Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summertime...........

Last day of July and we are heading into what many call the "dog days of summer" (at least here in the northern hemisphere).

As a child growing up in San Jose, California, making the drive "over the hill" to the beach town of Santa Cruz happened often during the summer. I have fond memories of lying on the beach with the August "Back to School" issues of Seventeen magazine, happy that I was still on vacation but also looking forward to getting back to a routine and the change in the weather. 

This summer I am having those same feelings about August. "Those lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer" (thank you Nat King Cole) will be over before we know it and I plan to enjoy them, but I am also looking forward to September. I think it's a spill over from my school days, but the fall in many ways feels more like the beginning of a new year than the first day of January.  

In Europe, many people go "on holiday" in August and shops and other businesses close down for much of the month. I think they got it right and I have decided to carry that spirit into August by participating in Susannah Conway's "August Break". Her purpose for beginning this was...”to simply sink into the joys of the month while taking a wee break from the obligations of blogging”. While I don’t really see blogging as an “obligation”, the idea of a little less structure this month is very appealing. I also believe that by doing this, I will welcome September with new energy and inspiration.


There are no rules for the “August Break”, but basically the idea is to post a photo on your blog everyday with little or no writing attached to it. For those of you who get this blog in your in-box, you can relax a little. I am opting for the Monday - Friday version of the challenge and not the “seven days a week” one.

I have no plan for this and will simply post what speaks to me on any given day. I will probably dig into my archive of images and share older work along with (of course) some of my iPhone “photo of the day” images. 

I know kayaking this summer has played a major role in my slowing down so I think it's only appropriate that I end this post with a photo I took the other day while paddling at the Cosumnes River Preserve.

I think this is where a picture is worth a thousand words................................just breathe.


©2012 Dianne Poinski

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lighthouse Hunting.........

There is a part of me that feels like lighthouses are somewhat cliche, but that didn't stop me from pulling over to capture quite a few of them as we traveled up the coast from California to British Columbia a couple of years ago.

I was recently invited to submit some of those lighthouse images for a potential project and was later asked if I had more. Thankfully, I only live a couple of hours from the coast, so on a recent visit to San Francisco I talked my husband into going on a little adventure to visit three lighthouses that were fairly close by.

While I concentrated more on photographing these with my Nikon for this project, I of course pulled out my iPhone to shoot with as well.

I have not had a chance to work on the Nikon images yet, so the photos that follow are all ones I made with the iPhone and processed in Snapseed. (Love that "Grunge" filter!)

Since I feel freer to experiment with my iPhone photos, the images I made with the Nikon will look nothing like these (which I think is part of the fun)...................


©2012 Dianne Poinski "Point Bonita" (Marin Headlands)


©2012 Dianne Poinski  "Point Montara" (North of Half Moon Bay)


©2012 Dianne Poinski "Point Montara II"

©2012 Dianne Poinski "Pigeon Point Lighthouse" (South of Half Moon Bay)


©2012 Dianne Poinski "Pigeon Point II"


There is a good chance I will be driving north soon to capture a few more. I am not complaining..........

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

No Golden Tickets..............

What can I say? I love my new computer! It's taken me a couple of weeks, but I am almost 100% up and running on my new iMac.




When it came time to transfer files from my old PC to the new Mac, I was very picky about what I chose to move over.  I get overwhelmed easily and knowing just how much information was stored on my old hard drive was enough to make my head spin. It is comforting to know that what is on this machine is important to me, and I know exactly where it is.  I also know this probably won't last, but I am going to enjoy this mini zen experience for as long as possible.

This post however, is more about freedom from clutter (mental and physical) than it is about my new computer. My mission to reduce some of my overwhelm began a few months ago when I mentioned that I was clicking on "unsubscribe" to many of the newsletters and emails I receive on a daily basis. Earlier in the year I removed my images from Fine Art America and ImageKind. I further simplified my life by closing my LinkedIn, Flickr and Pinterest accounts.

I must admit that I started to feel very anxious and afraid that I was going to miss something during all of this. Maybe the email that has just the information I have been waiting for is due to appear in my in-box any day now. How will I know unless I read each and every one I receive?

