Thursday, September 27, 2012


My husband and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary this week. We went to San Francisco to catch a Giants game Tuesday night and then on Wednesday spent the entire day exploring.

I am so grateful that my husband's idea of celebrating our anniversary includes indulging me and my passion for "celebrating photography".

The day included a visit to Golden Gate Park where we walked around (yes my toe is better, thanks!) the Japanese Tea Garden and the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

Then we ventured over to Ocean Beach, the "Lands End" trail and the "Sutro Baths".

A visual feast of imagery was present everywhere we went. I took a ton of photos of course, but here are a few of my iPhone favorites.......................

San Francisco Botanical Garden ©2012 Dianne Poinski

San Francisco Botanical Garden ©2012 Dianne Poinski

San Francisco Botanical Garden ©2012 Dianne Poinski

Sutro Baths Ruins ©2012 Dianne Poinski

Man at the Lands End Lookout ©2012 Dianne Poinski

Ocean Beach ©2012 Dianne Poinski

I also shot with my Nikon and haven't had a chance to upload those to my computer yet, so there is a good chance I will share more from this trip.

For now, I am just grateful that I have so much to celebrate......................................

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Adventures in the Delta

Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to join Stan Phillippe and Egmont van Dyck on an iPhone only photo adventure.

Stan lives in Sacramento and I met him on a visit he made to my studio a few years ago. Egmont lives in the Bay Area and we have been online friends for a few years, but this was the first time we met in person. He has become increasingly passionate about iPhonography and has a website dedicated to that -

A quick side note - Egmont and Stan became Facebook "friends" through me and arranged to meet in San Francisco last month to photograph. This is one of the things I love best about social media! You can see some of Stan's photos here: Flickr  Egmont wrote a blog post about the day here: Street Photography

The day started early in Locke, California. This town was added to the registry of national historical places because of its unique status as the only town in the United States built exclusively by the Chinese for the Chinese. This small delta treasure is a photographer's candy store. There are back alleys, old buildings and it's close to the river if you are looking for some landscape images.

Locke©2012 Dianne Poinski

 Locke - ©2012 Dianne Poinski

Locke - ©2012 Dianne Poinski

After leaving Locke, we headed toward the "Old Sugar Mill". This site was an actual sugar mill until it closed in 1993. Restoration work began in 2000 and today the main building houses eight wineries and hosts many events during the year.

There are still buildings being renovated and some appear to be in their original state. This is where the adventure really began.

One of the benefits of shooting with others, besides the knowledge and inspiration they provide, is that they can sometimes lead you into places you probably would not go by yourself. I had this experience last week and came home with some rich images as a result.

While looking through my camera roll however, I was struck by the feeling of not having ownership of some of the images. For some reason, because I did not actually discover a few of the scenes I photographed, it almost felt like cheating to call them my own. I am sure my original captures as well as how I processed those images differ from what my two friends did, but I still feel a bit "off" by it. However it's not going to stop me from sharing them. 

The first two images here were in a building that Egmont discovered. His excitement at some of the scenes he found was contagious. 

Old Sugar Mill - ©2012 Dianne Poinski

Old Sugar Mill - ©2012 Dianne Poinski

This next one was in a building that stated pretty clearly that you could not go in, so I spent quite a bit of time on my own, shooting from the open doorway. These old buildings just seem to be screaming to have "grunge" texture added to them.

Old Sugar Mill - ©2012 Dianne Poinski

All of these images were processed in Snapseed and some of them also had extra texture added in Iris Photo Suite.

The day ended with a delightful late lunch at Tower Cafe. I want to thank Egmont and Stan for sharing their knowledge with me that day and am grateful they included me in this adventure!

PS One of the coolest thing I learned that day is how to use the "645 Pro" iPhone app. With this camera app you can shoot in Tiff mode as well as lock your exposure setting and focus spots. Too much fun.........

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Everyday Inspiration..............

I am somewhat of a compulsive buyer of books. I believe in keeping the "well" full in order to continue creating, and the written words and images in many of the books I buy inspire and excite me.

I discovered a book a couple of weeks ago that has been out for a few years. "A Year of Mornings" is a collaboration between two photographers who live on opposites sides of the country. One in Portland Oregon, the other in Portland Maine.

Each one began searching out and recording the beauty and simplicity they found highlighted by the soft quality of morning light. Before the book, they created a blog where others could come to soak up the quiet and be inspired to also slow down and be present.

