Thursday, June 28, 2012

City by the Bay

A well known and often quoted statement about Sacramento (California) is that it is in-between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.  It's true - two hours west or east will get you somewhere pretty spectacular.

©2012 Dianne Poinski
I hardly ever go to Lake Tahoe (this could change now that we have our kayaks), but I have a couple of reasons why I go to "The City" so often.

My favorite reason is my son lives there.

My son Joe during a visit to the SFMOMA

Also, as many of you know, I am a huge San Francisco Giants fan.

ATT Park

In the last few months I have made a couple of trips to SF and (you knew this was coming.....) have many iPhone photos to share. I may have posted a couple of these during my monthly recap of my "Project 365" back in April and I have also shared a few of the recent ones on Facebook and Instagram. If you don't follow me on those sites, keep scrolling. The rest of you however, may get bored. Sorry!

Anyway, what I find interesting is that many of these were shot through car or hotel windows. I can't imagine doing this with a "serious" shot, but for some reason I feel free to shoot this way with my iPhone. I think that's why this project has been so good for me. It has loosened me up and taken away many of the limitations I placed on myself.

These were all shot and processed in my iPhone with Snapseed. I am viewing most of these as larger images for the first time (and on my laptop, but that's another story...) and noticed that I may have gotten carried away with some of the filters. Oh well, it was fun!

With the exception of the Golden Gate Bridge images (I was not driving!), these are all shots of San Francisco architecture which I love, but rarely photograph. (Again, lifting of limitations......)

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

While I promise I did not take any photographs while driving (I was in the passenger seat when we were going over the GG Bridge), I did get honked at when I thought I had time for an image or two while waiting at a couple of stop lights. At least you don't have to worry about me "talking" on the phone...............................

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


©2012 Dianne Poinski - "Magnolia I" Nikon D300

I have a fairly regular practice of taking afternoon walks whenever I can. A good majority of my iPhone "photo of the day" images are taken while exploring my neighborhood on these walks. I try to vary the route as much as possible, hoping to find something new and fresh to photograph.

Between going out of town and moving my studio this past month, it became difficult to fit these walks into my schedule. I was lucky if I was heading out once a week, which is what makes this story special (at least to me).

This is the time of year when I usually gaze with longing at the beautiful magnolia blossoms high up in the trees. In my mind, shooting a decent photograph of a blossom would require a tall ladder and possibly a pair of pruning shears. So I was delighted last Friday when after making a last minute decision to take a quick stroll, I came across a blossom that was pretty much staring me in the face. I took a few shots with my iPhone and mentally noted the location of the tree in case I wanted to come back with my Nikon.

A few more blocks and another one presented itself! There was no question now. As soon as I got home I would grab my "real" camera and head back out. But I wasn't finished with my walk yet. As I went down the street and around the corner, I came across the best one yet!

When I posted one of the iPhone images on my Facebook page, the caption read "Eye level, no trespassing!"

©2012 Dianne Poinski - "Magnolia II" iPhone 4S

Now I was getting really excited and decided to head home. Not trusting my ability to remember where these trees were located, I started taking pictures of the street signs for reference.

I kept thinking about how great it was I decided to walk that day. Not only was it a treat to have this opportunity to shoot magnolia blossoms, but it was  a slightly overcast day, which is a rare occurrence in June. The light was perfect!

I was working on a project with a deadline and had to be somewhere later that evening, but as soon as I walked through the door, I grabbed my Nikon anyway and headed back out in my car.

©2012 Dianne Poinski - "Magnolia III" Nikon D300

After reviewing the images, I wished I had taken a step ladder when I went out the second time. I realized that because I look through the view finder on my Nikon, my angle of view is limited by my height. I was able to get a much higher angle with my iPhone by holding up my arms and looking at the LCD screen. Even though I was quite pleased with many of the images, I decided that I would go back the next day with a small ladder.

I already knew this, but magnolia blossoms do not retain their "good looks" for very long. When I went back the next morning, all of the magnolias I photographed the day before were already showing signs of decline. I was disappointed, but even more grateful that I had made the decision to take that walk the day before.

Because I was curious, I checked out "my blossoms" on Sunday. If I had waited less than 48 hours after my first visit, this is what I would have found!

