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“Dancing Off the Page” is a dance production combining text with dance…poetry, slam. For me, dancing is experienced like poetry…with the heart rather than the mind. Last night I photographed four of the numbers and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The set is low key with no visible background…just black. The dancers are lit for great visuals…hard to photograph. Ha!

The production is directly by Professor Peggy Gaither Adams, my dear friend who let me get a sneak preview and photograph the dress rehearsal. Guest artists include choreographers Eric Stern from the popular Dr. Schaffer and Mr. Stern Dance Ensemble, Joe Goode from the Joe Goode Performance Group of San Francisco, and Nelson Hiu, composer, performer and recording artist from Hong Kong.

If you have a chance, please don’t miss it. It’s playing from April 17 – 26 at the Kennedy Theatre.

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Mickey at the photo bar.

Mickey at the photo bar.

February! My favorite month…my birthday month. Whoa! We ended 2014 on a program and welcomed the New Year while on that program on Oahu. We stayed at the Disney Aulani where we set up a photo bar for people to print on demand. We have three die sublimation printers, quicker than inkjet. We were visited by Stitch, Donald Duck and Mickey, the man. An alternate world there for sure.

Stitch with a camera

Stitch with a camera

Donald checking out the photo bar.

Donald checking out the photo bar.

Tail slappin'

Tail slappin’

We went on to Maui for a program at the Four Seasons Wailea. Maui has gotten so crazy for travel. The old standard hotels we use are way over our price range. Maui Coast was $515 a night plus all the taxes. That is so crazy. Maui Coast is in bad need of an update…it is a Courtyard Marriot type of hotel. Speaking of Courtyard Marriott…the one near the airport was asking $300 a night. Room rates always cycle around and they will come down, but, in the meantime, we’ve got a problem. We ended up staying at a dear friend’s house in Wailuku. Saved!

Face to face.

Face to face.

Coming up from under the boat.

Coming up from under the boat.

During the time in Maui, we were lucky to see baby humpback whales that were out with their moms. There were many sightings on the day we went out. The client hired one of us, but there was room on the whale watch so I went out with Kris. It’s funny, but those babies are cute. In photos, they kind of look like the adults, but without scars…and a lot smaller.

Baby whale checking us out.

Baby whale checking us out.

Baby humpback taking a peek.

Baby humpback taking a peek.

I’m working on designing photo books for both programs. Custom photo books take a super long time and requires all my focus. Luckily designing is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve learned to use Adobe’s InDesign…so much better than Photoshop for this. But for some reason, the keyboard shortcuts stopped working and really slowed my progress. Imagine working without undo, cut and paste on the keyboard. Ugh! I did a safe reboot and still not working. Last night I shut down and, magically, the shortcuts are working this morning. Menehune working in the night! (FYI, menehune are kinda like Hawaiian leprechauns).
On a totally other topic, I read “the life-changing magic of tidying up, the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” by Marie Kondo. I highly recommend it. She doesn’t believe in organizing tools – they are for hoarders (my interpretation). OMG…Kris is afraid. I went through my clothes and have six bags to go out. There is so much breathing room in my closet…love it.
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I’m afraid to tackle my books as they are everywhere in the house. In two weeks, I have an appointment with BookEnds to sell my books. If you follow the Konmari method of deluttering, all books have to be taken of the shelves and other various locations and picked up one at a the time to access the joy factor. The ones that get a yes to the question,”Does this item spark joy?”, stay and the others go. I have books on my dresser, on my desk, in closets, in the kitchen, AND a big built-in book shelf in Kris’ office. We’ll see where this goes. Stay tuned.

While I was in cooking class, Kris took a train…several trains and a bus out to Jigokudani Park to photograph the snow monkeys or Japanese macaques in the hot springs. He got some amazing photos of these creatures. They are wild and come to the hot springs in the cold months for the soothing heat of the hot springs…like us!

Here’s a link to the web gallery of his photos: http://www.eyeoftheislands.com/KrisScanlon/SnowMonkeys/index.html

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My favorite flower is the peony. The first time I heard of a peony was while playing a Japanese card game called hanafuda. The twelve suits, one for each month, are represented by different plants…mostly flowers. In Japanese peony is botan and it is a treasured and admired flower. I guess that’s true everywhere. But I lived in Hawaii. Peonies need a frost to bloom and we don’t have that. It was through this card game that I was introduced to these special botanicals of Japan.

I’m not sure when I saw my first peony in person…probably in a hotel…drinking wine…at the bar. But I fell in love. I love their color and layers and delicate petals. My friend, Ewa, said, “What is it about them???? That they captivate so many (me included)? These garish colors, and yet, just this very unapologetic – should I say, brazen – splash of the bright, common hues… total splendor!”
Kris spoiled me with them…buying them when they were in season at the wholesale florist, Watanabe Floral. Back in the 90’s they were no bargain, but, boy, they have shot up in price.
During the recent hurricane scare, we purchased a fair amount of water and we dropped the bottles off at Watanabe’s for Island Movers to ship to the Big Island. They are shipping canned goods and water to assist the people in Puna who are still without power and water. It’s a disaster. They were really hit hard by Iselle. We have friends who are among those without power or water. Before leaving the Big Island we delivered a hundred pounds of ice to them as they are living off a generator and have limited power. It’s a good thing the people in Puna are a pretty hardy stock…many never had electricity and they all have catchment water systems. A power supply is needed to pump water into their homes. The electric company is working hard to get power restored as quickly as they can, but there were a huge amount of power lines knocked out by falling trees.
Since we were at Watanabe’s, we splurged and bought a garnet peony for $9 – one stem! They are shipping them in from Holland. I believe it’s late in the season for the US mainland.

