Bald Hill: New Stackables Formula

Last week on a morning hike I came up the side of Bald Hill into this gorgeous light, just peeking over the hill. The clear blue sky and morning light inspired me to take a few photographs, which in turn inspired me to create a new Stackables formula. This formula increases the light contrast, warms the bottom portion of the image and creates a beautiful “blue jean” sky. Today I’m sharing the formula along with a few example photographs edited with it, and hopefully it will inspire good things for you too!

Bald Hill Corvallis Oregon Morning Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

To download the “Bald Hill” formula for your own use, do the following:
1. Make sure the Stackables app is installed on your iOS device.
2. On your iOS device, download the formula file from this link. (This is a Dropbox link, and you may be prompted to save the file to your Dropbox account, if you have one. Go ahead and save it to your Dropbox and then download from there.)
3. When you go to download or open the file, use “Open in…” and choose the “Open in Stackables” option.
4. Stackables will open and ask if you want to import the formula, click “Import.”
5. To use the formula, load a photo and then go to Favorite Formulas (the ones with a heart!). You will see the imported formula there.

You can see the formula has a different result depending on the exposure and color of the sky. Experiment with exposure as you capture your images and see the variation in the results.

Bald Hill Corvallis Oregon Morning Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

If you find that the textures don’t look right for your image, play around with rotating the texture layers. For the image below, I rotated and lightened Layer 3 in the formula.

Bald Hill Corvallis Oregon Morning Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

Have fun! Let me know what you think, and tag me if you share any results on Instagram. I’d love to see what you do with it!

iPhone Photography Resources Free for a Limited Time

I wanted to pop in today to tell you about a few great iPhone photography resources that are free for a limited time. All of the Mobile Photo Interactive eBooks from Dan Marcolina are available FREE in the AppStore until August 1. These include edit recipes and app tutorials by some amazing mobile artists. I go to these apps when I’m in need of a little inspiration.

Don’t miss out! Here’s the list:
Mobile Masters (iPad Only)
Mobile Masters Second Edition (iPad Only)
AppAlchemy (iPad Only)
AppAlchemy Pocket (All iOS devices)
iObsessed Companion (iPad Only)

Personally, I am more in need of TIME than inspiration lately. I’ve had more early morning meetings for work which eats into my hiking and creating time.

Ah, well. That’s the challenge of balancing an artistic practice with a corporate career. At least when I have time to create, I’m making work I love! This is the latest in my Variations on the Forest series, called Invitation.

Corvallis Oregon Forest Abstract Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

You are invited to join me in the forest, any morning I can get out there!

The Butterfly Effect

The creative process is a lot like a redecorating project. It starts with a spark of an idea. You find something new and you want to integrate it, so you start to take apart what’s already there. It’s a mess in the middle, as you try new things, experiment, put things together and take them apart again. If you follow it through, order eventually comes to the chaos. In the end you have something different, you’ve created something new.

In the last week I added this great new set of prints, called “The Butterfly Effect” by artist Barton DeGraaf, to my studio walls. 

Of course, it looks great now, all finished up, but what a mess in the middle! Art off the walls and stacked everywhere. Tools scattered. Making holes once or twice or three times to get things lined up. Then cleaning up, finding new places for the old pieces of art on other walls or storage, and making the space usable again. It took about a week to finish, utilizing bits and pieces of time found here or there. But what a difference! I wanted to use my studio space again.

Once I finished and stood back to evaluate, I realized I loved not only the new art and the new space, but the whole process… The spark of the idea, the integrating of the new into existing pieces, the chaos of the mess as I try to make things work, and then the satisfaction of the completion of a project as well as something real and tangible in the end. 

There is the creative process, in a nutshell. 

Nothing comes out fully formed from an idea. It takes the disorder and frustration of trying new things, adjusting, and maybe leaving a few extra holes in the wall you work through the problems. It takes cleaning up the disaster created as a by product of the process before you can see the finished state. It takes an investment of time to do all of this work.

But when you get to the end? It’s all worth it. 

I think I have a new personal definition for “The Butterfly Effect”… It’s the satisfaction of struggling through the creative process, to bring something beautiful and worthwhile into existence. 

What’s next? It’s time to start the process again…

Open for Critique

There is a time in the creative process when you need to protect your work, let it develop and form in a safe place. And there is a time in the creative process to gather feedback and other points of view, opening your work up for a constructive critique.