I was tested soon after closing my Pinterest account.  I received an email with the subject - "How to Sell Your Art With Pinterest". My initial reaction was "Oh no! That email contains answers to the million dollar question and I should reactive my account!". Did I? Nope! Instead I simply clicked on "Unsubscribe" please.......

When I transitioned over to the iMac, this desire to streamline my life intensified. I became ruthless, and continued this "cleanse" by unsubscribing to anyone that made promises I knew they couldn't keep or to companies trying to sell me things I didn't need. it  I use to spend so much time deleting these emails thinking that was faster than doing what was needed to prevent them from appearing at all. Or at least that is what I told myself. The truth was I was afraid. Afraid to pass up any opportunity that might present itself.

There are so many people whose wisdom and insight I find invaluable, and I will continue to seek out and welcome into my life information that is inspiring and authentic, but I have learned that what I really need is not "out there".  I want to learn to trust my instincts and not immediately do something because someone says I should do it, but instead wait to see how I feel and make a decision with that clarity in mind.

The clearing out of my in-box has been incredibly liberating and I already feel I have gained extra time as a result. That extra time is coming in handy as I learn how to navigate my way in a Mac world. I keep discovering little tricks and continue to be amazed when something I did on my phone flows seamlessly on to my computer.

Today I decided to set up my screen saver to display the images I took a couple of weeks ago with my iPhone of a field of sunflowers in Dixon (California). In order to make that happen, all I had to do was pick "Dixon" under "places" in iPhoto and magically all of my sunflower images began to appear in a slide show format. (See above......) How cool is that?

Just for fun, here is an Instagram I made of one of the shots from that sunflower field.....................


©2012 Dianne Poinski

The decluttering did not end with my computer. The closets were next, and as soon as I hit "publish" I am off to deliver bags of "stuff " to Goodwill. Sure feels good.......................

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Success & Dirt Roads.............

A few months ago I had a show at the Bogle Vineyards in Clarksburg California, and while it may not have been successful in the traditional sense (sales, connections etc.......) it gave me numerous opportunities to explore and photograph in an area that is close to home, but feels like a million miles away. 

The Sacramento Delta region is visually rich but sometimes difficult to navigate. I brought my Nikon with me for each visit to the winery beginning with the planning session and ending with the taking down of the show. I was happy the opening reception ended at 4 in the afternoon because it gave me a another chance to get in my car and search for sloughs and other spots of interest off of the main route along the river.

With every twist and turn in the road, I got further away from being able to identify where I was when I took most of these images. I guess that is why they have GPS in cameras now, but for me it felt like part of the adventure.

The images below were created digitally, but I am excited to share that I began hand coloring a couple of them this week. I have been away from my easel too long, but now that my computer issues have been taken care of, it's time to get back in the studio and spend some quality time with my pastels and brushes. It will also be nice to take a little break from any phrases that include the terms "tiff", "dpi" "pixels" or "layers".



©2012 Dianne Poinski


©2012 Dianne Poinski


©2012 Dianne Poinski


©2012 Dianne Poinski
"Stillness"
(This is the "image of the month" on my website)

So like I mentioned above, this was not the best show in terms of sales, but I am OK with that. This is why it's important to define success for yourself. As far as I am concerned, the show was a success! I met some lovely new people and had many opportunities to explore and photograph this beautiful area! Works for me!

P.S. In a post a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a photographer that I considered to be a friend even though we had never met in person.  Well guess what? Rob happened to be on the west coast this week and came to my studio and we had a great visit! So wonderful to have met you in person Rob! Thank you again for all your support and encouragement!


I love the Internet, but even more so when it helps facilitate the creation of true and meaningful relationships, and I find that happening more and more these days! Technology rocks! (I use way too many exclamation marks...........)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Celebrating with Joy & Gratitude......

I am happy to announce that I am writing this blog post from my new iMac! I am still not completely set up on this beautiful new machine, but I am getting close.


I was thrilled to discover that all of my iPhone photos will now automatically show up in iPhoto! No more selecting images on my phone to email to myself or move via "Dropbox".


This will probably mean the posting of even more "phone" photos, but like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I am not going to worry or apologize for that anymore.


