Category Archives: Photowalk

Favorite Mobile Photo Apps – Periscope by Twitter

  

So there’s this new app by Twitter called “Periscope.” It is not a photography app per se, but it does utilize your iPhone’s  video camera and opens up the world of on-the-go live broadcasting. Normally, I am not an in front of the camera chat type. As a photographer I would much rather hide behind the lens unless I am connecting with clients over Skype or giving an online lecture or interview. But there’s something different about Periscope that has enticed me to jump head first into the world of live broadcasts.

The first thing I loved when I downloaded the app was the easy to understand interface. It is very intuitive with just three simple icons across the bottom. 

  

The first is a television icon which is naturally where you watch live and recorded broadcasts. 

  

The next icon is what appears to be a camera with a small red dot which when pushed takes you to the broadcast screen. The third is your standard people icon that provides you with a list of your Twitter peeps and those on Periscope who are currently the “Most Loved” (those who have accumulated the most likes over time).

  

When you are ready to broadcast, you push the camera icon. On the broadcast screen you will see a Google maps button if you want to broadcast your location, a lock icon if you want to invite specific followers to a private broadcast, and a Twitter button so a Tweet will be sent out to your Twitter peeps letting them know you are doing a broadcast. 

  

At the top of the broadcast screen you type in an enticing title or whatever you want, then click “Start Broadcast” and off you go, instant live streaming 

  

During your broadcast if you have been lucky enough to garner followers and users who see your live broadcast listed on Periscope or Twitter, their names will begin to pop up on your screen as they join in to watch. If they like what they see, your watchers can tap their screens multiple times and little heart bubbles will suddenly begin to appear and float up towards the top (kind of like a standing ovation). This of course is a great motivator to continue your broadcast. Your audience can also text you questions and comments while you are recording and you can interact with them instantly with your spoken voice.

   

   

 

When you are finished with your live broadcast all you do is swipe down on your screen and choose “Stop Broadcasting.” Your video will then save to Periscope and will be viewable for 24 hours under the television icon for people to view later. You can see the number of viewers that watched your saved broadcast when you click on the video in Periscope under the television icon. 

 

If you want to, you can choose to save all your broadcast videos to your own camera roll automatically as well. The only thing that won’t appear on the videos That are saved to your phone are all the hearts, user names and comments. So if you did a broadcast and had lots of verbal interaction with those written comments and you decide to post that video to your YouTube channel, you might want to preface it with a bit of explanation so viewers won’t think you have lost your marbles. Or not. It’s your seemingly one-way conversationS just might go viral :).

I encourage you to download this app and give it a try. I am having great fun with it and believe it to be an invaluable way to connect with your readers, followers, clients, or audience. The tagline for this app is “Explore the world through someone else’s eyes.” We each have our unique way of seeing and I look forward to experiencing the world as you see it. 

Feel free to follow me on Periscope. My user name is Tracy J. Thomas. I can use all the hearts you are willing to give. You can also connect with me on Twitter: @tjthomasphoto.


Zen Moment 3 – Connecting With the Gifts That Nature Gives Us

  

** Raccoon wading through the wetlands, Yolo Wildlife Area, Davis, CA. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2015. All rights reserved. **

“When you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything.” – Lao Tzu

I am constantly surprised by nature’s little gifts. A few days ago I went on a walk at the Yolo Wildlife Area and chose to head up the gravel road I have walked dozens of times. There are wetlands that hug each side of this road and it provides a great view of a wide variety of waterfowl and shorebirds.

It was a typical Spring morning where I spotted and photographed Egrets, Blue Heron, American Coot, Mallards, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shovelers, Ibis, Stilts, and Avocets. I walked and stopped every now and then to capture another photo and marveled at the chorus of birdsong and the beauty of this oasis so close to the city where I live. I felt grounded and thankful that I was able to begin my day in such a wonderful way. 

While lost in the moment, I caught a sudden movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned towards a tall Thistle plant on the edge of the water and was amazed to see a Raccoon slip into the water and begin to wade towards a small island of reeds. In all my trips out there I have never come across a Raccoon, especially not in daylight since they are nocturnal creatures by nature. 

I stood there amazed at the scene as it unfolded before me. The Raccoon was equally amazed to see me standing there and for a moment we held a silent vigil as our eyes locked on to the other. I raised my camera slowly and took a few photographs and video of this amazing creature and tried to reassure it through my relaxed demeanor that I meant it no harm.