The second book to arrive on my porch this week is brand new. "Extraordinary Everyday Photography" by Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring also celebrates awakening your senses to what is right in front of you and then capturing with whatever camera you have on hand, the visual equivalent of the emotion that first caused you to pause and notice.

Since both of these books are brand new (to me) and just arrived, I am not going to attempt to give a review or synopsis. I just want to share my excitement at realizing the power photography has to shape our everyday lives, and how wonderful it is that there is almost a sort of "movement" out there celebrating this fact!

Most of you know that this has become a theme of many of my blog posts and the reason I am so passionate and grateful for my own "Project 365".

The following image came from one of those "moments" where I simply stopped to notice light, lines, curves and the color of the curtains in my newly painted and furnished son's guest room.

As with most of my iPhone images, I first tuned it up in "Snapseed" Then I believe (but am not sure) I created the tone in "Vintique" and the softness in "FocalLab". ( I am going to try to figure out a way to record my work flow with the apps in my iPhone. Until I do, you will probably read the phrases "I believe", "I think" and "not positive" for a little while longer.)

©2012 Dianne Poinski

I was reminded just the other day that there are still people that look down on photography and may not even consider it art. I don't really care. Photography has always served the purpose of recording life events and capturing the essence of the world around us, but it is also a form of self expression.

The explosion of digital and now phone photography, has opened this up to so many more people, which I believe has the potential and power to make the world a better place. Imagine millions of people slowing down and noticing beauty........................ Doesn't get much better than that!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


One of the most frustrating inconveniences of my broken toe is the temporary suspension of my daily walks. I am healing fairly quickly and should be back to normal in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a few images from a series I started in June that began because of those walks around my neighborhood.

Where I live there are many alleys that pass behind the houses.  What started accidentally grew into a deliberate search down these gravel paths for photo ops that could not be seen from the main roads. 

Here are some of my favorites. All were shot with my iPhone. Some were also processed in the phone while others are simply recordings of things I saw that made me smile.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

It will be fun to see the changes the new season will bring to these same alleys when I can start my "walks" again. In other words, these are probably not the last "alley shots" you will see here...................

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What's in a Name?

Yesterday I accomplished something that up until recently I could not do. 

When I set up my Facebook "page" four years ago I was still primarily creating hand colored images and named my page to reflect that: Dianne Poinski Hand Colored Photography

Regular readers of my blog know that in the last year a shift has occurred that was accelerated with the purchase of my iPhone 4s. I no longer share only hand colored photographs on my blog, website or  Facebook page.

On more than one occasion I have posted an iPhone shot on my page that had viewers asking if it was hand colored. I would ask too!

In the last six months I slowly began transitioning from "Dianne Poinski Hand Colored Photography" to "Dianne Poinski Photography". This was going smoothly until I looked into changing my Facebook page. When I first checked, the rule was you had to have under 200 "fans" in order to request a name change. (I could be wrong about this number. All I know is that I was above the cutoff.)

Skimming around yesterday I came across a form used to request a name change that did not mention the fan limitation. Maybe this has been around for awhile, but it was the first time I saw it.

It was fast and easy and the approval came through within a couple of hours.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it is to me. Earlier this year I wanted to change the cover image  but felt conflicted about what type of photograph to post. It should be hand colored................that is what the page says -  right? Well, that problem has been solved, so you know a new image will be appearing soon.

I am still hand coloring black and white photographs and even posted a photo of a piece I worked on over the weekend. This is a darkroom, fiber based print that I hand colored with PanPastels. I have a few of these prints leftover from the "old days" and will be working on more of them this month.

I will share more about this project later, but for now, all I know is I am beginning to feel free of the limitations I placed on myself and can now concentrate on simply "celebrating photography......."

If we are not already connected, please check out my "new" Facebook Page (the actual address still says "hand colored.....", but most people don't look at that.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Studio Tour Recap................

Our annual open studio event took place this past weekend, and for those of you unable to attend, I thought I would do a brief followup and share a few photos.

Knowing you are opening your studio to the public can force you to do things like paint walls, rearrange furniture and rehang art. We had planned to paint ever since we first moved in, but it took the pressure of the upcoming tour to make it happen.

The walls looked so nice that we were reluctant to put the first nail hole in, but eventually forced ourselves to do it.

We were not the only ones that used the deadline of the approaching public event to finish a project. The stairs leading up to the studios had a major makeover and the paint was barely dry before the first visitors made their way up.

Once you go up the stairs, the common gallery area features art from all the artists with studios at ARTHOUSE.