That whole discussion prompted me to come up with a brand new tag line for my blog. In many ways this is my mission statement and my reason for even having a blog at all (and has nothing to do with equipment).


"Celebrating photography with joy and gratitude......"


It may seem like a very simple statement, but it sums up perfectly how I feel. Photography is my passion and I am sooooo grateful that I have a way to express myself that brings me so much joy!


©2012 Dianne Poinski - Daisy from a grocery store bouquet.................

This passion however, also increases my tendency to exhibit ADD behaviors. During the last couple of weeks while I was working through my "computer issues", I found myself grabbing items that were in my yard or kitchen to photograph using the window light in my home office.


These were welcome breaks away from my desk, and even though the original intention was to take a few photos with my iPhone for my Project 365,  I found myself getting out the tripod and photographing the same scene with my Nikon. This definitely slowed down my progress with the computer, but once I got started, I couldn't stop................


©2012 Dianne Poinski - Pears from the fruit bowl....................

Knowing that it would still be awhile before I would have Photoshop on the new computer, having the ability to play with and process my phone images brought me instant satisfaction. Ideas about how I will treat the images from the Nikon were also generated.


©2012 Dianne Poinski  - Apple from our worm infested apple tree.........


I also want to share the names of some of the new apps I have been using on my iPhone photos. (Thanks again to Dewitt Jones and his generous sharing of info...........I am just paying it forward.)


In addition to Snapseed, my new favorite iPhone apps are "Pic Grunger", "FocalLab" and "OldPhotoPro". I have added other apps, but these are the ones I keep going back to.


©2012 Dianne Poinski  - Series of Black-eyed Susans from the Co-op
(I used the app "Diptic" to create the montage of images.)

I just installed Photoshop CS6  and am going to spend the next couple of days bonding with my new iMac and then summon the courage to see what I can do with the raw images off of the Nikon. It will be fun to compare. Stay tuned............................

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Photo Artistry Workshop

A little story and some "shameless self promotion" here.

I am one of those people that need deadlines, and at the end of 2010 I publicly announced that I would have an online type workshop available in early 2011.

At this time I knew very little about video editing or how to even create a "membership type" site. But I was bound and determined to get something up and running, and on January 26th, 2011, I posted the first five videos on the site that I would name "Photo Artistry Workshop".

I am pretty sure if I had waited to do it "perfect" I would still be waiting. I stumbled around a bit and the first set of videos are pretty rough, but I do believe I improved over time.

I solved the other obstacle, by posting to a private Blogger site. Only people that signed up were invited to be readers. The only problem with this was, it wasn't as automated as I would have liked, and people had to wait for me send the "invite". Other than that, it proved to be a pretty good way to do it.

During the last 18 months I have added over 50 posts with videos and tutorials covering not only hand coloring with PanPastels, but digital infrared, organizing images, photographing flowers and many more subjects. I had originally intended to end the posts on December 31, 2011, but extended it until June 30th of this year.  I posted the last video a couple of weeks ago on "Hand Coloring Portraits".

I received an email this morning with the following comment from someone who just signed up:
"I am watching the first videos and have already gotten my money’s worth, especially the info on how to shoot the flowers using daylight with a diffuser curtain, reflector card and backdrop, not a closed lightbox like I had been using. I am so excited!

Thank you again for giving me the tools to explore a whole new area of expression."

Thanks Flo!

I have announced that while there will be no new posts, people that have signed up will have unlimited access (with total email support) to the site until I have something new to offer. My plan is to build another site that will be more automated and course oriented. I am not giving myself a deadline for this right now, so I have no idea when that will happen, but...........everyone that has signed up for the current version of "Photo Artistry Workshop" will automatically have access to the new site.

Here comes the "shameless self-promotion"............registration for what I started calling "PAW" ends on Friday, July 13th and the price of $65 is less than what the new course will cost.

The page on my website has a lot more information and a place to sign up. Click here: Online Workshop

I made this very short "preview" video last year. If it doesn't show up here, click on this link to watch it on YouTube: Preview





If you have any questions about this, you can email me direct at diannepoinski@gmail.com or leave a comment here.

Thanks!

