Sunday, April 28, 2013

from mackerel in a faraway market to desert blooms...

Yesterday, I was honored to find out that this photo ("Mackerel in the Market") is featured in this week's showcase that The App Whisperer curates...

I took this photo a couple of summers ago while visiting the coastal city of Sokcho, just south of the DMZ on the east coast of South Korea. Reminded of this market scene a few days ago, I decided to re-snapseed it. I was a bit surprised that the main thing I wanted to do was to de-saturate the image--normally, you tend to want to add color intensity, but the color of the fresh mackerel and the plastic buckets was already so vivid, that I thought the picture would benefit from slightly less color--but then I did warm up the white balance a bit...Below is the original.

When I was in the market, I loved the fact that this husband-and-wife team had a baseball-game on in the background as they worked on the day's catch...

Nearby, part of the waterfront, with the mountains of Seoraksan National Park in the background:

I am just starting to experiment with the Scratchcam app. I am wary of 'over-apping,' (slapping a filter on a scene does not necessarily a 'good image' make), but I have come to like textures...So, after reading some blog posts and interviews with mobile photographers whose images I've been admiring, I added Scratchcam to my iPhone...

...And scenes from Sokcho, again, came to mind. Sokcho is scenically-situated, but it definitely ain't quaint; it's a working port with lax zoning laws. Although it's near some spectacular mountains, the town itself is not a particular draw for visitors from outside of Korea; I ended up there a couple of summers ago because an uncle of mine had moved there...And while the town's modern architecture is haphazard (and at times breathtakingly ugly), there are some historically interesting neighborhoods, the air is clean, and the seafood is amazing...

So. The bridge--I liked the idea of the segmented texture overlaid on a panorama.

...the original, three-shots-blended-by-AutoStitch:

The neighborhood around this bridge, directly north of where I was staying, was originally settled in the 1950's, during the Korean War: refugees from the North built small--what they thought would be temporary--homes. Then, when the war stopped and the DMZ was drawn, they ended up stranded here. People who had farmed the same lands for generations found themselves now on a spit of land between a lagoon and the sea...and their ad hoc construction became their new homes. In the decades since then, the neighborhood has filled in even more--a dense, utilitarian, poignant hodge-podge:

--snapseed, then Scratchcam, then snapseed again, for this edit.
And here's the original:
Compared to the now-internationally-known images of Seoul (via "Gangnam-style"), this part of Sokcho is like stepping back in time...


Now, back to where home is now: the Sonoran Desert...

One of my favorite desert flowers around Tucson, "sacred datura:"
Solely snapseed for this edit.

I often take my iPhone with me on my long weekend morning runs, and there's a spot in Sabino Canyon where there's almost always a bunch of these blooming from April through December. Each flower lasts for just a day--opening at night, and within a few hours of the following sunrise, closing up, finished... 

Before the 'grunge'-filter texturizing:
Purple-tinged and almost lunar..

Here's one that's closed up after having bloomed,
with a new bud underneath:
post-bloom and pre-bloom; point, counterpoint...

(the original)

With PicFrame--different ways of seeing:
the original...b&w...

...and then for the bottom two variations, I went back to Scratchcam...

This image was chosen for this week's "Capturing the Moment" showcase by

After initial cropping and editing for exposure with snapseed, I chose this particular Scratchcam texture for its geometrical qualities; I like the contrast of the overlay of 'folds' on the tendril-tipped hexagonal flower. Each rectangular 'segment' of the scene could almost stand on its own as a study of texture- or color-detail. The bottom right--with the previous day's spent bloom in the shadow of its fully open 'sibling' on this particular morning--seems, to me, to be a 'memento mori:' a foil to the largest and brightest rectangular section to its left, so full of light and life.


Something less somber--
effervescent spring: a bee in a palo verde tree:

(kind of going for a Japanese wood-block on Korean-paper effect here...)

This time of year, my wife and I do miss the cherry blossoms up in Seattle, 
but in their own way, the palo verde here almost make up for it...

And, turning things upside down,
a reflective moment in the canyon:

featured on AMPt's twitter challenge this week.

One last image--

yesterday's #fmsPhotoADay challenge theme was "earth;"
I couldn't resist the word- and visual-play,
so I used the TinyPlanets app to
manipulate a scene from a few weeks ago
at the Mission San Xavier del Bac:
 "Mission on Earth."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In Tucson's Barrio Viejo...

This past weekend, The Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation organized a "Historic Adobes of Barrio Viejo" Tour--a rare opportunity to get an inside view of some of the oldest homes in the architectural soul of the city--the Sonoran rowhouses of the 19th century. It was a singular combination of sanctioned voyeurism and exhibitionism--'ok'd' by the historicity of it all...

No interior photography was allowed, but I did take my iPhone with me, so here are a few shots of the streetscape:

It feels so much more Mexican or Mediterranean than "Wild West US"...It's almost unbelievable to think that in the 1960's, blocks and blocks of this architecture was just torn down to make room for the Tucson Convention Center. (Before the days of gentrification--when this neighborhood was mostly Latino, with Chinese corner-grocers...) 

Just incredible. Tucson could've had a downtown as architecturally and as historically compelling as Santa Fe, NM--unified and with an authentic sense of place...Alas, just relics are left--but still enough for a worthy stroll or bike-ride...No other city in the U.S. has this collection of Sonoran architecture.

