Fading (A Mobile Tutorial)

We have been having some gorgeously sunny autumn days, which means the trees really get to show their colors here in Oregon. We have to take advantage of this photographic opportunity when this happens, because you never know when it’s going to rain again and knock the leaves off of the trees.

I haven’t gotten out to photograph nearly as much as I should, but the fall colors have turned my attention back to the trees and I’m having a fabulous time playing with edits. Today I’ll share a very easy mobile tutorial, combining two autumn images into this piece, called Fading.


The base image is of the tree branches, captured in ProCamera 7. It was a foggy morning and the fog hadn’t lifted yet, giving me a nice blank background.


I started with Snapseed, using the Grunge filter to change the tones. The Grunge filter can have dramatic effects, or can be more subtle when you dial back the texture and the edge blur as I did here.

Next, the image went into Distressed FX to add a texture. The bottom image is ready to blend with the top image at this point.


For the top images, I started with this image of leaves.


Starting with Snapseed again, I changed the tone and contrast. To do this, I used both the grunge and Retrolux filters.


I didn’t like how the leaves in the bottom corner were starting to distract me, and I didn’t think they would blend well, so into Handy Photo for some clean up. Amazing what you can do with this app, isn’t it?


Now the top image is done, so it’s time to blend the two in Image Blender. I adjusted the size and location of the top image relative to the bottom, so that they would overlap in a pleasing way.


I wanted more texture in the final image, so the last step was editing in Pic Grunger. This app is new to me and it gives some great texture effects. Here’s the final image again:


A simple yet effective use of two images to show the transition of the seasons. And now, I need to get out and get some more fall images, while I can!


Yesterday I went for a hike on a trail I haven’t visited in a while. It was barely light as I got to the trailhead and started walking with Zoey. I couldn’t even see color. As the sky lightened I noticed the forest around me had changed since I had been here. Sprinkled throughout the trees were the yellow leaves of fall, showing just how many deciduous trees are here, hidden among the fir. Summer and winter these trees blend in with the forest’s green and brown, but in the fall they say farewell brightly, as if to remind us of how much we’ll be missing for the next few months.

In the pre-dawn light with my iPhone I couldn’t hope to capture sharp detail but I could capture impressions. Impressions of bright color in the forest, a fleeting moment before fading into the winter palette of greens and browns. Impressions of an ever-changing forest.


My Time of Year

Look, look! You can see the branches. It’s getting to be my time of year.


Apps used: Snapseed, Distressed FX, Mextures, XnView FX

I wondered, would I love to photograph the trees as much this winter as last? As my heart goes pitter-patter over this image, I think I have my answer: Yes. Yes, I will.

Along with this image, I have a couple of random things to share with you today…

I’m over at Mortal Muses discussing the importance of print. It’s been a while since I’ve mused with them, and I hope to inspire more people to get their work into print. Come say hi!

I found out my Christmas Valley Sand Dune image has been accepted into the October MobileMagic exhibition at Lightbox Gallery in Astoria, Oregon. Yay! They have a monthly, juried exhibition of mobile photography and I’m excited to be in this month’s exhibition. You can learn more about applying to this monthly exhibition here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

The Apple Man’s Hands

I wandered through the Corvallis Saturday Market on the Kelby Worldwide Photowalk this weekend. It was hustling and bustling, the booths overflowing with fall’s harvest. The upside of all of the rain we get here in Oregon? Things GROW.

Surrounded by all of the abundance, I was drawn to this spare booth. Not even a booth, really, just a table.


A table with a tablecloth, and apples simply lined up and labeled.


Boxes of apples for purchase down below.


And behind the table, a man with a twinkle in his eye and a paring knife in his hand, ready to offer me a taste of apples. I asked if I could take pictures and after he jokingly posed for me, he told me, “You should be over on Steens Mountain.” Which led to a random conversation about mountains, and hunting, and, of course, back to apples. When he offered me a taste a second time, I couldn’t resist.


And as he cut me a slice, I captured this photograph, my favorite of the day. The apple man’s hands, offering me up a slice of his hard work.

