Turn It, Tap It!

Turn It, Tap It!

iPad Photography tips Travels

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 9-21-2014

This will be short and sweet.

Summer was filled with commitments, and I decided that fall would be the best option for a vacation excursion.
Shannon’s dad and I are in the Rocky Mountain National Park hiking, photographing, hiking, horseback riding, hiking, exploring, hiking, and breathing deeply.

We have been getting out early to get into the parks with the rising sun,
and we try to leave as the largest crowds arrive.
It truly has been just us and other photographers and artists.

As we make our way back to the parking lot, I have seen so many people using devices to photograph the natural beauty of fall in the mountains, and I wish I could help them with a few tips.

#1: When you are shooting video, turn your device, whether it is your phone or a tablet,
to landscape (sideways) mode.


And while we’re at it, notice the term “landscape”.
Use that to take pictures of “landscape” and “portrait” (up and down) for, (you guessed it) portraits.

Please RotateMost of the time, though, I would recommend landscape for everything,
especially those shots where you place  yourself in front of a beautiful background.

If you ever want to use your pictures to add to a video or slide show,
this will help eliminate the black borders on the sides you so often see.

#2: After composing your picture, tap the screen where you want to focus.
This will autofocus the point that you want to emphasize and will help center more light there.

Bonus Tip: Divide your picture into “thirds” horizontally and/or vertically.
Avoid putting your subject in the “center” of your composition.
It is much more pleasing to the eye when it is off-centered either vertically or horizontally.

We hope you take time for yourself and your family.
Get outside and so something “selfie-worthy” and practice these three quick, easy tips.
As for me, I am headed up the mountain to do the same!

A Second a Day

A Second a Day

Photography reflections tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 6-16-2013

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

Shannon and I began taking a picture and posting it every single day starting on January 1, 2010. We posted our collective images here and wrote about it here.

I couldn’t stop.
And so I continued to take pictures and post them in my attempt to collect and keep my memories.

Then, sometime this April, I posted a link on Facebook to this video by James Bernal. 

I was captivated by it, and proclaimed that I knew exactly what I was going to do next year instead of my 365 Project.

The comments under the Facebook post encouraged me to start now,
and to not wait until January 1.

I looked closer into the project and found the TED Talk and the originator of the idea behind the project. I watched Cesar Kuriyama’s audition video and decided right then to begin.

Kuriyama’s final project looked different than the original Bernal film I watched.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of background music.

Although I loved the “film score” of the Bernal film,
I wanted to preserve the sounds of my memories along with the images.

So, on May 3rd, I began collecting second-long clips of my life.
It has been different than my photos.
The film clips are more about experiences, than photography,
and as a result, more about the memory than the image.
The most difficult part was keeping it down to a second.
Some things just need more time to be remembered.
And that is very alright.
It is my project.
I did decide to continue the 365 photography project,
and to combine the two each day as separate experiences.

I was asked to offer a “preview” of my video with the month of May,
which is shared below.

I don’t know if I will “publish” my project each month separately,
or save it as an annual film.
Regardless, it has absolutely pushed me to do more, plan more, and look forward to each day a little more.

Shannon and I have presented this project in our most recent workshops,
and have suggested that this might be a wonderful way for teachers to preserve the memories of each year for themselves and for their students. They might even have their students decide which seconds are “film-worthy”.

1secondAdayAnd there is an “app for that”.
It’s free.

So with this post,
we encourage you to begin today and to take a second to save a memory,
whether it is one second, or more,
of this Father’s Day,
and to make a promise to make each day just a little more memorable.



Back in the Day…

iPad2 Photography tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 4-22-2012

everyone is posting those “vintage” pictures.

It seems ironic that, while advances in technology have made digital photography an amazing form of art, one of the most popular apps recently purchased by Facebook, was developed to make those digital photographs look like the product of a 1950’s camera.

If you are one of the many who like the look of vintage photos,
this site is for you.


…since the “picnik” is officially over,
this might be the site you choose to use as its replacement.

Pixlr.com is a website that offers free online web-based photo-editing options that include applying a “vintage” look to your favorite photo.

This site includes so many options, that we invite you to explore it on your own.

There is also “an app for that”,
(both iTunes and Android).

On this rainy Sunday,
why not listen to an “Oldies” music station,

and turn some of those photos into something your grandmother would have loved…

Instant Eyedropper

Blog Photography tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 3-11-2012

While formatting backgrounds and colors,
I want elements to match and compliment.

When opening up my color formatting options,
I’m directed to “More Colors…”,
and I have the option to enter the coding to get the precise color I want.

One tool I have found to be invaluable is the
Instant Eyedropper”.

A free download, this little web tool quietly hangs out on my Windows Taskbar.
When I need to know the exact color of a pixel, I  just click on the icon
and drag it to the pixel. Once I have hovered over the pixel,
I release the “eyedropper”,

and the color code is automatically copied to my clipboard.

Next, I just enter the code into my formatting options,
and I have the exact color I am looking for.

