Q&A: Editing Images from Canon Camera on an iOS Device

In my last newsletter, I opened the floor for questions on any topic I might be able to answer. It could be about photography, iPhones, art fairs, writing, life balance, creative process… Whatever is on your mind. This is the first of the Q&A. If you have a question, send it to me, and I’ll answer it in a future post.

Helen from Boston asks:

I have a Canon point and shoot and an iPad. I use picasa for photo organization and editing. I’ve used snapseed for a few years, but the iPad just isn’t part of my photography work flow. Any tips for accessing my photo library from my apps?

Morning Summer Oak Tree Kat Sloma iPhone Photography

This is a great question, Helen! Not everyone has an iPhone or wants it to be their primary camera, but if you have an iPad you can still download the apps and try out all of the editing techniques I share in the Mobile Tutorials.

The first item of business is getting the files onto your iPad Camera Roll. There are a couple of ways to do this:

1. Get them into the cloud, and then transfer them to your iPad. You can use my Dropbox transfer method to get your photos into the cloud and onto your iPad, or, if you already have your photos stored in the cloud, look for an app that has easy download access. A quick search on apps for Picasa revealed an app called Web Albums HD, which works with Picasa Web Albums. If you have Lightroom with the Adobe Creative Cloud, you can get the Lightroom for iPad app which says it enables seamless syncing between your device and desktop. (Great to know — I might just have to try that!)

2. Manually transfer the images to the iPad, through creating permanent albums which sync through iTunes or emailing yourself the images you want to edit. (Ugh!)

Creating a system which automatically syncs your images through the cloud and makes them available to download on the iPad would be much preferred if you want the iPad to be a regular part of your workflow. I’ve found if something is a lot of work, I might try it out once or twice, but I’m not going to make it a regular part of my process.

Once you have the image files on the iPad, be aware that some apps limit the types and sizes of files they allow you to import. If you are having trouble with loading a file into an app, it may be because it’s not a supported file type or the file size is too large. If it’s a file type problem, open and re-save the file using Snapseed, which opens most file types. If the file size is too big, use the Reduce app to make it smaller.

I hope this helps! Thanks for your question Helen. I’m sure there are others who have a similar challenge.

Do you have a question for a Q&A post? Drop me a note! It can be about anything.

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.”