Sunday Stills: Fun with #Photo-Editing

Words and camera

Words and camera

If you have ever uploaded an image to your media files for a blog post, no doubt you have edited the photo to some degree. Whether you cropped, adjusted exposure or watermarked your image for publication, there is a need and an art to photo-editing.

Some are masters at creating a digital painting, while others are just happy to have a decent photo to share. Tina at Travels and Trifles and Susan at Musin With Susan have successfully experimented with Topaz Labs.

Tina had this to say about photo-editing: “Simple edits in programs like Lightroom or Google Photos, or Apps like Snapseed or Diptic give even beginning photographers the ability to morph their photos into something a bit more artistic.”

I am no expert, believe me, my photography is pure hobbyist with some “serious leisure” thrown in.

A form of leisure that many people find themselves enjoying is “serious leisure.” This is the systematic pursuit of deep satisfaction through an amateur, hobbyist, or volunteer activity that participants find so substantial and interesting that, in the typical case, they launch themselves on a (non-work) career centered on acquiring and expressing its special skills, knowledge, and experience. Robert Stebbins, 1992

Sounds like photography to me!

When I got serious about blogging in 2014, I also got more interested in photography after learning that just grabbing images from Google and plopping them into posts was a no-no and could violate copyright laws.

Needing some know-how, I discovered WordPress’ Blogging University (I’m glad to see it is still around)…I took Photography 101 & 201 in Fall 2014 and met so many bloggers and learned a lot about photography, techniques I constantly use. The process really encouraged me to take lots of photos.

From this experience, I was exposed to PicMonkey and eventually bought the Premium package. I have yet to use most of the features but my go-to basic photo edits are cropping, exposure, saturation, and image rotation or leveling. There are almost countless editing features and you can find a tutorial on most of them. I also use the special effects, text, frames and overlays.

Although I have not yet tried the new PicMonkey yet, I will need to wait until this semester is completed before I can make my brain learn something new. I’m also flirting with the idea of using Adobe Lightroom!

I learned from a pro photographer to always straighten your images, especially if water is part of the horizon. I feel like I’m falling off the Earth!

A simple edit in post-processing will fix this minor faux-paus.

I’ve started taking a series of local photography courses. The subject of the first class was just getting to know your camera. Wow, the things I learned in the first class!

For the Sunday Stills photo challenge today, show us the before and after images of your photo-editing favorites.

To get you started, here are some of my before and after shots:

In these images from our trip to Hawaii, my eyes saw the image on the right, but the camera saw the image on the left. With a few minor edits the photo finally matched more of what my brain told my eye.

You may remember these from an earlier post and recently on Instagram, where I played around with a Painnt app. The app creates a whole new look to any image.

Many bloggers also enjoy creating graphics for their posts. Both PicMonkey and Canva do this job very well. These before and after images created my Sunday Stills graphic.


What is your favorite photo-editor? Do you have recommendations? Please share in the comments!

Link to this post so I can share your post! Link up below if you wish!

Autumn SIGNature


Square in September: “Painnt”-ing with #Pink

pink hydrangea

On this last Friday of Pink Squares in September, I have some images to share. Not just my standard fare, but some used with a mobile app called Painnt (available for Android devices in Google Play Store).

My pink hydrangea with an Autumn flair!

square pink hydrangia

Here are two Painnt images of the same hydrangea.

I found some lovely pink cone flowers in my neighborhood. This was a simple post-edit highlighting the pink against a black and white background.

Cone in black&white

Below is a cropped version of the above image but using the Painnt app filter.

Pink Coneflower

It makes for a fun, yet striking image!

And here is the original image of the pink cone flowers:

Pink Cone Flowers

I had some post-editing photo fun with these images. Thanks to these two photo-bloggers for inspiring me to get acquainted with “paint” apps and programs:

Carol, at Light Words, a fellow Northern Californian, takes wonderful photos and inspired me with her use of MobileMonet which is an Apple app.

Tina Schell, of Travels and Trifles, often uses a photo editor to create dreamy images inspired by impressionists and watercolor artists.

I am pleased with this app and bought the premium version for a whopping $1.99 a month! Don’t worry, I’m not selling anything, but just sharing my discovery of a new way to enhance my images. Needless to say, I am #tickledpink at discovering this!

And many thanks to Becky at Life of B for her Square in September theme of pink!

Also adding this to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (pastel). Do have a look at her gorgeous hydrangeas!

I’m sharing a few more pink images in this week’s Sunday Stills!


Photography 101: Pops of Color

How does color tell a story in your photo? The first image is of the sunrise over the Sea of Cortez in La Ventana, Mexico. Although the surrounding colors are muted, the window is on fire as it reflects the sunrise.

Window Sunrise
Window Sunrise

The next image is the sunrise that was captured in the window! The sky and sea are aglow, while the beach is dark.

Sunrise over Sea of Cortez
Sunrise over Sea of Cortez

And just for fun, I had to include my little volunteer cyclamen that decided to make its home in the bricks.

Volunteer Cyclamen
Volunteer Cyclamen

Photography 101: Mysterious Twilight Stroll

Mysterious night
Mysterious Night
Mysterious Night

Have you ever been for an evening walk as twilight settles in for the night?

With two days before Thanksgiving (late November), there seems to be an air of mystery as twilight is poised in anticipation of families getting together. I love the random, little Christmas tree and how the streetlight splashes a pool of light onto the street. The dusting of snow on the ground affirms how cold the night air is.

We had just traveled from Portland, OR to Spokane, WA during our Thanksgiving holiday last year. After a six-hour drive, and kisses hello and some unpacking, I had just enough time to take 30 minute power walk. I happened to have my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone with me and managed to get this shot.

Photography 101: More Autumn Leaves

I can’t really explain why I am so obsessed with Autumn. I love the colors of the trees–the yellows, golds, reds and browns against the few remaining greens. After a long hot summer, Autumn brings cooler temperatures, shorter days and the promise of a crackling fire in the fireplace. Autumn also ushers in the holiday season. Being born and raised in San Diego where Autumn briefly visits in mid-December in the few deciduous trees that lose their leaves, perhaps I missed the colors and weather changes I now experience in Northern California. Leaves on the ground This is an older photo I took with a digital camera. While looking for typical shots of trees, I saw the ground covered with leaves and simply took the picture.

Autumn Haiku

Autumn’s in the air

Leaves now fallen to the ground

Clustered now in peace.

Photography 101: Landmarks Depicting Veterans Day

By design or by coincidence, these landmarks depicted in today’s assignment go along perfectly with today’s commemoration of Veterans Day.

Photography 101: Connecting in Leisure

Three new windsurfers enjoying a light-wind day
Three new windsurfers enjoying a light-wind day

Leisure connections are vitally important to the human condition. Regardless of our hobbies, pastimes and interests that bring us happiness or challenges, the friendships and human connections we make with one another as we partake in these activities ultimately help create communities. When you join a club, you now belong to a community of like-minded folks who share similar values and interests.

In the above image, (that’s me in the middle), as I was learning to windsurf, I met a few other women who were learning as well. The pure joy of accomplishing the goal of sailing back and forth, pleased that we hadn’t fallen in so quickly this time, united us in this moment, forever connecting us as we chortled with glee! After several hours of this, we then sat on the beach, happy in our mutual exhaustion, exclaiming how we made that tack, or successfully steered around random swimmers.

As we become connected in our leisure pursuits, whether in the act of windsurfing, sewing in a quilting circle, or reading our fellow bloggers’ wonderful stories, we belong to a community that provides lasting relationships.