Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Racing to the Finish Line

Today marks the end of National Blog Posting Month. I'm pretty sure that, by creating this post, I'm actually going to win the challenge. Yay! Go, me!

There's something else you need to know about NabloPoMo this year. I actually didn't do any scheduled posts (well, other than this one which was done yesterday, or, um, actually today but that's tomorrow. Just thank the magic of the Internets and we'll leave it at that, ok?) Last year, you see, I had done scheduled post after scheduled post, and relied heavily on the ability to schedule items in order to win the competition. Not this year. Nope, this year, I actually did it sort of "real time" or without any scheduled posts at all.

Now, I know this probably doesn't sound like much, and I'm sure you don't care really how it was done (some of you probably don't even care that it was done at all, you just stop in here for the iPhone tips and the "Painters Every Photographer Should Know" posts so that I can complete your term papers in art school. You're welcome, by the way.) It's big news to me, however. You see, this year, I didn't know I was going to win the competition until the end of the month, and it left all month for me to figure out what to yap on about. Each and every day, I sat down at the computer and brought you a live post, of some kind. Yes, it's true, some were of considerable quality (and I don't mean that in a good way) but, literally each and every day, I sat down and wrote something, anything, just to complete the challenge.

I know it might sound shallow and boastful, but I kind of feel good about that. It reminded me of the old days of blogging, back before the scheduled post. Back before bloggers like me had "editorial calendars" (I still really don't know what that means) back when we were just talking and posts were just posts...stuff people talked about during their quiet time. Back before the professional bloggers moved in and everybody was trying to "make six figures blogging before they die" sort of a thing. Back when things were organic, of sorts, and everybody just kind of blogged for the sake of blogging, not because they were trying to get rich, get famous, retire at the age of 29 or anything like that. It was a throwback to the days of old, and I'm really glad I did NaBloPoMo again this year.

So, thanks for coming along for the ride. I've really enjoyed the 30 days that were November this year. I've gotten the usually spike in traffic (I'm sure that will go away soon enough-you all have a holiday goose to eat, of some kind, don't you?) and made a few new friends, not to mention reconnected with some older ones. I've had a lot of fun, it was for a good cause, and everybody can now safely move on to next month.

Is it December already? Yipes! Doesn't time fly when you're racing to December?

Until next...ah...month this time...

Monday, November 29, 2010

iPhone iDea-Diptych and Triptych


Dark and light, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
One of the issues you might have to confront when trying to print or show your iPhone work is how to present it. After I announced that I was doing an upcoming iPhone invitational show, a lot of photographers contacted me and asked the same question, "...but, how are you going to print them?"

There are a few challenges here. For starters, some of you might have the older iPhone cameras, the ones that were not the higher megapixel variety, and so printing large is out of the question. Also, a lot of galleries have a strict "no Photoshop" rule, since the iPhone stuff is supposed to be lo-fi, so fixing things with Photoshop might be off the table as well. Horror of horrors, what to do?

Diptych and triptych to the rescue!

What do I mean by that? Well, there are easy ways to create diptychs and triptychs with iPhone photos. For starters, the iPhone can be used to create small, square images. These can easily be included in diptychs and triptychs, either in Photoshop or in another program. Also, you don't even need software to do this at all. Allow me to explain.

For my upcoming iPhone show, I'm printing my images and mounting them on 6x6 inch boards. You can then buy brackets (hardware brackets) at a place like Home Depot (or a local hardware store) and hinge the smaller boards together, creating one larger piece. You can also make polyptchs (anything more than 3) and use this as a technique to build up larger scale work.

With the iPhone4, I'm able to print up to 10 inch by 10 inch pretty easily. By starting from a 10x10 inch board, I could easily build up a wall of iPhone images, arranging them in a nice grid shape, creating a large square work. This can also make for easy shipping, since it can be torn apart and shipped, provided you include instructions on how to piece it back together again.

So, there you have it. The iPhone solves another problem and provides yet another creative outlet. Diptychs, triptychs, and polyptychs also provide an added form of artistic expression, as you get to decide which images go with which other images. When presenting work like this, it's much about the editing as it is about the work itself, and that really allows the strength of the iPhone imagery to shine through. I'd love to see a large scale installation presented like this-just a thousand small iPhone images all presented together into a massive installation. Imagine too a modern day Marilyn Monroe style image, repeated over and over again, to fill a large space. How cool would that be?

Even on a smaller scale this can work well too. The power of the diptych and triptych, the simple means of hinging smaller work together to make something larger, something more impressive, is not lost on the iPhone camera.

Hey, if it was good enough for Andy Warhol, it should be good enough for you too, right?

Until next time...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Studio Time Today


PurpleFlowersAdobeWall, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Quick blog today before I head off into the studio. Got some binder clips which I hope will help me control all of my drawing papers now that it's so windy here in River City. I hope to hit the studio at 2 pm today and continue to draw into the afternoon. Might spend some evening time processing shots or actually setting up new version of Photoshop (upgrade) which I still need to do. So much to do and so little time left after the long holiday weekend.

I hope you are making the most of your Sunday afternoon. Listen to some cool jazz, draw some, paint, or just relax a bit. Tomorrow, it's back to the grind yet again.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hands


FoldedArms, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
When you stop to look at them, hands tell a lot about a person. Do you work? Do you play? Do you paint? Are your hands soft and caring or hard and defined? Young or old? There's a lot you can tell about a person from just looking at their hands.

When I took this shot, I wanted it to look like an old painting. I wasn't going for the photographic look, but wanted the softness of the light and the softness of the setting to define the image, even though I knew the hands in question were not all that soft. These are obviously a man's hands, and I wanted to show that too, but I wanted the result to look like a very old painting, rather than a modern photograph.

If you've ever done life drawing you've probably realized how difficult it can be to draw hands well. Hands are complicated. They are these complicated appendages stuck onto the ends of our arms, flapping around for all of the world to see.

