Photo-Heart Connection: September 2014

Summer Oak Oregon Kat Sloma Mobile iPhone Photography

OK, I must be honest. I’m not sure if this is my Photo-Heart Connection for the month or not. We are in the final throes of our remodel, and this week all of our furniture is moved out of the living spaces in our house for flooring installation. This week everything we own is crammed into, and we are living in, our three bedrooms and the garage. We are well beyond no kitchen right now, adding no dining room, no family room, no studio, no comfy chair, no computer to the list. So getting myself ready for the September Photo-Heart Connection, carving out time and space in my creative world when my physical world is such a mess, became an overwhelming feat I just couldn’t quite manage. I hope you understand.

I don’t want to let my craziness stop you, though. I want to encourage you to find your Photo-Heart Connection this month. Assuming you have a little time and space available, find the piece of art you created that has the strongest connection to your heart and write about it. I will be gaining peace and strength from you all this month as you share your Photo-Heart Connection with us here.


Smartphone Art Workshop in two weeks!

I’m getting excited… my “Smartphone Art Weekend” is just two weeks away! I’ve added a second day of material to the Smartphone Art workshop, going deeper into advanced editing and blending techniques. You know, the ones where you say, “How did you DO that, Kat?” All my secrets will be revealed! It’s going to be a good time.

Smartphone Art 1 & 2
October 11 & 12, 2014
Sequoia Gallery + Studios
Hillsboro, OR
Cost is $95+apps per day, register through Sequoia

New students can register for both days or the first day, Smartphone Art 1, only. Returning Smartphone Art students can register for the second day, Smartphone Art 2. The classes build on each other, so Smartphone Art 1 (the original one-day class) is a prerequisite for Smartphone Art 2.

Oregon Pear Autumn Harvest Kat Sloma Mobile Photography

You will be amazed at what you can create, just with an iOS device. Come join me for some mobile photography fun!

Season of Attention

Summer is lingering in Oregon. School has started, but the wonderful hot, sunny weather has continued. I’m still wearing sandals and short-sleeved shirts. Fully engaged and cruising along in summer mode.

But the trees… They are heading in to fall. They aren’t waiting around for me to catch up, either. Quietly, stealthily, autumn color creeps along the branches.

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If I’m not careful, I will miss it. This is a season where attention is required. There are a few short weeks of transition, and in Oregon it can be even less. Autumn can disappear as quickly as the first rainstorms arrive, the wind and rain knocking the fragile, fading leaves off the trees.

Noticing the shift in color, I am reminded to take a deep breath and be in the moment. So much is going on in my life right now, it’s easy to keep my head down and focus on what’s next. But if I don’t look up and around once in a while, the season will be gone before I’ve registered it.

These moments of realization make me so thankful that I am a photographer. How else would I wake up and be in the moment, without the desire to pause once in a while and capture the world around me? Without the joy of tiny details catching my eye? I can’t imagine.

Autumn now has my attention, however long it lasts. I look forward to seeing what each day has to offer me.

Singing the Praises of Stackables (A Mobile Tutorial)

I have a new love! I’ve recently discovered Stackables, a fantastic editing app, and I thought I would share what I’m enjoying about the app and what I’ve been creating with it.

Ocean Oregon Coast Kat Sloma Mobile iPhone Photography

Merging

Stackables is a layering app which allows you to add multiple textures, filters, gradients, patterns and adjustment layers to an image. You can also access and save Formulas, which are basically presets that have already been created using multiple layers. The layering is fantastic: You can add new layers, remove layers, turn layers on and off, and shuffle the order of the layers around as you work through an edit. The adjustability of individual layers is powerful too. Opacity, blending mode and rotation can be changed individually for each layer. It’s like having a “lite” version of Photoshop at my fingertips. The only thing I can’t do is import my own layers, beyond the starting image. Luckily, Stackables has a broad range of all types of layers so I’m not limited.

