Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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An impression of Lands End…

When we arrived for the bird walk last week, it was frigid weather and I opted to sit in the car for the first twenty minutes while the birders stood on the bluff with the cold wind whirling around them.They were oriented to the area by their guide. The hardy gazed off into the distant foggy sea while I decided to clean up my camera roll in my iPhone. That put me in mind that I had not looked at the Hipstamatic app for a long time and when I scrolled through I found there were four combo packs I had not downloaded.  I purchased them and then tested each one out. One combo reminded me of the feeling of the area (the visitor center that we had been in on a previous visit contains lots of old photos of  when the Sutro Baths were in their heyday).  I decided to do some triple barreled shooting on the walk. My Canon for the view shots, my native camera on the iPhone for the close-ups of flowers, and Hipstamatic app for atmosphere/flights of fancy. The Canon was slung around my neck and the iPhone was in my pocket and I had to keep thinking which of the three I wanted to use…but I think it helped with getting me to be alert…it was awfully early on a Saturday, after all. This post is the impression shots of the area using the combination of  Yoona lens and Shilshole film in Hipstamatic…there is a story, here, of craggy bluffs, wind-trained trees, and crashing waves with the foundation remnants of history. That is my visual story, and I am sticking to it…think I will make a book…

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Happy New Year…

I was looking through a year’s worth of photos to create a review of my year and try to use the split screen capabilities of iMovie. This time of year is such a natural demarcation for me because practically all celebration in my life occur between the last week in November and January 1st. TM’s birthday and Thanksgiving (usually the same day or very close), Christmas, my birthday, New Year’s Eve all in one week. New Year’s Eve is also the anniversary of when I met TM and the night he asked me to marry him. Only two kids birthdays and our wedding anniversary happen in other parts of the year. This movie helped to wrap up the year. It felt good to look again at all the parts of the year. The garden flourished and the seasons changed indicated by the farmer’s market produce coming in on schedule. We saw many exciting sites in the world and close to home. I didn’t realize how the California coast figured so prominently in our journeys and, of course, San Francisco. Visually entrancing places. I started to use Photoshop Elements again at the end of the year. 2013 was a very happy year for us…I wish a beautiful 2014 for you!


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Standing…

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Yesterday we walked a regional trail. Since it had rained hard the night before and we were walking early before anything had warmed up the trail was iced and slippery and lots of leaves and galls had fallen on the path. It made for some excitement to be sure we did not slip and fall. I had set my mind to play with Hipstamatic while we walked, deciding just on one lens and film combo to see what they did together ((Dream Canvas film with Bettie XL lens). I liked it well enough and then when I got home I had a new app I thought I would brush over the top (Distressed FX). That led me to finding some words from Mary Oliver to see if I could thread the images together.

I love to walk…and stand…and look…


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Domino effect…

TM, because his Civic Hybrid was upwards of ten years old, was thinking of getting a new car. On the one hand: after our trip to Tuscany there had been a period where he made sound effects when driving and he kept looking at the ads for Fiat Abarths in the paper. On the other hand: he wanted to continue on the road of Hybrids but maybe a step further. All this to commemorate that he had qualified for Social Security.

First, test drives through the Berkeley Hills with the Turbo engined Fiat,  then test drives through San Francisco with the Fit EV. The environmentally conscious part of his brain won out so now we have a totally electric vehicle. And a charging station in the garage…

IMG_9261The Fit EV only comes in blue, cannot be bought at this point (has to be leased), and goes about 100 miles before needing a charge. Since there are two of us we can keep my hybrid if we want to go further without having to stop for a charge.

Of course while reading the owners manual he discovered that there is an iPhone app that you really need, but because he only uses the iPhone 3 that his job gave him it would not work. I had upgraded from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 4s a year ago and the 4 was sitting around doing nothing until he really totally retires and has to give the 3 back to the State. But now, there was total pressure from him to go activate the 4 so he could  use it with his new car.

