Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Pelican…

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Pelicans in December

One can’t help admiring

their rickety grace

and old-world feathers

like seasoned boardwalk planks.

They pass in silent pairs,

as if a long time ago

they had wearied of calling out.

The wind tips them, their

ungainly, light-brown weight,

into a prehistoric wobble,

wings”-end fingers stretching

from fingerless gloves

necks slightly tucked and stiff,

peering forward and down,

like old couples arm in arm

on icy sidewalks, careful,

careful, mildly surprised

by how difficult it has become

to stay dignified and keep moving

even after the yelping gulls have gone;

even after the scattered sand,

and the quietly lodged complaints.

J. Allyn Rossser

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Apps used: Snapseed and Layers


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41…

anniversery

There we were…hopping into the ’68 Datsun station wagon that had stood the test of miles, freshly married, dirt poor, (but no debt after law school…you could do that then), enthusiastic about what life held for us. In it together for forty-one years. Tonight we are off to a tapas dinner in San Francisco trying to recreate that lovely trip to Barcelona a few months ago. Onward and upward! (This morning we were awakened by a 4.0 earthquake! Just shows you how earth-shattering August 17 really is!!)

Here is how I made this image…

I walked through my garden to take these pictures…

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Then I started to combine them all using the ImageBlender App…

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Put the last one through Waterlogue App to get this…

Took an iPhone photo of an old wedding photo….

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Gave it some touch ups (after all these years, the colors on all the wedding photos are really altering) and a frame in Snapseed App…

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It was added on top of the flowers and angled by using ImageBlender…

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A frame was added to the entire image in Snapseed and then text was laid on top with Over App. Fin


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Transforming my frustration…

I have mentioned before how much I love the app Snapseed for processing my iPhone photos. For many, many years it has been my go-to, all-purpose, crop, clean-it-up and tweak app. So imagine my surprise when I opened it last week to find that there was an entirely new version. I am so set in my ways, I was immediately frustrated. That frustration grew and grew as I tried to do the things that I have always done, but couldn’t find the work flow as it had always been. hmmm, I said, why would you do that to me oh, favorite app…

Many YouTube videos later and a walk in the garden yesterday, I have made my peace…I at least know where things are now.

Fernald's Iris

Fernald’s Iris

lewisia - Version 2

Lewisia

Pink Monkeyflower

Pink Monkeyflower

Spicebush

Spicebush

New dwarf Butterflybush

New dwarf Butterflybush

Swallowtail looking for new dwarf Butterflybush!

Swallowtail looking for new dwarf Butterflybush!

California poppy

California poppy

California poppy

California poppy

So I say, people, take out your green grass lawns, install drip irrigation, put in native California plants…you will not regret it as you face the draught…spot through the garden a few non-natives, like a Cecile Brunner in a planter…you will have no end to willing photographic subjects…and you might get to liking Snapseed again as well as saving money on water fees!

Cecile Brunner

Cecile Brunner

And with great anticipation of getting to try a new feature of the Snapseed app (it now includes a function called Transform, which allows you to tweak perspective both vertical and horizontal…so all those tall buildings in a big city…no leaning towers except in Pisa! In a few short weeks we will be off to soak in the architecture of one of the most interesting cities…for now, from an old photo, here is what it can do…

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original…notice right hand edge of building

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now it is straight!

I really like Snapseed again!


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Last week…

Can’t really believe that on this day last week I was visiting the site where “The Last Supper” is displayed. They do not allow pictures, but I felt the urge to commemorate the visit anyway. This is Santa Maria delle Grazie where it is housed. I did not realize before that the painting was inches away from being destroyed by a bomb in World War II. It is pretty breathtaking and well worth taking the extra day to stay in Milan so that we could see it.

