Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Wishes................

Before I take a little time off, I want to first wish each of you a wonderful holiday. I appreciate all your support and encouragement and am very excited about what 2013 will bring.

Enjoy this special time with friends and family and I will be back after the New Year!

With joy and gratitude....................

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Beauty is Everywhere...........

I have posted many photos that I took while looking up. A couple of my favorite subjects are trees and clouds, and more than once people have mentioned they saw me walking down the street with my phone/camera pointing up to the sky.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking to get a cup of coffee, still needing my "pic of the day", when I happened to look down and see this:

iPhone image, no adjustments

Pretty soon I was noticing all the wonderful patterns that wet leaves make on the sidewalk. The leaves are gone, but their imprint remains, at least for a little while.  It didn't take long for me to gather up quite a few "sidewalk" images.

What follows were all made with the iPhone, but processed in Photoshop. Actually, they needed very little processing. I used the Nik Color Efex "Glamour Glow" filter on all of the them and adjusted the contrast. Text was added to the last one in Photoshop.

I will probably be using these as backgrounds in other images, but for now, I love how they look on their own.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

I know this is a seasonal occurrence and a temporary one, which is why I am so grateful I took the time to look down that day, instead of up.

If anyone saw me photographing the sidewalk, they have not mentioned it yet................

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tears at the Beach.........

This post was originally going to be a quick followup and a recap of my little adventure to San Francisco last week, but I cannot talk about the joys of seeing my son and everything I did during those two days without first acknowledging the terrible tragedy that took place on Friday.

I was actually fairly disconnected that day. I was listening to music on my iPod in the car, so I had no exposure to the news. A quick scan of Facebook on my phone was where I discovered that innocent children had been violently killed earlier in the day.

As a mother, this sort of news is extremely difficult to digest. The parents of these children sent them to school that day assuming their safety was guaranteed. When this sort of thing happens, I am reminded again that there are no guarantees and I would kidding myself if I thought I had any control over the health and safety of my own grown children.

In a few days, for the first time since last Christmas, I will have both my children home at the same time, sleeping under my roof. This visit will be extra special and the hugs I give them will last a little longer and be a little tighter than normal. I also know that the day will come when one or both of them will have other plans for the holidays and I will have to be ok with that.

But for now, my heart breaks for the parents in Newtown while at the same time my gratitude for my own children is pouring out of every cell in my body.

It is also at times like these that I am reminded how important it is to stay present and live this day the best I can. What happened yesterday cannot be undone, and what happens in the future is, for the most part, out of my hands.

As difficult as Friday was, I did experience quite a bit of magic and joy that day.  But first a very brief summary of Thursday...........

Like I mentioned in that last post, my first stop on the way to SF was Berkeley to see the "Third Wave" exhibit of iPhone art. The traffic in Berkeley was pretty bad, but it was worth it. The show was great and very inspiring, and I had a nice long chat with the curator, Knox Bronson. If you want to read more about the show and see some of the images, click here: The Iphone Arts

It was smooth sailing over the bridge into San Francisco where I found my hotel and proceeded to look for parking. I did some serious praying to the parking gods and was granted a space that only took 7 attempts to parallel park in.

After dinner with my son and his girlfriend, we went to the show. I would call the venue an "alternative space", but it was perfect for his work. The lighting wasn't great but I could tell he was pleased with the way the whole thing turned out. It was a fun night, but being one of the oldest people there, I am sure it was expected that I would leave fairly early, and I did. Here are a few photos from the show:

The next morning I had a fantastic breakfast at a corner cafe, checked out of my hotel and decided to head over to the Palace of Fine Arts which I haven't photographed since they finished the restoration work.  The last time I was there I had to shoot around a fence and scaffolding. All of that is gone, but instead, it started raining.

To be honest, I think that worked out better for me because I had to be a little more creative. Here are a couple of my favorite shots including a rare image with people in it.......

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

The rain stopped and the clouds began to break up as I made my way over the Golden Gate Bridge. I pulled over at the vista point on the other side, and along with all the other tourists stopped to take a photograph of this.....................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

The next stop was the Marin Headlands. The ocean never fails to recharge my physical and emotional batteries. This trip turned out to be extra special...................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

This is me, sitting on a log looking out toward the ocean. The beach was empty, and as I sat there I thought I saw movement out in the water. A couple of minutes later and I was sure................  Fairly close to the shore were at least three, maybe four, dolphins! It was a beautiful dance to observe. That  display of nature, coupled with the news of the morning brought tears to my eyes and I sat there for a long time.

Later on I saw a couple with binoculars and asked them if I had in fact seen dolphins and was thrilled when they confirmed that yes, I had!

It was hard to take my eyes off of the amazing sky as I headed home. I stopped numerous times and took many photos. 