The long story short, we walked out of the phone store, me with an iPhone 5 and him with my old iPhone 4s. So the 4 is still sitting around, but…he can remotely set his car to charge in the middle of the night when the rates are lower, he can remotely tell the car to get the climate control going before he gets there, and best of all the car sends him emails that it is completely charged! You should see the satisfied smile of a man that can talk to his car! (and get a response.) Of course having a new iPhone5 caused me to get a new app for the iPad. It is called Softbox and its purpose is turn the iPad into a lighting source for photos. It makes a completely blank screen that casts a light to what you want to photograph. Some examples, using Hipstamatic on the iPhone:

IMG_9440photoThis is just to say that on our visit to Portland a few weeks ago our favorite exhibit at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) was an illustration of research that conclusively shows that longevity in rats is correlated to diet, friends, and toys. We are just wanting to do our part for the toys. Who ever thought that we would live long enough to have a car that sends us emails? We’ve had the car for two weeks and are very happy but wouldn’t you know, last week TM found an article that said that in order to stay in the California market Fiat will be introducing an all-electric Fiat this month. Don’t think we would have gone for it though even if we had known…


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Morning walk…

Morning walks have been frigid around here. Maybe should have called this post “Snapseed for the cold snap”. Still trying to develop a passion for the new frames and the retrolux filter in the Snapseed app and Hipstamatic has a new tintype filter, so what better way to get me out of the house in the dark and cold than a little experimentation with the iPhone? The sound effects would be the crackling of vegetation when you step on it and as the sun started to come up a bit of diamond-dust glitter effect on surfaces.
First Hipstamatic’s tintype…

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Car windshields frosted over, cast-aside Christmas trees waiting for the trash man, some leaves still clinging to branches…

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Versailles black and white…

Some of these were taken at the time of our visit using Hipstamatic with the John S lens and Blackeyes film. Some have been processed using the Snapseed app since we returned home. When I use Snapseed I use the black and white filter, vintage filter, tilt-shift, and a frame…

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Strolling…

It was not hard for us to fit into the French way of strolling neighborhoods, pausing for a bite, and sitting in small parks with great views. (Proud to say the outrageous eating I did for two weeks had no negative effects due to the walk, walk, walking also involved.) The first full day we needed to be over in the 5th Arrondissement for our Untours orientation. We started early so we could walk the area and see some sights.
I kept my eyes upward and kept snapping pictures because I was awed by the architecture

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We came to Place St. Michel (if there is going to be a student demonstration this is where it will start and locals rose up against Nazis here, commemorated under the dragons) where there is this magnificent fontaine

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We did like that they were blowing bubble in our honor (rather than throwing cobblestones)

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We walked on toward the Il de la Cite trying to remember to check the red man and green man signs and the zebra stripe crossings (must have been successful because we made it back home)

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Discovering bridges and The Seine

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(have decided for the next trip a goal will be to walk over every bridge)
We wanted lunch in the Place Dauphine behind the Palais de Justice and here I take a small diversion. We arrived in Paris the day after their Presidential election and in a few weeks they would have more elections so there were some interesting things revolving around the election to see. Lots of activity with press and police at the back side of the Palais

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And one of the first chocolate shop windows I looked in (sorry about the glare from the glass) had this wonderful piece in chocolate…a large square, maybe 18 x 18, that looked like a die on top and on its sides had chocolate portraits of Hollande

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And Sarkozy

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Hollande won and we found our Place Dauphin

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A lovely square

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We ate right there…

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White asparagus and beef salad for him and avocado and shrimp salad for me…

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And we looked at this (a ProHDR app shot)

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And realized we wouldn’t mind living up at the top in one of these buildings (if there was an elevator)
Enjoyed the blooms on these trees

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We walked out the end of the square and saw Henry IV

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Down the other side of the island we passed by the Conciergerie Prison where you waited for the guillotine

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We passed a demonstration with white flags and whistles blowing

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After visiting the big sight of the day, we rested in yet another park with this view (another ProHDR app shot)

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I will show you pictures of that big sight in the next post.


