Flower Stories: More Orchids

I’ve been sitting with a friend in the hospital, providing moral support and acting as another pair of eyes and ears for the family when they can’t be there.

Our group of friends sent this beautiful orchid plant to the hospital. Absolutely gorgeous all on its own, but you know I can’t resist playing with the image.

First I took the photo with the built in camera on my iPhone 4 with no applications. It’s interesting how the hospital green background — why are hospitals always green?– turned into blue. I didn’t do anything to the photo.

Then I was demonstrating to my friend how the different photo apps work on the iPhone. For this one, I used Instagram and just took a photo against her hospital tray. I showed her how I can blur out an ugly background very easily. It’s not quite in focus, but I could have gotten it in focus if I took a little more time. I was just playing to keep my friend occupied. 🙂

I’ve taken the blue background photo and applied some saturation, which makes the color even more amazing in this photo. Which do you like better?

Since I was intrigued by the dilemma presented by Leanne Cole on her photography blog, I thought I’d play with these images a little bit. I encourage you to visit Leanne and her beautiful images; is the amount of processing we can easily do with digital images cheating or is it just another form of art?

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Mom’s New Toy Means I Can’t Resist Posting

Life is strange. First I felt violated. Then I felt relieved. Now I’m just over it and ready to move on. Welcome back to Got My Reservations: The Retirement Sequel.

I have spent a lot of time in the last couple of months with friends who have much more knowledge than I do about cameras. I bought the Canon EOS Rebel T3i, and I’m thrilled with the results so far. Ten minutes out of the box and I had 24 photos that were better than anything I’ve taken recently — although I’ve done some pretty good work with my iPhone in Instagram. 🙂

Here’s today’s teaser.

The next step is to figure out which totally cute camera bag I’m going to buy from Judy at Snugglens.

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Last week I stumbled on a blogger with a fun way to link up photos on Fridays that fits right in with one of my RENEW goals for 2012 — using my cameras more thoughtfully and intentionally. The challenge is to photograph the week using only the camera on my phone. And yes, I know it’s Saturday.

Normally I’m not a late starter, but with spring break and all, it took me a while to get into the groove, so I didn’t actually take my first photo until Monday. The re-entry back into my real life as a teacher and the inevitable early morning wake up was hard, very hard.

On my arrival at school, I discovered that my promised laptop had not been delivered over spring break. I have mixed feelings about it anyway, so I wasn’t heartbroken.

On Tuesday, one of my students was playing with this mirrored Rubik’s Cube. He said he needed a greater challenge… and then showed us that he marked up one side with dots to help him solve it. 🙂

Since it was grades week and I was feverishly trying to get everything done before the Friday holiday from school, I didn’t do much photography. On Friday, we met out-of-town family members for museum-ing. I took this photo from the window of the Chicago Cultural Center because I have never seen the Bean (Cloud Gate) from this vantage point. The yellow tint comes from the protective film in the windows.

I also took this photo of the stained glass dome in the Chicago Cultural Center. I know it’s not perfect — I took it with my iPhone, for goodness sake — but it gives an idea of the beauty of this often overlooked building among Chicago’s museums. The web site says it’s the tenth most popular museum, but in a city of museums, how many people actually get to the tenth one?

I didn’t take this photo, but I thought you might want to see a well-photographed picture of the Tiffany glass dome that is also in the Cultural Center.

Lest you think I’m trying to cheat on the InstaFriday challenge, here’s my photo of the Tiffany Dome.

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this quote in the new modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.  When I looked up the attribution, I found that it was actually supposed to be a work of art. Silly me, I thought it was just an interesting quote on the wall.

It turned out to be one of those beautiful Chicago spring days — crisp and sunny. On such a day, it’s impossible to take a bad picture of the skyline, even on a smart phone.

If it’s Friday, it’s pizza day. We also had the double whammy of entertaining out-of-town guests, so it had to be a Chicago pizza day. We found a pizza place by the Art Institute that we’ve never been to and were happily surprised by both the food and the service.

A week that started pretty slowly ended up with a warm gush of family togetherness and yummy wine and pizza. It was another hot time in Chi-town after all!

Please stop by Life Rearranged and meet some new blogging friends. Everyone appreciates a little comment love.

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RENEWing My Photography

It’s a good day when I can learn something new. When we go to teacher’s in-service presentations and courses, we demand a “take-away” — something that we can go back to our classrooms and use the next day. Today I learned a lot about the capabilities of my iPhone and its camera. I’ll give you a little teaser, but there will be more in upcoming posts.

Armed with my new app, HDR Pro, I took my trusty iPhone to the floral section at Costco. HDR Pro tells my camera to take two pictures, then merges them together. My only problem is holding still so that there are crisp edges on the merged photos. At home, I loaded up the photo to Picasa, used the HRDish function, the fade function, and the vignette function to get rid of the edges. I don’t like Picasa’s fonts because my favorite’s not there, but this will do for the purposes of copyrighting this photo. The color in these chrysanthemums just knocks my socks off and warms my heart on this snowy Chicago weekend.

And look what a double dose of HDR did for my trellis!

Thanks for joining me as I RENEW my life.

Writing Workshop: Dearly Beloved Poopsie

Dear Poopsie,

I admit it. I was a latecomer to the Koolaid. I jumped at the chance to move from a stupid phone to a smart phone, my cute little Palm Pre. I loaded it up with the communication tools that I had previously lacked and thought I was making good choices.

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I bought my Pre a cute little hot pink coat and accessories to match. I treated it well and most of the time, Pre was a good partner for me.

You were patient with me, and that’s one of the reasons I love you. Just like a mother with a child or a teacher with a student, you let me make my own mistakes and bear the consequences so that I would grow. You watched with a benevolent grin as I replaced the Palm Pre three times when the case cracked at its most vulnerable points. Poopsie, you didn’t even flinch when I paid for a new battery because even the battery had to be replaced before the two-year contract was finished. People say that actions speak louder than words, and Poopsie, your actions showed your evergreen love for me. You knew I’d come to my senses.

Image via centralwvusbc.com

You loved me from afar, safe in your orchard, while I struggled to make myself worthy of your love. But Poopsie, when it finally happened, it was a marriage made in heaven. From the first minute that I walked into the Verizon store, I knew we were meant for each other. I know you were grieving when I challenged your constancy by trying out those funny Droid phones. Sometimes a girl’s just gotta put her sweetheart in his place, after all. I’m sure that deep down inside, you were sure of my love. You knew I was just playing with you.

We’ve had a wonderful partnership. You work in my basement and you worked in Europe whenever there was available Wi-Fi. (Okay, that’s a little problem that I can’t get service in Europe. You should talk to somebody about that.) Truly, I love you. I don’t have to access my personal email on my school computer and I can get Facebook whenever I want to.

Image via buzzle.com

I love our games nights when we snuggle and play Scrabble and do crossword puzzles together. You are the phone of my dreams.

Yet, at only six months later, it worries me a little that a new guy is hanging around. I’ve been totally true to you and have praised you to everyone who will listen. I know myself, though, and I’m easily influenced by a newer model. It’s hard to believe that I could have a better partner than you, but I think there’s a reason why maxims exist.

You’ve always been honest with me. Is it true what they say about the iPad? Is bigger actually better?

Love and kisses,


This post is linked up to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. Stop by and give these fabulous writers some comment love!

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