All of the images in this post were made with my iPhone. I had my Nikon, but did not notice until it was too late that my battery was close to dead.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski
I have passed by this a hundred was fun to finally get a shot of it.
It's also one of the first times I used the camera in HDR Pro

So as the rest of the country grappled with the unthinkable, I was experiencing magic, freedom and doing what I love. I am feeling a little guilty about that, but me going home to watch events unfold on  television would have not helped anyone. Instead, I chose to capture a little of the joy and beauty I experienced and share it with all of you. What else could I have done?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Proud Mom...........

Quick post today because I am leaving for San Francisco to attend the opening reception for my son's photography show.

Joe has been photographing skateboarders since the day I gently suggested that he take my old camera and photograph his friends doing their crazy tricks. (All you parents out know why I did this, don't you?)

Pretty soon he was using the money he made at his summer job to buy flashes, slaves and light stands. When he moved to San Francisco and began working at "regular" jobs, he saved his money and bought a new camera to replace the one I gave him.

He quickly gained a reputation and a following. He has photographed professional skateboarders and had images published in some magazines. Yes - I am a proud mama!!

His skill and expertise with lighting helped him land a job (in addition to his bartending gig) assisting a commercial photographer in San Francisco.

If any of you are in the neighborhood, the show is part of the Divisadero Art Walk tonight. He is showing at the "Workspace", 635A Divisadaro Street.

Here are a few of my favorite images: (These are older and I am not sure they are even in the show, but I wanted to share some of his work........)

© Joe Poinski

© Joe Poinski

© Joe Poinski

© Joe Poinski

On my way to San Francisco, I am stopping in Berkley to see "The Third Wave" -  a collection of iPhone art from around the world, at the Garden Gate Creative Community Center on Claremont Blvd.

A day of photography and a chance to see my son! Doesn't get much better than that!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Photographing Ornaments...........

I have been knee deep in holiday cheer these last few weeks attempting to create images to submit to a greeting card publisher I am working with. I have photographed poinsettias, holly, wreaths and (the subject of this post)... ornaments.

Photographing ornaments can be a little tricky. First of all, I like to use ones with a matte surface.  A shiny ornament is beautiful, but it may reflect your light source (in my case, a window). Your own reflection may appear in the ornament as well.

As most of you know, I am a big fan of simple imagery, which is why the few shots I made of ornaments hanging on a tree, did not appeal to me.

The next thing I tried didn't work either.................

What I really wanted was to somehow suspend the ornament with my white piece of foam core in the background. This is when creativity really kicks in. This pliable "in the tree" ornament worked perfect! (One of my definitions of creativity is "using an object in a way unrelated to it's original purpose.)

I have been encouraged to add text to these images. I experimented with many nice sentiments, but nothing was working.

Until, once again, simplicity won......................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

Technical note: (which also means, don't worry if this does not make sense) Using a white background makes it very easy to add a texture layer or two to create a completely different backdrop. In this case I used the "Rialto" texture from Flypaper Textures.

I am still playing with different fonts, colors, sizes and words, but I like that these images reflect my style and my desire to express myself in an authentic matter. (Whether or not they have commercial appeal is another matter.........)

Stay tuned. I am sure the poinsettias, holly and wreaths will pop up here in the next couple of weeks.............

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thinking While Driving.............

Photographers and meteorologists alike, get a little giddy when the boring blue skies of summer begin to change and offer a little more inspiration, and (for meteorologists) something more to talk about it.

I can't resist pulling over to photograph the light, texture and color of clouds in the sky. Throw in an awesome tree and I may begin to giggle with delight.

This is what happened to me the other day......................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

I had an appointment about 45 miles to the east and in the foothills earlier this week, and decided to take the back roads home.

I like driving by myself and feel I do some of the my best thinking while behind the wheel.

There is a lot of talk out there right now (naturally) about planning for the new year. I can't really do that until I have processed and reflected on how events transpired this year.

So I am in my reflective phase right now and thought a nice drive with my iPod playing my favorite music, was just what I needed.

I feel some big changes coming on for next year, but I will save that for a later post.

The ideas for these changes come up by thinking about what did, and did not work during the past year. For example, realizing that it's been 7 months since my last workshop made it clear that I miss teaching. That will probably mean more (and different) classes in 2013.

I am going to continue to sort out this past year and will share insights as they happen. It can be painful sometimes to look back, and I know this year had it's share of mistakes and missteps, but that is how we grow. I won't dwell. I will just nod my head in recognition, quickly file it away and commit to doing better next time.

I will also acknowledge the good things that happened too. My project 365, kayaking, baseball and the clearing out of unwanted clutter from my house, were all positive events and provided me with some of my best days this year.

In some ways I feel 2012 was a transitional year, which makes me even more excited to see what 2013 will bring.

To be continued....................................

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Project 365 - November................

