. The plastic bag provided coverage and challenges, but it also gave soft, dreamy, Diana-like results. These pictures were all taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed.

That’s me in the hat. In order to get that shot I passed my iPhone to my husband using the paddle. It was quite a balancing act.

One of my favorite shots of the day is one I took of Jake and Elias. Someone with long legs (not me) figured out that hanging their feet over the sides was fun. My daughter Phoebe, pictured above, is blessed with long legs and said she could feel fish tickling her toes. We were all relaxing when I took this picture.

I had to straighten it out a little, but it really captures the mellowness of the moment.

I’ve also been using Snapseed’s Drama filter, especially for landscapes. Here are two beach shots I took as some rough weather was moving in.

More dramatic shots will be coming in another post, so until then….happy snapping!

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Trippy Key West, or How Toy Cameras Made My Pictures Extra Special

Key West is a crazy place, but how do you capture the essence of the insanity? Through a plastic lens and some crazy film, of course.

The view while floating on my back in the pool where we were staying. I miss that palm tree. Shot with Holga on Kodak Tmax 400iso.

Our favorite coffee shop in KW

While I was in Key West I did a little experimentation with double and long exposures, as well as with Revolog’s Tesla II and Rasp films. My results were trippy, mind-warping goodness. These toy camera shots not only show you the sights, they really capture the essence of Key West.

I own two Holgas and they each take very different pictures. The Holga I brought to KW was my zebra-striped special, which has a lens that fuzzes out a lot of the periphery of my pictures. Look at the first picture in this post, the palm tree. You can see the softness all along the borders of the photo, giving it a very dreamy quality. Floating beneath that tree in the pool, enjoying the cool water, was very relaxing and tranquil, a mood that is captured perfectly in this Holga picture.

Let’s start our tripped-out tour of Key West with some black and white Holga shots from my brother’s wedding.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was HOT! The sultry air made everyone feel a little lazy. Add some beer and tequila to the mix and the world became a little soft and fuzzy. The Holga plus black and white film brings that mood to these pictures.

I really love using the Holga for long-exposure shots at weddings because it captures the energy of the day, as it does in the long exposure shots of my brother Jim and his wife April, as they cut their cake.

The two shots at the railing by the water are especially sweet. They show Lexi, April’s daughter (and my new niece) gazing out at the sea, one with a friend Shane and the other, all by herself. Check out the clouds…all zoomy and funny looking at the edges.

Next, we’ll move onto some shots made trippy by the film I used. You’ve seen a couple of these shots before, but bear with me. The first two are taken on Revolog Tesla II and show April and Jimmy with lightning bolts.

It’s great when the random special effects on this film show up in just the right areas. Next, a couple taken on Revolog Rasp. The first is very underexposed, the second is just phenomenal.

The textures of Rasp add a funkiness to these shots that I just love.

Back to shots from my Holga, which has a tendency to wind film in a wonky manner, causing some overlapping. First, you’ll see the two pictures separately, then all together.

We’ll finish up with some of the weirdest shots on the roll. I tried for some intentional double exposures, which turned out okay, but when the film was exposed to light as I unloaded it from the camera, these shots became magic.

The background is of a fence with a sign that reads “No Parking Unless Snow Depth Exceeds 2 inches”

Long exposure of a British phone booth in someone’s backyard

Trippy scooter

Sailing off into the great unknown

as my husband put it, “sailing through tide and times”

Toy cameras are the perfect medium for a funky place like Key West. I will never go anywhere eclectic without my Holga and some film. I do love the iPhone photos I took, but once again, film gave my pictures a depth and character that I couldn’t have achieved otherwise. Thanks for virtual tripping with me 😉


Overlapping Goodness

I have been using my Holga without either the 12 or 16 frame mask and getting some really nice results. I love the exaggerated vignetting and light leaks that occurred on every picture. These pictures all come from The Art of Waiting roll from September 2010, shot on Fuji Velvia.

I also got some really nice overlapping pictures. I don’t remember if these were intentional or not, but they’re still really cool. Here’s one example.