I walked away, pondering what photography brought me to: Out wandering the market, on a photowalk with strangers, talking to strangers, photographing strangers. That’s a stretch for the shy, quiet person I think myself to be. But with the camera in my hand, I am brave and confident. I become the person I want to be.

That leads me to a song I’ve been wanting to share with you. It seems that every few years there is a new pop song about letting go and being yourself. Each time I hear the new one, I envision a new crop of young people being encouraged to be who they are. I hope they get it sooner than I did. But at least I found photography, and this blog, as a way to “say what you want to say, let the words come out.” It doesn’t matter how long it took, I finally got it.

Enjoy Sara Barielles, Brave.

Join me for a Photowalk – Wherever you may be!

The Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk is this weekend, Saturday October 5. Did you know? Are you signed up? There’s a good chance there is a photowalk in your area. So far, there are 1231 photowalks and 26488 walkers signed up. That’s a LOT of photographers!!


This event is a great way to get connected with other photographers in your local area. You could meet some wonderful people, find some great groups to join, and maybe even win a prize. Each local walk will have a winner. Enter your best photo from the walk and you can end up with an e-copy of Scott Kelby‚Äôs Lightroom 5 Book for Digital Photographers. Way cool, huh? The winners of each local walk’s contest go on to the big photowalk contest. I won the local contest with this image, two years ago:


But the contest really isn’t the point, it’s just the bonus. The point is to get out with your camera, meet other photographers, and celebrate our love for this wonderful art medium. Will you join us, wherever you may be?


Get more info and register here.

Images in this post were taken on the 2011 Worldwide Photowalk, which walked around downtown Corvallis. We’ll be walking a similar route this year, and I can’t wait to see how my point of view has changed. Come join us!

Go Play

Anyone who has a kid has said those words. Anyone who has been a kid has heard those words.

Go play.

Or some variant on the theme… Go outside and play. Get off the computer and play. All the same.

So, the parent says the words. What happens next? First, there is the initial whining. Followed by wheedling. Which may require repeating the phrase in a more stern tone of voice.


Eventually, the child goes off and figures out something to do. With my son, the next thing I know, I might find him curled up on the couch with a book. Or gluing popsicle sticks together to make a dam for some water experiment he’s planning for the backyard. Or drawing a subway map of his Minecraft world because his friends can’t find their way around when they meet up virtually. It always makes me smile to see the creativity that results when I say the magic words, Go play. Not to mention, he’s a happier and more fun person to be around after he’s gone off to play for a while.

When I was a kid, I didn’t think these words were for my own good. I thought they were just to get us out of my Mom’s hair. And, being a Mom myself, there is definitely an element of truth to that, but it’s not the whole truth. I say the words because I know that beyond the whining and the wheedling lies a world of creativity. A world of using his brain in different ways. A world that my son won’t tap into unless I set some parameter and make him move outside of the box. It works. Like magic.

So, now that I am grown up, who tells me to go play? Who tells you? Now that we’re adults, and we choose what to do with our time, what makes us move outside the box and forces us to think differently?


That’s a tough one.

Talking to my sister this weekend, she was telling me she needs to slow down in order to deal with some health issues she’s got going on. Being cursed blessed with the same “do it all” gene I have, “slowing down” is really hard for her. I joked that she needs a doctor’s prescription to tell her to sit and read for an hour every day. That may be the only way she can give herself permission to rest.

It got me to thinking… Are we still looking for the authority figure to tell us to go play? Do we really require a doctor’s note, or a teacher’s homework, or a manager’s assignment, or a spiritual leader’s practice, to tell us to do something we know is good for us?

It’s crazy, but maybe we do. Sometimes, we may still be waiting for someone else to help push us out of the box into something that is good for us. Someone to tell us that it’s ok — go play.

What do you think? How do we, as adults, give ourselves permission rest or play when we need it? How do we force ourselves past our own whining and wheedling when it comes up? I’m not sure. I don’t have answers here, I’m looking for your input.

What gets you to go play?