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I am going to visit…

Terry and I will be off to Paris in a few weeks and in the process of researching what to see and what to do (and what to eat?) I came across the work of photographer Eugene Atget (1857-1927). This put me in mind that while I am there I really should take some black and white photos in homage to the time, the place, the artist. I have never taken many black and whites because my soul enjoys color so much, but I think it will be a challenge to try. I have been experimenting lately so I will have decided what apps to use before I get there. I do not want to fumble around once I am there. I am wondering if to take black and white your brain has to think in black and white? Or is your brain needing to be more conscious of light and how it falls? Decisions to be made…take photos in color and then process them after the fact into black and white? (Snapseed app)…take with an app that is strictly b and w (Monochromia app) which allows some adjustment after the fact…or just be spontaneous and use Hipstamatic app, because, after all, how much time is there to process pictures when there is so much chocolate to eat?
Samples so far…
Hipstamatic app with Helga Viking lens and Black Keys super grain film…

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These I took from the passenger seat of the car as it was driving. With the same combination of lens and film, but I felt they needed some brightening so they went into Snapseed for slight fiddling…

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This was Hipstamatic with James M lens and Rock BW-11 film…

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This processing is by Noir app

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These photos started as color photos but with Snapseed app they have become b and w many months later…

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I don’t want to duplicate Eugene Atget, I just want to enjoy the taking of some black and white photos with some confidence while I experience Paris for the first time. If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them.
As Eugene Atget said, ” A good photograph is like a good hound dog, dumb, but eloquent.”

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(My sweet dog is not really dumb, but she is eloquent!)


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Pienza and The English Patient…

Pienza…ahh, Pienza…you swept me away…the smallest of the towns we visited and maybe my favorite…because I could see myself there in a small artisan shop in an ancient building (inviting all my friends to come visit, of course…will you?)…working on art, chatting with customers. Long meals, lovely days…but first the lay of the land…

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The most important order of business was the morning cappuccino, but when I saw this chocolate fountain I was quickly seduced in another direction…

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Then to the church (which allowed pictures) and the town museum (which did not). This church has foundation problems, but being a true Californian I thought about earthquakes a lot while I was inside…and wouldn’t you know the day we got home two above 4.0 quakes happened on faults near our house…yikes…

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The cracks…

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The above is a glass insert put in to measure amount of movement.
Best of all were the alter boys getting ready for service…looked about sixth grade age

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The stroll to find lunch in a cafe with three tables and many wine bottles and tasty sandwiches.

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Looking for artisans

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We found a potter

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A fabric artist

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And a watercolorist…her bookmark/business card and some delightful watercolors I bought…they are 2″x2″ and now so many miles away, they make my heart skip when I look at them…

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On our way back down the road from Pienza we opted to explore a dirt road that takes you to a monastery named Sant’ Anna In Camprena. It was the setting for the Italian part of the movie The English Patient and I figured that it was the closest I would ever get to Ralph Fiennes. (Since we have been home we rented the movie to watch again and were amazed at how young the actors looked. Luckily we were alone while we watched because we kept yelling out things like…I stood next to that cypress…we were right next to that wall…remember those crosses…)
This is where Juliette Binoche met Willem Defoe for the first time…

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My driver noticing that we couldn’t go inside because it was 2:00 and it was closed from 12-3:00 in the fashion of the country. Love the colors of this facade…

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You may note black dots in many of my pictures. These are Jackdaws similar to our crows and always flying around the towers we saw in Italy. (From Wikipedia)

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Random impressions…

Truth be told, this was not Terry’s first visit to Florence. More than forty years ago he spent his junior year of college in Switzerland and during the break between sessions he traveled for a few days to Florence and slept on the floor of someone’s apartment. It was three months after the flood of ’66 and when he mentioned it on this trip he was invariably asked if he had been a “mud angel”. (The swarm of students that arrived to help with the clean-up.) Art work is still being restored and like our fires and earthquakes in California, the flood seared the collective consciousness. This is the entry of our apartment with a plaque well above Terry’s head on the wall. These plaques are on many walls in buildings throughout the city indicating how high the water rose on that fateful day.

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Random shots of things that I liked on the trip.

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Ribollita

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Barrista

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Brides in Florence and Siena

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Alter boys in Pienza

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Cats at Boboli and turtles in Siena

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Fish in the Oltrarno and crows in a fresco

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The market

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Polizia

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Terry at our doorway in Florence. You can see the size of the sidewalk and to the right just out range is a line of scooters, small cars, and bicycles ready to whiz by.

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When we left Florence, Terry had his Audi (since returning home he makes sound effects for his Civic when we go up hills) but I found my heart’s desire on the streets of Orvieto.

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A Fiat 500 with the colors of the Italian flag on its rag top and tricked out by Gucci. Heaven…
And for your listening pleasure…

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