The color codes this tool supports are:

  • HTML
  • HEX
  • Delphi Hex
  • Visual Basic Hex
  • RGB
  • HSB

With this little tip, we hope your Sunday is filled with color…
the colors of spring, that is, with only nine days left until that day!

Wall Art

Photography tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 2-5-2012

Can I just say?

Bulletin Boards.


I LOVED bulletin boards when I first began my career as a teacher.
Those were the days before ISATs, curriculum committees and objectives, district assessments…

I’ll stop there.

They were always “home-made” and often included the help of my students.

We planned them, we made them together, and they always reinforced what my students were learning.

Later, my teaching partner and I made bulletin boards that “worked together” to double the message we wished to deliver.

When we moved into our new school,
the bulletin boards were replaced with walls covered in fabric,
and the possibilities were endless.

Some teachers chose to COVER the walls with posters, banners, pictures, maps, graphs, diagrams, and whatever they felt was needed to reinforce their lessons.

Others preferred the “minimalist approach”.

This site might offer a compromise.
A huge poster could make a HUGE impact,
without hundreds of staples and thumbtacks to remove.


Find a high-quality image, resize it to no more than 1 megabyte, and upload it.

Just follow their step-by-step instructions, and blockposters.com will generate a PDF document containing the pages of your poster. Each page has marks to match up with the other pages, and you will find it easy to piece together.

This might be just what you need to add a little “pizazz” to your classroom as you wait for spring…


It’s No Picnic…

Photography tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 1-22-2012

My Sunday Morning Tip took a 180˚ when I opened up my email this morning.

One of my favorite “fun” online photo editing sites will soon be gone.

Picnik.com is the only website I love to watch as it loads.
While the gears turn and synch together,
I look forward to the random messages that create imaginary images that are both powerful and pleasant.

“Fluffing clouds…”
“Blooming blossoms…”

“Picking blackberries…”
“Stealing Picnik basket…”
“Planting trees…”
“Floating kites…”
“Cueing bird songs…”
“Applying sunscreen…”
“Buttering sandwiches…”
“Growing grass…”
“Painting sky…”
“Chasing butterflies…”
“Spreading blanket…”
“Picking flowers…”

Once loaded, Picnik offers a wide menu of options, even without a paid subscription.

The sad news is that on April 19th, 2012, Picnik will be closing.

And that is, indeed, sad.

The good news is, that until that date, ALL of the “Paid Premium” effects and features are available FREE to ALL visitors.

(You know how we love “free”.)

If you have a paid subscription, they will refund this past year’s payment,
“even if you are on your very last day of an annual membership”.

Picnik has added a feature, Picnik Takeout, which “allows you to download your photos to your desktop in convenient zip files”.

There is no limit to how many times you use this feature until closing day.

If you post your pictures on Flickr,
and use Picnik to edit them,
that service will no longer be an option when Picnik closes,

Flickr has announced an upcoming set of editing tools within their site,
and in their words:

“…we are working on making the editing experience even better on the site.
We know you care about speed, simplicity, and quality
and this is exactly what we are working to provide you with.
More on this soon, but we can’t wait to show you what we have in store.”

Visit Picnik’s FAQ Page here.

Ready to take advantage of this 3-month service?
Visit Picnik

and watch the clouds fluff and the grass grow for an early, much needed spring…

“Stitch It”

Holiday iPad2 Photography tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 11-27-2011

It’s time to share all of the hard work and creativity you put into that decorating!

We’ve found a fun and free way to do that.

Hurry over to “Photosynth” and download this app to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or your iPad2.

I downloaded it as soon as I bought my iPad2, and drove to our cabin to take a spring panorama shot of our lake. I could not believe how EASY it was!

Before this app, I used Photoshop to stitch together my photos, and was amazed at how much easier Photosynth was! It even takes the pictures for you! The more images you stitch together in your panorama, the better your final image is. It not only captures the scene in 360˚ view, but up and down, as well.

(Photoshop:  Now THAT is a program that should generate a two-year degree. I need to add that to my “bucket list” of goals to achieve. What a powerful, but oh-so-overwhelming list of options for one program! However, I can remove stains, wrinkles, “face-shine” and “red-eye” in my photos like nobody’s business.)

If you find Photosynth is “just right” for you,
we would love to see you share your shots on Facebook with us!

It’s time to “show-off”!

Don’t hold back!

We would love to see your classroom, your home, your porch, or whatever you wish to share!

Just send us your link or email your panorama images and we’ll post them in our gallery.

We’re Talking “Apps”!

iPad2 Photography SMARTBoard tips workshops

Monday Morning Message ~ 4-11-2011

We have finalized our Sixth Annual Summer Workshop Series which will once again be held at the EIASE headquarters in between Mattoon and Charleston.
This summer our theme is “Boot Camp”.
No, we’re not talking about crawling on our tummies with an M16 or digging foxholes.
We’re talking about “DIGITAL Boot Camp”!
Arm yourself with excitement about the future, a positive attitude, and a willingness to try some new things. 

