Phoneography Challenge: Architecture



The fourth Monday of every month is Challenger’s Choice at Lens and Pens by Sally. This is my first submission in Architecture.  Our pier in Huntington Beach is usually packed with people taking pictures both above and below.  It’s iconic in our community.  Besides being beautiful and fun to photograph the pier is truly a beautiful work of architecture.  Standing under it at sunrise or sunset is magical.  The water creates these wonderful reflections on the wet sand. I love the way the columns form lanes extending out into the ocean and depending on where you stand on the beach the light, the depth and the waves look completely different.




Friday Find: Slow Shutter Cam

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I took this photo with my iPhone5 using the Slow Shutter Cam app.

This app is fun to experiment with, but the controls are limiting and in many cases automatic.  If you want to get great long exposure photos use a DSLR.  I think it’s fun to experiment and sometimes I don’t want to deal with the process of using a DSLR.  This app is a good alternative.

I used a tripod which is essential for taking long exposure photos.  Within slow shutter cam you can control the exposure time, but the app automatically adjusts focal length and f-stop. You can see how it blurred out the water movement using the motion blur feature.  I chose a strong motion blur.  There are other capture modes of light trail and low light.  I found it best to just experiment with these to see what they do because their titles aren’t helpful.  Trial and error worked for me.

I edited the photo using Snapseed. The original colors were muted and I wanted it to be vibrant. I also brought up some of the shadow detail so you can see the glow on the rocks.

Slow Shutter Cam is available through iTunes for $1.99.  It’s a great app for the money and if you like to experiment it’s lots of fun.





Redwoods in Orange County?

Redwood Grove in Brea, California

Redwood Grove in Brea, California

My love affair with trees started as a kid growing up in the Pacific Northwest.  I grew up camping and hiking in the national forests of Oregon.  I love the fresh clean air, shade and endless trails the forest provides.  When I found out there was a small grove of Redwoods here in Orange County I had to go see them for myself.

The trees are in Brea, California inside Carbon Canyon Regional Park. The trail isn’t what I would consider a hike, but it is an easy walk well worth doing to see the trees.  The paths are well maintained and good for all skill levels and young children.  In the middle of this dry, dusty canyon rises a small grove of beautiful sequoia trees.  I took the photo above from the hillside using a wide-angle lens to show the size of the trees and the terrain outside the grove.  The surrounding landscape is dry and the plant life appears dead except for a few struggling cacti.

The moment I stepped into the grove I noticed a dramatic difference.  The air was much cooler and the trail became damp and even muddy in some areas.  The air was fresh and sweet too.  The day I went there was a nice breeze and it felt wonderful after the dusty walk to get there.  I could have spent all day under these big beauties.

The story behind the grove is interesting.  According to the park’s Nature Center, in 1975 coastal redwood seedlings were given away as part of a promotion from a local bank.  After the promotion ended, the bank still had 600 seedlings.  The bank donated them to the Fullerton College agricultural center.  Later the college donated them to the county.  The trees were planted, and the redwood grove was born.  Since being planted, many of the trees have grown to over 100 feet.  Although I’m not a tree expert, the trees seem to be too close together to grow to their full height of 400 feet.  Many of them are struggling to survive and there is a large amount of dead underbrush, but this may just be part of the drought we’re experiencing in California.

If you need to beat the heat or just need a change of scenery I would recommend this trail.


Phonegraphy Challenge: Black and White

B&W Daisy


The challenge this week was a choice of either black and white or winter.

February in Southern California is spring no matter what the calendar says so I chose black and white.

I love the way these daisies look in black and white.

 I added light to the first one using an led light which gives it a softer, more delicate look.

I shot both photos in color then converted them to black and white using Photoshop.


A Word A Week Challenge: Violet

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One of the things I love about living at the beach is the color of the light.

 Every day is a new opportunity to capture the color of the sky as the sun rises or sets.

Sometimes the moon is setting while the sun is rising as in the photo above.

Posted as part of Sue’s A Word A Week:  Violet.


Shipwreck Trail


Sunday my husband and I left our teenage kids to do their thing while we went to do our thing.  We drove along the coast to explore a new hiking trail: Shipwreck Trail on the Palos Verdes Penninsula. Despite reviews warning us of rocky and dangerous terrain we decided to go anyway lured by the promise of gorgeous views, tide pools, cove surfing and many photo opportunities.