It's funny how we have an entire body to play around with, yet we put our clothing over our torsos. Our faces, feet, and hands probably tell more about us than anything else, yet we sometimes leave those uncovered for all to see. Isn't that odd in some ways? Leave open the face, the most vital and distinguishable part, but cover those hips, baby. Yeah, it doesn't make a lot of sense when you really stop to think about it, but that's how we live.

Check go ahead, check out your hands. See where your hands will take you today.

Until next time...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Top 10 Photo Books I Want This Christmas


Still life, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Since it's Black Friday today, I've decided to help you along with a list of photo books I'd love to find under my holiday tree this year. These are all taken from a recent ICP catalog, and you must keep in mind that I have a huge stash of books already, so these would just be new ones or ones that have somehow managed to escape my radar.

Photo books can make excellent gifts, even for those who aren't photographers themselves. Some of these are interesting topics, some thought provoking, others just probably pretty to look at.

Here is my list:

10. Jasper, Texas The Community Photographs of Alonzo Jordan-since I live in Texas and I remember the incident that sparked this the book might be more of a personal choice, but it's surely one to be high on the list for those of you looking for the thought provoking side of things. Jordan worked as a photographer for 40 years in Jasper, Texas, a small town that was little known until the brutal dragging death of a forty nine year old African American named James Byrd. Byrd was murdered by three white males on June 7, 1998 in Jasper and this book is an attempt at documenting the everyday life of several generations of Jasper's African American residents.
9. Publish Your Photography Book by Darius D. Himes and Mary Virginia Swanson-With these two great authors at the helm, this book is sure to wrangle in some great tips and tricks for producing fantastic photo books.
8. America by Car by Lee Friedlander-This collection find Friedlander getting out of the city and into the car, as he drove across most of the country's 50 states in an ordinary rental car over the course of a decade.
7. Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand by Malcom Daniel-this collection features work from three of the premiere photographers of the 20th century.
6. Palm Springs by Robert Doisneau-In 1960, Robert Doisneau was invited by Fortune magazine to shoot Palm Springs, the then hottest travel spot. This book, a collection of previously unpublished work, features Doisneau in color and in California.
5. Sanctuary by Gregory Crewdson-In this book, Crewdson ditches the large scale production and heads to Rome with a small crew to shoot the old stomping grounds of Fellini and Rossellini in black and white. Count me in.
4. The Long Now by Uta Barth-meet me at the edge of vision with the master of blur, this book might not be for everybody but it's near the top of the list for those who lean towards the abstract minimal.
3. Hiroshi Sugimoto-what you get when you mix up long exposures, large format, and excellent printing, this exploration in Asian minimalism is a feast for the eyes.
2. Huangshan by Michael Kenna-Kenna in China, what more can I say?
1. The Gernsheim Collection by Roy Flukinger-I'm very excited about this book because it's written by Roy Flukinger, one of Austin's own photographic experts and scholars, about one of the world's greatest collections of photography.

I'm sure there are a lot more books out there, but this sample might help you get things going and is sure to please even the most picky of photographic tastes on your holiday shopping list.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving - Almost Winter


Sky, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Happy Thanksgiving to everybody out in blog land today!

For my friends from afar, who maybe don't celebrate this holiday, allow me to explain. Today, in the US, lots of folks have traveled home to be with their families, where everybody enjoys a traditional holiday meal. We sit down to turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pies while enjoying our family and friends. There's also a big parade in New York which is played on TV and a lot of people have off from work, some both today and tomorrow, when we have something called "Black Friday" which is actually the start of the Christmas shopping season. It's a very big event in the US, with almost everybody celebrating this traditional holiday in some way, even if it's just having a bit of turkey.

Today also marks a big cold front moving into the Austin area and I'm actually kind of excited about this since I want my allergies to go the way of summer and be gone. I'm hoping the cooler weather will bring in not only coats, mittens, and a bit of frost, but an end to my allergies which have been quite severe this autumn season. Here's hoping, right?

I'm happy to report that the cold front is almost here. Yay! Also, I'm fully stuffed with my holiday meal--the key lime pie was great but the mashed potatoes and roast? Oh, that was tops. I'm totally full and fed--fat, dumb, and happy now.

I hope that, if you're in the US you are enjoying your holiday meal with friends and family and that this Thanksgiving finds you safe and happy. Safe travels to all and happy eating as well.

Thanksgiving also marks a time for us to pay thanks for what we have. Personally speaking, I'm thankful for my family, my great little buddy Chase, my artist buddies everywhere, my photographer friends, my cameras, paint, brushes, computers and all of the stuff that brings you the behind the scenes items to make up this website, as well as the men and women who are bravely serving their country and community, either overseas, as part of the armed forces, or those first responders who we count on every day to help keep us safe. You're all wonderful and I'm thankful for each and every one of you.

Another tradition on Thanksgiving is that we take an afternoon nap and I'm going to go and do that right now. I'm a bit tired and want to nap now so again, Happy Thanksgiving everybody and don't forget to get all of your naps in before we have to go to work again on Monday.

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks iPhone Version


Adobe wall, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Tomorrow marks the Thanksgiving holiday for those of us in the United States. That means it's time to give thanks, enjoy a holiday meal with the family, relax a bit, stay home from work, and the like. It also means the wind up of the Christmas season as well as the start of shopping and a lot of football games (and parades for the little ones!)

A lot of folks want to leave the camera behind, since it's big and clunky and they just don't want to deal with all of the messiness of having it around while they are trying to eat. Of course, they still want photos to remember the holiday with, right? IPhone to the rescue!

The iPhone can be used to take pictures around the table, quick snaps of food, and the like. It's a great little device to get those family snaps without having to make the family...well...snap. Since nobody feels they are being harassed by the camera, you can get away with a lot more not to mention the fact that the iPhone with it's compact size and convenient push-button operation works well in places like your kitchen.