Peony
I love flowers and I try to bring flowers in from our yard when possible. On the Big Island, we have the luxury of having locally grown flowers – alstroemeria,gerbera daisies, dahlias, gardenia, cymbidium orchids…not to mention all the fabulous tropicals. It’s a little harder to find wide varieties of locally grown flowers on Oahu at a reasonable price.
Peonies in our house has been a guilty pleasure of mine…once a year…not too bad. We don’t even get them every year as peony season is also our busy season so we’re often out o town.
When I’m on the road in peony season, I’m always looking for these beauties. Once in Venice, I bought a bunch at the farmer’s market and just kept them on the night stand. This was in 2004, after our first job with a very special client.

On our nightstand in Venice - 2004 after our first job with Autodesk.

On our nightstand in Venice – 2004 after our first job in Europe.

 In Laguna Niguel, Trader Joe’s sold bunches for $10 each. I had them around my hotel room in water bottles and any container I could find to use as a makeshift vase. This was during a really fabulous program where we rode on a yacht to follow a sailing regatta.

Peonies in my room in Laguna Niguel.

Peonies in my room in Laguna Niguel.

This was in 2009 and our cocker spaniels, Latte and Mocha, has just passed away a few months before so I traveled with their photos and set up an altar.

A peony on my alter in my room in Laguna Niguel. Vase from the room service tray.

A peony on my alter in my room in Laguna Niguel. Vase from the room service tray.

Last year when traveling with my good friend, Hnoi, we found a wonderful flower shop in Paris. It was like stepping into another time zone. We traveled back in time in this marvelous flower shop called Georges Francois. Of course, I bought peonies for my room there.

Georges Francois in Paris.

Georges Francois in Paris.

So now a single peony in a special bud vase from Kris is a treasure. Not having them readily available in Hawaii, make them more special and precious when I do find them.

Selfie at Georges Francois in Paris.

Selfie at Georges Francois in Paris.

This day started badly for me…disappointment with the way a meeting went with a group I cherish. Apprehension about facing a much loved family member with fear. With the help of friends and space, things can turn around. I found this poem by Thomas Merton on the On Being blog .

“There are days when I am convinced that Heaven starts already, now, in this ordinary life, just as it is, in all its incompleteness, yet, this is where Heaven starts. See within yourself, if you can find it.
I walked through the field in front of the house, lots of swallows flying, everywhere! Some very near me. It was magical.
We are already one, yet we know it not.”

~Thomas Merton (via crashinglybeautiful)

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Photo from above Hilo. I love flying above Hilo.

IMG_0162 I’m teaching iPhone camera workshops and loving every minute. I promised the most recent class that I would give them a list of apps that we talked about in class as well as apps that we didn’t have time to cover. This is a short list of the apps I use most often. Please feel free to add any that you’ve discovered in the comments. With so many apps out there, there is much to explore. It’s so exciting!

Camera+ (be sure to get the one made by Tap Tap) – This is the best camera app that I’ve found. It’s good for processing (cropping, straightening, correcting exposure and color), has pretty good effects with good controls. I use this app in place of the camera app that comes with the iPhone because it has so much more functionality.
Pro HDR – Best app I’ve found for HDR (high dynamic range). When the scene has a dark foreground and bright background, this app takes two photos and combines them. You can use this for some cool double exposure effects.
Snapseed – Does a pretty good job of an HDR treatment even if you don’t use the app to take the shot. Has some great filters for a distressed look.
Waterlogue – A favorite of a famous football coach who took the class. Turns your photos into a watercolor painting. If you have an image you love that’s not technically perfect, try Waterlogue to give it a different look and forgive the imperfections.
AristaOil – This is good one for an oil painting look.  Maintains more detail than Waterlogue.
Blender – Easy to use to combine two images. Just import the two images to combine and adjust the opacity to your liking.
Photogene2 – For processing – has cool collages and effects. It also will watermark your photos (that makes it harder for thieves to steal your masterpieces).
Book-making apps for the iPhone or iPad:
SimplePrints ($29.99 for 20 pages) or Mosaic ($20 for 20 pages – shipping is $10). Mosaic makes a cool-looking mosaic cover. SimplePrints will give you more control – you can put multiple images on a page.
Lenslight – This app has great flares and colored filters, bokeh lights and the effects are editable.
Instaeffect – Layers rainbows, colors over the photo and you can adjust the opacity. Very fun!
Shapely – Put an image in a heart or teardrop, add texture and color.
Flipagram – make mini video clips from your photos, choose your music and share.
PixlrExpress+ – Free app that has a fun interface. Periodically, it has seasonal graphics packs that are also free – like Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year. Use it when you want to add text to your photo.
Tangent – Adds geometric shapes.
Slow Shutter Cam – Use this for slow shutter effects – long exposures and light trail effects.

I also promised a link to the iPhone case with the strap that I adore. It’s http://www.bandolierstyle.com. I wish I had thought of this.

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