My latest body of work, which I’m calling “Variations on the Forest,” is ready for critique. Usually a critique is something I request from trusted sources, in private. But this time, as I prepared a sampling of images for an upcoming PhotoArts Guild Critique Night, I thought I would share them here and invite your feedback and discussion as well. Why not? This blog is a place for work in progress as much as finished concepts.

The work shown here is a sampling of images created in this series over the last two years. As in all of my portfolios, I didn’t develop a concept first and then create the work. It evolved as a response to what I do and what I see as I move through my life, in this case my regular morning hikes. There are some common elements I’m seeking in order to include an image in the body of work, but rather than define them for you I’d like to get your words.

Here are a few prompt questions, to get the conversation started:

  • Do the images work together as a group? Why or why not?
  • Are there any images that don’t fit with the others for you? Which ones?
  • Is there an overall emotion evoked for you? What is it?
  • Do you want to see more or interact further with the images? Why or why not?

Let’s discuss!

Oregon Forest Trees Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

Image 1

Oregon Forest Trees Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

Image 2

Oregon Forest Trees Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

Image 3

Oregon Forest Trees Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

Image 4

Oregon Forest Trees Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

Image 5

Oregon Forest Trees Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

Image 6

Take the Opportunity

Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.
– William Arthur Ward

As a photographer, you quickly learn the light waits for no one. You decide to sleep in a few minutes, and the light is gone. You decide to go out tomorrow instead, and you find the weather has changed and yesterday’s gorgeous sun is now a bank of grey clouds. You missed your opportunity. There is no going back.

As artists, it’s the same, only the opportunities are not as clearly identifiable as a sunrise. They come as a chance meeting, a passing suggestion. You don’t always recognize them, let alone jump on them, when they come along. Some you might not realize we’re opportunities until years later.

Or, even if you recognize the opportunity, it might not be convenient to act on it at the moment, so you let it pass by. Thinking, I’ll catch it next time. Only to discover later that there is no “next time.” There was only that one time, and you chose to let the opportunity pass.

You might kick yourself later, but it’s the opportunities you’ve missed in he past which help you take advantage of the opportunities of the future. The lessons you learn in missing or taking opportunities stick with you, and you try not to make them as often.

The Salem Art Fair & Festival opens today, so I’m thinking a lot about the opportunities I had last year, the newspaper article, the radio interview, and being offered a book deal out of all of that publicity. Wow. Compare that to this year, where I’m just lucky to be in the fair. I was originally rejected in March but got a call in June asking if I wanted to be in this year. I had to rearrange my vacation to be there this year, but I’ll be there.

Because, you see, I’ve learned my lesson. I see too many missed opportunities and missed sunrises in my rear view mirror. I’m determined that there will be less of them in the future. A little inconvenience is worth it to take advantage of an opportunity. I will likely still miss some, for one reason or another, but I hope that my story is more like, “This amazing opportunity came a long and I dropped everything to take it,” than, “I can’t believe I didn’t do that while I could.”

Take the opportunity when it is presented. Don’t delay.

“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.”

Registration is open for Fall Workshops!

I know it’s the heat of summer, but fall will be here before you know it. (Don’t tell my son, he’s getting too much pleasure from sleeping in.) My fall mobile photography workshops will fill up before you know it, too! Registration is now open for my workshops from September to November. A workshop is the perfect thing to do while you wait for my book to arrive!

Mobile Photography 1: Introduction
Corvallis, Oregon
September 12, 2015 or October 10, 2015
1pm to 4pm


Learn to capture great photographs with your smartphone or tablet. You always have your mobile device with you, right? Why not make it your primary camera! In this half-day course, you’ll learn how to get the most out of your device’s camera along with the basics of creative photo editing. Whether you want to take nice photographs of your family and friends to share online or begin to create photographic art, you’ll be making photographs you are proud to share in no time! The class will be taught for both iOS and Android devices, and no prior photography experience is necessary.

Cost is $40+apps. Register here.

Mobile Photography 2: Artistic Alterations
Corvallis, Oregon
November 14, 2015
1pm to 4pm


Take your photographs into a whole new realm! Explore the possibilities of creating interesting and unique art by altering photographs on your iPhone or iPad. In this half-day workshop you will learn the secrets of sequencing and blending apps to create art with depth and interest from your photographs. By the end, you will be creating images as unique as you are! The class will be taught for iOS devices running the latest version of iOS.

Prerequisite: Mobile Photography 1, Intro to Mobile Photography or Intro to iPhoneography

Cost is $40+apps. Register here.

Will you be joining me this fall? I’d love to see you in class!