So, go ahead, snap away! Your kids will still stick out their tongues and you might get mashed potatoes on your phone but it'll all probably be worth it in the end. At least you'll have some holiday memories to work with and you won't ruin a $1500 camera, right?

Just maybe don't forget and accidentally stuff it in your turkey, ok?

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Venice by Wax


Venice, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Ok, so it's not the greatest of photographic reproductions, but this little shot will allow me to share with you what I was up to in the studio yesterday. I made this and one other wax painting which you can view at my Flickr stream (or just wait until, probably tomorrow, when I post that one too.)

This one started out life as a pastel, of sorts, and then went into a wax painting. My other work from yesterday is a photo printed on mulberry paper and then stuck onto a wax painting. Encaustics are fun, I really love them, love the way they look and all, but they can be quite hard and difficult to deal with. If you know how to drive, I believe the words "controlled skid" come to mind. Any small notion you have that you might actually be in control of something? Yeah, you need to kind of throw that right out of the window.

So how was your weekend?

In other, more "helmet related" news, I finally got a chance to catch up to the American version of Tog Gear, which aired on the History Channel this weekend. I have to say, I had very low expectations, I was half expecting a train wreck, I guess, and I was pleasantly surprised. The show is not half bad, even without the "three graces." Only three have gone missing? Yes, it's true, because, although there are four official "hosts" of Top Gear, Lord Stiggy has found his way across the pond, as it were, and is also working with the American hosts. It's great to see him so close, in California and all. Oh happy day! The Stig keeps getting closer. My evil plot to marry him and then take over the world is actually slowly happening. At least the wheels have all started to turn very slowly about this indeed. (Of course, probably much too slowly for anything resembling a proper Stig and all, but I do drive more like James May anyway so it all fits.)

In case my Stig ramblings have grown too much for you, I'd have to summarize by saying I liked Top Gear America. The hosts weren't bad, the show wasn't bad, the chase scene was actually very interesting, it was film a little bit less like the British one but it wasn't half bad. Really, nothing was wrong with it and I suspect it will grow on me as time goes by and I get used to the hosts more. Of course, I still won't stop watching the British version but now this gives me something to watch, something besides Burn Notice, which is also airing new episodes.

It beats staring at Venice by Wax for hours on end, doesn't it?

Until next time...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stu...Stu....Studio Time!


YayInRed, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Yay!

I *finally* got some studio time in today. I completed two paintings, one photo and encaustic and one pastel and encaustic.

I started by doing a pastel on clayboard, working from a picture I had taken in Venice. After I was (somewhat) happy with the results in pastel, I added the wax to the surface to "seal" the painting and to add an extra layer on it, making it an encaustic panel. I've been wanting to try out this technique for a while now and, I have to say, I'm somewhat happy with the results.

Next up, I printed one of my favorite images onto some mulberry paper, made up a wax panel, and layered the picture into the wax. It worked fairly well, good enough for me to realize that I can now go ahead and do some of my "Mexico in Blue" work this way. I've always wanted to present this work this way and, frankly, I wasn't so sure how it would hold up or if it would look the what I wanted it to. I'm happy to say it came out the way I expected and so I'm now able to go ahead and do this with the entire series. It's going to take me a while to do, but I think it's going to be fabulous once I finish it. Really looking forward to this one.

Now, I'm really very tired and spent, so I'm going to rest up, relax, and watch TV tonight.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Facing EAST-The East Austin Studio Tour Continues


White couch, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I'll be down at the East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T) again today. Look for me to land there sometime early this afternoon and spend the rest of the day in the lovely little cottage filled with encaustic goodness. It really is quite a sight down there and, if you're in town, please feel free to stop by, pop in, and say hello.

Yesterday, I had opportunity to actually visit some of the East Austin Studio Tour establishments and I'd have to say it was fantastic. I made my way over to Flatbed Press and I purchased a few handmade books at another location on Tillery Street. Today I'm going to try to visit Pump Project and check out some art glass at the glassblowers before popping back into the cottage for my stay with the encaustic work.

EAST is one of the great things about Austin. There are so many artists here, so many folks working and sharing in their craft, it's so great to be a part of it, even in some small way.

I found out yesterday too that my EAST goodness is not going to end this weekend. Even though the shows are officially over at the end of this weekend, I'll be participating in a holiday show at the studios next to Big Medium on December 4th, which should be loads of fun.

Lots of upcoming drawing, painting, and the like as I'm going to also be spending a studio day tomorrow, hopefully hold up making some additional encaustic work. I need to do some smaller work for some holiday gifts and I've been itching to take my "Mexico in Blue" series into the land of wax.

How's your weekend holding up? Hopefully you are out there painting, drawing, taking pictures, or otherwise including some art in your life this weekend as well.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vivid


Colors, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Today's post: vivid.

I've been doing a lot of pastels lately. They give me wonderfully vivid colors and I get to just smudge color all over the place. It's been great fun and I'm really enjoying doing it, almost as much as I love taking pictures.

(Well, I did say almost, didn't I?)

Until next time...

Friday, November 19, 2010

iMixed Media


More schmincke, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

One of the great things about the iPhone is that it also lends itself to working with mixed media. Because it's so easy to use as a camera, and because it's so easy to get images from the Phone to the web (or to your computer) you can do stuff like paint on photos or print on odd papers. It's also really easy to get square images, oddly shaped photos, and the like from the iPhone, which lends itself to mixed media very well. Sure, the quality of the resulting images might not always be twenty seven and a half megapixels but, for mixed media use, you really don't need that anyway, so the iPhone holds its ground here.

One of the projects I'm working on now is an iPhone show. I'm going to have 25 small images on display, printed 6x6 and mounted on art boards. After the show is over, I'll probably take the remaining 6x6 art boards and use them with encaustic medium, dripping wax over the surface to create an array of small encaustic pieces. I'll then take these small square wax coated boards and screw them together, to make a larger installment or possibly leave some of them out to have smaller pieces. It will probably morph itself into another show, this time all encaustic-based. All of this made possible by the trusty little iPhone.