The trail did not disappoint.  We loved it.  We took lots of photos and had an interesting adventure at the end. As we began our trek back through the rocky landscape we found a steep, dirt trail we knew would save us time. We could see it was steep, but as we started up it proved trickier than we imagined.  The path was unstable and loose so each step was like a tiny landslide. The big rocks on each side of the path initially looked like good hand holds but crumbled when we touched them.  Just when we thought we’d made a terrible mistake, the path became more stable and easier to climb.  After we made it to the top we agreed we should have taken a photo of the path before we attempted it.  We knew our kids wouldn’t believe us when we told them the story.

We will definitely go back because the Palos Verdes cove had some interesting surfing and we never made it to the actual shipwreck.  I read in the trail guide that the shipwreck is the SS Dominator from 1961.  All the reviews said the shipwreck was cool and worth the hike.  Next time…


Phoneography Challenge: Macro Monday

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Here in Southern California something is always blooming.  I’m not sure what kind of flower this is, some kind of lilac I think.  I love the tiny, delicate purple blooms. Every time I see it I think it would make a good macro Monday post, so here it is.  I used an Olloclip macro lens and staged the setting against a neutral background.  It was an overcast day so the light was bright and soft.  I edited it using Snapseed.

Happy Monday!

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Phoneography Challenge: Nature

Today’s submission is inspired by sunsets and sunrises.  There is something magical about a sunset.  As evening approaches I find myself looking out to see if the sky will light up and draw me down to the beach to watch the sun slowly descend beyond view.  Some evenings the sunset is so vibrant people stop, pull their car over and jump out to catch a glimpse of the end of the day.  It’s fascinating how we are drawn to sunsets more so than sunrises.  Recently though I’ve fallen in love with the sunrise.  It’s difficult to get out of bed in the dark and cold to see the sunrise, but it’s so worth it.  Watching the sun peek over the horizon or peek over the mountains restores my soul.  The color before sunrise changes gradually from its cool edge to a warm, vibrant center.  It bathes everything in beauty and it changes moment to moment, East to West.  I’ve become a light chaser since I moved to the beach.  Everyday is a new opportunity to see something new and I love it! Below are three of my favorite sunrise photos.  I was out testing a new toy, my watershot housing for my iPhone.  It was a great day.  Which one do you like best?  The light is different in each one and the colors are phenomenal.  It was a beautiful sunrise.


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Sunrise Crystal Cove

Today is the first anniversary of the Phoneography Challenge by Lens and Pens by Sally.  I’ve only been participating for a short time, but I enjoy participating in part because it keeps me blogging and it inspires me.  I also enjoy this community and the people I’ve come to know through their submissions.  Thanks Sally and congratulations!


Artifact Uprising

Earlier this year I found a company I absolutely love and want to share with you.  I found them on Instagram, but you can also follow them on twitter and Facebook.  I enjoyed the photos they posted so much I decided to follow them.  When I clicked into their profile what I read inspired a “you had me at hello” reaction.

ARTIFACT UPRISING // inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible / bettered by a community of inspired storytellers / driven by the belief everyone has a story to tell. Tell On.

As a storyteller myself, I love the eclectic and creative group of people they feature.  I also love that they understand those of us who still enjoy a printed photograph.  This is going to date me, but in college I used to love spending hours in the dark room developing film and playing around with the enlargers.  I miss developer and the fun of watching an image slowly form on paper.  I also love reading a printed book, good stationery and sending handwritten notes through the mail.  So it isn’t surprising that I love this company and their mission to help me get my photos off my computer and into memorable prints, books and gifts.

Soon after I started following them I found out they were a relatively new company that had just launched their app through iTunes.  I downloaded the app and went to the website for more.  I was hooked.  I lost track of time reading through the blog and clicking through the website.  I love the simplicity of the website and blog.  It’s the perfect blend of simple and functional.  I decided to order prints and see if the products were as great as the digital side of the company.  The ordering process was easy and fun.  The hardest part was deciding which photos from my Instagram gallery I wanted to print.  (By the way, the photos don’t have to be from Instagram.  It was just the easiest way for me to test the product without spending hours on the computer trying to decide which images I wanted to print.)

A week later the package arrived and the prints were beautiful.  I love the square prints.  The paper is recycled and the quality is great.  Some of the photos I chose look better on the matte paper than others, but now I know what to expect next time.  I’m already thinking of gift ideas for my friends and family.  I can’t wait to create a book too.  I’m in love with this company and its products.