Not only do we have our beginner-advanced SMARTBoard training, but we have also added a “10 Ways to Get SMARTer” session for folks who would like some new integration ideas or a refresher course. 

In addition to our SMARTBoard sessions, we are offering a variety of sessions for general technology integration, including one that focuses on iPad apps for classroom use.
You heard it! We’re talking “APPS”! 

Make this the summer you “get in digital shape” to fight the battle against student apathy.

Because when you get excited, your kids can’t help but be excited, too!

We hope to see you there! 

Shannon and Nancy

Oh yes! Our”Monday Morning Tip”…
This is a picture of my brand new iPad2.
The “app” you see here is “Nightstand”.
It was taken last night and it’s going to make sure I get up in the morning on time!

Stretching the Limits

Photography tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 1-17-2011

You have taken a picture of each of your students to put on the front cover of their individual annual classroom memory book. All year long you have captured images of your kiddos doing creative, educational, and innovative activities. You open your favorite publishing program to put it all together with the clock ticking away. So many pictures, so little time, and so many pages. You insert your pictures, re-size, move them all around to make them fit, and write your captions.


But wait! Did your students go to the local amusement park and stand in front of the crazy mirrors? They are all too wide, or stretched too long. That is definitely NOT the look you are going for.

I saw this exact thing happen walking through the teacher workroom last May. The parent volunteer was assembling the books, and was not happy with how her child looked.

Here is a simple solution:

  1. When resizing any object, whether it is a picture, a shape, or a text-box, grab a corner, and hold down the shift key while dragging it to enlarge or make it smaller. This will retain the proportion of your image/shape in one easy step. Your pictures will look great, and you will look like you know what your are doing!
  2. This works across most programs such as SMART Notebook 10 and all Microsoft Office applications.

So with that, start working on those “End of Year” projects now, a little here and a little there, and if we can help in any way, just email us.

Have fun this week!

The 365 Project

Photography reflections

Shannon: “Mom, you need to write something, too, like a blurb.”

Nancy: “You mean I can’t just post a picture? I have to write something, too?”

Nancy (Thinking): This is going to be a lot of work. Seriously, a lot of work.”

And so it began the last day of December after we had made the decision to participate in The 365 Project.
Within our Twitter network, we had both seen links to posts all through 2009.
Now as the year was drawing to a close, I saw the sense of accomplishment as participants were planning their last shot.
With each of our full-time teaching jobs, paired with our workshops and presentations, neither of us wanted to commit to yet another thing.
Together, we decided, we could do this, and have fun along the way.

What is it?

Basically it is a commitment to take a picture every day for one year.


The reasons are limitless:

To reflect.
To learn…
about photography,
about art,
about yourself.
To grow.
To see things in a new light.
To be more aware of your surroundings.

And now this “writing thing”.

Fortunately I had just received a new camera,
and after several years of taking digital images using a Sony Mavika that was inherited through a grant project eight years ago,
I was a pro at the “auto shot”. Well, maybe not a “Pro”, but I was “good enough”.
Now with my new Canon, I had befriended the “green box” on the dial, and I was, again,  good to go.

Shannon and I began shooting, posting, and, oh yes, “blurbing” about each picture.

Then our first comment: “I love the pinecone shot!!! Just beautiful!!”
That certainly was motivation enough to continue to Day 2.

And so we did continue.


I received an email question:
“Do you remember your aperture setting on that sky photo?
Did you use aperture priority or F-stop priority?”

Day 16 ~ "Knit One, Purl One"Huh?

Now comes the part about “learning”.

Friends, Google, Twitter PLN, and my camera manual to the rescue.
And lessons learned from others’ 2009 365-Project Reflections:
Always, always take your camera.
Take lots of shots of your subject. I mean LOTS.
Move off of the green box and experiment with your settings.
Look at the properties of your pictures
and compare to remember what is used with the pictures that make you happy.
Buy and use a tripod.

Now I am learning about things like:
macro lenses
depth of field
shutter speeds
and white balance and ISO…

And all those numbers. I have never retained numbers. I am a visual learner, and this is my biggest challenge.

So I am learning them in tiny, baby steps.
But the best part is I am seeing again.
When I was in college one of my areas of concentration was art.
I was forever noticing things that I could include in a portfolio and that mind-shift is beginning to return.
Yesterday on my way to meet Shannon, I saw a hawk on the side of the road hovering over a new capture.
Traffic was too busy to afford me a chance to stop, but it was soon after when I saw a pair of wood ducks in a huge puddle of water on the other side of the road.
Again I could not stop, but nevertheless, I was so excited at the chance to see them, and in fact, to BE SEEING them!

We’ll soon be at our one-third mark as March seems to fly by, and I am excited that Shannon and I will have a recorded “journal” of this year.
Each of the photos included with this post are linked to their original postings.

If you would like to see more of our “journal”, we invite you to visit:

“Recess Moments”