You really don't need a "big" camera to do stuff like this, in fact, the iPhone is probably better at it then the "real" camera because, with the "real" camera you'd be fussing over light, color, contrast, and the like, not to mention having to process them for printing. The iPhone does a lot of that for you, not to mention it's highly portable and created stylized images right from the start.

They have started to make some iPhone-enabled printers or printers that allow you to upload directly from the iPhone and print, without going through your computer. These printers that allow you to bypass your computer could be really handy when doing this kind of mixed media type of work, especially if they can handle different types of paper. There are a lot of people printing on odd types of paper now too, stuff like mulberry and the like, and this too could lend itself well to iPhone images.

So, if you're a watercolorist, pastelist, encaustic painter, or if you just like to play around, the iPhone camera offers something for you. Try some mixed media with the little guy and see what you can come up with or trying taking some prints from your iPhone camera into another medium to see what they can do. It just be might loads of fun, so long as nobody tries to call you in the middle of it all.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Subject, Subjects...As the King Would Say, It's all about Subjects

Like Polaroids from yesteryear, the iPhone is very much a camera about subjects. Certain subjects tend to lend themselves very well to iPhone photography while others? Not so much.

Trees make for interesting subjects, the iPhone can take pretty good portraits, and it's really good at what I like to call "unexpected photography," stuff like unusual camera angles and odd perspectives. They make great skies. You can get people to open up a bit more into a iPhone since it doesn't feel like a "real" camera and you can take it into places where "real" cameras are somewhat frowned upon. I've love to see iPhone shots taken inside a movie theater, for example. Or a grocery store. Or Vegas. Or a strip club. It's only a matter of time before somebody mounts on atop a moving car or vehicle (if they haven't done this already, I'd be surprised.) The thing about the iPhone is that it's really all about the subjects. It's the ultimate in dorm room photography for the masses, the best way to kind of let your hair down a bit as a photographer, let loose, and just have some fun. Ski slope anyone?

The iPhone doesn't appear to do really well with night or long exposure photography, but it does work in subdued light fairly well. At least, it can take shots indoors. The more you think about it, the more it really does start to sound a lot like a Polaroid.

Come to think of it, why doesn't Polaroid have an iPhone app already? Or maybe they do and I just don't know about it yet? Either way, it's bound to happen at some point, right?

If you're thinking about starting an iPhone photography project, it's probably best to think about what kind of subjects you want to shoot. Pick a fun subject, with a wild fresh point of view and your project is bound to be a success. Since I did a lot of buildings and architecture with my Polaroid, it's only fitting that I do the same with my iPhone. I'm also doing a series of drinks served in restaurants. These are both sort of interesting subjects that the iPhone can really sinks it's teeth into a bit, and it's bound to be fun exploring these themes for me. That's really the best way to get a successful project from the iPhone. Think about what you like to do, think about what the camera does best, and artfully blend the two.

For something that some people consider a throw away, it's not just a toy anymore. It's taking some serious snaps.

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tilt It Like An IPhone


Drink, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Apart from the tilt-shift lens fakery in the iPhone, you can also tilt the camera. One of the best things about the iPhone, in fact, is that, well, you can tilt the camera. Have an annoying background you do not know how to get rid of? Tilt the camera. Want to take pictures out of your car at the sky while you're moving? Tilt the camera. Want to create an interesting portrait of somebody, something totally unusual and different because you've shot them the same way the same time over and over again and now want something new? Tilt the camera. That camera tilt, it works wonders.

In fact, it works almost too well. Allow me to explain. If you do not want to tilt the camera, with the iPhone, you almost have to work at it. You almost have to make sure everything is level and plumb and aligned just so perfectly, otherwise you might find yourself with a slight tilt. Since you're going to get a slight tilt anyway, you might as well throw yourself all in.

Go on, you know you want to try it. Tilt the camera.

Stop being so straight already. Stop trying to level and plumb and align the universe. Go on, try it, just once and you'll see how much you like it. Tilt the camera.

If you don't like the camera tilt that you get, you can always pump the results into something like PlasticBucket (as I've done here) that gives you totally fabulous vignetting. Red around the edges, looking like fake light leaks. It's wonderful.

So, go ahead, go on, tilt the camera.

Until next camera tilt...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

At First Touch...Wait...That's Not a Phone?

Since it's the middle of the month, and the middle of a month long journey into iPhone images, I have received several comments, emails, and the like, and I thought it might be nice to respond.

Many of you are asking technical questions ("what app was that?" or "how did you get that look?") but some of you are lamenting the fact that, alas, you cannot afford an iPhone or that you use a different carrier that does not allow iPhones on their network. Maybe some of you have long-term mobile phone contracts and do not want to break them. Fear not for we at Carol's Little World are here to help.

For starters, many of the cell phone apps are also available on the Droid phones. I'm sure Droid phone photography is just as fun, maybe even in some ways more fun, than iPhone photography, so that's always an option you can explore if you are on a different carrier (or just want to use a different phone.)

For those of you who just do not want a mobile phone camera but want to play along, there's another viable option out there. The latest version of the iPod Touch is basically the same as the iPhone only without the phone bit. What does this mean? Allow me to explain.

The iPod Touch is a device that looks like an iPhone, has apps you can download like the iPhone, has the same camera as the iPhone, and the like. The one difference? It's missing the phone bits. It retails for about $150-$300 and, while it does not offer the 3G network like the iPhone does, it does have models available with Wi-Fi and, perhaps more importantly, it does not require a service contract. Of course, there are a couple of catches, for starters, only the newest (newest of the new) models of the iPod Touch devices has a camera so getting one at some uber-cheap price might be out of the question, at least for a little while. They are not yet quite in the discount bins, but watch for the prices to drop over time, as new devices get introduced. Also, because it has Wi-Fi but not 3G, you will probably have to piggyback it off of something like a home network and this might tap into your ability to upload/download photos. It's very easy to upload iPhone apps to Internet hot spots like Flickr, for example, not so much with the IPod Touch, although this will depend on where you live and how much Wi-Fi is available around your location. For those of you who have a home router, a home network, or live near a Starbucks, this is probably a non-issue anyway.

