Category Archives: Photographs

Coastal Living Ultimate Beach House: First Place!

Hi All!

It’s been awhile!  Hope you’re enjoying the holiday season, and that you and your family are well.

Wanted to give you some fun news.

A couple of months ago, just for kicks, I participated in a contest called ‘My Coastal Living Ultimate Beach House.’  It involved making a Pinterest Board and pinning 12 of my favorite Coastal Living Magazine beach house images.   I picked one shot for each room of my ‘Dream Beach Cottage’ and gave a description.    I didn’t give the contest another thought until a few days ago, when I got an email from Coastal Living’s Associate Features Editor.  She said that out of nearly 3500 entries, I’d been selected as their FIRST PLACE winner!  I’m totally flabbergasted.   They’ll be announcing the winners this week, and will be promoting it through their magazine, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  I won prizes worth $1400 (cash and flatware and stemware).   I’m thrilled about the prizes of course, but even more excited just to have WON!!

So I had to share with you all.   When I was pinning for the contest I dreamed I had one lovely beach house  and was walking from room to room,  thinking about how the rooms made me feel.   Here are three photos from my ‘winning’ board (love saying that!):

Picturing myself reading a novel in this spot. More relaxed just thinking about it!

Picturing myself reading a novel in this spot. More relaxed just thinking about it!

Ah, to do nothing all day except lie in a hammock and listen to the waves . . .

Ah, to do nothing all day except lie in a hammock and listen to the waves . . .

A claw foot tub, double hung windows, and lots of white. And lavender in a pot of course!

A claw foot tub, double hung windows, and lots of white. And lavender in a pot of course!

If you’re curious to see the other nine photos, here’s the link to my Pinterest Board:  Coastal Living Ultimate Beach House

If you’re not already on Pinterest, take a moment to sign up!  It’s free and a great place to organize websites.  Pinterest means “Pin Your Interests” and I’ve got 44 boards and have pinned sites on everything from interior design to food to books to writing inspiration.  You can name your boards whatever you’d like.  I called four of mine ‘Inspiring Interiors’, ‘Paint It’, ‘Books!’, and ‘Write!’   You can follow one or all of my boards, and comment on my pins. . . go ahead, do it!  I’d love to see you there.

It’s also interesting to see what other Pinners are posting so you can stay up to date on the latest trends.   I love Coastal Living Magazine, and follow their board for just that reason.   Even the ads are interesting, many of which focus on the newest beach communities where Ron and I might retire some day.   My dream, as you may have guessed,  is to one day have a cottage on the beach– and Coastal Living lets me dream to my heart’s content.  I’m so thrilled and thankful to have won their first Pinterest Ultimate Beach House contest!


Filed under Beach, Contests, Decorating, Happiness, Interior Design, Photographs, Uncategorized

The Easy Trick to Getting Crisp, Eye-Catching Photos

Well hi there!   Hope your week’s going great!

I have a confession to make:   as the family pest historian I shoot a gazillion photos.  I’ve always wanted to take good photographs, but if anyone mentions the words aperture or shutter speed or ISO my mind goes blank.  Not sure why . . . perhaps because the basic rules seem counter-intuitive?  You know:  if a subject is moving fast you need a fast shutter speed, but to let in light you need a wide aperture, and that involves a slower shutter speed, and large apertures (where lots of light gets through) are given f/stop smaller numbers and smaller apertures (where less light gets through) have larger f-stop numbers. So f/2.8 is in fact a much larger aperture than f/22. . . blah blah blah blah . . .

Huh?  If you’re anything like me (translation:  amateur photographer),  you’re trying to wrap your head around these concepts, because you want crisp, clear, stunning photos and you’ve been told these terms are PARAMOUNT to getting a great shot.  Or (and this would be me)  you’re shaking your head back and forth to wake yourself up.

But I am here to tell you, dear readers:  there IS a trick to getting gorgeous, crisp photos that does NOT involve those nasty A and S words!!

Now as the cliché goes, a picture tells a thousand words.  So before I reveal my easy trick, here are Before and After shots of a bee:

Bee Shot, before the Easy Photo Trick

Bee shot, AFTER the Easy Photo Trick

Big difference, right?  Yes, my After shot could be even better if I were to master the A and S words.  But I know my lazy clueless self and it ain’t gonna happen pals!

So you ready to know the Easy (not so) Secret Photo Trick?  Drum roll please!

 . . . It’s a camera app.  Yep, nearly every photo I post publicly gets the app treatment.   Here’s what you can do to get photos like the Bee After shot, above:

1)  Snap a photo with your smart phone  (I used the iPhone 4Gs, and it has an awesome camera, but most of the latest cell phones have good cameras)

2)  Open your camera application and insert your photo.  (I used Camera+ , which I downloaded for 99 cents from iTunes)

3)  Enhance your photo.

Camera+, like most of the photography applications out there, has a lot of filters and options, but I usually keep things simple:  I give the photo Clarity, Crop the photo, and then add Effects, which is usually a filter.  My favorite filter in Camera+ is HDR, located under “Special.”    That’s it!

It takes me less than a minute to enhance a photo.  If you want to, you can add a border and a caption– I usually select simple borders, but sometimes I’ll pick one of the “Styled” selections.  My favorites are Light Grit (used in the Bee After shot, above) and Dark Grit (same look as Light Grit, but in black).

Once finished, save the enhanced photo to your camera roll.  You’ll have the original and enhanced photos right there, on your phone so you can show all your friends!

Cheating?  Maybe.  But photo apps are fun and easy . . . and who doesn’t LOVE fun and easy!

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Filed under iPad, iPhone, Life, Photographs, Photography, Uncategorized