The two shots just bleed right into each other. I really like it. Here are the shots separately. I don’t think they are nearly as interesting.

Here are a few more overlapped shots shown together and then singly.

Unlike the first example, I think these two pictures stand well on their own

This was on the end of the roll. The shot on the left is pretty underexposed so it doesn’t stand well on it’s own.

Here is my favorite overlap on the roll…

…and the two pictures separately, which I think stand pretty well on their own.

I love happy little accidents. I’m going to have it printed and see what it looks like ‘for real’.

Tomorrow I’m going to Philadelphia to see the Van Gogh exhibit. I’m taking the Fuji Natura Classica and am hoping for some good photo ops.


Waiting Is It’s Own Reward

This is my April Art of Waiting submission. For those of you unfamiliar, The Art of Waiting is a collaborative project between an international group of lo-fi photographers that seeks to explore what it is to wait, what we do when we’re waiting and other variations on that theme. I’m pretty proud of this essay so, here goes. And check out The Art of Waiting when you get a chance. Fantastic works are being created on that site!

The other day I had a sweet hour and a half to kill before picking up my son from preschool. It was a sparkling spring morning, just right for a solo walk on the beach. As I crested the dune and saw the waves crashing I was delighted to see that I was the only soul around. I wanted to give the new Natalie Merchant CD, titled ‘Leave Your Sleep’, a good listen-to in my headphones so I pressed play and started walking. The sun on my bare arms and legs was warm as was the sand beneath my feet.

Usually there’s a point to my beach walking, be it wearing out the kids with the walk, searching for sea glass or finding things to photograph. This time it was different. One of my latest projects (much to my husband’s chagrin) is to make a table for our deck out of driftwood so I was scouring the beach for suitable pieces. Although I was searching, it wasn’t the entire reason for walking. I was really just walking for the sake of it. It made me feel very much like David Carradine in “Kung Fu”—just walking the earth. Being alone made the experience that much better. No worrying about other people watching you thinking you’re crazy, no dogs to worry about startling, no little people to keep track of and best of all, no talking, just a nice, solitary stroll.

As I meandered I found some really nice pieces of wood but most importantly, I started to find some peace. It’s been a stressful few months for me and even though the past few weeks have seen many of those issues resolve, there was still a part of me that felt weighted down. The purposelessness of my mission left me feeling like a little kid exploring on my own with no one around. The music and lyrics of “Leave Your Sleep” added to that feeling. Merchant set to music Victorian-era poems that remind one of childhood and lighter times, before becoming an adult and being bogged down by the weight of responsibilities. My soul felt lighter, my step springier and my mind suddenly much clearer. It was very meditative.

As I wandered I spotted a lot of wood up ahead near the top of a dune. Curiosity got the better of me and pretty soon I was standing in the middle of the wreckage of a small fishing boat. Most likely it was washed ashore during one of the bad north east storms that characterized this year’s brutal winter. Scattered piles were mostly covered in dry, white sand, but there were still some gems to behold. Long pieces of wood painted brilliant shades of aqua, cobalt and bright blue peeked beneath the scrubby twigs of some hardy plant life that somehow survives on the edge of the world. Among other things I found a badly-rusted-out beer can, the intact bottom of a large, clear, glass container and the frames of nautical seating areas.

All the while I was listening to my new music and the song “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May” came on. Set to a waltz-like tempo, it’s the tale of four young friends who go to the beach in search of nothing in particular but they each come home with a treasure. The last line of the song hit me like a ton of bricks: “For whatever you lose (like a you or a me), it’s always ourselves that we find in the sea”. It was one of those serendipitous moments in which you realize that everything happens for a reason. As soon as got I home I looked up the author of the poem and found it was e.e. cummings. I’ve never been much into poetry. It always seemed to me to be either sickeningly sweet in its rhyming and subject matter, like a greeting card, or way too complicated for me to understand, but this one really affected me. And so, I have purchased my first book of poetry and will read it. For this month’s roll of film I will attempt to capture each of the poem’s twelve lines on a roll of medium format film. Lovely things happen while you are waiting.


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