My original intent that morning was to get some exercise in with a nice brisk walk, alas, the Universe had a different plan for me. This unexpected gift found me standing there for a good hour just watching and waiting as the Raccoon waded from island to island and searched the reeds for Crawdads to eat. Every time it would finish its search it would peek out at me from between the reeds then enter the water and make its way towards the next island.

The entire time I stood there watching I felt a smile spread wide across my face. There was nothing else but me, the Raccoon, a Hallelujah chorus of birdsong, and my giant smile. Any stress I felt at the start of that morning was dissipated. It was exactly how nature intended it to be. The two of us, lost in the moment of our surprising communion as we danced our pas de deux to the music of this magical Universe.

** Click to purchase Zen in the Garden: Finding Peace and Healing Through Nature on Amazon. **


Embracing Those Zen Moments

  

Sunday morning I went to church. But this was not your typical preacher at the pulpit, dressed in our Sunday finest, we seek forgiveness for our multitude of sins, here’s five percent of my paycheck, followed by breakfast at Denny’s type of church. It was instead my personal choice of places to go when seeking communion with the Divine. My church of choice is Nature.

I grew up in those traditional houses of worship, but as an adult I find them uncomfortable and often filled with hypocrisy. Please don’t get me wrong, I do not harbor disdain for those who choose a traditional church as their place of worship, but I personally have been unable to find my own peace there. 

When I walk in nature with my feet planted firmly against the earth, embraced by the breeze and serenaded by bird song, I become instantly relaxed and at peace. In those moments I feel closer to a God than any other time in my life. Everything makes sense to me as I walk along and see the beauty before my eyes.

Yesterday I had one of those little “Zen Moments” where I felt connected to everything and found beauty in the simple things. My hope for each of you this week is you will find your own Zen moments as you navigate this noisy life.

** Follow the “Zen in the Garden” YouTube Channel for more “Zen Moments” here. **

** Click to purchase Zen in the Garden: Finding Peace and Healing Through Nature on Amazon. **


Photowalk: Jenkinson Lake

Yesterday was another nature day. It has been warm and wonderful here this past week, actually climbing into the 60’s by midday. Warmer days means snow melt in the Sierras, that in turn opens up access to some of the recreational areas normally covered in the cold white stuff this time of year.

I spent the day wandering around Jenkinson Lake near Pollock Pines, a short 45 minute drive up Highway 50. The lake was created in 1955 when a dam was built to harness Sly Park Creek, a tributary in the Cosumnes River watershed. The dam formed a 650-acre reservoir called Jenkinson Lake. It was constructed primarily to provide irrigation water to a portion of El Dorado County.

I’ve spent a lot of time around this little lake, hiking on the trails and kayaking in its pristine waters. I always see something new when I go there that I didn’t see before.

Yesterday’s photowalk was all about capturing the familiar vistas as well as the smaller intricacies of nature that we often fail to notice while becoming smitten by her grandeur.

A duck flies across Jenkinson Lake near the marina and boat launch.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A duck flies across Jenkinson Lake near the marina and boat launch. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A paddle boarder makes his way across Jenkinson Lake. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A paddle boarder makes his way across Jenkinson Lake. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Detail in rock found next to the lake.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Detail in rock found next to the lake. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Rocks along the shoreline.  This one reminded me of a horse head.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Rocks along the shoreline. This one reminded me of a horse head. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A piece of driftwood surrounded by colorful rocks at the edge of the shoreline.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A piece of driftwood surrounded by colorful rocks at the edge of the shoreline. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Leaves and colorful shale.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Leaves and colorful shale. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

One of the finger inlets that feed the resevoir.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

One of the finger inlets that feed the lake. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The sky was on fire on the way home.  A dramatic ending to a perfect day.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The sky was on fire on the way home. A dramatic ending to a perfect day. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

[All photos were shot and edited on my iPhone4.]

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Photowalk: The Evidence of Creatures

When I was a child, I spent most of my summer days following animal tracks in the fields behind our house in search of elusive creatures. On occasion I would find one, but most often their prints were the only evidence that proved they had once waddled or hopped or slithered on that same piece of ground.

Yesterday’s photowalk was all about finding evidence of creatures both big and small. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the Sacramento River was calling. The heavy rains have subsided for now so the river was lower than normal for this time of year. I made my way along a short stretch of sandy beach and found prints of several animals that make this area their home.

Here are the photos with evidence of creatures, both human and animal, that I discovered yesterday. All photos were taken with my iPhone with the Hipstamatic App, JohnS Lens and Ina’s 69 film.

