My Colorado Photography Project

I’m one of those people who desperately wishes I was more creative than I am. I dream of playing “The Moonlight Sonata” on the piano or baking a cake that looks like a lady’s hat or painting an abstract of my dog in primary colors. After taking multiple music and baking and drawing classes, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never accomplish any of those things. There are, however, other endeavors in which I’ve shown more promise. I can play a recognizable “Happy Birthday” on the harmonica, and I believe that someday I’ll be able to move beyond scarves and knit a hat. I also believe that someday I might take one great photograph.

After years of buying cameras and not using them, I finally decided that the only camera I’ll ever really use is the one on my phone. So, a few days before we left on our summer trip to Colorado, I took an iPhotography class at Laguna Gloria.

Of course the instructor started with some basic composition concepts: the rule of thirds, leading lines, framing. I learned this stuff decades ago, and that knowledge has never amounted to a hill of beans when it comes to my photographic ability. (If you’re unfamiliar with these concepts, look on YouTube, and you’ll find 2843 videos to explain them.) However, the instructor did offer another piece of advice that was invaluable to me. She encouraged us to never to take just one photo of something, but instead to take at least one more photo of the same subject from a different point of view. As I put this advice into action over the past five weeks, I realized that she was right. More often than not, my second photo was better than the first.

Here’s my favorite second shot of a fishing pond in Ridgeway State Park. In the first shot, I took the whole pond with the mountains in the background. In the second, I zoomed in to get just the reflection so that the mountains appear upside down.

The instructor of the iPhotography class also provided a list of something like two dozen apps for taking, editing, and manipulating photos. It was overwhelming and she only explained a handful during the class, but I’ve now worked my way through all of them to discover my favorites. (Most of the photos were taken with ProCam, which I’m still struggling to learn.)

Tree Roots in Trinidad. Edited (cropped and darkened) and added text with Aviary.

A poppy in Longmont. Edited with Enlight (Galactic filter).

The Garden of the Gods. Edited with Tada (Eis Am Steil filter).

Windmill in Buena Vista. Edited with Pixomatic (A002 art filter).

Kayaking Collage. Combined using PicStitch.

Kayaking with “Dave.” Edited using Dead Yourself.

Milkweed in Ridgeway. Edited with PicsArt (Oil Painting filter).

The Durango Diner. Edited with the TinType.

The Durango Silverton Train. Edited with SnapSeed (Accentuate filter).

I’m still working on that one great photograph, but in the mean time, playing around with photos on my phone is so much more satisfying than playing solitaire.

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