Friday, August 28, 2015


Photographers are a people of goodwill – friendly, helpful, willing to share. Much of what I've learned, many of the ways I've been inspired, and most of the pictures that matter the most came about because someone was willing connect with me.

In the spirit of reciprocity, I offer a few words on 3 of my new favorite photography things.

Rebecca Lily Presets

There are scenes in my city that I pass every day, vistas and views I've seen over and over, time and time again. I take them for granted. I've taken the standard photograph, the one that looks like a postcard, and moved on, never giving them a second look.

But a recent post by Rebecca Lily of poems without words, gave me cause to reconsider the beauty in my own backyard. Rebecca posted pictures of her trip to the desert through Nevada, Utah, and California.  Wide open views, with soft pastel skies, rich with detail . . . pictures you could walk right into. Pictures that invite introspection, calm and peaceful, yet full of promise.

I studied Rebecca's photographs, trying to discern what it was that spoke so eloquently to me. Color. Composition. Space. Perspective. Texture.

And then I purchased Rebecca's presets – Pro Presets Set III.  With one click, my pictures were transformed, becoming timeless classics. Not the stale postcard version, not the trendy, here-today-gone-tomorrow version, but simply the clean and clear and honest version that most reflects my intention.

Not only are Rebecca's presets a professional product (complete with easy to follow instructions for installation), but she spreads goodwill.  She answered my questions and made recommendations based on the direction I want to take my art. Rebecca Lily presets are one of my favorite things.

All of the images for today's post were processed using Rebecca Lily presets.

VSCO Grid and Journal (Visual Supply Co)

I chose VSCO Grid and Journal because of its creative philosophy and clean, simple design. The grid is a showcase of exceptional images from around the globe.  You can visit me on VSCO Grid by clicking on the grid in the sidebar of this site.

From The week’s finest VSCO Grid® images Selects — 22 August 2015

It is our responsibility to mold the visual expression of our time. No matter a person’s skill level in photography, the act of sharing a photograph is impactful. It can be an easy trap to compare one’s work against the multitude of great modern photographers, or to judge a photo’s worth based on an online following. And yet, photography, like any art form, doesn’t rely on constantly producing pitch-perfect work; it relies on a deeper, more personal touch. Rather than comparing ourselves to one another, we should remember that artistic mediums date back to the prehistoric era. Visual arts like sculpting, painting, and pottery have deep roots in how we interact with and perceive the world around us. Comparatively, photography is a relatively new medium, still in its infancy. There is plenty of room for all to explore their individual expression through photography, an art form of intimacy, introspection, and truth. Ernst Haas, a pioneer of color photography in the 20th century who was influential to legitimizing photography as an artistic medium, stated so poetically, “The limitations of photography are in yourself, for what we see is only what we are.” 

My work has been selected to appear in the curated search results. Remember the photograph of the Italian gentlemen fishing?  You'll find him there, as a photograph with distinction.

Read the article by Jess Hooper on tuts+ to learn How to Use VSCO Cam's Grid and Journal to Create a Polished Photography Portfolio.

My latest additions to VSCO grid came from a walk on a summer's-almost-over-evening. When a thick chocolate milkshake from Carl's Frozen Custard stand feels as though it can soothe any hurt.

When time spent sitting on the river rocks, watching the sun begin to set, feels as though it can be both an end and beginning, and bittersweet is mostly sweet.

Slide Strap from Peak Design

I am tired of wrestling with my camera strap. A while back I discovered the Clutch Strap from Peak Design, which allows me to simply hold the camera securely in my hand.  Perfect for those times I want to take a few pictures or when I don't want a strap in my way. But there are times I really need to use my tripod and times I really need a strap, too. Taking off the straps, switching plates, threading pieces of strap over, under and through, lengthening, shortening, untangling . . . whew!

I've finally found a solution.  With the products from Peak Design – clutch strap, slide strap and Dualplate (which works with my Manfrotto tripod) – I am good to go.  The super strong anchor links are easy to use and allow me to swap out straps or reconfigure from a neck to a sling strap in a jiffy.

Wishing each of you goodwill and many happy discoveries, Donna


  1. What a wonderful post with so much sharing! Thank you! I've often thought about presets, but haven't taken the time. So when the time comes...I'll certainly look into Rebecca's offerings. And you won't even believe this! I purchased the Peak Design strap a couple of months ago and LOVE it! Typically I just use a small strap around my wrist, but after a full day of photographing it's starts to do a number on my wrist. So now I use both and it's so easy to take the strap off. I know you'll be so pleased with it! I'll need to spend a little time reading through the information on VSCO, but see that your grid looks lovely and I'm sure you've made a great choice! Your photos are always beautiful! And THANKS always for sharing your findings! I so agree, photographers are very giving!

  2. You are such a gem Donna! It's nice to meet someone else that loves Rebecca Lily presets! I've been using them for over a year, and now have all of her collections. You are right about photographers willing to share...I've learned a lifetime of information through wonderful photographers. The strap sounds like a great one...I'll need to take a look at that, as well as the new VSCO grid platform. Thank you so much for sharing some of your favorites today! Your "standard" photos are beautiful!!! Carl's is my favorite!

  3. I also have her presets but nice to see that you like them also. Your images are just wonderful, love the water and bridge. I was thinking of you this week but of course I think of you often. The strap is a new one for me and so agree it is hard to have an all purpose strap, love the idea of the switching to a tripod. I have VSCO on my phone and it has been there for years it seems. I will look into the Grid again, before when I checked it out I wasn't impressed but will look into it, thanks. I have stopped with anything social except for my blog as you know and am not so sure about this.

  4. Definitely bookmarking this one, my friend! And your images, truly poems without words.

  5. Thanks so much Donna, I have been looking at the Peak Design strap recently. It's great to know that you have it and like it . I think I will order it now ! The presets sound ( and look ) wonderful, I love the photo of the bridge and it's reflection. VSCO is a real mystery to me right now, I'm not sure my poor brain can take it in at the moment ! ( On a sidenote, I've been introduced to frozen custard since my move to Michigan.....oh my ! )

  6. So much goodness here, but I was like the Boxcar Children outside the bakery window. Alas, Rebecca's presets work with Lightroom, not lowly PSE. And while I was intrigued with VSCO's Journal, I don't have a phone either. But your photos, especially Carl's, are a treat!

  7. Lovely as always. I love presets so I will have to check those out. I am intrigued by the VSCO journal, but I really don't need one more thing do I?


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