Sunday, January 13, 2013

iPhoneography - Photo Journalism of Nature

I've come to realise that I'm somewhat a photo journalist .. but I don't report stories on people as much as I do about nature. And even then, not quite the animals ... but plants and the elements.

The skies, the trees and the sun .. all have their stories to tell.
Today, I want to share a little bit of a 'behind-the-scenes' look at a recent post I made on Instagram about a wildflower.

So I'm walking out of a store, and i see these weeds by my feet. Not much of a story here to some. But I heard it speak to me. So I took the shot with my native iPhone 4S camera.
Then, to fit it into Instagram .. I needed to find my story within a 'square'. Which wasn't hard to do, because i had already heard which part of the wildflower was talking before I took the shot above.
 I loved the natural sunlight on it, and decided that it was best as a Vintage shot. So I took it into Snapseed for a vintage edit.
 While I personally like the dreamy pastel look, this weed had too much character to stay pastel. So i increased the contrast and highlighted the story - the fact that there was only one last dandelion tuft left. And this was the story all along ... that of FINAL CHANCES in life. For as I had passed by the wildflower, that last little tuft had stood out ... calling me to pick it up and blow it to the four winds. Because it was my last chance to do so .. both in that moment in time, and from that little plant.
sometimes we are weary and get off the path we are walking on .. we sit by the wayside and it is there we meet .. that dream we once cherished but now seems but a memory .. life is calling us .. to pick up that dream and bLow it out on the breeze .. like the last dandelion of summer .. we find the unexpected bLessing of .. one more tRy ~

There are stories all around us .. and beautiful inspirations in the littlest unseen places. If you're like me, and you can hear nature talk ... why not take out your mobile phone and share the story? The beauty of a platform like Instagram or Flicker is the ability to share out your unique perspective of life ... after all .. we all have a story :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Little Art Shop

I finally launched my own Zazzle Store after so many moons of thinking about it. I guess, it's one thing to be able to create art and beautiful prints - and a whole other thing to be able to design them into practical items that even I myself would consider spending my money on.

Maybe I think too much, but I really need to ask WHY before I buy something. And while I know impulse buying isn't really applauded, I wonder whether art is something that really is ruled by Impulse Buying more than anything else. After all, the reason people impulse purchase is because it makes them FEEL good. And isn't that what art is meant to do? To touch a part of you deep inside - awaken a place inside that is moved on a deeper level, and makes you feel understood, makes you feel less alone ... makes you feel that there is more to life than just the daily grind.

And I think, it's this reaching out to one another that finally made me share out my art in items that can be purchased. When I create my art, I am really just putting down my own hero's journey into a visual capture (I am VERY visual right-brained). All I am doing is just reinforcing a message to myself. But one day I read something that stopped me in my tracks.

When I first read the words above, it moved me. All this while, my art was helping me process life and heal through my personal challenges. And while I have shared my art on facebook and twitter on a small scale, and had friends affirm me that they too felt touched by my sharing ... it never really hit me that I was GIVING. 

If it something people would like to have for free, just a glimpse to fill their heart and move on .. then certainly, my art is available here on my blog and also on facebook and twitter. However, if there are others who are moved to bring it home with them ... as I too have brought the art of others home because it makes me feel connected to beauty and love in the midst of my ordinary living - then here is my art .. from the heart .. to be shared, at long last.

I send you my Love ... for Love joins the dots in all our lives ~

Do visit my store at and click LIKE or leave a comment, I always like loving feedback that helps me grow :) 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

iPhoneography - Skies

I am fascinated by the sky. I love how it is always changing, yet always the same. When I see the sky, I am reminded of who I am. That all these strong feelings and emotions are mere clouds inside me .. and that who I am, deep down is constantly me .. the part that is not defined by all my experiences and hurts and victories even .. the part of me that began long ago, and someday .. will travel beyond the life I have had here. I am just not the many clouds .. I am the sky.

When I started out with iPhoneography, it was all about expressing my view of the world .. my passion, my heart. And what I most spent time noting through my days .. is the sky. Hence began, many snippets of sky .. and all the stories the sky seemed to tell me.

Below is my first sky shot, edited with the Toaster Filter in Instagram. I think this was one of my first photos with Likes from strangers. I was inspired. Others could see what I was seeing.

Write your dreams in the sky .. so they cover the whole earth, and expand out into the Universe ~
I Love when there's a BLUE patch at sunSet .. it's proof that the sun is still shining it's heart out. Love's Like That. 
staRe straight into the sUn .. and feel the warmth of the uniVerse melt your cares away ... the LoVe that holds the sun in place, holds Me
The picture above is an example of how mobile photography and Instagram helps so many people focus on the little moments in life. My 4 year old suddenly exclaimed as we were driving by one cloudy day, "Look mommy .. snow!" And that's when I realised just how much the large white clouds DID look like snow. Suddenly, I saw the impossible - Snow in the Tropics. And in that moment, it was so handy to not only take the shot, but add the words and record it all in digital memory.  