Finally, like most iPhones (the 4 model like I have included) some of the apps were not written with the iPod Touch in mind so they might not work as well, might crash, etc. The Hipstamatic comes to mind here-it's a wonderful app, but it sure can crash a lot on anything other than a 3G iPhone. I would guess the iPod Touch users will have just as much trouble with it as the rest of the iPhone4 users will, although this will remedy over time, as the apps are slowly being ported up to the newest versions of everything. Every day brings a new release, with new updates to the iPhone apps and every update brings a new "little fix" for something that had been driving us crazy so, while it's true we can actually drop some pictures and the like, this doesn't really bother me all that much. I see it as a situation in which things are getting better, and look forward to the days when the apps will be a bit more seamless. It's just the price we pay for being early to jump on the new toy bandwagon I'd say, and leave it at that.

All things considered, the iPod Touch might be a viable option for those who want to play in the photo world of the iPhone without the long term commitment of an iPhone. Basic translation: it's the iPhone without the phone bits.

I'm actually considering getting one to use for music and photos so that I can use my iPhone for, well, a phone again.

Until next time...

Monday, November 15, 2010

iPhone Skies


, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Polaroid film was quite famous for giving us some wonderful images of skies. Skies in all of their glory, everything from breathtaking sunsets to dark, ominous clouds were all ripe for Polaroid picking. These days, the iPhone has all but replaced the Polaroid in terms of taking sky photos.

Just like the Polaroids of old, the iPhone doesn't do too well taking sky photos in the dead of night but, get it near a sunset, sunrise or any kind of cool cloud formation? Yes, that's the iPhone's pocket and it will do you good. Even bright sunlight and midday skies can make for great iPhone photos. At a time when many cameras don't cut the mustard, the trusty little pocket friendly iPhone camera can really deliver some great images. Fluffy white clouds, the wonderful gamut of mid-day blue skies and some great framing can really go a long way to making some great sky images even at the otherwise photo-unfriendly hour of high noon. Don't be afraid to experiment with the iPhone camera to see what kind of skies are overhead.

So, go ahead, don't be afraid to whip out that iPhone camera the next time you see a cool sunset, a bright orange sunrise, or even some clouds that look like bunnies in the middle of the day-you just might be on your way to taking some great sky shots with the trusty little iPhone camera. Remember too that you can also take sky shots from your car, train, plane or other odd places, even while moving. Now there's something to do instead of playing some boring road game like "spot the out of state license plate" for you and your kids to enjoy. You can also take shots in the rain from the safety (and dry points) of your car as well.

Either cool skies make for cool photos or those darn Kodak brochures have been lying to me all this time. (Hey, you laugh but, do we really all fully trust those folks from the land of Kodaks?)

Until next time...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

iPhone and Social Media


Jugs again, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The iPhone goes with social media like peanut butter goes with jelly. Never before has it been so easy to take pictures and upload them to your blog or make a short movie and upload to YouTube. With such a results oriented approach to creativity, it's no wonder people are embracing the iPhone as a new means of making photographic images.

Getting your work on Facebook, Twitter, blogging and the like is very important for a professional image maker. It shows clients a lot about your way of seeing the world, it's a direct connection between your work and your style. It also shows them that you are with it and up on the latest trends. Yes, we can spend too much time on some of these social media sites and yes they even have the potential to turn into a complete time sync, but they can also be valuable tools in branding and marketing. Especially in these hard times, it's always good to get the word out and a lot of these social media outlets have replaced traditional advertising as a means for getting new business.

I'm sure that social marketing is not for everybody. Some people find it a chore and that's Ok. For those who embrace it though, the iPhone camera really helps spread the message and get the word out. It's a great tool for productivity.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Open Doors and A Good Day for Everybody


Prison doors, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This year, I'm participating in the East Austin Studio Tour (aka EAST.) EAST is a behind-the-scenes look at working artists' studios. Artists come together, clean up their studios spaces, throw big parties, hang lots of work on the walls, and invite everybody from the community to come and have a look. It's really a great event, it's free, and it's well attended each and every year. This year, over 300 artists are participating and there is food and live music events, as well as other happenings. The doors opened this morning at 11 and it's been an exciting, fun, crazy busy day for everybody.

The website for EAST is eastaustinstudiotour.com.

You can also follow EAST on twitter, Facebook, and all of the usual places online, but, to really get a feel for EAST, it's best to enjoy it in person. If you happen to be in Austin, or in the Austin area, consider stopping by for a look and to participate in some of the activities.

EAST allows artists to sell work, but it's also a way for artists to learn more about other artist's specific tools, techniques, and practices. It's a knowledge exchange as well as a big show.

From the website:
E.A.S.T. remains focused on the Artists & Studios. Studios, the places where artists create their work, will be open from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM on the tour weekends: November 13 & 14 and 20 & 21.

Exhibition Spaces are established venues whose main thrust is to exhibit fine art or performances. This includes galleries, theaters and the like. Exhibition Spaces on the tour will also be open on the weekends from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, November 13 & 14 and 20 & 21

Happenings are temporary art projects created specifically for the East Austin Studio Tour. Happenings include performance pieces, art openings and celebrations. Happenings take place on the tour weekends after 6:00 PM. Furthermore includes an eclectic mix of out-of-the-box events, projects, artist competitions, celebrations, et cetera, et cetera! Check out each one for their location and schedule.

There’s a lot happening on the East Austin Studio Tour, so they maintain a website, print a detailed catalog, and provide a printed map of all the events, studios, and galleries, to help you find specific locations.