Note: In my last post I mentioned the "Orion" filter in the "Dynamic Light" app. Turns out I need new reading glasses! It's actually the "Orton" filter. Thank you Fay for pointing that out to me!

Eleven months down, one to go! In just a few weeks, if all goes well, my "Project 365" will be complete and I will have taken at least one photograph every single day this year.

I am sure there will be a big "recap" in early January, but for now I thought I would share a few highlights from November.

The beauty of autumn was all around me this month and it would have been easy for it to have been featured as my "pic of the day" every day.  And while there are many fall images in this month's  camera roll, (and I have already shared quite a few), there were days when I tried to stretch myself a bit.

So here are a few images from November that have not been posted on the blog before, but my friends  on Instagram and Facebook will recognize them.

Instead of "grocery store flowers", I have pears from my organic "box" this month................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

It was a busy time when my daughter was home visiting, but I still managed to get my shot. This one I took in the airport when I went to pick her up.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

I made this image while waiting for my daughter outside her favorite vintage clothing store in midtown...........

©2012 Dianne Poinski

As hard as I tried, the fall colors were really difficult to ignore at times.................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

These next two incorporate autumn leaves, but are presented a little differently.

I brought some inside to photograph.................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

And a new app to play with............."Tiny Planet"

©2012 Dianne Poinski

And finally, this gate caught my eye during one of my walks this month.......................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

I have heard from a few people that they are thinking of trying this project in 2013. I highly recommend it, but I will have more to say about that when it's all over.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Morning Fog................

Tuesday morning began a little overcast, but with more sun than clouds. I was spending some time with my daughter before we had to leave for the airport, when I looked out the window and saw that Sacramento's glorious "tule" fog had descended out of nowhere and was blanketing the neighborhood with a quiet hush.

After looking out that first window, I moved to a different room and looked out another window. I started to say "I will be right back"........when my daughter, with a smile on her face, interrupted me to say, "I know, you are going to go take pictures".

I assured her I would only be gone a short time and grabbed my phone and jumped in the car. Yes - I only took my phone/camera. I knew it was going to be a quick "shoot" and I wanted to keep it simple.

For those of you playing around with your iPhone, here are a few details of what I did.

First of all, I shot with the 645Pro app. There are two main reasons for this. The first one is exposing for fog can be tricky and I wanted as much control as I could get. This app allow me to lock my exposure, something the native iPhone camera does not do.

The other reason (and the main reason I am using this app quite a bit), is I can shoot uncompressed tiff files with it.

Don't worry if none of this make sense. The bottom line was I had a great time. This fog leaves as quickly as it comes, so I was grateful I had time to take advantage of it.

I went to a local park knowing there would still be a little fall color and I was not disappointed.

©2012 Dianne PoinskiI cropped this to make it a panoramic. I did not shoot it this way.
I created the "glow" of this image and the next one, with the "Dynamic Light" app, using the "Orion"filter.  It can be a bit much, but I still love playing around with it.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

These next two images don't have has much color, but the mood is perfect....................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

Soon the fog began to lift. The quiet of the morning gave way to commuters and dog walkers and I went home happy I had quite a few images that I couldn't wait to play with.

I was also grateful that my daughter, who knows me so well, not only accepts that I may disappear at a moment's notice to take a picture, but completely supports and encourages me to continue to do so........

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's Getting Noisy Out There.............

I may not be the be the best business person, especially this time of year. I have an aversion to all this "Black Friday", "Small Business Saturday" and "Cyber Monday" stuff.

I have accepted that the world's economy, (as well as mine), depends on the buying habits of the general population. However, I was very disappointed that many stores chose to start their sales on Thanksgiving.

I spent part of Monday adding a smaller size to the print offerings on my website (possible "gift" size), as well as an option to receive a discount if you purchased 4 or more calendars. After doing this, I could not bring myself to post anything about it. It already seemed very "noisy" out there.

So what did I do this holiday weekend, besides enjoy a delicious turkey dinner with family?

On Friday, instead of shopping, we drove to the foothills to visit with my cousin and her family. After taking a walk we had a chili dinner then gathered around a bon fire for a ukulele jam. (Yep, I know a few ukulele chords......)

I did a little shopping at a local bookstore with my daughter on Sunday................................

Then took a walk along the American River Parkway....................

It was a thoroughly delightful weekend with a very healthy dose of down time.

I usually wipe away any benefits of time off by getting overwhelmed and then writing a very lengthy to-do list. I have quite a bit of work to do, but for some reason I am feeling quite calm about it. I feel my goal right now is to become clear about who I want to be during this season of excess.

I hope I am not sounding too preachy, and I in no way want to offend or come off as judging the way others spend their time. I guess I am trying to gain some clarity for myself and set an intention to go through the next 30 days with a little bit of grace, some compassion and patience. It really can be a beautiful time of year and I plan to enjoy it!  I will keep you posted on how that is going.............

