Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

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Sartorial splendor…

I was feeling the need to add a little spice to my early morning walks. We walk out the door before it is light in the morning. We see a few cars on the street, and often beat the paper delivery man. No one is around but still I recognize my 15-year-old fleece jacket has seen better days. What kind of impression was I making on the flora and fauna?

At the same time we have been reading a new mystery series (thanks sister-in-law Jenny for the introduction!) about Bruno the Perigord detective where a character was described as wearing a waxed cotton  jacket, “that had become highly fashionable in France.”…light bulb! My walking partner, the bird-man, has had a waxed cotton jacket for fifteen or so years that has the most wonderful glossy patina buffed on the sides and pockets where the sleeves rub. This has been a perfect jacket for him as often he must check on a raptor rehabilitating in the aviary before light or after dark in the winter, come rain or shine or dusk of night, when he gets home from work. Good in the rain (the water just peels off) and (it has never happened) but quite a barrier, I think, if talons ever went prematurely for their food. I quested for a similar waxed cotton jacket for myself. Most of the ones I found after a google search were boxy and would have made me look like a linebacker, but I did find one, styled like a motorcycle jacket (Lois and a motorcycle jacket? If you knew me in person you would think that was an oxymoron. Even in my youth I did not go for bad boys…but, as they say, you only live once and it is never too late.) It had a significant sale discount so it became mine.

The jacket has put a spring in my step (even though there is no audience except the dog and husband) and energized my walking because I swing my arms much more, closer to my body. A girl must work on her patina after all. (How many years will this take me?) I do not think this jacket will actually make its way to France with us because it is quite hefty and June probably won’t need it, but waxed cotton is sweeping the world from France to California. Dare I say it is the new orange, therefore the new black?! Just this morning I got an email with this link on how to make our own waxed cotton camera bag. (I am surprised that they do not give these instructions with cautions about flammability  and fumes of the wax, but that is just the art teacher in me. Personally, I would not use my home dryer for this but dust off my heat gun. Remember the days of embossing powders…perfect use for the tool in the drawer!)

Last weekend we went to lunch in Healdsburg and in one of  the small stores around the Plaza I found the perfect gloves to spark up even this new jacket. I didn’t know it could be sparkier, but there you go. Fingerless, weathered but with a hint of flowers. Excellent for taking iPhone photos without freezing your hands off and waving at the neighbors as they pass in their heated cars on the way to work. It is sartorial splendor…gets me out the door and embracing my days…





For the hands:


Here, from the runways of Milan and Paris, the bird-man and trusty companion showing the waxed cotton jacket put to use walking the Briones Reservoir.


The Briones Reservoir is a lovely walk we sometimes take but it is virtually impossible to get a picture that does not include high power utility lines. I will take this opportunity to show you what a couple of iPhone apps can do for you. I always bring out Pro HDR when I walk here because the landscape is so wide-open and seems to beg for the lush color the app gives photos and in the picture above there was originally a white utility box sitting behind Katie’s head. Gone now. Thanks, TouchReTouch app.

More of the landscape:






You can get rid of the power lines by cropping, pretending that they are so far in the distance that you can’t really see them, or by trying TouchReTouch App to erase them. Here is an example:



Same picture but no power lines in the middle left…frames were put on the pictures with Snapseed app.

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iPhone Photo Friday…

We went back to the Briones Reservoir, this time armed with our own permit (that has got to be the best deal-$20.00 for a three-year permit to walk on trails in beautiful scenic areas managed by EastBayMud) and some sunshine. Our last venture here was on an Audubon bird hike where we had rain the entire time, but more birds on that day than on this day with sun. Along with the iPhone I took my Canon, but of course after one shot the batteries ran out-so typical of me…

After the Great Blue Heron, the camera quit. This presented itself as the perfect opportunity to try my hand at the Pro HDR app on the iPhone. Great landscapes and scenic views. I had no tripod but hoped I could stand still enough for the shots. With Pro HDR you have to stand still and not move the camera for a lengthy time because the app takes two shots one exposed for the highlights and one exposed for the shadows and then aligns and combines them together for the final picture. I did also put these photos into PhotoStudio app to put the black frame around them but there was no further processing after Pro HDR.

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Bird walk…

In the rain…

A Saturday morning birdwalk mentined by Bay Nature went on as scheduled despite rain—hope for birders springs eternal that the skies will clear. The walk was led by Kitty O’Neil but it never did clear up. Good scenery, anyway, at the Briones Reservoir. A perfect opportunity to use the new Hipstamatic lens, “Chunky”, and film, “Cano Cafenol” (“considered almost as tasty as a cup of morning joe with its aged darkness”.)

The crew from Mills College was out…(had to switch to the ClassicPan app for that)

and so was a lupine…

and to tell you the truth, there were lots of birds, from white-tailed kites to kestrals, great blue herons, loons and coots, and, potentially, it is a path for a bald eagle on its way to the Lafayette Reservoir. Didn’t see that one today, but don’t you know that is cause for a trip back to this lovely place. We were even treated to a view of snow on the ridge between Orinda and Berkeley. Nice!

My opinion of the new lens and film for Hipstamatic is very favorable. I especially like the frame around the image that gives a “ghost”  of the image in places on the edge, always love the square dimension, and think the brownish tinge is warm and toasty. Speaking of which, in a totally soaked and freezing manner we then repaired to a local coffee store and got some real Morning Joe. Whew…