This year, they also have a mobile version of the map, generously provided and created by groupKGR. Visit: 2010east.com on your phone for free access. For more information: EMAIL info@eastaustinstudiotour.com PHONE 512-385-1670

I spent the day today down at the EAST headquarters, which is located at a place called "Big Medium" on Bolm Road in Austin. Big Medium is a non-profit gallery, studio, performance, etc. space located next door to the Bay 6 encaustic studio.

Today was a wonderful day, with busloads of people coming in, touring the studio spaces, viewing the work, asking about encaustics, and just generally hanging out and having fun. It was a beautiful day for art in Austin and I was very happy to be a small part of it.

I'll be down in the EAST studio spaces again over the course of the tour and I hope to see some of you there. It's been crazy busy but if you do make it down, please stop in and say hello. I'll be at the Texas Wax Encaustic Artists studio extension, which is pinpoint 66 on your EAST maps. It's located right across the street from Big Medium.

I hope to keep blogging, tweeting, Facebooking-etc. from EAST but it's been hard since it's so busy and I'm sharing a lot of face time with folks from the Austin art scene.

Until next time...

PS Some logistics. (Sorry for those of you who are blog readers but, with all of the craziness happening today, I have to use my blog as a means of communicating with my fellow EAST-goers.)

The labels are up now, they were not up earlier in the day today, when I took the photos with the camera phone. We do not have a full price list but all pieces have prices.

The movie is running in the kitchen. We had a hard time getting the projector to loop but you can push play to get it to go again and it's pretty easy. It's the button with the arrow on top.

We've had some inquiries about the work and came close to selling a few pieces but nothing at the cottage has sold yet (will probably change tomorrow.) Some stuff has sold at the Big Medium studios and also at Bay 6. There is brisk traffic, with bus loads of people coming in. It gets crowded at times, be prepared.

For those gallery sitting, please be ready to chat about encaustics and talk about some of the pieces. We've had a lot of artists asking about Texas Wax so remember our website is texaswax.com and be sure to tell them we meet on the 3rd Saturday of the month, starting again in January.

Blogging from EAST

The east Austin studio tour is in full swing. If you are coming, stop by the cottage and say Hi!



Until next time...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 12, 2010

Liquid


KoiAsSilkNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Today's photo is not a camera phone image. Instead I opted to post something in honor of photo Friday. Today's theme is: liquid.

This was taken at my local koi breeders. In case you could not guess, I love that place. It's wonderful having a koi factory right around the corner, I guess I'm just lucky like that sometimes. Of course, I have limited access to summer carnivals and snow so, you know, you give a little and you get a little, I guess.

Is there anything you'd like to photograph that's just too far away or that you do not have access to somehow? Maybe a grand beach, an ultra-fast sports car or a beautiful supermodel? Oh, come on, there must be *something* right?

Until next time...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Red Leaf Diaries-An Update


Maroon leaves, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Dear TREE,
Are you ever going to turn red or are you going to leave me marooned here without any true red leaves to blog about?

Sincerely,
--Carol


Dear Carol,
Are you ever going to stop attacking me with that stupid iPhone camera and start watering me again? A little rain here and maybe a cold front or two would be nice. Hear what I'm saying? Catch my drift?

TREE


Dear TREE,
We are expecting a cold front this weekend. Unfortunately, it's also going to be windy. Please hold on to your leaves (if you can) just a little bit longer so that I can capture them in all of their glory. Deal?

--Carol


Dear Carol,
Try as I may-hey, I don't want to be naked either-but seasons must change. It's part of my master plan to take over the universe by growing so large everybody will respect me. By now, even stupid humans like you should get this.

TREE


Dear TREE,
You do realize some people cut trees like you down to make furniture, don't you?

--Carol


Dear Carol,
Treat me like that and you'll never get another red leaf again! Ppppft. And get away from me with that stupid little camera already. Don't I at least deserve a real macro lens already?

TREE

Dear TREE,
Sorry, it's part of National Blog Posting Month. This month, I'm blogging only with my iPhone camera (well, for the most part.) Perhaps you'd like me to make a video? Ah, but for that, you'd probably have to do something interesting like, you know, have a real red leaf on your somewhere.

--Carol

And so it goes. How is your autumn?!?

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fantasy land


Fantasy land, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Photography at its best takes you to another place. There's some kind of fantasy in any successful photograph-people can look at an image and see their own thoughts, their own dreams, their own selves in it, and that, that sort of universal appeal is what gives it an emotional connection. Photos don't have to be pretty, no, but they do have to take us to another place, another time, another space, even if just for a little while.

So, how to capture all of this with the iPhone?

It can be done, I think. I think we can generate images that take us to another little world, even if we can't blow them up to billboard sized images. I think we can take lasting images with the iPhone, even if it does not have a "real" lens. I think it's just a question of the photographer working within the confines of the point and shoot space, of working with the apps, of clarifying the vision to the point that the camera gear becomes irrelevant. I think it can be done but it requires the ego to be put aside, it requires the "I need an expensive camera" mentality to be tucked away, it requires a thought, an idea, a vision of some kind. While it sounds easy, that's not always the easiest of things to do. We tend to get caught up in wanting, needing, having expensive camera gear. We like it and we tend to hide behind it, don't we?

The iPhone is here to stay. There are a lot of iPhone photos, the quality of the cameras are always improving, and there are now even rumors that Apple is going to launch a camera line. The iPhone is here to stay, the only question is will established photographers embrace it? I think they already have, to some extend, and they are starting to in others. The iPhone has a lot of nice features, but it's not the perfect camera. Then again, nothing is, right? The best of photographers will learn how to work it to their best advantage. They'll learn what it's good for, what it can't do very well, and they'll work within its limitations to make the best pictures. Isn't that true for any kind of camera though?