PS I am going to do this quietly.......but if you are interested in seeing what I have on my website, click here:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I am.............

©2012 Dianne Poinski
Still playing with the "red leaves"..........(Nikon & Photoshop)

As I get ready to take the rest of the week off, I want to take a few minutes to celebrate all that I am grateful for.

At the top of my list is the support and love of my family.  I am also extremely grateful for friends that don't take it personally when I seem to go underground at times. They know I still cherish them.

I am also so grateful to do work I love and happily accept that when the flame of my passion for photography starts to flicker, if I am patient, something will swoop in to fan and fuel that fire. Happens every time................

And I also want to thank all of you that read my blog, comment and email me. This can be lonely work at times and knowing there are actual people out there makes it easier.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! I also think it would be cool if the whole world took a few minutes this week to tell one person what they were grateful for. Warm fuzzies all around..................  Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Calendars Have Arrived..............

Quick post today..................
I have a lot to catch up on before my daughter comes home next week. Her visits go by way too fast, so I like to take full advantage of the time I get to spend with her by minimizing the amount of work I need to do. However, I promised I would let you know when the calendars were available.

After getting lost somewhere between here and Utah, the box finally arrived. 

While waiting for the shipment, I struggled to find the words I would use to describe the calendars. Readers of my blog know all about my passion and obsession with iPhone photography, but how to convey that in a few short sentences to potential calendar buyers proved to be a challenge.

Here is what I came up with:

Take Time To………..
On January 1, 2012 I began a quest to take at least one photograph with my iPhone every day. This “Project 365” energized me and renewed my passion for photography. I began to slow down, observe and delight in the simple beauty around me. This awakened appreciation inspired me to include iPhone images in this 2013 calendar with the theme “Take Time To………..”  Enjoy!

Here is a composite showing all the images included in the calendar. 

For more information about the calendar, click here: 2013

"iPhone Art" prints are now available on my website too! Click here: iPhone Art

I know I can use some of the reminders I have included in the calendar. I want to enjoy these last few weeks of the year. The darker and colder days naturally beckon us to retreat a bit, but the pressure we put on ourselves during this time of year makes "taking a break" something to fantasize about doing "later". How often do you here the phrase "after the holidays I/we will (fill in the blank)"??

I for one plan to stay present and "celebrate with joy and gratitude"(and will not beat myself up if I miss the mark at times).

What do you want to "take time to.................." do as this year winds down?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

They Paved Paradise................

"They paved paradise to put up a parking lot".....................from "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell

When I am walking through my neighborhood I am very respectful of people's property. However, I sometimes feel frustrated when I can't get the shot I want without walking on someones lawn or driveway. I discovered this weekend that office building parking lots are great places to photograph, especially if you are looking for tree images.

My first "parking lot" image actually happened on Friday. I saw a tree I liked and made a u turn to go back. Feeling a little self conscious, (but not enough to stop me), I timidly parked my car, got out and pointed my phone toward the sky. (I am always wondering if people are looking up to see what I am photographing.)

©2012 Dianne Poinski

Saturday morning I decided to go back to the same complex, this time with my Nikon. I felt free driving around the empty parking lot, jumping out of my car whenever something grabbed my attention. I haven't worked on the Nikon images yet, but here are a couple of iPhone "companion" pieces to the one above.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

On Sunday I decided to look for another parking lot and was not disappointed. In this shot I positioned myself so that the sun was blocked by the tree trunk.  I love the way the leaves are back lit and the tree is a silhouette. It looks a little scary, but also very dramatic.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

You may have noticed that I am still loving those autumn trees! I am having fun, but I know that very soon the branches will be bare. (Which is ok because that's another subject that I love to photograph!

By the way, I have gotten a little obsessed with the "Antique" filter in Pro HDR. It's my new "go to" app and it does not reduce the resolution in any way. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Trees, Leaves & More Trees...............

In a few weeks I will be celebrating my first year of iPhone ownership. That sounds sort of strange but it is something to celebrate (at least to me).

By the time I received my iPhone last year, most of the fall color was gone and the trees were bare. I love the landscape in the winter and filled up my camera roll with quite a few photos of branches against crispy blue skies.

Here it is November and I quite literally cannot stop making photographs of the beautiful light highlighting the colors of the trees in my neighborhood.

I also found new apps to play with. I mentioned "Dynamic Light" briefly last time, but I also started playing around with "Pro HDR".  I am not using it really for the HDR, but I love the filters that come with it. My two favorite are "Antique" and "Glamour".

The winds have picked up and rain is in the forecast so I don't know how much longer I will be out there with my phone pointed toward the sky, but I will enjoy it as long as I can.

Here are a few from this week....................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski