Weekly Photo Challenge – Connected

When I started this post it was going in a totally different direction.  Before I finished we were blessed with a visit from my two youngest grandchildren… both boys.  When they arrive they immediately tackle the stairs to Nana’s play space.  This is where I knit and sew and play on my computers.  It is also where they play.  It is filled with the toys of my sons’ childhood.  There are legos, duplos, wooden trains, Playmobile sets and matchbox cars.  Everything that can feed an imagination.  The youngest child is just starting to move from chasing balls and pushing things to playing with smaller toys.

M trying to connect duplos for the first time.
M trying to connect duplos for the first time.

Like all boys everywhere, Legos and Duplos are great building blocks for the imagination.  But first you have to learn how to “connect” them.  It may seem simple but it requires a little something from your fine motor skills.

Getting the hang of it.
Getting the hang of it.

He was working very hard to build something.  Learning is all about connecting.  Connecting bits of information in a way that makes a concept understandable.


Joy and Pride!  He has figured out how the connection works and is well on his way to creating new adventures.  Just like his dad before him, he wants to share each and everyone of his creations.  And I am his #1 fan.



Weekly Photo Challenge – Treasure

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Anonymous, Holy Bible: King James Version

family_smIt goes without saying that family is my biggest treasure.  Grandchildren are a big part of it because they can do no wrong.   Just a few days ago we had the 10th addition to our grandchild club.

maclane_hosp-11_smHe is so precious, as they all are.  I must also add my cameras as one of my treasures because it captures time and moments we want to hold on to and remember.  Time moves so quickly and our family is constantly changing.  My baby had his second son and not too long ago he was a blond hair, blue eyed toddler with a dimple in his cheek.


“Sleep my little baby-oh
Sleep until you waken
When you wake you’ll see the world
If I’m not mistaken…

Kiss a lover
Dance a measure,
Find your name
And buried treasure…

Face your life
Its pain,
Its pleasure,
Leave no path untaken.”
Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

Photos from my walk…

“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.”
Diane Arbus

Two posts in one day!   I decided to go for a walk and put what I had learned to work.  I was so happy with the results I just had to share.  This time of year is not all that photogenic, but I had faith I would find something… and I did.


There wasn’t much to see until I got up to the Millhouse.  Management had turned off the running water, but the pond still had some standing water in it and it had frozen.  Everything the wind had blown that way had been trapped in place.


I liked this configuration so much I took a shot with my iPhone.  I used the standard camera so I could run it through a couple of my apps.  When I got home I made some changes with Snapseed, which I haven’t used very much.  I like some of the effect I could create.  That was where I added the greenish hue.  I then pulled it through Instagram and finished it off.  I have to say I do love my iPhone camera.  I actually find this version of the shot more interesting.

Hydrangea laceHydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers.  I can never figure out which color I like the best.  Now I will have to include the lacy version in there with the others.  I love the skeletal, lacy effect of this beauty.

Design Path

This is my walking path.  Sometimes I like to make my photos more artistic by adding filters.  The shadow designs on the walkway were so pretty I wanted to make this more like a painting.

All in all it was a great morning walk.  The weather was briskly, chill.  The book on my iPod was “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd.  The reader is excellent and I highly recommend it.  Although I was not fond of “The Mermaid Chair,” I loved “The Secret Life of Bees.”  This has the same feel to it and may be just a little bit better.


Have I Told You Lately that I Love My iPhone?

You have been warned!  Today’s post is about my iPhone.  I love my iPhone!  My current addiction is photography apps.  Today’s favorite is PowerCam.  Let’s take a look at a normal photo from this app.

Isn’t that a fabulous photo from a phone? 

This filter is a unique filter within a filter.

The swirl filter.  These were quick shots.  I can’t wait to find unique uses.

The tunnel filter.

And the mirror filter.  There are filters that mirror vertically and horizontally.  There are many more filters.  I haven’t had a chance to play with them all.  I really do love my iPhone.

Did I say today I love my iPhone? – HDR Photography App

I like to think I am kind of a techie person.  For my age group I am definitely a techie type.  When my friend Leslie comes around she always has something cool and techie to show me.  This time she showed me a couple of iPhone apps that are fun for photo enthusiasts.  The one I was playing with today is HDR Fusion.  The subjects I picked out probably don’t show it to it’s best ability, but I was pressed for time.  When I find something new and cool I just have to share it.  What I am pretty sure it does is it takes two pictures… a light version and a dark version and it fuses them together to give it more depth.  As you can well imagine, inanimate objects work best.  People will move between shots and you get a ghost effect.

Here is my first shot.

This one appears to be the darker… obviously when you see the second shot…

So the app fuses the two and comes up with this…

One of the reasons I’m not so sure this is a good example is that I like the first one best.  It has the richer colors.  But, none of these is touched in any way other than to re-size.  They were pretty good size files.

I wanted to do a close up comparison.

The first is on the left and the fused is on the right.  I still think I like the one on the left best.    I even went back and pulled number three into Adobe Photoshop Elements and doctored it a little and when I compared them, this was the more realistic.  Oh, well, experiment didn’t work, but get the app and experiment.  If you document or have examples please let me know.  Leslie took photos from the top of the Sears Tower (or whatever it is called now) and they were really effective.  Maybe because they were shades of neutrals and more linear…maybe?  I would love to see what others have done with this.

Move over George, make room for Scotty!

When I grew up television was young, there were no computers to speak of and one’s imagination was a wonderful tool.  Books were a ticket to another world or just over the rainbow.  But then TV went from black and white to color.  The Flintstones arrived on the scene followed closely by the Jetsons.  I was entranced by the Jetsons.  Push button living, flying cars, sky high vistas and tv phone!  Jetsons had Skype!  I didn’t even know then what Skype was, it wasn’t invented, but I wanted it! I have it now and I love it.  Every long distant grandparent needs Skype and the iPhone.  We have spent many a Saturday morning talking with our kids and grandkids and laughing just like we were there with them.

Still no flying cars and robots haven’t taken over the cleaning duties, but we’re moving closer. Technology is moving quickly and I have to say I can’t wait until air travel is replaced by the simple command, “Beam me up, Scotty!”

Which digital is from a Nikon D80 and which is from iPhone?

I love photography.  I love looking at the world through a lens, I love the quiet that surrounds you as you hunt for just the right shot.  I love playing with the photos afterwards…. the ones that need a little help.  What I don’t especially love is lugging all the heavy equipment around.  I had been shopping for a small digital when we decided to get the iPhones.  Bingo!  If there is a camera app I think I have it.  I have had more fun with it.  Now the test.  I took the same basic photo with Nikon D80 with a AF-S Nikor18-105 lens.  Which is which?

For those familiar with the two it is probably very easy to tell which is which.

The first photo is the iPhone.  Look at how vivid the colors are!  I know I could tweak the colors in the Nikon shot, but I wanted to compare them shot for shot.  Pretty good for the iPhone.  They really are two distinct looks.  One very vivid the other more subtle and fine.

This clematis was also taken with the iPhone.  It is a strange flower to photograph and I used a different app.  It didn’t do well with Instagram so I used Photo+.

The second is the Nikon shot.  As you can see it is an oddly unphotogenic flower.  It really looks slightly out of focus even in person.

This last shot didn’t do well at all with the iPhone.  I think it was the contrast in the very fine details and the broad expanse of white petals.  It couldn’t decided where to focus and it just didn’t work.  Plus it was after 7:00 in the evening so the light was waning.

All in all a very restful way to end my work day  In the garden with two cameras playing.

I Can Hear You Now!

Look what I bought today!  This is a photo I took of my new iPhone accessory.  I was walking through Urban Outfitters and admiring all the cool stuff when I saw this.  I had missed out on an opportunity to buy it for a really great price through Groupon, but now here was another chance to get it!  I had to get the blue to match my phone cover.  If you are interested I would suggest buying one online… I found one for about $20 cheaper here.  It won’t come with the cool Outfitters bag, but… it leaves $20 in your pocket!

I love my iPhone and I hate my iPhone.  I hate that I have trouble hearing on it… which is why I bought this…. and I can hear a little bit better although I am not totally sold on how well it works.  The plug is a little touchy and it is somewhat awkward to carry around.  My sister in law suggested I get one of those old fashioned shoulder supports to prop it up against my ear so I can drive hands free.  Can you imagine explaining to a policeman in Chicago that yes it is hands free driving.  Nothing funnier than taking top end Apple technology and mixing it with retro phone gear.  It makes sense to the boomer generation!  Looks hilarious, but it might work.

The other thing that I am not crazy about is how my iPhone bounces around deciding it is going to make random phone calls, or it switches to Siri (I finally turned her off.. she kept interrupting me at all the wrong times.).  I have tried to lock it… that was no fun either.  But, I will live with the little frustrations just because of all the really cool things it has brought into my life.  More later.

An FYI – the top photo was touched up using PicMonkey.  I love that program.  There are some really cool Retro filters and textures. Do you notice the crosshatching?  That’s just one of their textures and you can control the intensity.  The original photo was not that good because it is very overcast today and the natural light was awful.  I am a sometimes impatient photographer and I wanted to get this posted, so I pulled it into PicMonkey and played around and really like the results.  Disclaimer – I do not own stock or know anyone involved with PicMonkey.  I just like the website.  I know it won’t be free forever so go now and have some fun!