Of course, we can help it along too. The next time you go to fantasy land, don't stop to think about what kind of camera got you there, just enjoy the view.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mash Ups AKA James Bond's Fake Tilt Shift 'Fake-a-roid Mobile

One of the things you can do with the iPhone and iPhone photography is something they like to call "mash-ups" on the interwebs. Basically, the way it works is you take the output from one program and pump it into another. So, for instance, I can first make a fake tilt-shift picture and then take a fake-a-roid of that, making an entirely new beast (from all of the parts.)

In fact, I did that here with this picture. It started out a "straight" image of an Aston Martin. Now, Aston Martins are very cool cars indeed, but this picture? Not so much. It was completely lacking in the cool department, I must say. So, iPhone apps to the rescue!

After babbling yesterday about the iPhone's handy TiltShift application, I first used that to blur out the unwanted bits of the picture. If you use the tilt-shift stuff the right way, you can get wonderful blurry stuff and, well, you all know how I feel about blur (love it!) So, I started with that. This image has a lot of midtone colors, with a lot of greens (grass, trees, and the like) so it's a good candidate for extreme blur.

Then, I decided I still had a bit of unwanted "foof" in the outskirts of my image, so I Fake-A-Roided it. I took my TiltShifted image and put it through the ShakeIt Polaroid app, to generate a nice square little mash-up image that you see here.

It's not exactly tilt-shift (not really, right?) and it's not exactly a good fake-a-roid, but it's kind of an interesting shot, maybe because it's a little bit of both. All I can say now is that I hope James Bond would be proud and leave it at that.

If you've got any ideas for mash-ups (or anything you would like me to try) please either email me or leave some comment droppings in the comments for me.

Until next time...

Monday, November 08, 2010

Like Tilt Shift only without the Tilt-Shift (Expensive) Bits

One of the things I love about my iPhone is that it's almost a tilt-shift lens. When I say "almost" I mean, not really, but it can sort of fake it.

A true tilt-shift lens can move the lens plane in relation to the film plane. It can shift, moving the lens upwards or downwards and also tilt, adjusting the angle, which in turns generates all sorts of havoc with the circles of confusion. It's a wonderful device, a "real" tilt-shift lens is, though they are quite expensive, with even a cheap one clocking in at over one thousand dollars.

So you want a "real" tilt-shift but can't afford to shell out one thousand clams on something you won't use all that often anyway? IPhone to the rescue! The iPhone has several apps, including one called, well, TiltShift available for purchase. Though the name might not be all that clever, the app is. It allows you to generate "fake" tilt-shift images, specifically ones that look like miniature fakes.
According to the wiki:

"Tilt-shift miniature faking is a process in which a photograph of a life-size location or object is manipulated so that it looks like a photograph of a miniature scale model."

So you can see how this might be totally fun-it renders everything, every darn thing, both small and big, in such a way that it winds up looking like it's part of a model train set. Seriously. Miniature. Scale. Model. Like, think "jolly green giant" and you're there. How fun is that?

In case you're wondering about this picture, it was not actually taken with the tiltshift app, but it is actually a whistle-stop garden image. What's a whistle-stop garden, you might ask? And, why, I'd be here to tell you. A whistle-stop garden is a garden railway. It's a model train that runs through your garden or, perhaps, a garden that runs through your model train. It's all the rage and I have to say, while I consider the whole idea, the entire notion a bit cheesy, I *SO TOTALLY WANT ONE IN MY BACKYARD!*

There, I said it. I admitted it. In mixed company even. I really *love* whistle-stop gardens. There's just something about them that's so fun in such a way words fail to describe really. They are model trains taken outside of the dusty basement and allowed to play freely in the grass. How cool is that? Me want!

I was so tickled when I wandered over to the Hill Country Water Gardens and Nursery to happen upon a new area, an expansion of the garden that they had just opened up. And, what did I find there? Yup, you guessed it. I was even happier to discover that they had planted a whistle-stop garden. They still have it on display, in fact, this is a picture of it, taken with my trusty iPhone. 

A whistle-stop garden? Right near my house? And an iPhone app that allows me to fake tilt-shift? Somehow, I'm thinking these two things must come together in some strange way. Tell me, honestly, do you smell a photo project in there or what? (I really never do know what to say to those people who ask me, "how do you get new ideas for things to photograph?" Lookout for that locomotive, one might just caboose itself right into your lap one day.)

I would even recommend that James May do a life sized whistle-stop garden for his "Top Toys" show, except that, well, I think a "life sized whistle-stop garden" would just be a train really. Wouldn't it?

Oh gosh, now my brain hurts thinking about that.

Well, fake tilt-shifts, fake model trains, fake life sized people, it's all very confusing. If you sort it out, if you get it all figured out, would you please let me know? In the meantime, I'll be off, out in the garden, hoping to not step on my caboose.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Texas Wax Encaustic Artists Presents Our Movie



Today's blog post is going to be a bit different. It's Texas Wax, the Movie, featuring artwork from the Texas Wax artists.
Now, I know I'm not usually a video artist, I don't make many videos, etc. (and, for certain, Apple's iMovie almost wanted to keep it that way. It kept eating my video! Shame on you, you hungry, hungry video application) but this time I thought it would be fun to do. So, I went ahead and made us a little movie (actually it's a slide show but, like who's counting?!?)

So, without further ado, bring your own popcorn, I hope you enjoy it and this funky funky link works, here is our video.
Until next time...

Saturday, November 06, 2010

iFake-A-Roid


Prison halls, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Some of the apps you can get for the iPhone allow you to create fake Polaroids. The ShakeIt! Polaroid app is quite popular among former Polaroid enthusiasts. It allows you to create a fake Polaroid from any image in your camera roll, it's also fast and easy to use. It even features the familiar noise from the Polaroid camera after you take the fake Polaroid. It's really quite a fun app for the iPhone.

While it doesn't quite give us the color gamut of the old Polaroids, it's pretty close. Also, of course, it gives us the square format from the Polaroid era.