Looking across the Sacramento River towards Riverbank Marina. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Looking across the Sacramento River towards Riverbank Marina. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon and mollusk tracks.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon and mollusk prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Bobcat prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Bobcat prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon rear foot print.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon rear foot print. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Clam shell critter snack.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Clam shell critter snack. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Baby raccoon prints the size of one half of my thumb.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Baby raccoon prints the size of one half of my thumb. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter and Bobcat prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter and Bobcat prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon print.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon print. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon family prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon family prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The head of a sardine discarded by a fisherman.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The head of a sardine discarded by a fisherman. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Discarded shopping cart that was most likely the carryall for one of the homeless who live along the river.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Discarded shopping cart that was most likely the carryall for one of the homeless who live along the river. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Photowalk: Old Sacramento

After finishing up the class I have been writing for the University and finally recovering from a bout with the flu, I was able to get out on a photowalk this morning. I decided to photograph Old Sacramento with my iPhone and used my Hipstamatic App with the Tinto 1884 lens and D-Type plate. This combination seemed very appropriate for a place steeped in history.

The Sacramento River

The Sacramento River with the I Street Bridge and paddle wheeler boats docked in the distance. The Sacramento River was an important food source for the area’s indigenous tribes and became a major transportation and trade route during the California gold rush during the 19th Century. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge was built in 1935 and was the first vertical lift bridge in the California highway system. The center section of this bridge raises and lowers for large boats to journey up and down the Sacramento River. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The paddle wheel of the Delta King that journeyed daily between San Francisco to Sacramento from 1927 to 1940.  It is now a floating hotel and restaurant docked in Old Sacramento.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The paddle wheel of the Delta King that journeyed daily between San Francisco and Sacramento from 1927 to 1940. It is now a floating hotel and restaurant docked in Old Sacramento. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The I Street Bridge has spanned the Sacramento River for 100 years.  The steel double-decker swing bridge was built by Southern Pacific Railroad and continues to carry trains and automobiles across the river to this day.  The bridge swings open for larger boats to go up and down the river.

The I Street Bridge has spanned the Sacramento River for 100 years. The steel double-decker swing bridge was built by Southern Pacific Railroad and continues to carry trains and automobiles across the river to this day. The bridge swings open for larger boats to go up and down the river.

A Sacramento Southern rail car sits on the tracks near the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento.  The Sacramento Southern rail line was built between 1906 and 1912 and ran south for 24 miles to Walnut Grove and later became part of Southern Pacific.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A Sacramento Southern rail car sits on the tracks near the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. The Sacramento Southern rail line was built between 1906 and 1912 and ran south for 24 miles to Walnut Grove and later became part of Southern Pacific. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A stack of freight sits near the Central Pacific Freight and Passenger Stations in Old Sacramento.  The station was reconstructed on the site of the original which was built in the mid-1860's.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A stack of freight sits near the Central Pacific Freight and Passenger Stations in Old Sacramento. The stations were reconstructed on the site of the original which was built in the mid-1860’s. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The backside of the passenger train station along the tracks.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The backside of the passenger train station along the tracks. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Looking toward the trains and boarding area from the passenger station. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Looking toward the trains and boarding area from the passenger station. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The Huntington, Hopkins and Company Hardware Store.  During the 1860's this company was a wholesale brokerage that supplied all of Northern California.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The Huntington, Hopkins and Company Hardware Store. During the 1860’s this company was a wholesale brokerage that supplied all of Northern California. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Pioneer Park sits in an empty lot where City Market, a butcher shop, used to stand.  There are remnants of Old Sacramento's past throughout this park including columns that used to adorn the outside of buildings and ironworks cast in Old Sacramento in the 1800's.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Pioneer Park sits in an empty lot where City Market, a butcher shop, used to stand. There are remnants of Old Sacramento’s past throughout this park including columns that used to adorn the outside of buildings and ironworks cast in Old Sacramento in the 1800’s. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A slab of granite, some ironworks, and the old brick wall of the adjacent building in Pioneer Park.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A slab of granite, some ironworks, and the old brick wall of the adjacent building in Pioneer Park. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Closeup detail on one of the columns used to adorn the outside of business buildings in Old Sacramento.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Closeup detail on one of the columns used to adorn the outside of business buildings in Old Sacramento. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A fallen column slowly being absorbed by a tree in Pioneer Park.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A fallen column slowly being absorbed by a tree in Pioneer Park. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

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