When I acquired Camera+, the sky photography became richer with better resolution. However, while they look lovely here in a rectangular shape, I preferred the square shape when posting to Instagram. So the rectangles were short-lived. And the challenge became to compose rich, square sky shots.

Love cannot be contained .. the suN always sHines through even the darKest of cLouds ~

 What seems to elude me is the ability to get a good shot of the moon! Still, sometimes it's the stories I hear in the sky .. that mean more than the quality of the picture itself.
And so beGins the day ... the waNing moon of March and the rays of the sUn greeting each other .. exchanging stories that will paiNt the sky with feeLing

No Fear .. i look up when the cLouds are dark .. and find there a promise that i am LoVed
The beautiful thing with mobile photography is the ability to create collages quickly and conveniently. This was one of early sky collages .. and beautiful in it's ability to composite the changing sky at one glance. All three slices were taken at the exact spot of sky, at 5 minute intervals.
watching the sLices of sunset .. i realise that like the sKy ... i am always the same, yet never quite so ~
One morning, I decided to add a tree into the sky .. because it seemed that the trees were in fact, watching the sunrise ... and indeed they do, way before any of us humans arrive of the scene. For it means they can start breakfast going :) 

Below is the original photo and the Instagram crop that I actually posted. Sometimes, the original is far more stunning. But I feel the impact of a story-photo lessens when it is loaded as a rectangle on a square format. And so, cest la vie .. compromises. I tend to choose story over visuals, because I am essentially a photo poet more than anything else.

watercolour sunriSe ... i shall paiNt the worLd with my dReams of LoVe todaY ~ 
And so began, my foray into tree photography. For apart from the sky, my great passion in life seems to be trees. And iPhoneography brought back all my long-forgotten memories of a childhood spent with trees .. and soon, I was joyfully back in that world. What can I say? iPhoneography is truly therapeutic to the heart. 

So is sky photography popular? I've had some pretty amazing feedback, and certainly .. it makes me glad to know that I have had the opportunity to befriend other skylovers :)


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

iPhonegraphy and Munchkins - Part 2

Munchkins. Little people. Kids.
As i said, I'm a mom and so other than the blue sky and nature which i'm addicted to .. i find myself surrounded by children and it's hard to not turn the camera at them now and then. In fact, it started becoming a bit of a challenge.

What kind of kid's photography would appeal to people? I could easily make personal memory shots, but what if I had to speak out to others about the joys of childhood or motherhood even? I still find myself lagging behind in terms of visual technique to some of the amazing iPhoneographers out on Instagram, but i am glad to have evolved from my original attempts. 

One of the best ways i found to highlight my kids was to use a THEME. Suddenly, shots at the dentist, and at play became a way to capture the magic of childhood for everyone (^^)
Dream .. anything is possible for the heart without boundaries
The most important thing is to eNjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters ~ Audrey Hepburn
I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else ~ Pablo Picasso
The heart at play .. always finds a way to smile
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment ~ Rumi ✫
dreaMing .. is taKing off into the sKy while keeping your feet on the grOund

This is one of my personal favourites. It was early evening after picking up the older girls from school - a cool day and the playground was empty.

I love to surprise my girls with the unexpected. I think life is full of surprises, pleasant and unpleasant. And if they can somehow get used to not knowing what to always expect ... then they won't get hit so hard by the unforeseen unpleasant turns real life has in store ... i hope.

sweet dReams are so easy ... when you don't have to sLeep alone

This is another photo i am fond of. Aeriadne decided long ago that she was going to have kids someday and that for now, her sisters are aunts to lil Willie Bear. In fact, Willie even calls me 'grandma' sometimes.

It's one of those memories of childhood i know Aeriadne will cherish someday .. and again, the Instagram 'square format' really worked well to give me the necessary focus to make this a great shot.

Sometimes, boundaries bring out the best in us all.

it's so easy to spend most of childhood in a book .. it's almost a time-travel machine
When I write about a 15-year old, I jump, I return to the days when I was that age. It's like a time machine. I can remember everything. I can feel the wind. I can smell the air. Very actually. Very vividly. ~ Haruki Murakami
let your imaGination be the piloT .. and watch your dReams soar

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them. I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them ~ from The Little Prince, Antoine de Sainte Exupery

The girls were sharing chocolate in the evening sunshine.

A DSLR would have made them conscious, and made them pose. But an iPhone is hardly noticeable in mom's hands .. and after all, she could just be shooting the sky again. Unless of course, she was pretending to shoot the sky and took the opportunity to catch a candid sisterly moment :)

Taken in a juice shop, with a very busy wall as a background. This was before i discovered Snapseed, and had to edit the entire photo instead of just a selective area, hence the even faded-out look. But sometimes, fading out the entire shot gives it a pastel, vintage feel .. and creates a better mood for a memory.

If you are into vintage and pastels that is :)

These postcards were a real leap in creating childhood memories. They were made using an app called LineCamera. It's very simple and straightforward, combining the use of filters, tuning and frames in a very handy yet powerful interface.