If there is a moral to this story it would be "follow your intuition". Time and time again I have followed through when my gut told me to do something and the rewards have been great.

I am still on the lookout, and while walking today took note of a tree with potential beauties just beginning to bloom. The step ladder is already in the van..........

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Uncharted Waters..................

Yesterday was the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. As a child growing up in the 60's and being told to come home "when the street lights come on", this was a day to be celebrated!

I have often wanted to capture that feeling of endless possibilities that the beginning of summer brings, but as I get older I find it more difficult.

At the height of my participation in art festivals, summer evenings were usually spent working (if it was during the week) or crashing (if it was the weekend of a show). At the time I just accepted it, but deep inside I knew it was not the life I wanted. Even though it's been a few years since my last summer show, I find the habit of "doing" hard to break.

I may have just found the perfect weapon to break me of this habit......................a kayak!

I shared in a post last fall about an anniversary trip my husband and I took where we rented kayaks and paddled around the area where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean. Ever since that trip, I have longed to replicate the almost perfect harmony and peace I felt while on the water that day. We had been talking about buying kayaks for awhile, but that trip increased and intensified that desire, and last weekend we made it happen!

I find both the winter and summer solstice events to be special, and I like honoring the rhythm of the seasons. So last night instead of working on one of the many projects I have going on, I suggested to my husband that we get the kayaks on the rack, buy some sandwiches, make the 30 minute drive to Folsom and celebrate the lingering daylight on the water. It was quiet and magical, and just what I needed.

Of course I had my iPhone (in a special dry box I bought) and took a fair amount of photographs in between paddling. It's hard to capture what I was feeling, but I am excited about the photographic possibilities being on the water will present.

However, I don't think using my iPhone is the way to go. The idea of having a phone with me in such a place just feels wrong, even if I am only using it for the camera. I am going to begin some research and have already put out the question to a few kayaker/photographers that I know. Should I buy a casing for my DSLR? Should I invest in a waterproof point and shoot camera? Any suggestions or ideas would be appreciated.

What follows are some of the shots I made last night (tweaked a little in Photoshop).



It is always so much fun when you shake things up a bit and last night felt special. I think it's going to be a great summer and I hope you don't get tired of seeing the front of my green kayak pop up in a few photographs!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Apple Blossoms & Ferns...............

As much as I enjoy venturing out and traveling to take photographs, there is something very satisfying about going out my back door and setting up a few shots. Sometimes I drop what I am doing, grab my camera and next thing I know, an hour has gone by.

This theme of shooting close to home has been ever present for me this year. When I challenged myself last month to only one "shutter click" a day, I increased the limitation by requiring that this one shot be taken in my backyard. (To read more about this, click here: A New Challenge )

While many "photo ops" present themselves in my yard, I usually prefer to photograph flowers and still life images in the tightly controlled confines of my studio where there is  no wind, the light is soft and I control the background.

We have an apple tree in our backyard and for the last few years when blossoms started to appear I would clip off branches (not in the proper "pruning fashion" I am sure...) and rush to my studio and photograph under the "controlled conditions" that I love so much. And every year I would be disappointed with the results...............

I am sure some of this had to do with the fact that apple blossoms lose some of their "oomph" when taken off the life support of the tree, but in general I could never come up with a composition that made me say "aaahhhh that's it!"

When the blossoms started to appear this year, I took my camera out back to see if maybe that was the right approach. (Something I probably should have done a couple of years ago, but "oh well"....)

Cropping close eliminated the busy background and the petals seemed a lot happier in their natural surroundings. (Another benefit to this approach is that I can show these to my husband.......I kept quiet about the "pruning" of the apple tree but feel no guilt about these images.)

 ©2012 Dianne Poinski

 ©2012 Dianne Poinski

Just the other day I went out back to photograph some of our ferns and after a few disappointing attempts, ran back into the house and grabbed a piece of scrap mat board my framer had given me.

 ©2012 Dianne Poinski

Problem solved:

 ©2012 Dianne Poinski

It's always been my dream to have a garden with all my favorite flowers planted right outside my door. The truth is, I am not really into working in my yard and I don't know the first thing about gardening.  Instead, I will just continue to work with what I have. If nothing else, shooting this way exercises my eye and helps me when I am out on a photographic adventure somewhere outside my zip code.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Still Discovering...........