Let’s take a quick look at operation. There are two versions of Stackables, one for iPhone and one for iPad. Both start at $0.99 with in-app purchases available (I highly recommend getting the Master Pack for $1.99). The screen shots below are from the iPad version, since that’s what I primarily use for editing.

As you load an image, you have the choice of what file type you want to save. This is great, because you can save the images you create as a high resolution, lossless file type like PNG or TIFF. You can also crop as you load the image, a nice feature.

Stackables 1

Next, you can start adding layers. You have a choice of the layer types you want to add along the top. As you switch layer types or move through options, the current active layer will switch too. So once you have a layer edited, be sure to add a new layer before you start moving around to look at new layer types. You can go back to any layer in your stack at any time and adjust it, change it, or delete it.

Stackables 2

If you don’t want to start from scratch, you can start with Formulas. This is a great way to get an idea of what you can do with the app and all of the layers. You will be amazed at the variety of looks you can create. Once you select a Formula you like, tap the check mark at the bottom and then you can continue your edit, adding to or changing any of the layers within the Formula. If you create an edit you like, you can also save your own Formulas, email them and submit them to be added to the app. Pretty cool.

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Here are a few images I’ve edited in it so far, to give you an idea of the range. You can do highly textured looks:

Tree Sky Oregon Summer Kat Sloma Mobile iPhone Photography

Or more subtle edits:

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I also used it for adding color, contrast and texture to this background:

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The background was then layered with a photograph of an oak in Image Blender to get the final Harvest Moon image I shared in my last blog post:

Harvest Full Moon Summer Oak Corvallis Oregon Kat Sloma Mobile iPhone Photography

Harvest Moon

Stackables is a very versatile app! Don’t be surprised if you see it start popping up more in my mobile tutorials. I’m a little addicted to it at the moment. :)

The Trouble with Oaks

I’ve been having some trouble with oaks this summer. Nothing serious, like a branch falling on my car or anything, just photographic trouble.

You see, I’ve been working on capturing summer trees. I want them to feel light and bright and airy. Oaks are one of the many kinds of trees we have in the area, so I want them to be part of my treescapes.

Last year, one of the few summer treescapes I created was this one, called Summer Oak. It has the feeling I’m looking for.

Summer Oak Corvallis Oregon Kat Sloma Mobile iPhone Photography

I can’t get it to happen again. Over and over, I photograph the oaks. I try different angles and compositions, and nothing seems to work. I’ve tried editing them anyway, only to come up with images that are heavier. More solid. It just doesn’t have the same feeling, does it?

Summer Oak Corvallis Oregon Kat Sloma Mobile iPhone Photography

So I’d just about given up on the oaks. Until last week…

Last week there was a full moon. It hung in the sky above the trees, bright but too small to capture with the iPhone. Inspired, I worked with shapes and backgrounds and created a “moon” hanging in an autumnal sky. It was kind of boring on its own, just floating there, so I looked through my tree images to see what could ground it.

And there it was, the oak. It was perfect.

Harvest Full Moon Summer Oak Corvallis Oregon Kat Sloma Mobile iPhone Photography

Harvest Moon

It made me realize that I was going about the oaks all wrong. Oaks are not light and airy trees. They are grounded and well-rooted trees. They can hold the moon to the earth, they are so solid and strong.

There is no trouble with oaks at all. Just trouble with me, trying to make oaks into something they were not meant to be.

Empty Space

I love open space. That’s no secret, huh? My art has lots of it…

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It’s just a little weird when the empty space is where where my kitchen used to be…

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Our kitchen remodel project started on Monday with demolition. We now have an empty room instead of a kitchen. It’s the beginning of the end of our kitchen story. Three months of waiting, now one month of construction to go.

Our refrigerator is in the garage, our sink is in the bathroom, and we’ve created a little kitchenette in the dining room. I see lots of microwave and crockpot meals, and likely takeout, in our future.

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It will be exciting to see daily progress. I can’t wait to have a fully functional kitchen again!!