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.

Heading Out

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Isn’t it interesting how one word or phrase can mean so many things?

I’m heading out today…

… for my morning hike.

… for my usual workday.

… for a trip to Ohio, to visit my grandmother who is ill.

All these things, all true, one phrase.

I don’t know how much I’ll be connected while I’m gone. It will be a time focused on family, but I plan to take walks in the woods where I can. Hopefully, I’ll get to walk in the same woods my father walked when he was young, in rural Ohio. I get my love of being in the forest from him, and I’m going to where he first spent time among the trees. It should be a special place.

I wonder, will it feel like home?

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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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

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

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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?

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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.

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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:

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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!

Ever-changing

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.

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My Time of Year

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

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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.

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

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Boxes of apples for purchase down below.

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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.

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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.