Category Archives: digital play

Where you find strength

Today I find strength in others’ words and posts. From Mo’s exaltations of Pinkola Estes to Liz’s resolve to find beauty wherever she is to an NPR radio interview with Kimberle Crenshaw on the historic and catastrophic parallels to “finding unity” and “moving on.”

And, as is so often the case these days, Acey’s pictures and directions and catalogues of thought and image are rolling through my nervous system.

The sewer cap above is one of many answers to Liz’s question: can you find beauty in the suburbs? Look at the color of that brick! The rust! And the delicate shadow of a twig. They make my heart sing.

The magic green dots thrill me every time!

As I begin to explore yellow* — my cutting and piecing paper instincts want to be translated to cloth. Can I even remotely achieve the immediacy of paper collage with stitch and fabric? What a wonderful edge to open up the power of the will.

* chakra exploration with Acey

Indigo square with moon by Jude.

Snow on the way

I might follow along with Roxane Gay’s reading list for the year. One book a month. I ordered the first one, which is getting a lot of buzz and I really wanted anyway. If this effort is like others, I’ll last until April.

I’ve finally attended to the minutiae involved in being able to borrow kindle books from my library. What a gift! Using the Libby app, I can reserve books and then they show up in my kindle reader without having to go anywhere! Black Futures looks like a beautiful coffee table book, though, so I ordered a copy. Here’s the full list in case you’re interested.

In other news, “we” are installing a gas fireplace. This old house’s current fireplace is very inefficient and sucks warm air out of the entire first floor. Plus, you know, because of the mess and effort, we just don’t have fires all that much. We already have gas in the house. I can’t wait to be able to start a fire with a click of a button. Don’t judge me!

By “we,” I mean my husband, of course. We save almost two grand this way.

I just discovered an Instagram group — @pariscollagecollective — that posts weekly image prompts. I may take part (again — will I last until late spring?) Here’s the first prompt for 2021.

I’ve put together one of my digital-collage slideshows (one minute, below), but I intend to work with paper this week. And then maybe, using a photo of the paper collage, create more layered exposures with the Diana app — my preferred method.

Some of my faves follow. Some of you will recognize collage images embedded from the Collage Challenge with Acey a year ago.

Snow to begin before sunset.

* tattooed torso is a dancer from recent remake of West Side Story and featured in the New York Times. Cloaked Egyptian and other smaller white cloaked figure from National Geographic. Cloth is my own. Virgin from photo I took in cathedral in Assisi. Black woman looking at lens, I don’t remember — but very possibly Vanity Fair.

Diana Photo App tutorial

The primary design tool in my digital collage tool box is the Diana photo app. Pretty sure it’s free. It allows you to select two photos and then double exposes them with a variety of filters.

[My other heavy hitters are PicFrame — for making mosaics — and Hipstamatic — a photo app that applies a filter and a frame as you shoot. Many of the photos that I double expose through Dianaphoto were shot in Hipstamatic.]

This post will give you the basic skills to use the Diana Photo app. It is a ton of fun, addictive even. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

First, select two pictures by tapping the camera icons in the squares at bottom. The app automatically applies one of its filters. I’ll show you how to select a different filter in a minute.

  • Tip. If you’re like me and have 1,000’s of photos on your phone, you might want to create an album before starting. That can spare you a lot of scrolling.

If you find yourself intrigued by one of the two selected photos and want to keep it in place while changing out the other, lock it in place by depressing your finger slightly on the picture itself.

A lock icon will show up

Locking a picture allows you to audition how it will look with different pictures or filters or both. To unlock, simply hold your finger down on the locked image.

Next, select a filter. There are a couple of dozen. The variability of effect includes not just color and intensity, but also which parts of the photos are visible. Note that there is also a “no filter” option.

To select another filter, you can swipe left on the double exposure (without the filter grid visible) and whatever filter comes next in the app will be applied. In the alternative, you can hold your finger down on the double exposure and the black filter grid-menu will appear. Then tap to select. This latter method is efficient if you know your favorite filters. There are quite a number of filters that I never use.

To save the double exposure, simply tap the three connected circles ICON at the upper left. That will produce a menu for you to select where to put the pic. I always save to my camera roll, even if it will later go on Instagram or FB or wherever.

Below, find the same two photos with different filters. It gives you an idea of the kinds of changes produced by the app.

Directly below the double exposure, there’s a white dot flanked by plus and minus signs. An intensity slider. Hold lightly and slide left or right to dim or heighten the double exposure. I wish this feature was more interesting. A lost opportunity, IMHO.

Above left shows a fully dimmed filter while the right shows the button slid all the way to the right.

Another design tool is the swap. The selected pictures at bottom can be switched left/right by swiping left or right. This may produce radically different filter results (note, sometimes it makes little to no difference).

Dianaphotoapp has two ways of letting you make random selections. You can tap the dice at upper left and if no photo had been locked, it will select two photos from your camera roll. If you’ve locked an image, then it’ll only select one. I’ve read you can shake your phone too, something I’ve yet to try.

I love the dice function. Absolutely love it.

By using photos of collage or quilts, these pix gain a little artistry (IMHO). Also, when one or both picture is ALREADY a double exposure, some really quirky mysterious effects can be achieved.

That’s one reason why I use the hashtag #lostcountoftheexposures over on Instagram. I also always use #dianaphoto and #dianaphotoapp so that others having fun with this app can see.

Also, once in a while, the official Diana app account will feature one of my pix (last photo, below).

Have fun! Trust me, it’s a super easy app to use.

Digital collage

Obsession really. I made another mini-movie but I know WordPress won’t upload it. So here are some pix from it put together in mosaic groups or singly, instead.

It’s rainy. This was the second hottest July on record. I didn’t walk at all today, but there were pancakes on the side porch (not on the patio because neighbors had a bday party in their backyard), two crossword puzzles, kitchen counter bleaching. I talked shop with another author. Visited a local friend and sat out on her back porch. Tea. Apricot jam and crackers.

So sad that HBO’s Perry Mason is over. It was intense, stylish, well-acted with interesting takes on what Mason’s backstory might’ve looked like.

But Endeavour is on, so that’s good.

I ran out of olive oil today so put in a second grocery order with Amazon fresh. I am certain I shall go to carbon footprint hell for all the packaging. It’s bad. I’m bad. And at the same time, I feel like I might never grocery shop again.

Slate gray skies

Cold enough for down coat, hat, and gloves for the morning’s dog walk. I feel a little about spring as I do about Bernie. How grateful I’d be if he dropped out! How grateful I’d be if we had a warm, sunny day! I anticipate the lush riches of spring with a heightened need this year — unfurling maple leaves, nodding daffodils, the bold tulips and magnolias. All this time spent looking out windows framing grey, taupe, and dun!

This morning’s writing class was marred by technical difficulties. I breathed through it. Wrote through it.

Here are some double exposures I created two nights ago. The constant image is the star-adorned wooden box that used to house my sister’s Aquarian Tarot deck. The other images include: dome interior from Rome, a statue of the Virgin from San Rufino cathedral in Assisi, a quilt, a garden bowl of water.

My remoulade bombed. It looked like cat puke in the chowder. Not at all what I was hoping for!

Tomorrow, we pick up a $30 box of produce in the Fenway, an effort organized by a place called “The Neighborhood.” I want to support small markets and local farmers to the extent I can, so there is more sourcing to do here.

Off for a nap! Hope you all are managing as best you can. I’m not looking for silver linings at the moment, but I wonder if this experience will help me develop patience.