Last month I wrote about how my "Shutter Diet" led to quite a few discoveries about myself  and the art I want to make. I talked about my desire for simplicity and how limitations are sometimes necessary for the creative process. In keeping with my desire to free up space in my head (and my computer), I also declared that I would soon be closing my LinkedIn, Flickr and Pinterest accounts - which I did. (I will share later about how scary this was to do......)

The very next day I made the decision to move my studio which meant the following four weeks of my life were anything but simple. However, in the process of moving I did let go of a lot of "stuff" and that feels great.

So now I am back and ready to embrace again, through my actions and my photography, my quest for conscious and deliberate living.

Right before all of this happened, I began a series of images that was directly related to this quest. I found myself looking for the simplest of compositions and soothing colors.

I have tried meditation, yoga and other practices designed to slow me down and encourage mindfulness, but nothing does it for me like photography. The calm I experienced while searching out these images helped when it came time to title each one.

I even called this my "Zen Series". (All images ©2012 Dianne Poinski)





As I try to settle back down to some sort of routine, I want to remember what it felt like to make these images.

My initial reaction to having the move behind me was to "get things done". Many items on my "to-do" list were put on the back burner and now I find myself in the position of questioning those items and rating their importance. It feels like something has shifted and I don't want to rush anything right now.

Maybe it's summer that is calling to me. I don't know and I don't have to know. I just have to honor my rhythm, have no regrets and be clear and honest about how I want to do things. I believe that is harder than it sounds, but I am up for the challenge. I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

All Moved In........................

What a week! I believe deadlines are designed to kick your butt and last week was no exception. I am grateful though. Without "Second Saturday" looming over our heads, there is a good chance the studio would still look like this:

The hard work paid off though and I am very happy with the way it all turned out. If you are an Instagram or Facebook friend, you may have already seen most of these photos, but it's fun for me to revisit the progression.

One of the first things we did was something I never did the entire time I had that studio. We cleaned the windows!  Actually, I should say Donald cleaned the windows................I was too busy looking for my "photo of the day"............................

Slowly, everything started to fall into place...................

By Saturday night we were ready.....................................

I am thrilled that this move is behind me now. Can't wait to get in there, turn on my ipod and enjoy being "back home".

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Move In Week..................

This is move-in week! Back to my old studio and feeling the pain of schlepping furniture and boxes up the same stairs I carried all those same items down just last year. Earlier today I was trying to remember if it had been this tough before and it dawned on me -  I was 7 years younger when I moved in the first time! Let me tell you - it makes a difference!

With the time crunch I am experiencing this week, I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce you to the work of my new studio mate - Donald Satterlee. I posted this video before when we had our show together last fall, but for those of you that have not seen it, take a look. Floral images are by me, the rest are Donald's.

Be sure you have your speakers on! If the video is not showing up in the post, click here: video

I plan to share photos of the space soon. It's coming along nicely and I am excited about some of the changes we are making. Stay tuned.......................

Friday, June 1, 2012

Another Month...........

Time for another recap of my "Project 365". I shared quite a few from this month when I was in the middle of my "Only 1" challenge, but after that I continued taking at least one photo every day during May.

This month was actually a little easier and different because I took trip to Southern California with my daughter who was visiting from Seattle. While there we enjoyed time with my brother and his family and then when we got back to Sacramento we met my grandnephew Eli for the first time. So, for a change of pace I have images of people. (Only a couple, but still......I like to joke that I don't take pictures of anything that has a mother. Obviously that was not the case this month!)

As I prepare for my move back to my old studio, there will be many opportunities to record the progress and look at familiar territory with new eyes. (I already began that, but you will have to wait until I share the images from June......or you can follow me on Instagram - dpoinskiphoto)

So here you go:

Project 365 - Highlights from May*
Descanso Gardens


Huntington Gardens - Pasadena


Sensitivity Tree (Cool name for a tree - don't you think?)

On the side of a Rite Aid store..................

Off to organize what is going to the new space and what's staying home. Have a great weekend!

*All images taken and processed with my iPhone..................