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Apps used: Pxlr Express, Stackables, Snapseed…


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Favorites…

It is almost time for another trip and I find that I never really wound up the previous one. Last October we went to Umbria and Venice. I was telling the tale here and then the holidays happened, life got busy, there were family complications and I never got back to the thread of the story of our trip. Last week I went back to look at the pictures and decided to pick out a few of my favorites that I had not ever processed in order to apply a few apps to them. I came across a group that symbolized our week in Venice. They are my favorites of the experience of Venice because I took them from our second floor apartment window where we looked across at the Frari Church and down onto the small canal below the window. Every day around 4:00 two gondolas would appear and the gondoliers would discuss their price with customers. On the last afternoon we were there we succumbed and took our own ride. I loved Venice…

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Photos taken with the native camera of my iPhone and then processed with these apps: Snapseed, Waterlogue, Image Blender, Vintage Photo, and Stackables…


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Eye…

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Let me say that being on the very far side of the threshold of senior citizenry, the concept of a “selfie” is way outside of my comfort zone. I do not want to know how I have aged. I don’t really like to be in pictures, let alone up close ones that I take myself…

In a weak moment I signed up for an online class with Susan Tuttle called The Art of iPhoneography Self-portraits. I have taken classes from her before and loved learning Photoshop Elements from her in this way. She is such a good teacher I thought that whatever happened I would still learn things and I really should get over my reticence…right? I am what I am…we all decay…hmmmm.

Well I have been experimenting with lots of new apps. I particularly like DistressedFX, FocalLab, and Mextures. I have been layering with Blender App. I thought I should commemorate my eye, above. It is the one that had cataract surgery six weeks ago and my vision is vastly improved and bright and clear. That, too, had its own consequence. I was not prepared for looking in the mirror and actually seeing how the reality of the aging process has affected me. Now I can see those wrinkles. And the grey in the hair. I guess my middle name is actually deNile because it was a shock. I am thinking of marketing a blurry film to go over mirrors…just enough to help the willing consumer be convinced that some of those wrinkles are not there. If it doesn’t take off as a product, then I will just keep passing my selfies through lots of blurry apps to reverse the aging process.

Forgot to mention another app that has multiple uses: TouchreTouch…takes out lots of unwanted history on a face if you end up zooming out wider than an eye!

Oh, ok, here is another one. Really that is it. Entangled in my own vanity I guess…

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Walking shoes…

During my last years of teaching, I developed a loyalty to comfortable shoes and bought my first pair of Merrell. A lovely dark grey shoe with blue trim. They did a good job of mitigating foot pain and developed a used patina that included drops of paint from many projects. By the time I retired and started traveling, I had purchased a second pair (with chartreuse trim) that was developing its own patina to go with  comfortableness. I took them on our trip to Florance and Tuscany and they did not fail me on the cobblestones of Italy. The glitch was that I had not learned, yet, that it is not wise to purchase books in museum stores and when it came time to pack the suitcases to come home I made the dreadful decision to leave them behind so that everything else could fit. Broke my heart to give up that chartreuse, but I knew that I had the blue trimmed pair at home.

As we left for Provence, I put the blue trimmed shoes into the suitcase as the backup shoes for foot fatigue. They did their duty well. As we packed at the end of the trip, however, it became clear that although there were no books to pack there were lavender soaps and lotions as well as nougats from the candy factory down the road at St. Didier. The shoes were not going to make it back to the United States. So there was a short ceremony as they were put into the garbage can near Le Beaucet. Almost like burying a Jackson Pollock painting. RIP great friends, I appreciate your support all these years. View from the trash cans toward Le Beaucet:

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Purchased new ones once I got home:

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Same brand, new color…wait for it…”elephant, with pink trim”. If you know me you will know why the name swayed my choice…if you don’t, scroll to the bottom and put the word elephant in my “search” engine!

My shoes are my passport to adventure!

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New app: Etchings.


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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…

HIS:

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Hers:

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For the hands:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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


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Heart day…

Husband gave me a four-pack…chocolate hearts, just like Paris…from an artisanal chocolatier in San Francisco… happened to be cleaning out the side board so placed the chocolates on old-timely hand painted plates with lots of flowers…played with iPhone apps…cinnamon hazelnut praline, caramel with passion fruit, caramel with strawberry, and caramel with lavender…Happy Valentines Day!

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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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