Some of the wrought-iron details:
--gotta love the cat-and-mouse sense of humor in this window...
...and the rattlesnake almost has a cute face...

creative tortoise-lock:

--and the old Teatro Carmen:
(this was not taken on my iPhone,
but I did use snapseed to edit it)
This particular alleyway has always reminded

...and, from a couple of years ago,
a serendipitous rainbow over a renovated adobe façade:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

in this morning's paper: a(nother) Sabino Canyon scene

And here are a few more that were taken on that November morning,
as I ran with my iPhone on a wrist-strap...

iPhone + snapseed = perfect for a running-photographer 

I had my phone with me again in the canyon this past Sunday morning--so, a few springtime scenes:

Thistle in bloom; busy, happy bugs...

And the usually elusive Gila-monster:
--only the second one I've seen in the wild in the six years I've lived in AZ;
truly a treat to see...

And there's still plenty of water flowing in the creek;
some nice reflecting pools, such as this one
beneath Thimble Peak:
I keep returning to this particular texture 
using one of snapseed's 'grunge' filters;
I love way it evokes
parchment, vellum, and heavy hand-made paper...

A couple more 'ways of seeing' the landscape's reflection:
(used PicFrame and lo-mob for this mirror-strip)

One of my favorite running-words is fartlek.
Snicker if you must; it's Swedish and you can read here for a definition.

Anyway--running with my iPhone is "foto-fartlekking" in my book, and it helps keep me sane as I continue to spend my work-week-days with teenagers...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

backyard birds and blooms, trailrun, saguaro permutations

Spring continues here in the Sonoran Desert...

Some doves built a nest in our backyard; it's amazing how fast the chicks grow--I took the two photos below with my iPhone5, just six days apart:
The nest is up under the patio roof--kind of dark there...
snapseed is perfect for 'brightening up the exposure--

A few feet from the patio, a ferocactus in fiery bloom: 


Now, for trailrun scenes: 
down by the creek in Sabino Canyon this morning: 

bees loving the palo verde trees in bloom:

hedgehog cactus starting to bloom on the exposed hillsides:
(I have yet to get one of those macro clip-on lenses for the iPhone;
you can get remarkably close almost-'macro' shots by just holding still
and selecting the focus area on the touch-screen.)

above Sabino Canyon, lined with cottonwoods getting greener each day,
some glorious ocotillo in bloom:

The clarity of the scarlet blooms against the sky got me thinking that this scene would be a good candidate for a particular 'grunge filter' effect that I like: photographically real images imposed on a texture that mimics parchment or heavy watercolor-paper, for a pseudo-illuminated-manuscript effect:


And now for some saguaro permutations--
using symmetry and isolation against the sky
for a surreal effect.

Here's the original shot,
of my favorite pair of saguaros
near Sabino Canyon:

Cropping the tops,
then using (actually, repurposing) PicFrame app
in order to get a mirror image:

...and then re-cropping 
and re-mirroring the image to end up with this:
imposing the photographically-real
on a texture that evokes older methods of illustration,
using the 'grunge filter' in snapseed...

...and one more,
a color version:

Monday, April 1, 2013

A week off: spring landscapes, downtown, and close to home

The school district I work for gave us a long spring-break this year: the week before AND the Monday after Easte--off! Always good for mental health...

So, here's some of what caught my eye over the past week-and-a-day...

My wife and I went for a hike in Catalina State Park, just north of Tucson--the winter rains came at the right time for spring wildflowers in the desert:
While not as spectacular as the spring of 2010, it's always worthwhile 
to go for a hike in the desert when the wildflowers are out...
lupine, Mexican gold poppies, owl clover
(AND, incidentally, the photo above was featured 
on the local TV news last Tuesday.) ephemeral...
Spring runoff, flowing water in the desert, saguaro reflections...

While running the loop in Saguaro National Park, on the city's eastern edge,
I noticed this saguaro-skeleton
with its signature downturned arms:
Just a few years ago, it looked like this:
 Memento mori, from a cactus...

A couple of downtown evenings:

Late-night coffee-and-dessert at the Cup Café in the 1919 Hotel Congress:

No longer a motel,
but this vintage neon sign has survived:

And one of the best restaurants in Tucson,

Some street-art--on the corner of 4th and University, just north of downtown, just east of the Univ. of AZ:

Seeing this, this phrase came to mind: "Read me a good story, and I'll never forget..."

love how the b&w ants seem to pop off the brick...

and a bit of the ColorSplash app here, to make the 'bouquets' stand out.
Pistols. Flowers. Ant.

Today--a trail-run into Bear Canyon...

...four miles in, four miles out: crisscrossing a seasonal stream,
a few boulders and a couple of switchbacks,
trail lined with wildflowers this time of year...

 ...with Seven Falls as the destination:

(I love these guys--not that common,
Coulter's hibiscus, a.k.a. desert rosemallow)

On the way to Bear Canyon, 
a stand of cottonwoods I keep returning to:

 Closer to home, something abstract:

Well, actually, inside home, these permutations;
here's the original image:
(looking up in the entryway)

And who can resist a bird's nest?
 --on the back patio--the mother dove left for a few minutes, so I thought I would check on the two babies (dovelets? dovelings? chicks?) The mother dove did come back...all is well...

...and a fun surprise from last night--
I found out that this photo, "nighthawks for noodles,"

Taken on my last night in Seoul, a couple of summers ago...
An honor to be included...