PS This will be my only blog post this week. After I finish this, I am going to begin the process of transitioning over to my new iMac! Yay!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Peonies.............

©2012 Dianne Poinski


I feel pretty settled back into my new/old studio; however, I have not brought in my vases, backdrops or the props I use when photographing flowers yet. Right now we are still defining the space and making a few adjustments, so I may wait a little longer.

A couple of weeks ago I picked up some lovely peonies at Trader Joe's, put them in a glass jar and placed them in my office at home. It did not take long for them to open up and take my breath away every time I walked into the room. There was no way I wasn't going to photograph these luscious blooms!

A couple of white boards and some window light and I was good to go.





©2012 Dianne Poinski


I think it was the spontaneity of the whole experience that I enjoyed the most. I was in the middle of a project when I dropped everything and spent the next hour or so fussing with the arrangement and the lighting, smiling the entire time.

The next day it was clear that the peonies were not as "happy" as they had been earlier. I can't bear to think what would have happened if I said "maybe tomorrow". A lesson I think I need to take into all areas of my life........................

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Artistic Obessions...............

It’s halfway through the year and I am still on track to complete my "Project 365"!  And, since this is the beginning of the month, I will be sprinkling a few of the highlights from June throughout this post. (These were all taken and processed with my iPhone.)

At first I wasn’t sure I was going to do this today. I feel like I have been sharing too much about my love affair with iphonography. I have already posted many of my “June” photos and was afraid my blog might be getting a little stale. However, a couple of things happened last week that helped me decide to go ahead and post these images anyway.

©2012 Dianne Poinski - "Pear"

First, my computer took ill and was in the shop for four days! Not a catastrophe, especially since I do have a laptop, but having spent the previous week filling up my Nikon’s memory card, it was definitely an inconvenience. I have a few images I really want to hand color and the plan last week was to make the black and white prints and get into the studio. So much for plans............

Processing images on my iPhone, helped ease the frustration and disappointment I felt while waiting for my computer to come home, and for this I am very grateful.

©2012 Dianne Poinski - "Wish this was my front yard...."

The other thing that happened last week was I received an email from a photographer and friend (even though we have never met in person, I consider Rob a friend) sharing about a recent workshop he took with Dewitt Jones. Apparently Dewitt is a huge fan of iphoneography and Rob wrote to tell me about an e-book Dewitt had available. (Thank you Rob!!)

I fell in love with the title as soon as I saw it – “iPhoneArt in My Life”.  The book contains a beautiful collection of images, but it’s his words that I want to share.

He mentions in the introduction that “the iPhone has morphed in my life from a plaything to an artistic obsession. It has changed my photographic vision and, in a most delightful way, my consciousness as well.”  I couldn’t have said it better! This coming from Dewitt Jones! (If you are not familiar with this very talented and successful photographer, I highly recommend you check out his website: DewittJones.com.)

©2012 Dianne Poinski - "Target"


Dewitt even talks about his iPhone becoming like his “gratitude journal”. He says “Having it with me all the time, I find I take photos of everyday beauty. Not Yosemite at sunset or Bryce Canyon at dawn; but clothes pins on the line or a gecko on my coffee table. It allows me to take photos of the Art In My Life. With each one of these images, my gratitude grows.”  This has become so important to him that he created a separate website - celebratewhatsright.com, where he posts a photograph “to brighten the day” and “remind us of all that we have to be grateful for.” I love this guy!
Dewitt was also kind enough to share in the book a list of his favorite iPhone “apps”.  While waiting for my computer to return, I made quite a few visits to the “app store” and to say I am having fun is an understatement.

While I don’t need permission or validation, discovering that this highly respected professional photographer shares my enthusiasm for “iPhone art”, made it a little easier to begin this month the same way I have begun the last six – sharing my progress with my “photo a day” project.

©2012 Dianne Poinski - "Shadows on Bamboo"

This blog is about sharing my passion for photography – period. I do not have to place limits on myself or apologize to anyone. I simply love creating images and how I do it is not that important. That I do it - is what matters.
As far as my computer goes………………….those of you who have grown tired of my tales of PC hell, will be happy to know that a trip to the Apple Store will be happening in the next week or two!!