I think if you have more time, App Stacking (combining edits from various apps) is great. However, if you have limited time and want a memory captured in style, simple apps that allows it all in one place can be a very satisfying quickie!

I love the way LineCamera allowed me to create these cute postcards. It made many people smile, especially my little models. I love the clarity LineCamera provides while allowing a low contrast option.

Finding LineCamera finally allowed me to start experimenting with stories in my attempt at childhood photography.

This shot is a classic example of why i love mobile editing. The resolution and lighting was poor. However, cropping it into a square and editing it into a cute kawaii postcard completely saved the day by making it into a totally memorable moment - which it was !

My little dreamer requested for a helium balloon to walk through the mall. "I just want to take a balloon for a walk .. and i can't really do that at home," was what she said. Totally true!

And so we got the balloons and we had our walk .. and when i look back at this photo 15 years from now, i'll recall that i was the kind of mom who supports frivolous dreams .. that build and affirm my children :)

oPen arms .. oPen heaRt .. for all things gReen ~ Ballad of the Nature Lover

My favourite little model .. in one of my all time favourite shots. You see, aside from children .. another passion of mine is trees, and this shot was the perfect combination of both.

There's just so much magic when you bring a child outdoors .. and iPhonegraphy really is a great way to be spontaneous and capture some really special moments !
i want to be in the LiGht .. i will hoLd it burNing bright .. in my hands and in my heaRt
we are all heRe for the adventure called liFe and ultimateLy .. a fRiend is juSt the greateSt comfoRt zone through it all

Friday, August 24, 2012

iPhoneography and Munchkins

I'm a mom. And that means i have kids. Around. Me. CONSTANTLY.
I call them munchkins. Helps me focus on the fact that they're basically big people in little bodies. And it's inevitable that i end up catching moments that involve them. Because big people in little bodies are fascinating. All the enthusiasm of life in a miniature version. Like a rich shot of espresso.

In fact, my first beautiful shot with my iPhone was of my daughters doing a piece of art. I found it beautiful because i was there with them .. and it truly caught both the magic of the passion and focus they were feeling, and all the pride and joy i had in my heart as i watched the little artists i had encouraged blooming before my eyes. It was all the love in the world in one moment in time. And somehow, it was there on a flat image. I fell in love with my iPhone and what it could do.
Let me like a child .. and paint life with all possibilities before me
a notebook .. the old fashioned way .. no batteries, just imagination 

A book .. is a time-travel machine

there is a circle of love we start with,  .. and as we grow it expands .. but always, let it remain a circle of love
build your dreams one block at a time .. if you can dream it, you can build it
lil ones relish dessert like it's the main course .. enthusiasm must be the secret of youth 

The shot above was an early Instagram effort hence the black line to the left, as i had not quite mastered a clean crop or the fact that i could just delete and reload a pic! I personally prefer either keeping to the square format or ensuring i load my rectangular pics onto a white background before loading them onto Instagram (like the one below). I can't quite figure out why yet .. but i think maybe some mysteries in life are best left unsolved and just felt (^^)

all kids are friends .. they speak the same language of the heart

This was taken at the bank. I used Camera+ as I realised by now that the native iPhone camera didn't always allow me the best resolution if i needed to be quick.

Again, it's amazing what you can do with a mobile phone. Imagine standing at the bank with a DSLR! Captures like this made me convinced that iPhoneography was the way to stay.

This was an experiment of trying to fit everyone into a square format. I also thought it was a rather fascinating subject that every single munchkin was lost in their own world although right next to each other.

However, it was this shot that made me realise .. there must be a better way to capture kids via iPhoneography as i totally disliked the colours as well as the overall grainy quality. It was at this point that i started searching out more professional iPhoneographers on Instagram, and started taking serious lessons (via observation of their work) to expand my own skills.

While my first captures with my kids had been all moment-oriented, I found myself suddenly fascinated with a challenge of taking interesting portraits. It turns out that i mostly ended up experimenting with self-portraits, but here is one with my munchkins that i rather loved. Taken at night, i was rather pleased that i managed to angle my iPhone in a way that caught a lot of angelic light around them. And more than anything .. it was my first commissioned portrait! "Mommy, we'd like a family photo with our bears," was the request.

There's that moment when you realise someone believes in your talent .. and it totally made my day that it was my own kids :)

After weeks of experimenting, I managed this shot. Another candid moment, but this time .. I had enough experience with some basic iPhoneography editing.

When i grow up .. i'm going to be just like mom
I mainly used Typoinsta at this point. It seemed the simplest and easiest for a busy mom. And yielded satisfactory (enough) results. The main thing was that i was starting to have serious fun!

As time went by and i discovered a marked preference for pastels and faded vintage shots, i re-edited this shot to the one below.

I now had a presence on Instagram and it was becoming clear that i really was developing my own style that shied away from high definition colours. Instead, i found myself preferring clear details with soft tones.

I was still very much into mood photography involving children though. Which is how i evolved into a themed series. 

And my munchkins? By now they were all playing pretend Instagram!