The weekend itself was great fun and I want to thank everyone that came to visit, including fellow bloggers Gina and Hannah who stopped by to say hi. Many people remarked that they were not even aware that our studios were in the building - which is one of the advantages to participating in these kind of events.

Open studio tours also serve as an excellent way for the public to get a peek into our spaces and be exposed to a large assortment of art techniques, styles and mediums.

Our studio

Being busy all weekend did not stop me from sticking with my Project 365. On Saturday I took a photo of some vintage cameras that my studio mate had brought in.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

The next day I ventured out to photograph the stairs leading up to the back door of the foundry which is in the same building. One of my apps has this postcard overlay but I can't remember which one. If I can find it again I will post it in the comments.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

This year the tour is split into two weekends. My former studio mate Judy Jacobs, will have her home studio open to the public for the first time. If you are participating this weekend, be sure to stop by.

More info: Capitol Artists Studio Tour

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Road Less Traveled & A Broken Toe.........

©2012 Dianne Poinski

I mentioned in my last post that I am busy getting ready for our annual open studio tour this week. Today I want to share a story (another one) about how my iPhone "Project 365" once again transformed an otherwise ordinary day into something special.

On Tuesday I had a few errands to run. These included a trip to my framers and then a little farther east to pick up the bags I use to package my unframed prints. Both of these places are freeway friendly, but  I still did not have my "photo of the day". Instead of getting back on the freeway for the second stop, I decided to take a few back roads instead.

You simply cannot be in a hurry or feel overwhelmed when you are driving on country roads looking for a  "Kodak moment". This little diversion dramatically shifted my mood and my attitude, and I know I have this project to thank.

While the driving slowed me down, because of my position in the road for both these shots, I did work pretty fast and it shows. They looked much better on the small screen of my phone, but I still like them enough to share.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

In other news, (and another example of the universe forcing me to slow down), an unfortunate meeting of my toe and a door jamb occurred in the middle of the night and it appears I have broken my toe. (I will spare you that photo! It's pretty ugly!).

It is feeling much better right now so I hope by Saturday it will be just an annoyance, However, if you come to visit me on the tour this weekend and I don't jump up to greet you, you know why........

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Best Laid Plans.................

I pride myself on being organized and it was with great satisfaction that I ordered ink for my Epson 3800* printer before I actually "needed" it, or so I thought...................

*This is a large format printer. Where I live you cannot go to a store and purchase ink for it. 

This coming weekend is our annual city wide open studio tour (click here for more info on that: CAST) and I arranged to have someone come in this past Saturday to help mat prints in preparation for that event. This meant my printer would be working extra hard during the days leading up to Saturday. Since I knew a couple of colors were running low, I ordered ink last Monday confident that it would arrive by Wednesday. (You know where this is going.............)

The ink did not arrive on Wednesday so I called the supplier Thursday morning. They confirmed that a glitch had occurred and they assured me it would be delivered by Friday. While making prints on Thursday, one of the ink cartridges became completely empty which means the printer will no longer function. Now all I could do was wait. While I was not looking forward to it, I knew my Friday evening plans would include a marathon printing session if I was to have prints to mat the next day.

On Friday morning I called again and was given the UPS tracking number which did indeed show the package on the truck scheduled to be delivered later that afternoon. I called UPS around 5:30 and again I was assured the package would be delivered that day. I ate dinner and again checked the tracking. Still on the truck.............I did this a couple of more times until around 8:00 and, you guessed it - "Scheduled Delivery End of Day Tuesday September 4th". I will not repeat the words my poor husband had to hear after I received that news.

Armed with a few prints, I went to the studio the next day grateful to have the help, but a little irritated that I would not be matting as many as I had hoped.

After my frustration and anger subsided I started thinking "maybe I am not suppose to be working that hard this holiday weekend". "Instead of busting my butt, maybe I should enjoy a few hours kayaking with my husband". "What is the worst thing that can happen if I don't have everything ready by Friday?" In other words, this was not the big deal I was making it out to be.

So on Sunday, we loaded the kayaks on the truck, took a short drive and spent the next couple of hours on the water. While it made me nervous in the beginning, I have devised a system that makes photographing with my iPhone while kayaking fairly safe. I am still researching affordable alternatives, but for now it's working and I have been having so much fun!

On this particular trip, I found myself especially drawn to the reflections on the water. The patterns and colors reminded me of paintings. Pretty soon I forgot all about the fact my printer would remain idle until sometime late Tuesday afternoon. It just didn't matter anymore........................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

As I get ready to post this, I am still waiting for the UPS truck to make it's way down my street...........