Thankful for two feet, two eyes, and an IPhone.

I’ll be honest, y’all.  The last Arkansas Women Bloggers challenge almost tipped me over the edge.  I did it, but my posts suffered from that week being one of my busiest ever, and while I enjoyed it, it definitely added a layer of stress.

So it’s with a sigh of relief that I arrived home today and realized that I actually have time to fully participate in this month’s “ThanksBlogging” challenge.

So let’s begin!

Clockwise L to R; Portland, OR (2), Fayetteville, La Jolla

Challenge One is to share some photos of things we’re thankful for, and try to “spice up” those photos with free online tools like PicMonkey.  For the record, I played with PicMonkey, and the collages in this post came from it, but I’m not sure I’ll use it again.  The issues I had with it are more about me than the program.  They definitely taught me something about myself; it seems I really, really like the composition of my own photos.  Lest you think I’m a total jackass, let me clarify.

I love photography.  In high school, one of my favorite places was the darkroom, where I learned the now old school art of mixing chemicals, burning and dodging, and using wooden pins to hang photos on the drying line.  My teacher, Mr. Swedberg, said I had a good eye.

Fast forward to now, and to my trusty IPhone, which has chronicled my life in the recent past.  I’ve lost all formal photography skills, and while I’m considering getting a DSLR camera and getting back into a little more “real” photography, I’m generally content to snap photos of my life and then edit them using a combination of my IPhone, a fun free ap called Camera Bag, another called Simply HDR ($.99) and my MacBook’s built in IPhoto program (I have turned terrible photos into decent ones with these basic tools). I may be one of the only people in the world who doesn’t use instagram.  🙂

Anyway, the collages featured here are some of my favorite shots of the last few years.

Clockwise L to R: San Antonio, Fayetteville, Los Angeles, Rocky Mountain National Park, La Jolla

That said, PicMonkey (in the few moments I had to play with it) automatically cropped my photos, and boy, did that not go over well with control freak me.  I could probably have spent more time playing with it, but patience is not one of my virtues today, apparently. So I’ll probably stick to my own brand of editing, but I can see how collage creating would be really fun for someone with fewer issues than yours truly. (And I do wish I’d played with the watermark feature a bit more)

Anyway, now that I’ve blathered on about me, let’s get back to the point of this post, which is to share what I’m thankful for.  You’ll gather from the photos above that I’ve had the travel bug lately, and I am so very grateful to have the health and means to travel, either by foot or by plane, to a beautiful scene, stand tall (or crouch down) and take a photo.  It was Veterans Day yesterday, and I’ve been thinking  about people who have lost their innocence, time, sanity, limbs, life or, heaven forbid, their family and friends to war, and it makes me so incredibly aware of all that I am blessed with.  That I have the luxury to critique photo aps is quite remarkable, when you really think about it.

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