Some serious Polaroid enthusiasts hate any kind of fake Polaroids, while others have embraced the new technology and techniques like the iPhone Polaroids. Personally, I do not feel that the fake Polaroids, coming from the iPhone, totally replace the old Polaroids, but I do think they are different-they are a different type of Polaroid, maybe a new thing, taking us to the next era of Polaroids. I think we should embrace them, although nothing will replace the old, original, tried and true Polaroids of the past.

Until next time...

Friday, November 05, 2010

What's the Color (Frequency) Kenneth?

The iPhone can generate magical color shifts. Everything from greens to oranges, burning hot reds, and even purples, not to mention some really great black and white images. Thanks to the processing power of the iPhone and the apps that are available, many of the old film types are being re-created using the iPhone and the app technology. This is really great because we no longer have the toxic film byproducts to deal with, no more harsh chemicals and the like, but we all get to enjoy the rediscovery of some of these old films. Even though I joke about being a fat middle aged woman, I am loving the use of these old films, so much so that I feel as if I've gone back to my youth, looking at some of the shots coming off the iPhones. It's great to be back in the 60's and 70's again and I feel like a spring chicken, at least as far as my photography goes (I still look a bit crazy in those old bell bottoms, however.)

If you're maybe a bit younger and don't know what exactly a "bell bottom" might be (hint: think bootleg jeans and take them out a notch at the bottom) you might want to seek out some old photo books. You can usually find old photo books in vintage bookstores, at garage sales, and the like, often for very cheap prices. I get some of them for a dollar or two. Some of the older photo books have shots made with some of the films the iPhone is now emulating, so it might be a fun idea to try and take some of the shots in modern times that were done back then, to sort of "re-create" them with the new technology. Check out some early Polaroid books for inspiration and remember, the iPhone is even better because, not only can you color shift, but you can also easily mail it to your friends as well.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

You Can Take It Anywhere

One of the things I love about my iPhone is that I can take it anywhere. For example, I've always wanted to take pictures inside of a grocery store, but grocery stores are very protective of their in-store displays--they don't like people photographing them for various reasons. As soon as you pull out a big camera, they pounce on you, asking you to leave, demanding to know what you are doing, or, even worse, calling the cops. So, what to do? Along comes the iPhone and presto! Problem solved. You just pretend you are speaking on the phone, take a picture, nobody suspects anything and, if you really want to paint a loaf of bread, you now have a reference image to use in your painting. Nobody will be none the wiser, you won't get arrested, and even the store will be happy. It's another kumbaya moment brought to you by your iPhone.

The iPhone really is changing the way we take pictures. It's going a long way to making cameras socially acceptable again. It's now safe for everybody to carry a camera almost everywhere and now even those who prefer to carry heavier camera gear with them (though I sometimes have to wonder why they would want to do that) have an easier time asking for pictures, taking pictures, and enjoying pictures. This is a good thing, no?

Until next time...



Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Hipstamatic-Modern Vintage Comes to Your IPhone

It's no secret that I'm in love with the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone. It's one of my favorite apps because it has such a vintage feel and a retro vibe. It's downright funky in fact, though some may find it over the top for their tastes. While many opt to use the Hipsta (as I call it) right out of the camera, I often combine it with other applications to help me get the exact look I want. Adjusting contrast and color can be done in Best Camera, for example, and you can combine it with Shake It Polaroid to get an ultra hip totally square retro cool JPEG of goodness.

The popular website Photojojo did an ultimate Hipstamatic guide of sorts, you can find that here.

The Hipstamatic app is really one fine app, and it's a must to download if you do not have it already.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

IPhone Looks at Trees

Trees are an interesting subject for the iPhone. Trees are everywhere and they are easily distorted, blurred, distressed, finessed, and manipulated while still staying recognizable. Trees are a nature photographer's friend, yes, but they also bridge the gap into the fine art realm. I think that, once your iPhone looks at trees, you might revisit them as a subject. They are magical poetic, dreamy, and special.

Until next time...

Monday, November 01, 2010

Hello and Welcome


Welcome to Carol's Little World!

In case you could not guess, I'm Carol and this is my blog. Now, I know I've been blogging for a while, I'm not really new at this and all, but I thought it fitting to introduce myself (or re-introduce myself, as the case may be) for those of you just joining in for National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo.)

Carol's Little World is a bit of a crazy little blog. I talk about my favorite margarita recipes, camera gear, my dog Chase, and lots of other stuff. I'm an exhibiting fine art photographer, author, and photography educator originally born in New York City, but currently living outside of Austin, Texas (in the small town of Cedar Park.) I shoot a lot of architectural items but always fine art stuff and regularly exhibit my work around the country. I also paint, draw, and dabble in a bunch of other media, including encaustics and pastels, though photography has always been my main passion and is my preferred media.

November is always a challenging month and NaBloPoMo can be a real bear if you've never participated. I've done it several years running and I know firsthand how lucky we'll all be if we just make it to the end of the month. How will we all survive? How will we get along? On stale crackers and old knock knock jokes, right? Gosh, I hope not but, just in case, jokes can be your friend this month, the month of all months, the November that is NaBloPoMo. (If you've heard any good ones, please feel free to send them my way or leave a comment-I always appreciate the extra material, especially this month.)


In case you're confused by all of this NaBloPoMo stuff, the rules are simple: post once a day, every day, for the month of November. If, at the end of the month, we've posted 30 posts in 30 days, we get to tell the world we've completed the challenge. Here at Carol's Little World, we have an added challenge, an extra task if you will. An "anonymous" friend has agreed to make a donation to the Austin women's shelter if I can complete the NaBloPoMo challenge. Since I want to do all that I can to help out women in need, I'm going to do my best to wrangle up my share of blog posts for the month. Wish me luck!

In order to help me with this challenge, I've come up with a loose theme, of sorts. This year, my theme is going to be: my beloved iPhone. Everything and anything you can do with your iPhone--everything from favorite apps to recent uploads-it's all fair game for National Blog Posting Month.

Wish me luck and let's get down to it. It's November, baby!

Until next time...